Inchcape opens new vehicle body and paint facility


Inchcape Bodycare Centre aims to deliver quicker, better repair services to Lexus, Toyota and Suzuki customers that are also more efficient and environmentally friendly

SINGAPORE — Inchcape Group, which owns Toyota/Lexus dealer Borneo Motors and Suzuki dealer Champion Motors here in Singapore, announced the opening of its new Inchcape Bodycare Centre (IBC) this morning at the facility’s location, 4 Pandan Crescent. 

This new 60,000 square feet facility (which is the size of about one and a half football fields) is currently the biggest body and paint workshop owned by BMS. With the new facility, it promises better, faster service for customers who currently own Lexus, Toyota and Suzuki cars.

The new facility costs $2.6 million, has a total of 73 servicing bays, and has the servicing capacity of up to 600 vehicles per month, regardless of level of damage. Depending on the condition of the car, repairs can take from one day for light to 30 days for extensive repair.

Having moved from its previous locale at 33 Leng Kee Road, Inchcape Group CEO, Stefan Bomhard said that “Asia Pacific remains a key pillar of growth for the Inchcape Group. In view of the potential market upturn due to the 10-year COE cycle in Singapore, we recognise the need to be prepared to meet demands with increased capacity.”

The bays are split up into the following categories; ‘Mechanical Repair’, ‘Wind Screen’, ‘Light and Medium’, ‘Heavy Body’, ‘Paint Preparation’, ‘Masking’ and ‘Paint Rectification’. A central highway provides easy access to any bay, and reduces traveling time and distance which translates to shorter downtimes for customers. The facility’s drive-through and down draft spray booths also improve workflow efficiency.

IBC’s technicians are mainly Singaporeans who have had extensive experience in panel beating or spray painting. Upon joining the team, Borneo Motors compliments them with Toyota’s technical education program that follows the ‘5S’ philosophy: ‘Seiri’ (sifting), ‘Seiton’ (sorting), ‘Seiso’ (sweeping and washing), ‘Seiketsu’ (spick and span) and ‘Shitsuke’ (self-discipline).

Once training is complete, the technicians sit for a test which is then marked by a test master who is certified by Toyota, Japan. The technicians also visit Japan annually for product and repair method updates.

With a heavy emphasis on efficiency and workers’ health, water sanding has been phased out at IBC. In its place, is dry sanding. IBC’s sanding bays are equipped with floor suction technology which sucks in air-borne dust, filters it and spits out clean air. The filters are changed every three months or depending on how busy the workshop gets.

This technology is mutually beneficial as it minimises inhalation by technicians, and prevents defects in spray painting, resulting in a close to perfect finishing. Thus it’s, as Inchcape says,  good for workers, the environment as well as customers.

Another feature worth noting is the body shop’s use of waterborne paint which contains only 10 per cent of solvents. This means that it has less Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) as compared to normal solvent-based paint which is 84 per cent solvent.

“The use of waterborne paint gives environmentally-conscious customers the option to make a personal choice of reducing their carbon footprint in the environment,” says Koh Ching Hong, CEO of Inchcape Southeast Asia.

The advantages that come with waterborne paint include better coverage, fewer coats, quicker drying times, easy blending, and bright color. Other coloring tools that IBC incorporates is the use of a spectrometer with an online color formulation software that promises 100 per cent accuracy in color mixing.

With Toyota/Lexus back at the top of sales lists, aftersales capacity again becomes an important factor for Borneo Motors especially, with both brands consistently recognised for good aftersales service.

According to Suzuki Satoru, executive vice president of Toyota Motors Asia Pacific, Borneo Motors Singapore aftersales has been the awarded the ‘Toyota Outstanding Customer Service Award’ for six consecutive years.

Inchcape as a global company, has been in this market for a long time and has been a partner of Toyota since 1967. Mr Bomhard concludes: “What is exciting I believe, is the movement that’s happening in the marketplace. This means that the part we together play is going to increase in the next couple of years, in a major way. Therefore making this investment a sign of Inchcape’s commitment to the Singaporean market.”

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Sabrina Lee