In Durham, N.C., Honda customers can drop off their vehicles at the local dealership for service as late as 9 p.m. during the week, get a shuttle ride home and pick up their repaired cars by 7 a.m. the next day.
With a few exceptions, the repairs are guaranteed by that time, or they're free.
It's called Dream Service, and it's the brainchild of two managers at Crown Honda of Southpoint, Scott Washle and Matt Mann. They launched it at the Asbury Automotive Group store a little more than three years ago.
A second daily shift of service personnel works until midnight or later -- as late as 4 a.m. if necessary -- to get the work done. The approach is now spreading to other Asbury stores.
The night hours are a central piece of a larger service initiative that Asbury is pursuing to win back customers and bolster the most important profit center in its dealerships.
In addition to extended service hours, Asbury is going after the Pep Boys of the world with more competitive tire offerings, new quick-service operations, a free windshield wiper program and expanded service marketing.
"For decades, the franchise industry has made it easy for other industries to surround themselves around our business model," COO Michael Kearney told Automotive News. "What we're doing is taking back part of that, trying to recapture business we've lost over the years."
The effort is gaining traction. And recapturing those sales can do wonders for the bottom line. During the second quarter, same-store parts and service gross profit rose 9 percent. Asbury's service and parts business accounted for 12 percent of second quarter revenue but generated 42 percent of the company's overall gross profit, according to CFO Keith Style.