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In March ChipsAway passed on 9,000 leads to its franchisees and reported its best ever month for customer leads. The SMART (Small to Medium Area Repair Technology) automotive paintwork repair specialist has generated approaching 20,000 business leads for its network in the first quarter of this year, which is up by nearly 60 per cent on like for like figures in 2008.

Lloyd Evans, Chief Executive of ChipsAway, says: 'Despite predictions of doom and gloom, demand for our services is currently going through the roof. We believe this is partly due to the effects of the credit crunch. Our franchisees are telling us that motorists seem to be investing in repairing existing vehicles, either with a view to keeping them on the road for longer or to sell them for a better price in order to take advantage of some of the great deals around on new cars. SMART repair technology keeps a car looking good for longer, extends its life and maintains its value - our customers recognise this and our franchisees are feeling the benefit.'

Franchisees around the country have confirmed that business is booming, regardless of recession in other marketplaces.

Carrie Blenkinsop, a Coventry-based ChipsAway franchisee, says: 'We're experiencing a 'mini boom'. In ten years, we have never been so busy. It's weird considering the current market but demand for our services is crazy at present, particularly on used cars.'

Anatol Poyer-Sleeman, a Cambridge-based ChipsAway franchisee, adds: 'While we have recognised the downturn and adapted our marketing strategy accordingly, the phones have not stopped ringing since the beginning of the year. We are booked solidly for three to four weeks ahead on all five of our territories and frankly we're struggling to keep up with new enquiries.'

Russell Cartlidge, a Stoke-based ChipsAway franchisee, says: 'Obviously the message is reaching people everywhere that keeping your car in good condition means prolonging its life and enhancing its value. When you can't afford a new car - or don't want to splash out while things are so uncertain, then a ChipsAway repair is the obvious solution!'

ChipsAway operates a 24/7 UK Call Centre and last year launched a national advertising campaign, aimed at increasing awareness of the brand and promoting services. Both factors, according to Lloyd Evans, have aided the current boom for ChipsAway franchisees, he says: 'We are proud of our strong track record in supporting our franchisees, and are delighted with the dramatically increasing levels of new enquires, particularly in the current financial environment.'


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