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Tributes paid after death of two motor retail leaders

UK motor retail executives have shared their tributes following the sad deaths of two automotive sector experts this month.

Brian Hawkins, who had a long career in senior UK roles in dealer network development with Fiat, Chevrolet, Caterham, MG Motor and most recently, with Suzuki GB until retirement in 2020, has died.

The funeral of Hawkins (pictured above while at Chevrolet UK in 2012), a fellow of the Institute of the Motor Industry, will be held on October 4 at St Peter ‘s & St Paul’s Church in Stokenchurch.

Among many tributes, Steve Prew, Suzuki's network development manager, posted on LinkedIn: "Hugely sad to advise that Brian Hawkins FIMI has passed away.

"Rest in peace Brian, you will be much missed by many."

Tony Denton, managing director of Batchelors Motor Group, shared his condolences, adding: "Brian and his encyclopaedic knowledge of UK franchising will be missed. RIP mate."

And the sudden death of Dan Kirby (pictured below), founder of Trade Price Cars in Wickford, Essex and co-founder of brokerage Octane Finance, just a month before his 38th birthday has stunned many industry colleagues.

David Bilsborough, a fellow independent used car dealer and a co-founder of the Independent Motor Dealers Association (IMDA), commented: "Dan was admired, respected and loved by all. His passing is gut wrenching. Nothing can’t be shared if we learn anything from Dan it’s that we must check in with people. I shed a tear upon hearing this sad news."

Trade Price Cars, which was applauded by Auto Trader for its high customer ratings only two months ago, brought in voluntary liquidators Paul Atkinson and Glyn Mummery from FRP Advisory in mid-September, and documents at Companies House show it owed more than £400,000 to HM Revenue & Customs. 

Kirby, who also loved motorsport and ran the Trade Price Cars Racing team in the British Touring Car Championship in 2019 and 2020, leaves a wife and two daughters. 

The BTCC said in a statement that it was deeply saddened, adding: "A hugely popular figure in the paddock, Dan will be sorely missed. The BTCC community sends condolences to Dan’s wife Beth, his two daughters, wider family, friends and colleagues."


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