Findlay Toyota's service department is looking to grow in other ways. Since 2011, De La Cuesta says, the number of service advisers has grown from 11 to 23. The department employs 65 technicians and three drive managers to staff 96 service bays. Its monthly labor sales average between $850,000 and $950,000, De La Cuesta says.
Although strong vehicle sales help keep the service department busy, De La Cuesta attributes other growth to the decision to shut down the dealership's express lube lane in 2011. With plenty of service bays and two-person teams dedicated to quick service, De La Cuesta says he found his team could manage without the dedicated lane.
More important, he says, shutting down the express lane created a unified process for the service department and its customers. "It definitely streamlined our process and made it less confusing, which resulted in happier customers," De La Cuesta says.
Customers who opt for express service may neglect other work their vehicles need, he says. Since 2011, he notes, the average customer-pay repair order in his service department has doubled, from about $152 to $303.
"The general consensus is that the express lube is fast and inexpensive," De La Cuesta says. "Generally it's true, but we like to go through our normal sales process, determine what the vehicle needs and make appropriate recommendations."