2023 annual report
Driving change together.
Auto Trader is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive culture, it aims to build stronger partnerships with its customers and use its voice and influence to drive more environmentally friendly vehicle choices.
Average retailer forecourts advertising with Auto Trader
Software partners integrated with our Auto Trader Connect platform
Retailers on Deal Builder trial at end of March 2023
Of employees are proud to work for Auto Trader
(March 2022: 95%)
Average monthly visits to autotrader.co.uk
Lenders integrated with our finance platform
c. 07 k
New vehicle leases delivered in 2023
Our net zero targets have been validated by the Science Based Targets initiative
This is my ninth and final statement as Chair of Auto Trader Group plc. It has been my privilege to serve as the Auto Trader Chair throughout our eight years as a public company.
I first got to know Auto Trader around 15 years ago when I was chief executive of Rightmove Plc. I first attended an Auto Trader Board meeting as a guest. That meeting decided to sell Auto Trader’s last remaining print plant, though Auto Trader would continue to publish weekly magazines for a few years after that.
Today, we operate a sophisticated online automotive marketplace, with our car retailers able to select from a range of advertising options and data products that not only help them sell vehicles but manage the effectiveness of their operations including the stock they hold.
I’m pleased to report that our business is in as strong a position as it has ever been, and we are embarking on a journey where used and new car buyers can not only complete their research on Auto Trader, but complete more of the transaction too.
Auto Trader growth was ahead of expectations and has been achieved despite both the new and used car markets experiencing low transaction volumes, although this headwind has been somewhat offset by robust levels of retailer profitability. The brilliant work of our people continues to strengthen our position with car buyers, build true partnerships with our customers and support an industry-leading data and technology platform.
Our purpose, Driving change together.
Responsibly. is delivered through our
three strategic priorities detailed below,
alongside our commitment to always
being a responsible business.
Be the best place to buy a car
The largest and most engaged consumer audience underpins our network effect marketplace model.
Be the industry’s data & technology platform
Through a combination of our unique data set, scaleable technology and wide-ranging partnerships, we are uniquely placed to be the data and technology platform for UK automotive.
Be the enabler for all retailers to sell online
We are building products and services to enable consumers to do more
of the vehicle buying journey online.
A key part of our purpose is
'responsibly', wherein we
commit to doing the right thing.
Our teams are passionate about
this and it infuses our culture.
Minimise our impact on the environment, thereby protecting our business from the impact of climate change.
Drive change across our own operations and supply chain, but also use our capabilities and voice to influence the automotive industry to support urgent action to tackle climate change.
Our people and communities
Build diverse teams and an inclusive culture.
Maintain high levels of employee engagement, supporting positive health and wellbeing.
Partner with charities, community groups and industry bodies to make a difference to the communities where we work and live.
Our governance and compliance
Uphold the values of good corporate governance and risk management and consider the needs of all our stakeholders in our strategic decision-making.
Comply with our legal and regulatory obligations and behave ethically and with integrity at all times.
Maintain a trusted marketplace for our customers and consumers to find, buy and sell vehicles.
RELEVANT STRATEGIC PILLARS
– Our people
– Partners & suppliers
– The community & the environment
RELEVANT STRATEGIC PILLARS
– Our people
– Partners & suppliers
By understanding our stakeholders' diverse needs, we factor into boardroom discussions the potential impact our decisions could have on them.
As inflation began to rise and the cost of living crisis began to impact daily life, the Board considered the impact on stakeholders in response to growing financial concerns.
Given the significant shift in the macro-economic backdrop at the start of our financial year, with rising inflation and weaker consumer confidence, the Board devoted significant time to reviewing the impact on the business and each stakeholder group. This included our product and pricing strategy; the management of our own cost base; the impact on employees (particularly lower paid employees); the implications for customers, consumers and suppliers; as well as considering any impacts on the wider community and the environment.
The Board noted that the increase in the cost of living and inflation pressure would impact all employees, in particular those on lower salaries. Allowance was made for this in the annual pay review, which weighted increases towards employees on lower incomes. In addition, a one-off payment of £700 per employee was made (excluding the OLT and the Board) in December 2022.
Webzone Limited, which trades in the Republic of Ireland under the Carzone brand, was sold to Mediahuis Ireland for consideration of €30 million.
Webzone Limited is the second largest automotive marketplace for retailers and consumers in Ireland and is headquartered in Dublin. For the year ended 31 March 2022, Webzone Limited contributed total revenue of £4.9m (which included £4.1 million of retailer revenue) and operating profit of £1.3 million to Auto Trader’s Group results. It represented 4% of the Company’s average retailer forecourts and 4% of its full-time equivalent employees.
Webzone Limited had been part of the Auto Trader Group for almost 20 years, and whilst this would represent a significant change for employees and customers, the Board agreed that the disposal was likely to promote the success of the Company for the benefit of its members, and would enable Auto Trader to focus fully on the opportunities in the UK automotive market.