The Blackhawk brand is continuing to go from strength to strength in Ireland, on the back of offering of revolutionary repair systems.
Few brand names can boast to have impacted on the world of body repair like Blackhawk. From its earliest beginnings with Porto-Power, to the very latest ‘Aurora’ Shark program, this is one brand name that has kept ahead of the game and revolutionised collision repair worldwide.
Blackhawk has been distributed in Ireland since 2013, when Roberts Automotive was set up solely to distribute Blackhawk throughout the UK and Ireland.
Many people are unaware that Blackhawk is actually owned by Snap-on. However Blackhawk, which based in Strasbourg, went against the grain by appointing Roberts Automotive to take care of this side of Europe.
Company founder, Dave Roberts explains how it all came about: “In recent times the Blackhawk brand became a part of a very big machine and attempts to streamline operations meant it got a little lost for a while. Because of its heritage and record for producing groundbreaking equipment, Blackhawk needs to stand alone. Trying to make it part of a bigger operation just didn’t work and it started to lose its identity. I’ve worked with Blackhawk since the mid 90s, firstly with Blackhawk Automotive in Kent, and for many years as an independent service agent. To be honest I became a little frustrated watching the path that Blackhawk was being led down and decided to offer a different route. After much planning, the transfer from Snap On Equipment was set up and Roberts Automotive became the steward of this fantastic product both in the UK and here in Ireland.”
So what could a small company offer that others couldn’t? Dave went on to explain the company ethos.
“Our first objective was to set up a service and calibration program to effectively cover the already massive customer base. We need customers to know that we’re there for them when they need us. Covering the entire UK and Ireland is no mean feat with a small team, but we feel we’ve got it covered. Peter Swift who is nearing 35 years with Blackhawk has come on board and has been instrumental in organising our team to cover all areas. Here in Ireland we have a few selected agents working for us. This enables us to service our customers and handle call outs in the quickest way possible.”
We asked Dave how the company has found things in the Irish market over the last 18 months and how he sees things for the future.
‘Ever since I first became involved with Blackhawk, Ireland has been a strong market for the product. The period when Blackhawk losing its direction seemed to coincide with the depression the entire trade experienced both here and in the UK. It’s been a real help that a general recovery has partnered the advent of our company. There seems a positive vibe about things and the market is gaining confidence. We’ve seen good sales figures in the last 18 months and that trend looks set to continue’.
‘The one big advantage of being owned by Snap-on Corporation is that Blackhawk is receiving backing and research to keep bringing new products to the market. We’ve seen the launch recently of the new Aurora Shark program and we also launched last year the Power Pro 1001 – The ultimate drive on bench system. We now have a full range of dent pullers and induction heaters which coupled with our impressive heavy duty equipment give us a pretty comprehensive range of equipment. Blackhawk now has its own development team working across the world on new products and we’re expecting some exciting new products in 2015.
Here in Ireland we’ve had to tailor our service program to suit the current needs of the customers. The advent of CSS the industry standard, means customers have to follow a stricter service/calibration program. We’ve made sure our certification and procedures meet the relevant criteria to make sure the equipment is covered for audit.
We’re really enjoying the process of reconnecting with the Irish market and look forward to a greater presence on the Irish market.
Check out the Blackhawk range at the Auto Trade EXPO, at Citywest Exhibition Centre, Dublin, October 17-18.
For further information on Blackhawk Equipment visit www.roberts-automotive.co.uk or ring +44 1432 357707