The latest Your Voice feature, giving LBV members a platform for their views on the current business landscape in Leicester.
The Sturgess Motor Group has a long established history as a leading car dealer in Leicestershire, and is one of the most respected names in UK motor retailing. Chairman Mr Chris Sturgess is the 4th generation member of the family business, which was established in 1897.
How would you describe what your business does?
Our business is a franchised automotive retailer representing the brands of Hyundai, Suzuki and the recently launched EV manufacturer BYD. We deal in new and used cars, service, parts and body repairs. Our sites are located in the City of Leicester, the village of Anstey and our Head Office/logistics centre/body shop is near Broughton Astley.
What are the biggest opportunities for your business?
The biggest opportunities are growth in the new and used car market. This is something we cannot directly impact on except by being nimble enough to react to changes, both positive and negative. The move away from Internal Combustion Engine powered vehicles to EVs creates an enormous opportunity but we still have to be mindful that many people either cannot or do not want to make that jump quite yet. So we have to, and indeed continuing into the future, be able to support and transact with those people at all levels. We also have great universities that are many people’s introduction to the City & County. We need to keep those people engaged as a possible place to establish a life and working career.
What are the biggest challenges for your business?
The biggest challenges are a stagnant or declining car market. Again, this is not something we can influence but we can react to. Altering the profile of your core used car stock helps keep your business to the fore and relevant. With specific regard to EV sales, our staff have to be absolutely at the forward edge of product knowledge. EV buyers are very knowledgeable as to what car they want and have done lots of research, so we have to be able to answer their questions, and more. However, we have to be honest enough to tell them that based on what they tell us, maybe sometimes an EV is not the right car for them. It is about offering the right kind of advice. As with most businesses, recruiting for our industry is challenging but we have enjoyed success with bringing people through apprenticeships and seeing them become long established members of our team.
What would you identify as the key strengths of Leicester and Leicestershire?
I am sure I wouldn’t be the first to say location! We are in the heart of England with great links to airports, coasts, local tourism, good rail service and road networks. However, many people still have no idea where Leicester is; strange but true. Ask most people and they will probably know someone from Leicester or have visited it once or twice but are amazed when you say it’s just over one hour away from London on the train. Leicester needs to dust off its humble, inward-looking modesty and shout out more. We have a great workforce with so much experience in many areas of commerce, service industries and manufacturing. Couple that with excellent infrastructure and we can take on the best the UK has to offer. We just need make some noise about it.
What are the top three ways in which Leicester and Leicestershire can develop to support the business community?
- Dust off the aforementioned modesty and be more front footed in our championing of the city and county, at all levels.
- Encourage local businesses to contribute their collective expertise in holding Leicester up as a great place to live, work, set up a new business and thrive.
- Consider developing a ‘Leicester First’ type of business initiative that uses the best of Leicester companies to help promote the city and county as a great place to live and work.
Why is LBV important to you and your business?
I believe that all businesses should be part of some form of local business network. The ability to talk to people both within and out of your sphere of influence is absolutely vital. Sometimes running a business can be a very lonely place and frankly, none of us have all the answers but the ability to talk, compare notes, share experiences, to take and indeed offer advice is important. LBV helps to orchestrate that and it is very welcome.
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