Thursday, 31 March 2011

Secret Video Footage Reveals Queen Cleans



An undercover video has revealed that the Queen has been helping the Palace staff with their cleaning duties, perhaps as a way of showing her empathy towards the cut backs that have been made.



The footage shows the Queen cleaning one of the Palace’s 78 bathrooms, using a can of WD-40 to clean taps, the shower door and the sink.


Domestic and cleaning staff at Buckingham Palace are responsible for maintaining more than 775 rooms including 19 State rooms and 52 Royal and guest bedrooms.


It is expected that the Queen will also be involved in the full spring clean of the palace on Friday 1 April in preparation for guests that will arrive for the Royal Wedding later in the month.

Picture caption: Queen helps domestic staff with cleaning duties.








Wednesday, 30 March 2011

LOYAL MOTORIST GETS A SPRING CLEAN SERVICE

A Wolverhampton grandmother has celebrated a special birthday, with help from her local car retailer.

Norma Tomlinson, from Compton, received a complimentary spring clean for her Volkswagen Golf’s tenth birthday from Wolverhampton Volkswagen.

She has lovingly looked after her red Volkswagen Golf, which she purchased from the Bilston Road car retailer in 2001, and wanted to celebrate her ten year relationship with a professional valet.

The retired scientist was delighted to receive the complimentary treatment, she said: "It took me six months to find the car I really wanted. My husband and I go on many trips to Devon, the far North West of Scotland and the Outer Hebrides so we needed a car that would make these long journeys comfortable and could accommodate all our luggage.

“It has now found a new purpose in life as I regularly look after my two grandchildren which I take out on trips to the park. It runs better today than it did the day I drove it home and looks great.

"Although I look after my car after 100,000 miles on the clock I wanted to get a professional valet to celebrate its tenth birthday and I was thrilled when the Volkswagen team offered to help."

Andrew Hockedy, managing director for Wolverhampton Volkswagen, part of Trust Group UK, which also has Volkswagen sites in Stourbridge and Redditch, added: "We value each and every one of our customers and we’re delighted to have given Norma’s car the full works."

EAST ANGLIA MOTOR GROUP ACQUIRES KINGS LYNN VOLKSWAGEN

An East Anglia motor group has increased its portfolio with the recent acquisition of the Volkswagen franchise in Kings Lynn.

Marriott Motor Group purchased the Volkswagen retailer on Bergen Way, which has supplied passenger cars in the area for over ten years and launched Volkswagen Van Centre Kings Lynn in September last year.

The business will see the group increase its presence of Volkswagen and Audi sites to nine across the Norfolk and Suffolk area.

As a family company, the Marriott Motor Group is owned and run by the Barnard family and has supplied vehicles from its ‘aptly named’ Barnards Volkswagen site in Stowmarket for the past 100 years.

Ian Woodward, Group operations director said: “The King Lynn investment is good news for our Volkswagen customers and is an exciting development for the company.

“We presently operate a successful Audi site in King Lynn so the Volkswagen addition will continue to strengthen our automotive expertise and services across Norfolk.

“The new team will bring the Group’s employee numbers to over 310 and we look forward to welcoming them to the business and enhancing the existing services we provide."

CAR RETAILER BOOSTS MONTY’S MAGGIE’S CENTRE APPEAL

Its full speed ahead as an Aberdeen Volkswagen car retailer begins its fundraising campaign for the city’s new Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centre, by hosting a luxury raffle during its recent ‘Big Car Event'.

Specialist Cars, which is part of the John Clark Motor Group, has confirmed its commitment in supporting Monty’s Maggie’s Appeal, which is aiming to raise £3million for a new, purpose built Maggie’s Centre in the grounds of Foresterhill Hospital, Aberdeen.

The Volkswagen retailer is embarking on series of fundraising antics and events and kicked off its campaign with a prize draw to win an overnight stay at luxury boutique hotel, Hotel Du Vin, which raised £101.

Lucky winner, Scott Marshall from Longside, said: “I had visited Specialist Cars to look at getting a new Volkswagen, saw the raffle and entered as it’s such a worthy cause. I was completely shocked to be told I had won, plus I also get the use of a brand new Volkswagen for the weekend. I am delighted and really looking forward to the trip.”

The John Clark Motor Group launched the fundraising partnership with the Monty’s Maggie’s Appeal earlier this year. The Appeal is jointly run by the Elizabeth Montgomerie Foundation, a charity set-up in the memory of 2010 Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie’s mother.

All of the automotive groups 15 dealerships across Fife, Edinburgh and Dundee will be raising money for their local Maggie’s Centre.

Speaking of their charity efforts, Ashleigh Wood from Specialist Cars, said: “The Maggie’s Centre is so vital to the region as it will offer essential support to anyone with a diagnosis of cancer as well as their family and friends through what is a truly traumatic time.

“This is just the start of our fundraising plans. Our next challenge is the Monster Bike and Hike.

“All the of Volkswagen team in Aberdeen are really getting behind our new partnership, we are even starting to get a little competitive as we want to be the site that raises the most in the Group.”

For further information on the John Clark Motor Group charity events visit www.john-clark.co.uk

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Uponor takes plumbing to new levels at PHEX

Plumbing specialist Uponor will unveil a brand new plumbing system at PHEX, the first time the revolutionary system will be seen in the UK (Stand 62-63).

The professional fitting system promises to take plumbing to new levels thanks to advanced technology that has been developed by Uponor’s research and development team, which continues to produce industry-leading innovative plumbing solutions.

Uponor plumbing applications manager, Richard Haworth, believes visitors to the show will be very excited about the company’s latest developments: “The new system is a very simple yet highly effective way of installing plumbing systems and signifies a huge step forward for the industry.

“Many years of Uponor product development have resulted in a connection device that is going to cut down installation time even further and provide exceptional joint security and strength.

“Visitors to PHEX will be able to find out much more about the next phase of our product development which offers a full range of fittings that integrate easily with the company’s existing range of plumbing solutions. They will even be able to have a go themselves.”

To be the first to see Uponor’s revolutionary product head to stand 62-63. For more information about Uponor click on www.uponor.co.uk, email enquiries.uk@uponor.com or call 01455 550355.

Yale Indian Dealership to host materials handling seminars

Yale’s exclusive distributor in India, Maini Materials Movement Ltd, is to host a series of four materials handling seminars to demonstrate the wide choice of equipment and solutions available for customers in India.
The events, to be held in Chennai, Pune, Ahmedabad and Delhi, demonstrate Maini and Yale’s commitment to the Indian marketplace and the class leading products available to the growing materials handling and logistics sectors.

Representatives from over 200 organisations will attend these events where Yale will share its knowledge of global emerging warehousing trends and the practical ways Indian customers can increase output and productivity.

James Newman, Yale’s territory manager for India says: “The four regional seminars will position Yale and Maini as the ideal materials handling solution and equipment partners. Many of the delegates attending these events are multinational companies and already NMHG customers in other global operating theatres. Yale’s Global experience should reassure them that by doing business with us their materials handling needs are in safe hands.”

As a leading international manufacturer Yale is ideally positioned to offer multiple solutions to meet customers’ different applications and business requirements. and can provide practical material handling solutions to reduce cost of ownership and increase productivity. With class leading warehouse equipment, electric and engine powered forklift trucks sourced from factories around the world including India, Yale and Maini can now provide customers in India with product flexibility and choice.

Headquartered in Bangalore, Maini Materials Movement Ltd is part of the Maini Group, a diverse portfolio of innovative companies involved in material handling equipment, warehousing systems, logistics solutions and precision engineering. Maini became the exclusive sales, service, parts and customer support representative for Yale throughout India in the autumn of 2010.

Maini MM CEO, S. A. Mohan, says: “The appointment of Maini Materials Movement as the exclusive Yale Authorised Sales and Service Dealer for the whole of India was a major coup for the company. It positions us as the major Materials Handling Equipment solutions provider with a complete product line of warehouse equipment and electric rider and counterbalanced fork lift trucks. At these events, customers will see for themselves how the relationship between Yale and Maini has developed and continues to grow and how we are perfectly positioned to develop the market and meet the demanding needs of materials handling equipment users.”


The event programme includes a presentation on the future of warehousing in India, an overview of Yale capabilities as a global organisation, the strength of Yale-Maini partnership and the opportunities that this partnership brings to existing and new customers.

The four events are:


  • April 5, The Accord Metropolitan, GN Chetty Road, T Nagar,Chennai – 600017

  • April 6, The Westin Pune Koregaon Park, 36/ 3-B, Koregaon Park Annexe, Mundhwa Road, Ghorpadi, Pune – 411001

  • April 7, Le Meridien, Near Nehru Bridge, Ahmedabad – 380001

  • April 8, Radisson Suites Gurgaon B Block, Sushant Lok, Phase 1, Gurgaon, Haryana - 122002

To register your interest in the events, please contact: Sarath Chandra - +91 9686662808 - sarath@maini.com Shirly Sabu - +91 9686451696 - shirlysabu@maini.com Maini Materials Movement Pvt Ltd Survey No. 32, Chandapura, Hosur Road Bangalore - 560099


For further information on the range of materials handling equipment provided by Maini Materials Movement and Yale, please visit www.yale-forklifts.eu.

SALESMAN PUTS ON RUNNING SHOES FOR CHILDRENS CHARITY

A Maidenhead salesman is putting on his running shoes for the first time ever, to raise thousands of pounds for a children’s charity.

Dominic Rees, who works at Citygate Volkswagen, in High Wycombe will run the London Marathon, on Sunday 17th April, and hopes to raise over £3,000 for the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Child Cruelty).

The 39-year-old, is so focused on the marathon, he now trains four or five mornings a week before working at the Volkswagen retailer on the London Road.

Dominic, said: “Running the London Marathon before I’m 40, is a life-goal of mine, one that I’m looking forward to achieving.

“Everyone at Citygate Volkswagen is being very supportive and has sponsored me.

“My aim is to complete the marathon in under four hours, which is a good time considering

professional runners, take approximately two hours to complete it.

“The NSPCC is a charity I strongly believe in and the money I raise will be used to help children escape abuse and cruelty.”

As well as raising money for the NSPCC, Dominic has improved his health dramatically. “Before starting training I’d not done any exercise for five years and weighed over 16 stone.

“Since starting my training last year in September, I’ve run hundreds of miles and have lost three

stone.”

Citygate Volkswagen brand manager, Mark Hudson, said: “Everyone at Citygate Volkswagen is behind Dominic and we’re positive he will complete his personal goal, of running the marathon in under four hours.

“The NCPCC is a very worthy charity to support and the money Dominic raises will help many children.

Anyone wishing to sponsor Dominic should go to his Virgin Money Giving page www.virginmoneygiving.com/DominicRees

Monday, 28 March 2011

HONITON APPRENTICE TAKES FIRST STEP ON CAREER LADDER

A young car enthusiast from Honiton has embarked on three-year apprenticeship with the aim of becoming the best in the business.

Sixteen-year-old Chance Harris has been accepted by Exeter’s Volkswagen retailer Mann Egerton to be the latest recruit on the technician apprenticeship scheme.

Over the next three years Mann Egerton will invest nearly £30,000 to train Chance through to technician status.


Chance, who has joined straight after leaving Honiton Community College, is looking forward to achieving his ambition of working on Volkswagen vehicles.



He said: “I love all types of vehicles and this is the only job I have ever wanted to do. I am passionate about the Volkswagen brand and I want to go as far in my career as I can.


“I am over the moon to I be given this opportunity and very grateful to Mann Egerton Volkswagen for giving me this chance.”


Mann Egerton’s brand manager, Paul Beazley, said: “In the current economic climate, it’s important local businesses give youngsters the opportunity to learn and develop a career.


“Chance’s passion for cars was one of the main reasons why he’s been given this place on the apprenticeship programme.


“He may only be 16, but I’m confident Chance will come through the three years with flying colours.”

Friday, 25 March 2011

LACK OF HIGHWAY CODE KNOWLEDGE IS PUTTING LIVES AT RISK


A poor understanding of The Highway Code is compromising road safety, a new survey has revealed.

Results from the poll of 5,000 motorists showed a large percentage failed to correctly answer a number of general knowledge and picture questions covering The Highway Code.

The survey, commissioned by leading tyre manufacturer Goodyear, showed that 54% of drivers did not know to stop when a traffic light shone its red and amber lights together. 48% of those surveyed also didn’t know that the typical stopping distance for a car driving at 50mph is 53 metres or 13 car lengths. Nearly a fifth thought they could get away with 36 metres.

When asked what the no-overtaking road sign meant, a worrying 23% got it wrong and over 75% assumed that the 30mph minimum speed sign actually indicated the maximum speed allowed. However, while the results showed many drivers were out of touch with the road rules, 95% are under the illusion that their understanding of The Highway Code is either adequate or good and over 40% don’t believe that drivers should be re-tested.

“Understanding the rules of The Highway Code can significantly reduce road accidents,” said Eddy Geerdink, Goodyear’s marketing director. “Our survey shows that a number of drivers would fail their driving test based on this knowledge and at worst it could put the lives of fellow drivers at risk if they wrongly interpreted them in real motoring situations.”

Goodyear announces the survey results as it welcomes back the Goodyear Blimp to the skies of Europe. The campaign, entitled ‘The Goodyear Safety Tour’, will tour 20 European countries to highlight the work of the tyre firm in improving road safety.

“At Goodyear, we firmly believe that safety is a shared responsibility,” continued Eddy. “Through this commitment we look forward to sharing the results of this survey with the UK population by using the Goodyear Blimp to underline the importance of road safety.”

For more information visit www.goodyearblimp.co.uk.

ENDS

Notes to editors

The research for Goodyear was carried out by OnePoll in February 2011 amongst a panel of motorists resulting in 5,000 respondents.

Picture caption: left to right, Eddy Geerdink (Goodyear UK marketing director), Kate Rock (Goodyear pr support manager) and Ron Pike (Goodyear channel marketing and events manager).

THE GOODYEAR BLIMP TAKES TO THE SKIES TO PROMOTE ROAD SAFETY


Goodyear welcomes the return of its aerial safety ambassador as the global tyre giant starts its 2011 Goodyear Safety Tour.

The Goodyear Blimp, which has been absent from the skies for 12 years in Europe, will lead on a number of road safety initiatives as it flies across the UK throughout March and April.

Goodyear will launch its first safety initiative to show how a poor understanding of The Highway Code is compromising road safety. In a survey questioning 5,000 motorists, results showed that a large percentage failed to correctly answer a number of general knowledge and picture questions covering basic road rules.

These shocking statistics have highlighted the importance of road safety and Goodyear will raise the awareness of these pitfalls with the help of the Blimp.

The tyre firm will also produce a book of best practice, which will see Goodyear work with primary and secondary schools to see how they teach and practice road safety.

Goodyear’s UK marketing director Eddy Geerdink said: “We have a number of initiatives in place that will support our road safety campaigns and drive home the fact that people’s understanding of road safety needs to be improved.”

Over the last decade, Goodyear Blimps have been ‘on tour’ in the USA and China, but this tour marks the first European tour since 1999. Between March and October, the Goodyear Blimp will visit a total of 20 countries.

For further information visit www.goodyear.co.uk or www.goodyearblimp.co.uk

ENDS

CONNECT PR FLIES AWAY WITH GOODYEAR'S BLIMP CAMPAIGN


Goodyear has appointed Connect PR to handle all UK media relations around the return of its famous brand icon, The Goodyear Blimp.

Connect PR has worked with Goodyear since January 2010 handling PR campaigns around products and safety. This latest appointment will see the agency turn its attention to the giant airship which will fly across the UK in March and April and then again in October 2011.

Absent from the UK for 12 years, the Midlands agency will take the lead in organising a number of consumer focused initiatives as the Blimp embarks on a European safety tour to promote road safety.

Connect PR will also host a number of press events in major UK cities to drive awareness of Goodyear’s ‘Safety Together’ brand campaign, aided throughout by the company’s world recognised airship.

Eddy Geerdink, Goodyear’s marketing director, said of the return of The Blimp: “This is a really exciting time for Goodyear. We are committed to increasing our brand awareness through the airship. The campaign will also see us working with Sky Sports who will use the Blimp as a camera platform, which will be integrated into a number of Premier League and international football fixtures.”

Hazel Crawford-Upton, managing director of Connect PR, said: “Working with Goodyear and promoting the arrival of the company’s brand icon is a real privilege for us and we are looking forward to delivering some fantastic PR driven results for Goodyear this year.”

For further information visit www.goodyear.co.uk or www.goodyearblimp.co.uk

ENDS

SALES TEAM HAS A MAKEOVER IN WREXHAM

A Wrexham retailer has boosted its senior management and sales team to meet the growing needs of the business.

Wrexham Volkswagen Van Centre has appointed sales manager, Alan Austin, to lead the site and he’s joined by Mike Davies (23) from Wrexham, who will form part of the sales team.

Alan, from Gresford, has almost 40 years of automotive experience, having started in 1973 as an administrator. He’s since carried out various roles including sales executive, sales manager and area operations manager.

The 55-year-old said: “I am delighted to be taking on this new role. It’s going to be a challenge, but one that I’m looking forward to.

“My aim is to continually develop the exceptional level of service that customers expect.

“Our new sales team is now in place to drive sales forward, making sure that customers are offered the right service and advice, whatever their reason for visiting or getting in touch.”

Alan continued: “Mike is a valuable addition to the team and will compliment the sales team currently in place at the van centre.”

BRANDLESHOLME MAN CROWNED SALES EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR

A Brandlesholme sales executive is celebrating after winning an exclusive annual award for the second successive year.

Simon Davis, who works at Bury’s Volkswagen retailer, Smith Knight Fay, was presented with the prize of ‘sales executive of the year’ for the 13 northern branches of Inchcape’s Volkswagen retailers.
The 29-year-old beat off competition from over 70 colleagues to secure the award that is given to the sales executive who receives the most amount of customer satisfaction, delivers a service in line with company standards and sells the most amount of vehicles.

He said: “I can’t believe to have won this award again and I’m delighted customers think of me so highly.

“Customer satisfaction is my main priority, as without customers you have no business.

“I thoroughly enjoy my job and look forward to defending my title this year.”

In 2010 Simon sold 364 cars, over 20 per cent more than in 2009. His customer satisfaction rating is one of the highest in the UK, with 97 per cent of his customers completely satisfied with the service they received.

Smith Knight Fay Volkswagen’s brand manager, Steve Thomas, said: “Amazingly Simon has been working in the automotive industry for just over two years, but he is clearly a positive role model for other sales executives.

“Many of his customers recommend him to their friends and family so he obviously deserves this award.

“In the current economic climate, it’s vital for businesses to ensure consumers are pleased with the service they receive.”

A win-win situation for Carlisle United fans!


The Johnstone’s Paint Trophy is offering to buy the beers at Wembley for some lucky Carlisle United fans, courtesy of a final ticket giveaway at its Johnstone’s Decorating Centre on Currock Road.


The trophy is giving away 30 tickets for diehard supporters on Monday March 28 worth £34 a piece – as long as they make a £30 purchase at the decorating centre.

Not only will supporters be able to walk away with some of the hottest seats at the final and some of the finest paint products on the market, but they will also have £4 left over to buy a celebratory pint of beer on the big day itself.


The incentive is the first of its kind ever to be unveiled by the trophy and will operate on a first come first serve basis at its Johnstone’s Decorating Centre on Currock Road, between 2pm and 5pm on Monday March 28.


Sponsorship manager Teresa Hardwick said: “It is a win-win situation for fans. We are giving away tickets which will actually be more than the price of the Johnstone’s Paint purchase.

“Not only will supporters will be lighter in the pocket, but their homes will look even more attractive with the paint product they purchase.

“If ever a set of supporters deserved something from the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy then it was Carlisle United’s.


“They followed their team to Wembley in their droves last season and will be at it again a week on Sunday.”


Fans are invited to attend from 2pm to stand a chance of winning the tickets.

Meanwhile, the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy will also be officially congratulating young fans Robbie Cowley and Lewis Casson from 4pm at the decorating centre, who won the half time penalty shoot-out competition.


They will meet Olga the Fox and will get a chance to get their hands on the trophy, which will also be at the decorating centre for supporters to catch a glimpse of.


And to complete a hat-trick of events on Monday March 28, lifelong fan Trevor Rogerson will be given his tickets to the final, after winning the chance to officially present the match ball to the referee moments before kick off.


Teresa concluded: “There will be a great deal of action on the pitch come April 3, but we will again be creating headlines off it, and we couldn’t think of a better set of fans to do this with but Carlisle’s.”

Terms and conditions apply, ask instore for details.


For the latest news on the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, click on www.johnstonespainttrophy.com

Higgs & Sons wins law firm of the year



Leading Midlands law firm Higgs & Sons has been named Law Firm of the Year at the Birmingham Law Society Legal Awards.

The firm beat off stiff competition from fellow finalists Browne Jacobson, DLA Piper, Eversheds and HBJ Gateley Wareing in the 16 partners and above category.

Senior partner, Ian Shovlin, collected the award on behalf of the 180-strong firm. He said: “This is a wonderful achievement for the whole Higgs team.

“The last 12 months have been fantastic for Higgs & Sons. We marked our 135th year by creating the largest legal office in the Black Country with some of the very best facilities in the region. Our team increased with the addition of 14 new lawyers and nine support staff and we achieved record financial results in a very challenging legal and business market.

“This award from Birmingham Law Society is the icing on the cake, and will be celebrated by everyone in the firm.”

According to the judges, Higgs & Sons demonstrated a “commitment to excellence and a strong focus on people, both internal staff and external clients”.Dean Parnell, president of Birmingham Law Society, said: “As always, the Law Firm of the Year (16 partners and above) was a fiercely competitive category this year. “All of the finalists put in outstanding individual performances in the last 12 months, which any other year would have been worthy of the award.”

To speak to our award-winning team, call us on 0845 111 5050 or email law@higgsandsons.co.uk.

Connect drives away with global Bentley Motors digital brief


Connect has been appointed by Bentley Motors to spearhead its global online strategy.

The Midlands-based agency has worked with Bentley handling its marketing communications both in the UK and globally for a number of years. This latest brief will see the agency kick off the engagement by working with the luxury automotive manufacturer to activate a new strategy that will help the company expand its digital footprint both in the west and the east and will include a re-launch of the www.bentleymotors.com website.

Speaking of the appointment, Bentley’s Digital Strategy Manager, Matt Smith, said: “Connect's deep understanding of ‘Pure Bentley’ was already evident though a number of offline projects across the last decade.

“Throughout the pitch Connect's keen understanding of our client base, emerging markets and leading edge digital thinking was evident. The excellent team chemistry and fantastic creative made the appointment an easy one.”

Connect’s Director of Digital Services, Jose Espinosa said: “As a truly integrated agency we were able to leverage our already successful offline positioning for Bentley into a new strategy that moves the brand closer to its audience seamlessly through both off and online channels. This latest win demonstrates our ability to work with global brands to deliver digital solutions.”

Rob Hampton, Connect’s MD, is delighted with another win for the agency he established in 1993. “In these days of global audiences our insight into worldwide markets helped us to provide Bentley with a strategy that will see the business through a number of emerging markets while never losing the essence of the brand.

“The whole agency is energised by the appointment and we are looking forward to helping Bentley take the next step in the evolution of its brand online."

Connect employs over 100 people across digital, creative, advertising, PR and direct marketing.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

RETAILERS RAISE THOUSANDS FOR COMIC RELIEF

A Surrey retailer group raised over £2,000 for Comic Relief after donating money for every vehicle sold on Friday March 18th.

Colbornes seven sites, including the Walton-on-Thames and Guildford Volkswagen car and commercial vehicles businesses pledged £100 for every car or van sold.

The group sold 23 last week and so raised £2,300 for the charity.

Liz Luesley, Colbornes’ marketing manager, said: “All staff played their part in what was a fantastic day for the company.

“The customers helped boost the total, with a few even buying their vehicle on Friday, so the money could go to Comic Relief.

“As a business it’s important we donate time and money to charitable causes and we’ll be looking to raise more funds for local charities throughout the year.”

Connect PR hits a bullseye for Speedy


Connect PR is extending its work in sports sponsorship PR with the appointment by Speedy, the leading UK provider of construction equipment rental and support services, to handle its sponsorship of the Professional Darts Corporations’ UK Open.

The Wolverhampton-based agency introduced Speedy’s new marketing director, Steve McIntyre to the sport over Christmas and an initial one year sponsorship was signed last week. Connect worked with McIntyre during his time with Johnstone’s Paints. The agency has handled The Johnstone’s Paint Trophy for the last five years.

Speedy will bring together the very best darts players in the world as well as 32 amateur players which the company will choose through a national competition. The final of the Speedy Hire UK Open takes place from 2-5 June at Bolton’s Reebok Arena and will be shown live on Sky Sports over the four days and nights.

Steve McIntyre said of the sponsorship: “As former marketing director of Johnstone’s Paints, I know how much success can be leveraged from a robust sports sponsorship, so this is a partnership that really excites us all. I have worked with Connect PR for a number of years and know they can deliver on PR activation.”

Connect PR is part of the Connect Group, and employs 10 PR consultants. The firm also activates darts sponsorships for WD-40, Uponor and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.

Hazel Crawford-Upton, MD, said: “Darts is a fantastic way to engage with trade professionals across every industry. Alongside live events, we will also be instigating a robust social media strategy to engage with people as they watch the sport from home.”

To find out more visit http://www.speedyhiredarts.com/.

VAN CENTRE BOOSTS ITS SENIOR MANAGEMENT TEAM

A Milton Keynes Van Centre has appointed an aftersales expert to head up its commercial vehicle servicing division.

Local man, Sean Bonner has accepted the role of aftersales manager at Wayside Volkswagen Van Centre, in Bletchley.


The 30-year-old started in the motor trade as a parts technician in 1999, before moving into general aftersales where his career quickly progressed to more senior roles.


Sean has developed his knowledge and expertise having worked within various servicing roles for leading automotive brands, before joining Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles in January this year.

Delivering high standards of service and expertise for commercial vehicle customers has been a focus for Wayside since its management restructure last summer.

Speaking of his new role at Wayside Van Centre, Sean said: “I’m delighted to be part of a friendly and professional team that is dedicated to providing the best customer service.

“My initial priority is getting to know the team and understand the needs of all of our customers.”

Duncan Sands, Head of Business at Wayside Van Centre, said: “We are delighted to welcome Sean to the team and believe his enthusiasm and expertise will help strengthen business enormously.”

For more information on the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles range, visit Wayside Van Centre on Bilton Road in Bletchley, or call 01908 366300.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Music minded football fans invited to choose trophy song


The Johnstone’s Paint Trophy is appealing for music minded supporters to hit the right note at the competition’s big final next month, by selecting its official soundtrack to welcome the two finalist teams.

The trophy is putting its finishing touches to its final preparations on April 3 and needs a show of ‘fan power’ to choose its track to welcome Carlisle United and Brentford onto the hallowed turf.

Johnstone’s Paint Trophy’s sponsorship manager Teresa Hardwick said the task of picking a contemporary ‘fanfare’ to whip up the pre-match atmosphere was extremely important.

She said the trophy always explored new ways to engage with fans, which is why this novel initiative was so appealing.

“The fans know better than anyone what songs are best to create a magic atmosphere, so it made perfect sense to let them choose the track.

“We are always looking at ways to engage with supporters and we thought this was the perfect opportunity.

In 2010, Johnstone’s Paint plumped for The Prodigy’s Warrior Dance as Southampton and Carlisle United made their entrances, while the more evocative Requiem for a Dream soundtrack was used in 2009, taken from The Lord of the Rings.

The anthem will be blasted around Wembley Stadium as the players make their eagerly anticipated entrance onto the pitch, before the national anthem is sung and the teams are introduced to special guests and dignitaries.

Fans will be asked to choose between the popular Chase and Status track entitled ‘Let You Go’ and Kasabian’s epic tune ‘Empire.’

Supporters can register their preference before March 25 by visiting the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy’s official twitter and facebook sites, with the song with the highest number of votes being played.

Teresa added: “Our overall aim is to get the goosebumps going for supporters just before kick-off. The fact that we’re engaging with the very same supporters during the process is even better.”

To follow the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy on twitter click on www.twitter.com/Johnstonespaint and on facebook, search for the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy’s 2010/11 company page.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

DOUBLE BUSINESS BOOST FOR CANTERBURY RETAILER


A Canterbury retailer has boosted its business by appointing a new service manager and a new apprentice technician.

EuroCanterbury Volkswagen has welcomed college leaver, Charlie Alexander, and experienced service manager David Bryen.

Charlie Alexander (17), from Ramsgate, studied mechanics at Thanet College and applied for the apprentice position, after seeing it advertised on the Volkswagen website.

Speaking of his appointment, Charlie said: “I didn’t expect to get invited for an interview but was thrilled when I did because this is my ideal job.

“I’ve always wanted to work with cars and could not believe it when I was offered the job.

“My aim is to become a master technician, ideally with Volkswagen as it’s such a prestigious brand.”

David (43) has 26 years of automotive industry experience and worked across the south east for different automotive brands.

Like Charlie, David started his career as an apprentice, before working his way up the career ladder to service manager.

David said “I’m looking forward to working with all the staff at EuroCanterbury Volkswagen and passing on my knowledge to apprentices like Charlie.”

EuroCanterbury’s brand manager, Kevin Taunton, said: “We are thrilled to welcome David and Charlie to our team.

“I’m sure David will be able to pass on his expertise to all our technicians.

“They both will be great assets to EuroCanterbury’s customers.”

Bees and Carlisle United fans snapping up their seats


More than 30,000 tickets have already been snapped up for the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final between Brentford and Carlisle United, in a huge boost for the competition.

Brentford’s red and white army of fans have already snapped up their allocation of 20,000 tickets in a show of strength for the trophy, while Carlisle United fans have broke the 10,000 barrier.

Last season’s final between Southampton and Carlisle United attracted 73,476 fans – the highest in Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final history, while 55,378 and 56,618 saw the 2009 and 2008 finals respectively.

Johnstone’s Paint Trophy’s sponsorship manager Teresa Hardwick said: “To see Brentford’s allocation of tickets sell out within days of going on release is wonderful news for us and the trophy as a whole.

“Meanwhile, Carlisle United’s fans have again done us proud, shifting more than 10,000 seats in around a week of the tickets going on sale.

“We were hoping to see around 20,000 Brentford fans at the final, but the fact that their quota of seats have already been sold suggests we can look forward to way more than our original estimate.”

Fans wishing to get the latest ticket information for their sides should check with their clubs for availability.

For the latest Johnstone’s Paint Trophy news, click on www.johnstonespainttrophy.com

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

SEPTIC TANK DATE LOOMING

Septic date looming A leading residential property lawyer is warning local householders with a septic tank to get up to speed with new rules and regulations issued by the Environment Agency.

David Morgan says that property owners with a septic tank need to be aware that the regulations on domestic septic tanks changed in 2010, with owners of existing systems having until January 1, 2012 to register them with the Environment Agency.

New systems will also be subject to registration and must be constructed and installed in accordance with current British Standards.

David explains: “If you already have a ‘Consent to Discharge’ then you do not need to register and the Environment Agency will automatically register the septic tank with exempt status. If it does not qualify for exempt status then the consent will convert into an Environmental Permit. The exempt status or permit could be lost if the conditions of registration are not kept. The conditions principally deal with proper maintenance of the system.”

The new rules are of particular importance if you are selling or buying a property with a septic tank. David said: “The new regime means that when you sell the property it is not necessary to notify the Environment Agency of the change of ownership provided the septic tank is operated and maintained properly. However, you must give written details to the new owner about the discharge and the conditions that must be met. Also, you must give the new owner any maintenance records.”

Application for registration is relatively straightforward. It is best to do it online as online applications are processed more quickly. It is only necessary to register once. Registration is generally free but, if registration can’t be accepted, then it will be necessary to apply for a permit for which there is a charge.

David concludes: “If you are about to buy a property with a septic tank then you should check that, either the septic tank has already been registered, or get the current owner to register it with exempt status (or get a permit) before exchange of contracts and completion.”

For further advice visit www.environment-agency.gov.uk or call David Morgan on 0845 111 5050.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Speedy sponsorship receives a world-famous power boost


Three of the finest darts stars on the planet – including 15 time World Champion Phil Taylor – gave the UK’s leading equipment rental and support services provider the ultimate ‘Power’ boost when they stepped to the oche to unveil a prestigious sports sponsorship.

Speedy, the North West-based FTSE-listed business, are sponsoring the Speedy Hire UK Open and welcomed Taylor to their Newton-le-Willows headquarters, along with world number three Gary Anderson and former World BDO Champion Mark Webster.

The trio officially unveiled the sponsorship on Friday March 11 in a huge coup for the brand, ahead of the event itself at the Reebok Stadium in June.

Speedy will now activate their sponsorship of the tournament – known as “The FA Cup of Darts” – by offering 32 amateur players the chance to play their heroes in a unique opportunity for the sport.

Speedy will be giving budding throwers a genuine opportunity to play reigning UK Open champion Taylor, 2010 runner-up Anderson, two time PDC World Championship Semi-Finalist Webster and their rivals at the top of the professional game in front of millions of TV viewers in June’s Speedy Hire UK Open in Bolton.

Speedy’s group marketing director Steve McIntyre said: “We are thrilled to have forged this partnership with one of the UK’s most popular sports, and wanted to reflect our excitement with this unprecedented project.

“The Speedy Hire UK Open will be offering 32 staff and customers of all abilities the chance to compete in the event, which is widely regarded as “The FA Cup of Darts”.

“We are sprinkling even more magic into the format and are hoping that a Ronnie Radford moment might be around the corner.”

The Speedy Hire UK Open will take place from 2 to 5 June 2011 and Steve said that the sight of Speedy’s branding around the Reebok Stadium will represent the beginning of an exciting new chapter for the brand.

“This is one of the biggest projects that I have been involved with since arriving at the company last year.

“As former marketing director of Johnstone’s Paint, I know how much success can be leveraged from a robust sports sponsorship, so this is a partnership that really excites us all.”

PDC chairman Barry Hearn was delighted to welcome Speedy into the world of darts.

He said: “It is fantastic to have such a respected brand like Speedy on our roster.

“A lot of our audience are tradesmen and professional builders and installers, so if they haven’t heard of Speedy before the Speedy Hire UK Open, they should do afterwards.”

For more information about Speedy and its search for 32 darts players for the UK Open, click on www.speedyhiredarts.com

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

Founded in 1977, Speedy is the leading UK provider of equipment rental and support services to a wide range of clients across the construction, infrastructure, industrial, manufacturing and facilities management sectors - as well as to local trades and industry.

Operating from over 325 fixed sites - together with a number of on-site facilities at client locations throughout the UK, Ireland and the Middle East - the company supplies a range of services including:

the provision of small tools and equipment
surveying and measurement instrumentation
lifting and materials handling equipment
powered and non-powered access equipment
temporary accommodation
compressed air
temporary power generation
mechanical pumps
temporary site communications

The Group also provides associated services through the provision of training, asset management and testing, repair, inspection and maintenance (TRIM), as well as offering advisory services in areas such as health and safety, environmental and regulatory compliance.

Website: http://www.speedyhire.com/

The Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) are the world’s leading promoters of professional darts tournaments, offering £5 million in prize money annually. June’s Speedy Hire UK Open televised finals will offer £200,000 in prize money, including £40,000 to the winner, and features the leading 96 professionals from the UK Open Order of Merit following eight Qualifiers held from February-May, alongside 64 Qualifiers, 32 of those from Speedy. The Speedy Hire UK Open will be screened live on Sky Sports HD from the Reebok Stadium.
Previous winners are Phil Taylor (2003, 2005, 2009, 2010), Roland Scholten (2004) Raymond van Barneveld (2006, 2007) and James Wade (2008)
Website: www.pdc.tv

WREXHAM MAN CROWNED CAR SALES EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR

A sales executive from Wrexham is celebrating after winning an exclusive annual award, for the second time.

Arash Shayestehroo, who works at Wrexham Volkswagen, was presented with the prize of sales executive of the year for the Swansway group’s twelve retailers, having won the award in 2009.
The 30-year-old beat off over 70 other sales executives to win the award, selling over 300 cars in 2010.

He said: “I’m delighted to have won this award again, although it was very close towards the end.

“I thoroughly enjoy my job, and focus primarily on customer, as without customers you have no business.

“I’m now continuing to focus on delivering what our customers want in 2011, and defending my crown!”

Wrexham Volkswagen’s brand manager, Ben Gilbert, said: “Arash clearly deserves this award, but overall it shows sales staff at Wrexham Volkswagen provide customers with a service they appreciate.

“In the current economic climate, it’s vital for businesses to ensure consumers are pleased with the service they receive.”

Thursday, 10 March 2011

MOTORING TALES SCOOPS COMEDY TICKETS


A motorist from Cosheston is laughing all the way to the comedy club, after revealing his funniest car related anecdote.

Bruce Smith’s winning narrative won him a pair of comedy club tickets and a servicing voucher after it was chosen for its entertaining and believability value.

Sinclair Volkswagen launched the laughter quest following the launch of its new Fixed Price Servicing Programme aimed at making Volkswagen car servicing and maintenance transparent and easy to understand.

He said: “I am delighted to have won. I am always collecting funny stories and it is lovely to know that others found this tale amusing as well.

The story relates back to the 1980’s and came from a friend who is a car enthusiast. A lady had purchased a new car only to return a month later complaining of poor fuel consumption.

The garage inspected the car and could find no faults. A week later the lady returned as the problem was getting worse, so the garage arranged for a mechanic to accompany her on a drive. As the lady got into the car she pulled out the choke lever to hang her handbag on it – explaining the excessive loss of fuel.

“Thankfully cars no longer have manual chokes,” said Julian Harrington, brand manager at Sinclair Volkswagen.

“Laughter is contagious and generates a real feel good factor and this is what we believe the new Fixed Priced Servicing Programme offers our customers.

“The programme will put customers at ease by offering Volkswagen drivers a simple transparent menu of service, maintenance, convenience and car care options all at fixed prices.”

The Volkswagen Fixed Price Servicing Programme sees the prices fixed on the most popular servicing and maintenance jobs and is available on all Volkswagens from three – ten years old, up to and including 2.0 litre engines. All costs include parts, oil, labour and VAT, removing any hidden surprises. It applies to vehicles following a time and distance servicing regime only.

A minor service is £129 and a major service is £249 with a MOT test at £39 For full details of the menu pricing please visit www.volkswagen.co.uk/service.

For further information please contact Sue Foster on 01902 714957 or email sue@connect-group.com.

AUTOGAS POISED TO SHED ‘ALTERNATIVE’ IMAGE

With fuel prices reaching astronomical levels, alternative fuel options are at the top of fleet managers’ agendas. However, the answer may not lie in futuristic technologies or far-fetched fuel developments, but on the UK’s existing forecourts.

Autogas liquefied petroleum gas, or LPG, has been singled out as a viable alternative fuel and is readily available today for motorists to enjoy costs savings as well as environmental benefits.

The European Expert Group on Transport Fuels, established by the European Commission last March, has already stated that Autogas could increase from 3 per cent of the road fuel mix to at least ten per cent by 2020*

The Expert Group’s report, published on 25 January, notes that “LPG is currently the most widely used alternative fuel in Europe” adding that “the core infrastructure is established, with over 27,000 public filling stations”. Given this already existing presence, Autogas is well-placed to act as a bridge to help ease Europe’s transition to a more sustainable transport model.

Autogas Limited is the UK leading forecourt supplier of LPG. Their general manager, Jem Aldridge welcomes this report and says that the benefits of the cleaner fuel speak for themselves, but fleet managers may not be aware of how easy it is to switch to LPG. “Although Autogas is often referred to as an ‘alternative’ fuel, it really should be known as the third grade on the forecourt.

“Advances are being made in electric vehicles, but these remain limiting in terms of range and their ability to travel long distances. For high mileage users LPG is the most viable fuel compared to petrol or diesel.”

Jem goes on to explain how easy it is to specify an LPG fleet. “When considering fuel choices, a simple comparison between LPG, petrol and diesel will reveal significant results. Currently retailing at 76.3 pence per litre*, LPG offers huge savings.

“The environmental benefits are substantial too. Vehicles running on LPG produce far less carbon dioxide and other harmful emissions such as oxides of nitrogen and particulate matter (PM10’s) compared to other road fuels.”

Jem adds: “The initial cost of conversion is quickly recouped in the running cost savings and there is an established network of approved Autogas Installers that can carry out this work. Alternatively Citro├źn offer a LPG / petrol option of the Berlingo van under their Ready to Run Program and Mazda and Proton cars now offer Petrol / LPG options on some of their ranges.

Autogas is currently available at over 1,400 public access refuelling sites in the UK , with more planned openings this year. To help drivers find their nearest LPG station Autogas offers a free to download ‘Point of Interest’ file for leading satellite navigation systems. It is available online at www.autogasfinder.co.uk. There are also various smart phone apps that direct motorists to their nearest refuelling site.

For more information on how Autogas can benefit your fleet, log on to www.autogas.ltd.uk or call 01527 507 800

Notes to editors
* Figures quoted from the European Expert Group on Transport Fuels in its press release dated 27 January 2011, Autogas to Play a Larger Role in Europe’s Fuel Mix.
* Prices quoted from the AA’s Fuel Price Report, January 2011

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

BUCKFASTLEIGH WOMAN CROWNED CAR SALES EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR

A sales executive from Buckfastleigh is celebrating after winning an exclusive annual award, for the third time.

Kate Emery (29), who works at Newton Abbot’s Volkswagen retailer, Murray, was presented with the prize of sales executive of the year for the Murray group, having won the award in 2008 and 2009.
Predominantly a male dominated industry, Kate beat off 16 other sales executives to win the award, selling over 200 cars in 2010.

She said: “Many people perceive selling cars as a man’s job and presume they are the best person to talk to when buying a car.

“I thoroughly enjoy my job, and by winning this award I think I’ve proved that women who work in the motor industry are just as knowledgeable as men and offer a brilliant service.

“Customer satisfaction is my main priority, as without customers you have no business.”

Murray Volkswagen’s sales manager, David Lay, said: “Kate clearly deserves this award, but overall it shows sales staff at Murray Volkswagen provide customers with a service they appreciate.

“In the current economic climate, it’s vital for businesses to ensure consumers are pleased with the service they receive.”

Kate concluded: “I know there are more men in the industry than women, but I would encourage any woman to work in the motor industry because it’s very rewarding when a customer drives away happy and you have helped advise them.”

SEEING IS BELIEVING FOR VOLKSWAGEN MOTORISTS


A Stourbridge business has launched a new service for motorists, giving visible access to its workshop area.

Stourbridge Volkswagen has quite literally removed its workshop and showroom walls enabling customers to accompany a technician as they inspect their vehicle.

The Dialogue Reception facility is encased in a glass frame, for customers’ safety, and provides added reassurance enabling clear access to view cars whilst on vehicle ramps.

Every vehicle that visits the Stourbridge Volkswagen site in Audnam receives a complimentary 34-point express visual check. Customers now have the opportunity to escort technician, Vince Baker, during this service providing a greater insight into the car’s condition and helping to build a strong relationship between the driver and technician.

The pilot service has cost £70,000 to install, and if successful, may be rolled out across the Volkswagen UK dealer network.

Nigel White, Finance Director of Trust Group UK, said: “We are delighted to be trialling this new concept for Volkswagen UK as we believe it is a service customers have wanted for some time.

“The new service brings complete transparency and certainly helps to strengthen customer confidence and trust in us as their local Volkswagen specialist.

“We invest thousands of pounds every year into Volkswagen technical training as well as on specialist diagnostic equipment. This new service is a great opportunity for us to demonstrate our expertise.”

Steve Bishop, service manager at Stourbridge Volkswagen, concluded: “We have already received a number of positive comments from customers who appreciate having Vince on hand to speak to about their motoring concerns.”

To take advantage of the new Dialogue Reception facility customers are requested to book their vehicles in for the Express Visual Check by calling 01384 397600.

Alternatively, customers can drop in to the retailer and ask for Steve Bishop, who will be happy to demonstrate the service.

For further information please contact Sue Foster on 01902 714957 or email sue@connect-group.com.

CLASSIC CAMPERVANS BOOST KENT BUSINESS


A commercial vehicle van centre in Tonbridge has seen demand for its Volkswagen campervans increase after a campervan hire and accessory company placed an order worth £400,000.

Southern Motor Group Van Centre (SMG) has supplied a fleet of seven luxury Volkswagen California’s to CamperVantastic throughout 2010 with a further orders expected.

CamperVantastic was born in 2007 when owner, Steve Lumley was offered redundancy. The former charity retail manager seized the opportunity and embarked on a European family tour in a Volkswagen California.

The successful experience led to the launch of the business which aims to become the leading hirer of campervans in the UK.

The relationship between the Morley Road Volkswagen van centre and CamperVantastic has been beneficial to both parties, as Steve explains.

“The efficient service and aftersales care from the SMG team has been crucial in helping to build our 100 per cent Volkswagen brand and business reputation. It’s a delight to work with people who are equally as passionate about the California’s.

“The business has gone from strength to strength as the vehicles are available for both UK and European holiday hire. We include everything for a stress-free break including insurance, kitchen and dinning equipment and satellite navigation systems.

“We also provide an impartial campervan advice service which has been favourable for both SMG sales as well as strengthening our expertise.”

Each California, which sleeps four, is brightly coloured emulating the companies fun approach to holidays and features an electrically powered pop-up roof with a double bed and fuel efficiently benefits

Laine Watts, brand manager at SMG Volkswagen Van Centre, said: “The Volkswagen Campervan has always been an iconic vehicle and the California model combines the brands classic qualities with modern day luxuries.

“Thanks to CamperVantastic even more people can enjoy the Volkswagen campervan experience in an affordable way.”

For further information on the Volkswagen range at Southern Motor Group Van Centre call 01732 778877 or for CamperVantastic visit www.campervantastic.com.
For further information please contact Sue Foster or Lucas Coe on 01902 714957 or email sue@connect-group.com.

NATIONAL RECOGNITION FOR WOLSEY VAN CENTRE


An Ipswich business has received national recognition for being the top Volkswagen Van Centre in the United Kingdom after consistently overachieving in customer satisfaction and business performance during 2010.

Wolsey Van Centre, part of the Marriott Motor Group, was awarded the prestigious ‘2010 Most Valued Van Centre Award’ Gold title by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles at a glittering award ceremony in London’s Canary Wharf hosted by Sir Trevor McDonald.

The Sproughton Road business had already claimed the top position for three consecutive quarters in 2010 but was delighted to have achieved the overall annual accolade, beating 71 other van centres.

Head of Business at Wolsey Van Centre, David Nichols, commented: “We always strive to deliver the best possible service for our customers and we are delighted that this has been acknowledged by winning the national 2010 award.

“To have achieved this status over the entire UK network of van centres is testament to the team’s hard work and commitment. It makes me very proud and honoured to be working alongside such a dedicated group,” he continued.

Volkswagen Commercials Vehicles UK closely monitors all aspects of its van centres’ operations from customer satisfaction and aftersales through to sales and key business performance. Scores are collated throughout the year, accumulating in the annual result.

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles UK Director, Simon Elliot, who presented the award, added: “The Wolsey team surpassed its competitors in every category and thoroughly deserves to have received the national title.”

The Volkswagen Commercial Vehicle award ceremony took place at East Wintergarden in Canary Wharf, London which saw entertainment provided by X-Factor star and I’m a Celebrity’s ‘Queen of the Jungle’, Stacey Solomon.

For further information contact Sue Foster on 01902 714 957 or sue@connect-group.com.

NATIONAL RECOGNITION FOR NEW BUSINESS


A Derby-based Volkswagen van centre is celebrating after receiving national recognition for its partnership with local businesses and community projects.

Imperial Commercials Volkswagen Van Centre on Ashbourne Road was awarded the ‘Most Valued Van Centre’ for its marketing strategy by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles UK at a glittering award ceremony in London’s Canary Wharf, hosted by Sir Trevor McDonald.

The Volkswagen van centre, which is only in its first year of business, has established strong relationships with Derby County Football Club and local radio stations by helping to support and raise the profile of the business’ charity and community work.

Earlier this year, the Ashbourne Road van centre provided Derby County FC’s mascot, Rammie, with a vehicle to support his growing number of local public appearances. It was the first time for such a sponsorship, and has helped to increase the number of school activities, charity events and local attractions that Rammie can now attend.

Speaking of the annual accolade, which saw the new Volkswagen business beat 71 other van centres, Matt Lawrenson, regional director of Imperial Commercials, said: “We are delighted to have received this award, especially with it being such a young business to the brand.’’

“We believe it is integral to our success to support local initiatives, businesses and charity projects that will ultimately benefit the community.”

Volkswagen Commercials Vehicles UK closely monitors all aspects of its van centres’ operations from customer satisfaction and aftersales through to sales and key business performance. Scores are collated throughout the year, accumulating in the annual result.

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles UK director, Simon Elliot, who presented the award, added: “The Imperial Commercials team demonstrated a clear understanding of its community opportunities and surpassed its competitors with its past and ongoing marketing strategy.”

The Volkswagen Commercial Vehicle award ceremony took place at East Wintergarden in Canary Wharf, London which saw entertainment provided by X-Factor star and I’m a Celebrity’s ‘Queen of the Jungle’, Stacey Solomon.


For further information contact Sue Foster on 01902 714 957 or sue@connect-group.com.

SPARTANS CONVERT NEW SPONSORSHIP DEAL


Gloucestershire’s U12 Spartans rugby team are celebrating after securing a kit sponsorship deal from a local business.

The Spartans, based near Gloucester’s famous Kingsholm Stadium, has secured the deal with Cheltenham Volkswagen Van Centre, who has provided all 18 players with a new kit that includes shirts, socks and shorts.

The U12’s can now be sure they’re looking good while being coached by the best, as Kevin Dunn has played for Gloucester County, London Wasps and has represented England.

Kevin Dunn said: “It’s great news that we have the support of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Cheltenham.

“The boys love their new kit, it certainty helps to the make the team look and feel professional.”
Kevin continued: “It’s vital we have the support of companies such as Volkswagen Van Centre Cheltenham, in order to give the boys the best equipment possible.”

The U12 team plays every weekend against local teams in the area, as well as participating in regular training sessions

Cheltenham Volkswagen Van Centre’s head of business, John Seddon said: “The local community is very important to us and we will continue to show our support where we can.
“Many of the staff from the van centre are regulars at Spartans matches, providing plenty of vocal support.”

The Spartans Rugby Club has produced several professional players in their 84 year history including Daniel Norton and Ryan Lamb, who currently plays for London Irish in the Aviva Premiership.

The Spartans Gloucester Rugby Club was founded in 1927 and has four junior teams: U9’s, U10’s, U11’s and U12’s.

HUDDERSFIELD HEROES TO RAISE MONEY FOR COMIC RELIEF

A Huddersfield business is hoping to raise over £1,000 for Comic Relief by washing cars in fancy dress.

Staff at Huddersfield Volkswagen will dress as their favourite hero or villain on Friday 18th March, to provide the car wash service, generating funds for Comic Relief.

The retailer is promising to double any total raised over £500, as it prepares for the likes of Superman and Wonder Woman for a day of washing.

Event organiser, Claire Webster, said: “It’s important we all help raise money for such a good cause, and raise a smile at the same time.

“All staff will be involved, with the car cleaning operation staffed by Huddersfield Volkswagen’s senior management.

“The cost of hiring the costumes was discounted by Fantasy World in Ossett, meaning more money will be raised for Comic Relief.

“I hope many people can spare the time to come along and not only join in the fun, but get their car washed at the same time!”

The car wash costs £5 with all the money raised going to Comic Relief. It will be in operation from 9.30am to 5.30pm.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Car retailer helps 'Mocember' raise £5K for care units

A local business manager, who secured sponsorships to grow facial hair, has raised £5,000 for two Devon hospitals after they both treated his new born son.

Joel Tucker, who works at
Barnstaple Volkswagen, organised a ‘Mocember’ with friends and family to raise money for Barnstaple and Derriford hospitals, after his baby son, Jenson, received emergency treatment following a complicated birth.

The fund was boosted after Barnstaple Volkswagen’s brand manager, Andrew Smale, offered to help Joel’s campaign.

‘Mocember’ participants then competed for the best shaped facial hair award at the campaigns grand finale event hosted by The Half Moon Inn, Sheepwash.

Speaking of the event, 27-year-old Joel, said: “It was great fun comparing everyone’s facial hair and it was all for a fantastic cause, a special thanks goes out to Anna Jones for organising it all.

“I’d also like to thank my family, friends and Barnstaple Volkswagen for contributing to the £5,000 we’ve raised for Barnstaple and Derriford hospitals, which both gave exceptional care to my son.”

Jenson was born on 25 November but was admitted to Barnstaple Hospital after suffering complications during his birth.

He was soon transferred to Derriford Hospital to receive the specialist treatment he required.

Andrew Smale, brand manager for Barnstaple Volkswagen, said: “We’re pleased that we’ve been able to help Joel raise money for a fantastic cause.

“Joel was going through a difficult time, and it makes me proud to know that all of the staff pulled together in the same direction when a colleague needed it most.”

Baby Jenson is now on the road to making a full recovery at home with his family.
If you would like to make a donation towards the cause, please donate
here.

Friday, 4 March 2011

PLYMOUTH RETAILER BOOSTS SENIOR MANAGEMENT

A Plymouth retailer has boosted its senior management and sales team to meet the growing needs of the business.

Murray Volkswagen Van Centre has appointed general manager, Matthew Stott, to lead the site in Plympton. He’s joined by Jason Matthews and Stefan May, who will form part of the sales team.
Matthew, from Plympton, has been with Murray for ten years and was promoted to the role after working as a sales executive, sales controller and operations manager for the Skoda site next door.

The 31-year-old said: “I am delighted to be taking on this new role. My aim is to continually develop the exceptional level of service that customers expect.

“Our new sales team is now in place to drive sales forward, making sure that customers are offered the right service and advice, whatever their reason for visiting or getting in touch.”

Jason (42), from Higher Compton, and Stefan (33), from Estover, bring over 30 years’ experience in the sales industry, including 15 years in the motor industry.

Matthew continued: “Jason and Stefan are valuable additions to the team and will compliment the sales team currently in place at the van centre.”

Thursday, 3 March 2011

SWINDON APPRENTICES ARE HIRED!

Three years of hard work and training have paid off for two Swindon apprentices after they qualified as a technicians with the town’s Volkswagen, Mann Egerton.

Matthew Ford (23), from Grange Park and Kieran McDonnell (23) from Swindon, joined the Frankland Road retailer in 2008 as apprentices, and have now achieved personal goals to become fully-qualified Volkswagen technicians.
Both Matthew and Kieran are now focusing on their next goals of becoming master technicians, a process which will take a further five years of training.

Mann Egerton Volkswagen’s service manager, Graham Beasant, said: “Matthew and Kieran have both worked diligently during the training programme and fully deserve to reach technician status.

“They are both accomplished and confident technicians and everyone at Mann Egerton is pleased they are forging good careers for themselves.”

Matthew and Kieran completed ‘A’ levels and worked in various jobs before deciding they wanted a career in the automotive industry.

Kieran said: “I’m over the moon to have qualified as this is really the only job I’ve ever wanted to do. I really enjoy the work and I’m looking forward to taking even more qualifications and specialising in particular Volkswagen vehicles.

Matthew added: “We’re both really grateful to Mann Egerton, because they have shown faith in our abilities and backed our ambitions by spending money on the training programme.”

It costs over £40,000 to train a candidate to technician status with further investment to continue developing a technician.

LIVERPOOL BUSINESS CULTIVATES SUCCESS WITH GREENTHUMB

A Liverpool retailer is celebrating one of its biggest account wins, after linking with the UK’s leading lawn treatment company.

GreenThumb, a nationwide franchise with over 200 branches, has instructed Liverpool Volkswagen Van Centre to supply up to 300 commercial vehicles for its fleet in 2011.

An initial order of almost 100 Caddy Maxi vans has already been delivered this year; by the end of 2012 GreenThumb’s entire fleet of almost 700 vans will be solely Volkswagen.
GreenThumb provides feed and weed treatments for more than 450,000 lawns throughout the UK.

David Collison, GreenThumb’s marketing manager, said: “GreenThumb is a rapidly expanding business and we were happy to partner with a like-minded company in the supply of our company fleet.

“Volkswagen’s Caddy Maxi is proving very popular with our franchisees, particularly with its excellent fuel efficiency.
“The customer service we received from Liverpool Volkswagen Van Centre combined with the financial and service package, made it a simple decision to choose them.”

David Cowan, brand manager at Liverpool Volkswagen Van Centre, said: “This is a fantastic account win for the company and provides evidence of our excellent customer service standards.
“We look forward to providing GreenThumb with their fleet of commercial Volkswagens and keeping them on the road.”

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

NATIONAL REGCONITION FOR YORKSHIRE BUSINESS

A West Yorkshire van centre is celebrating after receiving national recognition for its work in 2010.

Volkswagen Van Centre (West Yorkshire) was named runner up in Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles ‘Most Valued Van Centre’ 2010, at a glittering award ceremony in Canary Wharf, hosted by Sir Trevor McDonald.
The Volkswagen business, based in Cleckheaton, competed against 71 other UK van centres for the award at the annual ceremony.

Volkswagen Commercials Vehicles closely monitors all aspects of its van centres, from customer satisfaction and aftersales through to sales and key business performance. Scores are collated throughout the year, accumulating in the annual result.

Andrew Caygill, director at Volkswagen Van Centre (West Yorkshire), said: “We are delighted to have received this honour, especially as it recognises the best van centres in the country.

“Winning the silver award is testament to the hard work all our staff put in during the year.

“In the current economic climate, it’s vital for businesses to ensure consumers are pleased with the service they receive, therefore it is essential we have a motivated and diverse team that all have the same common goal.

“Customers satisfaction is our main priority, as without customers the business simply wouldn’t exist.”

The Volkswagen Commercial Vehicle award ceremony took place at East Wintergarden in Canary Wharf which saw entertainment provided by X-Factor star and Queen of the Jungle, Stacey Solomon.

YORK RETAILER APPOINTS NEW HEAD

A York retailer has appointed one of the region’s most experienced automotive managers as its new head of business.

JCT600 Volkswagen Van Centre has appointed Kevin Fretwell to lead its commercial vehicle team, based in Clifton Moor.

The 51-year-old brings with over 30 years in and around the automotive industry.


He began his career as an apprentice technician in 1976, and has held key managerial roles for a number of major manufacturers in the region.

Kevin will be responsible for strengthening the Volkswagen brand and establishing new and maintaining existing relationships with businesses and van drivers in and around York.

The father of two said: “I’m thrilled to be taking this role and look forward to continuing the high quality of customer service.

“JCT600 Volkswagen’s friendly, professional and dedicated work force will make it an enjoyable working environment.

“My challenge is to expand the business and enhance our reputation in the local area and it is one that I’m looking forward to progressing.

“But the first task is spending time getting to know all of the staff and existing customers.”

“I’ve had an amazing start to 2011, after recently getting married.”

Higgs helps give Van Leeuwen pipeline to Aberdeen



A leading Midlands corporate law team has advised on the acquisition of a specialist pipe supplier by a tube and pipe distributor based in the West Midlands.

Higgs & Sons advised Van Leeuwen Wheeler on its acquisition of the Aberdeen assets of Mardale Pipes, a specialist supplier of duplex and super duplex stainless steel to the oil and gas industry. Mardale Pipes was purchased from its administrators for an undisclosed sum.

The acquisition sees Van Leeuwen Wheeler gain a 9,000sq ft warehouse at Dyce, together with stocks and machinery. The company is relocating its Dundee sales team to the new Aberdeen location and will be retaining members of the Mardale team.

Part of the Netherlands-based Van Leeuwen Pipe and Group, Van Leeuwen Wheeler has major stockholding hubs in Middlesbrough in the North East and Brierley Hill in the West Midlands with access to over 100,000 tonnes of tube in group stocks. With a growing presence in the offshore sector, the company supports operations in many of the major oil and gas fields around the world, both from its UK and European stocks and via mill direct supply.

David Ellis, a partner and head of insolvency at Higgs, led the team advising Van Leeuwen Wheeler. He said: "It was an interesting transaction that had to be completed in a very short time scale.

"We received initial instructions on Friday and had to liaise with Scottish solicitors dealing with the property aspects of the transaction in a different legal jurisdiction while negotiating the purchase with the administrators with a view to completing both the lease assignment and the purchase within a week.”

Van Leeuwen’s managing director, Jeff Blakey, is delighted with the outcome: “We have long recognised the importance of having an active presence in Aberdeen and this development gives us a stockholding capability at the heart of the oil and gas industry. With the acquisition of this strategic location, we are uniquely positioned to offer a large portfolio of materials backed up by the necessary technical expertise.

“David and his team were quick to respond and helped us complete this deal in record time.”

Higgs & Sons is an award-winning law firm employing 180 people. The firm is headquartered at Brierley Hill’s Waterfront Business Park and also has offices in Kingswinford.