Rob Gehring has seen a lot in his 35 years in the auto industry, 20 of them as a dealership management consultant. But his latest work helping a client fight a warranty audit chargeback of $250,000 has surprised him.
Automakers assign a standard number of labor hours each warranty repair should require. If a dealership service department exceeds that, it can expect a possible penalty. But Gehring's client, whom he wouldn't name, got in trouble — in part — because the technician billed what the automaker considered too few hours, and the automaker felt the repair wasn't done. The audit was eventually settled for $55,000, Gehring says.
"Dealers I know are having issues," says Gehring, president of Fixed Performance Inc. in Huron, Ohio. "But they shut up in public because they are fearful of the manufacturers."