If you want to buy a Ford in Sussex, there tends to be only one business to visit and that is Birchwood Ford in Eastbourne, Hastings and Halland. But not just Ford as now you can also visit them for Skoda, Kia and Mitsubishi. Maarten Hoffman asked their Marketing and IT Director, Paula Kemp about the Group.
MH: So Paula, how long have you been with the company?
PK: I have been with the company for 8 years and l love every minute of the job. It is such a forward looking company and happy place to work that the years have just flown by. Birchwood have been operating for over 20 years in Sussex but over recent years has undergone a complete operational restructure, enabling our expansion with new franchises and specialist outlets such as our Ford Transit Centre and FordStore status.
MH: Where did the restructure all all start?
PK: From our solid base as a longstanding Ford franchise, we have added Skoda in 2008, Kia in 2009 and Mitsubishi in 2016 which are all great brands that sell very well indeed.
MH: How large is the company now?
PK: We have over 200 employees and have locations throughout Sussex with our Head Office based in sunny Eastbourne. We have a purpose built Transit Centre that came on-line in 2014 to sell and service the complete Transit family, which remains the best selling van in the country. Our Transit Centre Manager Bradley Harris, works hard with the sales and aftersales team to ensure that we keep our vans on the road therefore ensuring that any servicing downtime does not affect the customers business. With overnight servicing and late night opening our service departments are able to offer a friendly, flexible service for all our customers. We also invest in apprentices from Sussex Downs College which has proved to be a tremendous way forward in bringing new staff into the company and maintaining our strong community links to the area.
MH: I have yet to review the Ford Vignale range - what is different about it?
PK: The Vignale range is really very special and customers will eventually be able to choose from the Mondeo, S-Max, Kuga SUV and the new Edge SUV in the Vignale range. Each model comes with the exclusive Vignale grill, hand-stitched premium leather seats, redesigned bodywork, unique paint, special alloy wheels and a long list of interior extras. It is the premium end of the Ford range and is quite easily on a par with the German premium brands. The range also comes with Ford’s latest SYNC 3 infotainment centre with an 8 inch touchscreen and voice control. Simply say ‘ I need a coffee” and the Sat Nav system will automatically guide you to the nearest coffee shop. In 2015, we were appointed by Ford UK as the only FordStore in the whole of Sussex, which is a huge honour. This means we were first in the county to offer the entire Ford range, including the Focus RS and the new Mustang. All of these fantastic vehicles are displayed in a cutting edge showroom environment with helpful technology and features to help you discover more about the Ford range along with all of our products and services.
MH: Do you cater for businesses looking to purchase?
PK: We certainly do. We offer attractive leasing and contract hire deals therefore removing any concerns about future value and can offer that over 1 - 4 years. For example, business can get into the new Focus for only £199 per month or the premium Mondeo Vignale for only £274 per month which is remarkable value. We can also take care of all the servicing and offer support throughout the contract. I did a little independent research and found that the reevoo website notes that Birchwood customer satisfaction is 92% when asked if the customer would recommend Birchwood to a friend or whether they would purchase their next vehicle for them, which is one of the highest ratings on the site.
Birchwood certainly seem to have it all, are embedded into the community, employ over 200 local staff and offer a superb service on a great range of cars.Birchwood certainly seem to have it all, are embedded into the community, employ over 200 local staff and offer a superb service on a great range of cars.
Birch Road, Eastbourne,
East Sussex BN23 6PX
T: 01323 407101