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AM Awards 2021 winner: Dealer Group of the Year, Marshall Motor Group

Marshall Motor Group chief  executive Daksh Gupta (centre) collected the award from Tim Pearcey, sales director of Keyloop

A car retail group that demonstrates a conscientious approach to employee well-being and expanding its scale in the sector, Marshall Motor Group is the AM Awards 2021’s Dealer Group of the Year.

Marshall impressed the awards judges through its communication with staff and its decisive policy choices during the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic while leveraging its PLC status to deliver a positive view of the sector.

After taking the decision to close dealerships ahead of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s 2020 announcement of the UK’s first national lockdown, Marshall acted fast to guarantee employees payment of 90% of their normal wage.

Quickly identifying uncertainty among its workforce, chief executive Daksh Gupta wasted no time in beginning a series of video updates – featuring staff shout-outs as well as company news – that would number more than 50 by May 2020 and continue to this day.

Later, the group would repay £4 million in Government support and, as senior management declined their 2020 bonuses, issue a backdated pay review for more than 4,000 staff along with a “loyalty bonus”.

It would also maintain staff and customer health and safety as a key priority by vocally maintaining all its COVID-19 mitigation measures as the need for social distancing and masks were removed by the UK Government in July this year.

But, despite these actions, Marshall has remained profitable and continues to grow.

In 2020 a 5.3% revenue decline came alongside pre-tax profits up 3.7% at £20.4 million.

And in June this year Gupta said that the business had benefitted from the positivity of its staff, describing them as “revved-up” by the buoyant market following a trading update which forecasted profits ahead of expectations.

Within a matter of weeks, another upgrade to its forecast would predict a full-year underlying profit before tax not less than £40m.

That news followed the May acquisition of Heritage Automotive’s Cheltenham and Gloucester Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) dealership and, in July, of Renault Retail Group’s Nissan Leicester dealership.

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