T/b: Rapid Parts/Rapid Autowerks Share Comments Welcome to our TUNERbiography series! Just as our AUTObiography series is designed to profile some of the more notable members of the VWvortex readership community, we’re hoping our TUNERbiography series can do the same for some of the tuners, manufacturers, and other companies who cater to these very same VWvortex readers. This month’s TUNERbiography profile is Rapid Parts/Rapid Autowerks Q: Company Name? A: Rapid Parts and Rapid Autowerks. Q: Contact Info? A: Our Address is 178 Rt 59, Monsey, New York 10952 Email Address: VWAudi@rapidparts.com Rapid Parts (Parts) Phone number 845-352-1138 Rapid Autowerks (Shop) phone number 845-352-3230 Website: www.rapidparts.com Q: How did your company get its start? How long have you been in business? A: We started our business 28 years ago by repairing old VW Beetles and by rebuilding motors for these vehicles. We then started stocking replacement parts, accessories and specialty tools for these vehicles. In the mid 1970s we started selling parts for the new watercooled VWs, the Rabbits and Sciroccos. In 1995 we built our current 13,000 sq-ft location. Q: Who is your target customer? A: We cater locally to people in the New York Metropolitan area and nationally through our website, www.rapidparts.com. We have 4 salespeople who service customers both at our facility and over the phone. Our facility houses our 1500 sq-ft showroom, our 5 bay repair and installation facility, Rapid Autowerks, and our 10,000 sq-ft warehouse which contains our imported accessories, such as Weitec, Hella, FK, Kamei, Inpro, etc; our domestic sourced accessories, such as APR, Neuspeed and our large inventory of replacement parts. We cater to both the do-it-yourselfer, and to those who need a shop (such as Rapid Autowerks) to do some or all of their repair, installation and upgrades. Q: What is your product range? A: After being in the VW and Audi aftermarket business for 28 years we have formed relationships with many of the major suppliers of accessories in Europe and in the USA. We are a major APR, Neuspeed, Techtonics and Forge dealer for performance parts; Oettinger, Reiger, FK, Caractere and Kamei for aerodynamics and grills; Hella, FK and Inpro for lighting; and Weitec, Neuspeed, Bilstein and Koni for suspension. We carry many more brands, such as Blue Igniters and Bonrath. See our website at www.rapidparts.com for a list of all of our products/brands. A little known fact to those not in our immediate area is that we stock a full range of replacement parts for Audi and VW. While some automotive businesses list replacement parts on their website which they drop ship from their suppliers, we stock these parts and install them at Rapid Autowerks in addition to selling them to the general public and to repair shops. Q: What services do you provide? A: Our shop, Rapid Autowerks, specializes in all aspects of VW/Audi performance, accessory installation and general repair. We also do mig/tig welding and parts fabrication. We also do all major repairs and maintenance, from full vehicle diagnosis to TDI timing belt replacement. Our staff offers technical assistance relating to all of our parts and services. Q: What is your company philosophy? A: To establish long-term relationships with customers and suppliers. We drive VWs and Audis that are equipped with the parts and accessories that we sell and install. This familiarity with our product line allows us to assist our customers with all of their needs. Q: What Makes Your Company Different/Special? A: Our dedicated staff committed to serving our customers puts us on an equal footing with the best in our industry. Our long relationships with our friends and suppliers in Europe and in the USA helps us bring the best products to our customers and provide the best service. Q: What does the future hold for your company? A: We are hard at work putting our replacement parts on our website. We travel to Germany at least once a year to see what is new and to visit friends and contacts that we have in the industry. We were very impressed with the new GTI and Audi A4 that we saw last month at the Essen Motor Show. We are currently working hard to develop a strong tuning program for the GTI and Jetta 5. Q: What are your biggest challenges? A: Finding new staff for our parts division and our shop. Both divisions are exhibiting growth and finding good people (as we currently have) is always difficult. If any reader is interested in a career with us give us a call (visit hyperlink below). Another big challenge is the weakening dollar against the Euro. It now cost about $1.38 to buy one Euro as opposed to only $1 to buy a Euro in 2000. This forces us and our competitors to raise prices as there is only so much of this increase in cost that a company can absorb. Employment Opportunities Q: What are your greatest successes? A: Assembling a talented staff who care about our customers and our business. Having techs in our shop who love VWs and Audis and produce high quality work. Designing a data driven website in-house that allows a customer to input their car information so that only parts appropriate to their car come up. Q: How do you feel about auto manufacturers offering customers their own tuning products? A: While we are not sure of the long-term impact of this we see several positives. Factory-tuned vehicles, such as the R32, 20v GLI or 20th Anniversary, are usually an introduction to the world of aftermarket parts and tuning. The people who choose these vehicles will most likely become customers for companies in our industry. Q: What personal cars do you and your staff drive? A: Big turbo 337; Turbo Scirocco 2; 16v Cabriolet; A3 Cabrio, A3 Golf, Audi A4, a A2 GLI (turbo in progress) and a Passat diesel wagon that is the company parts hauler.