It is a statistical probability that a Malaysian driver will get into a car accident in the course of his or her lifetime, which means said vehicle will need a visit to the service centre, and then the paint shop — separate activities that make the “recovery” process much longer, delaying the return of one’s car to full service. Hap Seng Consolidated is rewriting the cosmetic chapter of this tired, age-old narrative with the newly opened Hap Seng Body & Paint Centre (BPC), a one-stop shop that serves the needs of discerning owners who insist on nothing but the best for their vehicles.
The centre, which opened late last year, is the idea of Tan Chee Hock, national after-sales operations director for Hap Seng Star, one of the seven pillars of Hap Seng Consolidated and which manages dealerships for Mercedes-Benz. “The demand is there, and has been for a while,” Tan shares. “The industry has needed something like this for a long time — a one-stop centre that looks at the car from top to bottom and ensures it has been fixed up perfectly to factory standard, both inside and outside, by our well-trained staff who adhere to stringent SOPs. And we ensure that all the state-of the-art equipment we use are the best possible in the market today, placing our focus on the premium end of the automotive segment.”
For example, there’s a Celette chassis jig for frame alignment and straightening, which works in tandem with a highly accurate three-dimensional analytics system to achieve flawless results. For the paintwork, the centre utilises the services of combination spray and baking booths specialists Lowbake Australia, the best-in-class providers in the world. Owing to these measures, not only does the Hap Seng Body & Paint Centre service Mercedes-Benz cars, but it has also been appointed the authorised repairer for premium brands such as Aston Martin, Bentley and Volkswagen, with more to come in the following months.
“Any car can come here, not just Mercedes-Benz,” Tan shares as we embark on a tour of the 20,209 sq m facility, which is spread over three floors. The ground floor is where repairs are done, with painting on the top two floors. “Naturally, due to the absolutely top-of-the-line services we provide, we tend to attract higher-end vehicles, but any car is welcome. Right now, only 10% of the cars we service are non-Mercedes-Benz vehicles. We hope to achieve a more balanced ratio of 50% of other brands in the future.”
A high-end comprehensive BPC like Hap Seng’s establishment calls for equally impressive processes, which it delivers with a five-step functional line system that operates like a conveyor belt. “This is the only facility in Malaysia to follow this system, where the car moves from one station to the next. In a normal repair shop, one person takes on all the work — here it goes by stages, which ensures high levels of quality at each stage,” Tan explains. The process begins with developing an estimate, performing repairs to the body of the car and other areas, painting, refitting all the parts and, finally, Hap Seng Star’s quality checks on the completed product.
It is not just cars requiring body repairs that land here, but also those that need a new coat of paint. Repainting a car is generally quite a risky job as the finished product is almost never as good as when the car was newly acquired. But at Hap Seng’s BPC, renewed efforts in technology make a repainted car actually look like new. The rigorous process begins with putty application and hours of sanding for optimal flatness, a few coats of primer for maximum paint adhesion, a trip through an infra-red curing station and then the car is masked and spray-painted. Even if it is just a dent that you want covered up, the BPC colour technicians employ sophisticated digital systems to ensure a perfect colour match so no one can tell that your car has gone in for a touch-up.
For a paint job, Tan says you can expect your car to be out for no more than one week but for vehicles that require body repairs, the duration depends on the extent of the damage. Best of all, a sophisticated live recording system called CitNOW allows the company to directly share progress reports with owners and insurers, virtually bringing them into the heart of the BPC.
Tan personally advocated for the establishment of the BPC to complete Hap Seng Consolidated’s offering for customers, effectively closing the loop — buy your car, service it and maintain it in one fell swoop. The centre currently operates at 30% capacity, which means it has great opportunities to grow. Tan is also cautious about future-proofing the centre as more electric cars start making their way onto Malaysian roads.
“Mechanical repairs aren’t what they once were,” he says thoughtfully. “Newer cars require very different kinds of body repairs and we wanted to ensure that this centre is relevant for at least another 10 years. We built it with the needs of electric cars in mind so they can be repaired here as well. We can’t predict the future, but we can prepare for it based on the knowledge we already have, and that’s what we have done at our BPC.”
The Hap Seng Body & Paint Centre is located at Block 13, Hap Seng Industrial Park, 12 Persiaran Perusahaan, Seksyen 23, Shah Alam, Selangor. Call 03 5543 1369 for more information or to get a quotation.
This article first appeared on May 16, 2022 in The Edge Malaysia.