AF – The brand for Mechanics

Present for more than 40 years in all emerging markets, the AF brand is now available on the French market. With ranges covering more than 90% of the fleet, an attractive price positioning and national distribution which will be fully ensured by the end of June by the network of 10 GPI platforms, AF is positioning itself as an alternative for repairers in search of competitiveness.

40 years of experience in all markets AUTOMOTOR France has been present for 40 years in more than 70 markets. While the company initially represented major brands (OEMs or manufacturers) in emerging markets, particularly in Africa, it very quickly developed its own brand: AF. Why ? “Guarantee our customers parts with specific features adapted to the strong constraints of their markets, while remaining affordable”, explains Olivier van Ruymbeke, President of AUTOMOTOR.

The range is now over 4,000 references with a deployment plan underway at GPI for the first half of 2019 according to the following families:

• shock absorbers, • cables, • braking (discs and pads), • thermostats, • EGR valves

AF ranges cover on average more than 90% of the fleet circulating in Europe.

If AUTOMOTOR does not manufacture, it defines the specifications to meet the strong constraints of emerging countries. All of the factories around the world that AUTOMOTOR trusts meet a 5-star quality process specific to AUTOMOTOR. AUTOMOTOR controls the quality of manufacture and constantly improves the range. “With AF, we sign AUTOMOTOR,” continues Olivier van Ruymbeke. We commit our reputation to each product sold and do not compromise on quality ”.

A tight price does not mean product at a discount: AUTOMOTOR products are of course approved to European standards, and their use from Africa to Russia is the best guarantee of their quality and durability.

AF finally in France! In 2018, the AF brand was marketed in 52 markets, both emerging and mature. For example, it is used on a daily basis by repairers in Germany, Spain or Sweden… but not in France!

An anomaly now repaired with the launch of the AF brand in France through a distribution agreement with GPI, Groupement des Platforms Indépendantes, with 10 platforms across the country. The goal: to provide the local distributor with H + 4 availability.

“With 9,000 m2, our warehouse in Rosny-sur-Seine is designed for an export activity,” explains Olivier van Ruymbeke. We are not deviating from our usual pattern: GPI platforms are treated as importers who place stock orders with us. However, we have created a specific picking area for the French market, allowing us to ship small quantities to them over a large number of references ”.

GPI has, with its 10 platforms which perfectly mesh the French territory, nearly 40,000 m2 of storage. The platforms will deliver daily to local distributors once or twice a day, who themselves deliver to repairers in H + 1 several times a day.

Promising positioning “Demand for mid-range products has accelerated in France in recent years, especially since the 2009 crisis,” analyzes the Marketing and Purchasing Director of AUTOMOTOR. The repairer seeks to gain margin while offering his motorist customer tighter prices, notably approaching offers on the web. We are clearly in this niche, with a competitive price positioning compared to the big brands ”.

This positioning was acclaimed during the first tests carried out with distributors and repairers.

Digital marketing Present in 70 countries, AUTOMOTOR has long focused its marketing on digital, with convincing results: the AUTOMOTOR Facebook page, mainly consulted by repairers, has 26,000 followers. Likewise, the video posted on the AF brand counts more than 120,000 views. “We will do the same in France, in coordination with GPI, to offer our repairers primarily videos and tutorials specific to the AF brand” continues Yves Maillère.

The AF brand is of course present in the RELIABLE catalog, on which AUTOMOTOR has been working for 18 months. This catalog was developed to provide more reliable vehicle information and will quickly become a powerful communication and ordering tool, eventually integrating video tutorials or technical information intended for repairers all over the world. Currently under test, it will be deployed from April 2019.

For the French repairer, AF is therefore an alternative of choice with a product of proven quality, guaranteed for 2 years at a competitive price and benefiting from immediate availability throughout the country.

AMERIGO International welcomes GPI “Since the launch of the AMERIGO International project, access to AF products has been a strong element of the AMERIGO International offering. In this context, it was quite natural for GPI to join AMERIGO International, which we are delighted about ”.

GPI is therefore one of the 27 founding shareholders of the international services company AMERIGO International.