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Waterloo helps indies battle for business

A Hull-based independent motor factor has launched a new initiative as part of the Independent Motor Factors Association's (IFA) national Autosafe umbrella scheme to help small independent garages compete with franchised dealers for car servicing and repair work.

Waterloo (Motor Trade) says the scheme is timed to coincide with the revised block exemption regulations which will open up the aftermarket to greater competition from independent businesses. “The scheme is constructed to promote the high quality of workmanship of independents to the general public and also to help garage owners build and maintain high quality services encouraging motorists to get their car serviced independently,” says Jim Munday, Waterloo managing director.

The IFA set up Autosafe a year ago as a branding opportunity for independent garages to join forces and organise their own marketing. It is intended to create a network that motorists recognise as a viable alternative to using franchised dealers. Waterloo is now using its local muscle to help garages in East Yorkshire to join the scheme – around 18 have signed up so far.

Garages are offered reduced prices on parts and equipment based on spend, specialist technical advice and extensive marketing, including a freephone hotline as part of the £30 per month fee. They also receive branded signage to display, while a series of bus ads targeting women motorists – Waterloo research has found that they prefer to get their cars serviced at local independents – is already running.

Waterloo is now working on a mandatory scheme to monitor member's standards. It is due to be launched next year.

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