EghtesadOnline: In a bid to counter the mounting complaints against unregistered car repair shops, Tehran Auto Mechanics Association has unveiled an application which among a dozen services ranks mechanics and provides customers with official tariff charts.
The guild’s director Alireza Nikaeen says, “All certified auto repair and maintenance shops in Tehran will be listed on the application, which is named Auto App,” ISNA reported.
“The shops will be ranked depending on their performance, customer satisfaction and inspections by the association.”
Some 8,800 garages are operating in the sprawling capital with more than its fair share of cars clogging the streets. However, only 4,800 are members of the association and have the required permits. In the past two years, 1,800 unregistered shops were ordered to down shutters by the association in collaboration with the local law enforcement forces, according to Financial Tribune.
The TAMA official further said, “The association has doubled its inspections and 80 teams monitor the performance of the mechanic.”
Based on the customer’s location, the application suggests the closest registered repair shop. Each garage has a profile on the application and users can write reviews on their performance and give the businesses one to five stars.
Furthermore, based on official tariffs announced by the association, the application calculates how much each service should cost.
One of the other services to be added to the app in the near future is ‘repair on demand’ or ‘mobile auto repair service’ through which instead of visiting the garage the mechanic will come to the address the car owner wants.
So far, 250 repair and maintenance shops have been listed on the application with 1,500 pending requests by Tehran based businesses to be enrolled with the service.
According to Nikaeen, the association has held talks with major carmakers Iran Khodro and SAIPA and spare parts produced by the two companies will be offered through the application.
The app is under tests and soon will be offered on local Android market Café Bazaar. It is not certain whether an iOS version of the app will also be released.
As smartphones and online services infiltrate all aspects of life on an exponential rate, automotive businesses have rushed to launch various companion apps.
IKCO and SAIPA were the first to launch vehicle service applications on mobile devices running on Android.
Their example has been followed by companies like Atlas Khodro, the local dealer of KIA Motors cars, and Negin Khodro, the official importer of Renault vehicles.
The apps are free to download from local Android app store Café Bazaar. They can be used for a variety of vehicle-related services and have been developed to also speed up the vehicle servicing process by spotting contraband auto parts.
Barcodes are printed on spare part packages. Using the apps, customers can scan the barcode and check whether it is genuine or not. However, forging a barcode is not too difficult and the applications cannot forestall sales of fake parts altogether.
On the surface, the imported low-quality or fake parts are terribly similar to the locally-manufactured products to the extent that even local producers cannot differentiate the real from the replica without the benefit of time-consuming tests.
Some of the applications also assist motorists in case of a breakdown. For example, drivers can tap the SOS button on the homepage of SAIPA’s companion app and the app will then pick up the driver’s location via GPS and send a mechanic.