Runner-up Wessex Garages
WESSEX Garages is a privately-owned business which Keith Brock, its Managing Director, says is unusual in the motor trade. "Most dealerships are big PLCs," he says.
The firm, with headquarters on Pennywell Road running alongside the M32, was founded in 1986 by Steve Patch who was a Nissan Direct Development Dealer. He is now Chairman of Wessex.
An expansion programme was begun by the company in 1997 which now has six dealerships in Bristol, Gloucester and South Wales and still represents Nissan but alongside six other car brands.
Last year Wessex Hyundai opened a new dealership in a purpose-built showroom in Cardiff, while the Gloucester branch has seen improvements to the building, both internally and externally.
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The firm employs a total of 200 people spread across sales, service and parts departments, administration and accounts office.
One of its Bristol staff, Wes Bawn, a Master Technician, has recently been named as one of the Top Ten Nissan technicians in the country. Meanwhile, Nick Badham, who has a similar job at Gloucester, has qualified as one of the top five Kia technicians in the UK. He goes forward to the national final.
"I joined the company with a brief to develop and expand the business. Things really changed three years ago. That's when we became totally customer focused. Our policy is to keep customers for life," said Keith Brock.
"The motor industry is an incredibly tough business but at the end of March 2012 we had had our best year ever," he said.