What is in the pipeline for Car Spares Factors?

What is in the pipeline for Car Spares Factors?

In the second part of his visit to Car Spares Factors’ newest branch in Harrow, formerly Saxons Motor Factors, our editor, Tom Henman, hears about CSF’s latest plans, digitisation and whether competition keeps co-owner, Sanjiv Shah, awake at night:

To recap, the acquisition of Harrow-based Saxons brought CSF’s family-run portfolio to seven. The stable now includes branches in North London, Hertfordshire, Essex and Middlesex.

Sanjiv Shah, the co-owner of Car Spares Factors, explained the logic behind the takeover – why now? – and how he wants to progress a business that is already profitable, with a 40-year track record, and has a fiercely loyal customer base.

Comfortable with the existing site, Sanj confessed that a move in the future, copying the existing CSF model and site layout was on the radar – but not quite yet – so the next obvious question is what is on the radar?

Sanj replied: “We’ve got a lot in the pipeline: our consumables catalogue has just been released. We have just launched a range of bodyshop consumables that are in stock at our Waltham Abbey and Park Royal depots and are accessible to all depots within a matter of hours through our inter-branch delivery service. We are in the process of starting a strong marketing campaign to push the message out and make our customers aware of this additional service we now provide.

Car Spares Factors

“The reason we’ve done it is because there are very few bodyshop consumable suppliers in-and-around London. If we bolt that to our ‘within one-hour service’, where there are bodyshops that have garages attached to them, we’re confident we can service both trades.”

Diversification or spotting a gap in the market?

There’s always an idea, always a plan with Sanj, but timing is critical with every decision he makes. Having interviewed him three times, I know he doesn’t rush into any decision. While his business development managers have been pushing for a line of bodyshop consumables for quite some time, Sanj admitted that “we’ve held off, held off, held off” but “we’ve now got to the point where the investment isn’t huge, yet the return is good”.

Car Spares Factors

On the garage side, CSF already carries plenty of consumables in stock but garages “didn’t realise” the vast range available from stock.

Sanj said: “Garages know about our parts, but airline couplings, air conditioning valves, etc, they didn’t know we actually stock these items on our shelves, and we can deliver them quickly.

Car Spares Factors

“Once we understood this, we got to work on our 92-page catalogue, just to open garage owners’ eyes. Now the printed versions have arrived, we’ll give our branches batches, and they’ll flood the area.”

Website and app

Sanj also mentioned that the Car Spares Factors website will be given a major facelift, to bring it in-line with the CSF image refreshed just over a year ago. Furthermore, upon reading a copy of the winter newsletter – CSF publish four per year – I encountered the Car Spares Factors app too.

Since its launch in 2023, plenty of software updates and enhancements have been made, with the aim of making it as easy as possible for customers to search and order products.

The key app features: customers can send an order or enquiry at the touch of a button and receive a response within minutes, upload images if needed, receive live mobile push notifications and driver notifications, such as when one is on their way, confirm or decline a quote, and select specific parts from a list and quickly view all active or historic enquiries on a phone.


Sanj said: “The CSF app enables our customers to order quickly from us. They can view our products and at the click of a button, place an order. It doesn’t replace our call centre team, but provides a supplementary ordering channel.”

Competition? No problem!

I interviewed Sanj shortly after news broke about the ownership changes at GSF, compelling me to ask about whether that development bothered or worried him – does competition bother him at all, or does it force him to raise his and CSF’s game?

A typical Sanj response followed: “I block it (competition) out – and the reason I block it out is because this industry is about relationships, it’s about trust, it’s about loyalty, and a garage will only give a motor factor one chance. We’re thrilled with our relationships, our business.

“We’re concentrating on what we’re doing, focusing on what we do well. As long as we do that, we don’t have to worry about nationals or other independents – could I sit here and worry about it? Yes, but do I? No. There is too much business out there.

“You can have the ambition to be the biggest, the best, or you can have the ambition to run a steady business that generates enough income to support you and your family, your staff and their families, pay suppliers, bills etc. As long as you’re doing that, I think most people would be happy – we’re happy.”

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