The unique ŠKODA Motorsport Customer Programme service offers spare parts to competitors directly at the rally. How many parts will be sold during one event? And what do customers have to say about this service? The ŠKODA Motorsport spare parts truck will be presented in detail by Kateřina Hálová, who manages handing out and refilling of parts for the truck.
How did the idea of a ŠKODA Motorsport spare parts truck come about?
The initial impulse was to offer some new service that we could support our customers with. The idea of having a rally assistance truck full of spare parts is unique in this respect, as no other rally car manufacturer in the Rally2 group offers this service to its customers. With the truck, we participate in European rounds of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) as well as selected FIA European Rally Championship (ERC) events. At all of these rallies, our customers can buy the spare parts they need from the truck that are not available from their own stock. This often saves their participation in the event.
Did your extensive experience in running a factory team help you get this project off the ground?
Definitely yes. When equipping the truck, we drew specifically on the factory team‘s competition experience. But of course the parts stock is not identical. We focused mainly on the important parts that keep a ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 in the race, but consumables like bumpers, fenders, brake pads, discs and more are also in high demand. We also continuously adapt our parts range to customer requirements. We also continuously adapt our parts range to customer requirements, so if we don't have a part in the truck, we try to find it so that it will be available at the next race. On the other hand, parts that are not in demand for a long time are removed from the offer.
How many rallies are you participating in this year?
We are scheduled to participate in ten WRC and three ERC events. For example, the rallies in Portugal and on the island of Sardinia, held close together, are a logistical challenge. But even here we can build on the experience and our colleagues in the logistics group.
What was the reaction from customers when you first took the truck to a rally?
Premiere was at Rally Croatia last year. There was interest in the new project among customers right from the start. But it was only during the year that the teams started to get used to the truck‘s presence. I think that our customers quickly realised that in addition to the shortterm need for parts during the rally, they could also complete their own stock and save the cost and time of sending heavy parts by courier. This works for rims, for example. For highrisk, fragile parts such as windscreens, buying from the truck reduces the risk of damage during transport by freight forwarders. Even if we use special packaging for these parts, we still cannot completely eliminate the risk of damage during transport. Our truck transport eliminates these risks and this is one of the reasons why customers use it. We try to be as accommodating as possible in this respect. If we have space in the truck, it is no problem to create an individual order and bring it to the customer at the rally.
"We don‘t see the main benefit of the project in increasing the volume of spare parts sales, but rather in expanding our procustomer approach."
Is there any difference in the price of parts when sold in the truck?
No difference, we sell the parts at the same price as when ordering from our warehouse at the factory.
How does the actual process of buying a part in the truck work?
The truck is always parked right next to the service facilities of the TOKSPORT WRT team, which is also our partner for this project. Customers can order parts online, by email or even via WhatsApp. We will prepare the order and a team representative will then pick it up in the truck.
How many people work in the truck?
The truck is operated by a crew of one to two people. Depending on where the rally takes place. These are experienced mechanics who are knowledgeable about the car and parts. Despite any language barrier, they are able to communicate with customers about what parts they need. In addition, one of the colleagues from the sales department who is in charge of general customer support is also available to customers who want to buy parts from the truck. Sometimes it is necessary to react very flexibly, because just before or even during the service it turns out that customers are missing an important part without which the rally cannot continue. This means that our colleagues have to react very quickly.
Where do you see the main benefit of the truck?
We don‘t see the main benefit of the project in increasing the volume of spare parts sales, but rather in expanding our procustomer approach. In addition to technical support, we are thus bringing our customers another unique advantage during the rallies that other manufacturers do not offer. And it is this service and approach that our customers often appreciate. Over time, the truck has become a fixture of the service area and the teams have become accustomed to its presence. For example, at one of the most recent rallies, where 19 crews with ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 competed, 16 teams purchased parts from the truck during the event. At this year‘s Rally Croatia, a Japanese crew even thanked us on social media for being able to finish the event with parts from our truck. We‘re really happy about that because that‘s exactly our goal: to have as many of our cars as possible finish the rally.
Interesting facts (2022):
Planned participation of the truck in competitions (WRC+ERC): 13
Mileage: 11,648 (+ ferry to Sweden)
Average number of items sold per competition: 152
Average number of teams that bought items in the truck during one rally: 11
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