Delphi Aftermarket Operations, a division of Delphi Automotive Systems DPH, is displaying an exciting vision for a garage of the future here at Automechanika 2000 (Hall 4, Stand C55). A section of Delphi's stand is devoted to the new concept, which shows an integrated, high technology service center for diesel injection, brake, clutch, air conditioning and other automotive systems.

"We started by studying how service specialists can adapt their businesses to benefit from the next generation of sophisticated engine management systems and on-board diagnostics," said Bernhard Mrosek, managing director of Delphi Aftermarket in Europe. "We then took the advanced network development themes from our diesel, clutch and braking business and produced a vision of an integrated service center for the future. The result is a new type of workshop, ideas from which we will be implementing in conjunction with our distribution partners over the next few years."

Delphi's vision uses Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) to link the vehicle with the garage, allowing remote diagnostics and early warning of potential problems. Within minutes of a fault being identified by the vehicle's on-board diagnostics, the vehicle can be automatically booked into the garage, parts ordered, service data downloaded and a courtesy car confirmed. If the vehicle is running well but a service is due, the customer will receive a reminder message on their mobile telephone or on the driver information unit in the vehicle.

Within the workshop, sophisticated electronic diagnostics and data presentation facilities will be used to quickly confirm the problem and guide the technician through the repair processes. Delphi plans to use its wide ranging OE expertise to provide high-technology support across many systems, including braking, clutch, suspension, mobile multimedia, air conditioning, diesel and other evolving systems.

"The key innovations are the ability to diagnose the problem before the vehicle is in the workshop and the sophisticated systems used to manage the job and to enhance every aspect of contact with the customer," said Mrosek. "These will save the garage considerable time and money, allowing it to provide a faster, more efficient service for its customers, and to ensure a high throughput, which will be an important factor in achieving a good return on capital."

Many of the concepts being developed for Garage of the Future will be available within the next twelve months. They are:

* A 'Garage Portal' that allows independent garages to have their own
website, with their own domain name and link into the internationally-
promoted Delphi Aftermarket Operations website."The portal gives
independent garages an extremely powerful marketing tool," said Jog
Lall, European retail service operations manager for Delphi Lockheed
Automotive.The service includes help with design, photography, lead
management, special offers and links with "real world" sales campaigns.
The portal became available this month;
* A Windows(C)-based Garage Management System that integrates every
activity of the workshop, from sales promotion to materials purchasing.
"There is a tremendous business benefit with this system," said Lall.
"The integration of purchase orders, invoicing, database management and
related activities frees up a lot of time and provides extra information
that can increase efficiency and save money;"
* A new generation of electronic diagnostic tools that will include an
interface for the new European on-board diagnostics systems.The tools
are being developed in partnership with existing diagnostic specialists
and will be available within twelve months."This will considerably
simplify diagnostics and save time when working on systems from
headlamps to engine management," said Lall."This is a key stepping
stone on the path to implementing Delphi's vision for a Garage of the
Future;"
* A new diesel workshop standard capable of dealing with the latest Delphi
Common Rail systems, featuring clean-processes and ultra high fuel
pressure management equipment to ensure safe diagnosis and repair; and,
* The integration of air conditioning fitment and service into a new
Delphi-supported scheme for independent garages.More details will be
available by the end of 2000.

"Garage of the Future is part of Delphi's focused strategy to provide complementary products and services to our current distribution partners," said Mrosek. "It will be developed over the next several years as we make each innovation available to our network of specialist workshops, giving Delphi's customers a clear lead in capability, service and return on investment."