Australia Vehicle Diagnostic Training Tour
Having just spent three weeks touring New South Wales, whilst delivering two training events, firstly in Sydney then Canberra I thought it would be interesting to compare how our two different, but same markets operate.
Planning the trip
The visit began several months ago with an invitation from a good friend Bob Whyms, Australia’s prominent Porsche specialist in Sydney. The offer comes as part of a training group called Australian Aftermarket Service Dealer Network or” AASDN” as its acronym. This is a group of totally independent service and repair independents across the whole of Australia.
It was formed from disillusioned members from the Bosch Aftermarket Service Dealership Network, or BASDN. Around 70% agreed to form AASDN with the view of promoting mutual support and training across the whole of the continent. Members pay a subscription to a fund that provides venues and trainers across the continent. My understanding is they number about four per season.
Its important to understand the incredible geographical constraints yet obvious bond they share for their independence and mutual respect. If I may reflect on our very own Autoinform event in Harrogate last weekend, where im sure all attendees would recognise the same sentiments from the AASDN group.
Venues & Hosts
I was privileged to visit several businesses in both Sydney and en-route to Canberra. The BWA Porsche specialist hosting the first training venue. Based in the western suburbs BWA provides genuine expertise by Bob and son Craig from servicing to performance upgrades. BWA also provide a parts service across Australia importing directly from Germany. They also provide a comprehensive machine shop service, which supports their engine remanufacture and performance business. Bob and I had fun reflecting on bosch D Jetronic and other early evolution of fuel injection, grumpy old men and all that!
I was then treated to a visit at the highly respected Mercedes tuning expert close to the airport. And finally, a very talented young technician specialising in DPF cleaning. The focus on training included ignition diagnostic technique, common rail and direct gasoline injection.
It was both a pleasure and privilege to share the enthusiasm from the entire ordnance, their knowledge and interaction was mutually appreciated.
In a far to brief visit to Dubbo, my good friend Paul gave me an insight into the more remote reaches of the trade. I was equally impressed with the dedication and superb workshop facilities. I also experienced several near-miss from kangaroos!
I should add my incredible visit to the Bathurst 1000 race, its an institution amongst fans and an incredible 2-mile hill town circuit, constructed from urban roads. AASDN hosted a VIP lounge for their members imagine that at Silverstone! It only takes commitment and support with a little cash.
One week down, heavy rain and in the good company of Alan a diesel shop owner we travelled down the coast. Whale watching in Huskisson Bay, on to Canberra, via AASDN committee member Alan, who despite having just lost his home and all possessions from a bush fire remarkably still provided accommodation in his temporary rental home.
Second Training Venue
Our hosts in Canberra Derek and Ros operate a large high-end diesel specialist shop. The second training event was a mirror image of Sydney, supported by a second incredible array of AASDN members. The members knowledge and confidence was wonderful, audience participation made for an incredible 3 days.
The evenings from both events was spent socialising in oz steak houses chatting over mutual challenges. From my experience the vehicle market share was quite diverse, lots of Asian cars, and a remarkable number of vw. It was of surprise that both Ford and Holden have ceased production in Australia due to a lack of competitive pricing.
I was told of a delegate who attended the Canberra event who heard of my visit 2 days before the Friday start, purchased a flight, closed his workshop and travelled from Perth to attend, 3000km! WOW
In contrast– I once had a conversation with a parts distributor in Kent several years ago… The training event had to be relocated from Canterbury college to Ashford 17.5 miles difference. He cancelled the whole event without asking the delegates, sighting, “they won’t travel that far”.!!!
I see little differences between our two cultures, I find the same dedication and passion sadly they seem to have more of it.