MT Interview Steven Eagell


A whole lot is explained about the scarcity of new cars in the source chain. Hunting all over at the Steven Eagell Toyota dealership in Merton Drive, Milton Keynes, you would hardly ever know. It’s packed to the gunnels, a constant juggling act is going on to handle the flow of vehicles on the forecourt.

Steven Eagell, CEO of the eponymous team is no stranger to Motor Trader as he gained the MT Outstanding Accomplishment Award in 2019 for the fast expansion of the team. Set up in Milton Keynes in 2002, it now has 22 Toyota and 8 Lexus dealerships. It did nicely in the pandemic, turning in pre-tax revenue up 53.2% to £25.8m in 2021 on turnover up 37% to £703m, supplying it a return on product sales of 3.7%.

Eagell heads up the major Toyota dealer team and he is also chairman of the Toyota Nationwide Supplier Council, which puts the scenario for sellers. Toyota and Lexus have excellent interactions with dealers frequently, routinely topping the National Franchised Vendor Frame of mind Survey.

“We do the job incredibly closely with them. Certainly, we really don’t generally agree on every thing, but we have very good genuine open up frank discussions. And finally, we do what’s ideal for the shopper. Which is the most significant factor among us. We’re looking to do what’s best for the customers, most effective for the manufacturer and greatest for the company.”

The swift growth with the brand names has provided it a contiguous territory ranging from Kings Lynn in the north to Watford as its most southern position to Wolverhampton in the west and Ipswich in the East. Six a long time back, it took on Lexus for the to start with time and now has 8 Lexus organizations. Is there a lot variation in between retailing the two manufacturers? Did he have to up the sport when he jumped from mainstream Toyota to top quality Lexus?

“In September 2016, we acquired our initial Lexus small business in Hatfield and we have developed with the model substantially due to the fact then. We use the exact philosophy to grow Lexus as we did with Toyota. A lot of persons claimed to us at the time, you know, Lexus is quite distinct. But from my issue of see, it is all about the people today and providing fantastic consumer support. They are various brand names but there was no key alter in philosophy.”

Eagell would like to accomplish more growth with the two brand names but accepts there is a restrict. And he does not want progress for its possess sake.

“Any new organization needs to suit in geographically and strategically. We are clearly not blind to the reality that there will be a restrict. We will need to be capable to add price to the team,” he claimed.

Eagell has not dominated out using on other franchises but they would have to be of scale and they could not be authorized to dilute the function performed for the Toyota and Lexus brands. Paying out awareness to depth and doing matters continuously has meant administration remaining promoted from within just.

“I assume 99% of our senior professionals in the organization have been promoted internally,” he said. According to Eagell workers can generally be properly trained in technological concerns but mind-set is all. “You simply cannot actually educate somebody to have the appropriate mindset,” he added.

The team is carrying out some get the job done on variety. In 2021 Steven Eagell himself turned a member of the Automotive 30% Club, the voluntary community of MDs and CEOs from Uk centered automotive production, retailing and supplier firms, with the purpose of acquiring a far better gender balance inside the automotive field. It aims to fill at the very least 30% of vital leadership positions in the member organisations with gals by 2030. His membership complemented that of Toyota GB President Agustin Martin, said Automotive 30% Club CEO Julia Muir. And it is not just management but equality that spreads in the course of the business enterprise.

“We never want to just take on females just for the sake of it, to hit a variety. We want to get there by natural means. We require to entice a lot more female professionals, a entire new breed of specialists that can cope with the immediate speed of alter in know-how.” he stated.

According to Eagell, the greatest obstacle he faces is the risk of complacency with the makes.

“I imagine, without having doubt our biggest challenge is complacency. That is what I notify our fellas internally. We have relished a large amount of achievement above the yrs. It is not been quick. There have been tough times as nicely. It is really straightforward to sit again and say ‘we’ve completed a superior position here,’ we’re financially rewarding, our consumer satisfaction is good. But you can fall back again. We’ve received to consistently glimpse what we are performing and remind ourselves that we have to be on the pitch for 90 minutes and not 89 minutes. We are hunting at techniques to enhance our organization the whole time,” he stated.

The group has bounced back from successive lockdowns and taken edge of pent-up desire.

Past calendar year observed 16,356 new auto product sales, up on the 13,568 bought in 2020. The used enterprise has also grown to 15,850 from 11,894 final time and elements product sales have developed to £28.9m from £22.3m in 2020. The team amplified sales workers numbers and also its staff of sales controllers in telesales.

The enterprise has about 45,000 daily life PCP contracts and a key job is to flip these consumers into new contracts at the appropriate time. Revenue staff focus on, effectively, gross sales and are there to establish interactions with shoppers. That is what they do ideal, their speciality. The organization has also modified commission composition for personnel. In actuality, Toyota sales are operating at 33,915 in the year to April, 7% better then the similar interval in 2021. Eagell acknowledges the stock shortages but states margins are higher and the current market is not been compelled.

“We have shortages, but we have taken a optimistic attitude on it. It’s essentially labored out well for us due to the fact new car margins have enhanced considerably. I imagine that’s assisted all people,” he stated.

On the employed car entrance the team like pretty much all people has benefited from rising values more than the past 12 months, though these have levelled off now. The important was to retain prospects and deliver part exchanges even though fantastic buyer retention prices.

Eagell often returns to the expanding will need for sellers to recruit specialists, no matter if that is in electronic, internet marketing, profits or contact centre. All of these men and women know more about their specialisty than he does and that is the way it really should be.

“I assume you want to have the assurance to recruit somebody that can do a job and better than you and can teach you factors. Due to the fact if you haven’t obtained the self esteem to do that, you are by no means heading to be capable to travel the enterprise forward. We’ve created a truly fantastic senior administration workforce of outstanding and qualified experienced individuals. We’re not all the identical, we have unique skill sets.”

The group has been investing in programs. In March it declared the launch of its new, upgraded internet site, introducing a new entrance-finish research and vehicle detail page solution, with on-web site checkout performance to push ecommerce income.

250522 Motor Trader.Steven Eagle Toyota Milton Keynes.

The team has also been aiming to carbon footprint. In 2020 it overhauled recycling and waste management throughout its dealerships, appointing Enva as its solus provider. Enva has labored with the supplier team for 10 yrs, furnishing sustainable administration of tyres, oil and filters, aerosols, contaminated plastics, lead batteries, brake fluid, fuels and degreasing tools with 99% of the waste gathered getting recycled.

Aftersales is an additional critical region of advancement. Eagell is a enthusiast of the Unwind guarantee released by Toyota in 2021. This provides Toyota and Lexus proprietors 12 months/10,000 miles’ go over for their car just about every time they have it serviced at an formal Toyota or Lexus centre.

The guarantee is immediately used and there is no further expense to the consumer. This “service-activated” guarantee can proceed until the car reaches 10 several years or has protected 100,000 miles. All Toyota and Lexus designs qualify as prolonged the age and mileage conditions are achieved, which includes passenger cars and gentle business vans and decide on-ups. Toyota explained the guarantee ought to help make improvements to residuals of warranted cars and trucks and present a ‘compelling’ organization circumstance for its dealers. Basically, Toyota and Lexus are hoping that the two brand names will retain a lot more servicing do the job than they do at current.

But is it working? The team has made a £2m financial commitment in the programme and is optimistic about its long expression achievement. Eagell mentioned that client retention for the 4 to 10 12 months aged vehicle parc experienced gone up from 39% prior to Chill out to just quick of 45% for the rolling year to April.

I request Eagell about disruptors and the influence they are having on the marketplace. His view broadly is that sellers have an gain over on-line disruptors in that they have physical premises and can deal with persons confront to encounter.

“It’s a big sector and there’s usually likely to be disrupters. I feel that keeps us on our toes. we need to have to make our encounter, even additional fantastic. It’s never ever been far more significant to up our game in phrases of the customer encounter that we can offer.

“My watch is individuals nevertheless value face to experience interactions and actually obtaining somebody that they can discuss to,” he explained.

As a group with 22 Toyota dealerships and eight Lexus, Eagell has a good overview of how dealerships rate against a single yet another, based on when they were being acquired and assimilated and geographical variances. He also focuses on supplier critiques by Google. “Google is a huge target for us,” he reported.

As you would expect the group performs strongly when it arrives to inside awards. In February it scooped nine at the 2021 Toyota BRIT and Lexus Centre of Excellence Awards. The annual Toyota Most effective Retailer in City (BRIT) awards recognise the “best of the best” in the Toyota network, across a variety of types – the most prestigious of these currently being Very best Toyota Group, Finest CDA and Toyota Retailer of the 12 months.

Steven Eagell Toyota arrived out on best in all a few types, with the Aylesbury, Bedford, Luton & Milton Keynes dealerships having “Best CDA”. The Milton Keynes dealership was introduced as “Toyota Retailer of the Year”, retaining their title from very last year, with the Tamworth dealership coming runner-up.

And Steven Eagell’s Lexus franchise at the Centre of Excellence Awards, winning the Greatest Team award, with Lexus Cambridge getting Centre of the Yr and Lexus Birmingham the Worth Chain award.

Just one closing question on a matter that is preoccupying several dealers at the minute: the agency model. Has Toyota any strategies on company for its network?

“Agency is a phrase that’s used a whole lot what essentially is company? Nobody’s truly defined what company really is. With Toyota, we have always had a little bit of a hybrid model. We’ve always had lean stocking. We have a showroom stock, and we get from that showroom inventory. So, we’ve under no circumstances had the burden of wholesaling automobiles. And we have received set margins on some styles.

“They’ve bought no options for an company model. They’ve produced that clear to us. I feel it will be fascinating to see what does materialize longer phrase with agency.”


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