Charles Hurst, part of Lookers Motor Group, marks 110th anniversary with new sustainability drive
Northern Ireland’s largest car retailer celebrates 110 years of investment, growth and success and pledges to deliver a carbon neutral estate
Northern Ireland’s largest car retailer and aftersales service group, Charles Hurst – part of UK and Ireland motoring retailer Lookers Plc – is marking 110 years in business with a pledge to make its entire estate carbon neutral and be the region’s first choice for electric vehicles.
Founded in Belfast in 1911 at the cusp of a global driving revolution, Charles Hurst has become a motoring powerhouse through investment, growth and continuous innovation. With more than 900 staff across the island of Ireland, its headquarters on Belfast’s Boucher Road is the largest automotive retail park in Europe.
Marking its anniversary business milestone, Charles Hurst said it planned to invest further in a range of initiatives to achieve net zero carbon emission status, including the rollout of an extensive electric vehicle charging network powered by renewable energy.
It also plans to extend its programme of reducing internal energy use and dramatically raising recycling rates as part of an annual target commitment that will make all its sites greener and sustainable.
Charles Hurst Group Operations Director, Jeff McCartney, said the anniversary marked a new turning point in its focus on environmental sustainability.
“With a focus on quality, customer service and recognised as Northern Ireland’s largest car retailing brand for over a century, we’re immensely proud of our achievements and our colleagues, past and present.
Our industry has an important leadership role to play, not only because of the ambitious targets that have been set out for the rollout of electric vehicles to replace diesel and petrol, but because we have an opportunity to lead by example in our own businesses. We are committed to continuing our investment in this area,” Jeff said.
A Top 100 Northern Ireland company for several decades, the award-winning firm operates across eight sites in Northern Ireland and two in the Republic of Ireland, representing more than 20 of the world’s top global car manufacturers, including leading premium and luxury brands.
In 1996, Charles Hurst was bought by the Lookers Group, one of the top motor retail groups in the UK, which was also established in the early 1900s. After the acquisition, Charles Hurst retained its trading name and, together with Lookers, the company continues to thrive.
In the last two decades, Charles Hurst has invested more than £27m in its operations, including the creation of an £8 million luxury Jaguar Land Rover showroom and a £1 million Aston Martin dealership.
Earlier this year, it marked Earth Day – raising awareness of the movement towards environmental sustainability – by announcing an investment of over £3.5 million in a sustainability transformation of the business in a company fleet of fully electric and hybrid vehicles for employees, in addition to an extensive charging infrastructure programme.
“Like many organisations, we also recognise that our activities have an impact on the environment and so we are keen to promote and support initiatives that minimises our footprint through our own environmental policy,” Jeff McCartney said. As we move to a new electrified future, we want to continue to lead from the front which is why we’re fully committed to making our entire estate carbon neutral.”
For more than a decade, Charles Hurst Group has been setting targets and outcomes on its journey to net zero and towards full sustainability and resilience that encompasses all its employees.
Welcoming the anniversary milestone, Lookers Chief Executive Officer, Mark Raban, said:
“Charles Hurst continues to play a big part in Lookers’ success and I’m immensely proud of the contribution it makes through its dedicated teams of talented, friendly and hardworking staff who expertly serve our local customers every day.
As Northern Ireland’s leading car retailer with the widest range and best brands for every budget, Charles Hurst will continue to drive the industry forward for many years to come.”