With the recent opening of the Rapidé Auto Service Center’s Catanduanes branch, there would be no need for local car owners to spend a lot of cash and time just to have their precious vehicles undergo routine maintenance.
Before, those who have spent a lot of their earnings to buy their car of choice, from subcompacts to sport utility vehicles, had to travel to Naga City, spending cash for the ferry ride and maintenance services at the “casa” along with personal expenses and at least three days of waiting and travel.
Sure, one can wait for the car brand’s maintenance crew to make their monthly visits but sometimes the car’s condition cannot wait.
These were all in the mind of veteran businessman Napoleon Co, who started Virac Oriental Auto Supply, when he began considering the hefty, multimillion peso investment in the Rapidé franchise.
Last Sept. 18, 2022, the franchise finally opened at its location just beside the Virac LGU Community Hub at San Isidro Village, with Co joining Vice Governor Peter Cua and Mayor Samuel Laynes in cutting the ceremonial ribbon.
That same afternoon, the repair bay accepted its first five cars for maintenance services, which include ATF flushing, under chassis, oil change, brakes, belts and clutch lining maintenance, OBD scanning, rotor refacing, wheel bearing, wheel balancing, 3D wheel alignment, tire changing, nitrogen air inflation, greasing, Bac to Zero car sanitation, battery check-up, battery charging, aircon services and car accessories, aside from the free safety inspection.
It’s five technicians underwent three weeks of rigorous training at Rapidé Manila and are fully qualified to handle the shop’s expensive machines: four car lifters, two brake lathes, nitrogen air inflation apparatus, digital wheel balancer, Kuper wheel alignment (US made), OBD scanning unit for all brands including American and Euro cars, tire changer, battery checking unit and ATF dialysis unit.
Branch manager Junjie Tabuzo said that once the customer’s lounge overlooking the repair bay is completed, the owner can watch from the comfort of the airconditioned lounge which will also have a vendo machine and Smart TV.
Also available in a separate room at the ground floor are various Ingco power tools and hand tools, including portable car washers and air compressors.
Last week, construction workers were still busy working on the perimeter fence and paving part of the sprawling 3,000-square meter lot bought from a member of the Alberto family.
Rapidé Catanduanes is limited to maintenance services, with no major overhauling service, Napoleon Co told the Tribune but the right side of the compound has been reserved for stalls where rust proofing, car detailing and car washing (including under chassis) will be installed in the near future.
The franchisee said the early customers told him that Rapidé’s fees are even lower than that charged by mainland “casas.”
The branch also accommodates requests for parts not included in the Rapidé services, along with new tires and other auto parts which are sourced from Virac Oriental Auto Supply.
Rapidé Catanduanes is the only branch of the auto servicing company in the entire Bicol region.