Here at Car Dealer HQ we enjoy talking about the automotive industry just as much as we love writing about it.
With that in mind, we’re all delighted that our podcast series – in which leading industry lights join us to discuss the news stories of the week – has proven such a hit since it launched three years ago.
Each episode features two members of the Car Dealer team going head to head as they choose their favourite stories of the week, with a special industry guest deciding on the best one.
A whole host of topics are debated on the show, with the likes of Car Dealer’s James Baggott, James Batchelor and Jon Reay often on hand to offer a lighter take on things where needed.
But what have been the highlights this year? To mark the end of 2023 we have been taking a look back at the last 12 months and picked out a few of our favourites.
Let us know if you agree…
In March, the Podcast reached a very special milestone as we recorded our 100th episode.
To celebrate the occasion, we assembled a dream team of our very own James Baggott, James Batchelor, Rebecca Chaplin and Jon Reay.
The quartet each picked their favourite Car Dealer story of the last week before a winner was declared by esteemed colleague Ted Welford.
Among the topics up for discussion that week were Ford’s new Explorer EV, a major EU ruling on e-fuels and the performance of Pendragon in 2022.
The panel also spoke about Jason Crookes – the aftersales manager who was left a rare Honda sports car in the will of a customer.
On the lighter side of things, listeners were treated to Welford’s dulcet tones describing a ‘unique’ experience with a rather ‘exciting’ seat massager in the Genesis G90.
One of the biggest topics of discussion on the Car Dealer Podcast in 2023 has been the rapid fall in used EV prices.
Several dealers told us that they were avoiding stocking electric cars altogether as a result so when EV Experts founder Martin Miller appeared on the show, it certainly grabbed attention.
Miller, whose firm won Used EV Dealer of the Year at the 2023 Used Car Awards, gave listeners a deep dive into the special skills required to sell EVs in a challenging marketplace.
In a fascinating chat, he told hosts James Baggott and Jon Raey exactly how dealers could continue to make money from electric cars, in the face of plummeting values.
He also called on the government to do more to support the transition to eco-friendly motoring – before the 2030 ban was pushed back to 2035 just a few months later.
With the used EV market remaining as volatile as ever going into 2024, Miller’s advice remains just as relevant now as it was when the podcast first aired in May.
One of the biggest changes to the podcast this year has been the introduction of our supplementary Inspiring Leaders series.
This version of the show was designed to inspire the next generation of car dealer leaders by talking to some of the most successful people currently operating in the industry.
It has gone on to feature extended interviews with some of the industry’s biggest hitters, starting with Peter, John and David Smyth, of Swansway Motor Group.
The Smyth brothers talked about how they rose up through the ranks in the family business and why they love the car industry.
They give advice on how others can successfully rise up the ladder in a car dealership and revealed the important lessons they have learned along the way.
As well as listening to the podcast, you can also see the trio’s full chat with James Baggott on YouTube.
Our next guest on the Inspiring Leaders Podcast was none other than industry heavyweight, and Waylands Automotive CEO, John O’Hanlon.
O’Hanlon spoke about his career and how he learnt bringing great people into your business – like Daksh Gupta – is critical to success.
He explained at length about how he built car dealer group Ridgeway, and laterally Waylands, into respected and profitable businesses.
While he was at Ridgeway, O’Hanlon hired Gupta who would go on to become a great friend. Gupta eventually orchestrated the listed Marshall Motor Group business buying his former employer for £107m when he took over as CEO.
In a fascinating chat, O’Hanlon talked about how that sale came to be and ‘applauded’ Gupta for making it happen.
You can watch the whole interview here.
Despite the best efforts of those at the top, the motor trade continues to be a male dominated industry.
However, back in October the bosses of Wink Cars appeared on the podcast to explain the benefits of operating with an all-female team.
Jodie Barber and Joanna Smith set up the business following a challenging Covid-period, spotting a gap in the market for a car dealership run just by women.
Smith had worked in car sales at other dealerships for seven years previously and convinced Barber, who had been in the beauty industry, to set up shop with her.
The pair talked us through their journey so far, from selling a few cars from Smith’s driveway all the way to running a dealership which stocks up to 20 cars at a time.
The chat highlighted several important issues facing woman in the motor trade and was a fantastic listen from start to finish.
The final highlight on our list is another entry from Inspiring Leaders, when Daksh Gupta dropped by for a chat back in November.
The former Marshall Motor Group CEO explained why he couldn’t stay on at the dealer group he loved after it was taken over by Constellation.
The investment vehicle behind BCA, We Buy Any Car and Cinch snapped MMG off the stock market in a £325m deal last year and Gupta left shortly after it was agreed.
Gupta explained to the show that Marshall had been ‘his baby’ and opened up about the ‘difficult’ period around his departure.
During the 52-minute interview, Gupta talked about his growth strategy at Marshall Motor Group, his leadership lessons and career advice for those wanting to take a similar path as well as that emotional departure from the dealer group he took from a £300m turnover business to one bringing in £4bn a year.
Since appearing on the show, he has accepted a role outside the motoring industry and will be joining building merchants Huws Gray as CEO from January 2.
Watch the full chat on our YouTube channel.