ONE of the North-East’s best-known motor dealers has achieved the national kitemark for excellence at its bodyshop after investing in training and equipment.
Sherwoods Motor Group has been awarded the highest level of accreditation for its bodyshop at Washington by the British Standards Institution (BSI).
The BSI 10125 accreditation is only granted to repairers with the technical competence, management systems and procedures to operate to the highest standards.
Sherwoods was established as a family business in the 1920s, and last year acquired the Springfield Motor Group – incorporating Peugeot, Citroen and Suzuki franchises at Gateshead – as well as taking over Durham Peugeot.
The deal also included taking over a large mechanical workshop, bodyshop and used car outlet at Washington.
Sherwoods has invested nearly £70,000 in two new environmentally-friendly Searose spray booths, as well as installing LED throughout the 30,000 sq. ft premises, and raising skill levels.
Bodyshop manager Marc Madden, who worked for Springfield for almost 20 years before the takeover deal, said: “Receiving the BSI 10125 is the highest recognition it is possible for a bodyshop to get, and a requirement of leading insurance companies.
“It is real testament to the investment made by Sherwoods in equipment and training, which has taken the business to a new level.
“The new spray booths and lighting have significantly improved our efficiency and reduced our carbon footprint, which is increasingly important during these difficult times. Due to the new booths increasing our capacity, we are actively seeking new work supply.”
Sherwoods has also been awarded several manufacturer approvals, including one encompassing all PSA Group brands, including Peugeot, Citroen, DS Automobiles, and Vauxhall. It has also recently won work for Royal Sun Alliance Motability operations.
Due to the bodyshop’s established reputation for quality, Sherwoods has also retained the contract to manage accident and repair work for five Vertu Honda dealerships at Newcastle, Sunderland, Durham, Stockton and Morpeth.
It is now hoped the BSI 10125 accreditation will lead to increased business and, therefore, more jobs being created at the site.
Evidence of the quality of the training at the company is that apprentice panel-beater Lewis Telford was recently named Gateshead College’s apprentice of the year in the automotive accident and repair sector.
Sherwoods managing director Simon MacConachie, pictured below with father Alasdair, said: “Despite these challenging and uncertain times, our strategy has been to go on investing in the future, and strengthening what was already a highly respected business.
“The kitemark approval confirms the excellent standard that Marc and his team adhere to, and I’m proud to see them get the recognition they deserve.”