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    COL
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    Default Caravelle Imports

    I phoned Caravelle Imports yesterday to acquire a front wheel bearing for my Renault Laguna 1 V6. Was told we don't have one and will not be stocking parts for the older cars.

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    My Laguna is 20 years old so where does that leave everyone with the cars from the 60's and 70's.

    Has anyone else had similar experience with Caravelle as they use to stock everything for Renault's no matter what the age.
    Regards Col

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    Quote Originally Posted by COL View Post
    I phoned Caravelle Imports yesterday to acquire a front wheel bearing for my Renault Laguna 1 V6. Was told we don't have one and will not be stocking parts for the older cars.

    My Laguna is 20 years old so where does that leave everyone with the cars from the 60's and 70's.

    Has anyone else had similar experience with Caravelle as they use to stock everything for Renault's no matter what the age.
    Yep it's a sad day when companies decided it's more important to make money than look after old cars. Every day I tell people either ebay or log on to aussiefrogs.com - French Car enthusiasts site for Australia Since 1999 - Citroen Peugeot Renault - aussiefrogs.com & Froggy Forum! and ask the people with the same passion.
    David Cavanagh

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    Its my understanding that caravell was bought by a large firm who supply parts for all kids of brands ,caravell being there french car connection, unfortunately all business is for profit and the accountants dont like having money tied up in stock on the shelf that is not likely to move any time soon especially when costumers can buy off e bay at much more competitive prices ,theres nothing more predictable than change .pugs

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    Ah, I didn't realise they'd sold. That explains it. The "old" Caravelle could obviously make some sort of a living with slow moving parts, but realistically they started broadening into other French brands, and newer stuff, about 20 years ago. So sad but realistic if they are to be run as a profit-focussed business. They didn't have the internet sources to compete with then either. It is quite understandable. Postage from Paris to Perth can be faster than Melbourne to Perth too.... But not cheaper!

    Having said that (David C.) I do hope French Connection and others with the passion to support despite all continue profitable. I've just bought tyres locally not O/S despite being a bit more expensive, precisely to support local. I'd encourage the same of others. But if I want odd things for an R8 or a 4CV, it won't often be available in Oz these days and hasn't been for a while.
    JohnW

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    VIP Sponsor David Cavanagh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnW View Post
    Ah, I didn't realise they'd sold. That explains it. The "old" Caravelle could obviously make some sort of a living with slow moving parts, but realistically they started broadening into other French brands, and newer stuff, about 20 years ago. So sad but realistic if they are to be run as a profit-focussed business. They didn't have the internet sources to compete with then either. It is quite understandable. Postage from Paris to Perth can be faster than Melbourne to Perth too.... But not cheaper!

    Having said that (David C.) I do hope French Connection and others with the passion to support despite all continue profitable. I've just bought tyres locally not O/S despite being a bit more expensive, precisely to support local. I'd encourage the same of others. But if I want odd things for an R8 or a 4CV, it won't often be available in Oz these days and hasn't been for a while.
    John, we have a cut off at 20 years. Once it's 20 year old we don't want it. I'm knocking back R19/Laguna 1. 405's 306 N3's, BX's and early Xantia's. Problem is, rent costs money.
    David Cavanagh

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    03 9338 8191 or 03 93354008

    34 KING St
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    Too many posts! JohnW's Avatar
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    Fair enough too David. You are super-helpful but not a charity after all! Our Xantia is approaching an unfortunate age - it is 19 and perfect, but parts are going to dry up I'm sure. What WILL we replace it with I wonder.
    JohnW

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    Plus in the world of interwebs, you can get odd stuff easier from wherever.

    As mentioned Ken has sold Carrevelle to a mob that to date has specialised in German car parts. There has been quite a bit of supplier rationalisation as a result (for example youll be getting more Meile branded parts for your Reno where before Ken had more Sasic etc), and there has indeed been a move towards volume selling stuff for maintenance of modern frogs. Its business.

    Ken is still there as the brains trust and is looking after his long term customers for now thank goodness, but he will retire eventually and we'll all have to rethink our parts supply... I really hope he can pass on the amazing customer service and support for enthusiests (car nerds...) to the new company, but it will inevitably lose something simply by being bigger and more profit driven.

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    Default Yes !

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnW View Post
    Fair enough too David. You are super-helpful but not a charity after all! Our Xantia is approaching an unfortunate age - it is 19 and perfect, but parts are going to dry up I'm sure. What WILL we replace it with I wonder.
    Hi
    Well judging by the thread about the Megane trade in and its value, I might suggest something like that, a few years old and not many Kms for very little

    The trouble IMHO is the cars have just got better over the years. 20 years ago the cars that were 20 years old were a bit crap on the whole. But now not so !! Mostly good to drive and reliable, even French ones Must be time to rethink the next car paradime !
    Jaahn

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    I have recently reported my failed attempts at getting bearings (mains and rod) for my 205GTi which is of course more 20 yo. But that needn't be a problem. Buying engine oil seals (rear and front), they came from a local mob (local to Oz), and were labeled to fit Toyota. They fit the Pug engine of course, and are the same quality as the originals (might even be made by the same people - Corteco made in Germany of all places). I think this suggests that parts are no longer car specific, not unexpected in a globalised market.

    But locals have had problems adapting to the modern times. Businesses that relied on the interdiction of parallel imports are handed over a captive market on a silver platter. Some chose to not evolve and ream the customer for all it's got. I can't regret the demise of such tools, and won't support them, no matter how local. To give but an example, for the engine seals I was asked anywhere between 120 and 180$ with shipping within Australia! In the end I paid 58$ all up and the cost of a mobile call. Keep in mind these are high temperature seals. Leaving aside the price of the seals, I still can't understand how one company can deliver within Oz for 10$ (which is the price of an express post bag - the yellow one), whilst others want 20 or more. And before you tell me one is overnight, no, I would still have to go pick up the part at the shop, and if you live in certain post codes, the yellow envelope reaches you within one day anyway (at the door). Whadda...?!

    Other companies relied on their contacts and the impossibility of the customer to establish same. This strategy works mainly based on volume imports, which cost cheaper to freight, etc. That's gone with the internet, and again, it shows that when you have a captive market, you don't value your customer, which in the end comes back to bite you.

    But there are things you can do in these times to remain competitive. You need to understand who the competition is and try to offer some advantage they can't. Geography is still in your favour, but that requires keeping stock, I know. Well, you can find a balance. You can have quick contacts and keep stock somewhere where it's cheaper and you can get it in a day or two, not four to six weeks! I have seen a lot of shops move towards this (and I suspect a lot of retailers that survive are using this strategy). Keep stock somewhere in Hong Kong, or some place like that, with good connections worldwide, low taxes and good postal services. Customer walks int he shop, or rings up, you can tell them they'll have their stuff in one-two days.

    Another aspect is many of these businesses have absolute crap websites. Okay, they made the effort to have a web page, and so on, but stock for instance doesn't update and you pay on your credit card, and then wait for some louse to go check the shelves. Then three days later (if your order didn't get lost) you get an email (I had a company that wanted my mobile number to ring me back - of course they didn't) saying sorry, we don't have that in stock and don't know when we're going to have stock! Well, if that's your idea of business int he modern world, good luck to you.

    And if you think I am off my rocker, this is pretty much how things work here in the wild west. Maybe over East is a bit better, but here, people tell you simply "nah, don't have it/don't stock it". You have to ask then "so can you get it?". Only one in three shop assistants here ask, would you like to order it? Even less people actually check right then and there the availability of stock elsewhere and give you some time frame for availability. I am tired to do somebody else's work. If you value my business you can at the very least be happy to take my money when I walk in the door (not to mention the retards that pick up the phone and start talking to the guy on the line instead of serving you who are right there in front of them - I find that rude beyond imagination and usually leave in a huff). So no, it's not only the internet and unfaithful customers that killed local business. It's also poor education, no manners, and lack of respect for the hand that feeds you. Not to mention poor management. A lot of shop owners still don't understand (like the vast majority of Australia) that internet and good websites are vital for business in this age. And they don't cost the earth either.

    I am not saying this is the case for Caravelle, and I have enjoyed their good services for a long time. But I am saying there is a way. There always is a way if you put your back (and a lot of grey matter) into it. I have mentioned this elsewhere, there are success stories. I personally know of only one, here in Perth, a camera shop that still manages to get my money with all the internet and stock problems and so on. In the past they were dreadful to deal with, but now it's the first place where I check prices and almost always they have what I want, in stock, top quality and price competitive with SE Asia and another two places, one in the US and one in Switzerland where my money used to go in the past. How did they do it? No idea, but worth a question to the manager, I reckon.
    Last edited by schlitzaugen; 19th November 2015 at 03:19 PM.
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    Yes, I tend to go to EAI these days as they are more likely to have the parts.
    Unfortunately we are going to have to stop supporting local suppliers and buy off the internet, this means being organised beforehand or doing without the car while waiting for the parts.
    I bought three sets of big end and main bearings for XU engines off Ebay a week or so back and so now have my own back up. Only because they were not available from local suppliers.
    I bought a 405 master cylinder from EAI today and was informed they would not be restocking any 405 parts.
    At least 405 parts are readily available overseas as the cars are still being built in Iran.

    In a couple of weeks I'm picking up a stash of 203/403/404 and 504 NOS parts , will be putting a lot of this up for sale.


    Quote Originally Posted by COL View Post
    I phoned Caravelle Imports yesterday to acquire a front wheel bearing for my Renault Laguna 1 V6. Was told we don't have one and will not be stocking parts for the older cars.

    My Laguna is 20 years old so where does that leave everyone with the cars from the 60's and 70's.

    Has anyone else had similar experience with Caravelle as they use to stock everything for Renault's no matter what the age.

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    [QUOTE=schlitzaugen;1395801]I have recently reported my failed attempts at getting bearings (mains and rod) for my 205GTi which is of course more 20 yo. But that needn't be a problem. Buying engine oil seals (rear and front), they came from a local mob (local to Oz), and were labeled to fit Toyota. They fit the Pug engine of course, and are the same quality as the originals (might even be made by the same people - Corteco made in Germany of all places). I think this suggests that parts are no longer car specific, not unexpected in a globalised market.




    Bought a pair of gas struts for the 309 hatch yesterday from Bursons, just measured them up and 3 hours later they arrived.

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    The old Caravelle business has closed at the old location (14 Rowern Court Box Hill North, and a sign on the premises redirect to Welch Auto Part 80 Johnston Street Collingwood Phone # 1300 363 857 or +613945 8787 Email sales @welchautoparts.com

    I drove a friend to the location today to get some late model Megane filters and so forth, which were supplied. Inquired as to Ken Bailey and was told that he is no longer with them. He has retired.

    We were also told that Welch will not be stocking or supplying any parts for older cars on the off chance that a customer might need them in the future.

    Their sign indicates they do stock parts to suit Audi,BMW, Mercedes Benz, Volkswagen, Volvo, Porsche, Citroen, Renault, Peugeot, Skoda, Smart.

    Tried to get some hint as to what happened to the old stock at Rowern Court, but no information was forth coming, seems the days of our Caravelle have gone. If it is any consolation 10 years ago American Fuego owners were amazed and said we were so "Lucky" that we could walk in off the street and still get parts mostly over the counter there and them for our Fuego"s. Not only that they knowledge and assistance of Ken was first class as he knew the requirements of a Fuego owner. That sort of business no longer exists so our luck has run out.

    I guess that there will be a niche market in collecting and reselling old parts, but with no guarantee that any older order will be met or suppliers asked to make and export them as ken did for us.

    For the stronger more financial clubs, needed parts for popular cars can be made overseas in the emerging economies of Asia and India, but who will risk ordering -stumping up the cash to order in sufficient quantity to keep prices viable. I have hope that we may be still able to buy parts direct off the internet, and nice if everyone shares information on the good websites.

    Ken

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    Too many posts! JohnW's Avatar
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    The Fuego is at an unfortunate age and didn't have a Gordini version for enthusiasts. I doubt you'll have mechanical scarcity but body and trim will be another matter. Over the last decade, the amount of R8 and 4CV parts has grown due to remanufacture to meet European demand. It's a bit like our Citroen CX, ought to be seen as quite a classic, but not yet. We can live in hope.

    Someone must know what has happened to the old Caravelle stock?

    Cheers
    JohnW

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnW View Post
    The Fuego is at an unfortunate age and didn't have a Gordini version for enthusiasts. I doubt you'll have mechanical scarcity but body and trim will be another matter. Over the last decade, the amount of R8 and 4CV parts has grown due to remanufacture to meet European demand. It's a bit like our Citroen CX, ought to be seen as quite a classic, but not yet. We can live in hope.

    Someone must know what has happened to the old Caravelle stock?

    Cheers
    I started noticing things were getting harder to find a few years ago.

    Big end bearings were a hassle last time i needed some.

    Even some of the parts that Caravelle sent me were sub standard or only slightly correct
    Things like the bolts on the rubber thingy for a RX4 tail shaft were the wrong pitch, timing belt tensioners were without the bit needed to tension them etc etc. Copped attitude from the guy on the phone when I mentioned these details.

    These 'you've got be $#@$ing kidding' moments take the fun out of doing your own repairs and are probably the reason mechanics will always say dont buy a french car.

    Thankfully none of this matters to me anymore, as the fuego is sold, and I will drive the RX4 until it dies then buy a more recent renault or maybe even another brand if a bargain presents itself.

    Might even get somthing stupid like an holden v8 sports waggon, where parts can be ordered from repco or bursons.


    Jo

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    1000+ Posts Haakon's Avatar
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    Well bugger, I'll miss dropping in to see Ken. He is a top bloke, a real gentleman.

    I generally save up a shopping list and drop in there first.

    Ken, if you see this - thanks heaps for all your help over the years, you're one of the reasons I stuck with French cars! Enjoy retirement

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    Ditto to that!
    I watched that business grow from Norm Wray's front room, to Nunawading to Box Hill.
    A company that knew all about Renault!

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    Yeah, I remember going to Norms with my Dad back in the 80's when he was restoring a 4CV. I think it was still in his house at that stage. I hope Ken (and I think it was Anne) have great retirement. No one deserves it more.
    A true gentleman who's contribution to the Renault scene will be missed.
    .

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    As well as the two "company dogs"

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    I remember Norm and Ken too. Over the last three years I have purchased some 404 stuff and increasingly scarce R10 parts.
    I think I got the end of their ball joint supply for the R10.
    All the best to you Ken.
    Maybe we need to think about keeping track of local suppliers and clubs stocking basic stuff that is no longer available in Oz.
    Some one on this site helpfully told me about Southern bearings in Abotsford who had listings for most of the R10 wheel bearings.
    I haven't found an R10 air filter supplier yet.
    Rob

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    I to echo the sentiments I think that anyone who dealt with Norm and Marg in the seventies to Ken and Anne in recent years have have nothing but respect and admiration for their product knowledge and business ethics,end of an era they will be missed greatly.Might even spur me on to do something with Norms rusty old floride sitting in my backyard. Oh well we will all move on but no harm looking in the rear view mirror occasionally. jim

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    I'll dig out some numbers tomorrow all being well - I think the Valiant A111 filter fitted the R10 for one, and there are others. The inner R10 front wheel bearing is unique to it I think. All are easily available in France though. If you live in Perth, the postage is quick!

    Yes, hope Ken and Anne have done all right out of the sale and enjoy retirement.
    JohnW

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    just had a thought about ex caravelle stock,maybe trade stock buyers like auto surplus in thornton cresent Mitcham may have an idea where that stock has gone. jim

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    I am told that the old Renault etc stock was not sold on to anyone but simply junked.

    Peter

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4cvg View Post
    I am told that the old Renault etc stock was not sold on to anyone but simply junked.

    Peter
    I hope thats not true... Guess the new owners bought the stock so it was their call, cant imagine Ken being up for such waste.

    Buying Caravelle was surely buying their customers and good will - not convinced the new guys are doing their best to maximise return on their investment. But happy to be corrected so we'll see how they go.

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    Icon14 I will personally miss Ken's friendly way of doing business.!

    The great thing about dealing with Ken Bailey was the yarn and the deals we did, if I found old desirable Renault Parts, rather than advertise or try to find someone that wanted them, pass them to Ken and he would know someone that wanted them, the right part to the right home at the right price - everyone satisfied. In the same way if he bought a heap of old parts and wanted to recover some of the cost, he'd ring and ask if you wanted to buy a quantity at a very attractive price, the sort of price that you could give the part away to another Fuego owner, do them a favour and so forth, or simply sit the part on your shelf till one of the four family Fuego's needed a new part. The other thing I enjoyed was looking through the pile of old factory manuals in the counter area, and the good deal Ken would make with you for a bundle of them, always interesting to pass some time and spend some money. And the bottom line that you would buy at the best price, far under what others would ask.

    A real pity if all the old parts were junked, but that is the way that some of the larger businesses operate, don't pass on anything to others as it might only create another competitor that might sometime undercut your business or pricing and you just use the tax write down of the stock for a final depreciation. Real sad though I know a lot had been placed with owner buyers over the years, mutual self help.

    I know it will be a wrench for both Anne and Ken, but the opportunity for some good holidays a rest and perhaps some sidelines in the distant future, though usually when a business is taken over, there is a provision in the sale, that you can't run a similar business for a specified time.

    We will all miss the friendly Caravelle style of business. And of course the personal way Ken Bailey looked after all of us! an Era closes.

    Wonder if someone will step into the niche gap.

    Ken

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