AM Online

Auto industry veterans get set to aid Ukraine war refugees

The scene at Zamosc in Poland as Ukraine refugees arrive fleeing Russian attacks (picture by Steve Taylor)

Two UK motor retail veterans are appealing for essential kit to help fill vans they're sending to a Polish town inundated with refugees from Russia's war on Ukraine.

Steve Jones, head of southern retail at Autoclenz, and Lisa Ford, former MotorVillage managing director and Mana Automobiles operations director, will send supplies including sleeping bags, towels and children's medicine to the town of Zamosc in Poland.

Ford and Jones are coordinating to ensure the supplies will be boxed and labelled correctly, which is one of the measures required to get through France's customs processes.

They are appealing for an automotive business with unused warehousing or storage space to allow the donations to be gathered in one central place.  

"Zamosc is a town with a population of just 15,000. Now around 800 refugees are arriving daily from the Ukraine by train," said Ford.

Their friend Steve Taylor, who was a director of London-based M&A Coachworks until 2012 when he emigrated to Poland to teach English, will help distribute the supplies on the ground in Zamosc.

He has also set up a JustGiving page here.

In a Facebook video yesterday Taylor was visibly emotional as he described the scene in the town, and the despair of the refugees arriving

Items that are needed urgently: 

Sleeping Bags Calpol Paracetamol
Children's gloves New underwear and socks Nappies
Power banks for phones Women's sanitary items Towels
Canned food (ideally that requires little/no heating, eg fish, fruit, ham etc) Unopened powdered milk for infants AA or AAA batteries
Camping or folding beds    

Ford added: "The town has no infrastructure to cope with the influx; the local petrol stations have run dry and there's no cash left in the ATMs. This makes moving the refugees on to their next destination more difficult - hence why these items are needed to make life more bearable.

"There are no sleeping bags left in Poland's shops by now."

She said the refugees now arriving have walked from the Ukraine with just what they could carry, and many speak neither Polish nor English.

"It's heartbreaking."

The latest AM industry special issue

The complexity of running a modern dealership can be misunderstood easily by people looking in on our industry.

Any general manager has so many plates to spin, and they must foster a talented team that they can rely on to not just do the basics well, but to sprinkle some magic on top that customers can notice.

If the marketplace in 2023 is steadily returning to relative normality, this normality now includes the drive to find customers for an increasing supply of electric vehicles, and the need to source used cars from all channels and market them carefully. And of course there are the desires to delight consumers with an omnichannel experience and to hold on to decent margins after a couple of years of strong profitability.

The expectations of both the customer and the business’s stakeholder must be achieved to the optimum level.

In this special digital publication, industry experts, prominent suppliers and franchised dealers share their insights on the major aspects required in running a modern dealership well.

Read now

If you are not a registered user your comment will go to AM for approval before publishing. To avoid this requirement please register or login.

Login to comment


No comments have been made yet.