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Shop View: Swedish Automotive

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SHOP: Swedish Automotive   LOCATION: Seattle, Wash.  OWNER: Dave Winters   SIZE: 7,800 square feet  STAFF SIZE: 13 AVERAGE MONTHLY CAR COUNT: 220  ANNUAL REVENUE: $2.2 million (projected)

1. The Brand

Dave Winters’ Seattle shop didn’t begin as Swedish Automotive. The shop’s first name was Volvo Works, since the shop specialized in Volvos and Saab. 

Due to the automaker’s request and legal issues, Winters had to search for a new name. At the time in 2006, Seattle had a lot of Saab vehicles. Winters’ shop was already specializing in Volvo and Saab vehicles, so he decided on Swedish Automotive. 

Since the name change, Swedish Automotive branched out to specialize in Subaru and MINI Coopers, as well. 


2. Shop Floor

The 12-bay shop uses 10 bays for repair and maintenance work and the other two are used for alignments, tire work and for washing cars. The alignment bay is shared by all technicians.  

Each bay has an above-ground and in-ground hoist, and each technician gets to lay out his or her own workstation. 

Specialty tools are organized and put as close to the techs that use them the most.

Winters notes that his shop’s $100,000 inventory includes Volvo’s factory scan tool, a factory Subaru tool/scanner, Autologic for MINI and GM Tech2 diagnostic scanners for Saab. 


3. Crystal-Clear Presence

In an effort to harness the surrounding natural light, Winters added windows that line the shop’s walls and skylights in the ceiling. Whether it’s winter or summer, Winters notes that Swedish Automotive is always well lit. 

Because of all the windows and glass, visitors can see the shop floor from the lobby. That is why cleanliness is top of mind for Winters and his team. 


4. Green Initiatives

Winters is keen on reducing his shop’s impact on the environment, so he’s implemented a few green initiatives to do so. The shop recycles almost all parts of the waste it produces, including waste oil. Waste oil is used to heat the shop through radiant in-floor heating coils. The shop has a parts washing cabinet that uses high-temperature pressure and an environmentally friendly water-based solvent to remove grease and grime. 
In 2016, Swedish Automotive started catching rainwater. Rainwater is collected through the shop’s gutter system and makes its way down to barrels. It is then used to water the shop’s landscaping and to help diagnose water leaks in vehicles. A member of Winters’ team created a custom-built shower for cars, so the shop could check for rainwater leakage.

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