The Murray Group’s Newton Abbot dealership has ranked in the top 25 VW UK retailers for the past 15 years, and the group has now been recognised as one of the brand’s best.
Murray Group was recently recognised as a top dealer group in the One Business Scorecard for the Volkswagen network. The One Business Scorecard measures the performance of Volkswagen retailers across a variety of metrics in aftersales and new and used car sales.
The group, ranked 162 in the Motor Trader Top 200 Dealer Groups with annual turnover of £59.9m, also made an acquisition in late 2021, with its purchase of Rogers of Plymouth, adding Hyundai, Kia, MG, SsangYong to the brands it represents.
Following the group’s recent success, Motor Trader spoke with Kevin Murray, managing director at Murray Group to find out how it has maintained consistent performance and its plans going forward.
On the recent award, Murray said: “The awards are a celebration of a balanced scorecard across all areas of business, over time. Customer feedback on their experience with a retailer across their buying journey and the manufacturer awards scores based on this valuable feedback.
“Volkswagen have exceptionally high standards, which makes this achievement even more rewarding, and we have received amazing support from the brand throughout our journey to get to this point.
“Our focus has always been on providing high levels of customer service at every point, so it is the consistent maintenance of this quality of service that has led to us being recognised as outstanding within the brand. We believe this stands us in good stead in the future both with VW and for our new brands’ equivalent of the scorecard too.”
The Newton Abbot dealership has ranked in the top 25 retailers for the past 15 years – the lifetime of the awards – and its Plymouth site has also made it into the top 10, finishing seventh last year. Murray added: “We are the only retailer who has done so, and as such, we are extremely proud of this achievement. However, this is the first year we have been recognised as Retailer Group of the Year and we could not be more thrilled. It is hugely important. It is a combination of our people, business culture and the sought-after brands that we work with that has contributed to our success. Our colleagues are completely focused on the job in hand and have autonomy to make decisions. This allows them to build strong, lasting relationships with our customers, who value this personal ‘Murray Experience’.”
A low staff turnover can often amount to a consistent record, and Murray feels this has contributed to the group’s success. He said: “This is certainly true of the Murray Group. As mentioned, our colleagues are pivotal in the success of our business. We work hard to recruit and retain people who are perfectly suited to their role, offering fantastic professional development opportunities.
“When we say we are a family, we really mean it. We are small enough to know each other well and cooperate with one another to provide the highest levels of customer service. Over the past 15 years, our team has gone from strength to strength with many of our colleagues reaching 15 years or more of service. We are an active part of our local community, working on projects with schools and colleges to educate young people about the industry. These students may well be the future talent of Murray Group. We recruit a diverse workforce that reflects society and while this is an ongoing endeavour, in terms of gender 40% of our workforce identify as female, meaning we are well above the industry average there. It is this dynamic and progressive approach to the creation of our team that makes Murray Group a desirable place to work, and happy colleagues mean happy customers.”
Taking on the challenge
“There is no denying that the past few years have been challenging for everyone in the industry,” said Murray when asked how the start of 2022 compared with the previous year. He added: “The aftereffects of the pandemic, rise in the cost of living and issues with supplies of component parts mean that Q1 was always going to be a challenge. However, we are pleased to have finished it strongly, in no small part owing to the commitment of our team and loyalty of our customers. We champion a culture of positivity, and the overriding can do attitude the prevails within the group means that we thrive in challenging circumstances. As Q2 gets underway, we will continue to work proactively to tackle any challenges, but we are hopeful for the coming year.”
When it comes to the biggest challenges going forward, the Murray Group, like many, is concerned about extended delivery times and stock shortages, but looks to keep the customers in the loop. Murray said: “Extended delivery times and stock shortages are, again, an industry wide issue. As a business, we are agile, which allows us to make decisions quickly to adjust to the constantly changing market. We are focused on being as transparent as possible with our customers, managing expectations and offering solutions and alternatives where possible.”
The Volkswagen range now has seven all electric models, backed up by five hybrids. With this increasing EV portfolio, how does Murray feel the dealerships have adapted? He said: “With the government pledging to cease production of all ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) vehicles by 2030, getting the EV message out there has never been more important. We have found that our customers are very aware of the environmental and cost implications of electrification so for, us education has really been about debunking myths around things like range anxiety and showcasing just how capable new EV models are. Our team are extremely knowledgeable and happy to share this with customers and we try to focus on producing informative content that reflects our customers’ questions.”
But its not just Volkswagen that the Group works with. It has added Hyundai, Kia, MG, SsangYong to its portfolio through acquisition in late 2021. On this, Murray said: “We have always had a desire to work with the brands represented by Rodgers of Plymouth, so this was a huge factor in our decision-making process. KIA and Hyundai are amongst the brands that are driving innovation in the industry and are quite literally changing the landscape of EVs. MG are the fastest growing brand in the UK Market, especially when it comes to their electric offerings. All three brands are going from strength to strength – so, the opportunity to work with them is incredibly exciting. Alongside this, Rodgers of Plymouth are an established business with family values and community spirit at their core – an ethos that very much fits with ours. The Rodgers of Plymouth name is well respected locally and they have been trading for some 90 years. We are thrilled to welcome them to the Murray Family.”
And are more acquisitions on the horizon? Murray added: “Yes, we may consider further acquisition if the opportunity arises. However, we are not interested in expanding just for the sake of it – the brand and fit would have to be right, and we would have to be sure that we could really make a difference to the brand and retailer in any future acquisitions.”
Finally, on what is to come, Murray was confident in the Group’s ability to meet any future challenges. He concluded: “2022 certainly will not be without its challenges but we’ve never been ones the shy away from a challenge. The commitment and versatility of our team, coupled with the amazingly loyal customer base, mean that we are confident that we have another fantastic year ahead.”