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‘Democratizing’ auto servicing

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Tyreplus

By Kap Maceda Aguila

MANY car owners get antsy about taking their cars to a “casa,” owing to prohibitively priced services and parts, yet are wary of opting for third-party service for fear of iffy work and getting fleeced of their hard-earned cash.

So what’s an off-warranty car owner to do? Well, Tyreplus is positioning itself in the local market as a viable, smart and reputable choice. Established in 2002, the Australia-headquartered brand has over 7,000 centers worldwide. Its first outlet in the Philippines (at 8153 Dr. Arcadio Santos Avenue, Parañaque City) is operated by Trend Performance Centrum, Inc. under North Trend Marketing Corporation. Tyreplus gets an imprimatur from French tire maker Michelin, which counts the company among its “global network of professionals in car maintenance.”

Specializing in off-warranty service for cars, Tyreplus offers tire sales and servicing, wheel alignment, oil replacement, battery replacement, brake and suspension service, and ATF dialysis, among others. Michelin chief country representative Michael Nunag explained at the recent launch program of Tyreplus that the center also carries a curated mix of brands such as Michelin, BF Goodrich, Mobil, Total, Denso, Bendix and Hitachi, which cover various price points and demands. The vision is to “democratize” the market by offering value-for-money quality.

“It’s not just a tire shop,” explained Tyreplus development and distribution manager Beltran Yturriaga, and added that customers appreciate “someone taking the time to help guide them in the right direction.” It should not be “dark, dirty, and unfriendly,” but “caring, friendly, and honest,” he said.

Filipino car owners’ aversion to dubious service is something that North Trend Marketing Corporation’s chief operating officer Ronald Ang wants to play to. He shared the results of a 2017 Philippines customer service index study that showed a car service customer’s top three priorities in order of importance are service quality, service initiation, and vehicle pickup. “But basically, a shop should fulfill what is promised to the customer,” said Mr. Ang. He expressed awareness of JD Powers’ research that examined five measures of service experience in the realm of car service centers: Service quality; service initiation, the waiting time of a customer before the vehicle is actually serviced; vehicle pickup, the wait for the vehicle to be finished; the service facility’s ability to diagnose problems and offer parts when needed; and the service advisor’s attention.

At Tyreplus, Mr. Yturriaga maintained that “customer interaction begins at the doorstop [when] the car-care supervisor welcomes the customer and inquires on the reason for the visit.” The company said it wants to do away with the unprofessional practice of the customer looking for the technician or mechanic instead of the other way around.

“Our car-care supervisor gets all the information from the customer, then a highly skilled technician conducts a free safety check. We have consultants who offer advice about products and services. “We do our servicing according to manufacturer standards, and with the appropriate, certified tools and equipment,” underscored Mr. Yturriaga.

In a bid to demystify the process for non-gear heads, Tyreplus even has an “expert wall” where customers are showed what is be done to the vehicle, and the available options, through easily understandable visuals.

There are no imminent plans yet to open another branch as Tyreplus ascertains the market reception here, but the company is receptive to franchisees, and is flexible with the available footprint — as little as 150 square meters.

Besides, Mr. Ang stressed “it’s not [just] about making money, but [having] sustainability year on year.” For now, Tyreplus is buckling down to work to “deliver solutions, and make the company matter by creating more values to benefit customers.”