Staff first arrived on site on the VWVC site 10 years ago, and were met with a partially equipped workshop, a skeleton team of just five members and a total absence of local customers. So the challenge was on; and the mission was to build up the business from scratch.
Innovation and determination were required to make the venture a success, and early strategies included branded sandwich bags in many local sandwich shops and roadside burger vans, and offering Marks and Spencer’s vouchers to encourage customers to give the new services a try. The vouchers clearly hit the spot because customers were still arriving to redeem them up to four years later!
With the growth in demand for vehicles and services over the years, more space was commandeered, first in the dealership and then “satellite workshops” were created. Most recently a mobile service was added to the inventory, so that technicians can help customers with issues whilst out on the road.
Recognition for the team’s expertise and customer service excellence followed, as VW Van Centre Liverpool were named “Dealer of the Year” by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles UK four times in a row, and have featured in the top ten for every year they have been in operation.
Ten years on and three of the original team of five remain, John Kilby. Assistant Head of Business, Rob Glover, Sales Executive, and Chris Evans, Sales Manager.
John Kilby had this to say about a decade with VWVC Liverpool.
“It’s been a great privilege to be part of the success of VWVC Liverpool. It’s so much more than a business, as we are really part of the local community here. We are so proud of all the local talent we continue to develop through our Apprenticeship Programmes, many of whom have stayed with us to continue to build their careers.
Another personal highlight for me was when we sponsored the Springwood Panthers during 2013, where we contributed to League fees and replacement kits and gave this under 11 football team a much needed boost to their activities.
There is no doubt that hard work and enthusiasm has been a great part of our success, this combined with working for a family owned business, where the Directors show great faith in us and allow us huge autonomy. We have a long-term, stable team here, where delegation and mutual respect are the norm. We invest heavily in training so that we know that we have the right people, with the right skills, in the right roles. And our focus is always on the customer. After that, the results speak for themselves.”
Peter Smyth, Swansway Group Director said,
“I am so proud of the performance that VW Van Centre Liverpool has consistently delivered over the years, resulting in its impressive national standing. Great credit must go to the team for all their hard work and commitment, to develop such thriving and successful business. Ten years is an important milestone for us, and it is a testament to the team’s skill and customer service excellence that we have achieved it.
We are also very grateful to all our customers for all their support over the years. And we expect to continue to deliver products and services of the very highest standards for many years to come.”
About Volkswagen Van Centre Liverpool:
VW Van Centre Liverpool is part of Swansway Group which has 23 dealerships and one accident repair centre, from Birmingham in the Midland to Carlisle in the North. It represents Volkswagen, Audi, Land Rover, Jaguar, SEAT, CUPRA, Peugeot, Honda and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, plus operates 5 Motor Match non-franchise locations.
The family dealer group was founded in 2003 by Michael Smyth and is now run by him and his three sons.