An onslaught of recall-driven warranty work at Fiat Chrysler dealerships is a "bubble" that dealers should keep in mind when considering whether to expand their service operations, says the chairman of FCA's National Dealer Council.
"You don't want to build a church for Easter Sunday," said Tom Leonard, 49, co-owner of Fury Motors in South St. Paul, Minn. "You don't want to add 40 percent service capacity into your service departments if what we're seeing is a bubble of service work because of recalls."
About 11.6 million FCA vehicles were recalled in 2015. Many dealers are swamped by recall work and are forced to ask customers to schedule even routine service appointments as much as a month ahead.
"I don't think that Ford and Honda and Subaru are having the capacity constraints that Chrysler dealers are having right now," said Leonard. "I believe it's a bubble, and I think we'll get through this."
The advice contrasts with what most dealers have been hearing from Mopar, FCA's parts and service brand. In 2015, Mopar head Pietro Gorlier introduced an online analysis tool that enables dealers to forecast returns from expanding service departments.