Don-Bur has just completed its 40th year trading as “Don-Bur (Bodies & Trailers) Ltd”. The successful four-decade span is a testament to the innovative and durable product range, ethical standards and, perhaps most importantly, the experienced team that drives the business forwards.
Donald Burton raised the £950,000 needed to fund the management buyout of Welford Truck Bodies in July 1981 which was previously part of Bristol Street Motors. The company was officially re-named at the end of 1981. In its early days, sited on a 4-acre site with a workforce of just 70, Don-Bur had a strong relationship with Vauxhall and Bedford and had good connections with the factory at Luton. They initially built trailers and wooden bodies on trucks and vans up to 18 feet in length.
Over the years, Don-Bur has become synonymous with innovation. The first inventions were the “Paylowda” tipping trailer and “Slide-a-Side” rigid bodywork and they have invented many hundreds of new concepts and products since then. Most notably were the hydraulically powered “Lifting Deck” trailers in the late 1980’s and the internationally acclaimed aerodynamic “Teardrop” trailers; first designed in 2006. Both products remain a mainstay in the Don-Bur product line-up to this day.
Today, Don-Bur manufacture the complete range of commercial vehicle bodywork and are renowned for their innovative approach to designing solutions for the reduction in operational cost. The business model differs from that of the European manufacturers who take a more automated, volume-driven approach.
Dave Burton, managing director at Don-Bur, comments “We have always excelled at designing custom-built products. In order for our customers to be more efficient than their competitors, they need a different, more highly developed product and to achieve that, we listen, design and manufacture what the customer needs. It’s a fundamental ethos that has served us well.”
Aside from the 24-acre main manufacturing plant, Don-Bur also incorporates five vertically integrated divisions including servicing and repairs, graphics, parts and the manufacture or curtains and load restraint. The group now has a 500 strong flexi-workforce and generates an average group annual turnover in excess of £50 million.
Burton adds “We are very proud to remain in such a strong position in the market. Although the plant, machinery and skills surrounding us have evolved over the years, we have always remained a customer-focussed, family business who strive to build a quality product.”