Dealer staff profile: John Gruitt, Dealer Principal at Hyundai, Crownhill, Plymouth
VISIT Rodgers of Plymouth's car dealerships at either Brixton or Crownhill and you are guaranteed to receive a warm welcome and exceptionally good customer service.
It's all down to the strength of the management team and the dedication of the staff, many of whom have been employed by what feels like a family-owned business for many years.
People like John Gruitt, dealer principal of the Hyundai franchise at Crownhill, drive Rodgers of Plymouth to continued success. Certainly, when it comes to experiencing all aspects of the motor trade, John attained very good grounding which has prepared him well for the position that he now holds.
John first joined the motor trade after leaving school at the age of 16, when he joined the now defunct Renault dealership in Plymouth, Turnbulls of Milehouse, as an apprentice technician. After finishing his apprenticeship he moved onto service reception aged 21, where he gained experience in dealing with customers face to face.
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In 1982, to gain car retailing experience, John relocated to Mumfords. This Austin Rover main dealer was based on the site now occupied by the Sainsbury's superstore. Tasked with selling new Austin Rover cars and used vehicles, John's car selling expertise rose week by week, and when the time was right he joined the team at Wadham Kenning, once one of the UK's largest automotive retailing concerns. There, he rose up through the ranks from salesman to sales manager.
John made the move to Rodgers of Plymouth in 1987. In 1997 Rodgers of Plymouth became sole dealer representing MG Rover for the whole Plymouth area.
As the sole dealer MG Rover Group encouraged them to expand, and Alan Pugh, the managing director and chairman, sourced and developed a purpose-built prime site north of the city at Budshead Road, Crownhill. which meant a substantial investment to keep pace with all the latest technological developments within the motor industry.
In May 1998 John was asked to become dealer principal/director and to manage the new site at Crownhill, which John found to be an exciting task. In 2005, after the sad demise of the MG Rover Group, they took on the fast-rising Hyundai franchise, a decision that has proved a resounding success.
John says: "The loyalty of our customers contributed greatly to the success of this franchise which is currently taking almost five per cent of the local market. Still a relatively young company, it's not widely known that Hyundai are actually the world's fourth largest motor manufacturer and have manufacturing plants on all continents resulting in worldwide sales last year of over four million vehicles. Their cutting edge technology and five-year warranty is clearly a market leader supporting this success.
"I have great business partners and excellent staff who are all very committed to looking after both loyal, long standing and new customers alike. Even after more than 14 years as dealer principal, I relish the challenge that this position continues to provide me."