Fixed Operations

Q&A WITH MARY PACIFICO-VALLEY, OWNER, RICKENBAUGH AUTOMOTIVE GROUP

Service background shaped Colo. dealer's approach

12:01 am U.S. ET | June 15, 2015

Coming up through the service department, rather than sales, shaped the views of Denver-area dealer Mary Pacifico-Valley. She also was mentored by the late Kent Rickenbaugh, and today seeks to mentor others.... Read More »

Fighting off brands with off brands

12:01 am U.S. ET | June 1, 2015

Mitsubishi, tired of seeing owners skip dealerships for independent repair shops that use generic parts, fought back with a white label of its own.... Read More »

Key words unlock customer-pay business for store

12:01 am U.S. ET | June 1, 2015

Hubert Vester Honda service department's marketing went digital. As a result, their customer-pay repair orders increased 35 percent in September compared with the year-ago month.... Read More »

AUTOMECHANIKA CHICAGO TRADE SHOW

Repair shops strive to stay head of the pace

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 4, 2015

Insurance companies are increasingly savvy at reducing payments for repair work. Repair shops say insurers are steering them to aftermarket parts from China and other low-cost countries, which some say are inferior to factory-approved parts.... Read More »

California court case reworks technician pay plans

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 4, 2015

Dealers often bemoan California's legal climate. Two of their biggest legal headaches there are labor-law challenges and class-action lawsuits.... Read More »

The ART of car diagnosis reaches new level at Audi

12:01 am U.S. ET | May 4, 2015

Audi's ART robot connects service staff at dealerships with Audi technical experts at the brand's corporate offices to diagnose cars that come in for service with unusual problems.... Read More »

Ford says aluminum repair smooth so far

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 6, 2015

It's early, but Ford says it's so far so good on repairing damaged 2015 F-150 pickups with aluminum bodies. Ford has not heard of any dealers or independent body shops having problems obtaining parts, installing parts or dealing with insurance companies about the time it takes to repair the new pickup, said Ford spokeswoman Elizabeth Weigandt.... Read More »

Oil boom slows; techs return

12:01 am U.S. ET | April 6, 2015

Oil drillers are cutting production in response to lower crude prices, meaning fewer oil jobs. Some dealers in oil-laden states such as Texas, Oklahoma, Alaska, North Dakota and California say some of the service technicians who had fled for the rich-paying oil-industry jobs a few years ago are trickling back.... Read More »

Jump-starting car sales from the service lane

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 9, 2015

Mike Bowsher uses software at the service desk to help him jump-start the sales process at his stores. The owner of Carl Black Auto Group says once his staff got the hang of using the software tools, new- and used-vehicle sales across his four dealerships rose 700 to 800 vehicles per quarter.... Read More »

Lithia refocuses on customer-pay work

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 9, 2015

A surge of warranty business largely accounted for Lithia Motors Inc.'s gain in service and parts revenue last year. That's prompting the group to urge store managers to emphasize winning more customer-pay work.... Read More »

FCA will loosen tech restrictions

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 9, 2015

Fiat Chrysler will loosen restrictions on about half of its U.S. dealerships so specialists in their service departments, such as diesel mechanics, can work more efficiently. The rules will allow dealers to assign higher-level warranty work to technicians with lower certifications if the higher work is monitored by a tech with the proper training.... Read More »

High-rise parts bins ease space crunch

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 2, 2015

Electronic parts storage machines that allow small parts to be stacked vertically and retrieved automatically at the touch of a button or scan of a bar code are gaining acceptance at some dealerships, where square footage is at a premium.... Read More »

Service outsources small stuff

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 2, 2015

As dealers everywhere press their service departments to improve customer-satisfaction results, some Florida stores are outsourcing their more troublesome tasks, such as detailing, porter work and lot maintenance.... Read More »

Porsche dealers eager to upgrade

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 23, 2015

About 150 of the 189 U.S. Porsche dealerships are renovating or expanding as the brand's sales have soared. Porsche Cars North America wants additional showroom and service space from dealers to accommodate the growing number of nameplates in its lineup and the additional vehicles on the road.... Read More »

M-B launches no-appointment quick service

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 2, 2015

Mercedes-Benz is rolling out quick service for basic maintenance that can be completed in as little as 30 minutes. No appointment is needed. The program, Premier Express, was piloted last year and will go nationwide in the first quarter.... Read More »

Repairs: Dealerships satisfy, study says, but independents lead

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 2, 2015

The service departments of dealerships lagged independent repair shops in a Consumer Reports satisfaction study, but there's good news hidden in the survey. Respondents also reported being very satisfied overall with their repairs at dealerships, but they also dislike the high cost of parts at dealerships.... Read More »

Sales staff certification gets a new twist

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 26, 2015

FCA US wants better performing dealerships with lower sales staff turnover and top-notch experts who reach out to potential customers.... Read More »

GM seeks speedy customer feedback

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 26, 2015

General Motors has launched a customer-satisfaction survey that combines a short-form questionnaire with a space for shopper comments.... Read More »

EDITORIAL

Body shop shakeup

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 19, 2015

It's getting more complicated for auto dealers to operate body shops. Repairs are increasingly complex as new designs add ultra high-strength steels and other new alloys and a broader range of material.... Read More »

FIXED OPERATIONS

How FCA US eases shortage of techs

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 5, 2015

FCA US will launch a program this month to help dealers cope with a nationwide shortage of service technicians and a surge in recall work.... Read More »

GM dealers take on more loaners

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 13, 2014

Dealers are seeing a huge expansion of General Motors' Courtesy Transportation Program, a bid to create better loyalty via the service lane and by getting more people to try vehicles.... Read More »

Toyota parts delivery scores with dealers

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 8, 2014

Parts Director Danny Perez saves $100 to $400 a day in rental-car costs thanks to Same Day Service, a parts distribution program run by Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.... Read More »

Used-car buyers are big F&I opportunity

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 8, 2014

Otto Belovich believes it is a disservice to his customers -- especially those who buy used vehicles -- if he doesn't offer them the opportunity to purchase a service contract.... Read More »

Dealerships grapple with regulations allowing service dogs

12:01 am U.S. ET | Dec. 7, 2014

Dealerships can face litigation if they don't know the rules about how to deal with customers who require service dogs. The issue is complicated by people who claim, incorrectly, that their pets are service dogs. But that doesn't get businesses off the hook.... Read More »

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 »

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