Colin Ferns started working for Mercedes as a 16-year-old apprentice. Thirty-eight years later he is still passionate about them.
Colin Ferns has run his own independent Mercedes service and repair shop in Richmond for 22 years. Here he talks about his love for these great cars.
Why did you first work with Mercedes? Since I was a child I have been passionate about all mechanical things. I joined Mercedes as an apprentice and have worked exclusively with that brand ever since. It is a pleasure for me to work with a product that embodies engineering excellence in the way that Mercedes does. We take pride in our work and can do anything from tyre pressures to engine re-builds, accident repair and full restorations. We enjoy a worldwide reputation for our work on the ubiquitous Pagoda models.
Do you prefer working on new or old models? Both! We are fully equipped to deal with all models, including the latest. Our technical equipment and information is leased to us by Mercedes in Germany which enables us to keep track of any new developments such as software upgrades or recalls. Maybachs and AMG cars are consequently no problem for us.
Why do you think Mercedes owners like coming to an independent firm like yours? The primary reasons are to save money and get a more efficient and personal service at the same time. The savvy customer realises that when they want an expensive cup of coffee, they go to CostaBuck but for a professional service at a reasonable price they come to us. We use genuine parts which come direct from Mercedes; the only small exceptions are if we fit a repaired exchange part rather than a new one direct from Mercedes, such as a radiator.We are unique in that we only deal in the one brand which enables us to have dedicated equipment, tooling and, most importantly, familiarity with the product to extraordinarily high levels.
Is their warranty affected by coming to you? Not at all. Since 2003 European law has made it illegal for manufacturers to insist that you take your car to an authorised agent for servicing in order to comply with the terms of the warranty. The only condition that has to be met in order for your warranty to be unaffected is that the service(s) are carried at the prescribed times using manufacturer’s instructions and parts. Naturally, all of our customers will benefit from such service when having their cars serviced by us but at around 40% saving over main dealer prices. All services are logged on the Mercedes central database where required.
How do you compare in price? Mercedes dealerships are currently charging £168 per hour including VAT for labour. We only charge £115.20. One lady was recently quoted £7,500 by Mercedes after mis-fuelling her car. She came to us and saved over 90%!
What is the most difficult thing about running a business in Richmond? Space. Cars need space and space is so valuable to developers that it is impossible for us to expand due to the unavailability of viable sites. This also limits employment opportunities.
You can see Colin in action at: Colin Ferns YouTube
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