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Jun, 01 2007

MAKE MONEY IN AUTO BUSINESS

CASTROL India Limited, a public limited company, is part of the BP Group worldwide. Starting off as a trading unit in India in 1919, Castrol India has grown to become the largest lubricant company in the retail automotive segment. Castrol has constantly d

CASTROL India Limited, a public limited company, is part of the BP Group worldwide. Starting off as a trading unit in India in 1919, Castrol India has grown to become the largest lubricant company in the retail automotive segment. Castrol has constantly demonstrated its commitment to Indian consumers by offering world class products, backed by the highest level of customer service.

More than a lubricant company

Since the opening up of the Indian economy in the early nineties, Castrol has maintained a leadership position in the Indian lubricants market and is the market leader in the retail automotive segment. The Castrol brand has established itself in the minds and hearts of vehicle owners over the last 85 years of its existence in India. It is a Superbrand in both the Consumer and B2B segments. The company is continuously looking for ways to get closer to its customers and consumers. Having established its leadership position in the lubricant segment, it was a natural brand extension for Castrol to enter the two wheeler servicing business.

The two wheeler vehicle population is rapidly growing in India and so is the demand for high quality servicing. If you look at servicing, especially the bike service, the customer essentially has two options - either he can go to the vehicle manufacturer's authorised dealer or the local neighbourhood mechanic. Both of these options have their strengths but as the vehicle population increases, engine technology improves and bikes are distributed across a wide geography both urban and rural, a new paradigm in servicing market is emerging. As consumers get 'cash rich time poor' they are looking for innovative and quality servicing options, easy availability and personalised service. This is precisely what Castrol BikeZone offers to the two wheeler owner a unique concept in motorcycle servicing which enables motorcycle owners to benefit from the highest level of technical advice and customer service with the full backing of the Castrol brand.

Castrol BikeZone offers personalised attention to customers, coupled with transparency in servicing. In addition, there is consistency in service at all the franchised outlets, brought about by mechanics trained by Castrol and state-of-the-art service equipments available at all outlets. And all this backed by the Castrol brand which already has carved a niche for itself in the minds of consumers

BikeZone- A unique concept

The Castrol BikeZone initiative was born out of an insight into a consumer need for high quality, transparent and

customer friendly bike servicing. Castrol BikeZone is a unique concept in motorcycle servicing which enables motorcycle owners to benefit from the highest levels of technical advice and customer service with the full backing of the Castrol brand. Castrol BikeZone caters to all motorcycle models and brands - a unique offer in the market.

Castrol BikeZone provides a transparent problem diagnosis of the bike's problems with the customer fully involved in dialogue with the mechanic in determining the jobs required to be carried out on the bike. The tiered service menu helps the customer choose the right kind of service for his bike. The pricing is clearly stated for each menu and the customer knows exactly what the cost of the service would be, so that he gets no surprises at the time of billing. The service is best in class, using the latest technology equipment and done by expert mechanics trained by Castrol

Franchising - A good idea supported by a good brand

The Castrol BikeZone concept was first launched in India in August 2004 after a lot of research into the consumers' needs and wants and identifying what they value when they get their bikes serviced. Castrol has had a strong association with bikers through its lubricant portfolio and used all the insights gathered over the years in this field to develop the concept. After a successful pilot test in Bangalore and Chennai, the company started ramping up the business by 2006 and the concept is now being rolled out nationally.

Supporting the franchise model, Parinjay, Business Head, Castrol BikeZone says, "One of the strengths of the franchising business is the passion that the entrepreneur brings to the business. What Castrol brings to the table is its strong brand, its understanding of the consumer's needs, ability to provide world class training and continuous support to the franchisees."

"Our strength is our franchisee partner because he is eager for growth, passionate about bikes and committed to providing the same level of customer service and quality that Castrol is renowned for. We specifically look at partners who share our values and understand the local market conditions which gives a multiplier effect; it is as simple as marrying a high level understanding and insight of the consumer with the entrepreneurial touch of a local expert", he said.

Currently there are 75 Castrol BikeZones operational in seventeen cities. By the end of 2007, Castrol BikeZones will be present across the country.

Requirements from franchisees

Castrol adopts a fairly strict set of criteria in selecting a franchisee. Prior experience in the automobile industry is not mandatory, though desirable. What is absolutely essential is a passion for customer service and a commitment to deliver a quality service and experience.

The initial investment to set up a Castrol BikeZone ranges between Rs 20-40 lakh depending on the location, format and space required which varies from 2000 to 4000 sq.ft depending on how big the catchment area is for a particular location. As the location is very crucial for a service franchise, it is always approved by Castrol.

Training and support

Castrol has its state of the art training centre in Chennai, which provides on job training to the franchisee's mechanics. All the mechanics are trained here, with the senior supervisor mechanics undergoing a more rigorous training protocol.

Castrol BikeZone also partners with the franchisee in establishing the workshop and all key equipments in a Castrol BikeZone are defined and installed by Castrol to ensure high standards of equipment and consistency in service. So if you go to any Castrol BikeZone in the country you will find the same high quality equipment and automation. To illustrate its commitment to the franchisee's business, Castrol also invests in the workshop, primarily in the form of equipment.

Elaborating further on the support provided to the franchisee by the company, Parinjay said, "We have customised software which we provide to the franchisee to help him control and operate his business. Relevant training, new equipment and innovative ways to service a bike, software, marketing and business consultancy are provided to help the franchisee grow the business."

Castrol has always been well known for its superior technology, customer focus and innovation and has thus earned the trust of the customer in the lubricant category. Castrol is now extending these strengths into the area of motorcycle servicing through Castrol BikeZone - an initiative which the company is confident, will delight customers.

For franchise queries Contact: Yatin Chadha, General Manager (Network Expansion) at 09385398873
yatin.chadha@se1.bp.com

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