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Dealership corner: developments in the truck and van dealer world

Published to the CV Show website on
04/07/2024

Recent months have seen the customary round of announcements of new truck and van dealer facilities, site improvements and dealership takeovers.

For example, the Hartshorne Group depot in Walsall, which has been operating since the 1960s, has undergone a transformation with sustainability in mind.

The Volvo truck and bus dealer’s upgraded facility on Bentley Mill Way has an A-rating for energy performance and features solar panels, electric vehicle charging and water storage for flood prevention.

Also, nearly 80% of demolition materials left over from the old building were recycled to create the new facility.

The depot was opened by Roger Alm, president of Volvo Trucks, and Christian Coolsaet, managing director of Volvo Trucks UK & Ireland.

Coolsaet said: “This investment by Hartshorne Group has created a flagship dealership within one of the road transport heartlands of the UK.

“It’s ideally positioned and equipped to support both current and future generations of product, particularly as more fleets introduce zero tailpipe emission battery electric trucks.

“From a sustainability perspective, it sets the benchmark for a modern dealership and provides a fantastic working environment for the team, giving them the space and facilities to deliver a first class service to our customers.”

Also, Isuzu Truck UK has named Cross Street Garage as its authorised repairer for Swindon, in a move designed to improve aftersales support for customers along the busy M4 corridor and surrounding area.

In preparation for the appointment, Cross Street Garage took over the former Greenmeadow Commercial Services site on The Ridgeway in Swindon, adding to its three existing locations in the town.

Investing about £70,000 to kit-out the workshop to manufacturer standards, the team is now ready to carry out servicing, maintenance and repairs across the Isuzu truck range, as well as supply a full line-up of Genuine Isuzu parts.

Cross Street Garage’s new four-acre site includes a large, freshly painted workshop featuring five commercial vehicle bays.

Refurbished in readiness for taking on the authorised repairer franchise, Isuzu customers will be able to call on six technicians and four dedicated support staff to provide a complete aftersales service.

Across its locations, the business employs a 40-strong team.

Sat Nijjar, Managing Director for Cross Street Garage, said: “We’re a family business, which is underlined in our approach to both our team and our customers.

“We believe if our staff are happy and motivated, our customers can see that and really feel the difference – it’s an approach that is shared by Isuzu Truck UK, which is why we’re delighted to be working with them.

“We know this is the right move for our business and we’re excited to be directly supporting such a huge global brand.”

Meanwhile, Diamond Trucks, the Renault Trucks dealer which operates from two sites in Northern Ireland and Warrington, Cheshire, has acquired Border Trucks, Carlisle, the Renault Trucks sales and service dealership for the area bordering Scotland and England.

Part of the Setanta Group, Dublin, Diamond Trucks has built up its operations in Mallusk, Belfast, extending its presence across the water with the opening of Diamond Trucks Warrington in 2022.

Under the group structure, Border Trucks will continue to operate as an independent business, with Stephen Whitehead remaining with the business as director and dealer principal.

Harry Nash, Director, Diamond Trucks, said: “We continue to see significant value in the Renault Trucks brand and product range, which is gaining market share and confidence across the industry.

“Border Trucks bring a wealth of experience especially in the construction sector having strong partnerships with many of the key suppliers in this area, and we look forward to working with Stephen and the team to further develop the Renault Trucks brand in the Border region.”

In another development concerning Renault, RH Commercial vehicles has launched RHCVan, an extension of its offering with four dedicated van centres in Nottingham, Newark, Leicester and Northampton.

Built on its expertise as a main Renault Trucks dealer, the van centres, which are strategically located by major junctions of the M1, A1 and A46, offer extensive aftermarket services for all makes of van.

These include MoT, repair and maintenance, diagnostics, tyre replacement, windscreen repairs and air conditioning gas services.

Also, as a main Renault dealer, it can offer warranty repairs on all genuine Renault products.

The company says that customers benefit from quick turnaround times, extended opening times, saturday availability and courtesy vans in addition to well-equipped waiting areas with free hot drinks, Wi-Fi and live TV.

Also, the company is currently recruiting new HGV and LCV technicians to work at the sites, offering a package which includes an annual £1,500 tooling allowance scheme, promotional pathways, and welfare schemes to help boost wellbeing.

Nigel Baxter, Managing Director, RH Commercial Vehicles and RHCVan, said: “All van and light commercial vehicle operators deserve the same service level expected by our wider commercial vehicle customer base, particularly the longer opening hours more suited to all commercial operators.

“Our manufacturer-trained technical teams and vast parts stock make us an ideal partner for all light commercial vehicle maintenance requirements.”

Pentagon Motor Group has also taken on the LCV business of Motus Commercials, a sister company in Motus Group (UK), consolidating its presence as a major LCV fleet and retail operation in the North and Midlands regions.

The company said it is a logical move that leverages economies of scale, makes for more streamlined operational efficiency and eases the way for customers to focus on a single dealership brand.

Gareth Kaye, fleet & LCV director for the enlarged Pentagon business, said: “For both Pentagon and Motus Commercials customers this is very much business as usual. We are using the same sites, and, more importantly, the same people, so there will be personal and business continuity.

“The only thing that changes is that Pentagon will now be their dealership brand focus.”

As truck and van dealerships spend money on new sites, operators should continue to benefit from high levels of customer service well into the future.

 

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