Servicing your car in Singapore is now simpler than ever



Ignition Labs and AutoApp founders (left to right) Joel Tam, Alvin Tan and Sheldon Trollope

A local start-up created AutoApp SG to make sending your car for servicing a less time-consuming process


SINGAPORE

Car owners in Singapore know that one of the greatest chores about owning one is the time spent on regular servicing and repairs. While the downtime at the workshops have come down compared to a decade ago, sending your car in for servicing can still take up most of your day. Cars in Singapore usually make scheduled service stops twice a year, and for many busy drivers, that’s once too many already.  

Local start-up Ignition Labs have come to the rescue with AutoApp, a new app for Apple and Android smartphones that functions as a full concierge service for vehicle maintenance and repair related matters. 

As a registered user, you can book a full suite of items that you need done on your car, and an AutoApp service ambassador will pick up your car and see through all the things that need to be done while you get on with your day. At the end of the service, a fully itemised listing is provided to you so that you have a record of every bit of work done over your time registered on the app.  

“We’re in the business of giving you your time back,” said Sheldon Trollope, the spokesman for Ignition Labs. He founded the business with media entrepreneur Joel Tam and Alvin Tan, who came straight from the automotive aftersales industry.

Mr Trollope said that the company’s market research showed that the people most likely to use the app are busy professionals to whom time is a limiting factor, rather than cost. While a similar service can be found at some high-end luxury car dealers, AutoApp brings this experience to a much wider audience. 

We spoke to 48-year-old Melissa Tan, who was one of the early adopters of AutoApp. She used it to send her five-year-old Audi Q3 for servicing recently, entirely without disruption to her day at work. “I had some reservations initially because of the $68 booking fee, but having used the service, I’d do it again. I didn’t have to leave the house, saved me a lot of time, and they made some intelligent decisions about servicing after discussing the options with me,” she explained. 

“ I personally don’t have much interest in cars, but I do like things done efficiently and in a fuss-free way,” she added. “The key thing I realised is that I trust AutoApp with my car. They communicated a lot and I got a lot of updates throughout the process. For a time-strapped person like me, this is a big chore taken care of.”



AutoApp’s launch right in the middle of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic is well-timed, even as the major car dealers continue to scramble to find new ways to sell cars. 

While AutoApp does make car servicing more convenient, its other benefit is that it is as contactless as possible. The service ambassador is the only person you will physically interact with. You don’t have to wait or sit in a service reception area with other customers, nor take public transport from the workshop. AutoApp also ensures that all the cars are thoroughly sanitised right before they are handed back. 



More importantly, registered users can be assured that their cars are well taken care of throughout the whole servicing process. AutoApp has its own team of service advisors, with experience and background in automotive aftersales. In other words, expect them to be as good as the advisors at the dealership. 

“At the end of the day, we want to build trust and to establish a long-term relationship with our customers, much like you would with a mechanic at a workshop. So our service ambassadors are vital to this process,” Mr Trollope points out. “There’s full insurance coverage, as well.”

The Covid-19 pandemic is forcing us to adapt to new ways of doing things, often at a speed that is a little too fast for comfort, but new services like AutoApp could be a game-changing way for keeping our cars maintained, even after the pandemic has passed.


about the author

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Lionel Kong
An old hand from the bad old days of crazy COEs, the straight-shooting, ex-CarBuyer editor is back in the four-wheeled world. Rumours that he went to another country to start a Judas Priest tribute band are unfounded.