The vehicle conversion industry is big business, but it’s highly specialist and extremely competitive.
But one Kent-based firm has found the recipe to thrive in a sector where standing still is simply not an option.
Now in its 25th year, Euromotive has gone from strength-to-strength since being founded by four friends and colleagues – managing director Paul Wrigley, engineering director Des Goldrup, production director Mike Jones, and sales and marketing boss Dennis Noble, who retired seven years ago
Over the years the partners helped the business overcome many challenges, acquire competitors, grow, and build an enviable reputation.
Now, even in a time of economic uncertainty, there’s a real sense of confidence and optimism at Euromotive’s two sites in Hythe and Dover. The order books are full until beyond Christmas and enquiries continue to flood in.
Much of this work is as it long has been – customers who need a new vehicle designed, built or adapted. But there’s also growing demand from customers who want to refit and refresh existing conversions to extend their life for another few years.
And here, according to production director Mike Jones, lies one of the big secrets to Euromotive’s continued success and growth – adaptability.
“We’ve always been ready to listen to what our customers want and very quick to adapt, diversify and innovate when we need to,” he said.
“Regulations change, vehicle technology advances and a customers’ needs evolve with time. You can’t afford to stand still. You have to innovate, push the boundaries and excel to remain competitive.
“Sometimes that can be a challenge, but it keeps the industry exciting and means we come to work with smiles on our faces.”
This approach to constant innovation has seen Euromotive’s offering to clients develop massively over the years, with new technology being adopted quickly. One example is the introduction of 3D solid modelling to help customers visualise their designs and adapt them early to ensure they will be up to the job and to keep costs to a minimum.
And although the company specialises in the conversion of vans to accessible minbuses, PTS vehicles, commercial tippers, dropsides, beavertails and specialist bodies a willingness to always work with the customer has seen it resist operating solely within its own comfort zone.
Now it regularly works on conversions as diverse as computer classrooms, eye screening units and mobile coffee bars, with its 70-strong workforce turning out around 500 conversions every year.
But the capacity to change and adapt is not the only secret to Euromotive’s success. Good old-fashioned values of quality craftsmanship, outstanding customer service and an attention to detail underpin everything.
Mike explained, “We directors all started out as indentured apprentices and learned the business from the bottom up. We’re all very hands-on and it means we understand every aspect of the business.
“That’s still the way we operate now. Each year we take on four new apprentices and they get to learn the ropes as we did. That gives us real continuity and consistency.”
Mike added: “The last 25 years has flown by and we’ve loved every minute of it.
“This is a great industry and we are very proud to be a part of it. We’re lucky that we get to work with some fabulous people and many of our customers go on to become great friends.
“There’s lots of change in the industry, like the shift towards electrification, but we believe people will still need vehicle conversions for a long time to come and we’re looking forward with great optimism to the exciting times ahead.”