Rick Ulin carefully chose his cast for the production. The stars were outfitted with several sets of clothing. The floor and walls of the set were marked to indicate where equipment belonged. A light was set to flash on when the camera was rolling.
Ulin is no movie director - he is director of fixed operations for Superior Lexus in Kansas City, Mo. The stars are the four technicians that man two express-service bays. They perform vehicle service on camera, and the work is fed to monitors in the shop's customer lounge.
"We have been working on the project for three years," Ulin, 40, says. "It is not something where you just throw a camera in the store and a TV in the lounge and think it is going to work."
Superior Lexus, owned by the Hendrick Automotive Group of Charlotte, N.C., is a leader in the trend toward customer-friendly service departments. Gone is the grease-monkey image of oil-spattered floors and grimy mechanics.
Dealers are adding express-service bays and inviting customers to wait for service. That calls for cleaner, more attractive shops and comfortable customer lounges.
Some shops now have tile floors and air-conditioned service drives. Waiting rooms offer coffee bars and workstations. Customer lounges often have large, plate-glass windows overlooking the stalls.
The cameras at Superior Lexus take this showmanship a step further. Eventually, Superior will Webcast vehicle service so customers can view the work online.