You have to work hard to make money out of selling cars. Volume can be high but profit margins are often wafer-thin. One man who seems to have mastered the trick better than most is Tony Bramall, who owns 51 per cent of Harrogate-based car dealership holding company Bramall & Jones. Bramall has been in the retail business for over 40 years, building up CD Bramall, which was sold to Avis in 1987 for £94m, then buying three Audi dealerships from Avis and relaunching CD Bramall, which he built up to become the second largest car dealership in the UK, with sales of £1.8bn. He sold CD Bramall to Pendragon for £230m in 2004. So it’s no surprise that Bramall & Jones, Bramall’s most recent retail firm, saw healthy sales of £149m last year, with a respectable pre-tax profit of £5.1m. Bramall has relinquished day-to-day control of Bramall & Jones but, at 73, still takes an active interest in the company’s affairs.
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