In 1970 Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicles were a rare sight on British roads. The name to most signified a prestige car brand, with little to no association with commercial vehicles. Don Marshall set out to change this, with the establishment of Mertrux.
On 3rd January 1971, Mertrux then known as Autofair began selling Mercedes Benz commercial vehicles at their site in Burton-On-Trent, this making them only the third Mercedes-Benz commercial dealer in Britain. Selling their first truck to Eric Skeet of Draycott Transport; at a cost of £6,250 it was no small investment for the local business, but it was to become the first of several Mercedes to join their fleet.
In 1981, Autofair celebrated their 10th anniversary, which in turn came with an offer of growth from Mercedes-Benz to acquire the passenger car franchise in Derby. This acquisition curated the need for a larger premise, so on 1st September 1981 the whole organisation relocated to Chequers Road, Pentagon Island, Derby. Alongside this move came the change of name, with inspiration from Don’s wife Hazel ‘trucks’ became ‘trux’ and Mertrux was born.
The first passenger car sale was for a 200 Auto in champagne with light brown leather costing £9,000. It was brought by a Mr Lloyds of Derby, who ran the car himself without any faults for the following 10 years.
In 1987, another move to a larger premise was initiated. The deal was done in just two days, and the building up in five months. This new five-acre site just a few hundred yards from Pentagon island on West Meadows Industrial Estate, would become Head Quarters for Mertrux, and still to this day is occupied by them.
By the 1990’s Mertrux had matured as a business, reaping the benefits of the attention, care and patience put into it from birth. The decade began with a commitment from the company to achieve the rigorous quality standards required by ISO 9001. The painstaking programme was completed in just under six months, giving Mertrux the proud title of being the first Mercedes-Benz dealership in the UK to receive certification.
Growing through the 90’s, 1993 was an outstanding year for Mertrux with them gaining Truck Dealer of the Year for the third time. To mark these achievements, Mertrux hosted a tour of the Crown Derby factory and a Mercedes-Benz dinner for all the winners at the Priest House Hotel in Castle Donnington. In that same year, Mercedes-Benz seized a 10% share of the UK commercial vehicle market with sales of over 12,000 vans and trucks.
Mertrux is now the longest serving established Mercedes-Benz dealership in the country, and one of the top performers. The growth of the company led to the opening of branches in Nottingham and Leicester in 1998, which made Mertrux the main Mercedes-Benz dealership in the East Midlands. With a fourth site later opening in Mansfield in 2004.
Today all four of Don Marshall’s children have connections with the business, with Ian Marshall Dons’ eldest leading the way to the golden Jubilee as Group Managing Director.