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Marshall Motor Group's new five-year plan is all about the customer, says CEO Daksh Gupta

Since 2008, Marshall Motor Group has changed beyond recognition – in size, brand representation and financial performance.

From being an East Anglia-centred business, with a volume brand focus at 40 centres and £250  million turnover, it is now one of only 10 UK dealer groups with turnover in excess of £1 billion; staff numbers have increased 275% and it has 70 dealerships in 17 counties , with a brand portfolio dominated by prestige or premium brands and biased towards Volkswagen Group. Over the same time period, Marshall exited 22 of its original 42 businesses.

          
  Marshall’s CEO Daksh Gupta    
 

FOCUSING ON PEOPLE

Marshall’s CEO Daksh Gupta is one of the speakers at the AM/IMI People Conference on June 12.

He will highlight the correlation between Marshall’s people-focused strategy and strong financial performance, focussing on the group’s induction programme, recruitment and appraisal processes, its leadership development and the Marshall Academy.

He will detail the importance he places on his staff in maximising the opportunities provided by the past five years of change, while ensuring Marshall improves its standing as ‘a great place to work.’

For more information on the conference, visit our conference homepage.

   
     
       

Driving this expansion was a policy of acquiring underperforming businesses, made possible in part by a recession that left many owners and managers looking for the exit signs.

While opportunities to acquire will be considered, the ‘land grab’ of the past five years is now effectively over. New challenges have to be tackled, growing pains addressed.

Through acquisitions, brand portfolio upheaval and an expansion into new parts of the country, the focus at Marshall is to build on the culture, address the negative impact underperforming businesses have had on the bottom line and then exploit their potential.

Simultaneously, the group is facing the same challenges as its peers: a buoyant market following a long-term slump and the shift online in how consumers search and shop for cars.

Phase one was 2008-2013 – tackling those challenges  listed above. From 2014 onwards is phase two, says Marshall’s chief executive, Daksh Gupta.    

“We are still in a growth mode. But are we going to grow as fast, another 400%, in five years? No,” he said. “But we are going to continue to grow. It will be with only existing partners or additional premium or specialist brands.

Phase two is making sure we maximise the profit opportunity from the business.

“2014 will be my first year with no disposals. It will also be the first year where we haven’t got a huge amount of churn in the brand portfolio and we’re concentrating on driving the business, which is the core of phase two.”

To put it into a market context, Gupta believes that, despite a more confident European market, “phenomenally cheap” low-rate PCP deals in the UK are leading consumers to understand the value of car ‘rental’ as opposed to ownership.

He believes the Society of Motor Manufacturer and Traders’ (SMMT) forecast of a 1.2% increase in new car registrations  in 2014 is conservative and that manufacturers will be pushing for more. Last year brought 2.3m registrations. Gupta believes 2014 could end with a 2.4m market.

“A stronger Europe may mean OEMs reduce the pressure on the UK, but the availability of cheap finance here will continue to power the market.”

He is ready for the expanded market to mitigate the fall in vehicle parc in the past four or five years and its negative impact on aftersales absorption. The all-dealer average is at about 53% – Marshall was at 63% at the end of December.

“If a manufacturer wants to set us a target of 1,000 cars, I want to sell 10,000 cars. Every time I sell a car, I get the PDI  (pre-delivery inspection) revenue for my service department, I get the opportunity to sell F&I and the downstream aftersales profit, too, if I sell them a service plan and I look after them properly,” Gupta said.

“When I hear people say a 2.4m-2.6m market isn’t sustainable, I disagree – as long as our behaviour towards the customer is right.”

Marshall’s order take in January was up nearly 20% on a record performance for the same month in 2013.



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Comments

  • Name Witheld - 14/04/2014 09:00

    Interesting, Daksh Gupta makes no mention of staff retention and satisfaction, having worked for this group I can honestly say that I have never worked in an organisation that has so little regard for employee wellbeing, retention and job satisfaction. Many of the employees I worked with were overworked, underpaid and felt undervalued.

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    • Empolyee - 23/04/2014 20:03

      Avoid Daksh Gupta and MMG at all costs you have been warned!

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  • Anonymous - 15/04/2014 04:28

    The reputation of this dealer group for bad service in the Cambridge area is still as bad as it ever was despite the media spin that comes from the ivory tower. Staff turnover remains high but reality is a long way off for their headline-grabbing CEO.

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  • Anonymous - 15/04/2014 15:12

    It would be interesting to see some facts and figures on staff retention and employee satisfaction, My experience leads me to believe that they would be among the worst in the industry, ** edited for legal reasons **.

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  • Anon - 14/05/2014 19:51

    This is so true the worst company in the motor trade to work for it is a joke. The worst name in the motor trade, pure greed at the top!!!!!

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  • MMG Employee - 22/05/2014 14:57

    I work at MMG and actually the comments by all you anonymous people are not factual. I truly believe it is a great place to work and I have been here 10 years so under the old regime as well as the new. I have a suspicion that the comments below were made by poor performers who couldn't cut it....can't think of any other explanation as staff retention is no worse than any other group. Sour grapes perhaps?

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    • Robert - 03/06/2014 16:28

      @MMG Employee - LOL must be the only one left or you are a family member to survive so long or you are Daksh, or did Daksh write this one him self like he fudges the staff turn over figures every year! Employer of the year nomination for motor trader, you can get any award if you know the right people!

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    • MMG Employee - 27/06/2014 16:38

      @Robert - haha, no not Daksh and not family unfortunately! Just someone who comes to work and enjoys their job, and feels valued doing a good job. I dont see any fudging of figures though. There's a lot of us left that have been here years and years - the loyalty events show that! They are brilliant and we all had a fantastic time. Dont know many other groups that do that sort of thing for their loyal employees - maybe they do - but Marshall do it really well.

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  • Anon - 30/05/2014 20:41

    Employer of the year nomination for motor trader awards is this a joke!!!!

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  • MMG Employee - 01/06/2014 13:12

    No joke....they are a fantastic company to work for and deserve to be nominated and actually deserve to win this award

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  • Anon - 04/06/2014 19:56

    I always remember the meal we would be taken out to before the employee survey was due to be done haha!!!!!

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  • ImnotBatman - 20/04/2015 07:05

    I find these negative remarks rather amusing. Made by weak minded sheep who are all too easily drawn in. I am heading back to Marshalls after spending the last 2 years working for arguably the best company out there. Stratstone. On that note if you really want to know what it's like to work for a group that really "cares" about employee interests then I suggest you email your CV to them

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  • Anon - 09/04/2018 07:27

    I was lured back for a second stint at a Marshall site in Peterborough, and found it had gone from bad to WORSE.......don't even think of going there, long hours, bad wages and rediculous staff retention problems throughout the group. Unhappy grumpy staff everywhere, was glade to 'escape' and will NEVER BE ENTICED BY LIES AND PROMISES TO GO BACK AGAIN, sorry to tell you all this buts it's all true.

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