Singapore - By now almost everyone in the automotive industry on our island has heard of the only roaming roadshow on earth, yes, its the Bilstein Roaming Roadshow! Into its fifth installment this year, the highly successful event aims to bring Bilstein, the market leader in suspension systems right to the doorsteps of workshops and garages island wide.
Stretching over three days, from the 19th to 21st December, the Bilstein Roaming Roadshow, which comprised of the Race Flow International Crew, Bilstein models, Jacene and Gisselle and Team 9tro jumping into a convoy of Bilstein equipped vehicles like the Porsche Cayman, Volkswagen Golf GT Mk5 and a Range Rover Evoque to tour the whole of Singapore.
In our travels to various garages spreading the Bilstein brand we caught up with many old friends and made new ones as well. While past year’s roadshows were focused on educating the workshops on new hardware and technologies coming out of Bilstein Germany, this year’s theme was one of partnership. Meeting up with the bosses and mechanics, the team gathered valuable feedback on the ground that would aid in ensuring that Bilstein continues its market dominance in all sectors.
From our interactions with the workshops and their customers, we collected a significant amount of data. When asked about why would they choose Bilstein over any other brand, the majority of respondents cited branding, product reliability, improved handling, quality, good after-sales service, pricing and product longevity as the main reasons why they always opt for Bilstein suspension.
We spoke to Mr. James Tan, Agent and Brand Manager for Bilstein in the region on his thoughts on the roadshow.
9tro: What are your impressions after wrapping up the fifth Bilstein Roaming Roadshow this year?
James: First of all, I would like to thank 9tro for once again successfully organising and completing this event professionally. Kudos to the team from 9tro and the hardworking models, Jacene and Gisselle, for the hours and days under the hot sun, blistering heat, endless walking from workshop to workshop and bringing Christmas cheers and spirit to our Bilstein partners.
It is the fifth year running and so far the best one to be! We had so many thank you(s) from the workshop partners that we could not but feel extremely grateful. Feedback from workshops that I really take to heart; for example: “Thank you Bilstein – you are the only brand that bothers to do this yearly event to connect with us, the workshops. You bother to listen to our comments and complaints and even come all the way here to thank us for the support! I respect you guys!” – It is comments like these that make us walk a little taller, chest a little puffier and say, it was all worth it!
Of course we also received some not so positive feedbacks – the key being, “we would like Bilstein to have more stocks in the market and could you please make the delivery time shorter?” In perspective, I actually think that it abodes well regarding the situation that Bilstein is in. The overall turnover is growing year to year, and still, there is insufficient stocks to meet the demand in the market! It encourages us to work even harder to see that the brand image and demand is strengthening without reprise. What more can we ask for? I could only say, we are grateful for this opportunity to work harder to serve and support our partners more. That’s my current reflection on the fast pace three day event that just flew by!
9tro: What were the differences between this year's roadshow as opposed to previous years?
James: The differences are quite obvious! In the first few roadshows, we met new customers and customers that are just starting to work with us. By this fifth Roadshow, so many of them have become good friends and elementary questions regarding installations and fitments are no longer the usual topics. Customers became partners and partners became friends. The conversations revolves around building the business further together and affirming the strong support for the Bilstein brand.
There are no more questions of should we trust or buy this brand anymore – proven and tested, all our customers have affirmed their strong commitments and look forward to working closely with Bilstein – a good sign that the market has matured and the Bilstein brand has established itself in the hearts and mind of the automotive industry here in Singapore and Asia. We could not have experienced a more rewarding friendship extended by our partners in the market!
9tro: Has there been any new developments between the workshops and garages visited?
James: As the saying goes – “Nothing stays the same, the only constant is change.” This is also true for our local Singapore workshop scene. 2017 has been a challenging year, with many uncertainties across industries. The consolidation of the workshops market is long overdue, and we are seeing signs of this market direction – workshops that have focused on upgrading their skills and technical knowledge with more open mindedness to partnerships and cooperation is thriving and rearing to grow.
Workshops that could not overcome the labour crunch and technical challenges continues to fight an uphill battle. All in all, everyone is working hard to figure out the challenges of the day and adapt in their own ways to meet it. Perhaps, it is often out of such situation and environment that companies and individual start to innovate and break away from the norm to carve out a niche. Albeit, the market is upbeat after the announcement regarding the warranty regulation from car distributors. Let’s hope this works out positively for the entire industry. All in all, I could see growth and maturity and it bodes well for our Singapore market as a whole.