Browsing News: Woodall Nicholson

Woodall Nicholson Group appoints new CEO

Frank Barrett has been appointed as the new Woodall Nicholson CEO. Frank possesses a wealth of business experience in the manufacturing industry and is fully equipped to continue the group’s exciting growth path.

Frank has taken over the helm of Woodall Nicholson from Geoff Hudson who has stepped down as CEO after a 5 year period of rapid growth and a total of 41 years loyal service to the business.

Geoff remains with the business, not only as a Director and shareholder but will be available to offer support and guidance to Frank and of course continue to be a great ambassador for the business with customers and external stakeholders.

Chairman Brian Davidson commented:

“This move affords the business the benefit of planning for the next five years of its growth, while importantly maintaining continuity in its values and customer appreciation going forward. I would like to wish both Frank and Geoff well in their new endeavours”.

Woodall Nicholson at Scarborough Engineering Week

   Woodall Nicholson Group attended Scarborough Engineering Week this year; a fascinating exhibition aimed at school and college aged children with the aim of “Bringing STEM to life!”

This exciting exhibition is fantastic way to engage with the next generation of workers and inspire their interest in one of the fasted growing industries. It is estimated that 51% of 11-16 Year old would consider a career in engineering and 56% of new jobs created would be STEM related.


Everything Woodall Nicholson does has its roots in STEM; across all three divisions we use CAD to meticulously engineer vehicles for the emergency services, public and community transport, and funeral industry. At some point in your life, your likely to have used a vehicle made by the Woodall Nicholson Group. And given that our Mellor Division has a work-base in Scarborough, we had a vested interest in attending and showcasing what we do.


Some of the younger visitors enjoying the Mellor Strata


Throughout the exhibition around 3000 students and teachers attended and got a glimpse of the workplace opportunities available if you pursue a career in engineering. For many of the visitors it was their first chance to see the deconstructed stages of how a vehicle is developed. The team on the stand had a CAD station set up with a model of Mellor’s Strata – the completed bus was on show outside for the students to look around.



Around 3000 people visited our engineers on the stand


We also had on display the frame of a Coleman Milne Hearse, and again the completed build of a matching limousine was available for the visitors to see. This was a great opportunity for us not only to display the work we do as a group but also to offer insight and inspiration to the next generation of potential engineers.

Woodall Nicholson Holdings Limited acquire Villmount Limited

Woodall Nicholson Holdings Limited (WNHL) has acquired the entire share capital of Villmount Limited, the holding company for Treka Bus. The WNHL Group trades as Coleman Milne, Coleman Milne Specialist Vehicles and Mellor Coachcraft.


Treka is based on two sites in Brighouse, West Yorkshire, and has an excellent reputation for its range of high floor coachbuilt vehicles and minibuses. Mellor Coachcraft is based in Rochdale and Scarborough and produces a leading range of low floor coachbuilt small buses with both diesel and electric drive trains.  Treka and Mellor will continue to trade as separate brands and be run by their existing management teams.  Mark Clissett, the founder of Treka, will remain as a consultant to that company.


John Randerson, Managing Director of Woodall Nicholson Bus Division commented “This is an excellent opportunity for both businesses. Our distinct brands and products complement each other’s, providing additional choice for the customer base.  In addition, we will be able to take engineering best practice from both businesses and look at the possibility of introducing new products, such as using our electric vehicle expertise with Treka”.


Mellor have also accelerated their export activities. So far, dealers have been appointed in seven European countries and new left-hand drive vehicles for export markets were launched at Bus World in Kortrijk, Belgium, last week.  Bus World is the largest B2B Bus and Coach show in the world.


Treka and Mellor are now committed to providing customers with the widest range of choice, both for high floor and low floor products, van conversion and coachbuilt vehicles, and diesel or electric drive trains, both in the UK and overseas.


Mark Clissett added “I am very proud of what we have achieved at Treka and see this transaction as the next natural evolution in its lifecycle. I will remain involved with the business and am delighted that my son, Morgan, will now assume the role of Managing Director of Treka.  I also believe the rest of the management team and staff have a great future ahead alongside their new colleagues”.


Woodall Nicholson identified in London Stock Exchange Group’s ‘1000 Companies to Inspire Britain’ report

  • Woodall Nicholson recognised in fourth edition of London Stock Exchange Group’s 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain report
  • Report identifies fastest-growing and most dynamic SMEs across the UK
  • The Group operates 3 major divisions within the coachbuilding sector


Woodall Nicholson have been recognised in the report

Woodall Nicholson has been identified as one of London Stock Exchange Group’s 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain. The report is a celebration of the UK’s fastest-growing and most dynamic small and medium sized businesses across the UK.


To be included in the list, companies needed to show consistent revenue growth over a minimum of three years, significantly outperforming their industry peers. More detail on the methodology can be found in the report online at


Woodall Nicolson is a well-established coachbuilding company which has a history dating back to the 1820’s. The group has diversified and developed to maintain its position in the market and now operates three major divisions; Coleman Milne, Mellor Coachcraft and CM Specialist Vehicles.


The Company places a strong emphasis on quality and has invested heavily in staff skills and training as well as operating facilities for all divisions.


Geoff Hudson CEO said:

“We are delighted to have been recognised in the ‘1000 Companies to Inspire Britain’ report, it can be a challenge to navigate a business though tough economic times but we have a long history with a strong reputation and will continue to diversity and grow. We are very proud of our achievements and are grateful to be acknowledged in this way.”


Xavier Rolet, Chief Executive, London Stock Exchange Group said:

“Four years on, LSEG’s ‘1000 Companies to Inspire Britain’ report continues to highlight the dynamic, entrepreneurial and ambitious businesses across the country that are boosting UK productivity, driving economic growth and creating jobs. The strength and diversity of these companies is readily apparent with a broad mix of UK regions and sectors represented. These companies are the very heart of an ‘anti-fragile’ economy: more robust; more flexible and less prone to boom and bust. We must ensure we continue doing all we can to support high growth potential businesses like these.


“London Stock Exchange Group is fully committed to supporting and implementing initiatives which improve access to and cut the cost of finance for growing companies. We welcome the Government’s focus on supporting SMEs as part of its Industrial Strategy and await the outcome of its review into long-term patient capital.”


The Rt Hon Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy:

“I want to congratulate the 1000 companies from across the UK featured in London Stock Exchange Group’s pioneering 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain report. Championing high growth innovative SMEs is crucial for the continued success of the UK economy and a country that works for everyone. We are committed to ensuring that companies of all sizes can access finance to grow, scale-up and create high quality well-paid jobs across the country.”


A full searchable database of all of the companies along with a downloadable pdf of the publication can be found online at

Woodall Nicholson praised by the Prime Minister in the House of Commons

Following a question in the House of Commons from Bolton West MP Chris Green, Theresa May commended Woodall Nicholson for its investment in skills and manufacturing.

WNL CEO Geoff Hudson with Bolton West MP Chris Green.

Mr Green, who visited the Wigan Road-based company last month, said: “I recently visited Woodall Nicholson — a world-class coachbuilding manufacturer based in my constituency — and heard about their exciting plans for the future.

“Will my Right Honourable Friend join me in emphasising the importance of skills and manufacturing for our economy, especially as we look to leave the European Union?”

The Prime Minister responded by praising the firm as an example of how the country’s economy can develop successfully after Brexit.

Mrs May said: “Can I thank my Honourable Friend for drawing our attention to the example of Woodall Nicholson and to say how pleased we are to hear that they have those good plans for the future.

“And can I say to him he’s absolutely right as we leave the EU we will be doing that from a position of strength.

“He is right that skills and manufacturing are important parts of our economy for the future that’s why in the industrial strategy we are looking at how we can develop the excellence that we already have in the United Kingdom for a prosperous and growing economy for the future.”

Established in 1820, Woodall Nicholson is one of the oldest established coachbuilding companies in the UK and employs almost 250 people.

The company was acquired by private investors in 2013 and has since invested heavily in new products and infrastructure.



Chris Green MP visits Woodall Nicholson Ltd

Chris Green MP visited Woodall Nicholson Limited (WNL) at the invitation of Geoff Hudson Group CEO.

WNL headquarters sits within Mr. Greens Bolton West constituency. The purpose of the meeting was to update Mr Green on the progress WNL has made over the last three years.

WNL is a large SME with a staff levels approaching 250, it is a significant North West manufacturer that was acquired by private investors in 2013 under the leadership of Chairman Brian Davidson. The business has thrived over the last three years and continues to invest heavily in new products and infrastructure.

Chris Green Mp meets the WNL Business Development team

Key topics covered included a lively debate with regards to the impact public spending cuts are having on local authority vehicle replacement programs. Geoff Hudson explained that WNL is determined to maintain a presence as a key supply chain partner for the emergency services. However, this can only be secured through the development of alternative revenue streams from the incremental business designed to smooth out lumpy public service funded turnover and support business growth.

Geoff explained that Mellor, the Groups bus company based in North Manchester, continues to perform well because of the Group’s strategy to build low-floor accessible minibuses and expand from its traditional welfare and not for profit customer base into the bus sector. Geoff said, “there is a realisation in the bus market that size appropriate buses are now important and that one size no longer fits all”.

Geoff went on to say; “size appropriate buses feed the developing Mobility as a Service (MaaS) market which will be further enabled by electrification and autonomy” WNL are conscious of Government targets for both clean air and vehicle autonomy in public transport”

John Randerson who runs Mellor, showed Mr. Green around two recently launched and exciting new products designed to support bus companies
who are looking to find new ways of commercialising urban and rural routes. Whilst showing Mr. Green the new Strata and Tucana II buses John stressed that apart from the environmental and MaaS agenda opportunities, Mellor bus products can support social inclusion for our elderly and rural communities by making it simpler and more cost effective to run local bus services.

John went on to explain that some bus companies who predominantly operate larger vehicles are handing back rural routes to local authorities claiming them to be uneconomic. This, in turn has a wide ranging social and economic impact on those passenger groups who rely on a local bus service.

The Mellor Strata LF Bus

Mellor has worked hard to develop the Stata an extremely economical low floor 22 passenger capacity bus. Strata is built on the traditional Mercedes Sprinter based platform, it is fully DDA compliant and can carry two wheelchairs or buggies. It has all the features of a big-bus in a small bus format.

Since its launch, late last year Strata has attracted a lot of interest from both the smaller independent bus operator and the major players. The second vehicle displayed was the new Tucana II. This bus is narrow so that it can work in our antique towns, but still meets DDA compliance with its low-floor.

Many people will recognise the Tucana as the Direct Responsive Bus used by Dial-a-Ride organisations, over 600 are in service across the UK with 250 in service in London alone. The new Tucana II is fully low floor and provides inclusive for all. Lightweight and nimble the Tucana II can be configured to suit the needs of local authorities and dial-a-ride operations.

The Mellor Tucana II

Steve Reeves from the WNL business development team explained to Mr. Green that the Tucana will be produced in a ‘compact’ form to help creative strategies that use Private Hire operators to support lower value and disconnected routes.

The Tucana II bus can be configured as a Big-Taxi under 3.5 Tonnes GVW with eight seats; it too will be DDA compliant.

Businesses such as RATP Dev and Arriva are now offering experimental on demand services such as Bristol’s Slide Project these services plan to deliver on demand services in an economical way. They are a premonition of future service provision. We are well on the way to meeting Big-Taxi DDA compliant products in both diesel and electric.

Mr. Green fully understands the challenges facing business in the public sector, and was supportive of WNL strategy to pick up the challenge to provide leading and relevant products to the emerging MaaS market.

Mr. Green and the WNL team also discussed Mr. Green’s role on the Science and Technology committee. Initiatives are being run by Innovate and the Centre for Connected and Autonomous vehicles to help enabling technologies and the businesses that deliver them such as WNL. This is important because the local and national economy are dependent upon significantly improving the ability to transport goods and people by utilising the emerging electric drive and communication technologies. There is a real opportunity to provide sustainable improvements in this area for business and transport users. Mr. Green was pleased to see an energetic company based in the North West and in touch with its markets,

“It was fantastic to hear about Woodall Nicholson’s exciting plans for the future and see first-hand their manufacturing base in Westhoughton, as well as two of their brand new buses.

“This is a thriving world-class business with a long and successful history. I was particularly impressed with their plans to adapt and innovate for new and emerging markets.”

Mr. Green also looks forward to meeting the team again in April and to be one of the first to see a new electric 16 seat bus designed by Mellor.



Rachael Buckley
Group Marketing Manager
01942 815600

Woodall Nicholson Group Makes Further Acquisition

CM Specialist Vehicles


Today, 05/09/2014, the Woodall Nicholson Group, based in Westhoughton, Bolton UK, has acquired the intellectual property and manufacturing assets of the former Auto Electrical Services (Manchester) Limited (AES).

The deal will result in the intellectual property and manufacturing assets of AES being brought into Woodall Nicholson’s CM Specialist Vehicle Division which supplies a range of quality vehicle conversions and modifications to Blue and Amber Light fleet sector and public and private sector fleet operators across the country.

Woodall Nicholson Managing Director Geoff Hudson commented;

“We are delighted to add the AES offering to our automotive portfolio. This acquisition will further enhance our leading position in the markets within which CM Specialist Vehicle Division operates, and will extend the range of products, services and expertise which we are able to offer customers.”

This latest acquisition will underpin the growth and success of the CM Specialist Vehicle Division, which has gone from strength to strength since the financially strong Woodall Nicholson was acquired by new investors in July 2013.

CM Specialist Vehicle Division has substantially increased its penetration of the public and private sector markets in the last 12 months with significant investment in resources to increase its productivity and output. The deal allows the division to further expand its offering, to new and existing customers, through the complex integration of robust electrical systems into specialist vehicles. CM Specialist Vehicle Division aims to continue investing in this sector to become the first choice for Blue and Amber Light clients, as well as specialist covert vehicle operators across the country.

WN Group Intervention Helps to Save Scarborough Jobs!

Wood_Nic Banner 72 DPI 2014


On 14/07/2014, the Woodall Nicholson Group, based in Westhoughton, Bolton UK, acquired the intellectual property and manufacturing assets of the former Bluebird Vehicles Limited.

The deal will witness the Orion and Tucana low floor buses being brought into Woodall Nicholson’s Mellor bus business which manufactures a range of accessible bus and van conversions in its Rochdale factory.

It is understood that the deal will assist in saving jobs in Scarborough as it enables Bluebird Engineering Solutions to concentrate its resources upon its growing subcontract bus manufacturing facility.

Woodall Nicholson Managing Director Geoff Hudson commented;

“We are very proud to add the Bluebird range of buses to our automotive portfolio. The acquisition will generate more jobs in the North West and further strengthen the Mellor range of market leading accessible vehicles”.


Staff from Mellor Coachcraft will be in contact with Bluebird suppliers and customers in due course to provide them with further information and key contacts to enable a smooth transition and minimum impact on production.

This deal will underpin the growth and success of the Mellor business which has gone from strength to strength since the financially strong Woodall Nicholson was acquired by new investors in July 2013.

Coleman Milne moves customer-care forward with brand new reception facilities

New Reception_s

With an enviable heritage as one of the UK’s premier suppliers of funeral vehicles, Coleman Milne has built its reputation on the foundation of excellent customer care. Not content to rest on its laurels, Coleman Milne has constantly sought ways to improve its relationships with customers.

As part of this ongoing campaign, the company has recently begun a programme of improvements to the facilities at the Westhoughton headquarters. The first phase of this development has been the refurbishment of the public areas of the factory and offices. A complete refit of the reception and other areas accessible to visitors has been completed in contemporary styling to Coleman Milne’s exacting standards to give customers an inspirational experience upon their arrival.

To celebrate the completion of this first stage, the company held an open evening in the new reception area which was attended by various friends and colleagues. The guest of honour on this celebratory occasion was Simon Fisher, President of the NAFD at the time, who performed the opening ceremony and later said, “it is a pleasure to be invited to open these outstanding new facilities. Coleman Milne have, for many years, delivered excellent customer service to NAFD members. This new facility not only reinforces that reputation, but actively demonstrates their intentions to build stronger, more valued relationships with customers.”

Coleman Milne Managing Director, Geoff Hudson said, “This enjoyable event was a fantastic opportunity to welcome our industry friends and guests to join us in celebrating the first stage of our ongoing campaign to offer Coleman Milne customers the very best service. We are proud of our new reception and look forward to welcoming more of our guests to our new customer-friendly environment.”

Joseph Edwards & Sons continue with Coleman Milne

Joseph Edwards _s


Joseph Edwards & Sons have been operating as a family business for over 125 years making them one of the most established names in the Cheshire and Stoke on Trent area. Times have changed since 1882 when they were established, and now have modern offices with lounge areas, peaceful chapels of rest, modern mortuary facilities and a garage which houses their brand new fleet of funeral vehicles including a private ambulance, hearse and limousines. The vehicles are a very important part of the service they provide and reliability was a key factor when they chose to continue with Coleman Milne and renewed their fleet with a Cardinal Hearse and two Dorchester Limousines, all with an EcoBoost Engine.

Joseph Edwards_Sir Stanley Matthews

Joseph Edwards & Sons are famous for taking care of the funeral arrangements for Sir Stanley Matthews’ Funeral. Picture shows their Coleman Milne Hearse in the funeral procession 14 years ago.