Based on its recent analysis of the automotive tool and equipment market, research firm Frost & Sullivan has presented Hunter Engineering Company with the 2011 North American Frost & Sullivan Award for Technology Innovation for two recent advances the company has made in automotive service equipment design — the HawkEye Elite alignment system and the Auto34 leverless tire changer.
“In the automotive aftermarket, technology innovation is paramount in keeping up with changes in the North American vehicle population,” notes Frost & Sullivan program leader Stephen Spivey. “Hunter Engineering’s recent advances in automotive service equipment design speeds inspection and service processes, reduces the risk of damage, simplifies equipment operation and employee training, enhances customer satisfaction, decreases equipment obsolescence, and makes service businesses more profitable.”
The HawkEye Elite alignment system includes patented features that increase the speed of alignment service to unmatched levels of productivity. The newly designed adapters adjust easily to various wheel sizes using spring-loaded clamping arms that grip the tire tread of a wheel instead of the rim edge. The unique design speeds set-up times with much less adjusting and avoids potential rim damage. By using the Hunter adapters and targets with the high-resolution digital camera sensors, and the most comprehensive alignment software in the industry, a shop can produce printed alignment readings for a customer in as little as 90 seconds, increasing the probability of a repair authorization.
“HawkEye Elite enables quick alignment checks, which are usually performed at little or no cost, generates goodwill, and gets authorization for additional services from vehicle owners, who originally visit the shop to purchase other services,” says Spivey. “This capability gives shop owners and managers another tool to promote the service and increase the return on investment.”
Similarly, Hunter’s Auto34 leverless tire changer makes it easier than ever for service shops to quickly demount and mount the most complex and sensitive tire and wheel combinations. With fast, simple operation, shop owners can maximize employee productivity and business profitability. While competitors have developed tire changers featuring a similar leverless design, so far only Hunter Engineering’s is recognized for resolving all of the different problems associated with changing all wheel types.
Shop owners recognize a wide range of positive impacts from the new products introduced by Hunter Engineering; both products simplify complex tasks and reduce the risk of wheel damage, making it possible for shops to accommodate more vehicle types and complete more service jobs, while maintaining good customer service. The equipment is utilized efficiently by employees, who require less operational training for proper use. As a result, shop owners using Hunter Engineering’s service equipment can increase sales and improve the overall profitability of their businesses. No other competing technology in the marketplace has the potential to generate all of these benefits to automotive service businesses.
Hunter Engineering also has an industry-leading technical team to support its products in the field. The company assembles the equipment, trains its customers to use it, and provides updates, a post-sales warranty and life-of-product service. Its main competitors for these products have outsourced many support functions to distributors, resulting in decreased customer satisfaction.
“For service providers struggling to compete effectively in a consolidating industry environment, the timing and relevance of Hunter Engineering’s recent technological advances cannot be better,” concludes Spivey. “With robust growth forecast in the automotive aftermarket over the short to medium term, these new products from Hunter Engineering can help level the playing field for service professionals struggling to overcome the competitive challenges of the aftermarket.”
In recognition of these achievements, Frost & Sullivan is proud to present Hunter Engineering Company with the 2011 North American Technology Innovation Award in the automotive tool and equipment market. Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents this award to the company that has demonstrated uniqueness in developing a technology, which significantly impacts both the functionality and the customer value of new products and applications. The award lauds the relevance of the innovation to the industry.
Frost & Sullivan’s Best Practices Awards recognize companies in a variety of regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service and strategic product development. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis and extensive secondary research in order to identify best practices in the industry.