Car Dealer Live

Car Dealer Live 5: Vertu Motors CEO Robert Forrester

Time 7:56 pm, March 30, 2020

Vertu Motors chief executive Robert Forrester made a forthright prediction when he was interviewed on our Car Dealer Live broadcast today.

‘I don’t think our business will ever be the same again. I think it will look quite different in short, medium and long term,’ he said in an interview with Car Dealer editor James Baggott.

‘I don’t think businesses ever go back to where they were. Our working practices, financing, the way the industry is structured is constantly evolving and this may very well speed it up. It will never ever be like it was.’


In a wide-ranging conversation, Forrester told of the extreme stresses of the current situation, and said: ‘It took us 13 years to build the business and it took us two days to close it.’

He also warned that the UK could face another lockdown towards the end of the year.

Forrester has been CEO of listed motor retail group Vertu since December 2006 and has seen a large number of changes to the automotive retail industry during his tenure at the top.


His business is best known for operating the Bristol Street Motors, Macklin Motors and Farnell dealerships and the group is the largest operator of Honda dealerships in the UK.

Last year the firm acquired VansDirect for £7.5m, and in January expanded its Yorkshire presence when it snapped up four VW dealerships from Sytner and acquired three franchises from the administrators of Leven Cars Group.

During the Car Dealer Live broadcast, he told of the ‘moral obligation’ of stepping up to be there for key worker customers.

In the interview, Forrester also chatted to us about:

    • How Vertu has dealt with the coronavirus crisis
    • The challenges it has faced and how they have overcome them
    • What there is to look forward to when this crisis is over
    • What he thinks the government can do to help businesses recover quickly 
    • What his businesses are doing to stay operational right now
    • How his business is preparing for the recovery – and crucially when he thinks it will come

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To view previous episodes of Car Dealer Live – including our interview with Marshall’s Daksh Gupta or the senior team from Mazda UK, click this link below:

More Car Dealer Live episodes

James Baggott's avatar

James is the founder and editor-in-chief of Car Dealer Magazine, and CEO of parent company Baize Group. James has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years writing about cars and the car industry.



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