Kia’s UK boss praises dealers for stepping up to the plate during coronavirus crisis

Time 12:28 pm, April 17, 2020

Kia’s UK president and chief executive has told of his pride at dealers who have been supporting key workers, NHS staff and the vulnerable during the coronavirus crisis.

Showrooms may have been forced to close but many dealerships have kept their workshops open so that NHS staff and key workers can stay on the road, while others in Kia’s 186-strong network have taken separate direct action to support the fight against Covid-19, and Paul Philpott said:

‘I am immensely proud of all our dealers who are getting involved to help their local communities, key workers and NHS staff at such a critical time. Now more than ever we need to pull together to support each other, whether it be through volunteering, donations or simply being at the end of the phone to ease customer concerns. Keep up the good work!’

As reported by Car Dealer Magazine earlier this month, Gravells Narberth converted its showroom into a food hampers hub for frontline NHS staff. It also provided a loan car to an A&E nurse at Withybush General Hospital in Haverfordwest to enable her to continue her vital work when the engine on her car failed.

Meanwhile, staff at Gravells Kidwelly got together with Burns Parc y Bocs farm shop to take grocery orders over the phone from vulnerable or self-isolating people and deliver them in a Kia e-Niro, as pictured above, observing hygiene and social distancing measures while doing so. Marketing manager Charlotte Gravell, who is a volunteer for the Community Action Group for Kidwelly and Mynydd-y-Garreg, said:

‘With supermarket slots hard to come by and the majority of elderly not often online, we thought it would be great to help deliver to these vulnerable residents. We’re so pleased to be able to support the community during these unprecedented times and we really hope this helps make a difference!’

FJ Chalke‘s Yeovil and Mere dealerships have been picking up essential goods for those in need. One grateful customer said on the FJ Chalke website: ‘I received a call from Mr James Chalke, not to ask about buying a vehicle, but asking me if I needed any shopping and offering to do so for my wife and myself. I have been dealing with them for many years and they always go the extra mile. Please accept my thanks for your most kind offer. FJ Chalke deserve praise for their customer service in these troubled times.’ In addition, FJ Chalke has opened up its workshop services to NHS and key workers.

WJ King Kia Sidcup donated 500 car seat covers to Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust to help keep its 60 community nurses safe when they make home visits. Steve Sutherland, ambassador for Charlton Athletic Community Trust, which asked for the dealership’s support, said: ‘Within minutes, they had 500 ready to be picked up! I’m blown away and forever thankful for this generous offer to our local key workers.’ Allan Nash, WJ King Group aftersales manager, said:

‘It was a no-brainer when we got the call from Steve. We’re delighted we can help keep our local community nurses safe during their key work at this time. We really are all in this together and just happy we could help out.’

And elsewhere, Fine Cars Kia‘s Gosport and Lee-on-the Solent showrooms are lending their e-Niros to transport essential NHS supplies for vulnerable people needing urgent help. Staff have also volunteered to help deliver the supplies.

MORE: Kia dealers praised for ‘exceptional work’ as awards presented

John Bowman's avatar

John has been with Car Dealer since 2013 after spending 25 years in the newspaper industry as a reporter then a sub-editor/assistant chief sub-editor on regional and national titles. John is chief sub-editor in the editorial department, working on Car Dealer, as well as handling social media.

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