My motoring inspiration Daksh Gupta
In this article: The CEO of the Marshall Motor Group explains how he went from washing cars to running more than 100 dealerships
How did you get into the motor industry?
I was studying computer science at Oxford Brookes University when I got my first job in a dealership. I wanted to earn some extra money from a part-time job, but it wasn’t easy because Oxford is full of students looking for work.
After seeing an ad in the local paper, I got a job cleaning cars on a Saturday, which paid £15 for the day. I did that for two Saturdays before James French, who’s still in the industry, asked if I wanted to help selling cars on a Sunday. He offered me commission on anything I sold, plus £15 for the day. On my first Sunday, a guy came in on a bicycle and wanted to test-drive a Toyota Supra – the most expensive car we had, at £29,995. I didn’t really know what I was doing and had to call James to ask what to do. But after the test drive, the guy bought the car. I sold two more cars that day.
How did your career develop after that?
Maybe it’s imposter syndrome, but I’ve always felt like I’m not good enough, so I tried to learn from the people I worked with and for. I was fortunate enough to work for some great people who taught me a lot.
I worked my way up through the ranks within the Nissan network, initially working for Keith Brock before he went to Wessex Garages. By the ageof 23, I was Sales Manager of Reading Nissan. I really wanted to be a General Manager though, and to do that I needed to move, so I went to Camden Motors.
How did that move affect your career?
At Camden Motors, I turned around the Milton Keynes dealership and then did the same for a multi-site market area. I then moved to Inchcape and was gradually picking up a reputation for turning businesses around. By 30, I was a Franchise Director.
I then moved away from auto retail and joined Accident Exchange as its Chief Operating Officer. However, I found I missed retail, and that’s when I joined the Marshall Motor Group as COO. That was 13 years ago.
What are your goals for the future, and do you have any regrets?
Personally, I’ve always wanted my own business, but I’ve fallen into the corporate trap: you do a good job and get a reward and then get a better job and a bigger reward. I’m a very loyal person. If I have one regret it’s that I didn’t start my own business.
Even so, I’m very fortunate, because the Group gives me enough freedom to run the business.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to work in the industry?
It’s a fantastic career. The industry is very open, irrespective of race, age, gender or qualifications. If you’re good enough and work hard, the rewards are amazing. We work with great brands and great products and get paid well to do it. My advice is that you shouldn’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. Plus, be inquisitive and learn from the people you work with.
Who are your motoring heroes and inspirations? To feature in our next edition, email firstname.lastname@example.org
This is an edited extract from IMI's new MotorPro magazine, received free as part of IMI membership. Time to find out more about becoming a member of the most influential community in UK automotive…?