Past Factory Sales Directors
During the over 100 years of Morgan, there have been many people working for The Factory. A number of these workers remained virtually anonymously to the great public, while others got known because of the expertise in their own field. The best known, of course, were the three generations of the Morgan family, who have been at the helm of the day-to-day running of the company: H.F.S. (Harry) Morgan, Peter Morgan and Charles Morgan. The last mentioned one still makes very much his life's work of The Factory and the future of it.
Sales of Morgans have had their ups and downs for different reasons. When the demand for Morgan went down, it was the job of the sales department to find new markets and/or individual buyers for orders that had been canceled. This can be a very tough job indeed. It asks much of one's communicative skills and ability to convince prospective clients to take a positive decision (for Morgan) at exactly the right time.
There are only two persons whose only job it was to bear the direct responsibility for the sales of Morgans worldwide. Prior to them, sales was just one of the tasks of the management in general. In fact, one can say that between the two, they were indirectly responsible for the survival of the Morgan marque from 1964 till 2010! These two people are: Derek Dayand Matthew Parkin.
Derek started in Morgan sales back in 1964 and got promoted to Sales Manager in 1966. Seven years later, in 1973, he had earned himself the title of Sales Director. This post he would continue to fulfill right until his retirment at age 65 in 1997.
In that time he had seen the replacement of the all important American market by the German one. Another phenomenon which came to the fore during his time as Sales Director was that of the waiting lists. While it had been common to wait for your Morgan, being built to your wishes, the demand for Morgans exploded in the late 1970s. Each agent got an annual allowance for targeted sales. If agent #1 had an allowance of 5 cars, but had attracted 30 clients, the waiting list at his place would be 6 years. Some agents had waiting lists even longer than that, but there were speculative orders amongst them.
It was not uncommon to be confronted with the canceling of an order at the moment it was due. That meant that others could jump in the queue, but not always did this suit them. It could be for offspring going to university, or for whichever other reason, that they preferred to stay in the waiting list for a while. Some people even sold their place on the waiting list -at a premium- in the late 1970s/early 1980s. Once the real demand had been supplied, the remaining people on the waiting list could present a problem. Those were the kinds of problems, apart from the usual day to day dealing with the clients and Morgan-dealers that Derek would be faced with.
By the time Derek left the Morgan Motor Company, the matter of waiting lists had been tackled and sales remained at a constant level. At virtually the same time, his enthusiastic and experienced assistant, Mark Read, left the Morgan Motor Company as well. Peter and Charles were then faced with the task of finding an entirely new sales team.
The one Mark was replaced by the other: Mark Ledington. His boundless enthusiasm still is an asset to the Morgan Motor Company.
He was coupled to the man, who would become Derek's successor as sales Director: Matthew Parkin. Having worked at Volvo before, Morgan was entirely new ground to Matthew. Yet, he acclimatised quickly and made things move. He already possessed classic car blood, owning a "Chain Gang" Frazer-Nash. Therefore, he knew about the comfort (better: lack of it) of driving a traditional British sports car.
During Matthew's term, Morgan saw many changes, in rapid succession. When he joined the company, Chris Lawrence already was working behind the scenes on the Aero 8. This entirely new upmarket model was launched at Geneva 2000 and while the initial demand was enormous, delivery took more time than planned and demand dropped. It was an enormous challenge for Matthew to keep sales of the Aero 8 at the desired level.
During his time as leading salesman at Morgan, he saw the demise of the successful and much loved +8. It was replaced by the first 6-cylinder Morgan ever: the Roadster. Traditional Morgans remained a strong seller for the Morgan marque. The relatively simple 4/4 Sports model, also available with Track Day Pack, proved this.
A new phenomenon during Matthew's time as Sales Director were several "limited edition" models, which capitalized on Morgan's history achievements, such as:
The Le Mans 62 model in 2002, which remembered 40 years since Morgan's class win at Le Mans in 1962;
The +8 35th Anniversary model in 2003, a special version for the +8, celebrating 35 years of continuous production of the model;
The 70th Anniversary 4/4 in 2006, to commemorate the launch of the first 4/4, 70 years before;
The unofficial 100th anniversary model, in the form of the Aero Max. Despite its high price tag, the model soon sold out.
The 2/3rd scale Supersports three-wheeler pedal car.
Whirlwind Matthew definitely had his own friendly style of approaching people. It was always hard to catch him in one place! Matthew stayed on as Sales Director until the end of February 2010. Then the Morgan Motor Company and he decided to go their separate ways. Since he departed, no new sales director has been appointed.