Fixed Operations

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 »

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 »

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