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John Clark Motor Group MD Chris Clark is celebrating after the firm’s Pentland retailer scooped a remarkable eight awards in the latest JLR Retailer Awards.

Pentland JLR was – deep breath – top for client care at Land Rover Dundee, the top new car retailer of the year at Pentland Land Rover Perth (which was also the number 1 sales retailer of the year), the third best Jaguar Retailer of the Year at Pentland Jaguar Dundee, third best Land Rover Retailer of the Year at Pentland Edinburgh West… with Dundee the second best, and Perth the overall Land Rover Retailer of the Year (for the second year running). Oh, and Pentland was also the overall Land Rover Partner of the Year, for the third year running.

“These guys are simply awesome, and I’m incredibly proud to count them and their teams as a part of our business,” said Chris.


Trade Centre UK Walsall plans finally submitted

Trade Centre UK has finally submitted plans to transform a former Showcase cinema into an auto retailer. The plans were postponed in April 2023 due to the tough economic climate, with the retailer choosing instead to use the site as a temporary storage facility.

Bailey Family Investments Group, which owns the Trade Centre Group, originally put in an application to Walsall Council in 2021. The aim is to replace the existing Trade Centre site in Wednesbury.


New CEO for Mercedes-Benz UK

Oliver Reppert has officially taken over as CEO and MD of Mercedes-Benz UK from Gary Savage. His career began as aftersales product manager at DaimlerChrysler in 1998, and he spent four years in the 2000s directing retailer development. He served as the CEO of CarToGo from 2016 and became the CEO of car sharing service ShareNow in 2019. The business was sold to Stellantis in 2022.

Gary Savage retires on 30 June.

In other news, Mercedes-Benz has abandoned its EV-only plans by 2030 in favour of a more “flexible” model strategy that will see ICE models produced alongside EVs well into the 2030s.

The move will also see the Mercedes-Benz A-Class produced into 2026 and beyond. Previously, the firm had planned to retire the premium hatch later this year.


Sir Arnold Clark’s son agrees £1m divorce

Sir Arnold Clark’s son John has agreed a £1m divorce settlement. The couple married in 2005 but separated in 2022. Mr Clark told the court he spent about £15k a month in “total outgoings” for his family and “at times” provided his wife with £10k in cash per month.

The judge said Mrs. Clark described John as “very tight with his money”. She said he took scheduled flights rather than private jets, and declined to buy her a £30k watch.





Family feud at M-B Chicago retailer

Mike Loeber, the third-generation president of Loeber Motors Chicago, is suing his father and uncle, both in their 90s, to prevent them from doubling their six-figure salaries for the next decade, even after they die. Mike Loeber has been ordered by a court to enter mediation with his father George (91) and uncle Paul (92).

Mike Loeber, who’s in his early 50s, sued the brothers over the $300k a year pay increases and $50k a month increase in the rent the retailers pay to use the real estate, calling it a “self-interested attempt to fleece the companies”.

“The real problem is Mike’s greed,” said Paul Loeber. “What happened is George and I didn’t accommodate Mike by dying quickly enough.”George Loeber could not be reached for comment.


Afeela on show in Canada

Sony’s new entrant Afeela is being exhibited in public. The latest showcase is at the Westfield Topanga mall in California. Visitors are being encouraged to reserve their slot on a “first-come, first-served basis”.




Closing prices on 8 March 2024 and weekly change

Auto Trader Group 747.4p 741.0p (-6.1p / -0.8%)

Caffyns 450.0p (n/c)

Halfords 156.0p 165.2p (+9.2p / +5.7%)

Inchcape 690.0p 636.0p (-54.0p / -8.2%)

Motorpoint 128.5p 126.75p (-1.75p / -1.3%)

Pinewood 37.0p 37.7p (+0.7p / +1.8%)

Vertu 67.5p 67.4p (-0.1p / -0.1%)




Tuesday, UK unemployment

Wednesday, GDP

Thursday, Auto Retail Live business briefing: sign up here

27 April, NFDA Spring Ball

3 May, Radius Law Annual Conference




Fourth month of growth points to end of recession

The private sector economy has grown for four months running, indicating the UK has already exited recession. The S&P Global and CIPS composite PMI hit 53 in February, the strongest reading since May 2023. The figure has been above the 50-point threshold that separates growth from contraction for four months in a row.

“The UK economy has turned a corner after entering a technical recession during the second half of 2023,” said S&P economic director Tim Moore.


Child benefit climbdown begins

The chancellor has announced the child benefit clawback threshold will be raised from £50k to £60k in April 2024. The rate at which the benefit is withdrawn will also be halved, to 1% lost for every £200 above the threshold – taking the income at which child benefit eligibility ceases to £80k.

Child benefit eligibility will also finally be based on household income, not individual – but not until at least 2026.



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