INGRAM Motoring Group has seen a 1,500% surge in annual profits buoyed by the continuing strong car market and capital investments made in recent years beginning to bear fruit.
The family-owned group has further underlined its confidence in the market by investing a six-figure sum in opening a new Seat dealership in Kilmarnock, which it is anticipated will eventually employ 13 people.
Annual accounts recently filed at Companies House show the Ayrshire business grew its turnover by more than 25 per cent from £25.6 million to more than £32m in 2013. While the cost of sales and administrative expenses also ticked upwards, pre-tax profits increased from £23,975 to more than £384,000.
Managing director Malcolm Ingram pointed out the business had a lower capital spend during the year, £132,000 compared to £575,000, with the investment made in relocating the bodyshop and repair service in 2012 also coming through in the latest financial results.
Mr Ingram said: "The economy was definitely better while affordability of new cars is strong and used car values are strong. When you add those things together it does give a more buoyant market and that is really what is pushing it."
Staff costs in the year increased from £2.1m to £2.4m as average employee numbers increased from 73 to 83.
Directors' remuneration edged upwards from £99,230 to £105,360.
The accounts show the company's net debt moving from £2.3m to £3.3m.
Mr Ingram said the company remains well supported by Volkswagen Bank and Royal Bank of Scotland. It had taken some additional borrowing from RBS to fund the purchase and revamp of the site in Kilmarnock.
The investment there is expected to run well into six figures but Mr Ingram said early trading signs had been positive.
He said: "It is a good brand with good products. If you add those factors together and we do our jobs properly then we should do ok."
As well as the trading potential, Mr Ingram also sees the investment as a key strategic move to protect the company's market share.
He said: "I always had a strong desire to open a branch in Kilmarnock. As far as Ayrshire goes, it is a real strategic point that separates Ayrshire from Glasgow. I treat Ayrshire as our territory and we need to defend that territory.
"Glasgow is a massive market so if we can have another outpost in Kilmarnock it strengthens our position and keeps the Ingram flag flying in Ayrshire."
A revamp of the company's Ayr Volkswagen dealership is pencilled in for the fourth quarter of 2014. That will involved the main entrance being moved as well as new lighting, furniture, flooring and interactive elements being brought in.
Mr Ingram said: "We need to make sure we are ticking all the boxes for Volkswagen going forward as they dictate the concept the customer has to see. As a franchise holder we need to make sure we are up to speed and up to date.
"The showroom will look absolutely outstanding when it is done so the customer experience will be enhanced and the workplace will be enhanced. We will get the benefit from it going forward but it is expensive to kit out a car showroom."
Mr Ingram, who has run the business since 2008, said the current year has got off to a solid start. "March is a huge month for the motor trade and we obviously need to make hay while the sun shines," he said.
Ingram was founded in 1973 by the former Ayr United, Queen's Park and Nottingham Forest footballer Alex Ingram.