The company had an unsuccessful attempt at mobile repairs in 2002. But David Morallee, general manager, who set up a similar service at Reg Vardy, persuaded the board to try again. He thinks Benfield’s 15 dealerships could cope with three more vans, although a decision to extend the service will not be taken until the end of the year.
The service is run in conjunction with North East Factors which supplies the consumables. NEF has not contributed to the capital cost of the venture but has invested in extra product lines, and sourced them at “competitive” prices.
“Our mobile service is fortunes cheaper for the customer and it doesn’t take business away from our bodyshops,” says Morallee.
“The spin on it is much bigger than a customer paying £45 to repair a dent in his door. It also encourages customers to keep on top of cosmetic repairs so that at the end of the ownership cycle the car is traded-in to us in much better condition.”
The vans can deal with damage like minor paint blemishes, stone chips, damaged alloy wheels, seat repairs and chipped windscreens. They are scheduled to call at all of Benfield’s 15 dealerships to quote on repair work in the service department, as well as offering an emergency ‘on-call’ service.
Benfield Motors, part of the Addison Motors Group, has 15 sites with 26 franchises, including five bodyshops. In 2004 the company turned over £250m and was ranked 28 in the AM100.