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The collision repair industry is changing; new trends are emerging and consolidation is now on the horizon. Repairers and insurers have questions, and Fix Auto has answers! Fix Auto South Africa CEO, Malcolm Rajah, and Fix Auto World head of business, David Lingham, share their insights about the industry and Fix Auto’s strategy towards the future!

Q  Can you please tell us about Fix Auto South Africa’s recent launch event in early October?

A  Malcolm Rajah (MR): It was truly a success! We were joined by over 80 repairers, insurers, OEMs and members of the media, for a full day of learning and discussing the current and future state of the industry. Insurers added value and content regarding franchising and networks. Moreover, this event reaffirmed that repairers see the need to belong to a network and understand the benefits of a global brand.

David Lingham (DL): We were pleased to hear from the insurers directly; the openness they showed mirrored our own values of transparency. This is the ethos of Fix Auto in South Africa.

Q  In short, what are some characteristic challenges in the South African collision repair market?

A  MR: The South African collision repair industry is ready for consolidation, but also faces challenges related to customer experience, cost of repair and transparency. We see a need for a programme that helps bring more clarity to the conversation between repairer and insurer through joint performance metrics, and we are ready with the tools to help make this happen.

Q  And how does Fix Auto South Africa propose to help resolve these challenges?

A  MR: What Fix Auto proposes is to fill these gaps by offering a set of tools and resources that focus on performance, transparency and efficiency to benefit our franchise and insurance partners. With FIX TRIP for instance, Fix Auto is changing the way insurers and collision repair centres work together, delivering transparency based on real-time metrics. Added to a strong consumer brand and operational support, Fix Auto is truly in business to help grow its network and steer the industry toward the future!

Q  David, you have experience assessing global collision repair trends, how would you qualify the South African market?

A  DL: Aside from the readiness to consolidate and insurers’ desire for a transparent, full-service solution, there is already a strong level of interest in developed approval programmes by OEM’s. We see a real opportunity for Fix Auto to play a part in this sector.

Q  Fix Auto has undergone significant growth globally in the last few years. What can you say about this growth?

A  DL: With a selection of automotive aftermarket brands, including the newly acquired NOVUS Glass, we provide choice. Fix Auto is currently in nine countries worldwide, including Canada, the UK, China, Australia and of course South Africa. We are looking to create new partnerships and expand our reach, and we anticipate being present in more regions by the end of 2018. Strong brands, like ours, appeal to both the industry and consumers, and have family values at their core. This formula is a win with repairers, insurers, fleets and consumers, and it has helped fuel our growth.

Q  What should independent repairers who wonder about joining a network know about Fix Auto?

ASimply put, our franchise partners’ interest is our top priority! We have over 25 years’ experience in this industry, highly developed insurer programmes and a world-class brand. Repairers bring their technical skills and adaptability to change, and we help them grow their business into the future with increased operational and marketing management.

Q  Is Fix Auto right for everyone? Who is the right franchisee for Fix Auto South Africa?

A  MR: No, Fix Auto is not for everyone – the right franchisee has a vision to grow their business into the future. They are a trusted partner and they understand that consolidation is the key to the future in this changing industry. But above all, they are forward-thinking entrepreneurs who are ready to embrace change and join with us in a long term partnership for growth.

Q  Malcolm, to wrap up, can you tell us what is next for Fix Auto South Africa?

A  MR: Many great things are under way for us! We are looking to grow our team by making some key strategic hires, and very exciting pilot projects with insurance partners will begin for us in November. The future is Fix, stay tuned!