Shares in motor retailers have raced ahead over the past year on expectations that improving consumer confidence would continue to drive sales of new and used cars. With particularly strong demand for 14-plate vehicles in March, those expectations have proved to be correct so far. But while car dealers have been an ideal play on economic recovery, a number of them still flag as reasonably valued, quality stocks with robust momentum behind them. To get an idea about which might be better positioned to keep outperforming, we lined them up against Stockopedia’s Stock Comparison tool.

Sales of new vehicles rose by by 8.2% to 176,820 in April, representing the 26th consecutive month of growth. According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), that followed a ‘surprisingly strong’ 17.7% rise in March when the new 14-plate was issued (see their chart below). Unsurprisingly, the market has anticipated much of this this growth by driving up the share prices of many quoted motor retailers. To get an idea about which (if any) are now overstretched or poised to move ahead, the Stock Comparison rates each against a host of measures, including their StockRanks, which are a blended range of metrics that analyse Quality, Value and Momentum.

In this case, we compared Cambria Automobiles (LON:CAMB), Caffyns (LON:CFYN), Inchcape (LON:INCH), Lookers (LON:LOOK), Pendragon (LON:PDG) and Vertu Motors (LON:VTU) - where the median share price gain has been 38% over the past year. Don’t forget that Stock Comparisons can be useful for generating ideas but should always be followed up by further research. Subscribers can see the full Stock Comparison here - and see a full list of Auto Vehicles, Parts & Service Retailers here.

Car dealers head-to-head

Based on StockRanks, FTSE SmallCap quoted Lookers takes pole position over its peers here with a rank of 99.7/100. The company stacks up better on a range of quality financial indicators and also has a momentum edge. Despite seeing a weakening in its price against the market over the past month, the…

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