Longtime auto industry executive Ned Aguilar jokingly calls himself a mad scientist. The reason why the analytical approach to assessing and dealing with problems is the scientist and the mad scientist is because the solutions often challenge society’s common sense and he knows what he proposes . Auto service industry.
“We are always thinking about how we can transform the space,” says Aguilar. “Like anything else, you want to leave it in better condition than you found it. It was a guiding principle.”
Aguilar’s reputation stems from decades of experience with leading tire manufacturers, having worked in the industry since he was 17 years old. By the 2000s when Hibdon was acquired by Bridgestone His Tires, Aguilar held several executive positions at the company over the years, including vice president of marketing and digital development.
Now entering a new chapter in his life and career, he is bringing a new kind of customer-centric model to the Oklahoma auto industry. Aguilar intends to do the same again, drawing on his experience at Hibdon Tires, which once disrupted the industry.
“The patriarch, Ray Hibdon, and his son, Mark Hibdon, were ahead of their time when it came to their customer delivery process and how they used technology,” says Aguilar. “Looking back, I felt we had built an organization that could have been the best business in our sector of the industry because we were willing to do anything and everything if it was going to be good for our customers. and for the workforce.”
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Aguilar admits that the entire auto repair industry has a bad reputation. Common complaints include repairs being too difficult and time consuming to schedule and complete, the process being too expensive, and the service being too exploitative.
But it’s precisely this type of perception that Aguilar wants to address with FastLap, a new car service company that first conceived two years ago. His “beta location,” which opened in late September at his 5930 W Memorial Road in Oklahoma City, serves as the starting point for a new kind of customer-centric model that Aguilar hopes will transform the industry.
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“Fixing your own car isn’t the most enjoyable experience, and many people don’t necessarily look forward to it in many cases,” says Aguilar. “Unless you’re looking to modify a car, he’s not one of those purchases you’d really want to make. But for me, there’s this burning platform within the industry and how to improve that car experience. I wanted to rethink about
To achieve that, Aguilar said FastLap’s focus is on streamlined services and digital strategies, especially for younger consumers. His main goal is to simplify maintenance processes for both customers and employees in today’s digital age, while returning the automotive service industry to its roots as a family-friendly, community-focused environment.
“I wish I could go back in time with the younger generation and show them the quality of life back then when you could go to your local drugstore, sit at the counter and get a certain level of service. of that sensory community,” Aguilar said. “Now, even on vacation, when people are gathering, they are just talking on the phone instead of talking to each other. I hope it can bring you a sense of
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Born in West Texas and raised on the West Coast, Aguilar has considered himself an “adoptive Oklahoman” since 1988 when the Hibdon family asked him to help run their business in Oklahoma City. . Aguilar, who was in his 20s at the time, looks back on his youth with deep gratitude and says Mark his Hibdon was the champion he needed to grow personally and professionally.
When Hibdons sold its tire business in the late 1990s, they turned over the management of the business in retirement to Aguilar, who went on to help lead the company to the acquisition of Bridgestone. He spearheaded the opening of a distribution facility called Tire Hub, jointly operated by Bridgestone and rival manufacturer Goodyear.
Aguilar helped oversee TireHub throughout the late 2010s and began developing FastLap independently in January 2021. Aguilar said he knows the industry isn’t always like that, but he’s always explored new ideas.
“For me, this continues to be an industry of opportunity,” he said. “But many car dealers now feel at a loss. They don’t know what to do other than what they have already done in the past. I don’t know the technology required for , but I think I’ve put together a team to be able to introduce something to our customers today.”
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Now in his retirement, Aguilar’s driving force is passion. Aguilar said he owe it to his wife Virginia and his three sons. Two are mid-US singers and songwriters, one of whom is a former athlete and owner of her VZD’s Restaurant & Bar in northwest Oklahoma City. The pride Aguilar feels for his family is equally felt by his past colleagues and his current FastLap team, which he sees as an equal.
“I am a perfect example of a ‘little engine of possibility’, but ‘possibility’ was born because so many people were behind me, pushing me and making me believe. ‘ said Aguilar. “I hope that as we grow, we will be able to do that with others. We’re back on the level, and that’s what makes it all work.”
That family spirit runs deep in Aguilar, so he’s not doing this alone. In addition to his team of talented technicians in Oklahoma City, he has also assembled a core group of key auto industry executives to help lead his company in key roles. Including Ivan Golubic, the retail network’s former chief financial officer. Jorg Matteisen, former branding strategist at Boston Consulting Group. Al Wheeler, former vice president of Advanced Auto Parts. and Andy Zmugg, a growth strategy consultant who co-founded FastLap with Aguilar.
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Aguilar’s plans are ambitious. With the help of what he calls “huge capital support” from investors, the company plans to open more than 10 of his locations across his Oklahoma City metro area by the end of 2023.
He also plans to expand FastLap to Florida and several locations along the eastern US coast within five years, but avoid California, where his parents raised him in the 1960s and 1970s. I admit that I want to
“My father always put a twist on the saying, ‘Good things come to those who wait,'” Aguilar recalls working with his father on cars as a teenager. said while “He said, ‘I’m not saying it’s wrong, but good things come to those who make it happen. How do you make it happen? That always stuck with me.’ From my family to the Hibdon family to my current team, I’ve always been very lucky to have people who believed in what I was doing and gave me the opportunity to make it happen.”