Lancashire-based Bowker Motor Group has appointed a new finance director.
35-year-old Ben from Penwortham has worked for the family-owned automotive retail group as financial controller for four years.
Ben is a former student at All Hallows in Penwortham and Cardinal Newman College. He studied Economics at Lancaster University and joined Bowker from Oldham-based NSL where he was also financial controller.
New Bowker Motor Group finance director Ben Gornall said: “I joined Bowker Motor Group as Porsche Centre Preston was being built. It was an exciting experience to be part of the team that took a new business from plans to reality – now employing over 40 people.
“Today, after an uncertain period for all North West businesses, Bowker Motor Group is operating across all our dealerships with confidence. The automotive retail sector is in an exciting position and it offers a strong foundation for further growth. My challenge will be to help Bowker Motor Group to maximise the opportunities that the next phase of our growth represents.”
Bowker Motor Group operates automotive dealerships including BMW and MINI franchises in Blackburn and Preston, Porsche Centre Preston, Bowker Motorrad in Preston, and Bowker Ribble Valley in Osbaldeston.
Whilst Ben will continue to report to Andy Gee, chief financial officer at Bowker Group, which incorporates Bowker Motor Group and Bowker Transport, his new role sees him take on more responsibility for day-to-day financial decisions at Bowker Motor Group.
Paul Bowker, chief executive officer at Bowker Motor Group, said: “Ben’s new role will strengthen our wider group finance team. I am pleased that Ben has chosen to continue his career with us here at Bowker. He will continue to work closely with Group Chief Finance Officer Andy Gee as we look to develop all sides of the Bowker Group.”
Andrew Gee’s appointment in 2018 was the first time a key position has been created with roles at both the separate Lancashire businesses that trade under the Bowker family name.
Ben will work under Andrew Gee alongside Chris Kay, finance director at Bowker Transport, as a team maximising financial synergies across both the separate Lancashire businesses that trade under the Bowker family name.
Lancashire automotive retailer Bowker Motor Group has announced a new long-term partnership with Lancashire further education provider, Preston College.
The new automotive technologies partnership will help apprentices learn a breadth of knowledge, skills and behaviours in their specific area. The aim is to help apprentices to become confident in carrying out maintenance and everyday repairs on vehicles, cars and motorcycles, through to more complex diagnostics and servicing.
Preston College is currently the largest apprenticeship provider in its local area. Award-winning Bowker Motor Group’s automotive retail franchise portfolio includes BMW, MINI, BMW Motorrad and Porsche, with centres in Preston and Blackburn. The group also operates Bowker Ribble Valley in Osbaldeston.
Preston College is committed to embedding industry-led curriculum across all of its provision types. The technical skills programme partnership with the Bowker Group will provide valuable experience and development opportunities that will ensure learners become sought-after within industry.
The development of key provisions types, combined with the underpinning knowledge, skills and behaviours delivered in an education environment, will allow the pipeline of industry-ready learners to progress into permanent employment or an apprenticeship within the organisation, whilst adding value to Bowkers’ existing workforce.
Jonathan Rogan, head of business at Bowker BMW in Preston, said: “As a Lancashire-based family business we are always looking for meaningful ways to invest in the county’s future. Our new strategic relationship with Preston College is the perfect collaboration between two organisations who share the same values and vision for local learners.
“We’re especially excited to bring the unique strengths of both organisations together. Bowker Motor Group has a rich tradition for investing in local apprentices. We have several managers who started with us as apprentices. With Preston College’s help we can continue to create exciting careers and provide an even better learning environment for our apprentices.”
The partnership will see the two organisations work together to provide apprentices with high-quality training, delivery and assessment, whilst continuing to use the College’s industry-standard workspaces.
Mark Taylor, Head of School for Engineering and Automotive Technologies at Preston College, added: “With the relentless pace of change and the increasing number of electric cars, the automotive retail sector has witnessed considerable innovation over recent years. Our partnership with Bowker Motor Group will help us to keep ahead of the game by offering real life learning experiences with the latest automotive technologies in a commercial environment.
“There’s no doubt that partnering with one of Lancashire’s most-famous family businesses will offer our apprentices the chance to deliver first class outcomes whilst developing their skills in high quality, technology-rich learning spaces.”
Lancashire-based Bowker Motor Group has appointed Jonathan Rogan as the new head of business of the BMW and MINI centres on the Docks in Preston.
46-year-old Jonathan from St. Annes will be in charge of the day-to-day running of the Preston Bowker BMW and Bowker MINI Centres. Bowker Preston employs more than 150 people. It includes two automotive centres and the North West’s largest aftersales facility.
Jonathan has been in the motor trade for more than 30 years, joining Bowker in 2003. Before taking on his new role, Jonathan was Bowker Motor Group aftersales director for the seven-dealership motor group.
Jonathan Rogan said: “After more than 18 years with Bowker Motor Group, the head of business role at Preston presents an exciting new challenge. I already know the team really well and I continue to love every minute of working for this famous Lancashire family business.
“Everyone in UK automotive retail knows about Bowker. The company is renowned for developing great people, backed up with some of the biggest and best automotive brands in the world. I’m looking forward to the next chapter of the story.”
Bowker Motor Group recently restructured its sales management team to focus its award-winning customer experience across both Preston and Blackburn sites.
Continuing the theme of cross-site co-operation, Jonathan will retain control over aftersales for the group. Chris Eccles, head of business at Bowker Blackburn, will continue to oversee group sales.
Jonathan’s previous career highlights have included roles as a TVR race technician and working as service manager at the age of 22. The previous head of business at Preston, Tom Fox, is now centre principal at Porsche Centre Preston.
Bowker MINI in Blackburn and Preston has won this year’s World MINI Social Media Competition to produce and share the best video on social media.
The accolade acknowledged Bowker MINI’s video featuring a rescue dog called George as the best from more than 40 entries alongside two other MINI centres from France and Turkey. Bowker wins national agency marketing support and a trip to Munich to pick up the prize in person.
Video star George, a terrier abandoned by previous owners nine years ago, made his acting debut in a video. The video also features George’s owner and fellow acting debutante Jess O’Neill. Jess is a marketing executive at Bowker Motor Group.
Bowker Motor Group marketing executive Jess O’Neill said: “George loved every minute of the video shoot. It was almost as though he could tell he was involved in a winning production! The humans in the video knew it would take something special to win a World title. That’s why we’re all so proud to be honoured with the prize.”
The video celebrated the feeling motorists get when they collect a new car. It tells the story of a motorist from the moment she wakes up to picking up her new MINI Electric and driving it for the very first time. The MINI Electric was launched in March 2020 and it is the first fully-electric MINI.
James Grant, MINI Retailer Marketing Manager for BMW Group United Kingdom said: “Congratulations to George the rescue dog and the team at Bowker MINI for their winning video. The competition challenged MINI centres throughout the world to develop influencer content then share on their social channels. The Bowker MINI video was judged as the most creative and innovative. We hope the Bowker representative will have a great time in Munich at the presentation.”
Bowker Motor Group marketers teamed up with local creatives Sam Mellor from Mellor Media and photographer Scott Clarkson who filmed the video together. It was shot over a day and a half in locations throughout Lancashire including Pleasington, Preston City Centre and Wrea Green.
Earlier this year, Bowker MINI centres beat off competition from more than 130 other UK centres to win the Marketing Champion category at the MINI UK Retail Awards. Bowker MINI was the only retailer group located outside of the South to be shortlisted in the marketing category. The first place finish saw Bowker MINI go one better than two years ago when they finished runner up in the same category.
Watch the winning video below:
A Lancashire rescue dog is leading a North West car retailer’s national crusade to produce and share the best video in the country on social media.
George, abandoned by previous owners 9 years ago, has made his acting debut in a video that celebrates the feeling motorists get when they collect a new car. The video is representing Bowker MINI in Blackburn and Preston in a national competition.
The video also features George’s owner and fellow acting debutante Jess O’Neill. Jess is a marketing executive at Bowker Motor Group. Together they demonstrate a motorist’s experiences from the moment she wakes up through to picking up her new MINI Electric and driving it for the very first time. The MINI Electric was launched in March 2020 and it is the first fully-electric MINI.
Bowker Motor Group marketing executive Jess O’Neill said: “George and I loved the challenge of acting in the video. George is very special to us. He is so cheeky and I think that glint in his eye comes through in the video footage. He’s not really used to the limelight. But he took his first acting and filming experience in his stride.”
The video is the automotive retailer’s entry in a national competition for MINI retailers to develop influencer content then shared on each retailer’s social channels. The video will be judged for creativity and innovation alongside others from throughout the UK.
Bowker Motor Group marketers teamed up with local creatives Sam Mellor from Mellor Media and photographer Scott Clarkson who filmed the video together. It was shot over a day and a half in locations throughout Lancashire including Pleasington, Preston City Centre and Wrea Green.
Four finalists will represent the UK and Republic of Ireland in the global competition.
Earlier this year, Bowker MINI centres beat off competition from more than 130 other UK centres to win the Marketing Champion category at the MINI UK Retail Awards. Bowker MINI was the only retailer group located outside of the South to be shortlisted in the marketing category.
The first place finish saw Bowker MINI go one better than two years ago when they finished runner up in the same category.
All Bowker Motor Group Centres are open for Sales and Aftersales, in line with Government guidance. Our main focus remains to ensure that we safely and responsibly meet the needs of our customers and staff, while doing our part to keep our community safe.
Click here for an update about Bowker BMW.
Click here for an update about Bowker MINI.
Click here for an update about Bowker Motorrad.
Click here for an update about Porsche Centre Preston.
Click here for an update about Bowker Ribble Valley.
tap into your mini
Maximise your MINI experience with the new MINI App. Thanks to its array of clever features, you can plan journeys more easily than ever before. Start from the comfort of your couch by planning your route from the app, then send it directly to your MINI’s infotainment system so you’re ready to go. Plus, you can use the MINI App on your smartphone to track down where you’ve parked and even check whether you locked your doors. And when your next service is due, the app will ping you a notification to remind you to get booked in with your Bowker MINI Centre. Download it here.
*The MINI App is compatible with all MINI vehicles from the March 2018 model year onwards in conjunction with the option ConnectedDrive Services and a compatible smartphone. For the best in-app experience, vehicles will need to be equipped with Remote Services. The availability and functions of the MINI App may vary depending on the country.
5 MINI APP HIGHLIGHTS.
● Instant access to your MINI’s status
● Direct access to your MINI Service Centre
● Clever features and functions for electric models
● Easy and efficient journey planning with navigation and maps
● Regular upgrades with exciting new features and functions
CHECK YOUR MINI’S STATUS.
The MINI App’s ‘Vehicle’ gives you visibility of your MINI’s status. Check when your next service is due, how much oil is in the engine and even whether the doors are locked or not, all from the MINI App your smartphone.
It includes the following functions:
- Vehicle Info
- Vehicle Status (oil check/service required notification)
- Remote Services (vehicle search, lock/unlock doors
- Ventilation/Climate Control
- Link to MINI Driver’s Guide
And if you drive MINI Electric or MINI Countryman Plug-in Hybrid you get these additional functions:
- E-mobility features such as Remaining Range incl. Charging Status
- Charge & Climate Timer
- Charging History
- Scan & Charge (convenient access to MINI charging)
ADD YOUR MINI TO THE MINI APP IN JUST A FEW EASY STEPS.
PERFECT JOURNEY PLANNING.
Head to the ‘map’ tab for information about upcoming journeys, locations, destinations and useful information en route. It includes:
- Map Search
- Category Search
- Free Text Search
- Dealer Search
- Charging Station Search plus Details
- Points of Interest Search (POIs)
- Destination Details
- Favourites incl. Home and Work
- Parking Detail Screen
- Send-to-car Destinations
- Share Location from another app
EVERYTHING IN THE RIGHT PLACE.
The MINI App helps to make your experience easier and more efficient than ever. Create a personal profile, check out frequently asked questions and even find helpful information about roadside assistance – all in one place. Included are features such as:
- Personal Profile
- Roadside Assistance
- Financial Services
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Report a Problem
YOUR MINI, MANAGED.
Take care of your MINI’s servicing needs with ease. Use the MINI App to manage maintenance requirements, and get push notifications when a service is due. You can even schedule appointments and request roadside assistance directly through the app. It includes:
- Service Alerts
- Recall Alerts
- Contact your Preferred Dealer
- Online Appointment Scheduling
- Roadside Assistance
The MINI Electric Pacesetter inspired by JCW is the new Safety Car for the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship race series. As such, it connects the brand’s electrified future with the rich racing history of John Cooper Works. The car was created out of the new MINI Electric as part of an unprecedented collaboration between MINI Design, BMW Motorsport, the FIA and the Formula E.
Electric drive meets John Cooper Works.
“We have already shown how well driving fun and electric mobility go together with the MINI Electric,” says Bernd Körber, Head of MINI. “However, the MINI Electric Pacesetter inspired by JCW goes at least a step further and blends the performance character of the John Cooper Works brand with electric mobility.
This extreme version of the MINI Electric has been developed as the Safety Car in the Formula E, so is clearly not intended for use on public roads. But it does reveal one of the directions we could take with the electrification of the JCW brand. For me, the message is clear: electrification and John Cooper Works are a good fit.”
Dynamism maximised – the exterior design.
The exterior of the MINI Electric Pacesetter inspired by JCW has been purpose-built for life on the track and represents the most dynamic interpretation yet of a MINI with all-electric power. “The design is an exciting symbiosis of technical precision and emotion,” explains Oliver Heilmer, Head of MINI Design. “Here, function dictates form, and many design elements have been shaped by technical considerations.
For example, we worked closely with our colleagues at BMW Motorsport to develop the form of the wheel arches and front and rear aprons, and the optimisation programme for them included weight-saving measures. This visually striking, technically precise design language gives the car its pervasive sense of emotional engagement and excitement.”
At the front of the car, classic MINI icons such as the circular headlights and hexagonal radiator grille create the familiar, easily recognisable MINI face. At the same time, signature John Cooper Works elements, such as wheel arches adapted to the car’s track width and the deep front apron with additional front splitters to the left and right, enhance the sporting visuals of the front end. The blanked off “radiator grille” and MINI Electric logo point to the electric “heart” of the Safety Car.
As virtually no drive system cooling is required through the upper area of the grille, the front end is largely enclosed to aid aerodynamics. The only exceptions are the area below the grille and the eye-catching, almost squared-off apertures for brake cooling. The Safety Car’s white flashing lights are integrated harmoniously into the bonnet. Characteristic MINI bonnet stripes extend over the roof to the rear end.
Showcasing MINI’s racing genes – the flanks.
The MINI Electric Pacesetter inspired by JCW also cuts an extremely dynamic figure from the side. The interplay of geometrically accentuated spats (with carefully placed aero edges) and sporty side skirts gives the car the appearance of powering forward even before it turns a wheel. Together with the increased-diameter wheels, which almost fill the wheel arches, these elements strengthen the time-honoured MINI “stance on the wheels”. The spats and spoilers are made – or more precisely 3D printed from recycled carbon fibre – in Oxford.
Yellow accent lines and surfaces on the aero elements (e.g. the spats, skirts and rear wing) provide a nod to the airflow optimisation taking place in these areas and add a visual flourish to the air deflectors and aero edges. The lightweight 18-inch forged wheels in bi-colour black-neon/orange design bring significant visual depth and added intricacy to the four-spoke items from the MINI John Cooper Works GP.
The respective colour worlds of the MINI Electric and John Cooper Works brand merge into a single statement here. The main body colour is a matt silver which extends back beyond the centre-point of the car. A high-gloss wrap with a two-stage colour gradient – from Highspeed Orange to Curbside Red metallic – then covers the rest of the body to the rear.
The contrast between matt and gloss surfaces brings extra smoothness to the silhouette, while the clear, diagonal separation lines between the different colours injects further dynamism. On the flanks, a chequered flag-inspired pattern shares the stage with a large MINI Electric logo, which can also be found in the radiator grille, on the roof and at the rear end. The Safety Car brief also brings regulations-specific and sponsor-related graphics, which add further visual intensity to the car’s racing character.
Broad and eye-catching – the rear.
The rear end in black and Curbside Red metallic uses yellow accent surfaces to extend the eye-catching design language from the front end and flanks, and makes an extremely modern and dynamic statement. The prominent roof-mounted rear wing with air through-flow and yellow accent lines also integrates the signal light unit and was 3D printed at Plant Oxford. The flared wheel arches accentuate the car’s wide track and transition seamlessly into the pronounced rear apron. The rear apron has cut-outs around the wheels, clearing the view to the higher-grip racing tyres. Between the wheels sits an unadorned diffuser. When the car is viewed from this angle, the accents in Energetic Yellow and lack of exhaust tailpipes identify this as a car powered by an electric drive system.
Reduced to the max – the interior.
The interior is stripped back to the absolute essentials; only the front seats remain. The driver’s area consists of a certified seat with six-point belt approved for both racing and road use, a steering wheel with minimalist-design carbon fibre impact absorber and a digital instrument cluster. The central information display makes way for a carbon fibre cover here to further reduce weight. The centre console houses the gearshift lever, handbrake and controls for the necessary signal lights – all in exposed carbon fibre.
The likewise pared-back carbon-fibre door panels with window and door openers contain cloth straps to make closing the doors easier. Another central feature of the interior is the welded-in roll cage, which maximises safety. And the remainder of the stripped-out interior structure is also painted in typical racing white (for functional reasons).
Bespoke 3D-printed parts for the interior.
The steering wheel’s minimalist impact absorber and the boost panel on the right-hand side of the wheel are high-quality, custom-made components, likewise the centre console cowling and door panelling on the driver’s side. Another highlight are the removable pads on the sport seat, which are likewise 3D-printed and whose innovative structure combines comfort, robustness and modularity. The thickness, hardness and colour of the pads can be adapted as required according to the physiognomy, weight and personal taste of the driver at hand.
Ready for the race track, helped by knowhow from BMW Motorsport.
Behind the visually powerful design of the MINI Electric Pacesetter inspired by JCW lies the expertise of BMW Motorsport. Rigorous adherence to lightweight design principles gives the Safety Car a kerb weight of approx. 1,230 kg – which makes it approx. 130 kg lighter than the standard MINI Electric.
The drive system – also based on that found in the MINI Electric – produces 135 kW and 280 Nm (206 lb-ft), which enables the MINI Electric Pacesetter inspired by JCW to sprint from 0-62 mph in 6.7 seconds (standard model: 7.3 s) and from 0-37 mph in 3.6 seconds (standard model: 3.9 s). Even more important for a Safety Car, though, are the mid-range figures. Here, the MINI Electric Pacesetter inspired by JCW showcases all the talents of its torque-rich electric drive system with single-speed transmission, enabling a 75 mph time of 4.3 seconds (standard model: 4.6 s).
The drive system teams up with racing coilover suspension (three-way adjustable for rebound, compression, height and camber) to deliver maximum go-kart feeling. Race-spec suspension control arm mountings, a 10 mm increase in track width, plus the four-piston brakes and wheels from the MINI John Cooper Works GP with Michelin Pilot Sport tyres (size 245/40 R18) round off the overall package.
Premiere at the Rome E-Prix on 10.04.2021
The MINI Electric Pacesetter inspired by JCW will come into use in Rome on 10 April 2021 at the second event (Race 3) of Formula E’s 2021 season. At the wheel will be official Formula E Safety Car driver Bruno Correia, as BMW i Andretti Motorsport drivers Maximilian Guenther (GER) and Jake Dennis (GBR) battle it out for victory in their BMW iFE.21 racers.
“Agility, performance and a cool looking car. The MINI Electric Pacesetter Safety Car of FIA Formula E World Championship has got it all. Very fun to drive, it feels like karting”, said Correia.
A lot of MINI Electric is what you know and love about the MINI Hatch already. Its iconic design and legendary responsive handling. The innovative tech. The ability to customise it to your taste (did we mention the six handsome colour options available?). But the new fully electric motor takes things to a whole new level. So, if you’re looking for a car that’s all torque, as well as action, then let us introduce the latest MINI Electric. It feels better than ever, with immediate oomph thanks to instant torque. And it looks better than ever too. With a sharper, sleeker update to its legendary MINI look and, of course, that MINI Electric feeling.
REASONS TO MAKE THE SWITCH TO mini ELECTRIC.
Now MINI Electric is here, you can make the switch to electric without losing any of the things you love about MINI. Need any more reasons to make the switch to MINI Electric? Read on.
ELECTRIC COSTS LESS.
The cost of electricity can be up to two thirds less than what you’re paying for petrol or diesel. When it comes to cost per mile, the news gets even better. Compared to a traditional petrol or diesel car, going fully electric could cut costs by up to three quarters or more. MINI Electric makes your money go further too. At just 4p per mile, it’s around 2.5 to 6 times cheaper than driving a petrol or diesel.
ELECTRIC CAR CHARGING POINTS.
Charging MINI Electric is just as easy on the go. The UK network of public charging points is growing every day. And MINI Navigation will plan your route taking into account the 9,000+ charging points already available across the UK.
MINI have partnered with bp pulse, meaning MINI Electric drivers can charge up easily at over 7,000 public charging points using both AC and Rapid DC chargers.
CLEANER MEANS GREENER.
Bid farewell to traditional fuels and start living a little greener? With zero exhaust emissions, you’re creating less pollution as you drive. And by switching to a sustainable energy supplier, like MINI’s partner OVO Energy, you can reduce your environmental impact even more.
LOW MAINTENANCE MILES.
An electric car motor is less complex than a combustion engine. And because there are fewer moving parts, it means there’s less wear and tear, so maintenance can be kept to a minimum. When it’s time for a service, we can help you keep the costs down too with our simple monthly payment plans.
FILL UP AT HOME.
With MINI Electric, you’ll wake up every morning raring to go. Just plug in to a standard home socket overnight to recharge the battery whilst you’re sleeping. If you want more efficient charging, we recommend installing a Wallbox at home.
SMOOTHER, QUICKER, QUIETER.
One of the first things you notice when driving an electric car is how calm it feels inside. With no noise from the engine, you feel more relaxed and connected to the world outside. Without the need to change gear, accelerating feels smooth and effortless with instant torque from the electric motor. And when you put your foot down, there’s an immediate response and surge of speed that makes an electric vehicle ideal for city driving.
SAVE WITH A GOVERNMENT GRANT.
MINI Electric has been given a Category 1 rating by the government, which means you can receive a £2,500 grant towards the purchase price. Plus, if you’re buying a MINI Electric for your business, there’s a BIK rate of 0% from April 2020.
As electric vehicles produce no emissions, they are exempt from Vehicle Emissions Duty (VED). In London, they are also exempt from the congestion charge, as long as drivers apply for the 100% discount. And exempt from the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) too.
MORE ABOUT MINI ELECTRIC.
FEELS LIKE ELECTRIC, LOOKS LIKE MINI.
A lot of MINI Electric is what you know and love about the MINI Hatch already. Its iconic design and legendary responsive handling. The innovative tech. The ability to customise it to your taste (did we mention the six handsome colour options available?). But the new fully electric motor takes things to a whole new level.
A charging solution for electric vehicle customers
We know that many Motability customers are interested in electric vehicles but are concerned with charging them. So, as part of the worry-free motoring package, the Motability Scheme are offering customers who place an application for full battery electric vehicles an ‘at home’ charge point at no additional cost, in partnership with BP Pulse.
If you don’t have access to off-street parking, then instead you’ll be given access to a network of charging points for easy on-street charging.
What costs are involved?
There are no costs for BP Pulse to supply and install a home charge point, but if there is work required to gain access to your electricity supply then you’ll have to cover these costs. Also, customers are responsible for paying for the electricity used to charge their car.
If you would prefer to use an alternative supplier you can do so, but this will be at your own cost. Motability insist that customers have some sort of provision in place before they deliver an electric vehicle, this is to ensure your continued mobility throughout your lease. If you are considering an electric vehicle you will need to have access to a charge point to recharge the battery and pay for the electricity that is used.
What will I need to do?
During your application for a full battery electric vehicle we will ask if you would like to take advantage of the charging solution. All you need to do is say yes, we will then pass your contact details onto BP Pulse.
You’ll then be contacted by BP Pulse directly who will arrange the provision of a charging solution.
You can discover the full range of cars on the Scheme here. If you are already a customer and are coming up to the end of your three-year contract, please contact one of our team and they will advise how to change to an electric vehicle.
Interested in Joining the Motability Scheme?
For more information about joining and possibly leasing one of the vehicles available on the scheme, we have Motability trained and award-winning specialists who are ready to answer your questions and help you choose your car. We’ll also guide you through the simple process and complete all the paperwork for you.
To find out more, please complete the form on this page and we’ll be in touch. Alternatively, call our friendly Motability specialists at Bowker Preston MINI on 01772 761234 or at Bowker Blackburn MINI on 01254 274333.
This year, the theme for International Women’s Day “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world,” celebrates the tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and highlights the gaps that remain.
Bowker Motor Group is proud to employ many women who have helped to lead us through these uncertain times. To celebrate International Women’s Day we challenged them to share their proudest achievement and offer some advice in the spirit of equality and a better future.
Happy International Women’s Day!!
Amy Lancaster-Hall: Group Marketing Manager
Seeing my team’s dedication recognised when we win franchise marketing awards. There’s no better feeling.
Be understanding, approachable and always offer to help.
Lauren Grigg: CRM Controller
I’m most proud of my travelling trip around the world! It was a life changing experience that had its highs and lows, and made me far more resilient. I met so many people from different backgrounds and visited some incredible, and breathtakingly beautiful, places! Growing up, I was always a shy and nervous person, and even now I can hardly believe that I managed to safely navigate my way around 15 countries, without losing my passport, luggage or friends! It will always be a huge highlight of my life which I will never forget. Each experience I had (including sky-diving at 16,000 feet, and bungee jumping off the highest bungee bridge in the world!) has helped me become the woman I am today, and for that I will always be grateful.
Always have ‘me time’ in between the stresses of life. Don’t be too hard on yourself! Eat the cake and drink the wine 🙂
Jennifer Sage: Group Marketing Executive
My proudest achievement is the fact that I used lockdown to learn many new things, from learning how to bake bread, pizza dough with stuffed crust and many Romanian desserts, to becoming a painter, decorator and plumber, completing a number of jobs around the house. During lockdown my partner and I also tried our hands at gardening, like many others, growing our own tomatoes, shallots and chillies.
Be supportive, willing to listen and push yourself and others to reach their potential.
Aimee Keane: Group HR Manager
My proudest achievement is studying for my CIPD qualification while raising a young family and working full time. Although it was challenging, it gave me the opportunity to progress in my previous employment and opened the door to further progression in other businesses.
I was offered my current position during maternity leave with my 2nd child. I made the decision to return from maternity leave early to start my new challenge; working for an established family business in a job where I feel valued. I enjoy supporting the business and the employees.
Support each other, always listen and offer an open-door policy. Continue personal progression – don’t wait for good things to happen, go get out there and make them happen 🙂
Katie Needham: New Car Sales Executive
During the pandemic, I found myself feeling quite low and hating the role I was in. While wiping tears away from my face, I picked up the phone and started contacting dealerships in my local area. I managed to secure a couple of interviews, one of them being at Bowker Motor Group.
There is no such thing as a man’s world. When I first started in the motor trade, there were not many female salespeople. I was actually the first one at my first dealership, this pushed me on to do better. Just because you are the first at something or you feel like it’s male dominated, you can be the person that changes that. Since my start, the company has employed numerous women to join the team. Don’t be scared, if you don’t ask then the answer will always be no! Push yourself and always have faith in yourself. If a man can do it, chances are a woman will do it better!
Phillipa Wachter: Showroom Team Leader
Moving to Abu Dhabi at 23 on my own to start a career as Cabin Crew for Etihad Airways.
Surround yourself with positive people and support other women in your company and your personal life.
We’ve outrun jet fighters, ended up in orbit, let children take over the dealership and received visitations through magic tins of beans.
Here, we take a trip down memory lane with the complete collection of Bowker Christmas Videos over the years.
Which one was your favourite?
2011 – 12 Days of Christmas
2012 Children Takeover the Dealership
2013 Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer
Here it is! We're pleased to bring you the 2015 Bowker Motor Group Christmas Car-aoke. We hope you have as much fun watching it as we had making it! Merry Christmas.
Posted by Bowker Motor Group on Sunday, December 13, 2015
2016 Doggie Test Drive
2017 Telephone Challenge
2018 Bowker Beans
2019 Here’s to Lancashire Families
Andrew Holden, who works at Bowker BMW and MINI in Blackburn, has been honoured as the best Motability specialist in the country.
The award recognised Andrew as the best from over 18,000 motability specialists in the country. It acknowledges consistently high standards of service and support to customers of the Motability Car Scheme throughout 2018.
What is Motability?
The Motability Scheme is the UK’s leading car scheme for disabled people. It provides affordable, convenient, worry-free motoring to over 600,000 disabled customers and their families.
Andrew joined Bowker over five years ago, but has over 15 years experience in the role at dealerships throughout East Lancashire. Last year, Andrew was commended as one of the top two Motability specialists in the country.
“I was commended last year. And that was a proud achievement. So to go one better this year has been a wonderful surprise. I work hard to help our motability customers enjoy the very best options that the scheme has to offer.
“In many cases we see time and time again how a car transforms our customers’ quality of life. So it’s a particularly rewarding part of the motoring retail industry. And I’m proud to be a part of it.”
The Motability Scheme Dealer Awards
The Motability Scheme Dealer Awards programme rewards best practice and ensures customers receive exemplary customer service across the nationwide car dealer network.
With prizes available across nine categories, the awards are judged on how a dealer delivers the Scheme to customers, and is assessed by customer feedback and reviews of their Motability Scheme performance.
Richard Povey, dealer development manager – Dealer Relations at Motability Operations Ltd, said:
“We are extremely proud of the achievements all our winners, including Andrew at Bowker BMW and MINI, have achieved. It’s great to see the high level of service delivered by our dealer network and we are pleased to present the latest 2019 Dealer Awards. The annual Awards allow us to thank dealers for providing consistently positive customer service, highlighting those who are doing it well and encouraging others to do the same.
“It is a testament to the outstanding standard, professional approach, and expert knowledge of Andrew at Bowker BMW and MINI that he has been recognised as a winning specialist – congratulations to him for his well-deserved 2019 Dealer Award.”
As MINI continues to celebrate its 60th anniversary, the brand has achieved a new feat as the ten millionth MINI produced globally since 1959 rolled off the assembly line.
The landmark car – a MINI 60 Years Anniversary Edition – was built on July 24th 2019 at MINI Plant Oxford and will take pride of place in today’s special event at Oxford.
To celebrate the brand’s 60th anniversary, MINI has been on the hunt for 60 owners of 60 cars, one from each year of production – with 60 personal stories from across the decades. Shared across the MINI digital channels throughout the year, the stories from owners around the UK shows the love they have for their cars and the important part they have played in so many people’s lives.
Today, MINI has bought together these cars at Plant Oxford for a special birthday gathering, before heading to the International MINI Meeting in Bristol, an annual festival for MINI fans globally. The cars will be led by 621 AOK – the very first Mini built – with the 10 millionth MINI bringing up the rear.
Launched in 1959 and designed by Alec Issigonis, the classic Mini revolutionised the automotive world and was produced at Oxford until 1968, before moving to Longbridge, near Birmingham, where it continued to be built until October 2000. Between 1959 and 2000 more than 5.3 classic Minis were built.
Since the brand’s rebirth in 2001 under BMW ownership, sales around the world have gone from strength to strength. Last year nearly 400,000 MINIs were sold in 110 countries across the globe.
Three UK plants have a part to play in MINIs production today – Hams Hall near Birmingham makes engines, Swindon produces the body pressings and sub-assemblies for MINI, and this all comes together at the Oxford manufacturing plant with body shell production, paint and final assembly.
Daily output at Oxford has grown from around 300 cars a day in 2001 to around 1,000 today. The 4,500 strong workforce at Oxford produce one new MINI every 67 seconds.
Since 2000, over £2 billion has been invested by BMW Group in its UK manufacturing sites and, at Oxford this has included an extension to the plants body shop and new facilities in the paint shop and final assembly areas. In November 2019 the MINI Electric will begin production at Oxford and mark the beginning of a new era for the brand.
Peter Weber, managing director, MINI Plant Oxford and Swindon, said “As we celebrate 60 years of our iconic brand and look towards an electric future, I would like to thank everyone who has made MINI such a global success, from my team here to the loyal customers and fans around the world. To see the 10 millionth MINI roll of the production line here at Oxford was a moment of great pride for the whole team, a number of whom have relatives who were here building the very first Minis in 1959. This is a wonderful chapter in the MINI story and proof of the passion that our customers have for this very special British car.”
Just as Alec Issigonis’ first car did in 1959, MINI has continued to push the boundaries, whilst keeping creative use of space, driving fun, style and individualisation at its core.
Models built at Oxford today include the three and five door MINI Hatch and MINI Clubman. Around 80 per cent of MINIs built in Oxford are exported. The Convertible and Countryman models are built in The Netherlands.
Lancashire-based Bowker Motor Group has appointed Preston-based Warden Construction Limited to build the new 43,000 square feet Porsche Centre in the city.
Demolition began on site at Watery Lane in July and has now been completed. Construction work is due to commence with the new Porsche Centre opening in Spring 2019.
Warden Construction Limited was founded in 1954 and specialises in construction, refurbishment, development and maintenance solutions across a whole range of sectors. The company recently built the AFC Fylde stadium complex at Mill Farm in Wesham.
Bowker Motor Group chief executive, Paul Bowker, said: “Congratulations to Warden Construction. We are looking forward to working with them as the Porsche Centre Preston takes shape.
“Wherever possible, we prefer to work with Lancashire companies. Bowker Motor Group’s strategy to work with the world’s most prestigious automotive brands unlocks exciting opportunities for other local businesses too. That’s why we spoke to a selection highly-regarded Lancashire construction companies before we appointed Warden.
“Warden faced some stiff competition to win the business. But there was a good fit with our respective project teams: not least with their experience; and, their passion to deliver a remarkable new building on a landmark site for Preston.”
The multi-million pound investment in the new Porsche Centre Preston will create over 30 jobs. Preston will be the 40th Porsche Centre in the UK network.
For Warden, managing director Richard Kenworthy said: “Everyone at Warden is delighted to be working with Bowker Motor Group on such a prestigious retail development. It’s an area of Preston that many of us have driven past all our lives. That’s why we are proud to be part of a construction project which will transform the area.”
The designs for the new Porsche Centre Preston were prepared by Preston-based architects Cassidy and Ashton.
The building design features a 35-car showroom and a 13-bay workshop. There are also two customer handover bays; two direct dialogue bays which enable service advisors to demonstrate scope of technical work from every perspective; and, also EV charging points.
Porsche Cars GB Limited confirmed its decision to appoint Bowker Motor Group to operate its new Lancashire Centre in September 2017.
Bowker Motor Group has celebrated the start of installation of the steel which will form the main structure for the new Porsche Centre Preston.
The structure will give motorists passing the site on Watery Lane in Preston their first indication of the scale of the new 43,000 square feet Porsche Centre in the city. The building which is scheduled to open in Spring 2019.
Bowker Motor Group chief executive, Paul Bowker, said: “The steel structure gives the whole project a sense of reality. The computer images our designers generated during the planning stage give a great indication of how the whole area will be regenerated. But raising the steel structure is a proud moment and the first visible step in the transformation.”
Preston-based Warden Construction Limited were confirmed as the project’s main building contractors last month. And the designs for the new Porsche Centre Preston were prepared by Preston-based architects Cassidy and Ashton.
Paul adds: “It’s a great moment for the city too. The project showcases the skills of many local businesses and individuals. We hope Prestonians will be proud that so many involved in the project come from the city.”
When it opens, the building will feature a 35-car showroom and a 13-bay workshop. There are also two customer handover bays; two direct dialogue bays which enable service advisors to demonstrate scope of technical work from every perspective; and, also EV charging points with DC charge.