Botany and Ormiston Times
Howick and Pakuranga Times : Howick and Pakuranga Times, Thurs, November 8
www.times.co.nz Howick and Pakuranga Times --- Celebrating 40 Years, 2012 --- 23 Established for more than 45 years, Howick Auto is one of Howick's best kept secrets. This modern and technically equipped service centre has, over the years, built its name and reputation on high quality service and customer satisfaction. We offer qualified mechanics and auto electricians in your one-stop repair workshop. 153 Moore Street, Howick • Phone 534 6501 • Hours Mon-Fri 8am-5pm, Sat 9am-12noon • www.howickauto.co.nz OFFERING: • Mechanical -- servicing, auto repairs, WOF, mobile breakdown • Electronic Vehicle Diagnostics -- repairs, injector cleaning, testing • Auto Electrical -- alarms, batteries, marine electrical, radios, accessories • Air Conditioning 118818-v2 Electrical • Mechanical • Air Con • Marine Forty-seven years ago the idea of a self-driving car would be more suited to science fiction than the pages of a newspaper. However, as co-owner of Howick Auto Electrical Mark Jones explains, the cars of tomorrow are almost here! "Driving around like George Jetson is not as far away as you'd think! These days we have cars that will park them- selves and some already have systems in place which enable them to lock onto the passage of the car in front and follow it down the road at the same speed," says Mark. "The cars turn the steering wheel to park, work the brakes and the accelera- tor. That technology is available now; it just needs to be implemented." Since Mark's father Howard estab- lished Howick Auto Electrical in 1965, the business, as well as the vehicles, has certainly come a long way. In 1996, the business moved down the road from 20 Moore Street to its current home at 153. "The other building was less than 1000 square feet, so it simply wasn't big enough, we had cars parked every- where! "The business had become much more successful and we needed to expand. At that point we were operat- ing out of three buildings; I even had four guys at my garage at home!" Even the most basic aspects of vehi- cle maintenance require an under- standing of computers and electronics more sophisticated than ever before. "The rate at which cars are evolv- ing is almost frightening," Mark says. "Back when my dad started the busi- ness air conditioning used to be a case of winding the window down! "These days we need to scan vehicles to fix almost anything. "We spend at least a quarter of our time on any job on a computer, either getting the information or specifica- tions. "We can't even change the oil on the average modern car without going on to a computer to ensure we're using the right grade; it's unreal how times have changed!" When asked whether new technol- ogy will change the playing field for mechanics, Mark does not mince his words. "To stay up with the play mechanics will either need to up-skill or get out; simple as that! "Because the margin between auto electrical and mechanical work is get- ting progressively narrower we're now increasing the range of mechanical services we offer here at Howick Auto Electrical." And adapting to developing technol- ogy in the automotive industry does not come cheap. "We've just put a new $50,000 brake machine in," says Mark, "Some garages are still servicing brakes using the older technology, but it won't be long before they sim- ply won't be able to operate that way because you can't fix brakes correctly on the latest cars without putting them on to a diagnostic computer. "We're investing every year in new equipment and training to ensure we can meet our customers' changing needs." To ensure the future for Howick Auto Electrical remains bright, Mark also invested in a new business partner, Dion Lowe. Dion says the decision to become a co-owner of the business seven years ago, after working with Mark since 1997, was an easy one to make. "I saw that it was a really good busi- ness, very busy with good, friendly customers. At Howick Auto Electri- cal, we work at the cutting edge of auto electronics, so, whatever the future holds, it's an exciting place to be." And, embracing technology doesn't stop with the shop. "When the business started even the idea of the World Wide Web would have been science fiction; today, an online presence is essen- tial. We've developed our website www.howickauto.co.nz to ensure we're ready, whatever the future holds." Electric news from switched on team "We're investing every year in new equipment and training to ensure we can meet our customers' changing needs." A couple of bright sparks -- owners of Howick Auto Electrical Mark Jones and Dion Lowe (below), current premises (above) and where it all began (bottom right).
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