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Fastlane blog

  • New Cars - No Servicing Required? By Perry Robb

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    This week, I called over to see how the new Fastlane site at Elstree was progressing. It's due to officially due to open in a few weeks’ time, and it is nearly there. Wow, what a site, and what a location - probably the finest and most advanced and prestigious body shop in the whole of the UK. Looking around the new facility, I noticed that the senior management team had arranged for numerous electric vehicle charge points to be placed around the site. "Probably more than we need cur[...]

  • Bankers and Porsche by Perry Robb

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    During my time at Porsche, I met numerous fantastic customers. They were sometimes the 'captains of industry', brilliant entrepreneurs, and often just normal, hardworking individuals who wanted a bit of therapy - in the form of a Porsche.  But then there were the bankers, or "S.S.", as I privately called them.  “S.S.”? - no, not the nasty German soldiers in the Second World War - just my abbreviation for "Shoe Shit".  You see, you can smell "shoe shit" a mile o[...]

  • Rolls Royce Wraith : Changing perceptions: by Perry Robb

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    The first time I sat in a Rolls Royce was in the 1960's. It was a Silver Cloud model and even then the car exuded that old fashioned charm and elegance that only a Rolls Royce could offer. My father had been lent the car by a friend for a couple of days and he took me for a lengthy drive to show me what the most expensive car you could buy was all about. Inside the car was like sitting in space reserved for people from another time ; we really should have worn tweed suits, Clydella shirts [...]

  • Pollution levels - Dr. Porsche required ? : by Perry Robb

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    Why have vehicle pollution levels gone through the roof in cities like London recently? The newspapers, bloggers and politicians are all majoring on the " Diesel engine" problem, as most business and privately owned cars are diesel engined - a situation brought about many years ago by the afore mentioned politicians who encouraged us all to drive cleaner , more fuel efficient vehicles - namely diesel vehicles! Car manufacturers around the world have been forced over the past 15 years or s[...]

  • Brexit aftermath for the UK car industry : By Perry Robb

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    Well, you can sit and fume about the result.Behave like a snotty nosed teenager who hasn't got their way.Cling to the ramblings of the 'Bremoaners' - ( 'where will we get our next nanny from?' )You can try not laugh at power crazy politicians like Tony Blair and his new mate Michael Heseltine , whose sad purpose in life now appears to be to lead a crusade to save the nation from potential economic 'mass destruction' , or whatever withdrawal from the EU means for us all. Or, you can accept [...]

  • My first car - A Porsche, a Ferrari ? Well, not really ! : By Perry Robb

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    Being born into a motoring family ( my father and grandfather had both been in the motor trade ) I had learned to drive at an early age.When I was 8 Dad bought my brother David and I an old Austin Seven to ' play around with '.The first thing we did was cut off the roof - a simple job which we accomplished with hack saws in about half a day. This somehow transformed our old Austin Seven into an exotic sports car, and undoubtedly made it a much speedier vehicle ( well at least that's what we[...]

  • Dr Porsche's grandson :- the sequel . By Perry Robb

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    After working for Porsche for about 25 of my 50 years in the motorindustry, in July last year I felt duty bound to express my thoughts onthe Fastlane blog on the departure of Ferdinand Piech from the SupervisoryBoard of the Volkswagen Group. He fell out then with his Porsche cousins and fellow board members becausehe felt that the VW business itself was performing badly and being 'shored up' by the other VW Group members, in particular Audi and Porsche.Indeed , I mentioned then that Porsch[...]

  • Bjorn Waldegaard , a classic Porsche 911 v the WRC : by Perry Robb

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    Throughout most of my time running Porsche in Hertfordshire  a cornerstone of our marketing effort was an involvement with motor sport. This took many forms including supporting Club racing , attending the Le Mans 24 Hours and British Carrera Cup series, and also sponsoring Porsche Classic rallying. We supplied parts to Francis Tuthill in Oxfordshire who was one of the first to really recognize the potential for these Classic rallying events, and in the early / mid 1990's we got toget[...]

  • Le Mans : more Porsche fun and games - by Perry Robb

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    In the early days, our Porsche customer Le Mans 24 hour race trip was very much a "boys weekend." To say there was one toilet for 300,000 people would be a gross exaggeration - in  fact there were two. The drive down to the race in those days was mind blowing. Yes there were French police about but they weren't as well organized as in later years. So you could floor the Porsche's like you just couldn't do at home. Not lunatic driving I must add - but owners enjoying what a Porsche d[...]

  • Le Mans Porsche Customer trips :- understanding the myth . By Perry Robb.

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    I have mentioned many times that my favourite road going Porsche is the 993 - the last of the 911's with an air cooled engine. Not just that, it was also the perfect size. Over the past 30 years when car manufacturers produce their next "new " model, it's always wider and longer than its predecessor , so it represents better value than its previous model. But just look at most household garages - certainly the ones in houses built over 30 years ago and you can see that you can hardly swing[...]

  • The Customer Service Debacle and George Brick : by Perry Robb

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    What is good customer service? How do we give it ? Do we expect too much as customers? Do some customers elaborate their issues? Is the compensation culture killing customer service ? Do managers know how to deal with customer issues? Why do most companies nowadays try to hide their senior managers from dealing with customer problems ? Let's hope the answer to all of the above isn't :- ......."The George Brick cure for the difficult customer.".......... In the 1970's I was sales ma[...]

  • New car launches - Have Porsche cracked the code? ; by Perry Robb

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    Launching a new car or new model can have a tremendous impact on the network of dealers representing that Franchise. Over the 50 or so years of my motor trade experience some of the manufacturers recognized that and some less so.In the early days the manufacturer would get the dealers into a hotel in somewhere like Newcastle or Glasgow . The MD would talk about the successes of the franchise and how lucky the assembled masses were to be representing such a fine product. Then they would prob[...]

  • Industry leading Motor Trade training : by Perry Robb

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    After an undistinguished schooling at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution ( Inst ) ,  all I really wanted to do was work in the motor trade ,  third generation as it turned out to be. My father was in the motor trade , he had his own Ford Dealership called Lindsay Robb ltd.  Granda Robb had also been in the trade owning  " Robb's Garage " in Dundonald, just outside Belfast. He was NI agent for International Harvester agricultural equipment amongst other things. Gr[...]

  • Mercedes-Benz Approval for Fastlane

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    Fastlane Paint and Body Group are delighted to announce that we have been appointed as an official Mercedes-Benz Approved Bodyshop Repairer. We are extremely proud to have been selected by Mercedes-Benz to represent this historic and famous brand, and we look forward to working along side them for many years in delivering the exceptional levels of customer service commensurate with such a prestigious marque.

  • My trusty Porsche 993 - "Concours " winner. ! By a bewildered Perry Robb

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    Yes it's true !After receiving a phone call from Simon Lane, my old sales manager at Porsche Centre Hatfield to come along to the annual Porsche Club concours evening I decided to give it a go.I ran Porsche Centre Hatfield for 26 years until I retired a couple of years ago, and was delighted to invite the Club to our first concours held on site in 1986, so I thought it would be nice to go back in a slightly different capacity, as a guest rather than an organizer / worker.What with having a [...]

  • Dr. Porsche's grandson Ferdinand Piech "departs" Volkswagen Group Supervisory Board : by Perry Robb.

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    Anyone who has the slightest interest in motor cars and motor sports should be aware of the dramatic and significant events which took place in the boardroom at VW just a few months ago. Ferdinand Piech ( and his wife ) resigned from the Volkswagen Supervisory Board in a dispute which sees the departure of arguably " THE " smartest motor industry executive of the last 50 years. The argument was apparently that the brilliant 78 year old believed his current Volkswagen boss , Martin Winterk[...]

  • Motor Traders; these boys are to City Bankers...

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    ...what Enid Blighton is to Edward Snowden. Peter and Dessie fell into the category of " egits".They had carved out a 20 year career specializing in buying and selling " dubious " used cars by walking a very thin line which veered between illegal and unbelievable. Peter was the "brains" of the duo. Five feet two inches tall, dark greasy hair, very thin.Always bouncing from one foot to the other when in conversation and always wearing the same clothes summer and winter ;- grey flannels,wh[...]

  • Le Mans 2015: Porsche victorious

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    Wow! Did anyone really think they would do it - this year ? Tom Walkinshaw, my old boss in the "Chariots " Porsche days , said when he took Jaguar back to Le Mans in the late 1980's ; " First race to see what breaks - second time to finish - third time to win !" I certainly ( and foolishly) underestimated the Porsche race team.They seemed to have the pace in practice, blasting the Audis off the grid, but I don't think too many of us heavy duty supporters thought the cars would last the [...]

  • A 356 Porsche; a simple motor trader and Perry Robb

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    A special breed "traders" are.Traders are the middle men who traditionally buy unwanted part exchanges from car dealerships around the country. Many are exceptionally bright, inventive individuals who work hard and make a good living.Many are not.This end of the market can often attract the lazy ex salesman who can't get a job so decide to go it alone. It also draws the dodgy side of the trade - those looking to make an easy living - don't really care how they do it. (a bit like the way the[...]

  • Le Mans - "Building a strong customer base "

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    When I stared the Porsche business in Hertfordshire in the mid 80's for Tom Walkinshaw, one of the basics for marketing the new business which we agreed upon was to have some sort of involvement in motor sport.Porsches reputation for making sports cars which set the bench mark in their respective classes had been forged in endurance sports car events around the world, and certainly at that time, many customers were also enthusiasts who were drawn to the brand by its successes and domination[...]

  • Fastlane - Porsche - DeLorean - and Perry Robb

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    Having a long standing relationship with Fastlane - initially through their Porsche Approved Repair status when I was running Porsche Centre Hatfield, I pop in from time to time to take advantage of their hospitality and also to see what's going on in their workshops.The consistent quality of their work over the years has ensured not only their current status as repairers for some of the finest car manufacturers in the world, but also as a natural choice of repairs / refurbishment for many [...]

  • " Stig Plus" v the 1989 Porsche 911

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    I was in Fastlane Paint and Body in St.Albans recently and saw a lovely guards red 1989 Porsche 911 Sports Coupe which they were refurbishing to pristine condition, and it brought flooding back memories of my early days with Porsche in Hertfordshire. In the 80's what is now called "Porsche Centre Hatfield" was called "Chariots St.Albans Ltd.."I ran it, and the business was owned by the inspirational Tom Walkinshaw of the TWR Group.Tom, through TWR racing , had taken Jaguar back into motor [...]

  • Picking the right Porsche for me. By Perry Robb

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    I think Ayrton Senna drove a Porsche 911 as private transport at one point whilst he was with us. I wanted to do the same. Don't get me wrong - Perry Robb's driving is to the great man what the Isle of Mann is to world rugby! But heading for my retirement after nearly 26 years at Porsche Centre Hatfield, working with Porsche in Hertfordshire and North London, I knew I wanted a 911 for "therapeutic reasons" when I retired. The question was - which one? The Porsche 993 was the one for me[...]

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