The Autofirst Network has signed up its 300th member with Sussex-based Uckfield Motor Services joining the programme. The garage has signed up just six months after Autofirst reached 200 members and is already seeing a financial return from the scheme.
Autofirst was set up by Euro Car Parts last year and offers members a package of national warranty programmes, marketing campaigns, access to a web-based management system and technical partnerships providing training and support. One additional benefit of joining Autofirst is access to the Euro Academy, an innovative information resource set up by Euro Car Parts. This includes a technical helpline, which has already helped the group’s latest signing to solve a potentially tricky throttle position sensor problem on a Volvo V50.
Uckfield Motor Services partner, Edward Cockill, explains: “A new customer presented me with the issue after another garage had failed to solve it. Normally, we would spend time troubleshooting, or be forced to pay to access wiring diagrams, but with Autofirst, this type of information is included in our package. Not only that, I was also able to access technical advice while completing the job.”
The Bellbrook Industrial Estate-based repair, servicing and MOT centre recently underwent a period of expansion, giving it a total of eight ramps and two MOT bays, increasing its capacity. The workshop also provides both Class 4 and Class 7 MOT tests, and is even taking on small volumes of fleet work. A family business run by founder Symon, his wife Melanie and their three children, the garage started in 1992. Combining the personal customer service you would expect from a local garage with the technical capability and experience of a main dealer, the business has grown rapidly, requiring a move to new premises in 2008.
Martin Gray, CEO of Euro Car Parts, said that Uckfield Motor Services serves as a great example of the benefits that Autofirst can offer to independent garages. He commented: “The Autofirst Network brings together all the technical and commercial support packages we provide to the independent trade within a powerful customer facing brand. Garages that join the programme, like Uckfield Motor Services, are able to harness the support of the world’s leading components and system providers, enabling them to compete on a level playing field with franchised dealers.”