The 100 most profitable car dealers in the UK earned a combined £1.16 billion in 2019.
New and used car dealer Arnold Clark topped the list by a considerable margin, with profits of £194.3 million.
It beat premium car dealer Sytner, which saw profits of £152.4m, while Pendragon earned £78.9m.
The list of most profitable dealer groups was put together by CarDealerMagazine.co.uk using EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) data from 2019, the latest figures that are available.
In total, those that made the top 100 list made a combined £1,166,359,116, with turnover at £55,830,325,500.
CarDealerMagazine.co.uk editor James Baggott said: “While 2020 has seen car dealers forced to navigate an incredibly bumpy road, 2019 was a successful year for many. The staggering profit numbers of the biggest dealers in the UK show just how efficient the big groups are at making money.
“Our top 10 was dominated by franchised dealers, including three listed groups in the top five, but it was the automotive retail juggernaut that is Arnold Clark that topped the list by far.
“That group makes a staggering amount of money. While 2020 will surely put a dent in those numbers when we next run our list, from what we’re hearing most car dealers have actually performed better this year, thanks to a huge demand for vehicles as people splash out with cash they would have spent on holidays on a new set of wheels instead.”
Speaking to CarDealerMagazine.co.uk, Arnold Clark CEO Eddie Hawthorne said: “We got the result that we hopefully deserve. “We have a very strong used car business throughout our organisation with 30 motor stores which concentrate on used cars.
“We have spent a lot of money on digital, focusing on the digital journey with our customers and trying to make ourselves easy to do business with.
“We’ve fully embraced that digital journey and, believe it or not, giving the customer the power to decide what they want has maintained our margins, if not increased them.”