Fucot saloons usher in comfort, right prices
16 Aug 2006
How often have you waited patiently in cramped glass-panelled rooms in authorised service centres for your car to be serviced and repaired? The long wait notwithstanding, how often have you been thrust with an exorbitant bill that you felt was actually unfair because of the steep rates charged by the dealer for the parts he has changed? Perhaps, then you would have thought to yourself, why did I not go to the car mart across the street and have the car serviced at a fraction of that cost? If you thought it was the hot and humid weather that deterred you from taking your car to the local mart that may have charged you less, then think twice.
Fucot Car Beauty Saloons, the latest in car care facilities, are the answer to your prayers. First-generation entrepreneur Rahul Parikh of the Delhi-based Fucon Technologies plans to do to India’s car servicing and repair business what the Bijlee brothers did to movie theatres in India. The company has set up India’s first car beauty saloon in Delhi. A couple of years later, he plans to add another eight to his list in Delhi and the National Capital Region.
Parikh is confident that his new concept will find a lot of takers in Delhi. So what is this car beauty saloon all about? No, it’s not a place where they doll up your car, leaving you fuming with a huge bill to take care of. Here the best things in life come free! Yes, whether it is getting your car coated with Teflon, the underbody equipped with anti-corrosive paint, or carrying out any mechanical jobs, you can indulge in the most luxurious ambience at the saloon.
You can even grab a sandwich, coffee or a soft drink, view the ongoing football World Cup on a giant plasma screen, browse the Internet at the computer table or, even better, get your feet and back massaged on a massage chair...all this without paying a paisa! Do they charge you for these 'free' goodies on your repair bill? No way, says Parikh. He claims the prices of his spare parts, including accessories and other fitments, are much cheaper than what they charge at authorised service centres.
“So while your car is being fitted with a CNG cylinder and other equipment, or with accessories of your choice, you can simply spend your time in an air-conditioned environment, either browsing on the net, or getting your feet massaged. And I can guarantee you that our prices are comparable to the prices offered by the local workshops,” he says. Parikh says that several accessory companies including electronic giants are seeking to effect exclusive tie-ups with his car saloon line of business. While talks are underway, he says he is yet to enter into an exclusive pact with any manufacturer.
Parikh feels that everything is changing in India. People, he says, prefer a clean and comfortable ambience as lifestyles are fast changing for the better.
“Why do we go to expensive move halls? It’s for the ambience. I have created a similar ambience for car owners. Till now people had a choice to visit dedicated service centres and be ready to pay higher prices for spare parts. For reasonably priced parts, they would drive their cars into congested lanes of Karol Bagh or some such area and wait on the roadside while the mechanic tinkered with their cars or fitted an accessory like a music system. But why wait outside? At the Fucot Car Beauty Saloon, you can relax while your car is being taken care of,” he says.
Parikh has come a long way. In 1997, he set up his original business, dealing in a range of ‘anti-aging’ car care products. Since then, Fucon has introduced five quality products under the Fucon, Fucot, Auto+ and Fucop brand names. The products are marketed through authorised workshops of all automobile brands. As of now, three of Fucon’s products — Fucot acrylic paint sealant, Fucot transparent anti-rust treatment and Fucot black anti-rust treatment — have been approved as ‘Maruti Genuine Accessories’ by Maruti Udyog. The company is also an original equipment supplier of Fucot anti-rust treatment to the Maini Reva electric car.
Fucon’s product range is also available through authorised dealers of Hyundai, Tata Motors, Ford, Toyota, HM, GM, Honda Cars and BMW all over the country. However, with new players like 3M and Dupont entering the market, Fucon’s share which once stood at 80 percent has fallen to around 60 percent. “We have around 800 people working for Fucon. Every dealership we are associated with is equipped with our own technical staff and our own dedicated space. We can use their infrastructure. Our anti-corrosive paint service comes for around Rs 1,200 upwards. The underbody coating is very beneficial for cars since it prevents corrosion and damage to the vehicle underbody. It also acts like a sound deadener and also keeps the outside heat off the car interiors,” says Parikh.
It's early days yet and whether car owners bite the bullet remains to be seen. But Parikh is confident the new concept of car care will take off in a big way. “We shall be setting up a saloon in Mumbai also,” he notes.