The new owner of south coast Dealer Pentagon Commercials has expressed his delight at adding sales of Mercedes-Benz Trucks and Mercedes-Benz Vans to his company’s fast-growing portfolio.
Marshall Motor Holdings (MMH) Chief Executive Daksh Gupta also pledged his backing for the Dealer’s plans to develop a bigger, truck-focused dealership on Southampton’s Nursling Industrial Estate, and to open a dedicated, van sales and service centre – complete with retail showroom – elsewhere in the city.
MMH completed the £107-million acquisition in May of Pentagon’s former parent, the multi-franchise Ridgeway Group. The deal was the biggest in the automotive sector for 10 years, as Ridgeway’s 30 dealerships turned-over £722.6 million in 2015.
The Pentagon Commercials team has been led since 2009 by Dealer Principal Gary Brown, who previously spent five years in senior Dealer management roles with Mercedes-Benz UK.
Mr Gupta paid an early visit to Pentagon’s headquarters in Fareham, where he held talks with Gary and met colleagues from across the company – in addition to its Southampton operation, the Dealer has other branches in Andover and Poole.
Speaking at the Milton Keynes Head Office of Mercedes-Benz UK, Mr Gupta confirmed: “As a business which is best-known as a car and light commercial vehicle retailer, we are particularly excited to be extending our portfolio by adding sales of Mercedes-Benz Trucks.
“Like Mercedes-Benz Vans, it’s a great brand with brilliant products, which offer the combination of highly competitive whole life operating costs, all-important driver appeal and fast, efficient back-up that customers are looking for.”
He continued: “A truck is a business purchase rather than a discretionary one, and requires a high degree of after sales support. This is an area we have identified as offering significant potential for growth at Pentagon.”
MMH was already servicing Mercedes-Benz trucks and Mercedes-Benz vans, following its purchase of the London-based SG Smith Group in 2015.
Meanwhile, Gary Brown has restructured Pentagon Commercials’ Van Sales and After Sales management teams, to ensure the Dealer is best placed to exploit future opportunities under its new owner.
Group Operations Manager Michael Gunner has taken on the additional role of Group Van Sales Manager, with Kevin Downham becoming Fleet Van Sales Manager.
Michael, who joined Pentagon in 2004 as Group Parts Manager, said: “I was keen to develop my own career by gaining more sales experience. The Mercedes-Benz Vans range is widely recognised as the finest on the market and I have inherited a first-class team.”
Pentagon has responded to the manufacturer’s Customer Dedication commitment by restructuring its After Sales management team too. Mark Derrick and Angela Soffe have been appointed to the new positions of Group After Sales Manager for Trucks and Vans respectively. Mark is also responsible for the company’s Fareham and Andover sites, Angela for Poole and Nursling.
At the heart of the Mercedes-Benz approach is the recognition that while a significant number of operators run both product lines, the overwhelming majority of customers for trucks and vans have very different expectations and requirements of their vehicle supplier.
“Customer Dedication is all about meeting those different needs,” explained Michael. “Mark and Angela are both highly experienced professionals, and in their new roles will give us the product-specific focus we need to support the manufacturer’s strategy.”
Mark, who joined Pentagon as an apprentice technician in 1988 and served most recently as Group After Sales Manager, says: “We are above national average on all of the key performance indicators measured by Mercedes-Benz Trucks but there’s still plenty of scope for improvement.”
Former Group Warranty and R&M Manager Angela adds: “My focus will be on maximising growth by enhancing our customer-focused strategy to build lasting relationships and deliver a high level of satisfaction.”
Pentagon has just won planning permission for its long-anticipated new dealership on the Nursling Industrial Estate in Southampton. Having outgrown its current premises, the Dealer has acquired a two-acre site nearby, which offers significant scope for expansion. The proposed development will include a seven-bay workshop with Authorised Testing Facility lane for truck MoTs. Complementary services will include tachograph fitment and calibration, and steam cleaning.
The Dealer is also actively seeking to acquire a high-visibility site in the city, on which to develop its new retail van sales and service centre.