For Keith Free, service manager at Phillips Buick-GMC near Orlando, the advantage of switching from GM-only work to servicing all makes and models was compelling.
His dealership sells about 2,100 used vehicles annually, mostly non-General Motors makes. "We needed to be able to fix what we sell," Free says.
Plus, many buyers have a second vehicle that is a non-GM product. "We're trying to get that second car," Free says.
So Phillips spent about $50,000 over the past few months on the equipment and training needed to service all makes and models. The dealership has expanded its service work by nearly 50 percent, and non-GM vehicles account for about half of Free's service business.
While the switch has boosted revenue, stocking parts is a bigger job. And Free now competes more directly with independent garages, requiring nimble marketing.
"It's a culture change to get dealers to say, 'We need to look at our business model differently today,' " says Dave Raphael, director of marketing for Mighty Auto Parts in Atlanta. Raphael provides parts of all makes and models and helps dealers make the switch to servicing them.