Land Rover Owners, Who do you call when your Landy needs some lovePOSTED BY Yamin Vong ON 27 December 2018
Who do you call when your Land rover has a problem? If it’s new and under warranty, of course you call your salesman or the service agent.
What happens if your Landy is out of warranty? Then you call your Landy mates and/or your favourite Land Rover workshop.
The big problem about owning a Land Rover in Malaysia is the service and maintenance after the warranty period.
For any car brand, authorised distributors’ service centres are more expensive than independent workshops.
As for independent workshops, assuming that they have the expertise and access to a Third Party diagnostic laptop, they won’t tie up capital to stock a comprehensive range of parts. They’ll have to source from their network of spare parts suppliers, of which there are a handful in Kuala Lumpur.
There is also a growing incidence of low quality parts which are not cheap and yet of low quality – they break within an unreasonably short time.
Then, unlike a premium brand say, Mercedes-Benz, there is a scarcity of knowhow. So those workshops that maintain and repair Land Rovers/Range Rovers command a price premium. Some of them are warranted, some are not worth the money, and some of them are charlatans.
Well, now I’m going to share my “secret” with Malaysian Land Rover owners who need a second opinion if their Land Rovers are troubling them.. Call Mr Chan Fook Mun who used to trade under the Han Land Shen company with his late partner.
He runs a different kind of Land Rover workshop. Why do I say different?
The key to any good LR workshop is a ready access to good quality and decently priced spare parts. Chan’s early start in the automotive business was as a RM300 a month apprentice in one of PJ’s landmark spare parts shop, Fook Bee Auto, reporting to the co-owner Mr Kuan Ah Kau, in 1980.
“On my first day at the job, the boss laughed and said that I would never be successful in the spare parts business because I was too quiet,” said the soft-spoken Chan.
“Kuan Ah Kau was a good boss and I learnt a lot from him. It was three years of hard work. There was one day I travelled 350 km on the company’s Honda C70 sending parts from Fook Bee in New town PJ to Kepong, PJ, Klang and back to PJ. I was delivering parts every working day and the only time I would take off my helmet was during lunch time. The barber complained about my wiry hair” reminisced Chan.
He became friends with most of the regular customers and some of them, including Land Rover workers, encouraged him to start a spare parts business.
“The person who gave me the break was Harry, then the spare parts manager from Land Rover’s Malaysia agent. They had moved the workshop to Batu Caves industrial area which then was very new and uninhabited – no spare parts shop to support them with tools and fast moving consumables when they ran short of supplies and needed quick supply,” Chan said.
He took the gamble when Land Rover’s importer and distributor opened its workshop in Batu Caves. At that time, in the early ‘80’s, Batu Caves industrial area was like a jungle and Land Rover needed a convenient and fast supply of tools and parts.
Soon after Kuan had given him his Chinese New Year bonus of RM1,000, Chan tendered his resignation in March 1983.
“In the first month itself, my profit had already exceeded the salary I made at Fook Bee. Sometimes, they needed workshop tools, sometimes, they ran out of lubes, sometimes, the spare parts they needed could not be supplied from Land Rover UK as fast as I could supply from OEM or from Bearmach, my main Land Rover parts supplier.
“In my first month supplying the new Land Rover 3S centre in Batu Caves, I grossed RM12,000 and was very excited and happy.
“I was lucky — God helped me. At that time, Land Rover spare parts business was good for independents like me.
“Thanks to Uniparts. It controlled most of the parts for overseas Land Rover appointed dealers but too many times, it couldn’t deliver in time. If a part that was required was not available, too bad. Wait for the batch production to roll out the part. Unipart didn’t support its overseas customers including Land Rover’s importer in Malaysia. That was my opportunity,” Chan said.
From the supply of Land Rover spare parts, the next step was into the Land Rover workshop business itself. But the best thing about Chan’s workshop is Chan himself. This humble and soft-spoken man is ready and willing to share information and help Landy owners who call for advice.
That’s why Chan’s independent Land Rover workshop is special to my heart and something I’ve kept to myself until recently.
What are some tips from Chan regarding Land Rover spare parts?
- His guesstimate is that 90 per cent of Land Rover Defender parts sold in independent spare parts shops are China-made and with low quality.
- Parts supplied by UK independent Land Rover spare part dealers are of four categories:
Original from JLR
OEM (original equipment manufacturer for the brand owner)
Independent/own brand (Made-in-China and put on your own brand)
- For better quality yet competitive price, Chan sources some LR parts from Germany, Italy or other EEC countries.
- Delphi and Bosch also make Land Rover parts in China, but they supervise the quality to be up to their international standards.
Chan Fook Mun can be reached at 013 333 5293. Workshop is at Jalan 28/10A, Taman Industri IKS, Batu Caves. Only five workers, so don’t go if you have a big project and can’t wait.