Bosch’s Jim Fish on DIY car engine repairs – ADMA Global Forum

Do It Yourself car engine repairs might sound like a recipe for disaster but it is a large and growing market in the USA. A staggering 62 million people in North America repair their own cars.

Jim Fish, chief innovation officer of global diagnostics for the automotive aftermarket of Bosch in the US, gave a keynote speech on the first day of the ADMA Global Forum in Sydney last week, about what is going on in this market.

It may sound like something only people with older or vintage cars may be into, but actually, no, it is the technology that allows the diagnostics on late-model cars that makes it possible.

In his talk, Fish spoke of how to “immerse yourself in the world of the customer” and the power of community. He said that having your customers become a community is something that everybody should be striving for. “Nothing is more valuable,” said Fish.

“For example, you come to Sydney from overseas and you want to find a good Thai restaurant. You go online but you can’t tell if a restaurant just has the best marketing or do they really have the best food. So you ask your friends if they know; but can’t get any info to help you. Then in a shuttle bus from the airport somebody overhears you talking about it and they say: ‘If you want to know the best Thai restaurant in Sydney, it’s on George Street and it’s ‘this’ place’.”

“Now think about what just happened. A complete stranger volunteered that information and you will trust it over anything else. A complete stranger volunteered this information without expecting anything in return”. Fish says if you can connect to this, you can do something really powerful”, he says.

“Everybody has these really avid fans – a guy that would run through a brick wall for you. So you need to take these and develop the community around your brands. In automotive it’s fairly easy to find these commonalities, in fashion, possibly you could connect one person who was thinking about buying a dress to another”.

Of the 62 million people in North America that repair their own vehicles, Fish said they can be broken down into three segments: The Information Seeker; The Engager and The Ambassador.

To the Information Seeker – made up of about 35% of Bosch’s buyers – price is important.

The Engager is not so concerned about price. He is going to fix his car no matter what. He will pull the engine out if necessary. He uses a scan tool to suss out the problem. This tells him if he can fix it or has to go to a mechanic.

The third segment is the Ambassador or Neighbourhood Guy. You know someone who knows him in the neighbourhood and he fixes cars in his spare time. He works on his car as a hobby. He is a highly technical buyer.

Fish said the device that Bosch calls the mobile scan is also accessible in Australia at Supercheap Auto. Until recently this information had only been available to mechanics with the specialised tool.

One of the best resources that Bosch uses is crowd sourcing. “From Amazon, you can get a segment to reply for about 25 cents per person. Talk to 100 people in 24 hours and it costs you about $15.

“Using the crowd to refine messages, we’ve found this is the best, it is very affordable and gives the best results”.

BY Susi Banks ON 12 August 2015