Volvo specialist Truck & Bus Wales & West opened a new dealerpoint in Bridgwater, Somerset, in June on the Polden Business Centre, close to junction 23 of the M5. The dealerpoint was formerly a heavy haulage transport company depot and third-party workshop, but Truck & Bus Wales & West has upgraded the office and workshop building with a six-figure refurbishment. This includes rebranding, cladding the exterior, a new parts department and a major investment in workshop equipment, with an additional workshop roller door added.
“We’ve installed a compressor, mobile column lifts and lubrication equipment. Further improvements are scheduled in the coming weeks and a new van will deliver parts,” says dealerpoint manager Nathan Hansford.
He adds: “We have great all-makes skills here including an extensive knowledge of car transporter trailers. Our investment in Bridgwater has already attracted new customers and furthered our commitment to existing Volvo operators in the region. The Bridgwater dealerpoint offers a full range of Volvo Truck and Bus services and at present, the opening hours are 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday. Saturday opening is available on request.
Plans have already been approved for a substantial expansion of the latest Bridgwater premises. “We intend to double the workshop capacity with three new bays and add an authorised testing facility (ATF) lane,” says Truck & Bus Wales & West MD Billy Nairn, adding: “We are surprised at the take-up levels of business in such a short space of time at Bridgwater, so the new development will increase vehicle throughput, introduce longer opening hours and let us base Volvo Action Service vans here.” The planned workshop expansion will see a recruitment drive and in time permit longer opening hours for the new site.
Keeping good company
The Bridgwater site is also home to AJB Plant Services, managed by Tony Walters, which is a division of Truck & Bus Wales & West. Using a fleet of mobile service vans, AJB Plant Services specialises in maintenance and repairing plant and machinery, mainly on customer sites. In addition, Tim Hansford Transport, specialist in plant transportation, will still be using the Bridgwater site as an operating centre.
The new property becomes Truck & Bus Wales & West’s 10th Volvo trucks dealerpoint and during the past two years it has opened an additional Volvo dealerpoint in Evesham and relocated an existing dealerpoint to a new site in Shepton Mallet. The company also has plans to relocate a further three existing dealerpoints into new builds over the next three years. Bridgwater requires staff to have a different skillset to a standard Volvo dealerpoint as it offers an all-makes service.
The immediate area around the new dealerpoint contains a big retail distribution presence. Some of these operators are non-Volvo fleets, but Truck & Bus Wales & West carries out R&M packages on tractor units and trailers for those operators.
“We need a jack-of-all-trades approach,” confirms Nairn, adding: “The nearby development at Hinkley Point will also see more Volvo vehicles both bought and operating in the area. This region has historically suffered low Volvo volumes, but that situation is changing quickly. We’ve been looking for a presence here since 2005, but the location had to be right.”
Truck & Bus Wales & West was founded 10 years ago, through a management buyout of a former Volvo trucks dealership network by shareholders Nairn, Richard Millar and Geoff Clark. “We started out in business just as a major financial crisis was plunging the UK into recession. However, we’ve returned a profit year on year since,” Nairn says. “In September this year we mark our 10th anniversary, despite starting out at such a challenging time.”
Truck & Bus Wales & West provides official Volvo Trucks dealerpoints in a wide swathe alongside the M4 from West Glamorgan to Swindon. North to south on the M5, the company’s territory stretches from Evesham to Bridgwater. Effective use of a homegrown management team is a key policy here. “I’m a big believer in career progression and encouraging our own talent. At present approximately 90% of our depot manag ers are ex-technicians,” Nairn notes