Research Outline

UK Automotive Commercial Distribution


To understand the UK automotive commercial distribution market by obtaining an overview of the UK automotive commercial distribution landscape, including:
  • Who the car dealers are and details about them
  • Car dealership regulations that impact the sale of cars, such as price freedom and geographical coverage.

Early Findings

Data Availability

  • The initial hour of research indicates that there is a wealth of information available about the UK automotive commercial distribution landscape.


  • RMI, which has been in business for more over a century is a trade body that represents franchised car and commercial vehicle dealers, motorcycle dealers, independent garages, petrol retailers, bodyshops, dealers of cherished number plates, offering sales and services to motorists and businesses in the country, and auction houses.
  • The National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) is another representative body of franchised car and commercial vehicle dealers in the UK.
  • Some guidelines offered by UK's Trading Standards Institute that affect car dealers include the following:
    • The seller must have the legal right to sell the car/vehicle
    • It must be of "satisfactory quality", provable through the vehicle’s documentation and paperwork
    • Any vehicles advertised, for instance online or in a showroom, must be the exact same one the dealer is attempting to sell.
  • Other key areas of legislation that affect automotive dealers in the UK include licensing requirements, the registration, taxation, and insurance of vehicles, especially for first new/unused vehicles, environmental legislation, health & safety and fire, and employment regulations.

UK Automotive Commercial Distribution

  • Based on research conducted by AM on the 2019 financial performance of the UK's largest automotive retail groups, the following are the top 10 by turnover:
    • Sytner Group (£6,006,000)
    • Lookers (£5,131,300)
    • Pendragon (£4,627,000)
    • Arnold Clark Automobiles (£4,316,700)
    • Vertu Motors (£3,035,962)
    • Inchcape Retail (£2,832,266)
    • Marshall Motor Holdings (£2,250,301)
    • Jardine Motors Group (£2,117,885)
    • Group 1 Automotive (£2,025,357)
    • TrustFord (£1,738,456)


  • In our initial hour of research, we have provided a brief overview of the legal landscape of car dealership in the UK as well as 10 of the largest automotive commercial distributors.
  • Due to the limitation of time, we have not gone into detail about the legal requirements for automotive retailers in the UK as well as the features of the car dealers identified. This can be done during the research phase of this project.
  • Below is the recommended research path