Parts advisor retires to take up larger role in American Civil War re-enactment

Parts advisor retires to take up larger role in American Civil War. Here we acknowledge the contribution of Chris Barwick who has been a parts advisor in the network for more than 32 years. He started on his automotive career with Testwood Motors and is now retiring from working life with Peter Cooper Motor Group, based in Shirley. Jim Gardiner, Group Parts Manager, said: “Never forget 056115561G our favourite part number. Chris, it has been a pleasure to work with you for part of your long career, enjoy your retirement – you will be greatly missed by all at the Peter Cooper Motor Group.”

We asked Chris to recall his career in this Q&A:

When did you start working with Volkswagen Group?

Monday 15 October 1990.

What was your first job?

Apprentice motor mechanic. Having got my City and Guilds qualification I was a mechanic between 1972-1976 outside Volkswagen Group and then moved into parts between 1976-1990. In 1990 I started with Volkswagen Audi Group (VAG) at Testwood Motors Dealer No 365 in the parts workshop back counter.

Can you recall your first day?

As an apprentice mechanic my first job was helping put a clutch in a Austin Morris JU250 van. Having worked for a Ford main dealer and 12 years in motor factor on my first day with VAG, I remember feeling that it was good to be back in a main dealer parts department.

What has made working for VWG so special to make your career here last so long?

Back in 1990s it was known as VAG. I am not one to keep changing jobs and having worked with Ford, Chrysler, Jeep and British Leyland, VAG has the best part number layout and through the past 30 years. Volkswagen Group has built up a great reputation and has the best car design.

Any highlights?

Yes. In the 1990s when you sold accessories you would obtain points and points meant prizes. Out of these incentives some staff won cycles and I was rewarded with a freezer.

What are the biggest changes you have seen in the motor industry?

What can I say? In my opinion, life in the motor trade was simpler in 1970s,80s and 90s. Cars were simpler as well. I think there’s too much electronics now which you do not need and they make the drivers lazy. Someone somewhere is making things which were easy do in the job much harder. I have seen the glory years.

What advice would you give to anyone starting out with VWG?

Stay with it, it’s a good product.

What are you going to do in your retirement?

Be more relaxed, do more DIY, gardening and carry on with my hobby, historical re-enactment of the American Civil War.