Craig, can you tell us a little about your background please?
I joined BMW Bournemouth from Ridgeway Volkswagen in Newbury. My role here is fairly similar to what I was doing at Volkswagen, in that I head up the business and manage the team, from sales managers to aftersales managers and parts managers.
What are the key differences between this business and Ridgeway Volkswagen?
There’s not a lot of difference between the areas of Newbury and Bournemouth. Both are very much aligned with the ideals and aspirations of the BMW brand. In terms of the geography, the local customers are loyal and have no real reason to travel outside of Bournemouth to buy a car, and it was the same with Newbury.
Is the Ridgeway logo as recognisable in Bournemouth as it was in Newbury?
This is key. The main difference is that Ridgeway Volkswagen is a very dominant badge in the Newbury area, but BMW in Bournemouth isn’t as prevalent. We can protect that by offering great customer service There’s a new, enhanced customer focus, Ridgeway has a home territory of Newbury and Oxfordshire and we have ventured south with BMW Bournemouth, so
we have to work to ensure the name is as well-recognised. When you come and see the facility and have a chat with the people who work here you will realise that.
What are you excited about for the BMW brand at the moment?
The new BMW 7 Series is launching on 22 October, and we’re hosting a launch. That’s a superb car. I’m excitedly awaiting what’s around the corner, as it’s an exciting time for the brand. With so many models, and such frequent launches of new cars as well as regular updates to the existing range, it’s certainly an exciting brand to be a part of.
So Jack, I understand you studied law?
I certainly did, at Cardiff University, graduating in 2013. My family has always been hugely into cars, and I've been brought up around BMWs and classic vehicles. My dad has a couple of classics himself. So I came into the car industry. I thought I’d go back to law eventually, but I’m enjoying the motor trade far too much.
When did you join Ridgeway BMW?
I joined just over two years ago. I started as a product genius, and moved into sales in January 2014. I’m really enjoying it. At the moment, I’m actually working towards winning the Ridgeway incentive trip to Marbella. It’s a prize given out to the best all-round sales performer from each site. I was lucky enough to win in March, and we went to the Four Seasons Hotel in Hampshire. We spent a few evenings in London, including one at the Shard.
Which models have customers been particularly excited about?
The BMW 2 Series and 5 Series have been very popular, because of the competitive finance. But the launch that people are most excited about is of the BMW 7 Series. I'm the 7 Series specialist for the branch, so I'm really looking forward to that, and very excited to see the car. I’ll make sure that we give 7 Series customers the best experience we possibly can.
Hi Dan. What does being an i Brand Manager involve?
I'll be looking after all BMW hybrid and electric cars. The i3 is 100% electric, and the i8 is hybrid. For customers new to electric cars, it's a lifestyle change. We go home and plug in a mobile phone, and now we're plugging our cars in. It takes a bit of re-education.
Have people been responsive so far?
Absolutely, the best thing I've done is to get them into the car, because it drives the same as a BMW. But at the same time, it's costing just over £2 for 100 miles. So it's cost-effective, plus there's no road fund licence. The i8 is a supercar. I took it to a show last week in Basingstoke and the reception was amazing. The acceleration is astounding. Plus, there’s great practicality under its good looks.
How did you get to know the i range?
When I started I did about three weeks’ worth of research. After that, I knew that this is where the industry is going; this is where people are going to be in five years. I think BMW is ten years ahead of the average car.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I'm quite active within football and I run a team called West Mullen, based in Bournemouth, and also play in goal. I'm a keen golfer too.
Hi Richard. How long have you been at BMW Hampshire?
I started on September 1, and it's been very busy. I came from Ridgeway Kidlington Volkswagen, and I liked the idea of working with a premium brand again. I also liked the idea of saving two hours travelling everyday! I live in Basingstoke, and I'm now just a 12-minute drive away. I've always been a fan of the brand, so it's a great combination for me.
How has your first month been?
It was a very busy September, and the approach has been customer-focused. We've made sure there's transparency across everything, as well as some great value deals for customers. We're taking every opportunity possible to help out the customer.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I'm into my sport - cycling, swimming, running. I compete in the Iron Man, which is a race of all three - a 3.8km swim, a 180km bike ride, and then a marathon to finish. My last one was in Zurich. I prefer to go abroad because it's warmer, there's nothing worse than spending all day out in the rain!
How did you start at Ridgeway BMW?
I came in originally to buy a MINI, and while I was there I said to a salesperson, "I love it here, you make everybody feel so welcome - I want to be part of your team". She suggested that I see if there were any jobs, and there was. A month later, here I am! I'm really enjoying it. I just decided to go for it and change my career.
So you weren't in automotive beforehand?
My background is medical. I've always been customer-facing, so I thought I'd start on reception and work my way into sales. I live locally, my children go to school two minutes away, and it just worked. I wanted to be part of this team, and I love the MINI and BMW brands so much already.
How has your first month been?
Everyone has been extremely welcoming, the atmosphere is very positive, and I feel that Ridgeway and BMW are prestigious companies to work for. There's a great team spirit too. I've only been here a month but it feels longer, and I actually look forward to coming in to work.
Does being local add to that atmosphere?
Definitely. I've lived in Hook for 17 years, so I know everyone that comes in or rings up. Hook's only 2.5 miles all the way round so it's like being in the school playground sometimes!
Hi Ben. Could you tell us a little bit about your background please?
I first joined the brand with MINI and became Used Car Manager. In December I took the Head of Business position here, and I'm transferring all the skills I've learnt to my current role.
Is there a particularly popular BMW model?
Our core models - 1 Series, 3 Series and 5 Series - have been a great success, primarily because we've made them so much more affordable in terms of monthly payment schemes. At present our range is affordable as maybe a slightly less prestigious brand, so we've opened up ourselves to a new market.
What would be your pick of the bunch?
I think for me the BMW X5 at the moment represents a really good car. And whereas before four wheel drives could be expensive to run, it offers an affordable option. We've made something that generally is quite an expensive purchase affordable to run.
What do you do with your spare time?
I like taking the dog for a walk and holidays in Devon and Cornwall. I've also found myself enjoying wine a little more, and I'd say Pinot Noir is probably my favourite. I also love Hotel Chocolat, but I seem to struggle only taking one when there's a box about!
Hi Georgia. So, why did you apply for the Ridgeway's Got Talent recruitment night?
I came across the advert for Ridgeway's Got Talent online and I attached my CV. Thankfully, a couple of days later I received a call to attend. There was a large group of us and we had to solve a series of tasks. I then heard a week later they wanted me as a Service Advisor, so I came for a trial shift. I've been here two months now.
Do you enjoy working as a Service Advisor?
It's quite a challenging role, but I love it. I love helping customers, as customer service is something I have experience of and I enjoy.
How are you settling in?
I'm really enjoying it and working with a great team. The job is completely different, as I came from a retail environment. Everyone's been really friendly and I feel like I've settled in well.
Are you a fan of BMW?
Absolutely. I love them and it would be tough to choose a favourite. I'd probably go for a BMW 1 Series, but I do sometimes get jealous that I don't have a nice new BMW!
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I enjoy hanging out with my cats Steve and King Merlin, but I'm not crazy cat lady, I promise. I also enjoy seeing my friends and relaxing.