Tag Archive | "Workshops"

EURO REPAR PLANS 600 UK WORKSHOPS

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EURO REPAR PLANS 600 UK WORKSHOPS


The PSA Groupe’s Euro Repar garage network is to expand across the UK.

Colin Start, Head of Marketing for Parts & Service for the PSA Groupe told CAT that there were bullish plans to open 600 centres over the coming years. The first of these will be in spare bays of existing Peugeot/Citroen franchises but the plan is to extend the network on a ‘soft franchise’ basis across independent garages.

“Ours is a proposition unlike any other in the UK, with a partnership approach that has deliberately kept the cost and complexity of entry very low: garages are not even required to change their name” Start said.

Requirements for membership are minimal with two manned ramps and a separate reception are the main points, although there will be a minimum spend amount on PSA’s new line of aftermarket parts which are set for introduction later in 2017. These will be supplied through 28 parts distributors that have signed as partners. These Distributors are all located within easy reach of the new network the company is looking to enrol.

Smart adds: “Euro Repar Car Service has built a reputation on consistent standards, transparent pricing, local convenience and especially, trust. We are seeking to work with forward-looking owners who not only share these values, but who are prepared to take the next step and benefit from the huge experience and support we can offer – being part of a growing network with national and international, business and marketing support.”

The first outlets are set to open later in the year and Start’s team are looking to meet perspective garage owners at the upcoming Automechanika Birmingham exhibition.

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SERVING EVERYTHING THAT IS AUTOMOTIVE

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SERVING EVERYTHING THAT IS AUTOMOTIVE


We visit ‘Small Garage of the Year’ winner Simon Taylor

It’s fair to say Taylor’s winning streak has gone in his favour as when we arrived, there was a stream of customers and a logjam of cars waiting for attention on the forecourt. “We weren’t sure whether it was because of Brexit, or the economy or other reasons that we’ve been so busy”, said Taylor “But it seems to be lasting and we are getting more customers from further afield now”.

With a handful of garages and a Honda dealership operating in close proximity, we were curious to find out how this independent has ‘survived and thrived’ while others have been forced to roll down the shutters for good.

UNIQUE SELLING POINTS
While the garage is not selective and will operate on just about anything and everything that is automotive, there are a number of specialisms. For a start, it deals with LPG conversions and all that entails as well as having a skill set and a whole lot of diagnostic equipment for JLR products, and Land Rover in particular. Nonetheless, Taylor’s team will trace the fault on whatever is presented to them. “Although it would be nice to say that we specialise in specific vehicles, our customer base is completely varied. Generally, we work on Land Rovers, classics and even agricultural vehicles including tractors for our farmer customers”, says Taylor, adding that the workshop, on occasions, has taken on work from the Honda dealership who have also diversified its range to remain competitive in the area.

The experienced in-house technicians have played a major role in the garage’s success, according to Taylor, who are equipped with years of industry knowledge and expertise between them.

To complement their skill-set, Taylor makes sure his workforce are fully trained with the latest diagnostic tools and software on the market to speed up vehicle turnaround. “We are part of the Delphi Diesel Network and utilise its DS100 tools for diagnosing faults”, he says. “We also use Autologic and Launch UK diagnostic platforms”, The firm has also upgraded to Haynes Pro’s system to source and install the correct components first time around.

WORKSHOP TOUR
The workshop space is home to both car and motorcycle bays and even a small waste oil burner (SWOB) that wasn’t in operation during the tour. The garage is one of a handful in Leicestershire that can MOT motorbikes. As is common in rural garages, there were vehicles crammed into every available space, with cars ranging from a pretty Triumph TR4, to a number of new looking 4x4s, right down to a couple of Hyundai Coupés from the last century. “The garage’s original structure was a butchers shop and later home to a petrol station”, Taylor explained, adding that an old fashioned law imposed by the local pub still prohibits anyone from drinking alcohol on-site.

Busy morning in the workshop

NEXT STEPS
Winning the Award two years in a row has encouraged Taylor to give the garage a revamp with the addition of a new reception area and roof to be complete in the next couple of months. “I often apologise to customers who are sitting around and explain to them that it’s not as glamorous as the main dealer, but they said just because you take it to a main dealer doesn’t mean you’re going to get a good job”, Taylor continued. “It is a bit chaotic in the reception area but they know they will get a good job done because all they want is a good service and value for money”.

With the emergence of the Connected Car and hybrid technology, Taylor is in the process of enrolling staff onto training courses and considering installing an electric charge point as more of these models enter the parc. He concluded. “At the moment, I’m looking into how we can best deal with the technology that is coming through. Courses for these vehicles are getting better because initially, they were few and far between but over the next five years, we are going to see a lot of changes”.

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ELECTRIC TAXI FACTORY HAILED IN COVENTRY

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ELECTRIC TAXI FACTORY HAILED IN COVENTRY


The London Taxi Company (LTC) has opened a new vehicle plant in Ansty, Coventry to construct purpose-built, mass-market electric taxicabs.

LTC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Chinese VM Geely, has invested more than £300m in the new site in order that the TX5 will be produced at the plant and exported around the world. The investment and expansion of LTC has created 1,000 new jobs, including 200 engineers and 30 apprenticeships.

The site has the capacity to build more than 20,000 vehicles per year and the new vehicle is using the Volvo electric powertrain and platform, although the design of the outer body looks similar to previous taxis.

Deliveries of the new vehicle are expected to start in Q4 of 2017.

Chris Gubbey, Chief Executive of the London Taxi Company, said: “[The opening] marks the rebirth of the London Taxi Company. A company with a singular vision; to design and build dedicated urban commercial vehicles that can operate without emissions in cities around the world and bring down running costs for drivers.”

The London Taxi Company briefly went into administration in 2012 after parent company Manganese Bronze failed to secure funding, having failed to make a profit for five years. Geely, which already owned 20 percent of the taxi firm’s stock, bought the remainder of the company from the administrator in early 2013 to save it.

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IF YOU CAN’T BEAT THEM THINK SMARTER

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IF YOU CAN’T BEAT THEM THINK SMARTER


David Massey explores using car forums and social media to work for him at little cost.

massey

I couldn’t count the amount of times I’ve heard a customer say, “I’ve been on a forum and I think it’s this…” It is extremely annoying and turns me into someone angry and not very approachable. I guess it’s typical of the male ego, ‘how dare you tell me what I’m doing’ irrespective of the truth. It is true that some customers spend a decent amount of time sifting through the web and come up with some good info, but others will seek out any explanation of why a dash light has come on, for example, and are not easily dissuaded from their theory when confronted with expert evidence.

So if customers that browse the internet and tell you how to fix cars make your blood boil and gets you angry… then good! Because that means you have the motivation to do something about it.

It struck me that if customers can search and find specific information about their cars then why can’t you find specific customers for your business? The cat becomes the mouse and you’re holding all the cheese.

SPECIFIC CUSTOMERS
This is a brilliant opportunity where you can target and reach very specific audiences and really focus on your selected customer base that maximises profit and cuts out the unwanted work and customers we all dread.

If you type in a common fault into Google – I don’t know, let’s say intermittent loss of power 1.9 diesel VW undoubtedly the first place you would stumble across is a forum with 100’s of posts about turbo vanes sticking or faulty AMM’s. Try it for yourself, go on stop reading this for a minute and try it.

Now what if you had the ability and knowledge to direct people to your website instead and read informative and interesting articles about their problem? In other words by having blog posts or Facebook articles pointing to your site.

In January we were pretty quiet in the workshop and feeling fed up, I decided I wanted to learn how to build and optimise my own website. With fairly basic computer IT skills the amount I learned to never ever rely on third parties to promote and grow your business because nobody in the world has either the same passion or more importantly the same unique knowledge as you do about your business.

Before this exercise my website looked great but was very poorly ranked on Google and I couldn’t be found unless you actually typed in my URL (full web address). Most of my page listings could be found between page 10-20 of which I honestly believe have never been visited since the dawn of the Internet.

I specifically targeted the customers and demographics I wanted to target with strategic and careful methods by using specific faults, vehicle specific info and DTC’s embedded behind and into my website.

TOP RANKING
My website is now ranked first for just about every VW/Audi/ seat/Skoda related search in the Preston area and further afield. If you don’t believe me try it for yourself now with your smart phone or laptop.

I have done this extremely successfully, in fact so successfully it caught me off guard and has completely redefined ADS as a business. Just humour me and try this for a minute, carry out a search for Audi RS4 inlet valve cleaning and see who’s website comes up.

The key is to think like a customer and not like a garage owner, who might type something entirely different to what our customers would.

All this data can be very easily analysed by using web analytics which gives us the opportunity to react accordingly and adjust our key words embedded within our websites or SEO (search engine optimisation).

You have to ask yourself why on earth would you pay a third party who knows very little about your business and cares even less be good at doing it for you? Simple when you think about it.

There’s nothing new in what I’ve discovered only the skills in order to implement the changes. Big companies do all this as a matter of routine, but most garages are literally decades behind in getting to grips with social media and an effective online marketing strategy.

The truth is change is happening and there’s nothing we can do to stop that. We must embrace the change instead.

If you’re curious to know a little more I have created and designed an in house web development program aimed at helping garage business emulate our success. Like the old saying: If I can do it, so can you.

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ARE YOU CREATING ‘THRESHOLD RESISTANCE’?

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ARE YOU CREATING ‘THRESHOLD RESISTANCE’?


Don’t entice customers into your premises or website only to have them walk out in disgust.

Andy Vickery is a consultant for the aftermarket

Andy Vickery is a consultant for the aftermarket

Marketing is a process that should be in operation from the creation of initial awareness through to the physical point of purchase.

Whether you are a garage business, accessory retailer or motor factor, your existing and potential customers are picking up signs and signals all the time and at different stages of the buying process.

You’d like to think that the purchasing process is as simple as running an advert, the customer sees what they want, then the customer comes to you to make a purchase – job done. If only it was that easy.

END GAME
The problem is many focus on the early stages of their marketing, for example creating initial awareness, but neglect other aspects closer to the point of sale; failing to realise that there is still the potential for what is known as ‘threshold resistance’.

Threshold Resistance is the title of a book written by retailing pioneer A. Alfred Taubman who states that ‘Threshold Resistance is the physical and psychological barrier that stands between a shopper and the inside of a store’. Of course, these days Threshold Resistance applies equally, if metaphorically, to online selling too (websites can give out the wrong selling signals).

Ask yourself if you’ve ever come across a retailer or business where you just couldn’t bring yourself to go in? There are times when threshold resistance occurs, when there’s no reason for it to be there. This is when there are physical aspects to a business that are repelling customers.

Tidy front-of-house boosts customer confidence

Tidy front-of-house boosts customer confidence

INVESTMENT
So, you’ve done all the heavy marketing lifting, you’ve invested a lot of money in attracting customers and you’ve brought them to the point of purchase. Unfortunately, the job isn’t finished here, you can’t yet guarantee the sale – you’ve got to get the customer through the door. If this doesn’t happen, you’ve blown all that investment in marketing so far, which is why businesses also have signage and point of sale displays – to help customers.

But the reality is often customers are getting as far as the business ‘threshold’, be it a physical retail outlet, garage or online website, but resisting because they’re receiving the wrong signals. One of the biggest signals people base their judgements on at this stage of the marketing process is how your business and the people within it look.

But there are still certain types of business that could do so much more to improve their perception, but have resisted making improvements to their physical environment. Unfortunately, many automotive outlets remain in this category. Many obviously consider that they fall outside of this customer judgment arena. Well they may have in the past, but in an area where the dealerships and chains are seeming to excel, the independents must follow or risk losing out.

INTIMIDATION
Customer intimidation is a term that could be swapped with threshold resistance. It’s another thing that will destroy a sale.

In areas where customers lack knowledge and expertise, it is natural for them to feel a little
uneasy when making a purchase. Not only do they not want to make bad decisions, they also don’t want to be laughed out of the shop either.

It is well known that some people, especially women, do feel intimidated by the garage environment. But I would say that garages, retailers and motor factors aren’t the only culprits. There are other trade counters such as plumbing, electrical and builder’s merchants that could make positive improvements through tidying up their appearance and coming across as less intimidating to customers.

To customers, little things do matter. Customers do notice when furniture is threadbare, when floors and walls are dirty, when an environment is just plain untidy and this does reflect on their judgement. I once read an article about an airline where the CEO remarked that if a customer found a coffee stain on their fold-down table in front of their seat, they would think that the airline didn’t take care when maintaining its engines.

The same could be said of delivery or company liveried vehicles – if these are dirty,
what sort of signals are they giving out to people who see them? And what about dress- sense and personal cleanliness?

Okay, garage environments can be dirty, but simple procedures can mitigate the customer having to see or witness this – we’re talking dirty overalls and hands here. You’ll notice that the likes of Halfords have tidy-looking staff.

A very simple example that I particularly notice is when an independent garage or retailer, provides their employees with liveried overalls or shirts – this is something that is expected in big retail, but to me, an independent that goes to the trouble of putting their logo on clothing is more likely to apply more attention to detail on larger issues.

In the grand scheme of all things marketing, the recommendation is don’t be deliberately putting people off buying from you. Improving your premises and how you look could be one of the most cost effective investments you could make to your business.

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BRAND NEW SERVICE TRANSMISSION MODULE

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BRAND NEW SERVICE TRANSMISSION MODULE


PROMOTIONAL ARTICLE ON BEHALF OF AUTODATA

service-transmission

Autodata has launched an important time-saving Service Transmission module that makes it even easier for technicians to identify the service operations required in a simple and efficient way. The new module provides technicians with instant access to all the technical information needed to carry out servicing to manual, automatic, and auto-shift manual (ASM) transmissions, as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.

In addition to providing technicians with the relevant tightening torques for drain and filler plugs, as well as oil grades, and capacities in one easy to use module. The new module has step-by-step instructions and illustrations that guide technicians as they carry out model specific drain and refill procedures. Autodata’s service transmission module helps to protect workshops from making simple but costly mistakes by technicians with cautionary notes, that if ignored may cause damage to the vehicle during maintenance and repair procedures.

Transmissions are a time-consuming and awkward aspect of vehicle servicing. Get it wrong, and your workshop could end up with a hefty bill. Unlike standard manual transmissions which generally have straightforward fluid drain and refill procedures, automatic transmission systems can be more complicated.

When servicing automatic and ASM transmissions, it isn’t as simple as just removing the drain plug, draining the fluid, and then refilling the transmission. Various additional factors need to be considered, such as the special tools and diagnostic equipment required, the specific drain and refill procedures – set by vehicle manufacturers that need to be followed, and of course, the specific grade and capacities of transmission fluid required. With Autodata’s new service transmission module, technicians will have all this information at their fingertips to help them complete transmission servicing more efficiently.

This new module joins 34 other Autodata modules, more than 550,000 procedures, over 125,000 diagrams and illustrations, which cover over 32,000 models across 136 car and van manufacturers worldwide.
Subscribe to Autodata today.

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MARKETING YOUR GARAGE BUSINESS EFFECTIVELY

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MARKETING YOUR GARAGE BUSINESS EFFECTIVELY


Marketing is more than just a token social media page, writes Andy Vickery

Andy Vickery is a consultant for the aftermarket

Andy Vickery is a consultant for the aftermarket

Let’s cut to the chase, marketing to most garage owners and businesses is a can of worms. What works, what doesn’t? Are print, direct mail and advertising dead? Should we do more emails – should we do a video?

To most, marketing appears to be a smoke and mirrors art that is more about luck and being in the right place at the right time. After all, you’ve tried it and nothing appears to have worked before.

The problem is there are so many elements within marketing to attend to, but most only ever see the end results of what others are doing – an email, mailer or advert, and not what is going on behind it all. The best that most can come up with then is to copy what others are doing. But what if the garage down the road was just guessing at their marketing and you were to copy them?

Then there’s being drawn to the latest ‘shiny’ object. A media rep calls from an online technology company that promises your business will be in front of a gazillion customers visiting their website every day.

The media rep tells you that this is what you should be doing because everybody’s doing it and you’re going to miss out. The rep then goes on to say ‘you’re not still using old-fashioned methods of marketing are you?’ It’s enough to make your head explode.

When you first set up in business, nobody ever told you that you had to be a marketer as well. But marketing isn’t difficult, that is when you know how. If you can fix cars, you can certainly embrace a few concepts that will improve your marketing.

CHANGE YOUR THINKING
The problem is that many just don’t take marketing seriously enough to turn it into a business process. The first thing to do is to see marketing as part of the process of running your business, like you would with doing the accounts or any other admin’ system or procedures you might have in place.

Realise that marketing is something that requires investment, but that it’s also a process that will provide a return on investment. A problem that many have is they try to do marketing that is free or cheap,
which sadly ends up being ineffective for that very reason.

Marketing and sales are as important as the work you do. The main difference to any other business procedures is that your marketing process is what will bring customers to your door, pay the wages and overheads and hopefully make you a profit.

marketing

CLEAR ON YOUR MARKET
Who are your best customers? What is your best type of work? Determining your ‘target market’ can be a very technical subject, but these two basic questions are a great place to start. Taking a step back to consider these could provide the impetus for change in your business. Once you know the type of customers you want more of, you will be able to devise promotions that ‘talk their language’, promote the things that will resonate with them, and turn up in the right places to get you noticed.

YOUR MARKETING MESSAGE
Again, this is a subject that could fill a book or two and indeed has. But what you say to your customers is important. Too many rely on advertising that just contains a logo and a list what they do – which is actually
probably no different to the business down the road. Put yourself in the position of the customer; who should they choose when both garages appear to offer the same services? The cheapest?

Your ideal customers are likely to be those that have values above what you actually do. They see a value in your training, your honesty, the fact you are involved in community projects. How can you make yourself different from your competitors? These things do help customers make a discerning decision. So, going back to your ideal customer, what is it that appeals to them?

MEDIA – DELIVERING YOUR MESSAGE TO YOUR MARKET
Do you start a Facebook Page? is Social Media what you should concentrate on? Let’s get one thing straight from the outset – when it comes to marketing, no one method should be utilised at the expense of others. And as far as Social Media is concerned, it won’t necessarily be the one thing that is going to bear the sort of fruit you require very quickly; certainly not on its own. Use Social Media, but in a measured way.

By spending a bit of time considering your market, your message and your media, you will be able to put together much more effective marketing; there will be more of a method and strategy behind it – it may not be perfect straight away, but it can be refined as you move forward.

ARE YOU COMMITTED?
The last part of the equation is commitment. Marketing is not something that should be seen as free or cheap, or indeed something that is done only once. It is a continual process. Your final thing to do is to set up a marketing calendar then stick to it, measure it, refine it and repeat it.

motorrepairmarketing.com

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ISSUES FACING INDEPENDENTS ‘MORE COMPLEX THAN EVER’


Andy Savva

Andy Savva, Managing Director of Savva Automotive, filled a seminar room at a recent trade show with his presentation, ‘A New Service Way: Effective and Efficient workshop’ aimed at boosting productivity, margins and morale within the independent garage.

“The issues facing us working in the independent sector are more complex and challenging than ever before”, he said. “From human resources to competition from fast-fits and dealers, your actual image, tooling, training and of course, technical advancements in vehicle design are all problems we as an industry are facing”.

During his presentation at Mechanex Sandown, the garage entrepreneur displayed images, comparing ‘good’ and ‘bad’ garages in 2016 that he worked with; explaining that employers should be maintaining a healthy and safe working environment, with tools labelled and placed in an appropriate area to utilise workshop capacity effectively.

Savva also provided guidance to help garages calculate the correct labour rate instead of charging the ‘going rate in the area’ for individual businesses while attempting to bridge the gap between independent and franchised garages. He said: “Generally, independent garages see franchised garages as competitors and franchised garages historically, put us down as independents” he continued: “I believe we both should be a collective progressive, professional sector where a consumer has the choice to go and have their car repaired properly in an honest fashion. I don’t believe we should have this culture of ‘them and us’ because that’s what’s keeping us segregated and our industry unprofessional”.

Other industry talks included: ‘DPF Diagnosis, Recovery and Repair’ orchestrated by ADS Director Frank Massey and ‘The Future of MOT training’ hosted by representatives from the RMI.

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ECP LAUNCHES ‘EURO ACADEMY’ FOR TECHNICIANS


A hybrid training vehicle

A hybrid training vehicle

Euro Car Parts has become the latest factor to introduce a training programme for independent workshops. Boasting IMI-certified training, the initiative also includes a technical helpline and an online diagnostics database that includes a library of previous faults.

The initiative is supported by training firm Grup Eina and covers all areas of vehicle maintenance. This includes electrical, electronic, mechanical and diagnostic fault-finding and offers assessment and training for every level of workshop employee. For the master technician, courses take place at one of the factor’s IMI-approved training centres, which have a number of vehicles with various simulated faults that replicate real-life vehicle issues.

The programme covers three levels of membership. Level one offers unlimited use of helpline time, as well as access to troubleshooting and online assessments for technicians. Level two adds to that with one, two-day training course, while level three offers three, two-day training courses every year.

ECP says that the first 200 garages to sign up will receive a weekend package to attend AutoInform Live, including hotel accommodation and dinner with the Euro Car Parts team. AutoInform Live takes place the weekend of 19 and 20 November and provides a great opportunity to gain aftermarket insight and training while mixing with like-minded businesses.

Martin Gray, CEO at ECP, noted: “We’re delighted to further build on our commitment to the independent garage by unveiling our new training initiative. Technology continues to evolve at pace, with vehicles that are now more fuel efficient, computationally complex and diverse than ever before. With alternatively-fuelled vehicles and connected technology all making their way into the garage, it is important that the industry is in a position to respond.”

Gray continued: “Euro Car Parts is passionate about the UK’s independent garage network and, by investing in programmes such as the Euro Academy, we want to make sure our trade customers are well- placed to further build on their far-reaching levels of quality and service. Working in partnership with our members, we will continue to invest in and develop the Euro Academy to ensure that the independent garage sector is robustly positioned for the transport infrastructure of the future.”

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PAGID SURVEY TO DISCUSS WORKSHOP CHALLENGES IN 2016


PROMOTIONAL ARTICLE ON BEHALF OF PAGID

pagidPagid are on a mission to understand the challenges facing workshops in the realms of the automotive aftermarket in 2016.

They are conducting an extensive survey that will also seek to gain perceptions of what technicians look for when choosing brake parts, their opinions on brands, and more.

By sharing your views in Pagid’s survey, you will also enter a competition, with the opportunity to win a ‘Fully Loaded Pagid Kit’, worth over £500.

Sadie Parker, Business Development Manager at Pagid comments: “At Pagid, we are continually developing products, tools and training courses for you, our valued customers, so it’s vital for us to listen to you to see what your issues are, what you look for in braking, and how we can make your workdays more efficient”.

Workshops, mechanics and technicians, can have their say at: www.pagid.com/survey. Entries are open until the end of October 2016 and results will be published later this year.

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