6 ways to fix the motor trade

6 ways to fix the motor trade

At Red Marlin, we’re suckers for fly on the wall docu-soaps and Channel 4’s latest offering, The Dealership, provides some cracking TV viewing. From wet-behind-the-ears trainees, to super-slick salesman with the gift of the gab, there’s no shortage of real characters on display at the Essex used-car dealership.

While the show’s great from an entertainment perspective and has the potential to uncover a future TV star, just like Big Nev in The Call Centre, sadly it’s much more likely that it will only reinforce some of the long-held stereotypical views of the motor trade. It’s a long time since Swiss Toni was on our screens, but unfortunately the perception of the motor trade being a little bit sleazy and out to pull a fast one, still holds true for many.

However, as the final segment on Top Gear recently showed, Britain still has a fantastic and world-class motor industry. And for one, I’m proud to have worked in or with many of the innovative and exciting automotive companies featured during this fantastic and patriotic feature.

Surely this type of promotion and PR should be applauded, shared and imitated far and wide? It can only serve to inspire future talent such as engineers, designers, craftsman and many others who thankfully choose the automotive industry because they love it and want to work in it – not because they failed at selling double glazing and thought they’d “give it a go”!

So with this in mind, here are a few ideas of how the how the motor trade can start to shrug off its sheepskin coat image…

  1. Start them young: let’s get better at engaging with schools, providing a host of resources which support the curriculum across a wide range of subjects at both primary and secondary levels, so that youngsters can see that the car industry is more than standing on a factory floor or freezing forecourt.
  2. Open our doors: let’s open up the doors of our factories, design centres, distribution plants at both OEM and supplier level so that job seekers, apprentices and students can see the amazing work that goes on.
  3. Personalities shine: there are some amazing personalities and ideas in this industry including engineers, designers, marketers, test drivers and many more. Let’s get them better exposure on mainstream media so their passion can shine through and inspire others.
  4. Diversity: No, I don’t want you to all start dancing around in BGT street stylee, but let’s try and shed the image of male dominance and be inclusive of not just females but also of the other important crafts, skills and talents which the industry relies on.
  5. Not just speed: We’re not averse to the odd supercar or speed record but let’s put more effort into promoting some of the other areas we excel at such as safety or alternative fuels. These are fantastic and exciting engineering challenges where once again, we are world leaders.
  6. Say it with pride: Far too often we hear the British grumbling that we don’t make anything anymore. Rubbish! Try telling that to the factory workers just down the road in Warwickshire at Aston Martin or Jaguar Land Rover, or the F1 World Champions at Red Bull Racing over in Milton Keynes. Let’s be proud of what we’re achieving together.

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