We spoke with Jean-Marie Bernaerts: we want to make Wondercar the first point of call for the private customer…
After the swift and professional repair of our faithful Volvo, we got very intrigued about the Wondercar bodywork repair concept. Reason enough for an interview…Just read on!
Hans Knol ten Bensel
Autoprova: You are now introducing Wondercar into the (Belgian) car bodywork repair market. What are your final goals?
What are now introducing the Wondercar franchise system to our D’Ieteren car dealer network. We have to point out here that we are presently reorganizing this network, and we are stepping from our traditional dealer network to a “leader market area” per region in this country. Within this new framework, we want to offer the Wondercar franchise to the “principal dealer” in this reorganized network.
Autoprova: What contains this Wondercar franchise?
There are three pillars, smartrepair, dayrepair and the classic bodywork repair as the third pillar.
For small damages and scratches we will repair the car with very “smart” methods without replacing any parts. This repair only takes a few hours. The dayrepair is virtually similar, but includes part replacement, which is the major difference with smartrepair. This repair takes maximum one day. Last but not least we have the classic body repair.
Autoprova: How do you see the further marketing and distribution of the Wondercar concept?
We want to build a strong market presence, which means that we aim to have 30 to 35 shops on the longer term throughout this country. At the same time are we approaching the insurance companies, as they are also keen to reduce their costs and the top ten insurers are looking for bigger repair networks to make global agreements with.
A smartrepair only takes a few hours, so the client can wait in this cosy lounge…
We are convinced that we have a unique proposition towards these insurers.
Autoprova: Which type of client are you targeting at first instance?
Initially, we are approaching the insured private car owner who was not the cause of the accident. That is our first target group. Of course, we will expand our client base, and also the drivers who are at fault are welcome. Last but not least there are the fleet and leasing customers.
Our dealer network has some 120 to 130 body shops, and we will streamline them to bigger units, i.e. reduce then to the 30 to 35 larger shops we are aiming for. For the moment we have a shop in Sint Stevens Woluwe, on the Leuvensesteenweg (where our Volvo 850 was repaired, see our report).
A WiFi connection is at your disposal of course…
This shop will be the training centre for the franchise, focusing on our smartrepair concept. This shop will also function as a research centre and laboratory to test out new products and techniques.
The Wondercar franchise goes further than just smartrepair, as we already pointed out earlier. Our competitor in the market is Carglass Bodywork, more specifically the former “Care” network which they have taken over. Whereby Carglass is part of the same D’Ieteren Group as we are…
In the present market situation, smaller bodywork shops are under pressure, as a larger critical mass is necessary to warrant profitability and to remain a credible and reliable partner for insurers and clients.
I also want to stress that we are very well positioned to perform larger repairs as we are importer of the VW Group brands, which puts us at an advantage for obtaining parts.
The repairs are done using the latest “smart” techniques, like this fast dryer for paint and varnish to set in 15-20 minutes…
Last but not least, this franchise is exclusively offered to our so-called “Leader Market Areas” or LMA’s. We are now doing a road show to convince our dealers to conclude this franchise agreement with us. They will remain completely independent, but with the logo and the values of Wondercar, of course against the payment of a franchise. They will adopt the same repair methods, processes and techniques which we have developed within our Wondercar Concept. The client can count everywhere on the same superior quality in combination with efficiency, proper to Wondercar.
Our final aim is to make Wondercar a household name, to such extent that the private owner will first contact us to repair his car, even before he calls his insurer or broker. Besides this, we have also the ambition to work multi brand, what we are doing already (indeed, our 23 year old Volvo was expertly repaired), what for our dealers can mean additional profits for their body shop. Also for the classic bodywork repairs, i.e. with the use of parts, we are also directing ourselves to repairing other brands.
Autoprova: We thank you for this interview.
Hans Knol ten Bensel