Finding a Niche
There is a gap in the market. A car workshop capable of providing detailed and comprehensive work with transparent pricing in a comfortable environment with working table, free wifi, refreshment, that can handle not just routine servicing but also general repairs, is lacking in Thailand. Throw in the convenience of key drop, pre-appointments, and a “chat-to-buy” technical consultation service and we can clearly differentiate ourselves from the competition.
As most of the so-called repair shops are in fact tire shops, that additional service tend to be what we call “around-the-wheel” services like brake pads, brake discs, suspensions, and perhaps tie-rods and stabilizer bars. Tire balancing, wheel alignment, nitrogen filling, those would be generally considered as standards.
The difference arises when it comes to the drive trains as most of these stores do not handle any form of diagnosis and thus will not have diagnostic scanning tools at their disposal. This means that they rule out handling any form of drive train issues and repairs. To capitalize on this lack of availability, a workshop can be set up that can conduct general drive train diagnosis. The most common types relate to air flow efficiency.
The other potential area is in the service and maintenance of hybrid cars. More car makes have introduced hybrids, to name a few we have BMW, Mercedes Benz, Honda, Toyota and Nissan, and the market expects more in the near future. These hybrids require insulated tools which most independent car workshops do not have.
When it comes to air con gas recovery and topping up, the air con machine needs to run on special oil that do not conduct electricity, with its own compressor to run it. This is one area which independents can include to entice the hybrid car owners away from the dealership workshops.
For maintenance service, throttle body cleaning which is common in other markets is practically non-existent here, so this is something that the workshop can introduce and explain to the customers the importance of such maintenance work and how it can help to extend the life of the car and bring down running costs.
What, really, is a connected car?
In my earlier piece of writing, I talked about major global automotive technology providers moving away from the more traditional automotive service and repair tools and equipment and the related technology, more and more positioning themselves for the advent of the connected car. The feedback to the blog was coming in fast and furious, and surprisingly to me, the most common comment was actually a question one way or another asking me to define what I mean by a connected car.
Simple as it may sound, a connected car can actually mean different things to different people. Thus, to make things clearer here, I shall define the connected car as connection both within the car itself, and car-to-car and car-to-other devices. Now, with this much broader definition, the scope of discussion becomes much wider.
For in-car connectivity, we are talking about enhancing the connectivity within the car through the various sensors, processors and actuators. To make things simpler, let me cite one example which is already in place, and to which it can be further developed for greater connectivity. That example is the maintenance service reminder on the car’s dashboard.
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