Ben Gilbert - Doing the Dozen

I started as Aftersales Manager at Crewe Volkswagen (then known as L C Charles Volkswagen) in November, 2004; I had no idea then what a journey I would go on with Swansway and where I would end up.

In August 2005, after around nine months at Crewe Volkswagen, I moved to become Aftersales Manager at Stoke Audi, a change of brand and a challenging role but I loved it. In April 2008 the dealership moved into fabulous purpose-built premises next door to the Britannia Stadium in Stoke.

I wasn’t at the new centre for long though, as in August of that year I was promoted to Head of Business at Wrexham Volkswagen. The dealership was losing money at the time so I knew it was going to be a difficult job.

When I was offered the role at Wrexham Volkswagen, I remember telling our Chairman, Michael Smyth, that I would, “do my best”, only for him to reply, ”Just do what’s required, save your best until we’re really in trouble”, that’s stayed with me ever since.

In two years at Wrexham Volkswagen we effected a £1 million turnaround from loss to profit, something I’m very proud to have achieved, along with the wonderful Wrexham team.

February 2011, I was moved to become Head of Business at Crewe Volkswagen; again the site was under-performing, but there was a great team there and I knew we could turn it round. My greatest achievement was taking Crewe Volkswagen to No.1 Volkswagen Retailer in the UK for 2014; it was something I’d dreamt of, but to achieve it was truly exceptional for the whole team. It looks like we’re going to take that title for 2015 too, which shows how consistent we are and how absolutely fantastic the team is.

Just this month I was promoted to Volkswagen Cars/SEAT Brand Director, looking after two Volkswagen passenger car centres and our Crewe SEAT centre. Swansway is so hands on, because it’s family owned and run, you’re encouraged to have your own opinions and thoughts and to share them with the family; I’m not sure that the promotions and recognitions I’ve received at Swansway, would have come my way in a more corporate business and I’m excited for what comes next.