Fixed Operations

M-B bolsters service with concierge program

12:01 am U.S. ET | Nov. 8, 2014
Mercedes-Benz has launched a product specialist program for dealerships and aims to train 1,600 employees through the program by the end of next year.... Read More »

 

Ford body shops gear up for aluminum

12:01 am U.S. ET | Nov. 3, 2014
The 2015 F-150 is a big deal because no company previously has manufactured a mass-market pickup with an aluminum body. Dealers who want to repair the trucks need to buy special tools and train technicians in aluminum techniques. Many of them are well on their way.... Read More »

 

Michigan body shop burns used oil to cut heating bill

12:01 am U.S. ET | Nov. 3, 2014
Dealer Ed Brown saw a heating system that uses used oil displayed at the 2002 National Automobile Dealers Association convention in New Orleans and had it installed a year later at a cost of $395,000. Since then, the system has reduced the shop's heating bill by nearly $250,000.... Read More »

 

SERVICE MASTERS

Dealerships boost fixed-ops spending to fend off rivals, retain customers

12:01 am U.S. ET | Nov. 3, 2014
Many dealerships are investing heavily in fixed operations. They are adding service bays, longer hours, dedicated express lanes and technology to boost efficiency. Dealers say the investments are justified by strong profits, a big pool of potential customers who defected to independent shops and national service chains, and opportunities to boost customer satisfaction.... Read More »

 

A bad service review? No need to panic

12:01 am U.S. ET | Nov. 2, 2014
A cottage industry of vendors has sprung up to help dealers manage the often bewildering world of online reviews. The vendors are adept at intercepting some bad reviews before they are posted.... Read More »

 

Startups see opportunities flowing from data port

12:01 am U.S. ET | Oct. 20, 2014
Some startups, impatient with automakers' progress and promising to bring older vehicles into the data-driven age, are racing to market with hardware and apps that tap into the OBD-II diagnostic port built into all new U.S. light vehicles' dashboards beginning in 1996.... Read More »

 

Perks program lifts struggling store's satisfaction scores, sales

12:01 am U.S. ET | Sept. 1, 2014
Land Rover San Diego is rewarding big spenders with a perks program that offers Padres baseball tickets, dry cleaning runs, preferential service times and other goodies.... Read More »

 

High-tech toys drive service contract sales

12:01 am U.S. ET | Aug. 11, 2014
In-vehicle, high-tech toys and consumers' urge to protect them are driving sales of extended service contracts, some finance and insurance professionals say.... Read More »

 

Ford counts on free brake pads to boost service visits

12:01 am U.S. ET | Aug. 4, 2014
Ford Motor Co. dealers today are launching a program that offers lifetime replacement of brake pads for Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles.... Read More »

 

2015 F-150 repair parts will be sold to all body shops

12:01 am U.S. ET | Aug. 4, 2014
Ford Motor Co. says it will sell body repair parts for the 2015 F-150 to all body shops, even ones that have not been certified to fix the aluminum-bodied pickup.... Read More »

 

Hyundai will pay dealers who get shops to buy genuine parts

12:01 am U.S. ET | Aug. 4, 2014
To win sales away from the aftermarket, Hyundai has started an incentive program for U.S. dealers who sell certain Hyundai replacement parts to body shops.... Read More »

 

Call center keeps the service bays packed

12:01 am U.S. ET | Aug. 4, 2014
Dealer Jeff Proctor endured a year of anger from service advisers after he gave their job of scheduling service work to a newly created call center. Suffering their wrath proved worthwhile, Proctor says, because now his service bays are largely booked and his service revenue keeps rising.... Read More »

 

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 »

 

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Three dealers have found ways to forge bonds with car shoppers who are short on time and long on Web smarts. A Honda store has mobilized a young sales team hired from Starbucks and Best Buy. Mon., November 17
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