Monday 31 October 2011

HiQ Wisbech turns pink is aid of Breast Cancer Care

It may not have looked like a typical day at the dealership for staff at J S Holmes Ltd, clad in pink and raising money for charity, but spirits were high as the team took part in a Fun day Friday for Breast Cancer Care.

Staff at the approved used car Nissan and Ford dealership on High Road, together with their fast fit partner, HiQ, downed tools and invited customers to enjoy freshly baked cakes and refreshments, in return for small donations to the charity.

Hosted for a second year running, the team turned the dealership pink with a whole host of decorations and pink HiQ memorabilia, including company branded race suits and hats.

Customers also sponsored director of J S Holmes Ltd, Martin Holmes, as he had his chest waxed, in a bid to boost the total amount raised.

Speaking of the charity fundraiser on Friday 28th October, Martin said: “It was a great, albeit very painful day.

“Breast Cancer Care is a very important charity to us and for the last couple of years; we have hosted fundraisers as a way of showing our support and getting involved.

“Being established in the area for over 50 years, it was great to see our customers enjoying the day and getting into the spirit of fundraising. I’m sure they all had a laugh at my expense too!

“Thank you to everyone who came along and donated.”

HiQ is an official charity partner to Breast Cancer Care and actively fundraises for the charity in a national project pink programme. Since the partnership began in 2009, the brand has raised over £80,000.

For more information about J S Holmes Ltd, please visit or call 0845 271 7614.

For more information about HiQ’s breast cancer care partnership, visit

Friday 28 October 2011


A Newtownards man is gearing up for the run of his life as he prepares to raise up £1,000 for charity.

Ian Calderwood will be pounding the streets of Dublin on the 31st October as he aims to complete the Dublin Marathon and generate vital funds for the Haematology Research Centre at Belfast City Hospital.

The 42-year-old has never run a full marathon before, but has been training since January to ensure he’s fighting fit for the event.

The general sales manager at Isaac Agnew Volkswagen on Boucher Road in Belfast is raising the funds after his father-in-law was treated at the hospital unit and a work colleague is currently being treated there.

He said: “The training has been tough but not as tough as the people who have undergone and are still having treatment at the haematology department.

“I’m hoping to raise about £1,000 and will run the marathon knowing the money will be going to a very good cause. The current total is £882.

“I’ve had lots of support from friends, family and work colleagues at Isaac Agnew Volkswagen; some of who will travel to Dublin to cheer me on.”

Brian Robinson, managing director at Isaac Agnew Volkswagen, has been one of those encouraging Ian during his training and is proud to have staff prepared to raise money for good causes.

He said: “Ian has devoted many months of his time to training properly for the marathon and we wish him every success in the event and raising the money for the Haematology Research Centre at Belfast City Hospital.”

Anyone wishing to sponsor Ian’s marathon can simply go to into Isaac Agnew Volkswagen on Boucher Road and ask for Ian.

Tuesday 25 October 2011

National recognition for motoring profession

A motoring specialist from Aberdeen has been rewarded for his outstanding levels of customer service by one of Europe’s largest car manufacturers.

Service advisor, Craig Huggins, who works at Specialist Cars was named as one of Volkswagen’s top ten service advisors in the UK.

The 23-year-old, who joined the Volkswagen retailer in 2009 has specialised in the automotive service industry for eight years. Craig successfully completed a series of assessments and role plays to achieve his prestigious status.

As part of his graduation Craig enjoyed a three day trip to Volkswagen’s factory and museum in Wolfsburg, Germany.

Speaking of his recent status, Craig said: “To have my work labelled as one of the best in the country makes me incredibly proud.

“I was delighted to visit the Volkswagen factory and the AutoStadt museum. It was a truly amazing experience and one that I will certainly remember.”

Tony Lanni, sales manager at Specialist Cars Aberdeen, said: “Our congratulations go to Craig.

“We’re very proud of his achievement and believe he deserves his recognition for consistent professionalism.”

Hard up motorists swerving into part worn tyre torment

Millions of motorists are risking serious accidents by driving around on part worn and second hand tyres, after defective tyres were blamed for 1,210 casualties on British roads last year.

With the slow recovery of the UK’s economy, the HiQ fast fit network can reveal that more 35 per cent of motorists are currently purchasing second hand or used tyres.

Figures from the Department for Transport show that 18 motorists were killed during 2010 from defective tyres, bringing the number of tyre related deaths on UK roads in the last five years to 164.

To coincide with the release of these figures, HiQ has commissioned its own research which reveals that millions of motorists are willingly putting themselves at risk by buying part worn, second hand tyres that are ‘unsafe’ and a ‘false economy.’

The survey found that over a third of motorists have bought used tyres with over 40% saying they did so to save money.

Almost half of those questioned said they didn’t consider the possible dangers involved with buying used tyres, despite many coming from written off cars and imported from Eastern European scrapyards.

Nearly a third of those surveyed did not know that part-worn tyres can actually suffer from severe structural damage which can’t be seen with the naked eye.

Nearly half of motorists were not aware that part worn tyres can also add two car lengths to a car’s stopping distance in the wet when travelling at just 50mph.

Furthermore, less than a third actually considered the false economy involved in buying used tyres, which typically don’t last as long and need replacing much sooner than new tyres.

The HiQ fast fit network said that while appreciating that times were hard, motorists were in fact paying five times more money for second hand tyres in the long run compared to a mid-range or budget new tyre.

A used tyre has typically 3 mm of tread left on it. As 1.6mm is the minimum legal tread depth, motorists are paying for just 1.4mm of useable tread compared to 6.4mm of useable tread from a new tyre that typically has 8mm of tread when new. HiQ’s message to motorists is to simply do the maths. Used tyres are a false economy.

Richard Edy, director of the NTDA (National Tyre Distributors Association) said that around 60 per cent of all part worns are imported from mainland Europe.

He said: “A used tyre working group for the Government states that there are three million used tyres sold on the UK roads each year, up from 2 million last year. Of that total, around 10 per cent of the total are part-worn tyres.

“Around 60 per cent of part worn tyres will originate from mainland Europe, with German imports figuring significantly.

“German motorists are far more responsible about replacing their tyres than motorists in the UK. The vast majority opt for winter tyres and won’t want to put their summer tyres back on their cars if they only boast around 4mm in tread depth.

“Many of those tyres then end up on our cars over here.” HiQ Retail Marketing

Manager Geraldine McGovern said: “In the vast majority of cases many part worn tyres are retailed illegally as they are not clearly marked as partworn at the point of sale. The main misconception is that they are simply ‘worn’ and everything else is OK. The truth is you never know where they are from.

“But the overriding message is that they are a false economy and extremely unsafe.

“We take tyre safety extremely seriously and if there is a small chance that a tyre might not perform as it should, then we could never recommend them, no
matter how cheap they are.

“We are offering free tyre safety checks at all of our centres and we are committed to providing the right tyre for each and every motorist, whatever their budget.

“We completely appreciated the financial constraints around many motorists’ pockets right now, but they can actually save money in the long term by purchasing new tyres at affordable prices instead of part worns.”

For more information about HiQ’s part worn education campaign, click on

Van centre helping to empower workers with disabilities

A High Wycombe business has pledged its support for a charity scheme which helps to prepare people with learning difficulties for work.

The Norwood Charity is organising a commercial car wash in Hatch End and have been provided with a Volkswagen Transporter from Citygate Volkswagen Van Centre.

Norwood Future Clean, which is part of the charity’s supported employment programme, is a training project that teaches participants vital work skills.

Head of business at Citygate Volkswagen, Mark Hudson said: “We’re proud to support the Future Clean programme and are glad that we can be of assistance by providing a van.

“As a business we’re always happy to get involved in the community and support fantastic causes.”

Project development manager Linda Looney said: “Norwood believes that everyone, regardless of their ability or circumstance, has the right to play a full and active part in society and having a job is a key aspect of this.

“Based on social enterprise principles, Norwood Future Clean is a fantastic new training project that provides an important stepping stone on the road to employment for people with a learning disability.

“It really suits the needs of the people we have identified as participants and, because it is environmentally-friendly, we also believe it will be attractive to motorists.”

Monday 24 October 2011

Staff at Watford business run for charity

Staff at a Watford retailer have raised hundreds of pounds for charity by running the recent Harpenden 10k.

Nine staff at Citygate Watford are still receiving money for the event, but hope the total is over £250 for Grove House Hospice.

The team of Kelly Demello, Sean Hughes, Daniel Antunes, Alex Trill, John Rowlands, Abdul Al-Ahmad, Nikki Poole, Rob Agim and Steve Telling, completed the course in under 48 minutes.

Peter Wood, brand manager at Citygate Watford, is proud of his staff who donated their time to raise money for a good cause.

He said: “The staff at Watford are always putting themselves out for customers and this is showcased by the nine staff donating time to raise money for charity.

“I’m sure they all enjoyed the event and can feel very proud of the money they have raised.”

Higgs masterminds charity quiz night

There were no Weakest Links at the recent Higgs & Sons quiz night, as the legal firm brought together employees, clients, professional contacts and even footballer Steve Bull, to raise near on £4,000 for charity.

Working through 10 rounds of pub quiz questions, 46 teams were brought together in Brierley Hill to raise the money for the Ladies Fighting Breast Cancer (LFBC) charity.

On the night, the team from local chartered accountants, Griffiths and Pegg, proved worthy winners for a second year running, retaining their 2010 title.

LFBC is a Midlands-based charity that raises funds to provide equipment to aid diagnosis. Run by a group of volunteers, numerous fundraising events are held throughout the year, raising awareness of the condition that affects one in eight women in the UK.


he charity’s co-founder and chairwoman, Veronica Kumeta, said: “It was great to see how many local organisations had gathered together for the charity. For a cause that touches so many people, it’s a huge boost towards funding for the much needed equipment at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. It was a great evening!”

For further information on LFBC, please visit:

To find out more about Higgs & Sons, visit

Higgs welcomes six new trainees

Leading Midlands law firm Higgs & Sons has welcomed six new trainees to the firm – one of the largest intakes of graduates in recent years.

Timothy Swallow, Rachel Seaton, Harry Rasmussen, James Osborne, Veronika Ulicna and Adam McGuire all join Higgs at its Brierley Hill headquarters at the Waterfront Business Park.

Ian Shovlin, senior partner, welcomed the new trainees. He said: “As we continue to expand the firm, we need to ensure we are recruiting the very best talent for the future.

“We have a proud history of our trainees remaining with the firm for their entire career, and indeed, I trained with the firm myself. These graduates represent the future of Higgs and on behalf of everyone at the firm, we’re delighted to welcome them on board.”

2011 has been a great year for Higgs & Sons, with the firm named Law Firm of the Year by the Birmingham Law Society and a finalist in the recent national Lawyer Awards as Regional Law Firm of the Year.

The firm employs nearly 200 people, including 90 lawyers.

To find out more about Higgs, including information about its 2012 trainee recruitment programme, visit

Chester business in the pink for charity

A Chester business is going all pink this week (Friday 28th), hoping to raise over £1,000 for charity.

Dane Volkswagen on Sealand Road will be hosting a Pink Friday in aid of Breast Cancer Awareness, including a raffle and wash and vac service and a ladies evening.

All staff at the retailer will be dressed in pink, with a prize for the best dressed customer who comes along during the day.

The event is on all day, but at 5pm the showroom will be turned into ‘ladies evening’ with car maintenance sessions, home baked refreshments and many prizes in the raffle.

Organiser, Lynsey Axon, is hoping to see as many people attend and is promising an event to remember.

She said: “It should be a fantastic event, which we hope will raise lots of money for a great charity.

“Some of the raffles prizes are worth hundreds of pounds and we also have some competitions specifically for children to make it a real family event.

“The staff will be bringing in freshly baked cakes, others are donating time to demonstrate car maintenance and the remaining will ensure everyone who attends has a good time.”

Among the main raffles prizes are car service plans worth up to £349, MOTs and winter safety packs.

The parts department will be donating a percentage of all sales made during the day to the fund, while all the money made from selling refreshments and the wash and vac service will go to Breast Cancer Awareness

Lynsey added: “There will also be a prize for the best dressed person, so everyone who attends should dress to impress!”

Friday 21 October 2011


A prominent High Wycombe business has invested half a million pounds in a state-of-the-art centre in the town.

Vehicle retailer group, Citygate, will move its Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles site to the new premises on Holtspur Lane in Wooburn Green.

The new 2,500m² centre will be the largest Volkswagen Commercial Centre and only the second lifestyle centre in the UK and will include a six vehicle showroom, seven bay workshop and dedicated MOT bay, with the potential to create new jobs next year.

Previously the business had been located at Citygate’s Volkswagen cars site on London Road, but due to an increase in business demand, required larger premises.

Citygate Volkswagen Van Centre’s brand manager, Mark Hudson, said: “This investment demonstrates our commitment to providing businesses and van drivers in Buckinghamshire with the highest standard Volkswagen facility.

“After four successful years based on London Road, this is now an exciting time for Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.

“The new showroom has a contemporary design in line with Volkswagen’s new corporate identity, allowing customers to view the full range of Volkswagen commercial and lifestyle vehicles including the California campervan models, in a friendly and relaxed environment.

“We are looking forward to seeing customers, both old and new, at the new premises and which will now be able to offer Class 7 MOTs because of the new and improved workshop facilities.”

Citygate Automotive group is Buckinghamshire’s largest car retailing group with seven sites across the region, employing 350 people.

Wednesday 19 October 2011


A Stockport retailer is celebrating as two of its staff join an exclusive club after being recognised for their outstanding services to the automotive industry.

Lily Heeley and Steve Simcock were presented with Volkswagen Gold Pins for exceptional and long service to the brand, at a recent ceremony in London.

The Volkswagen Gold Pin is the highest international accolade given by the brand to individuals. Only about 20 people are awarded the Gold Pin every year.

The duo have together served 50 years with Volkswagen and at Smith Knight Fay in Stockport, having both started as apprentices in 1986.

Lily, (41) from Stockport, is the new vehicle supply manager, while Steve, (41) from Hazel Grove, is the retailer’s master technician.

“I’m thrilled to have been awarded a Gold Pin, it’s a huge honour to be recognised by Volkswagen UK, said Lily.

“Both Steve and I started on apprenticeship schemes at the same time and it’s great to be sharing this success with him.”

Steve added: “I thoroughly enjoy my job and couldn’t have achieved this without the support of my colleagues.”

Smith Knight Fay Volkswagen’s brand manager, Paul Colman-Smith, said: “I am very proud to have two colleagues awarded a Gold Pin in the same year, it’s an exceptional achievement and my congratulations go to both Lily and Steve.

“I am delighted that their long service and high calibre of performance has been recognised nationally.”


A prominent Crewe business has invested £1m in a state-of-the-art premises in the town.

Work has already started at transforming the current Crewe Volkswagen building and is expected to be completed in February, with the aim of creating new jobs in the future.

The refurbishment will see the showroom increase from seven cars to eleven and an extra two ramps in the workshop.

Crewe Volkswagen’s brand manager, Ben Gilbert, said: “This investment demonstrates our commitment to providing motorists in Crewe and south Cheshire with the highest standard of Volkswagen facility.

“The refurbishment will take place in four phases to ensure disruption for customers is kept to a minimum.”

Among the major changes is the addition of a diagnostics bay in the workshop which allows customers to view work being carried out on their car. It also allows direct contact with the technician working on their vehicle.

Ben continued: “The new diagnostics bay is one of the first in the UK and provides a facility that gives customers one-on-one contact with technicians to discuss anything about their car.

“This new approach is designed to showcase the amount of technical know-how our technicians need to be able work on cars in the 21st century and give some indication on how the workshop operates.

“The new showroom has a contemporary design in line with Volkswagen’s new corporate identity, allowing customers to view the full range of Volkswagen passengers cars, including the new Golf cabriolet, in a friendly and relaxed environment.”

Tuesday 18 October 2011

HiQ tickled pink by Silverstone supporters' generosity

The HiQ fast fit network is well and truly tickled pink with fans of the Dunlop British Touring Car Championship, whose clamour for official memorabilia helped raise £6,000 for Breast Cancer Care.

For the third time this season, the Teams’ Championship sponsors parked up their eye-catching pink stand on the outfield and watched as the crowds flocked to pick up HiQ hats, large foam spanners and all number of T-shirts and goody bags.

The HiQ team, together with the pink ladies and special guest Beverley Edwards - who won HiQ’s national grid girl competition - managed to boost the championship total to more than £15,000 for the season.

In the process, HiQ smashed the £80,000 mark for Breast Cancer Care since partnering with the charity in 2009.

HiQ retail marketing manager Geraldine McGovern, said: “We have enjoyed a fantastic season of fundraising and it is with thanks to everyone involved that we have raised so much.

“There was a great atmosphere at Silverstone with fans going above and beyond to donate to Breast Cancer Care, a charity very close to everyone’s hearts.

“Fifteen thousand pounds is an incredible amount to raise over the season and we are proud to have totalled over £80,000 through various fundraising initiatives applied through our project pink programme.

“We are continuing with our sponsorship and charity partnership in 2012 so we look forward to continuing in our fundraising and turning the grids pink once again.”

For more information about HiQ’s project pink programme, please visit

Monday 17 October 2011


A young motor enthusiast from Coltishall has embarked on an exclusive three-year training programme with the aim of becoming the best in the business.

Seventeen-year-old Sean Rose, has been accepted by Norwich’s Volkswagen Van Centre, Robinsons, as the latest recruit on the technician apprenticeship scheme.

Over the next three years Robinsons Van Centre will invest nearly £40,000 to train Sean through to technician status.

The dedicated apprentice successfully completed a motor mechanics course at City College Norwich to increase his automotive knowledge and employment opportunities and is now looking forward to achieving his ambition of working in the motor industry.

He said: “I am very pleased to have secured my apprenticeship and grateful to Robinsons Van Centre for giving me this chance.

“My uncle was a car mechanic and I believe this started my passion for the motor industry. Alongside the apprenticeship I will be utilising my new skills to renovate an old car I have recently bought.”

Robinson Van Centre’s service manager, Steve Scott, said: “Sean demonstrated great enthusiasm for the industry and this is one of the main reasons why he’s been given the place on the apprenticeship programme.

“We are confident he will come through the three years with flying colours.”

For more information contact Sue Foster on 01902 714 957 or email

Monday 10 October 2011

Top trio’s trip to international headquarters

An Exeter business has rewarded three of its employees with a trip to Germany after they all qualified from a national training programme.

The trio from Mann Egerton Volkswagen visited the manufacturer’s global factory in Wolfsburg during the visit following the demanding qualifications with the Volkswagen Academy.

Phil Perry from Exeter recently gained his sales specialist status after three years of training. The 31-year-old has spent all his working life in the motor industry, six of which have been at Mann Egerton Volkswagen.

He was joined in Germany by Jonathan Eastment, from Brixham, and Gavin Viney from Newton Abbott, who also qualified as sales specialists after completing the programme, which included customer service and product training, along with both written and practical tests.

Commenting on the trip Phil said: “I’m very grateful to Mann Egerton Volkswagen for giving me the opportunity to visit the impressive headquarters in Wolfsburg.

“The factory visit was a fantastic way to commemorate completing our training. We felt very privileged to walk around the site and enjoyed the celebratory presentation dinner.”

Mann Egerton Volkswagen’s brand manager, Paul Beazley, said: “Jonathan, Phil and Gavin worked very hard to gain their qualifications and it was fantastic to be able to reward them for their efforts.

"We are very lucky to have professionals of their calibre within our team."

Tuesday 4 October 2011

Managing director gets back in the saddle for charity

A West Midlands managing director has completed a sponsored bike ride, raising £1,200 for a children’s charity.

Andrew Hockedy, who manages Trust Group UK which has three Volkswagen sites in Redditch, Wolverhampton and Stourbridge, cycled 100 kilometres for Action Medical Research.

The 49-year-old, who is based at Wolverhampton Volkswagen, took part in the organised Warwick 100 ride around the Warwickshire countryside, to help raise awareness of the leading UK-wide medical research charity dedicated to helping babies and children.

Speaking of the ride, Andrew, said: “It was certainly a tough challenge but one I relished.

“I was a keen cyclist when I was younger and even rode 1,500 mile of my own Tour de France route, but I hadn’t been on a bike in years.

“The charity ride has revived my passion for the saddle so much so that I have committed to three further races for Action Medical Research.

“I am very grateful to all sponsors and aim to double my donation total over the forthcoming rides.”

Andrew plans to cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats next year to raise further funds for Action Medical Research.

Monday 3 October 2011

Change at the top for Stourbridge business

A Stourbridge business has welcomed the appointment of a new brand manager.

Simon Volans has taken the helm of Stourbridge Volkswagen, part of Trust Group UK, after successfully managing its Redditch site for three years.

The 44-year-old brings with him over 22 years’ of automotive sales and managerial experience from both the car and motorcycle industry.

Simon’s new role will see him strengthen the group’s largest Volkswagen site by enhancing its service for customers.

Speaking of his appointment, Simon, said: “The Stourbridge site offers great facilities for customers and staff. It features a 10 car showroom, is used as a pilot site for Volkswagen servicing initiatives and has a 25 per cent larger workshop, compared to our other outlets.

“I am looking forward to the fresh challenge and leading the Stourbridge team to new successes.”

Andrew Hockedy, managing director of Trust Group UK, is delighted to welcome Simon to the Stourbridge site.

He said: “Having worked with Simon for a number of years we are more than confident that his dedication and expertise with help grow the Stourbridge business.”