Fixed Operations

OnStar change targets service visits

12:01 am U.S. ET | July 27, 2014
Starting with its 2015 models, GM will offer buyers free monthly vehicle-diagnostic reports through OnStar, and allow those customers to sign up to receive maintenance notifications from their dealerships.... Read More »

 

Dealer: Customers judge a service contract by its cover

12:01 am U.S. ET | July 14, 2014
For auto retailers, having factory-backed finance and insurance products to sell sometimes makes all the difference.... Read More »

 

Auto repair conference to focus on next F-150

12:01 am U.S. ET | July 14, 2014
Starting at the end of this month, the 2015 aluminum-bodied Ford F-150 pickup will take center stage at the nation's biggest annual collision repair industry gathering in Detroit.... Read More »

 

How Calif. store battles service drive bottlenecks

12:01 am U.S. ET | July 7, 2014
Bottlenecks in the service drive are the bugbear of every car dealership. But Loren Campbell, general manager of Redlands Auto Plaza 60 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, believes he has a fix.... Read More »

 

BODY SHOP COMEBACK?

Trade group chief sees growth in dealer-owned operations

12:01 am U.S. ET | July 6, 2014
The share of dealerships operating expensive body shops has shrunk since 2006. But that hasn't stopped some dealers, such as Otto Belovich, who want to be one-stop sources for all their customers' automotive needs.... Read More »

 

Oil boom fuels battle for service techs

12:01 am U.S. ET | June 16, 2014
In North Dakota, Texas, Alaska, Oklahoma and elsewhere, the energy industry's incredible growth since the mid-2000s has forced dealers to innovate to find and keep service technicians.... Read More »

 

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Invest in a great auto technician

12:01 am U.S. ET | June 9, 2014
Keith Crain's May 26 column, "Eventually, you have to fix cars," has it right about the value of a good technician. It does take "a real technician to keep today's vehicles running."... Read More »

 

EDITORIAL

Tech training tuneup

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 26, 2014
Manufacturers are building vehicles with increasingly technology-laden features, but dealerships are having a hard time finding enough qualified technicians to keep those sophisticated autos serviced and on the road.... Read More »

 

JOE EBERHARDT, PRESIDENT, JAGUAR LAND ROVER NORTH AMERICA

Jaguar Land Rover to revise dealer incentive program

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 19, 2014
Jaguar Land Rover North America will work this year to revamp its variable margin -- the incentives dealers receive on top of the standard margin -- in an effort to improve customer satisfaction, says Joe Eberhardt, the company's new president.... Read More »

 

EDITORIAL

Stepping up to serve

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 5, 2014
Mercedes-Benz USA is pushing its U.S. dealers to improve their service departments.... Read More »

 

Ford dealers throng training on how to fix aluminum F-150

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 5, 2014
Eight hundred fifty Ford dealerships have enrolled technicians in training courses to learn how to do collision repairs on the 2015 aluminum F-150 pickup, exceeding the goal of having 750 dealerships enrolled by the end of 2014.... Read More »

 

BMW's big recall: 'It's all about the scheduling'

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 5, 2014
On the surface, the math of BMW's big recall is daunting for the company's 339 U.S. dealerships. The company recalled 156,137 vehicles in April, about six months' worth of U.S. sales for the German luxury brand. That's about 460 vehicles per store. Dealers have a plan.... Read More »

 

Shops use standard inspections to help boost repair orders

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 5, 2014
Over the past four years at Dublin Toyota in Dublin, Calif., the service department has increased its average customer-pay repair order by $105. Not through high-pressure selling or pushing unnecessary repairs onto customers, says Larry Tate, fixed operations director for the San Francisco Bay Area store, but through a better system of inspecting and tracking vehicles in for service.... Read More »

 

AutoNation's Pit Stop open to all

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 5, 2014
AutoNation Inc. is trying to build its service business by offering to pump up tires, top off fluids and perform quick safety checks for anyone for free, even those who bought their cars elsewhere. The nation's largest dealership group plans to roll out its Pit Stop program to all 229 dealerships by midyear, from 70 stores now.... Read More »

 

Hale works on makeover of Jag, Land Rover image

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 21, 2014
Hundreds of employees at Jaguar Land Rover North America sport a green button saying “All In.” The button means they're committed to changing the British company's culture to focus on customer service and satisfaction, said Duke Hale, who was hired a year ago as vice president of customer service.... Read More »

 

Battered doorstop makes the pitch: Get wheel protection

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 14, 2014
Finance and insurance professionals say sales of tire-and-wheel protection policies were higher in the first few months of 2014 than they were in 2013 as motorists contended this year with roads ravaged by one of the coldest, snowiest and iciest winters on record.... Read More »

 

GM tablet tool aims to lift service revenue

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 7, 2014
About 1,200 General Motors dealerships have begun using a tablet tool, part of a software program called Service Workbench, that lets service advisers quickly pull up a vehicle's history, whip through an inspection and point out a menu of factory-recommended maintenance items.... Read More »

 

AutoNation wants more service lane hospitality

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 7, 2014
AutoNation Inc., the country's biggest dealership group, is recruiting service advisers among restaurant waiters and other service-industry workers, part of a new plan to reduce turnover in a key position.... Read More »

 

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Service contracts keep lives on track

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 31, 2014
Regarding "Extended service contract? Skip it, Consumer Reports tells readers," autonews.com, March 10: People in the auto industry are well aware of the arguments "experts" use to persuade people to avoid purchasing vehicle service contracts.... Read More »

 

More women find careers in service lanes

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 24, 2014
A small but growing number of women are finding a career in the service lanes of car dealerships. The dealers who hire them say women bring a unique skill set to the service department: empathy and strong communication skills for relationship building. Those skills can help build customer loyalty and boost profits.... Read More »

 

AutoNation aims to beef up service

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 3, 2014
AutoNation Inc., the nation's largest dealership group, plans to expand its service business by year end, adding 400 technicians and increasing its express service operations to 180 stores from 80 now.... Read More »

 

Watch out, quick-lube shops, here comes VW

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 3, 2014
With improving vehicle quality cutting into dealerships' warranty work, Volkswagen of America wants more of its dealers to open quick-service operations to keep their repair shops busy.... Read More »

 

Industry trudges toward e-contracts

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 10, 2014
While e-contracting speeds auto deals in the long run, it can slow them in the short run while auto lenders and dealerships learn to use the technology. And that has contributed to a slow rate of adoption.... Read More »

 

Toyota parts, service boosted by high-profile ad campaign

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 3, 2014
Advertising of dealers' parts and service need not be dull -- or done by the parts department or the regional dealer ad association on a shoestring budget. Eighteen months ago, Toyota Motor Sales USA placed all marketing of parts, service and accessories under the company's marketing arm, the same group that handles new-vehicle marketing. The move has reaped huge dividends, the company says.... Read More »

 

Body shops say aluminum costs more to repair

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 3, 2014
If the aluminum-bodied vehicles on the road today are an accurate gauge, the 2015 Ford F-150 probably will be more expensive to repair than its steel-bodied predecessor. Body shop owners say aluminum repair parts are more expensive than steel parts. And because it often takes longer to repair an aluminum body, the labor costs usually are higher.... Read More »

 

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