It's a free Country and we don't mind if cars are purchased elsewhere. In any case there is a limit to the number of good cars available and if we sold any more we would find it hard to source their replacements. We are therefore still perfectly happy to look after cars purchased elsewhere (even from our competitors) and care for them to the best of our ability. Indeed our care and attention results in customer cars being looked after to the very highest standards while our low overheads minimise costs. Cars that we have not seen before, are accepted with our top "C" service (see page 55) covering the whole car, providing a comprehensive computerised report detailing (and prioritising) future work requirements and costs, enabling proper planned maintenance to be followed.
So confident are we about our ability to look after a customer car economically, that we have now introduced a version of our "Lifetime Maintenance Plan" to suit them as well by following the recommendations of our "C" service first and then accepting them onto the scheme (see page 46-7 for full details). Our own machine shop enables us to manufacture special jigs and fixtures, re-machine-damaged components, refurbishment worn out parts and manufacture new ones.
We have extensive support equipment including Imperial and Metric micrometers, all the necessary workshop manuals, Bosch Hammer, four-gas analyser, laser wheel alignment, dynamometer, computerised diagnostics etc. This enables us to carry out accurate inspection, measurement, diagnosis and remedial action.
We are not infallible and if and when an unexpected or completely unpredictable problem occurs, we are always there to help our customer and support them in their time of need. As a result, personal recommendations alone now account for most of our new business.
When we started many years ago, the public were largely unaware of the high proportion of "dodgy" cars being advertised by unscrupulous dealers and so we devoted most of our first buyer's guides to exposing corruption in our industry and the consequences for those seeking to own a used Porsche. We provided endless facts and figures to substantiate our claims about clocked and crashed cars, examples of the typical high costs of renovating cars bought by customers elsewhere (then between £1500 and £2000), pointed out what to look out for and - in contrast - provided proof of the extensive work done by ourselves during sales selection and preparation and the resulting success etc.
Now, with typical industry corruption widely publicised by the media and our reputation having been firmly established by our long term customers and the quality of our cars, we need less emphasis on these areas and have replaced that content in the original buyers guide, by more information about the cars and the far greater model range and services that we now cover.
Hartech and its Competitors. In the last few years several competitors have emerged with expensive advertising and competitive prices, but many of these have gone out of business while others have remained static. Often their advertising budget is 5 to 10 times as large as ours for a much smaller turnover - perhaps reflecting our success at repeat business and customer loyalty. Authorised Porsche Outlets are another alternative but also cater for customers of brand new (and very expensive) cars as well, which inevitably influences their cost structure and general provisions.
Logically it is an inescapable fact that the older a car is and the more miles it has covered, then the more repairs it is likely to need. It is also inescapable that as engines, steering, brakes and transmissions wear, the repairs become more labour intensive (if original parts are to be reconditioned) or more expensive (if new parts are offered instead of reconditioning). As a result we are often offered cars to buy that we cannot renovate economically any more (regardless of the low price offered) while the cost of renovating older cars brought to us by customers buying them elsewhere is now growing to often exceed £3000.
This is a viscous circle, for as the age of the car increases and the prices reduce, that the typical owner of such an older Porsche will be less able to afford the type of repairs increasingly necessary, (especially if they are catered for at a place set up to sell and maintain Newer Porsche's). So while owners of newer cars experience lower maintenance costs they incur higher depreciation while the owners of older cars suffer little or no depreciation but potentially increased repair costs. This makes the cost structure, efficiency and integrity of competitors increasingly relevant as cars age.
There are also some sole traders offering services which are reasonably priced (due to their low cost or non existent premises etc), but they do not offer the same capacity, flexibility or back up systems and are unlikely to match the insurance cover that we provide to protect our customers. It is also a concern what the situation would be if a vehicle was stolen, damaged or a total loss while in the care of such traders on their own property or unofficial workshops and how third party public liability claims would be handled or how house insurers would view responsibility for a house burned down while being worked on by someone else, in the owners garage - for example.
Sole Traders also cannot match the sheer volume of cars that we see and therefore our experience of solving and detecting problems early. They also cannot match our resources for spares supply nor our purchasing power (that enables us to provide low cost spares and to manufacture special parts in economic batches). Finally they are less able to guarantee continuity in the event of staff illness or unforeseen personal problems.
Although there are alternatives with quite large set ups, because we specifically set up our business to only cater for older Porsche's, we have a completely different way of working with them, different facilities and even different qualities in our staff, all within a lower overhead structure that makes our approach affordable and we believe much more suitable to the age of cars and their associated problems. Furthermore the owner of an older Porsche has traditionally been our only (and most valuable) customer and has been treated accordingly. We therefore treat everyone with the same respect regardless of the age of their car or the budgets they can afford.
Unfortunately, (as previously mentioned) if the cost of repairs and refurbishment increases with age yet the value of an average car is lower, then those repair costs can eventually exceed the value of the car, making some models too expensive for us to buy and refurbish for a price that seems reasonable. As a result, we presently sell cars from 5 to 15 years old and move up each year accordingly, introducing new models as we go and dropping the oldest - as appropriate. However we still service and repair all Porsche's - however old.
Independent "Porsche trained Technicians". There are a number of ex-Porsche trained technicians (who advertise that fact) running their own independent Porsche businesses. They were no doubt originally carefully selected and well trained, so this seems like quite a good recommendation (and many are very good technicians and have built and run very successful businesses). We have no wish to criticise those who do a good job (and there are many in this category). However, we feel that it is also quite right - in the context of the advice in this guide - to point out that the original training alone may not necessarily be a reliable guide to the quality or value of their independent service provision.
They were after all; originally trained by others into the skills they possess. However - since most of their training was conducted several years ago - it often does not apply to current or even recent models. It is also likely that models that were current then were too new to require extensive work or to incur age or high mileage related problems for which there may have been little or no training anyway (and certainly little experience). This means that sooner or later they will have had to become self-taught and self trained - often requiring quite different background skills and experiences. Although some succeed we feel that ex "Porsche trained" may not automatically be as significant as might be expected.
Perhaps more importantly, even when the business remains small - they then have to become business owners, managers, salesmen, accounts clerks etc - as there is much more to running a successful private business -than is necessarily provided by being trained as a technician. Furthermore to grow the business to a size that can compete with spares purchasing power and stock availability, has sufficient capacity and is both affordable and efficient etc. also requires skills in business development, financial management, financial resources, marketing etc. So, being trained as a Porsche technician does not necessarily reflect business acumen, business management skills or even guarantee integrity. Having made that valid point we would like to repeat that this in no way implies any global criticism of all ex-Porsche trained technicians - many of whom provide an excellent service.
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