Tag Archives: garage services

FOXY lays down Kwik-Fit gauntlet

It can’t just be me that links bad media PR with the brand name Kwik-Fit.

But is this because they’re more likely to be targeted in national ‘sting’ operations, as one of the biggest UK garage groups, when a publication wants national not local coverage?

Maybe the time is right to bury that bad PR once and for all Kwik-Fit?

If you want to walk the FOXY walk we’d be happy to work with you to defend your business and promote that message.

Here’s why we’re suggesting this matters, as an example of how damaging this sort of PR can be. Here’s the latest rip off tale of customer woe about Kwik-Fit along these lines…

So what are you doing about this, Itochu (who owns Kwik-Fit)? Probably lots is happening behind the scenes that few motorists know of.

So I’d like to invite you to join our network of FOXY Lady Approved garages so we can police your quality standards and together we’ll put the record straight – one way or another.

To join the FOXY Lady Approved garage network

To join us and start the ball rolling you’d need to…

1/ Get Kwik-Fit staff to sign the FOXY Promise to ‘never overcharge, patronise or sell us anything we don’t need’.

2/ Demonstrate EITHER staff on the IMI Professional Register OR that branches are members of a Chartered Trading Standards Approved Code of Practice scheme like The Motor Ombudsman, Trust My Garage or Bosch Car Service.

As such, Kwik-Fit Directors and Centre Managers could not incentivise retail staff to sell certain products or services motorists’ don’t need.

3/ Confirm performance levels by regular female feedback.

PS: FOXY has its own complaints handling processes which it’d happily share with Kwik-Fit re women drivers.

Is this too much to ask of Kwik-Fit?

Undoubtedly Kwik-Fit does a lot of good work but it’s a big operation and wherever staff are involved, there’s room for human error. But if Kwik-Fit wants to do a better job, we’re here to help them move the bar upwards in terms of customer service.

They’d need to make a commitment to better motoring services for women, by working with us.

And we’d then be in a position to stick up for them when the media turns on them again.

As I see it, this’d be good for the automotive industry as well. Because they get tarnished by customers’ bad tales, fairly or otherwise.

By all means give me a ring on 01903 879988 to get the ball rolling.

You really should do something Itochu and standing up for your business values, working with us, sounds like a positive way to make a difference.


To have your say about Kwik-Fit. please use Twitter and our @FOXYTweets feed.

Good jobs for girls in Gateshead

Leading franchise car dealership Vertu Motors is advertising 19 new jobs at its Gateshead headquarters to handle increasing sales enquiries from across the UK. Men and women are equally as welcome to apply of course but I noticed that the majority of staff working in their North East call centre are female so clearly these roles have considerable appeal for local women who must also see Vertu as a female friendly employer.

The majority of the vacancies are to book cars in for car servicing, MOTs, mechanical and accident repair work via their contact centre but there are also two roles for receptionists.

Vertu Motors was the first Top Ten UK Dealer Group to sign up to FOXY Choice’s female friendly garage network in 2011. They commit to ATA, Kitemark and OFT quality schemes so they instantly ticked our criteria for measurable quality standards. They also seem to employ more than the industry average of female managers and service staff. So it wasn’t at all surprising that they wanted to display our FEMALE FRIENDLY logo to reassure local women and promote their time saving and stress busting services both inside and outside FOXY Lady Drivers Club.

Joining the FOXY Choice female friendly garage network was therefore a shrewd tactic to grow its car servicing, MOT and repair work and profits by marketing these more effectively to women and through them to their family and friends.

During the early part of the recession Vertu had specifically targeted older vehicles through lower pricing; a foxy strategy that recognised that many motorists driving older cars suspect that they cannot afford dealer prices.

As an aside – this is no longer always the case. At least if you go to a dealership you can be sure that the mechanics looking after your car have been trained to manufacturer standards whereas this isn’t necessarily the case with independent garages because anyone can set up a garage business without a license, the industry isn’t regulated and mechanics don’t have to be qualified. Which is why the industry makes so much of its complaints procedures I suppose.

Vertu has 83 dealerships and passed the £1 billion turnover mark recently.

Even Robert Forrester, Vertu’s Chief Executive Officer (seen in the photo), has been surprised by the extent of the Group’s continuing progress in such tough trading times.
“When four of us founded the Group from a single office in Newcastle in late 2006, it was difficult to imagine that we would quickly employ nearly 3,000 people across the UK.”

Undoubtedly Vertu is doing better than many in bucking the trend. In my experience, businesses that are lean and flexible are quicker to spot sales opportunities and respond to demand.

Assuming that Vertu employs more women than men in these customer service positions, this proves they are both a female friendly employer and entitled to their place in our female friendly garage network because of this. I say this because women (customers) tend to trust women (staff) more than men in a male dominated industry like the UK’s garage industry.

It therefore makes sound business sense for car dealerships’ MOT, car servicing and repair work to be trusted by women, knowing they are the gender spenders and that the aftersales side of the business is the one that makes the lion share of the profit, not the car sales side as it once was…


Totally transparent garage services at Stourbridge Volkswagen

Women who are wary about male dominated garages and mechanics that tend to baffle them with technical jargon will be impressed by Volkswagen’s new 100% transparent garage service at their Stourbridge showroom in Worcestershire.

Not just a promise to be more open in future Volkswagen has gone that extra mile and opened up their Volkswagen Stourbridge showroom by removing its workshop walls.

This then provides a glass encased inspection area for customers so everyone can see exactly what’s going on. They can also ask for the work to be explained to them by a qualified technician whilst their car is being inspected.

As you can see in the photograph, the inspection area is actually a glass framed enclosure and customers can see precisely what is being done to their car, even when it is on a vehicle ramp.

This sort of transparency is precisely what is needed to reassure worried women about garage workmanship standards and ethics. If you have nothing to hide, you will get brownie points for showing this off.

Not just transparency but extra value for money as well… because every VW to visit Stourbridge Volkswagen in Audnam will receive the offer of a complementary 34-point express visual check. Those that want to take advantage of this can then escort Vince Baker who will explain this in layman’s terms, providing a greater insight into the car’s condition and helping to build a much needed relationship of trust with a view to the future.

The pilot service has cost Volkswagen UK £70,000 to install we are told, and if successful it may be rolled out across the UK network.

We would certainly support this female friendly approach in future. Indeed it’s one of the reasons why Stourbridge Volkswagen is a FOXY Choice approved female friendly garage that we are happy to introduce to members of FOXY Lady Drivers Club.


A female friendly lifestyle choice in Leicester

Female friendly Sturgess Motor GroupNo matter your lifestyle, there’s a genuinely female friendly garage choice for women drivers in Leicester.

We first met Sturgess Motor Group when they organised a Women in the Driving Seat evening event for local female motorists. It was a popular feature in their calendar and their Marketing Manager, Nichola Moore, saw this as a way to show women drivers how much the Group cares about their motoring welfare not just the value of their business.

It was only a matter of time before this Motor Group would subscribe to FOXY Choice’s female friendly approved UK garage network as further evidence that they really do care for their female customers long after the car has been sold.

Sturgess operates seven franchised car dealership operations in Leicester covering Toyota, Nissan, Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Jaguar, Volvo and Land Rover brands. The dealership name and logo will be familiar in the city with branches in Narborough Road, Aylestone Road, Almond Road and Walnut Street.

All locations are ATA employers (Automotive Technician Accredited) which means their staff are accredited to repair all makes of cars not just their franchised brands. They also subscribe to the Motor Codes Service and Repair code which is working its way towards full OFT Code of Practice approval. These are both signs of superior standards in an industry with too many garage/dealership complaints and where women often feel ill at ease and on their guard.

This female unease is precisely why Sturgess have signed up to the FOXY Promise to ‘never overcharge, patronise or sell women services they don’t need or want’ AND have appoined Debbie McIntyre, Gill Clifford, Trish Blaber, Sheena Tegg, Rebecca Hill and Jessica Watts to be Female Business Ambassadors as part of the FOXY Choice female friendly approved garage network.

Sturgess of Leicester is one of the UK’s oldest family operated motor dealers and was founded in 1897. Women shopping for a new or nearly new car to suit their lifestyle and budget will find they have a genuinely female friendly choice here, whether it’s a 4×4, a prestigious executive car, a sporty convertible, something for the family or a stylish and environmentally friendly supermini.

We look forward to working with Sturgess in future.


Female friendly VW garage offers in Nuneaton

It would be wrong to dismiss dealerships for female friendly garage services and truly foxy prices in Nuneaton.

The recent Which? garage survey confirmed that Motor Codes garages were on average about £2 cheaper than Bosch Car Service independent garages for the work Which? commissioned. As far as workmanship was concerned, Bosch garages did a bit better than Motor Codes subscribers (both picked up on c60% of faults) and both are operating to the OFT Code of Practice.

NB: Bosch garages have reached Stage Two of the OFT Code and can use the OFT logo whereas Motor Codes service and repair subscribers (88% dealerships) are still at Stage One and can’t use the logo.

So the common impression that independent garages are always much cheaper than dealerships ain’t necessarily so…

Certainly not when it comes to the latest car servicing garage offers charged by Listers Volkswagen – £119 for a minor car service and £229 for a major service. Plus, an MOT for £30 with nothing hidden.

It’s good to see open and transparent pricing in car dealerships. So many seem to doubt their competitiveness? Well done Listers.

Terms apply as you’d expect – these prices are for VWs aged 3 to 10 years with a 2.0 litre or smaller engine and include parts, labour, oil and VAT. Other vehicles will be quoted for as requested.

If you want to be sure of a female friendly garage welcome it’s Listers VW at Nuneaton that has signed the female friendly FOXY Promise to date. To book your VW in for its MOT or annual servicing visit just call the bookings line on 01789 403828 or email VW Listers Nuneaton via their FOXY Choice page.

And tell us how you get on afterwards – there’s a Garage Feedback link on FOXY Choice’s home page.