Earlier this year, within the confines of this page, ImportCar Advisory Board members discussed their businesses and the state of the economy, and also talked about specific actions they were taking to see their shops through these tough economic times.
Tapping their knowledge and expertise again, I’ve asked a few of them how the upcoming summer selling season will affect automotive service and maintenance levels, and inquired about any ideas they have for injecting more profit into their bottom line. That is, in spite of an extremely challenging business climate, an economy that’s still struggling to emerge from the recession and stalled consumer spending.
Long-time ImportCar Advisory Board member, Chris Klinger, co-owner of Precision Inc., Honda/Acura specialist in Tucson, AZ, shares these thoughts and projections:
1. Considering the economy, do you feel automotive service will pick up this summer, and why?
We have been picking up steam all year long. We continue to see growth in car count and average R.O. The excess summer heat will inevitably help our cause for the year, but we will continue to advertise specials that fall in line with the particular season. We will use every opportunity that the summer heat presents us with as a way to build and grow our foundation of customers. Providing great service in the midst of long desert heat waves returns big dividends when school starts in the fall and we begin to slow down a bit. It is in the summer that we plant the seeds that we will harvest in the fall.
2. Will you be running any specials this summer, or hosting any events, to drum up new business?
We will be running several traditional summer specials as well as rolling out a new web-based customer contact and communication portal. The new system will allow customers to access web-based coupons and specials that can be used for whatever they desire, and all from the convenience of their air-conditioned home or office.
3. How will the auto service business in general fare in the upcoming summer months?
We continue to gain confidence that the “independent” auto service business is in a very good position to capitalize on a stumbling new car sales market. With each month that passes in this economy, the consumer looks to find more value for their service dollar and we feel we can provide the best value, hands down, when compared to any dealer.