Mary has over 20 years experience as the editor of our Malaysian sister magazine, The Tyreman. Based in Kuala Lumpur, she writes articles for us on the Malaysian and other South East Asian markets.
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As a young player in the tyre servicing industry, Chu Boon Poi, the owner of AcantaAutotechSdnBhd, said the company had to develop its own niche to distinguish it from the others.
Chu was from a completely different background before he ventured into this industry. He was with multinational computer hardware and electronics companies, having being involved in marketing. It was his interest and enthusiasm in motor sports that led to the setting up of his own tyre servicing centre.
“I had been actively involved in motor sports since 2004. As a racer, I have the opportunities to put different brands of tyre to the tests. I could experience and review each and every safety and performance aspect of a tyre before introducing it to the public,” he said.
His first tyre servicing centre was set up in 2012 in Lake Fields, Kuala Lumpur, followed by a second centre in Tanah Merah, Kelantan. His third centre, which carries the Hankook Masters signage, was opened in 2015.
Strategically located in Taman Sungai Besi, Salak South in Kuala Lumpur with high visibility and easy access, the centre is a modern, clean and spacious facility, backed by state-of-the-art tyre servicing equipment and qualified technicians. It also has a comfortable air-conditioned waiting room for customers while their vehicles are being serviced.
“Before joining the Hankook Masters programme, we obtained Hankook tyres through a distributor. Joining the programme has benefited us in many ways. Although Hankook is quite new in Asia, we have seen continued product improvements and continued growth of Hankook brands and Hankook Masters programme in other parts of the world, which gave us the confidence. We wanted to become part of their growth plans in Malaysia.”
Hankook is actively involved in various international motor sports and this is in line with Chu’s passion in motor sports. “We see how Hankook proved their technological competence and tailored the technologies used in motor sports to develop street tyres. We have our own motor sport division and partnering Hankook has allowed us provide the right motor sport tyres to suit different requirements. We can also tap into their worldwide media exposure in motor sports that has successfully drawn the attention of enthusiasts and the general public. Thus, we see it as a right fit for our business.”
The company has 3 street racing cars, which it uses for testing high performance tyres and participating in various motor sport events. He believed that one had to have a thorough understanding of the products in order to sell with confidence. “Apart from the product training that Hankook provides, I train my staff from scratch. They will have the opportunity to get behind the wheel to test the tyres in a controlled environment. It’s all in the feel. This allows them to experience and feel the performance difference between tyre brands.”
Besides that, the company also sponsors motor sport drivers and events, which reflects its ambition and passion in the segment. “We are not only passionate about motor sports we are also passionate about the industry. However, to be able to differentiate ourselves from the others, especially those family companies that have been here through generations, we need to develop our own concept and niche.”
With the company’s wide expertise in servicing passenger cars, SUVs, luxury vehicles all the way to motor sport preparation, AcantaAutotech has certainly crafted its niche in the tyre servicing industry. “There are different requirements for different types of motor sport and series; we are able to proceed with motor sport oriented modifications such as seat mounts, jacking points, height adjustments, just to name a few. The expertise to provide professional tyre advice, recommendation and tyre servicing for motor sports has deepened the general motorists’ confidence and trust in us.”
The services that the company provides cover tyre retail, general servicing and maintenance as well as minor repairs. Tyre sales account for 85 per cent of its total revenue.
Chu stressed that the company was not only here to sell tyres but also to ensure safety. He said it would offer a free complete vehicle inspection for customers to ensure that their vehicles were in good condition. If the car was in a poor condition, he said the safety and performance would be compromised no matter how good the tyres were. This was one of the added value services that the company provided that had won the hearts of many customers.
“I really enjoy our relationship with Hankook Malaysia; it is close and personal. They are willing to share with us their product development, market trend and future direction, which show their interest and commitment in this market. For instance, their product engineers have come all the way from Korea to talk to us and understand our market requirements, applications and road conditions. Malaysia is not a big market for them but they are willing to go the extra mile.”
Recently, Hankook expanded its tyre sizes to cover 19” and 20” wheels for its Ventus V12 evo 2 K120 and Ventus S1 evo 2 K117, which was proof that it had listened attentively to market feedback.
In line with Hankook’s sharing culture, Chu cultivated a knowledge sharing culture among his staff. He encouraged them to share technical as well as product knowledge and information. To make sure it works, he was the first to start the ball rolling, whereby he would share any new information on products and skills.
The rise of mass social media over the last 10 years completely transformed marketing and its impact was extended across all industries. “We have made good use of social media to create brand awareness and gain popularity. With our own Facebook page, we are able to upload pictures of our products and our men at work, update our status, share our technical knowledge and interact with our existing and potential customers. It also allows our customers to express themselves and tell us exactly how they feel about our products and services. In addition, we can provide answers that directly respond to their questions. Thus, if we can manage it successfully, we are able to turn our Facebook visitors to fans and from fans to customers.”
Moving forward, he planned to increase sales volume. To achieve that, he stressed the importance of continued improvements. In this ever changing business environment, he said the company needed to be flexible and innovative to stay competitive in the market place. This included continuous investments on equipment, people and training.
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