You can now book AA Auto Centres around NZ with My Auto Shop

Customers around NZ are now able to get the easy benefits of booking online, with transparent pricing and easy pick up & drop off options, at their local AA Auto Centre. Simply jump on the My Auto Shop website, enter your car details and look for the AA Auto Centre near you.

You can get the same exceptional AA service that Kiwis have known and loved for over 25 years, now with the convenience of tailored pricing, AfterPay and E-Scooter powered pick up and drop off services, so you don’t need to leave the front door.

My Auto Shop founder Andy Bowie is excited to be able to extend our selection of workshops to include the quality of the AA Auto Centres. “We’ve been focused on creating an easier way for Kiwis to be able to look after their cars since January and now have a platform that truely does just that. Providing customers the option of heading to the likes of the AA is a fantastic addition”

With E-commerce trends accelerating and online purchasing further exaggerated by the effects of COVID-19,  the AA GM of Motoring, Jonathan Sergel acknowledged how important it is to innovate, especially in a traditional industry such as auto-repair “The AA strives to deliver value to customers and members. Being able to offer things like pick up and drop off  and Afterpay through My Auto Shop, at a time when customers need it most, is exciting for us.” 

And it gets even better! The AA has a Spring Service discount running, so if you enter the promocode SPRINGSERVICE, you can get a further $20 off a Comprehensive Service. Valid for bookings before 5pm 16th October. 

We are starting with 4 AA Auto Centres around the country:

All you need to do is pop in your details as normal, and you’ll see the AA Auto Centres at the top of the options if there’s one in your neighbourhood.

Can you get your car serviced or repaired in Auckland during Level 3 lockdown?

At My Auto Shop, we have a true focus on helping people get better care for their cars, and New Zealand car owners trust us to provide the very best car servicing & repairs experiences. So, during Level 3, we want to provide an even safer and more convenient experience for New Zealand drivers, by giving Kiwis the option to get their car picked up and dropped off from the mechanic for free. Easy as!

What is Contactless Car Servicing & Repairs?

It’s the same unbeatable value car servicing and repairs our customers are used to, but with an added focus on convenience, safety and hygiene.

These services are all about keeping each other safe and healthy. During your service, you may see your mechanic take the follow steps to ensure safe servicing:

  • Practicing social distancing within their workshop
  • Allocating 1 mechanic to a car
  • Using appropriate PPE
  • Avoiding skin to skin contact, such as handshakes
  • Not letting any customer set foot in the workshop
  • Washing and sanitizing hands on a regular basis
  • Wearing gloves in cars
  • Disinfecting touch points such as door handles and the steering wheel with disinfectant spray
  • Sanitizing keys before and after jobs

Can you get your car serviced or repaired in Auckland during Level 3 lockdown?

Yes. Non-contact businesses are allowed to operate, which includes mechanics who implement contactless measures.

With a second outbreak of COVID-19 out and about in Auckland, the result of a Level 3 lockdown has got us sitting at home, and the car’s not getting up to much. Despite all the extra-time looking after the kids, why not knock that WoF or service off the list with My Auto Shop. 

Can you get your car serviced or repaired during level 2 restrictions around the rest of New Zealand?

You sure can! Mechanics are open around the country carrying out their regular work keeping our cars on the road. Getting work done on your car is similar to normal, but just a few more precautions are put in place to keep everyone safe. What’s more, if you’re stuck at home, one of our driver partners can pick up and drop off your car, so you don’t have to lift a finger (apart from the one changing the TV channel).

What is the easiest and safest way to get my car repaired?

If you are in need of a WoF, service, or whatever your car needs, My Auto Shop has contactless options available that have been designed to keep both you and mechanics safe and healthy. Simply just book online, and you can have the best mechanics in your area at your fingertips. If you don’t feel like making a fashion statement and putting on the mask, feel free to get your car picked up. 

How do our drivers safely carry out pickup and drop off of your car?

The well-being of My Auto Shop’s customers is one of our top priorities. As we move into Level 3, we are continuing our pick and drop off service for your car, and want to make sure you know the important steps guided by the Ministry of Health that our drivers are taking to keep yourself safe during pick up and drop offs. Such as contactless interactions, sanitizing vehicles with disinfectant, using disposable seat covers and other PPE.

Read the full measures here.

What else do I need to know?

  • Please let us know if anyone with COVID-19 symptoms has recently been in your car
  • For vehicle pick up and drop off, your car must be drive-able and in a roadworthy condition.

Don’t see your favourite mechanic? Let us know who they are so  that we can support them during this time! 

Car Subscriptions have become a hot topic. Is the juice worth the squeeze?

Until recently I hadn’t considered the true cost of owning, maintaining, insuring and fuelling my car, and whether or not it represented good value for the amount of use I got from it. Then I heard about monthly vehicle subscriptions. So, what are they and will they save me any money? And in a COVID world, where people are nervous about buying large, new assets like cars, are they the solution?

The traditional narrative on car ownership has changed massively over the last decade. For a long time now owning a car in cities like London, Singapore or New York simply didn’t make sense given the reliability and affordability of public transport. With the rise of ride-sharing services (think Uber) this is now true of many other places, and large numbers of city dwellers are forgoing a vehicle entirely.

But are these trends the same in Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch?

Probably not, but monthly vehicle subscriptions may still have a place in NZ and quite a few reputable companies think so too. Recently, Turners announced they had purchased a stake in the Aussie company Carly and plan to launch in NZ later this year; Mercury Energy partnered with Snap Rentals in 2018 to launch Drive, a subscription model exclusively for electric vehicles;Finance company Simplify now offer subs on vehicles ranging from three to twelve months and Cityhop provide even more flexibility, allowing subs for as little as four weeks at a time.

And it’s not just second-hand cars either. In the US, vehicle manufacturers like Porsche, Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Nissan and Volvo are all offering their own version of monthly subscriptions. It’s coming people!

So how do monthly vehicle subscriptions typically work?    

In most cases you pick a car, sign up for a given period (say 3 or 6 months), and get full access to it as if you owned it outright. Payment is taken weekly after the first month and includes insurance, registration, roadside assistance and routine maintenance. In some cases, you can switch the car you’ve chosen, either throughout the sub or at the end of each term.

Do the financials stack up?

Obviously this depends on your usage, however it’s clear that you definitely pay a premium for the convenience.

Every year the AA breakdown the cost of owning a car for each of the main car categories (small/ compact/ medium, petrol/ diesel/ hybrid etc). This analysis allows for current fuel and oil prices, the latest prices for maintenance and tyres, but most importantly calculates the cost of depreciation (the devil when it comes to car ownership). It helps provide a comprehensive comparison against the cost of a monthly vehicle subscription.

We’ve focussed on the medium-sized, petrol car category, however, the results are reflective of each category. Over a 12-month period, taking a loan to buy a car worked out between 17% and 39% cheaper than an equivalent monthly subscription. This factored in finance, WOF, insurance, repairs and maintenance, the lot. Check out the table below to see the specifics. And once the car is fully paid off, you own it. It’s an asset, with some retained value that you can sell.   

How is this different from leasing a car?

The main difference here is the term. Most leases are set up over a longer period of time, often around 3 years. They are also more common on new cars, where vehicles have higher initial values, and where a longer-term is required to depreciate over.

Is a vehicle subscription accessible to everyone?

Yes, as long as you are over 21 years old and have a full driver’s licence. Depending on the service, you’ll likely need to prove you are good for the money as well, which might mean bank statements, utility bills and/or credit scores.

Are there catches?

Unfortunately so. Some providers charge an upfront non-refundable subscription fee. Then there is a long list of fees and charges typical for finance companies including things like cancellation fees, transaction fees, mortgage fees, late fees, cleaning fees etc. Note, these are different for each provider.

If you’re a big driver you’ll want to know about the maximum km per month, which apply to some providers. Insurance excesses look pretty steep at around $1,000, and you’ll need a little money to get started, around 50% of the first month’s sub, with the difference being charged 15 days later.

In our opinion, this is one of those times it’s worth reading the terms and conditions thoroughly.

The reality is that this isn’t going to appeal to everyone. If you have the money or don’t mind taking a loan to buy a car, you’ll end up saving over the medium term by buying a car. The range of vehicles on offer is also pretty limited, and it is unlikely you’ll be able to find your dream car on subscription. Kiwi’s take pride in owning their first (and subsequent) cars and that makes it somewhat of an irrational purchase for many. We have one of the highest car ownership per capita in the world (0.8 per capita in 2018), and for a lot of people, their car is their biggest asset. These cultural changes will take time to imbed.

This doesn’t preclude the idea from taking off in the future. New providers appear to be popping up all over the place, and shortly there will be enough of them to create a competitive market that should drive down pricing and make the maths stack up for customers.

With car manufacturers trialling the model in the US it’s probable the appeal of new cars on monthly subscription could gather further interest in the idea. Especially if it’s a new Porsche.

Until then, I’ll keep saving up to buy my next car.

What you need to know to keep your vehicle compliant during Alert Level 3.

After an extended period at level 4 lockdown, NZ vehicles will be starting to get some more attention next week as over 400,000 kiwis head back to work. Many of these cars might need some love or documentation updated. Fortunately, the government has moved to ensure there isn’t chaos for mechanics and testing stations on the first day back on our roads. Here’s what you need to know

• WoFs, CoFs and driver licences (including endorsements) that expired on or after 1 January 2020 have been temporarily extended. The indicated date for these is October 1, however a concrete date is yet to be announced.

• Safety is still paramount. If you’re concerned about your vehicle, please get in touch with us, or your local mechanic, to have it checked. Just because your WoF might be extended, doesn’t mean your car’s safety is extended too!

• Mechanics are a savvy bunch and have worked to develop ways of completing contactless services and WoFs, so you can trust that you’re in safe hands.

• Dealerships are working under similar principles to ensure if you’re in the market for a new car, or you have regular servicing scheduled for your new ride, you can purchase in a contactless way.

We have also implemented contactless pick up and drop off for customer cars, so if you need to stay home to work, we’ve got you covered.

You can see more detail on the NZTA FAQs website

The scary reason we’re never driving through the Waikato again

Not long ago, I was sitting on a small regional plane beside a person who was scared of flying. I found myself spouting the classic, pretty painful cliche line that any semi-analytical dad might be caught saying before taking off: “What’s there to worry about? Statistically, you’re more likely to be in a car crash than a plane crash, and you never worry about jumping in the car right?” Well, I had a bit of a reality check on that the other week.

Now, I’m certainly not the over-cautious type; frequently found sitting on a small, marginally ocean-worthy vessel in the middle of the Hauraki or in a home-built racecar rocketing past fence posts, however, we need to take a step back and ask if we are truly safe on our roads.

The MTA recently released its annual report on the vehicle servicing industry (something relatively top of mind for me) and the warrant of fitness failure rates stand out like a sore thumb. Across the country, these are now at 41%! That’s getting close to half of our cars (1,886,104 in fact) that when checked whether they should be on the road, shouldn’t be!! Now, while I might understand the condition of my own car and be happy getting into it, I’m certainly not happy knowing that the driver of every second car coming at me at 100kph might not be able to stop, steer or see properly!

So I decided to dig a little deeper and it only gets worse. Our WoF failure rates have been skyrocketing over the last few years, growing 17% since 2013. The most recent step change has come due to 2 main reasons that I can see:

  1. A shift to a longer required cadence of WoFs, meaning vehicles are checked less regularly, and
  2. A crackdown on sketchy WoF providers, meaning that less blind eyes are being turned to ‘mates’ who might drop off a few beers to pass your car.
NZ WoF Failure rates 2013 – 2019

Now whilst the latter is a good thing, the former carries huge repercussions. In a society that is getting less practical and vehicles are becoming more complex, people really have no idea what is going on in their car. But in this age of convenience, people expect their car to work and don’t take any further steps to take care of it. With the WoF cadence pushed out, it means cars are left to wear and tear longer, without any extra care or checks.

If you take a look at why vehicles are failing, it’s the big things, that don’t just affect you but are likely to cause a crash with others involved. In typical 80/20 fashion, the top 4 categories make up 70% of fails:

Causes of WoF failure rates in 2019

These drivers can’t see, stop or turn properly! And it turns out it’s not helping our road fatality rates either. A beautiful trend of reductions in road-related fatalities seemed to stop in 2013 and started to head in the other direction.

And there is a couple of scary pieces to this as you go even deeper:

  1. It’s not because our population is growing or we have more cars on our roads. Our fatality rate per vehicle and per person in NZ is in fact now increasing faster than our population growth.

2. Is it pure coincidence, or is it very nerve-racking that the region with the consistently highest WoF failure rates is also the one with the highest road toll?

Now I love my friends down in the Waikato, but this isn’t one to be proud of. 47% of vehicles fail their WoF in the Waikato each year, AND they also have had the highest road toll for 6 of the last 7 years.

And whilst currently minor, one of the fastest-growing causes of road fatalities is, yip, you guessed it, ‘Fatality due to vehicle factors’ which has almost doubled from 5.5% of all fatalities in 2015 to closer to 9% in 2019.

Now I can understand why people are turning a blind eye to this stuff. It’s a pain to navigate the logistics of not having your car for a day, and it’s expensive. If we take a look at the AA’s latest report on running costs of a standard petrol engined medium-sized car, you’re looking down the barrel of $1300+ per year in servicing, tyres and repairs. Bet you didn’t account for that when your freshly imported second hand Mazda Alexa (the highest imported second-hand model to NZ) rolled off the boat.

AA Running Cost Report for petrol-driven cars.

The fact is, people are irrational and buy cars at their upfront value without factoring in the ongoing running costs, then skimp on looking after them because it’s easy to ignore and hope for the best. They wait till they fail a warrant, then do the minimum to keep it on the road.

Now it might sound like a shameless business plug, but we need to take a hard look at how we are looking after our cars. NZ has one of the most diverse vehicle fleets in the world, with a crazy amount of imports coming in, often with minimal history attached. They are then let loose on our roads, only to be checked in once a year for a quick WoF, which may inspect vehicle safety, but doesn’t go on to check vehicle health (maybe another rant to come on the vehicle graveyard that may soon become NZ).

Come on NZ. Let’s take better care of our cars, so we don’t need to have the same anxiety my friend on the plane had each time we jump in the driver’s seat of our cars.


References:

  • MTA Vehicle Inspection Report 2019
  • AA Running Cost Report 2019
  • Ministry of Transport Road Death Report Jan 2020