Reopened Marshall Motor Group dealers are safer than supermarkets, says director

Time 1 year ago

Marshall Motor Group’s executive team were keen to open the doors of dealerships as soon as possible, knowing they could supply a safe environment reasonably easily.

During today’s Car Dealer Live James Baggott asked whether it was painful not being able to open showrooms when supermarkets were still allowed to operate.

Commercial director Jon Head was quick to answer: ‘I think we can actually do a better job than supermarkets. We’ve got two supermarkets near where I am in Hook and neither are as safe as us.’

With dealerships opening on Monday, June 1, director of operations Jamie Crowther talked about the response so far. Although he was unable to give details he said: ‘It’s been good. We can’t say too much but it’s been positive so far.’

Head added: ‘It’s been different. We didn’t get any time off during the period, in fact we probably worked harder than ever, so coming back into the dealership environment is different because it’s a new norm.

‘The structure of the business now, how it’s laid out, is completely different. It’s a different feel. What is pleasing is how the staff are approaching it. The staff we’ve got here are energised, are genuinely pleased to be back at work.’

Baggott also asked whether it was a surprise how quickly so many dealerships could be switched off and Head commented that they were prepared to shut ‘although they didn’t know when the exact date would be’.

When it came to restarting, though, the commercial director said: ‘It was a challenge to roll this out across 130 units or so. When we put the plan together we were lucky that we were getting action plans from some of the fantastic manufacturers we represent. A lot of it was very similar. We then looked at what we could do differently and put it into a logical plan.’

Crowther explained that they had done a full risk assessment of all the sites, and said: ‘We then went through a massive organisation of what all the sites would look like when they got back. Clearly, the biggest thing to get in order was the social distancing and keeping colleagues safe.

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‘I think one of the biggest challenges, and it’s one John has taken on personally, is getting all of the PPE. We had to do it, we had to look at the resourcing of that, the cost of it and making sure we’ve got all the right stuff for the sites to have them setup in time.’

See the broadcast in full by clicking on the image at the top of this story.

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Rebecca Chaplin's avatar

Rebecca has been a motoring and business journalist since 2014, previously writing and presenting for titles such as the Press Association, Auto Express and Car Buyer. She has worked in many roles for Car Dealer Magazine’s publisher Blackball Media including head of editorial.

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