Car trade strategy

The strategic objective for the car trade division is to outgrow the market and improve profitability. The coronavirus epidemic began to affect our operations significantly from mid-March 2020 onwards. Demand for the car trade has declined significantly and new car sales and orders are clearly below normal levels.

We continue the determined execution of our growth strategy, but for now our focus is on managing the crisis brought on by the coronavirus epidemic. Information on the impacts of the epidemic on Kesko’s businesses can be found under the Operating environment section.

 

Our strategic objectives: 

STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE

WHAT WE ARE DOING

Growing our business in collaboration with the Volkswagen Group

 

  • Strengthening the market position of Volkswagen passenger and commercial vehicles, Audi, SEAT, CUPRA, Porsche, Bentley and MAN in Finland
  • Growing the range of all-electric cars, rechargeable hybrids, mild hybrids and gas cars
  • Growing and developing our own dealer network

Expanding our own service business

  • Further developing our private and corporate leasing services
  • Expanding the K Charge network
  • Introducing new mobility services to our service selection

The best customer experience in all channels 

  • Utilising K Group’s customer data
  • Developing digital services and increasing offering

Business environment

  • Utilisation of customer data
  • Hybrid cars
  • All-electric cars
  • Connectivity and digitalisation
  • Mobility services

 

Strategy review published in 2019 Annual Report: 

The market grew stronger towards the end of the year

In 2019, K-Auto's market share in Finland was 16.9% for passenger cars and vans, down due to availability issues in H1/2019. The market share for trucks (over 6 t) was 3.1%. The market for the car trade continued to be challenging, but strengthened towards the end of the year. Demand for all-electric cars and rechargeable hybrids grew, with e.g. pre-orders for the SEAT Mii electric breaking records. Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles was the second most registered brand of vans in Finland. Uncertainties regarding car taxation and debate over motive power choices caused disruptions in the consumer market. Moreover, the implementation of the new WLTP emissions testing in autumn 2018 continued to impact the sales of Audi and Porsche in particular in the first half of 2019. New car sales in Finland were also impacted by the significant rise in imports of used cars.

Bentley Suomi, operated by K-Auto's retail company K-Caara, began as the official importer for Bentley Motors in Finland. The sales, servicing and after-sales services are located in a new facility in Espoo.

Acquisitions support profitable growth

K-Auto's retail company K-Caara carried out three significant acquisitions in 2019 to strengthen our dealer network. In the spring, we completed the acquisitions of car trade businesses from Huittisten Laatuauto and LänsiAuto, and in the summer, the acquisition of Volkswagen, Audi and SEAT businesses from Laakkonen Group. The integration of the operations has proceeded well, supporting our profitable growth.

Expansion of K Charge network continued, nearly 400 charging points in use

K Group wants to be a pioneer in mobility, and make sustainable choices easier for its customers also when it comes to electric vehicles. We continued to build the K Charge electric car charging network launched in 2018, and by the end of 2019, the network comprised nearly 270 basic charging points and over 100 fast charging points at nearly 80 K-store locations. The K Charge network hosts some 40% of all public fast charging points in Finland. All K Charge electricity is renewable Finnish wind power, and has powered journeys of approximately 5 million kilometres in total.

We expanded our service offering

In addition to traditional car sales and servicing operations, we continued to strengthen our service business, introducing private leasing to our offering. We now offer leasing services to both private customers and businesses. We will also continue to evaluate the car-sharing market and its service potential based on an ongoing pilot. The changes in the automotive sector and new forms of mobility necessitate the constant development of operating models, services and technologies.

K Group's car trade division aims to return its sales and profitability to a good level and to further improve them. Due to the challenging market situation, we had to adjust our costs and conduct related codetermination negotiations with personnel in autumn 2019. We also made some changes to our organisation to be better able to respond to the situation following the acquisitions. Thanks to these efficiency improvement measures, an updated range and improved availability, we have strong faith in our ability to achieve the goals.

In 2019, there were 114,199 first registrations of passenger cars, 14,702 first registrations of vans and 4,020 first registrations of trucks in Finland. The passenger car market declined by 5.2% and the market for vans declined by 5.2% compared to the year before, while the market for trucks grew by 3.1%. The total number of first registrations of passenger cars and vans imported by K-Auto was 21,505 (excluding motorhomes). The number of MAN trucks registered was 100.

MARKET SHARES

Car trade, Finland

  • K-Auto's market share 16.9% (Volkswagen, Audi, SEAT, CUPRA, Porsche and Bentley passenger cars and Volkswagen vans combined, excluding motorhomes)
  • Volkswagen passenger cars 10.5%
  • Audi 3.2%
  • SEAT 2.2%
  • Porsche 0.2%
  • Volkswagen vans 23.0%
  • MAN trucks 3.1% (over 6t)
  Number of stores Sales (pro forma) (VAT 0%),
€ million
Retail sales and number of stores 2019 2018 2019 Change, %
K-Caara 42 13 616.0 -18.2
K-Auto, import  -  - 268.0 8.3
AutoCarrera 3 3 48.0 -23.1
Car trade, total 45 16 932.0 -12.3
 
Key figures 2019 2018
Net sales, € million   863.9 893.1
Operating profit, comparable, € million     26.8 35.2
Operating margin, comparable   3.1 3.9
Return on capital employed, comparable, %, rolling 12 months   9.5 20.8
Capital expenditure, € million   131.3 49.0
Personnel, average   1,179 835
 
Properties 2019 2018
Owned properties, capital, € million   53 50
Owned properties, area, 1,000 m²   47 47
Leased properties, lease liabilities, € million    72 6
Leased properties, area, 1,000 m²   98 26
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