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Face to face: Peoples Ford

Jeremy Bennett, AM editor: Peoples is very much your business, since you started it in 1983. What is the management structure you have around you?

Brian Gilda: We have two large trading companies. One is Liverpool, with three sites, at Bootle, Speke and Prescot, under a senior manager. The second is Scotland, with Edinburgh, Falkirk and Livingston under another senior manager.

We have five senior directors; myself, Stuart Ramsey, my finance director, Nicola, my daughter who’s a graduate and runs HR, and the two seniors.

The management structure is very flat, so there’s nothing that comes between the operations and myself.

JB: There are six dealerships in your business?

BG: There are subsidiaries, Peoples Liverpool and Peoples Edinburgh, and they’re managed by Peoples Limited which is really a holding company. It doesn’t have any other material benefit.

JB: If you had 30 seconds to explain what you do that works and maybe is different to others that came to Liverpool and failed or are struggling in similar conurbations, what do you think it would be?

BG: I think it would be leadership. You’ve got to have the leadership to be able to understand the market you’re in. You’ve got to have quality individuals who are capable of understanding that and get on with the job.

Some say that if you’ve got manufacturers threatening to drop dead in front of you it doesn’t matter how good you are.

So, you’ve got to pick a manufacturer who’s capable and in this fast churning world, Ford was always my choice.

We’ve had other franchises. I chose to only commit to Ford because I felt reasonably sure that the Ford family would not put the business into Chapter 11 bankruptcy, but work hard to sort themselves out and carry on.

Alan Mulally (Ford president and CEO) has done a spectacular job. I know dealers who would have said the right thing to do is to go multi-franchise, but I believe that was completely and utterly, at that time, the wrong thing to do.

JB: Why is it? Because your fortunes are tied, aren’t they? Do you feel that with Ford there are going to be the highs and the lows, but it will survive?

BG: It was partially that. I felt that they would have the potential to survive whereas other manufacturers would get themselves into a terrible knot, and have dealers go through purgatory. And I may be overly loyal, but in the fullness of time Ford would deliver results for Peoples.

JB: In a multi-franchise set-up you are faced with each manufacturer expecting the same or majority share of voice in your business…

BG: In a multi-franchise world, say with four or five different franchise managers working in the same company, your credibility is stretched. And how easy is it to find the quality?

My senior sales manager has worked for me for a bunch of years, he’s a graduate, we put him through university, he’s got a degree in marketing. Could I find another like him? I just chose not to have to try.
 



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  • Nick - 18/04/2015 08:49

    After buying a ford transit van from from peoples in Edinburgh I had problems with the driver side door after a 6 week wait I dropped it of to the Edinburgh branch on the monday morning & was told it would take about 3 days . On the Wednesday I called the Edinburgh branch & was told it was being repaired in Falkirk , I then called Falkirk who then told me they had just started work on it that morning & it would be the end of the week I called on Friday & the Falkirk branch said the van was ready but they wouldn't drop it of to edinburgh & after I complained I was given the managers name in Edinburgh (mark Tully) who then proceeded to blame Falkirk & there was nothing he could do so I had to travel to Falkirk from Edinburgh my self As a small business working from the back of my van I can not do with out my van for a week I'm very disappointed in the lack of professionalism & the lack of after care . When I originally was looking at transits at peoples they pulled out all the stops even shipping in a van of the colour of my choice but now that I've payed the best part of £20,000 they're not interested I would not recommend these dealerships to anyone

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  • Nick - 18/04/2015 08:49

    After buying a ford transit van from from peoples in Edinburgh I had problems with the driver side door after a 6 week wait I dropped it of to the Edinburgh branch on the monday morning & was told it would take about 3 days . On the Wednesday I called the Edinburgh branch & was told it was being repaired in Falkirk , I then called Falkirk who then told me they had just started work on it that morning & it would be the end of the week I called on Friday & the Falkirk branch said the van was ready but they wouldn't drop it of to edinburgh & after I complained I was given the managers name in Edinburgh (mark Tully) who then proceeded to blame Falkirk & there was nothing he could do so I had to travel to Falkirk from Edinburgh my self As a small business working from the back of my van I can not do with out my van for a week I'm very disappointed in the lack of professionalism & the lack of after care . When I originally was looking at transits at peoples they pulled out all the stops even shipping in a van of the colour of my choice but now that I've payed the best part of £20,000 they're not interested I would not recommend these dealerships to anyone

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