Fixed Operations

Hands down, gloves offer best protection

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

Technicians' hands take a beating working on cars. Caustic chemicals, jagged metal and hot parts can cause on-the-job injuries. Even though many techs are not required to wear gloves, many now do.... Read More »

Study: Independent shop owners ready to bail

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

Just over half of the owners of small, independent auto repair shops in the U.S. are considering exiting the business by 2020, in part due to financial pressures, a study found. The study offers insight into the competitive landscape that dealerships' fixed operations face.... Read More »

Dealers group helps clear the air, train techs

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

A foundation funded by the Colorado Auto Dealers Association accepts donated polluting vehicles, sells them to scrappers and uses the revenues to help fund scholarships to train service technicians.... Read More »

Manheim makes used vehicles retail ready

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

Auction giant Manheim, which has long offered to recondition clients' vehicles before they go through the auction lanes, now preps cars and trucks to get them front-line retail ready. The operation takes on work that otherwise would have filled dealerships' service bays.... Read More »

Off the phone, shops stay on the job

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

A Connecticut dealership group aims to improve its customer handling by tapping a dedicated service department call center run by an outside contractor.... Read More »

M-B seeks Apple experience in service drive

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

Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Steve Cannon wants the brand's dealerships to provide service customers an experience closer to that of an Apple Store, through a digital initiative in the service drive. He expects it to be in all U.S. dealerships by the end of 2016.... Read More »

Kids' game inspires AutoNation campaign

12:01 am U.S. ET | Sept. 21, 2015

AutoNation executives expect to distribute tens of thousands of pink license plate frames beginning this month as part of its $16 million Drive Pink campaign. As a lead-up to its sponsorship of a college bowl game supporting breast cancer research, the nation's largest new-car retailer will place a pink frame on the back of every vehicle sold or serviced and will ask customers whether they want to donate to the cause.... Read More »

FCA pays owners to get recall work done

12:01 am U.S. ET | Sept. 7, 2015

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is spiffing owners of recalled vehicles to either get them fixed or replace them with new units. The offers are part of a settlement the automaker reached with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and may hint at what NHTSA will ask of automakers in future recalls.... Read More »

Public retailers pump up service capacity

12:01 am U.S. ET | Sept. 7, 2015

Public dealership groups are hiring service techs, adding service hours and making upgrades to boost customer-pay revenues and still meet demands for warranty repairs.... Read More »

Lexus to offer direct line to dealer service

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

All 2016 Lexus vehicles will have a new subscription-based telematics system called Enform Service Connect, which will allow dealers to look up error codes in a customer's vehicle remotely.... Read More »

Repeat repairs on older Volvos are free

12:01 am U.S. ET | Aug. 3, 2015

Volvo Cars of North America has launched a new parts and labor warranty for older cars to drive more business to dealerships. If an off-warranty vehicle is repaired at a Volvo dealership and comes back with the same problem, the fixes are free.... Read More »

GM prepares to fight aftermarket repair parts

12:01 am U.S. ET | Aug. 3, 2015

General Motors plans to roll out a new pricing system later this year for its original-equipment collision parts, a bid to take back market share from aftermarket parts makers.... Read More »

FCA expands training network for Mopar techs

12:01 am U.S. ET | July 20, 2015

FCA plans to expand from 31 to at least 100 the number of post-secondary schools offering its Mopar warranty training for service technicians.... Read More »

How to erase that odor: Clean, deodorize, sanitize

12:01 am U.S. ET | July 13, 2015

Odor Doctors has a three-step, vehicle odor-busting process, owner Frank Simmons says.... Read More »

Service growth comes down to the details

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

David Kelleher made a number of improvements at his David Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep-Ram store here as part of a $3 million expansion and renovation, but one often overlooked area drew particular attention: service.For Kelleher, who opened his renovated dealership in March, the goal was simple: to entice a larger percentage of his customers to service their vehicles at his store.... Read More »

A winning combination: Service with a free manicure

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

In 2001, Priority Auto Group President Dennis Ellmer was looking to boost service orders on Wednesdays, the slowest day of the week at the first two stores he owned in Chesapeake, Va. It was Ellmer's wife, Jan, who thought outside the male-dominated box and suggested that if women could get their cars serviced and their nails done at the same time, it could be a big draw.... Read More »


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 »


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 »