Haynes Publishing is famous for its how-to manuals and helping the consumer tinker with their beloved cars, and so following CAT’s visit to its headquarters in Sparkford, we are pleased to report that the market is enjoying something of a renaissance.
There is a sense that the market itself hasn’t changed all that much, as Jeremy Yates-Round, Managing Director UK and Europe, explains that although there has been a social shift, where time is now more precious than before and cars are far more reliable than in the 1960s. He adds that in essence cars and their engines are still the same as they were many years ago, adding:
“I remember John Haynes saying to me, that the first step is taking off the plastic cover on the engine bay, because they put that on to frighten you. When you look at a modern engine, there is a great slab of plastic, and it makes you think that there is no engine there. But if you take it off and look underneath, you will find an engine there which still does the same thing it used to in the 1960s, just with more electric gizmos.
“It is also easier to service a car now. A few years ago we showed what you needed to do to service an old Mini and a new Mini. The new Mini had four things on it, while the old one had many more things for a 12,000 mile service, which you could do yourself for between £50 and £70 at the time. It is actually education, it is just saying to people that they don’t actually have to be frightened about servicing their cars any more.”
There is still a thriving market out there and Haynes firmly believes that if people had more confidence to do the job, then more would tackle car maintenance and servicing themselves. This has led to Haynes creating other books of a similar ilk, such as the men’s Pie Manual, and introductory books into DIY and car maintenance for women. The aim is to give readers the confidence to explore a new world of manuals and doing it yourself.
J Haynes, Group Executive Chairman at Haynes, said: “We are now refocused on where the company originally started to provide useful, practical, relevant information for consumers to enable them to work on their cars. We have always felt that Haynes is very much the first tool in the toolbox.”
Haynes has been looking at how it can add complementary titles to its already burgeoning list, including the purchases of publishing houses Gregorys from Australia, Chilton and most recently Clymer from the US. Clymer is renowned for its motorcycle manuals and gives access to a variety of new retailers and markets such as the marine and agricultural sectors.
Yates-Round added: “What we do is about supporting the retailers, and hopefully everything we do will produce more information for the retailers. If we can help retailers understand that if the manual is the first tool out of the toolbox, it means anything that consumer does with that manual, they have got to come back to the retailer to buy the bits to do it with. Having as many manuals including Clymer, means we get a greater reach to the consumers and hopefully also for the retail trade.”
Alongside the new company and title additions to its portfolio, Haynes has also been developing its automotive manual offering by building up an archive of high definition videos alongside all of its latest manuals. J Haynes explained that the next step is to see how best to deliver those videos.
As well as looking to break into new markets, Haynes is also looking to help inspire the next generation. Its programme is designed to teach young people basic motor mechanics, some life skills and to give them the confidence to do things for themselves. Earlier this year Haynes successfully produced, alongside Drapers Tools and Prospex youth club in Islington, the first group of Mechanix. J Haynes announced that the same youth club was all set for another course, which began on November 20, after demand from the young people to be part of the programme surpassed all expectations.
He added: “The Mechanix programme was developed to show that young people can contribute more to society than going to university. To learn how to fix something can be very challenging and rewarding, and part of the process was to illustrate that.
“I am delighted to say that the manager of the youth club has said one of the members of that course is looking to pursue a career as a mechanic, who had no interest before, but they had a natural affinity and ability for it. Another one wants to become a mentor, and already from that pilot scheme there have been some very positive outcomes. For some of them it is the first book they have ever owned and they found they could follow instructions and complete a task and it gave them a sense of achievement.”
Haynes is looking to rollout the concept across the country to other youth clubs, to help stimulate the next generation and allow them to gain two qualifications in basic motor mechanics and employability, and is currently on the look out for future partners from the automotive aftermarket.