There has been a lot written in the last couple of years in business-to-business OEM and aftermarket magazines about how the car companies and car dealers are looking to increase service business at the dealerships. This focus on increasing activity in the bays is the result of improvements in the quality of vehicles that has resulted in less warranty work for the dealerships.
What got me thinking a little more on this subject was all the recent news about some pretty significant recalls. The Sept. 12, 2005 issue of Automotive News has a headline that reads “Big week for re-calls: almost 5 million.”
The brief article goes on to say, “The U.S. auto industry recalled more cars than it sold last week.”
Recalls are obviously an expensive proposition for the automakers. Nobody wants to admit that there is a potential problem with the product the customer just spent tens of thousands of dollars on. But some dealers, on the other hand, see it as a great opportunity to drive customers into their dealerships.
That raises a few questions.
Will these recalls fill the dealership bays?
Will it interrupt the dealerships’ scheduling of non-warranty work?
Will the recalls help or hurt the customers’ relationship with the dealership?
Will it allow the dealership to show off its great customer service?
Or will it strain the relationship, thus driving more business to your shop?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then the ball is back in your court to make sure that your shop is prepared to service these customers.
Do you have enough technicians? Are they well trained? Have you been de-laying equipment purchases? Does the shop need a thorough cleaning or a fresh coat of paint? You know the drill.
I bring up the issue of recalls as an excuse to provide you with a wake-up call that there is a massive population of vehicles on the road that need service. It is well documented how the car dealers have been investing in their facilities. They are working very hard to make any visits to their location a true “experience.”
Vehicle owners have a choice, your shop or the dealership. Let’s make it an easy decision for them.