Commentary by Bob Aldons - Northstar Volkswagen
"Amarok service centres in remote locations to help VW tap lucrative mining market"
I've had a bit of experience with mining companies over the years. I first tapped into the sector via a fleet management company which necessitated frequent trips to the Capricorn Coal mine at Middlemount. I was amazed then and still am at the torture vehicles are put to in the mining communities, let alone down in the pits.
Toyota has had it so good for so long, but it's not surprising to see the competitors coming out of the woodwork in the last couple of years. There's Mazda, Ford, Isuzu D Max, VW with Amarok and even Mahindra, the Indian based manufacturer now making a space in Australia. The great advantage that Toyota had was that it's vehicles could be serviced by local mechanical shops close to the mines. The thought of having to drive an hour or 2 for a routine service was not on the radar. And that's where Volkswagen has a challenge.
Volkswagen vehicles are amongst the most technically innovative vehicles in the world and need to be connect to the VW diagnostic system to check on up to date programming, recalls, in service updates and the like. With my relationship with Complete Taxi Management, VW have been reluctant to share access to their systems, making an initial investment in the diagnostic computers and access to the VW mainframe very expensive. CTM have invested the necessary, but diagnosis on nearly 100 vehicles requires trained technicians, whilst mechanics working on mine vehicles are a different story.
Mine vehicles need to be working - and they work hard. When they're down for maintenance, they have to be turned around quickly and that's the biggest test for Amarok in the mine space. Who knows. If logic prevails then that might just open the door for other specialists to gain access to the same technology.
If you want to experience VW in the flesh, call into Northstar Volkswagen at 322 Anzac Avenue Kippa-Ring on the Redcliffe Peninsula. We're only 15 minutes or so from Brisbane Airport and a leisurely drive down the highway from Noosa, Bundaberg, Maryborough, and a short trip from Nambour, Caloundra, Mooloolaba and Bribie Island. We also get a lot of our customers as FIDO - that's not a dog by the way, that's fly in drive out. With cheap airfares, our customers come in from Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Mt Isa and even Sydney, Melbourne and as far away as Perth.
We'll happily arrange a drive home registration and you know the best thing about this? The drive home gives you just the best running in you'll ever get. New engines love a long drive to bed everything in and you'll get the best economy you've ever experienced. Alternatively if you're time or distance poor, check us out online at www.northstarvw.com.au or read more reviews at www.mycarreview.com.au . Finally, if you can't come to us, we'll come to your home, workplace or worksite - call Northstar on 1300 894 655
VOLKSWAGEN is targeting lucrative mining fleet contracts with its rugged Amarok one-tonne ute range by setting up special service centres in remote areas of Western Australia and Queensland that cannot support a full dealership.
Mining giant BHP Billiton recently announced it has joined the growing number of fleets that will only buy vehicles with a five-star ANCAP safety rating, and VW wants to capitalise on this opportunity for the Amarok by reducing potential objections about servicing costs and convenience.
Speaking at this week’s launch of single-cab and automatic Amarok variants, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Australia national aftersales manager Phil West said a number of service centres will be operating in remote areas of WA such as Newman, Karratha and Broome by the end of this year.
VW is also holding a dealer event at Kununurra in northern WA this week to showcase the Amarok’s suitability to harsh environments.
Mr West said that for the past two years VW has been working with rural dealers to make sure they are “ready and positioned well to meet the market”.
“What we need to do is make sure that we have the capability in the network to support us… but clearly some of this market is clearly within an area that wouldn’t normally support a dealership,” he said.....read more