Crawford goes into red


The south Dublin Ford dealer Crawford's, one of the oldest car sellers in the State, went into the red last year with pre-tax losses of €380,509 on sales of almost €12 million, according to its latest accounts.

The company, which has prominent outlets in Sandymount and Dún Laoghaire, was acquired in late 2002 by Winfield Motors of Rathmines. Its losses mirror the poor performance last year in the overall Irish market of the Ford marque.

"It was a difficult year and margins were tighter," said Winfield director Séamus Byrne of Crawford's performance.

He declined to say whether the accounts just filed for WB Crawford (Dublin) Ltd, based in Sandymount, reflected trading in both the Sandymount and Dún Laoghaire outlets or in only one of them.

However, filings for related companies indicate that they are not trading or that they have only very small operations.

The figures show that sales at WB Crawford (Dublin) Ltd grew to €11.83 million in 2004 from €10.84 million a year earlier. The company made a pretax profit of €212,656 in 2003, after restructuring and redundancy costs of €32,602.

The accounts also indicate that Mr Byrne and the company's other director, Martin Mannion, shared remuneration of €96,719 during 2004.

WB Crawford (Dublin) Ltd had €577,360 in cash at the end of the year, down from €962,430. The value of its stocks at the end of the year was €2.1 million, including cars worth €1.98 million, up from €1.85 million at the end of 2003.

Accumulated losses of €1.79 million were carried forward into 2005 and €4.04 million was owed to a parent company, Curdworth Ltd. Curdworth's registered office is at Maxwell Road, Rathmines, the same location as Winfield Motors.

Its accounts for 2004 have not yet been filed.

The original Crawford's outlet was established at Dawson Street in 1908 by William Booth Crawford. The Dún Laoghaire outlet opened in 1969 and the Sandymount outlet opened in the early 1970s.

The company - which previously sold the Austin, Jaguar, Morris, Fiat, Opel, Peugeot and Honda marques, among others - became a Ford dealer after the Winfield takeover.

Figures published by the Society of the Irish Motor Industry show that new Ford sales in the overall Irish market declined last year to 16,793 from 17,728.

The marque's market share fell to 11.01 per cent in 2004 from 12.2 per cent in 2003.

This was in spite of a 6 per cent increase in car sales generally last year. Some 16,899 new Fords were sold in the first six months of this year, representing a market share of 12.32 per cent.