This summer is the perfect opportunity to remind consumers of regular vehicle maintenance. With 20 percent of car dealerships in the U.S. projected to close in 2009,according to a study by consulting firm Grant Thornton LLP, many motorists will be looking for a local repair shop to service their vehicles. Help ease thetransition by informing them of a recent press release distributed by theAutomotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA), which states that vehicle repairs cost an average 34 percent more at new car dealerships than at independent repair shops. In fact, independent repair businesses account for more than 70 percent of vehicle service and repair, compared to 28 percent of non-warranty repairs by new car dealerships.
The turmoil in the automotive industry has caused many motorists to worry about their warranty. Let your customers know that they are protected by a law theMagnuson-Moss Warranty Act that prohibits a vehicle manufacturer from voiding the vehicle warranty because service was done by a non-dealer. An article in ConsumerReports reported, “Legally, you can have maintenance performed by any mechanic without affecting your warranty. Just keep thorough records in case of a warranty claim. The only services that need to be performed at a dealership are warranty repairs, recalls or post-warranty work that you want the manufacturer to pay for.”
Educate consumers on the “Cash for Clunkers” program recently passed by Congress. “Cash for Clunkers” earmarks federal funds for car owners to trade-in their sport utility vehicles in exchange for vouchers to be used to obtain newer, more fuel-efficient vehicles. On the surface, the program may sound reasonable, but its consequences will increase the nation’s carbon footprint, increase pollution and overload landfills. In fact, more motorists are actually choosing to keep their vehicles longer, avoiding the increased cost of new car ownership including monthly car loan payments and increased insurance costs.
And, finally, start thinking about Fall Car Care Month. It is never too early to start planning for Fall Car Care Month in October!
For more information, visit www.carcare.org.