The hybrid market is expected to grow another three to five percent in 2011. Although they haven’t become a major player yet, hybrids should not be dismissed. They aren’t going away. The new hybrids may seem unfamiliar, but the fuel/electric-powered machines are still cars that need preventive maintenance, says BG’s Ryan Weems.
As Tools & Equipment Technical Service Advisor, Ryan has been certified in hybrid technology through the Automotive Career Development Center (ACDC). Peter Berlo says, “Ryan will present an overview of hybrid technology at the BG Convention in Orlando. Also, we intend to include webinars and classes on hybrids in the curriculum through BG University next year.”
Hybrids mean business
Craig Van Battenberg, CEO of ACDC, is an evangelist for hybrid technology. Craig says, “There are now more than 1.6 million hybrids in the world, and 1 million in the United States. This is a far cry from the 23 hybrids that were sold in the U.S. in 1999,” he said in a recent speech adding that, “shops need to actively market themselves as hybrid specialists.”
Craig puts on a school for the aftermarket industry,” Ryan says. “I’ve known him for years. He originally had a shop that was one of Peter Berlo’s customers. He is a big advocate of BG.”
With ACDC training, both Ryan Weems and Mark Lanterman, BG R&D Automotive Technician, have received training and certification and are now the BG resident experts on hybrids, specializing in helping BG field reps “talk the talk” with hybrid technicians and their customers.
Not much different
“Hybrids have only a couple of differences,” Ryan says, “in the braking system and the transmission.” Other than that, “It is the same product, the same types of services needed. They still have an engine, they still have injectors, they still have an oil system; all need to be serviced. It is a perfect opportunity to emphasize preventive maintenance.” Reps shouldn’t fear the new technology, Ryan says. Hybrid transmissions don’t use a torque converter. They run off of planetary gear sets with electric assists. And the regenerating brake systems that make electricity to recharge the batteries are different from what reps are used to… but it is still a braking system. “I’m going to teach reps, service writers and technicians to be comfortable performing our services on hybrids.”
Help the customer
“The point is for BG to offer the customer something they need,” Ryan stated. “The more knowledgeable we are in the field, the more credibility we’ll have. We’re experts in a lot of things. In fact, one of BG’s big strengths is training. Every time we go to a facility, we can enlighten them, show them how to better service the new hybrids.”
“If an opportunity for preventive maintenance is missed, it means a missed opportunity for BG,” Ryan remarks. Hybrid owners are usually conscientious about servicing their vehicles. “If a lack of knowledge keeps a shop from offering preventive maintenance, we’re not training like we should. The main reason people buy hybrids is because they want the best possible fuel economy. But if the fuel economy starts slipping and the engine isn’t running correctly, that’s where BG comes in.”