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James Brearley’s Impact on the Automotive Industry

ByDave Stopher

Mar 26, 2022 #Motoring

When it comes to making an impact in business, James Brearley’s career honours in the automotive industry speak for themselves. He’s managed to take advantage of opportunities even during the most trying of times, converting challenges into occasions for growth.

As the CEO of Inchcape plc, Brearley guided efforts to modernise operations with a digital focus. Charged with reorganising the firm to drive financial performance, he achieved this through a multiyear effort to consolidate the business into a single entity rather than individual franchises.  The resulting growth allowed Inchcape to rebalance its portfolio reliance on new car sales with extra attention toward used and aftersales profit streams. The success in the used car market resulted in a 20% increase in volume with used car profits equaling those of new car sales.

These results are evidence of Brearley’s ability to operate within tightly controlled levels of working capital while developing and following through on objectives that can have a cascade effect on business. His success with Inchcape was not his first, with previously proven results in automotive sales growth and business structuring.

For eight years at Stratstone Brearley served as Managing Director.  Spending the previous decade and a half growing his career with Pendragon plc.  Overseeing twelve franchises groups and functional directors across marketing, finance, and insurance, he grew business from £12M to £49M per annum profit, while nearly doubling retail sales volumes. To achieve this, Brearley defined a series of short- and long-term objectives for both franchises and manufacturer partners along with clear lines of communication for everyone involved. He helped implement a stronger digital marketing and online media presence for Stratstone, allowing it to stand out from the competition.

These marketing tactics and leveraging digital avenues to reach customers came naturally to the strategist mindset Brearley had adopted. To drive overall financial performance for each company he worked for, he looked at the full scope of available assets he could leverage to meet those goals while promoting positive employee cultures. Innovating digital marketing, back when the concept was still novel in the automotive industry, proved to be a boon to his success. Throughout his career, he’s had the opportunity to work with brands including Jaguar Landrover BMW, MINI, Porsche, Ferrari, Aston Martin, and Mercedes-Benz. During his time at Stratstone, he received Dealer of the Year awards from many of these brands in recognition of the broad growth his efforts brought forth. In addition to expanded sales volume, his ability to develop, market, and strategise helped significantly grow the used car profit stream for these brands.

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