With a workshop with seven ramps, including two Class 4 MoT ramps, the new site boasts a showroom with space for four light commercials. A dozen new jobs have been created at the dealership with a further eight likely to be added by the end of 2010.

Chelmsford is running a customer loyalty programme under the Trade2Trade banner. Rewards include free dealer-fitted accessories worth £500 for every customer who buys another vehicle within two years of their original purchase.

VW is steadily moving towards stand-alone Van Centres rather than outlets that are intertwined with car dealerships, says Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles managing director, Simon Elliott.

“Go the stand-alone route and you get the correct focus,” he says. “It’s important for customers to feel that they can talk to people who understand their needs and who are not constantly looking over their shoulder to see if a car buyer is about to walk into the showroom.” Just over half of VW’s 64 van centres are now stand-alone outlets, including a site recently opened in Shrewsbury by Greenhous.

After opening the Chelmsford location, Elliott took a sideswipe at competitors whom he says are offering heavy discounts in a bid to gain business and destroying the value of their products. “Knock £7,000 off the price of a van and all you’re doing is knocking £7,000 off its second-hand value,” he contends. Good for the customer in the short-term; but not such good news long term.