We know about Tesla...what about the rest of the auto industry?

Matthew Kidman

Centennial Asset Management

Martin Ward knows people and numbers. Growing up in the UK, it was these skills that would take him through the Middle East and Singapore before settling into the automotive industry in Australia. Currently CEO of Eagers Automotive, Australia's largest vehicle retailer, Ward has been instrumental in driving a 700% share price appreciation over the last 15 years. 

A staple of Ward's time in management has been his ability to quickly identify shifting market trends. This pre-emptive mindset has underpinned two recent initiatives - the development of auto malls and acquisition of used car retailer Easy Auto 123 - both of which will allow Eagers to retain a dominant position and continue growing. With auto companies such as Tesla and Carvana Co. reaching sky-high valuations, Ward retains the view that nothing beats the underlying quality of operations in the long term. As a result, his commitment to continuous improvement and adaptability places Eagers Automotive in good stead for the future.

If you’re going to have physical retailing, it sure as hell better be exciting

In this episode of the Success and More Interesting Stuff podcast, we discuss Martin's ascent through the business world, his plans to allow Eagers to continue dominating, and ultimately a deep dive into the future of the automotive industry. 

You can also access the podcast through Spotify and Apple Music.

Time stamps

  • 2:07 - The landscape of the auto industry in Australia
  • 12:15 - The importance of experience for car retailing 
  • 16:27 - Innovation in the used-car market 
  • 22:23 - Have investors got it right with car company valuations?
  • 27:37 - The impact of electric cars on conventional retailers
  • 34:23 - Threats from driverless vehicles
  • 38:37 - Early influences on Martin's pathway through business
  • 45:17 - Transformational work with Ford Motor Company’s retail joint venture in Sydney
  • 47:30 - The importance of mentorship
  • 50:28 - The future outlook for AP Eagers
  • 54:11 - Reflecting on crisis - GFC and Covid-19
  • 56:47 - Addressing threats for the company looking forward
  • 1:04:13 - Direction of market share 
  • 1:06:09 - Martin reflects on his career and aspirations for the future

This marks the final episode of Success and More Interesting Stuff for this summer. If you would like to access more of Livewire's podcasts, please tune into The Rules of Investing, hosted by Patrick Poke. In these, Patrick sits down with top fund managers and investment experts to understand their philosophy, current views, and how they're investing today.

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Matthew Kidman
Principal and Portfolio Manager
Centennial Asset Management

Matthew is the Principal and Portfolio Manager at Centennial Asset Management. Prior to this, Matthew was the CIO at Wilson Asset Management between 1998 and 2011, achieving 18% p.a. over the period.

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