Written on June 21, 2013 at 5:10 pm
Manbat Revs Up ABC And Its Customers
As part of its campaign to mobilise members and help them to inform their customers of the forthcoming challenges they are likely to face in their businesses, GROUPAUTO approved supplier Manbat recently joined forces with VARTA® to present the vision of the future to around 20 valued garage customers of Abergavenny Brake & Clutch (ABC).
Manbat’s marketing manager, Myles Pemberton kicked things off by running a short introductory video, which can be viewed on the homepage of the Manbat website – www.manbat.co.uk – that set out a brief history of the company and how over the last 60 years it has grown from a small business repairing and refilling batteries, to become the UK’s largest automotive and commercial battery distributor, providing members with quality brands such as Numax, Lucas and of course, VARTA.
The video and Myles’ subsequent presentation also gave ABC’s customers a glimpse of how Manbat has managed its extraordinary growth and that customer service, product availability and marketing support are all integral to its strategy to help members like ABC grow their battery business and provide the right support though to the workshop. These core principles have ensured that members and their customers understand that Manbat is not merely a ‘box shifter’ instead it is a valued partner that is interested in its customers and wants them to grow and benefit from their battery sales too.
Myles then gave way to VARTA’s Steve Jones whose primary focus was to highlight the changes that will undoubtedly have an effect on those attending as vehicles that incorporate non-traditional battery systems begin to come into their workshops.
The ‘big three’ developments in relation to batteries/battery systems are fully electric vehicles, hybrid vehicles (mild and full) and vehicles that incorporate a Start-Stop system. VARTA is at the heart of the battery technology that is required for each of these developments, but without question it is the increase in Start-Stop vehicles that will have the greatest impact on the average workshop.
In order to achieve the emissions targets that the European Union have already enshrined in legislation and to reduce the fuel consumption of their vehicles, the vehicle manufacture’s have committed to Start-Stop systems, which is why as the market leader VARTA has invested €520 million in the necessary battery technology to allow these systems to operate efficiently.
The batteries in these systems undergo extreme fluctuations in their state of charge and require a high cyclic (charge/discharge/charge), as well as deep discharge capacity. They also need to communicate with advanced battery management systems that often incorporate regenerative braking technology that allows electrical energy to be harvested and which contributes to the charging of the battery.
On entry level Start-Stop vehicles, the battery is likely to be an enhanced flooded battery (EFB), such as the VARTA Start-Stop, whereas for vehicles fitted with more electrical equipment, or for larger vehicles, it will be an absorbed glass mat (AGM) battery such as the VARTA Start-Stop Plus, that will be the standard fitment. The major issue for workshops however, is that irrespective of the battery type, both will require technicians to undergo training and utilise specialist equipment to correctly diagnose faults, test and ultimately replace the battery in a Start-Stop vehicle.
As this is a fundamental difference when compared to dealing with a traditional battery, Steve spent time explaining how and why training and the use of the correct diagnostic tool is required for Start-Stop vehicles, and this proved to be particularly well received by the garage owners and technicians present on the evening.
Summing up the event, Myles said: “It is always good to support our customers as we have with ABC this evening, but what makes it even better is being able to pass on valuable information which will help the independent garage compete effectively against the franchised dealer. We’ve been able to do that with ABC tonight and we look forward to taking the message to other GROUPAUTO members and their customers in the coming months.”