Auto club revs onto Cayman scene

A new automotive enterprise hopes
to give Cayman drivers greater peace of mind. The Cayman Auto Club recently
opened for business on Airport Road in George Town, offering 24-hour roadside
assistance.

The business offers towing
(arranged by sister company Vampt Motors Ltd), emergency starting, dead battery
service, a vehicle locksmith and flat tyre services. In cases where a
customer’s car cannot be driven, a Budget rental car is provided. In essence,
the company’s services are similar to those of the American Automobile
Association.

Cayman Auto Club has a number of
membership plans. The basic plan charges $89 per year; the intermediate package
costs $109 annually; and the advanced plan goes for $139.

Brian Krug, general manager for
Budget in Cayman and the Auto Club, discussed the decision to start the company
in the middle of a recession.

“I’ve been working on the concept
and design of the company since the fall of last year,” Mr. Krug said. “The
idea for the company came about after discussions with Island Heritage, which
has launched an automobile insurance division this year. Island Heritage
approached us on offering their customers an accident-assist program, and from
there we decided to form a full-service company that handles 24-hour roadside
assistance to any member who joins our auto club.  

“Budget has over 30 years of
experience in roadside assistance in Grand Cayman with its rental and leasing
operations,” he said. “We know how to keep motorists in Grand Cayman on the
road through looking after our Budget fleet of over 200 vehicles. It is
logical, therefore, to extend this service to the wider community. We have the
infrastructure in place, great staff, and can call upon Vampt Motors for
specialized support such as towing services when needed.

“The concept of the company is to
offer a roadside assistance program to its members similar to other auto clubs
in North America and Europe,” he continued. “Our primary services will revolve
around roadside assistance. However, we also plan to offer discounts to our
members for establishments both here and abroad.”

The Auto Club is a division of
Budget Rent-A-Car, owned by Bodden Holdings. Most of its services are handled
by the staff at Budget. Among them is East End native Mark McLaughlin.

“I am currently the fleet manager
at Budget and will be handling the position of operations manager for the
Cayman Auto Club,” Mr. McLaughlin said. “I started working with Budget 15 years
ago as a car washer and moved my way up.

“Our service vehicles (for the Auto
Club) will consist of late model Fords,” he said, “and we have a special 2011
SUV on order which will be specifically equipped for roadside assistance.  We have chosen Fords as our service vehicles
because of their reliability and our affiliation with Vampt Motors, the local
Ford dealership. 

“My duties with the Cayman Auto
Club will be to oversee the operation, assist with marketing, and ultimately
make certain that our customers are assisted quickly and safely on their way as
soon as possible. Initially our business will be operated by the service and
support staff of Budget, but as we expand our membership we will be able to add
full-time Auto Club employees.” 

Cayman Auto Club offices are
located in the Budget Rent-A-Car building.

BUZautoclubSTORY

McLaughlin oversees day-to-day operations.
Photo: Matthew Yates
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