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VW's last 'van shed' faces the chop

Any suggestion that Volkswagen light commercial vehicles were ever treated as second class product and its customers as less important than the manufact-urer's new car buyers should be history by the end of this year.

The last remaining 'backyard' van sales and service office – a portable cabin in Worcester – is due to be removed to make way for a fully dedicated VW Van Centre, the 85th in a national network that has taken five years to build.

“We were toying with the idea of bringing in a ball and chain to demolish the unit as a symbolic gesture, but it's actually one of the better ones – some were little more than sheds. There was even a sea freight container on one site,” says Peter Wyhinny, appointed by VW as director of commercial vehicles in 1999 to create a customer-focused approach to LCV sales and service.

The strategy produced standalone environments with specialist staff, specially equipped workshops, comprehensive stocks of genuine VW parts, access to demonstration and replacement vehicles, and more flexible opening hours. The network covers 90 per cent of the country and is unlikely to grow by more than one or two units.

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