On the 12th of June, Science, Innovation and Technology Agency (MITA) together with Lithuanian Innovation Center (LIC) and Lithuanian Auto Parts Manufacturers and Exporters Association (LAuGEA), invited automotive industry professionals to a conference-contact fair “Car Service: The Benefits and Opportunities of Networks”.
In addition to Lithuanian businessmen, speakers from Nexus Auto from the UK and France, from well-known brands YUASA and WOLF from the UK and Belgium, and from Latvia and Estonia visited the event.
“Globalization processes are not only noticeable in the aftermarket of auto parts, but also in other spheres, therefore Lithuanian car business representatives were trying to disclose the added value that they, as owners of car repair companies, would get by joining a common service network. A common customer service standard, a common marketing and external communication strategy, and high-standard Nexus Academy technical training are just a few of the means that car shops would receive while in the group, ”said Andrius Rakickas, LAuGEA Cluster Coordinator. According to representatives of the LAuGEA cluster and Nexus Automotive Nordic Baltic, it is these areas that would allow car entrepreneurs to gain a competitive edge over stand-alone garages.
There are many reasons to cooperate
According to Andrius Rakickas, car dealerships in the regions are generally unable to afford commercials or other promotion tools that will attract more customers. Sharing the burden would open up other opportunities for car dealerships within the group. A common standard of service would allow to guarantee that any vehicle in the region repaired would be repaired professionally and at a reasonable cost.
“It is no secret that nowadays most of the smaller garages in Lithuania are still operating in the shadows. In this way, customers are deprived of transparent services in the field. There is no association in Lithuania defending or promoting a discussion on how to help car entrepreneurs and fight the shadow. This is done in a single effort. While the government is only considering directives for possible changes, the LAuGEA cluster and Nexus Automotive Nordic Baltic offer car dealers an alternative – to join a group to not only pursue common marketing strategies, unify car exterior, interior, locksmith outfits, but address specific issues together, and thus contribute to the speed of their business growth and problem-solving, ”said A. Rakickas for the sake of cooperation.
Newer cars in Lithuania are creating new challenges
During the event, an important tendency in Lithuania was discussed – the age of the cars. Experts predict that all garages will soon face this challenge.
“On the one hand, everything seems perfect: cars are newer, CO2 emissions are decreasing, we are all living healthier and we are driving smarter vehicles. On the other hand, it will be a huge challenge for car entrepreneurs, where it will be impossible to replace even the most basic battery without the use of special tools for new cars, ”said A. Rakickas, head of the LAuGEA cluster.
According to him, solutions to this problem are already being offered which reveal the added value created by the network. For example, the Nexus Automotive Academy, part of the Nexus Network, is specifically set up to prepare car service locksmiths, and provide them with the knowledge and tools they need to tackle the challenges encoded in the near future. Every Nexus Auto-based garage can take advantage of the Nexus Academy to not only improve the skills of its employees, but also ensure its preparation to service even the latest cars in the future.
About the event and the organizers
The event was funded by InoLink. InoLink is a project of the EU tool Inogeb LT, which MITA is implementing together with the Lithuanian Innovation Center. The aim of the project is to promote cluster merger, increase cluster maturity, growth and international cooperation. The project and its activities are funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
Lithuanian Auto Parts Manufacturers and Exporters Association (LAuGEA) – a business cluster operating since 2014 and uniting 19 Lithuanian companies and scientists related to the automotive industry. The cluster companies and organizations employ 1,700 employees, offer 175,000 products, export to more than 90 countries worldwide and have a combined annual turnover of more than 120 million. Eur.