At the start of the year, Lumileds welcomed Andy Savva as the ambassador for the car lighting brand, Philips, in the UK and Ireland. He answers PMF’s questions.
Andy has been involved in the automotive industry for 30 years, having owned and managed successful garages since 1994. After selling his last business in November 2015, he is now running an aftersales consultancy business, ‘The Garage Inspector’, working with both retail and aftermarket organisations, as well as public speaking for the industry and writing for automotive trade publications.
Q. Andy, can you tell us a bit more about the new partnership with Lumileds?
Andy Savva (AS): I am absolutely thrilled to be associated with Philips. For over 100 years, Philips’ automotive products have provided best-in-class lighting solutions in the aftermarket, to original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and supplier (OES) markets. One out of every three cars around the world comes equipped with Philips headlights!
I have always endorsed the use of OE parts, therefore I am pleased to be working with Lumileds and the Philips lighting products, as they offer unparalleled knowledge and awareness of the automotive lighting market, while creating automotive lighting solutions of the highest quality that meet the stringent European standards with a zerodefect tolerance.
This is the message I reinforce for both my business training courses and the presentations I deliver at key automotive events. Over the next few months, my role will involve setting up online training, making videos for workshops, creating testimonials for Philips products, and overall, increasing brand and product awareness.
Q. From your experience of doing business with motor factors, can you tell us what expectations garage customers have when purchasing workshop lighting products and bulbs?
(AS): For tyres, brakes and other safetyrelated wear-and-tear parts, it is common to change them in pairs – for safety reasons. For car headlamps, changing in pairs also makes sense. This means when customers walk into a motor factor looking for a new bulb, they will actually need to buy two.
Much like wiper blades on a vehicle, headlights should be checked periodically and, when one is starting to fail, the bulbs should be replaced in pairs. Changing and upgrading a car’s headlight bulbs before they burn out helps ensure optimum performance. Replacing bulbs in pairs is not just to increase profits for the factor and their customers, it’s about providing the best advice to drivers, who pay technicians for their experience and expertise that keeps them safe on the road.
Cheap is often not cost-effective when it comes to car lighting. The tight confines and complexities of modern car engine bays can often mean that replacing a bulb can take a few hours – not something that a workshop wants to have to rectify at its own cost. Offering a high-quality bulb from Philips will not only offer peace of mind to the workshop and motorist alike, but it will give the workshop a higher margin on the product and the motorist a better performing bulb that will almost certainly prove to be cheaper to own in the long run.
The key to a strong and respectful working relationship between a factor and garage has always been to constantly communicate. By responding to customer feedback, this will then result in a good working relationship and repeat business.
Q. How can point-of-sale materials be used as a sales tool?
(AS): The key is at the authorisation stage with the customer when discussing what needs to be replaced. It’s useful to clearly explain the features and benefits of why you are fitting Philips bulbs, or any other OE parts for that matter.
We, as professionals, have a duty of care to our customers to keep them informed and safe, and we achieve this by educating them on the consequences of using a cheaper product. Lumileds has also created useful sales and marketing tools such as leaflets, countertop mats, floor and counter displays, all of which are accompanied by a high-quality application guide, to better serve customers and guide them in their selection of lighting products.