About Derek Slack Motors
THE NORTH EAST'S OLDEST ŠKODA DEALER
Derek Slack Motors celebrate a trio of significant anniversaries this year. 2023 marks half a century in business, as well as 30 years as a Škoda Retailer and twenty years at current Cargo Fleet headquarters. Quite an accomplishment for a firm that started life repairing vehicles in tiny premises.
Derek Slack established the business in 1973, and still has fond memories of Coral St, long since demolished, “There was only room for one car to be repaired at a time & there was no toilet so I had to go to the Ship Mate around the corner" he laughs, "the rent was £5 a week”.
Reliant Robins became popular after the War, when many couples couldn’t afford cars and instead rode Motorbikes with a side car. The Reliant could be driven on a motorbike tricycle license, but offered the luxury of rain proof transport. Derek Slack became well known for repairing them and business prospered, leading to a move to larger premises in Linthorpe, originally to Stonehouse St and then to Cumberland Rd.
In 1986 Derek’s son Tony joined the business as a mechanic, the same as his father and has worked in the business ever since, eventually becoming Managing Director.
In 1993, Derek read a trade article about Volkswagen buying shares in Škoda. The move was to give Škoda more stability and long-term investment. Derek didn’t hesitate to contact Škoda and was appointed the franchise in Middlesbrough, a wise decision by Derek and a pivotal moment for the business. “Amusingly our first yearly target was to sell 36 cars, which caused a great deal of anguish at the time” Laughs Derek.
In 2003, running desperately short of space, Derek and Tony purchased three acres of land adjacent to the A66 dual carriageway in Cargo Fleet and built the first version of their current ‘home’, a purpose built modern garage complete with, workshops, parts departments, showrooms, used car display areas, customer car parking and storage areas.
In 2009, the company became agent for Subaru and Isuzu and although they no longer sell the vehicles, they still specialize in repairs & supplying parts.
In 2015 Derek Slack Motors was featured in the London Stock Exchange’s ‘1000 Businesses to Inspire Britain’ report due to its strong performance and revenue growth, it was one of just 23 North East companies listed in the report and was certainly something to be proud of.
In 2018 Derek Slack Motors were awarded the maintenance contract for Middlesbrough Police vehicles. The contract supports local jobs and businesses in the community and also created additional jobs.
The dealership continued to operate during the pandemic, with a dedicated team of nine maintaining and repairing the regular Police & NHS workers vehicles, but also working on Coastguard patrol vehicles, Doctor’s response vehicles, Fire brigade trailers and even a road roller! “We are very proud that we were able to contribute to the safe running of the local community during that difficult time”.
Derek Slack Motors has become the North East’s oldest Škoda Retailer, now selling vehicles nationally utilising the internet, selling almost 30,000 vehicles along the way and still investing, allowing it to compete with much larger companies.
Tony said: “Celebrating the company’s 50th anniversary is a great achievement, we have employed so many fantastic & talented people over the decades and would not have reached this significant milestone without the continued commitment of all our staff, and more importantly, the ongoing loyalty of our customers, with many returning year after year for both servicing and sales. We are immensely proud to still be independent & managed as a family firm and we are still going strong & looking for new opportunities.”