Volvo Cars North America is hoping to boost certified used-vehicle sales with a new factory-scheduled maintenance program.
In mid-December, Volvo introduced Protection Plus+. The F&I product is a maintenance package that provides additional coverage on thousands of certified used-vehicle components, systems and operations, expanding the coverage offered under the standard certified pre-owned warranty.
The maintenance coverage is for six years/100,000 miles from the time the vehicle was sold as new and runs concurrent with the term of the company's certified used-vehicle warranty.
Scott Doering, manager of commercial sales at Volvo, said purchasers of certified used vehicles are looking for value and assurance.
"Scheduled maintenance that happens after 60,000 miles can be quite costly," he said.
So Protection Plus+, Doering said, offers "a high perceived value for the consumer."
The maintenance package has no manufacturer's suggested retail price; Doering declined to say how much dealers pay.
Under the program, consumers bring their vehicles in for regularly scheduled maintenance at 7,500-mile intervals. Among the items covered are replacements of engine oil, oil filters, fuel filters, spark plugs and auxiliary belts, and inspections of fuel lines, exhaust systems, batteries and coolant levels.
Mike DiChristofano, chairman of the Volvo Retail Advisory Board and an owner of Volvo of Tucson in Arizona, said anything the manufacturer can do to draw consumers into the dealership is welcome.
Through November, sales of certified used Volvos fell 25 percent to 15,963 units.
DiChristofano said about 40 percent of the used Volvos he sells are certified. He said one problem is that certification -- which includes fees and inspection costs -- could add $2,000 to $2,500 to the retail price of a used Volvo. That allows competitors who don't certify their Volvos to advertise them online at a lower price.
He said that because the maintenance program is sold in a dealership's finance and insurance office, it won't impact the advertised price. He said he hopes it will help consumers recognize the value of certification.
"We do have a great program, and I'm not saying it's not worth the money," DiChristofano said. "I'm struggling with the marketing aspect of it."