Driven By Quality And Values
Personal service and attention to detail have steered Penwortham Garage to 37 years of success. Photography: Robin Lyndon
Local man Alec Gabbatt established Penwortham Garage following a long and successful career in the motor industry.
Alec began his journey as an apprentice motor mechanic at the age of 15. After four years, equipped with technical knowledge and expertise, he moved to car sales. Working for the John Turner Group when it established the first BMW dealership in Preston, he was the first person in the city to sell BMW cars. He progressed to general manager of Preston’s Volkswagen and then Vauxhall dealerships before starting Penwortham Garage in 1981.
From its well-known showrooms next to The Fleece Inn on Liverpool Road, Alec, together with sales manager Russell, have been offering quality used cars for 37 years.
“We are one of the oldest established businesses in Penwortham,” says Russell, “and we have sold thousands of cars, many to repeat customers.”
Alec scrutinises up to 80 cars a week, but probably buys only a handful of those, and only if they meet his high standards. “I only buy the cars I would be proud to own and happy to drive myself,” he says.
Although buying a car is possibly one of the biggest investments we will make, it should also be an enjoyable experience.
“Our customers know that the person and the business they are dealing with can be trusted,” says Russell. This approach, backed by technical know-how, and experience of selling major marques means that customers can buy with confidence.
There are usually 25 cars on offer. The choice is varied – smart models from Audi, BMW, Toyota and a gleaming minibus on our visit – but they share common qualities.
“We offer cars with a full-service history, low mileage and one, sometimes two, owners,” says Russell. There are no high-pressure sales techniques. “Customers can scrutinise the cars on our forecourt and the spacious in-door showroom. We take time to listen to what the customer wants and needs and provide genuine advice. We can arrange various finance packages to suit customer requirements and support you through this process,” he says.
Russell invites customers to have a good look around the car and take it on a test drive. “We like people to take their time,” he says.
This personal service stands out in the age of the anonymous internet, which allows anyone to sell a used car. “But do you really want to buy one from a stranger 150 miles away?” says Russell.
The best way to buy a car is to look at it in person, not on a screen he says, pointing out that a used car is not a standard product, and that no two used cars are the same.
“A second-hand car with six owners, which has not been looked after, is not going to be as good as a one-owner car which has been serviced every year. And the problems that would arise from that badly looked after car will come on your watch.”
At Penwortham Garage the price quoted is the price you will pay, Russell explains: “Some car supermarkets will sell you a car for £4,995, but you will have to pay extra to have it valeted, to have it prepared in the workshop, for the transaction of your money and for a warranty.”
“Whereas with us,” he continues, “if it’s priced at £4,995, then it’s £4,995. With this you get a three-month warranty, you get it MOT’d, valeted and it’s ready for you to drive away. There are no additional prices.”
Customers do have the choice of other extras, such as an extended warranty and will find Penwortham Garage also offers finance and part-exchange.
“Quite simply we are your local car dealer who can be trusted,” says Alec.
47 Liverpool Road
Penwortham, Preston PR1 9XD