" Died in the wool fans of the legend that is James Hunt may recognise this little beauty. Yes, it's the great man's 1967 Austin 35 Countryman conversion. For sale at Silverstone Auctions’ 23 July event, the car has been in storage for 18 years "
Heard of Auto Finesse? If not, it won't be long...
We chat to Auto Finesse’s head honcho James Batty. Here’s the story so far:
Danni Bagnall: Hey James – thanks for your time! For those that don’t know, what is Auto Finesse?
James Batty: No worries at all. Auto Finesse is a car detailing product brand, based in Hertfordshire, England. I founded it back in 1999; since then it’s just grown and we now currently sell more than 150 specialist products dedicated to the care, maintenance and protection of car paint, wheels and plastics, as well as other trim such as brightwork. I started out as a detailer way back when, so have been using car care products day-in, day-out for more than a decade, in varying conditions and on an array of different vehicle finishes. This has given me great insight into what products need to do and why, as well as a greater understanding from a user’s perspective as to what makes a great product. We offer industry leading products at competitive prices, all wrapped in attractive eye-catching packaging. Production of any one of our products needs to meet our three main criteria before going on sale; usability, effectiveness and quality. Research and development never stops; we listen to customer feedback and our distribution network, and conduct in-house testing to ensure we stay a step ahead in the industry. The motor industry itself is always changing. Over the years, things like paint and other materials used have evolved. During development, we test all of our products in ‘real-world’ situations and never bottle anything that we wouldn’t be happy to use on our own cars. As a car care and cleaning specialist, we have a duty to stay ahead of those changes, which is why we have a number of different products targeted to different paint types and colours.
DB: We attend a number of car shows throughout the year and you seem to have a pretty big presence wherever we go. What’re your thoughts on trading at car shows?
JB: I just think it’s really important to get your brand out there. We’ve all been to car shows; sometimes you just want to hang out with your friends and look at the cars, and that’s more than fine; there’s no hard sell here; in fact, we welcome anyone that just fancies a chat. We, more often than not, take along some of our own fleet to these shows. We try and do some wacky stuff to get the pundits over and talking about our cars; for example, we currently have a Mk1 Volkswagen Caddy running a Porsche unit; some people like it, some people don’t and purists simply hate it, but it gets people talking. The cars are all prepped and prepped again with our products, so you can see first-hand the finish our washes, waxes and sealants can provide. A salesperson can stand and tell you how good something is until the cows come home, but seeing the results for yourself is the key to repeat customers.
DB: A little birdie tells us, you’re now in some stores?
JB: Haha, yeah – it’s fantastic news! We’ve worked so hard over the past few years; myself and the team included and I couldn’t be prouder. We’ve partnered with Halfords to bring a selection of our products to their stores nationwide. Halfords are the biggest retailer in the UK of car cleaning products, so it’s a great move. We’ve all been there and done it; gone to wash the car and realised you’ve run out of something. We’re trying to help our customers get what they need as quickly as possible. Along with the range being made available in stores nationwide, we’ve also got two exclusive-to-Halfords kits; you can’t even buy them on our store, they’re that exclusive! There’s the Original Car Care Kit, which features three easy steps; wash, polish and wax, along with the Complete Protection Kit that offers everything for the ultimate protection from the elements. The partnership between Auto Finesse and Halfords is part of a drive to make the products more readily available throughout the UK, Europe and beyond.
DB: So, what’s in store for the future, then; any plans?
JB: Continue to grow. Social media development and content for the website is key for us, along with the tutorial-type videos we’re doing showing you how to use our products. It’s this aftersales support that really sets us apart. We’re not going to forget our customers just because they’ve gone and bought some of our products; we want to help them to use them correctly and get the best from them. We continually listen to our detailer network and customer base – whom we work closely with when developing our products; both new products and existing. We also have big plans for the company fleet, too; we’ve just sold off a couple of our Mk2 Golf modified cars and we plan on taking the fleet in a new direction. I’d love to keep all of the cars, but we just don’t have the space for them all.
Look out for a few model drops this show season!
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