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Bowker is a name synonymous with motoring in Lancashire, from its roots in transport to the BMW dealerships and now there is so much more beyond. Writer Catherine Mallord met with the team to find out the makeup of this award winning business.

Bowker Motor Group has grown from strength to strength diversifying and expanding to serve the needs of motorists across Lancashire and the North West. The last seven years has seen significant expansion within the group. At a time when the rest of the motor trade has struggled Bowker, have invested almost £1.5 million on new franchises and modernised dealerships.

Originating with their haulage and road transport services since 1919, it wasn’t until the 80’s that the Bowker family acquired their first BMW franchises in Accrington and Preston. Since then the group has added MINI to the family, moved to their new home at Trident Park becoming Bowker Blackburn and has redeveloped the Bowker Preston site on the docks to twice the original size.

As well as BMW and MINI the group brand portfolio also includes a Harley-Davidson dealership selling new and used motorcycles and also branded merchandise as well as a Diner at Preston. An independent dealership, retailing and servicing all makes and models in Bowker Ribble Valley and the North West’s only Maserati dealership as well as two used car sites, the Blackburn and Preston Car Centres.

The expansion and investment has created hundreds of new jobs, with Bowker now employing 280 staff in the area, and growing. Chief Executive of the group, Paul Bowker said: “We are dedicated to satisfaction and retention in everything we do, whether that is customers or staff. We invest in our staff with continual training and always provide the opportunity to promote from within meaning many of our team have been with us for over 20 years now. We also maintain close links with the local colleges to nurture the best young talent.”

The Bowker Motor Group has a strong corporate social responsibility commitment too; supporting local sports teams from grassroots through to the premiership with sponsorship as well as hosting and supporting regular team charity events.

All this hard work has not gone unnoticed with the group scooping numerous local and national, business and industry accolades of late. Bowker Motor Group Director Chris Eccles said: “For the last three years Bowker Blackburn is the only BMW dealership in the country to have consecutively been rated a 20 star dealer for consistent high levels of customer service. We were also finalists in the 2014 Automotive Industry Awards for Best Retail Group and Excellence in Aftersales.” He added “We have some of the best in the business working for us with award winning service technicians, sales managers and marketers amongst our team.”

With quality and excellence throughout, The Bowker Motor Group also place a strong focus on value for money so that customers get the best experience around. Tom Fox, Bowker Motor Group Director said: “We are dedicated to retaining customers and so we have competitive pricing on all our vehicles new and used, and offer a price match guarantee for aftersales work – we want to break the myth that main dealers means high prices.”

Embracing green credentials the dealerships have solar panels and energy efficient lighting and are now bringing this to customers as Bowker Preston is BMWs only i Agent in Lancashire.

Tom added: “We are now supplying and supporting BMWs revolutionary new i range of electric cars, which launched last November with the first fully electric BMW, the i3 and the innovative plug-in hybrid super car, the i8, launching next month.”

There are more exciting developments to come across the group this year with Maserati celebrating its centenary year with a new limited edition model and it’s first ever diesel engine, as well as 12 new models from BMW and an exciting new trike from Harley-Davidson.

Paul Bowker added: “We work closely with our brands and we listen to our customers so we are continually developing and improving to meet the needs of Lancashire’s motorists. This wouldn’t be possible without the excellent team of dedicated staff, and to cope with this ongoing development we have regular employment opportunities available to join our friendly and driven team which we release first on our group website.”

From the all encompassing range from BMW, to the iconic Harley-Davidson and from Maserati to MINI and more Bowker Motor Group really do have Lancashire covered when it comes to motoring.

For over 300 premium cars and motorcycles please visit www.bowkermotorgroup.co.uk

Credit: Live Magazines