Friday 30 September 2011


A Bury St Edmunds van centre is helping motorists with disabilities get into the driving seat after being awarded Motability Premier Partner status.

Volkswagen Van Centre (Bury St Edmunds) is delighted to receive the Motability accreditation which will expand its existing services enabling customers to take advantage of the Government’s mobility allowance.

The Motability Scheme – run by not-for-profit organisation Motability - offers individuals with disabilities who receive the Higher Rate Mobility Component of the Disability Living Allowance, a brand new vehicle every three years.

The scheme includes insurance, personal accident cover, aftersales servicing and maintenance, full breakdown assistance from the RAC, an allowance of 60,000 miles over the three years and free tyre replacement.

The Northern Way van centre can provide drivers with the complete range of Volkswagen commercial vehicles and is expecting the seven seat passenger vehicles, such as the Caddy Maxi Life and Caravelle, to be most popular.

“Motability customers can feel confident that an expert is always on hand to provide advice on who is eligible for the scheme and how to apply,” explains David Nichols, head of business at Volkswagen Van Centre (Bury St Edmunds).

“We are continually looking at ways in which to improve our facilities and services for our customers and hope our new Motability status will be welcomed by Bury St Edmund drivers,” concluded David.

Volkswagen Van Centre (Bury St Edmunds) is suitably equipped for motability customers, offering designated disabled toilets, parking and a spacious hospitality lounge area to ensure customers receive a trouble-free motoring experience.

If you would like more details about how Volkswagen Van Centre (Bury St Edmunds) contact John Clarke on 01284 715900

For more information contact Sue Foster on 01902 714 957 or

Thursday 29 September 2011

Telford business receives government training boost

A Telford business has introduced a new government-funded apprentice training programme aimed at strengthening its customer service.

Inchcape Volkswagen, in association with the Learning Skills Partnership, has launched a course to introduce new talent into the automotive industry and enhance its offering.

Amy Swingler, from Trench, accepted the new customer host role and will begin a six month intensive training programme, resulting in a NVQ Level 2 customer service qualification.

The 18-year-old successfully completed an assessment day which included group exercises and an individual presentation in front of a panel of Inchcape managers and representatives from the Learning Skills Partnership, in addition to a one-to-one interview.

Speaking of her appointment, Amy added: “I had recently completed my A-levels and decided an apprenticeship would be the ideally opportunity to start building my business skills. The interview process was very nerve wracking but I am delighted to have secured the position.”

The dedicated role was launched following customers feedback. The training programme covers all customer facing skills including body language and problem solving plus in-depth product knowledge.

Volkswagen passenger cars is carrying out a pilot scheme with the Learning Skills Partnership across a number of sites in the UK as course co-ordinator, Lee Wilks explains.

He said: “The on-going pilot scheme has shown promise and will be fully assessed in the near future. We hope the government-funded programme will continue and introduce further customer host roles across the Volkswagen network.”

Inchcape Telford’s brand manager, Andy Poole, said: “This new role is not about selling its more about being the first point of contact for customers, ensuring their experience is dealt with efficiently and effectively.

“This role is introducing new blood into the industry and therefore a clear training framework will help nurture and develop Amy’s skills; after all she could be one of our future managers.”

Wednesday 28 September 2011

Austin knocks Wrathall off top spot for HiQ champagne moment win

There’s no doubt who fans of the Dunlop British Touring Car Championship were most impressed with at Rockingham, judging by Rob Austin’s landslide HiQ Champagne Moment victory.

A whopping 46 per-cent of supporters voted for the Worcestershire speedster to scoop the bubbly, in the biggest margin recorded by HiQ all season.

Rob claimed the fastest overall lap in his Audi A4 in the second practice of the day, pre-empting a 2nd place podium in race three at the Northamptonshire circuit.

Winning fan Gerry Barclay praised Rob for his ‘tenacious driving’ and his ability to storm up the grid in qualifying and in races two and three.

Not surprisingly, Frank Wrathall – winner of the last two HiQ champagne moments - took second place with 29 per cent of the vote, and James Nash was third with 14 per cent.

Gerry has won the opportunity to present Rob with champagne at the penultimate round of the season, Brands Hatch this weekend.

Gerry will also receive two tickets for the race weekend and a complimentary grid walk before one of the races.

To vote for a HiQ Champagne Moment and stand a chance of winning a race weekend experience to treasure, click on

Tuesday 27 September 2011


An Altrincham man is celebrating after reaching a major career milestone.

Alister Stones, who works at Gilbert Lawton Volkswagen on Manchester Road, has chalked up 20 years in the motor industry, most of which have been with Volkswagen.

The 42-year-old (above) originally trained as a joiner and then financial advisor, before he took up a sales role in the automotive industry working alongside his mum. He is now the brand manager at Gilbert Lawton Volkswagen.

Alister puts his long length of service down to people he has worked with over the years, the ever changing nature of the automotive industry and of course the tutoring he had from working with his mum.

He said: “The time has just flown by. I thoroughly enjoy working with cars and I’m glad I’ve been able to progress a career I enjoy.

“Everyone at Gilbert Lawton Volkswagen has congratulated me on reaching this landmark and I’m looking forward to celebrating many more years to come.

“The ever changing nature of the job ensures I’m kept busy and I look forward to going to work every day. That’s not something everyone can say.”


A young car enthusiast from Norton Fitzwarren has secured his dream job thanks to a successful work placement with a Taunton business.

Daniel Neal made such a good impression whilst undertaking voluntary work experience at Volkswagen Taunton Van Centre, that he has gone on to be appointed in a full-time position with the company.

The 21-year-old has been appointed as a sales executive at the van centre’s sister car retailer in Bridgwater.

He worked for two days a week over two years while studying for a diploma in mechanics and is understandably delighted with his new role.

Daniel said: “I set up my own work experience at the van centre because I wanted to gain first hand industry knowledge.
“Whilst working at the van centre I discovered a keen interest in the sales side of the business.”

Daniel’s story demonstrated what hard work and education can lead to; after he was made redundant from a role he has been in since leaving school.

He added: “I decided to use the opportunity to further my education and develop my skills in the motor industry, by studying for a diploma in mechanics at Somerset College of Arts and Technology.

“After two years of studying at college and the van centre I’ve now landed my dream job.

“I am very grateful to both Bridgwater Volkswagen and Taunton Van Centre for the opportunities and support which they have shown me.

“I am passionate about the Volkswagen brand and I want to go as far in my career as I can.”

In his new role as sales executive Daniel will undertake a 15 month Volkswagen training programme which will provide in-depth product and technology knowledge, and business experience.

Adrian Bull, brand manager at Bridgwater Volkswagen, said: “Daniel made a lasting impression when he carried out his work experience. His dedication and work ethic really impressed.

“We believe that finding the right people is integral to our business success. Daniel will be a great asset to Bridgwater Volkswagen.

“We have discovered a passionate individual who has a keen interest in the motor industry and I am sure he will go far.”

Taunton Van Centre and Bridgwater Volkswagen are part of Silver Street Automotive, supplying new and approved used passenger cars, and Volkswagen commercial vehicles, across the south west.


Three years of hard work and training have paid off for Gee Cross' James Kidd after he graduated from his technician apprenticeship.

The 20-year-old joined Smith Knight Fay Volkswagen in Hyde from school, joining the Volkswagen apprenticeship programme to start his career in the automotive industry.

Smith Knight Fay’s brand manager, Thomas Koutsavakis, said: “James has worked exceptionally hard during his apprenticeship to become a skilful service technician; he will be a brilliant asset to the team.”

James said: “I’m so pleased to have completed my apprenticeship. All I have ever wanted to do is work with cars and I’m very grateful to have been given the opportunity to become a specialised technician.

“I’m very grateful to Smith Knight Fay and Volkswagen for investing time and money in me so I can do a job I want to do. I plan on taking the training level to become a master technician soon.”

To date Smith Knight Fay has invested over £30,000 in training James to technician standard and will continue to invest their time and money so he can progress to the next step and become a master technician.

It will take James approximately six years of further training to qualify as a master technician and another £100,000 of investment from Smith Knight Fay.


A man from Ingleby Barwick is celebrating after reaching a major career milestone.

Neil Paul, who works at Lookers Volkswagen on Newport Road, has chalked up 25 years in the motor industry, all of which have been with Volkswagen.

The 43-year-old has worked in all aspects of the retailer after graduating from a technician apprenticeship in 1989. He is now the after sales manager at Lookers Volkswagen.

Neil (above) puts his long length of service down to people he has worked with over the years and the ever changing nature of the automotive industry.

He said: “The time has just flown by. I thoroughly enjoy working with cars and I’m glad I’ve been able to progress a career I enjoy.

“Everyone at Lookers Volkswagen has congratulated me on reaching this landmark and I’m looking forward to celebrating many more years to come.

“The industry has changed during the last 25 years, but my landmark demonstrates how careers can be built from completing an apprenticeship.”

Lookers Volkswagen’s regional brand director, Simon Horabin, said: “Neil is a great example to young people of what can be achieved with hard work and dedication.

“He started his career with an apprenticeship, but has continued to learn and develop and is now one of Volkswagen's most respected after sales managers.”

Monday 26 September 2011


A senior manager from Oldham is celebrating becoming the first in the country to graduate from a new two-year management training course.

Jason Chisnall, brand manager at Smith Knight Fay Volkswagen in Oldham, recently completed the course launched by Volkswagen UK’s training academy to retain the top talent in the industry.

It completes a double celebration for Jason (below), as he marks 20 years in the motor industry late this year.

The 40-year-old’s career has see him work his way up to the very top, after he began as a petrol pump attendant in 1991.

Since then Jason has progressed as a sales executive, business manager, sales manager and now brand manager.

He said: “I am delighted to be one of the first to complete the course and impressed by how much knowledge I’ve gained.

“Support from colleagues at Smith Knight Fay Volkswagen has helped enormously and given me the time to study for this course.

“The qualification has given me extra information and experience to ensure customers are provided with the service they need from all staff.”

Jason had to pass tough exams in law, customer service, product knowledge, coaching and recruitment to gain the NVQ Level 4 equivalent qualification.

The culmination of the course, which was assessed by exams and interviews, was a three month project which was presented to a panel of Volkswagen directors.

Jason is one of only thirty graduates from the Volkswagen scheme in the UK.


Yale has recently increased its distribution coverage in this fast growing market with a number of new dealer appointments

HOROSZCOOP Anyagmozgatás Kft has become the new Yale dealer for Hungary, Romania and Serbia. Previously a successful Toyota dealer, Horoszcoop has over 20 years of experience in the Materials Handling Industry in Hungary. They have an energetic, ambitious and dynamic management team that is ambitious to rapidly grow the Yale brand into a market leader.

Universal-Spetstechnica Kyiv, previously a Komatsu dealer has for the past five years been unchallenged sales leader in Ukraine. In 2008 the company established sales centres in Lviv and Odessa and today maintains a leading position in the segment of short term lease.

Di.Pa has been appointed as a Yale dealer in Italy. Founded in 1992 as a service company, Di.Pa is now a service and commercial company in the southern Italian region of Campalia. A Still dealer until last December, Di.PA is also representing JCB and Dieci ( HM equipments ). DiPa’s coverage of the region represents a market potential of 70% of region with the possibility of achieving a very important market share with Yale full range products.

For further information on Yale’s dealer network, or to find your nearest dealer, please log on to


About Yale Europe Materials Handling

Yale Europe Materials Handling markets an extensive range of materials handling equipment and services, including electric, LP-gas and diesel powered forklift trucks, pallet trucks, stackers, order pickers, reach trucks and very narrow aisle trucks. Yale offers comprehensive Fleet Management services, as well as Yale service, parts, financing and training. Yale® trucks are manufactured in an ISO 9001:2008 registered facilities and range in capacity from 1.0 to 16 tonnes. For more information, or to find the Yale® lift truck dealer nearest you, visit

Yale Europe Materials Handling is the trading name of NACCO Materials Handling Limited, a Division of NACCO Materials Handling Group, Inc., (NMHG), which employs approximately 5,000 people worldwide. NMHG is headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of NACCO Industries, Inc. (NYSE:NC).

Yale is a registered trademark of NACCO Materials Handling Group, Inc.

Tyre industry expert invests £45,000 in new garage

A former high speed tyre tester has put his product knowledge into practice, after turning his attention to fast fit and opening a garage in Frome.

Chris Davison, 33, from Bath has invested £45,000 into a new business venture with HiQ, after 15 years working in tyre design technology with companies including Goodyear Dunlop.

Chris’ experience in test driving tyres put him in the perfect position to join the growing network of HiQ franchisees and impart his knowledge on customers needing tyre repair or replacement.

“Over the years, I have gained a lot of industry experience and knowledge around tyres and more generally, the motor trade, Chris explained.

“I’d always been aware of HiQ and it’s great to partner with a national brand that has familiarity among motorists in the area.

HiQ Frome on Handlemaker Road is inviting motorists to an official launch weekend (October 1st) at the centre where there will be information on hand, as well as special offers and a prize draw.

The event will also mark the beginning of the HiQ network’s national fundraising programme ‘Pink October,’ with donations welcome to their charity partner, Breast Cancer Care.

“Anybody is welcome to come along to the centre and see what we have to offer. It’s set to be a great day.”

“We’re in the opening weeks of trading and business is doing well. It’s exciting to think about the future and I look forward to welcoming new customers in the coming weeks and months.”

HiQ’s regional franchise manager, Mark Widdows, said: It’s always a key focus for us at HiQ to establish new centres so we can continue to grow as a franchise network.

“Chris has all the skills to make the most of HiQ Frome and his product knowledge will no doubt deliver great customer satisfaction, which will have a positive impact on sales and business growth.”

HiQ Frome offers a range of services from tyres, batteries, brakes and shocks as well as vehicle health checks and servicing packages.

For more information, visit or call 01373 467 460.

Thursday 22 September 2011

Change at the top for Bridgwater business

A Bridgwater company has welcomed one of the region’s most experienced managers to head its operations.

Adrian Bull is the new brand manager at Bridgwater Volkswagen, bringing with him over 35 years’ industry experience.

The 51-year-old joined the automotive profession straight from school in 1976 as an apprentice technician.

Adrian specialised in sales after qualifying as a technician, successfully progressing to managerial roles for a range of high profile manufacturers.

His new role will require him to strengthen the renowned Volkswagen business and enhance the service and sales for both new and existing customers.

The energetic manager, has been a paraglider for the last eight years and played the tenor saxophone for a big band since 2004.

He said: “I am looking forward to the fresh challenge and leading the Bridgwater team to new successes.

“My first task is spending time getting to know all of the staff and customers. The Bristol Road site is the perfect site to showcase the growing Volkswagen brand and focus will be on delighting our customers every visit.”

Andy Russell, managing director of Silver Street Automotive Group which owns Bridgwater Volkswagen, said Adrian’s appointment will strengthen the Volkswagen brand in Bridgwater.

“Adrian has a superb automotive track record and he brings a vast amount of experience.

“We believe his appointment will strengthen the brand in the Bridgwater area and provide a bank of knowledge for everyone associated with the site.”


Three lawyers from Higgs & Sons’ private client team have recently made progress towards joining a global legal organisation.

Solicitor Sarah Potter is now a fully qualified member of The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP). Fellow solicitor, Sarah Darby, has achieved her second distinction in two papers and is well on her way to becoming a full member of the organisation. Victoria Knight is qualifying for membership through the thesis route and has passed two of the three stages. She is hoping to achieve full membership in the next year.

STEP is the professional body for the trust and estate profession across the world, providing members with a local, national and international learning and business network.

Peter Gosling, head of Higgs’ highly respected private client department, said: “Our congratulations go to Sarah, Victoria and Sarah for their achievements. It’s excellent news for them, the department and our clients.”

Higgs’ private client team, which is one of the largest in the Midlands, acts for many families and trusts across the Midlands and beyond and is based at Higgs’ headquarters at 3 Waterfront Business Park in Brierley Hill.

To contact Higgs & Sons Private Client department please telephone 0845 111 5050 or email


The Mayor of Hayle, Councillor John Bennett, welcomed the availability of LPG to the far south west, when he attended the Autogas expert motoring roadshow last week.

Councillor Bennett officially opened the LPG refuelling pump on the forecourt of the Shell site in Hayle, making the cost effective, environmentally beneficial fuel available to residents of south west Cornwall.

Speaking at the event Councillor Bennett said: “Fuel costs in rural areas are a key issue and anything that can help local residents save money on fuel must be welcomed.

“The availability of LPG on this site is not only good for local Hayle residents, but also good for the county and for holiday makers. It was reassuring to see how many people were filling up their vehicles with LPG meaning many motorists in our area are not only saving money, but also reducing the harmful impact they have on the environment. And it is also encouraging to see that Shell is willing to build on its investment in Hayle.”

To celebrate the availability of LPG, Autogas hosted an expert motoring roadshow on the Shell site, inviting Sunday Times motoring journalist and TV car expert Jason Dawe to share his fuel-efficiency tips with Shell customers helping them to make the fuel in their tank go further.

Jason says: “Recent headlines showing increases in domestic fuel costs have made everyone think about how much they are spending, so if you can cut your fuel bills by up to 40 per cent it sounds like a great idea.

“Autogas LPG is a UK produced fuel that is widely available to UK drivers. It produces around 20 per cent less C02 than a car running on petrol and significantly less particulate matter and NOx than a standard diesel engine.”

Autogas and Jason Dawe were joined at the roadshow by representatives from leading fast fit retail experts HiQ, who offered free tyre safety checks, as well as Mazda, which has recently made a commitment to support vehicles running on LPG.

LPG refuelling sites in Cornwall now include Shell Penhale, Kingsley Village, Fraddon; Shell Caradon, Trerulefoot, Saltash; Shell Carland Cross, A30 Mitchell, Newquay; as well as Shell Hayle, Carwin Rise, Hayle.


Notes to editors
European tests showed that vehicles running on petrol can produce up to 20.3 per cent more carbon dioxide than those running on LPG. In terms of oxides of nitrogen, which is equally as harmful to the environment and in particular to local air quality, it takes 20 LPG powered vehicles to produce the same amount as one diesel vehicle.

PM10s, or small particle, emissions, which have been singled out in road pollution studies as being particularly harmful to children and people with breathing disorders such as asthma, are also significantly reduced in vehicles running on Autogas; figures show 120 per cent less PM10 emissions than diesel vehicles. Even a small increase in the number of vehicles using Autogas instead of petrol or diesel could have a huge impact on the environment, given these figures.