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The History of Marshall BMW Motor Group


Marshall of Cambridge was established in 1909 by David Gregory Marshall, in a small lock-up garage in Brunswick Gardens, Cambridge as a chauffeur drive company, which was an immediate success and prompted the move to larger premises in Kings Street in 1910.

1914 - 1918

During the 1914-1918 War, the company’s premises, which had relocated to Jesus Lane in 1912 when the trade expanded to include selling cars, were used for servicing and repairing of vehicles required for the war effort.


A chance meeting with Sir Herbert (later Lord) Austin during the Great War when David Marshall’s reserved occupation was as a catering manager, resulted in Marshall being awarded the Distributorship for Austin in Cambridgeshire immediately after the war, although the formal contracts were not signed until 1920.


The company purchased the necessary farmland and in 1937 the new Cambridge Airport was officially opened by the then Secretary of State for Air, Sir Kingsley Wood. This was very opportune for re-armament was becoming an urgent national priority, along with the need for even more facilities for military aircrew training.​


The opening of the Company’s second airfield presented Marshall with an opportunity to open a second garage, known as Airport Garage. Having been closed down as part of the war effort during the Second World War, both garages re-opened in 1945, with Jesus Lane concentrating on Austin Cars and Airport Garage focusing on Austin Trucks.


The nationalisation and subsequent privatisation of the British motor manufacturing industry during the 60s/70s/80s saw Marshall’s franchise base broaden to include most of the well-known British marques: Austin, Morris, Rover, Jaguar, Triumph, Land Rover, Leyland, Rolls Royce Bentley and Aston Martin.


Peter Johnson joined Marshall Motor Group in 1990 and left in 1995


Marshall Motor Group was one of the first to develop a purpose-built multi-franchise operations with the opening of the Marshall Car Centre on Newmarket Road in Cambridge, utilising land already owned by the company. Parts Warehouse with a large dedicated used car operation, a 60,000ft2 parts warehouse and 8 franchise specific showrooms and workshops, this innovative new concept led the industry.


Daksh Gupta joins Marshall Motor Group - he has over 20 years’ experience in the automotive retail sector and joined the Company in 2008 as its Chief Executive Officer.


Marshall Motor Group acquired two businesses in 2009, 3 Honda dealerships from De Vries: Hull Honda, Scarborough Honda and York Honda and acquired one Jaguar dealerships in Ipswich. A number of new start-ups were added to the retail portfolio, which included Ipswich Kia and Cambridge Hyundai.


Mercedes Benz Area 5 was awarded to Marshall Motor Group, giving the Group its first premium German franchise brand. The acquisition broadened Marshall Motor Group’s geographical presence away from East Anglia to the North West of England, with Mercedes Benz dealerships at Blackburn, Blackpool, Bolton, Preston and South Lakes.


The acquisition of a number of dealerships from Pilling Motor Group, increased the group’s exposure to Volvo, Renault, Dacia and Mazda. The Group also added to its Honda business with the acquisition of Harrogate Honda.


The acquisition of F-Cross and Son enabled Marshall Motor Group to add the additional franchise brand of VW in Scunthorpe Passenger cars (PC) and Commercial Vehicles, Grimsby VW (PC) and Scunthorpe Kia.


With the acquisition of Silver Street the Group increased its exposure to VW, adding a further 5 VW dealerships and also introducing a new premium German brand, with 4 Audi dealerships. The acquisition provided Marshall Motor Group with an extension to its geographical reach, with sites based in the South West of England: Plymouth, Barnstaple, Exeter and Taunton.


Saw the start of the second phase of the Group’s strategy to implement the "Vision". (See section on Vision). The acquisition of Crystal Motor Group was core to increasing the Marshall Motor Group’s exposure to the premium motor retailing sector with the acquisition of BMW and Mini, with sites located at Scunthorpe and Grimsby.


The Group’s first prestige brand, Maserati was opened in Peterborough mid 2014.


Peter Johnson re-joins Marshall Motor Group as Non Executive Chairman in 2014


Mark Raban Joins Marshall Motor Group as Chief Financial Officer in 2014


Following an extensive audit of our management and HR practices Marshall Motor Holdings PLC were named by the Great Place to Work Institute as one of the UK’s Best Large Workplaces. Achieving a ranking of 26th in the Best Large UK Companies category.


Marshall Motor Group acquire S G Smith for £24.4 Million taking the group to 76 franchise locations, 19 counties and in excess of £1.2 Billion in turnover.

SGS brand partners are Audi in the Wimbledon, Coulsdon, Bexley and Beckenham market areas; Skoda in Croydon; and Mercedes Benz commercial (after sales only) in Croydon. The acquisition extends Marshal’s footprint into new and attractive geographic territories, being the Kent, Surrey and London markets.