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EU and EBRD support Georgian vehicle inspection firm


Autotest revamps its brand and goes online to reach more drivers

Autotest, a Georgian vehicle inspection company, is on a mission to reduce road accidents and minimise car pollution ‒ two of the country’s pressing issues.

Georgia’s National Statistics Office reported 4,999 road accidents in 2020, killing 450 people and injuring 6,640, in a population of just under 4 million people. IQAir, meanwhile, ranked Georgia 37th on the list of the world’s 106 most air-polluted countries in 2020, with more than twice the World Health Organization recommended levels of fine particulate matter in the atmosphere.

Autotest has been operating in Georgia for more than two decades. To reach more drivers, enhance road safety and encourage cleaner transport, it recently revamped its corporate branding and stepped up its social-media presence with support from the European Union (EU) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). Autotest Director Vazha Iordanishvili says the new branding and social-media marketing strategy have already increased sales.

Driving safe and clean

Since 1997, Autotest has been keeping Georgia’s vehicle owners and road users safe by ensuring that cars are roadworthy. Until 2018, such checks were voluntary, but the country’s new transport reform, adopted to meet the requirements of its Association Agreement with the EU, has made periodic technical inspections obligatory.

‘’This reform has affected every family in Georgia,” says Mr Iordanishvili. “There are an estimated 1.3 million vehicles registered in the country, meaning one in three of us has one. This is huge.”

There is also another challenge, he says: around 85 per cent of registered vehicles are more than 10 years old and, therefore, more polluting than newer cars.

‘’We have a long journey ahead of us, but the reintroduction of periodic checks is a step in the right direction,” Mr Iordanishvili says. “Through our work, we aim to raise public awareness of the importance of such checks, so that in future, vehicle owners will undergo inspection voluntarily.’’

With dozens of companies offering similar services, it was vital that Autotest stand out among its competitors, increase its customer base and drive sales. A memorable brand identity, a modern website and successful social-media campaign appear to have done the trick.

The EBRD, with funding from the EU under its EU4Business initiative, connected the company with a leading local branding agency to revamp the company’s brand image and offer business advice.

Do no harm!

Ar Avno! (Do no harm!) is Autotest’s new motto ‒ effectively summing up its mission in two words.

‘’Do no harm to society, your family, to visitors to Georgia or to the environment,” says Mr. Iordanishvili. “Vehicle inspection is paramount, as it shows whether a vehicle is safe. It is very important in Georgia, where hundreds of people die in road accidents every year. And it is no less important to monitor emission levels; air pollution is an acute problem in our country.’’

Autotest’s new brand identity is the product of many hours of discussion and debate with local branding agency Live Branding. Along with the company’s new colours and logo, its updated website allows customers to book appointments online – a vital tool during the Covid-19 pandemic.

‘’The Covid-19 pandemic has hit all enterprises and our company is no exception,” Mr. Iordanishvili continues. “The first half of 2021 showed a glimmer of hope: we increased sales by 20 per cent and I consider our new branding, communications and joint project to be among the key factors here.’’