AUTO FINESSE Q&A
We catch up with James Batty, the man behind Auto Finesse, to talk about how the company started, what’s next and his penchant for pizza
It’s hard to imagine today’s scene without Auto Finesse, the coolest UK brand in car detailing. This is even more amazing considering they didn’t even exist six years ago. Now their products are sold world wide, and their presence and influence is felt at shows across the UK and Europe. We caught up with managing director James Batty for a good old yak about cars, car care and fast food.…
FC: Auto Finesse has been trading for five years now. How did it all start?
James: “Well we are moving in to year five with the products, but it all started back in 1999, cleaning and detailing cars. We then made some products to sell as kits with our valeting services and it all kicked off from there, as everyone seemed to love them.”
How did you go about deciding on the style of your brand back then?
“We wanted to create a premium feel that was a bit different to what was already available on the market. The logo was a real labour of love though and the label design took three months to finalise.”
Why do you think people have taken so massively to your brand?
“I think it comes down to the people behind the brand. We are all true car enthusiasts, most of the guys here (and even some of the girls) have project cars and are in to their cars. That, and the fact we practice what we preach.”
There seems to be a lot of companies trying to copy your style. Is imitation the biggest form of flattery, or a pain in the arse?
“It’s actually taken by us as a form of confirmation that we are doing something right.”
One thing we love about you guys is that you immerse yourself into the modified car scene. Was this always your focus? And if so, why?
“I’ve personally always been in to cars – even before I was old enough to drive. And I try to surround myself with like-minded people. The project cars you see us building are actually a bit of a team bonding exercise. We get the pizzas and beers in, then get stuck into the projects.”
How much research and thought goes into bringing a new product to the market?
“It depends really. Sometimes stuff just drops into place and it all comes together quite quickly. Sometimes it’s the opposite. One product that didn’t [simply fall into place], was our tyre cream, Satin. That was like pushing water uphill for almost a year before we cracked it.”
Do you have any new launches planned for 2017?
“Oh yes. We have some really cool new additions lined up for this year.”
Any clues, or is it all top secret?
“Just wait and see!”
Boo. We wanted an exclusive scoop! Anyway, why do you think it is so important to keep your car clean?
“First impressions count, no doubt, and a clean car sets the tone. But it also helps maintain the overall aesthetic appearance of your vehicle.”
If you could give our readers one tip when cleaning their car, what would it be?
“I could go on forever. But my best advice would be to get your wash process right first. It’s the most important part, and the foundation of any detailing work, as well as the maintaining factor of that detailing work. So a good wash mitt, two buckets,
a decent drying towel and a drop of good shampoo is where anyone should look at starting.”
What advice would you give to someone who’s thinking of starting his or her own business within the modified car community?
“Don’t follow everyone else. Try to find your angle and point of difference. Different stands out.”
You’re known in the scene for building some awesome demo cars. What’s your modifying ethos when coming up with the build ideas and have you always been into modified cars?
“Always have a vision for the finished car in your head and work towards that, don’t deviate. So often you see cars that have kinda ‘fallen together’ from what was readily available. Sure some parts might be hard to find, but a well thought out build should almost look like the manufacture might have built it that way.”
You can’t argue with that! We know you love your German rides, but have you ever thought about building a Jap motor?
“Jap and Ford are both on our radar. Jap very much so, with a Datsun we are already building – this one’s just taking a bit longer than usual, due to parts being incredibly difficult to source.”
What’s next for Team AF?
“We are just in the process of moving to a new facility that should really open up what we are capable of doing with the product range, the website and our overall customer experience.”
Thanks James. We look forward to visiting when you’re moved in. Just make sure you’ve got some milk in the fridge next time though!