Q: Who are you and what is your business?
A: Jane Russell, FIMI; director of Russell Automotive Centre & Garage Express; two service, repair, maintenance and MOT stations based in NW London. Russell Automotive Centre is an award winning VAG specialist and Garage Express works on all makes and models of car
and van. As well as winning numerous business and trade awards; I was also named in the Power Part Time Top 50 leaders as listed in the
Q: How did you start in the motor industry?
A: Apart from temping during my university days in a busy main dealer service reception; my first steps into the motor trade was in 2007 when Steve, my husband, and I started Russell Automotive Centre just at the beginning of the recession. Steve was a Master technician for both Audi & VW at various main dealers and we felt we could offer customers a better choice in terms of affordable quality and technology in the form of an independent. In 2009 we added Garage Express to cater for all the other makes of vehicle we had previously turned away.
Q: How do you see the future for the IGA?
A: It’s a really exciting time at the moment for the IGA. There are so many new and value led offerings to members that within the next few years the IGA will inevitably grow as all non-members will see the undeniable reasons to join. The IGA has lots of new avenues to explore and this a great time to get on board!
Q: What are the big issues facing the industry and what can IGA do to address those issues and help it’s members?
A: Educating the public on their options for car repair is a huge hurdle that needs to be addressed. There is a need for independents to stand out from the main dealers or some of the scrupulous outfits that give our industry a bad name. Independents offer customers huge value in both technical ability and customer service and this needs to be the message that the IGA carry. Independents need to embrace new ways of marketing themselves; social media isn’t going away so it needs to be embraced and utilised. The IGA are demonstrating this and need to encourage members to think of modern marketing solutions to help grow their businesses.
Q: How should the IGA’s money be spent?
A: I think the money provided for training; either free or discounted, is a great thing. Help and support on a business level as well as a technical level is equally important to sustain a profitable member.
Q: What is your message for the IGA and other members?
A: We are all working towards the same end, trying to change the face of the motor industry and improve the reputation of the independents whilst growing our own businesses. There is plenty of room in the market and we need to show a united front and encourage new members to join the IGA. Growth will benefit all.