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Social media draws footballers and international clientele to longstanding Spies Hecker bodyshop, The Bodycentre

A Norwich bodyshop has embraced social media channels to show how repairs are carried out, attracting clients from across the globe.

4 October 2021 – The Bodycentre in Norwich, an award-winning, family-run business, first opened its doors in 1995, when social media was hardly on the map. In the past 26 years, the world has changed – and so has The Bodycentre; it has embraced social media, using it as a platform to attract international attention and to grow its business.

Proud of the quality of its repairs, in 2015, Sam Elwin, son of The Bodycentre co-owner Donna Woodgate, started posting the bodyshop’s work on social media. This created an enviable social media following, attracting viewers and customers from around the world. A customer of Spies Hecker – one of the premium refinish paint brands of Axalta, a leading global supplier of liquid and powder coatings - for more than 20 years, it was the first bodyshop in Norfolk to switch to the Permahyd Hi-TEC system, with examples of work using this system featuring in many videos.

Sam thought people would enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at the repair process, and at the same time help the public understand the procedures and products that are involved in a quality repair.

“As well as being followed by our local clients, we have car enthusiasts and car clubs from around the country following our Facebook and Instagram feeds,” says Sam. “But it was our YouTube videos that really attracted international attention – their channel views have reached over two million.”

Thanks to a long-standing contract with Norwich Football Club, The Bodycentre works on many of the players’ high-end vehicles and supercars, which has helped to boost the bodyshop’s social media traffic.

“Our followers love to watch these repairs on social media. And the more we put out, the more work we attract,” continues Sam. “Customers bring their cars to us from all over the UK and from abroad. For instance, Jaguar Land Rover in Germany recently sent us a long-wheel base Range Rover for a full body kit conversion, which led to even more social media interest and foreign enquiries.”

Julian Lambert, Technical Services Manager for Axalta in the UK & Ireland, says, “It has been fascinating to watch the impact social media has had on The Bodycentre over the past few years, turning it from a well-respected local business to an international sensation. And we are delighted that Spies Hecker’s high-performance products have been showcased along the way.”

Louis Woodgate, who co-owns The Bodycentre with his wife Donna, says, “Our priority has always been to offer the best possible repairs and customer service. This is why we decided early on to move away from insurance work and concentrate on OEM approvals and private jobs, like classic car restorations and modifications. Spies Hecker has been with us for most of this journey, and the strong relationship we have built with them and the team from Axalta has played an important part in our growth and success,” he says.

The introduction of the Hi-TEC Basecoat in 2011 enabled The Bodycentre to expand the repairs it offered, due to the paint’s excellent colour accuracy and optimal results, even for special colours and paint effects.

Louis says, “The Hi-TEC system means we can work faster and more accurately, while still obtaining the best possible finish. We can confidently tackle any repair or modification we receive, knowing that the Axalta technical team is always on hand to offer the solutions we need. In fact, we probably speak to them at least once a week. They feel like family, like part of our team.”

For The Bodycentre’s continued success in the real and virtual worlds, it is vital it keeps up with the latest refinish trends, from special effect colours to products and tools. For this, they rely on Spies Hecker technology and training.

Louis says, “We use the ColorDialog Phoenix spectrophotometer, as it produces exceptionally accurate colour matching, and we also have Spies Hecker’s Phoenix Cloud colour management software, which enables us to work completely digitally and gives us instant access to over 200,000 colour formulas. As soon as new products are launched, we get on-site demonstrations and training, so we’re always completely up-to-date.”

For its specialist repair work, The Bodycentre uses Spies Hecker’s ultra-fast air-drying Permasolid® HS Speed Surfacer 5500, in conjunction with Priomat® Reactive Pretreatment Wipes 4000, the high-gloss Permasolid HS Clear Coat 8055 and the highly efficient Permasolid Speed-TEC Clear Coat 8810.

Julian Lambert concludes, “We thoroughly enjoy working closely with Louis and his team at The Bodycentre. Their desire to offer top quality service and repairs is only matched by their enthusiasm to look to the future and to embrace the latest technologies and processes in the paint shop. We look forward to continuing with them on this journey and to seeing where social media will take them next.”

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About Spies Hecker

Spies Hecker, a global refinish coating brand from Axalta, develops optimum and practical paint system solutions that make bodyshop work easier and more efficient. Originally from Cologne, Germany, and with over 135 years of success behind it, Spies Hecker’s high-quality product systems, customised service and tailored training demonstrate its partnership with the refinish industry. The paint brand is one of the world’s leading vehicle refinish brands, and is available in over 75 countries worldwide.

Spies Hecker – simply closer!

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