DETROIT -- Mopar is offering several inexpensive service plans for pre-owned vehicles, part of a rebranding of its service contract business.
The new lineup of Mopar Vehicle Protection service contracts is available in Chrysler Group dealerships across the United States this week, said Pietro Gorlier, head of Mopar, the global parts and service brand for Chrysler and parent Fiat S.p.A.
Chrysler's approximately 2,500 dealers sell an average of 65,000 service contracts a month, either to new-vehicle customers as part of the sale or to existing customers, Gorlier said.
The Mopar service contracts will offer repair coverage for 12,500 or 15,000 miles.
Mopar will also expand the program it launched earlier this year to enable dealers to certify vehicles from other automakers, said Alan D'Agostini, director of service contracts for Mopar.
The service contracts range from a $65 Essential Care package of four oil changes over two years to a Maximum Protection Plan of bumper-to-bumper coverage with no deductible that costs $4,830 and lasts for as long as the consumer owns the vehicle.
Many prices of service contracts will remain the same, Gorlier said. The rebranding should help dealers build better relationships with their service customers because the prepaid maintenance will motivate customers to return to the dealership instead of going to an independent competitor.
Gorlier said increased initial quality from all manufacturers has resulted in a dramatic drop in warranty work for most dealerships, from about 40 percent of service revenues a few years ago to about 15 percent today. As a result, dealerships have to work to maintain relationships with customers.
"If you retain a customer loyal to your store for up to 10 years, that is a revenue stream of labor, maintenance, repairs, body work, et cetera, that can go up to $10,000," Gorlier says. "It's a crime if you don't try to retain that customer."
Chrysler has been working to persuade more of its dealers to open for weekend service. Now, just under 80 percent of dealers are open for service on Saturdays, compared with 60 percent three years ago. Gorlier would like to see some dealers open for service on Sundays.
"If the independents around your dealership are open on Sundays," Gorlier said, your dealership "is losing business."