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Volkswagen Group Managing Director Heads Back To The Floor To Raise Money For Comic Relief

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LONDON – Marc 15, 2013: Volkswagen Group UK Managing Director Simon Thomas has spent a day working back on the shop floor in an Audi Centre, swapping his usual MD’s agenda for that of a technician and aftersales adviser, and reminding himself what it feels like to be at the sharp end, tackling, quite literally, the nuts and bolts of the business.

Simon had offered his services for a full working day to whichever retailer in the Volkswagen Group made the highest bid. A pledge of £20,000 saw Inchcape-owned Swindon Audi win the auction.

On Monday 11 March, after donning his workshop outfit, Simon started his day with a pre-delivery inspection (PDI) on an S8, under the watchful eye of Swindon Audi Technician Adrian Vines. He then went on to record a video-based inspection of an owner’s car using the brand’s Audi cam facility, which enables video diagnoses and estimated repair prices to be beamed directly to customers' computers and smartphones before work begins.

Following a brief break for a well-earned cup of tea and a bacon sandwich, Simon then embarked on a stint in the aftersales department, where he was tasked with handling customer calls, before returning again to the service bays for more work at the ‘business end’ of the Vorsprung durch Technik brand.

Thankfully, Simon is no stranger to crankshafts, cylinder heads and torque wrenches. The Volkswagen Group’s MD began his career in the motor industry with a four-year apprenticeship in automotive workshops: ‘It’s been 28 years since I was last paid to fix cars,’ said Simon. ‘I was an apprentice from 1976 to 1980 and then served as a qualified technician for a further five years before moving over to the manufacturer side. The technology I’ve been dealing with today is light years ahead of what I worked with back then, so I've learnt a lot and thoroughly enjoyed the whole day. It's great that this 'back to the floor' idea ended up raising a significant amount of money for Comic Relief.’

The very generous donation made by the Inchcape Group – owner of Swindon Audi – will be matched by Volkswagen Group United Kingdom Ltd, taking the total contribution to £40,000.