Auto Retail Live – 2021, the year ahead

  23 November 2020




FIRST BROADCAST: 2pm, 10 December 2020

2020 has been one hell of a year, but now it’s time to plan for 2021 with our next Auto Retail Live webinar.

Register to join us HERE

Even before Covid-19, 2021 was always going to be a turbulent year. The UK’s separation from the EU starts in January. Emissions targets get tougher in 2021. And the number of new-start tech firms trying to reinvent auto retail seems to be on an exponential growth trajectory.

In our final Auto Retail Live of 2020 we had Robert Forrester, CEO of Vertu Motors, Jonathan Gravell, managing director of Gravells Motors, Paul Ward director of Shelbourne Motors and Darren Preddy, director of dealer sales of Rapid RTC all available online to discuss these topics, answer your questions and help you get ready for 2021.

Register to join us HERE

The focus for this webinar was on new and used car sales, how to hit your targets while dealing with a changing landscape. Questions for discussion include:

  • How have the 2020 lockdowns changed consumer behaviour? What more can dealerships be doing?
  • What should retailers do about Brexit?
  • Do retailers need to plan for the new petrol and diesel car ban now?
  • Will the new-start tech firms reinventing auto retail, such as Cinch and Cazoo, be successful?
  • Why haven’t we seen a shift to agency agreements yet?

REGISTER NOW and join us now for our look at 2021. It’s 40 minutes that will give you helpful advice and expert opinion on the year ahead – from some of the most successful operators in the auto retail industry.

This episode of Auto Retail Live is brought to you in partnership with Rapid RTC.



Robert Forrester, CEO, Vertu Motors Robert Forrester

Robert was a director of Reg Vardy plc between 2001 and 2006 where he held the roles of finance director and managing director. Robert qualified as a chartered accountant with Arthur Andersen. He was also a member of the Economic Growth Board of the Confederation of British Industry. Robert founded Vertu Motors in 2006.


Jonathan Gravell, managing director, Gravells Motors Jonathan Gravell

After university and then almost 10 years gaining management experience at companies such as Accenture, RSA and Qinetiq, Jonathan Gravell returned to the family business in 2006. Gravells, formed in 1932, started with Renault in 1954, added Kia in 2007 and now has six Kia locations; it added Seat in 2019. Jonathan’s initial focus was business transformation for the first  few years to improve daily operations before expanding with Kia dealerships across West and South Wales. Gravells employs 130 people with average service length of 15 years, strong team culture and service focus. People development and opportunity is key to the group’s success and retention.


Paul Ward, director, Shelbourne Motors Paul Ward

Paul Ward is the sales director of Shelbourne Motors, the family run business, that was established in 1973 by Paul’s father Fred Ward.  The group is now actively run by Paul together with siblings Richard and Caroline. The group represents five brands across two multi-franchise locations as well as two used sites, car and van rental, Fleet4you leasing company and a group bodyshop. Shelbourne Motors is one of Northern Ireland’s fastest growing and longest established motor retailers. Paul has worked for more than 30 years in various roles within the business starting as an apprentice technician at aged 16 and working up through the business to becoming sales director in 2005.


Darren Preddy, dealer sales director, Rapid RTC Darren Preddy

Darren Preddy is an expert in digital communications and lead management. With over 30 years of experience in the UK automotive industry, he has developed an impressive portfolio, working at large dealer groups and brands in the UK, he also set up his own online car business in 2006 and ran this successfully for 8 years. Darren is now working with a number of the major dealer groups such as Dick Lovett, Brayley’s, Birchwood, JCB, Vantage and Snows, Hatfields and Mon Motors. RAPID RTC, a multinational technology company that provides the automotive retailing industry with intuitive communication platforms for the digital space – solutions that connect both information and online shoppers back to the retailer to help retailers address emerging and changing online shopping behavior. RAPID RTC was founded in 1996, headquartered in Winnipeg, Canada with offices in Toronto, Canada; London, England; and Paris, France, and is part of the DMT Group of companies.


Al Clarke, programme host, Auto Retail Network

Al has held senior executive roles with Ferrari, Maserati and the SMMT. Al started his career as a journalist and presenter with a decade working for the BBC and in commercial radio. He has a particular interest in the application of digital technology and connected car services in the automotive industry and regularly speaks at, and chairs events on, these issues.


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