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KECO GPR Reduces Cycle Time, Boosts Bottom Line at European Motor Car Works

European Motor Car Works specializes in repairing luxury ICE-powered and electric vehicles at its 33,000-square-foot facility.

European Motor Car Works has deep roots in Southern California. Founded by Kye Yeung in 1975 in a small industrial park, the multigenerational Costa Mesa company is now housed in an ultramodern 33,000-square-foot facility. The shop services elite automobiles, having earned a reputation as a premier certified collision repair center for luxury British vehicles.

Yeung’s affinity for British brands dates to his youth in Hong Kong, then a British Crown colony. After immigrating to the U.S., he later enrolled in Golden West College, where he signed up for an auto body repair course.

“That was my introduction to automotive repairs,” said Yeung. “I was an architect major, but my passion was automobiles. I’ve always been loyal to British brands. They’re more difficult to repair, so that’s how we found our niche.”

European Motor Car Works
Costa Mesa, CA

Company At A Glance...
Type: Collision Repair
Facility Employees: 20
In Business Since: 1975
Number of Locations: One
Production Space: 33,000 square feet

The shop specializes in Jaguar, Land Rover, Aston Martin and two EV brands, Rivian and Lucid, and holds collision repair certifications from the five automakers, all of which produce aluminum-bodied vehicles. The company is also the exclusive Aston Martin Works Factory for North America.

Yeung has seen firsthand the changes over the years in auto body repair tools and processes. But there were always limitations. “Back in the day, there weren’t a lot of options. I just always tried to access panels with the least amount of intrusion for the best repair.

Technician Connor Kelly sets up the KECO K-Beam Jr. on an EV.

“Then along came Glue Pull Repair. With the KECO GPR system, you don’t have to access from the back side, because they have such a huge array of tools and accessories. I’m a tool freak. I own every tool known to mankind to make the job better, and here comes KECO with a tool for most every angle and dent. It’s mind-boggling.”

The relationship with KECO is beneficial in other ways. Glue Pull Repair tools can be used on steel- or aluminum-bodied vehicles and they can replace spot welders that could damage a panel. Glue Pull Repair can also be used on electric vehicles without powering down the EV. Plus, the GPR system complies with many OE procedures for repairing EVs as well.

From a technical standpoint, Yeung’s shop repairs both aluminum-bodied ICE-powered cars and aluminum-bodied electric vehicles. Knowing the GPR system complies with OE guidelines for EVs is a plus.

“Some of the EV OEMs we work with recommend the use of the KECO GPR system in the repair process,” noted Yeung. “They prefer the Glue Pull system to whatever else is out there. It’s less intrusive, less labor intensive and allows us the ability to produce a quality repair.”

Over the years, the company has made hefty investments in tools and equipment, OE certifications and staff training. Which accounts, said Yeung, for a door rate significantly higher than most body shops’. The average repair ticket runs at least $17,000.

In lieu of replacing costly panels or dealing with the current parts shortages, Yeung said, “GPR allows us to offer customers a quality repair and adhere to OE recommendations. Those are reasons why KECO fits so well into our shop.”

Staff training is another factor. “Another unique thing about KECO is that they offer training. A lot of older professionals don’t like change and regress to original techniques. When KECO comes to train with a hands-on approach to their newest products and 6C process, it helps the technicians buy into the system, because the new techniques are so much better.”

The damaged Aston Martin DB11 is mounted on a Globaljig frame machine, with additional fixtures attached for proper structural components replacement. The shop is Aston Martin-certified as a structural repair facility.

In reflecting on his 40- plus years in business, Yeung credits the company’s success to multiple factors. In addition to a highly skilled and certified staff, his family plays a prominent role. Daughters Jennifer Yeung and Nichole Hubbard now oversee the business. Son-in-law Mike Hubbard is the ace ADAS tech, while grandson Connor Kelly is earning certifications in welding and structural repairs.

Yeung also attributes the company’s growth and profitability to the KECO GPR system and believes other shops would benefit significantly from integrating KECO GPR into their businesses.

“The conventional way of using an older process is more intrusive. If shops adapt to Glue Pull Repair, it will allow for less cycle time, it’s a better-quality repair and they will be more profitable.

“The key is to buy into the system and train technicians. It will improve shops’ bottom line. The ROI is very, very good."

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To read more auto body shop profiles from the June 2023 Shop and Product Showcase, click here.

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