A sweet-talking car dealer has called time on a stellar career – after selling a staggering 100,000 models.
Ken Searle, 67, has spent 50 years in the competitive industry and once sold a Nissan Silvia to legendary comic Norman Wisdom.
He has shifted new and used models while working in various roles as sales manager, general manager and business manager.
But the car dealer has decided to give everyone else a chance and is retiring after being involved in 100,000 deals.
The grandfather has spent his entire career with the Benfield Motor Group, originally selling British Leyland cars in the 1960s.
He then started selling Datsuns when the Japanese manufacturer was launched in the UK in 1973.
Ken, from North Shields, described Datsun’s well-equipped cars as “superb” and carried on selling them until they became Nissan in the 1980s.
Over the next 30 years, the super-dealer saw sales increase as Nissan became a bigger player in the UK market.
Nissan is now the biggest manufacturer of cars in the UK, with more than 500,000 built at the plant in Sunderland last year.
Ken said: “I’ve loved every minute of my career and I wouldn’t have changed a thing.
“Datsun were superb then. Everything was in the Datsun, whereas you got nothing with another car.
“There was no difficulty in getting local people to go for the brand either because of the price. Everything was there and there were no extras to find.
“Once Datsun started introducing a few more models we were selling them like hotcakes.
“Nissan’s been a great brand to work with and it’s been brilliant to watch it grow, particularly here in the North East where many of the cars are made.”
Ken’s favourite car which he has sold over the past 50 years was the “fantastic” Nissan QX which “had leather and all the gizmos”.
He also sold cars to the rich and famous, including comic icon Norman Wisdom who came in and paid cash for a Nissan Silvia in the 1980s.
Ken is now retiring to spend more time with wife Christine and their children and grandchildren.
Nissan GB sales director Jon Pollockpaid tribute to Ken.
He said: “By playing his part in more than 100,000 car sales – the vast majority of them Nissan models – Ken has made a massive contribution to our success.
“Nissan has not always been the huge success story it is today and Ken will remember better than most the tough times and hard days the company went through as it tried to find a foothold in this country.
“It’s thanks to people like him though – the great advocates who have stuck with us through thick and thin – that we now find ourselves in the fantastic position we’re in today.
“All of us at Nissan wish him all the very best for a long and happy retirement.”