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Have no fear, Kia owners, Rev is here

Bill Calko at Rev Automotive Ltd in Southampton (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

Bill Calko wants to put the word out that he services Kias and Hyundais. It is not because business is slow at Rev Automotive Ltd in Southampton.

“I am actually quite busy,” the mechanic said.

It is more because he gets so many calls from customers struggling to get service for these cars at the larger car repair operations. Customers tell him about work not done correctly at other outfits, or the job taking days or weeks to complete.

“I want the other places to do well, because that is what they should be doing,” he said. “But that is out of my control. So I just try to compensate for their issues.”

He is a self-confessed perfectionist who likes to get the job done right the first time. He does not have the real estate at 9 Industrial Park Road, Southampton facility to store a lot of cars, so it’s in his best interest to get a car fixed quickly.

Mr Calko started Rev in 2007 after starting the Volkswagen programme at HWP, now Auto Solutions.

Mr Calko specialises in Volkswagen, Skoda, Mazda, Toyota, Hyundai and Kia vehicles, but he is seeing a lot of Kias and Hyundais, in particular, because they are some of the most common cars on the road in Bermuda right now.

“I probably see ten to 15 Kias a week,” he said. “BMWs, Kias and Hyundais have really taken off on the island. We are flooded with those cars right now. The small Kias are very practical for the island.”

And he said they are sturdy cars. Most of his work on them is for service, tyres, brakes and suspension parts.

“I have never seen a big issue with those brands other than service,” he said. “And Kia and Hyundai are made by the same company, so a lot of their parts are interchangeable.”

During the pandemic, Mr Calko had a letter of exemption for shelter in place that allowed him to do emergency work on cars of essential workers.

“I did a lot of house calls and people were really happy when I showed up,” he said. “And I cut my rates in half, just to help out people who were suffering through the pandemic, financially.”

When shelter in place lifted, business got very busy for him.

“I could not keep up for the first three months,” he said. “People were doing work on their cars that they could not afford to do before.”

And he is feeling the global supply chain delays that have come about due to pandemic-induced shortages in labour and parts. He gets a lot of his parts from the United Kingdom or Dubai. Where once it took one to two days to get a part flown in, it can now take two weeks or more.

“That means you have to get creative to find reliable sources for supplies,” he said.

As popular as the small cars like Kias are right now, he thinks the way of the future is with electric cars.

“A couple of months ago I brought in the first B-class electric Volkswagen, which is called the e-up!,” he said. “I only brought in one for a customer. It cost $43,000 on the road. It was all electric and brand new in 2022. It took 14 weeks to build and three weeks to get it here.”

He supplied the charger for the car and the customer had an electrician install it at her house.

“She has been calling me because she is so happy with it,” Mr Calko said. “She said she spent $5 in electricity on the car in two months.”

But he does not hold out much hope of seeing more affordable electric cars in the near future.

“They are going to be pricey,” he said. “There is going to be demand for them and when you get that the price goes up.”

He said the reward of the job is seeing people being happy and not having to worry about their car breaking down.

“I like to feel like I am doing a good job when I get feedback,” he said.

For more information see revautobermuda.com or call 505-8037.

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Published May 19, 2022 at 7:51 am (Updated May 19, 2022 at 7:51 am)

Have no fear, Kia owners, Rev is here

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