Steve Hall celebrates 40 years at Ciceley Commercials

Ciceley Commercials service manager Steve Hall has worked for the Blackburn dealership for 40 years.

He joined the company in 1972, which was then a Seddon Atkinson dealer, as a 15-year-old from school as an apprentice technician, before the company took on the Mercedes-Benz franchise the following year.

Today he manages a team of 24 factory-trained Mercedes-Benz technicians and apprentices, supported by 11 back-room staff. He has spent most of his career at his employer’s former dealership, on Ciceley Lane, Blackburn, which is now the head office of the Ciceley Group holding company.

For the past eight years though, he and his colleagues have been operating from a purpose-built flagship site just off junction 4 of the M65. “The move was a real landmark in the company’s development,” recalled Steve. “Not only is the workshop much bigger and better-equipped, but there’s also a lot more room here to park vehicles and a much more spacious and welcoming reception area.”

The job itself has also changed out of all recognition. “When I started out our tools of the trade were spanners and torque wrenches. These days you’re more likely to see one of our technicians using a laptop to carry out a diagnostic test on a vehicle.”

He is also credited with playing a pivotal role in helping the dealership secure both the Mercedes-Benz and Motor Transport Commercial Vehicle Dealer of the Year titles in 2010. “Ciceley Commercials is a great place a great place to work and I’m lucky to be able to call on the support of a fantastic team of technicians, many of whom weren’t even born when I started here!” he added.

Away from work he follows Blackburn Rovers, has helped raised has five children and has seven grandchildren.

Dealer principal Mike Lewis said Steve’s contribution to the ongoing success of Ciceley Commercials has been massive. “His store of knowledge and experience is vast and we’re very lucky to have held onto him for so long – and even luckier that he has no plans to retire just yet!

“His long and distinguished career is also testament to Ciceley’s philosophy of nurturing its staff and keeping hold of the brightest and best people in order to keep providing the very highest levels of service to all our customers.”

ATE Truck and Trailer sales celebrate 20,000 vehicles

ATE Truck and Trailer, based in Wolverhampton, is celebrating passing a milestone that has seen them acquire 20,000 vehicles.

It has taken 12 years and the best part of £80m to reach. James Jenkins, MD, said the last few years have seen a large growth in the business. “It took us eight years to buy our first 10,000 vehicles but only four years to buy the second 10,000. 

“During the last 12 years we have seen some very big changes in the market but have a fantastic team that have always been able to adapt and move with the times, driving the business forward. We have recently expanded the truck sales side of the business and continue to work as one of the UK’s leading suppliers of quality used trailers worldwide,” he said.

ATE Truck and Trailer operate from a 14-acre head office in Wolverhampton, and from a sales office on Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground, near Leicester. The company has 800 vehicles, with a wide range of 7.5 tonne to multi wheel rigids, tractor units and trailers available at any one time. “We are looking forward to buying the next 20,000 vehicles in record time,” Jenkins added.

Truck sales now account for around 35% of the business, representing a massive growth from the 12% it accounted for at the start of 2011. Jenkins revealed that ATE bring fresh stock in all the time at the rate of around 150 to 200 vehicles and trailers a month, with the sales team making sure these go back out again just as quickly with sales currently running at around 2,500 annually. Export sales account for 40% of that figure with Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe currently the top destinations for vehicles that have passed through ATE.

Commercial director, Allan Evans said every business needs to get value for money. “With operating margins so tight this is especially true in the commercial vehicle sector. My vision has always been to provide a facility for the transport industry that is a one stop shop.

“At ATE customers can now buy or lease new commercial vehicles, trailers and refurbished stock. Our strategic link with Asset Alliance Ltd also means we can provide financial packages for new and used equipment. We will also take vehicles back in part exchange. I believe the way we are now set up is the way to go.”