As automakers and their retailers seek better ways to manage dealerships' loaner vehicle fleets, they are borrowing ideas from other industries, such as car rental and theft recovery.
Automakers encourage dealerships to maintain loaner fleets for service customers, as a means of exposing potential buyers to new cars and trucks. An internal fleet also tends to be cheaper and more efficient than relying on a rental agency for loaner vehicles, analysts say.
Effective fleet management enables service departments to monitor costs and improve customer satisfaction, says Gary Juffre, business development director of TSD, a supplier of software for dealership loaner fleets.
"To take it lightly hurts customer service and you ultimately end up leaving money on the table," Juffre told Fixed Ops Journal.
But managing a loaner fleet imposes its own demands: maintaining an adequate supply of cars and trucks, and preventing customers from keeping loaner vehicles too long or otherwise abusing the system.