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Posts Tagged ‘auto service’

Your Next GM Car Could Alert You Before it Breaks Down

Maker developing “active, preventive maintenance system.”

by on Nov.14, 2014

The next version of the Chevy Impala may alert you to a possible mechanical problem before it happens.

If you haven’t just gotten your driver’s license last week, odds are you’ve faced that mysterious and inexplicable “Check Engine” light at least once or twice, leaving you the choice of heading to the dealer or ignoring the indicator, hoping the bulb might burn out.  Then again, you might have gotten no warning whatsoever when your battery died or a water pump failed.

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General Motors is developing an “active, preventive maintenance” system that could avoid such headaches by giving a motorist a detailed alert before something on the vehicle breaks, says the maker’s global product development chief.

“We’re testing the system now with our employees,” noted Mark Reuss, during a lunchtime interview.

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The Most Expensive – and Cheapest – States to Get Your Car Repaired

Don't break down in New Jersey.

by on Jun.12, 2013

How much does your mechanic charge? It can vary wildly depending upon where you live.

When that “check engine” light come on, there’s a good reason to get worried.  Even if it doesn’t leave you stranded in an unfamiliar part of town after dark it’s likely to take a bite out of your savings, especially as recent studies have indicated automotive repair costs rose by about 10% last year.

That is, of course, an average that varied significantly by region. Indeed, Vermont actually saw repair costs decline last year, according to a new study by automotive service site CarMD, making it America’s  most affordable place to take your car in.  At the other extreme was New Jersey where the typical visit to a service shop cost almost 50% more than in Vermont.

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Traditionally, the West Coast is the place where repairs have been most expensive.  But in its latest annual car-repair cost survey, CarMD found only California among the Top Five, the rest of those spots filled by states along the Eastern Seaboard, including not only NJ but North Carolina, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Indeed, repairs in the Northeast rose 11.6% in 2012, faster than the rest of the country, according to a study of 161,000 repairs.

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Lexus, Mini Top Brands for Customer Satisfaction with Dealer Service

Study finds dealers ranked above independent service shops.

by on Mar.14, 2012

Lexus topped the J.D. Power Customer Service chart for a fourth consecutive year.

For the fourth year in a row, Lexus has topped the charts as the brand delivering the highest level of customer satisfaction when it comes to dealer service.  Among mainstream brands, Mini led the list for the second consecutive year, according to a new study by J.D. Power and Associates.

The annual Customer Service Index, or CSI, found that overall satisfaction with dealer service has improved substantially over the last year, perhaps reflecting efforts by automakers to build brand loyalty.  Significantly, survey respondents revealed they are generally more pleased with the service they get at the dealer than with work done by independent repair shops.

“Steady improvements in vehicle quality, longer intervals between recommended service visits and a higher mix of maintenance service events have had a positive effect on overall dealer service satisfaction,” said Chris Sutton, senior director at J.D. Power and Associates.

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“Moreover,” Sutton added, “manufacturers and their dealers have instituted broad-based customer service improvement initiatives to increase satisfaction with both the purchase experience and after-sales service, with the understanding that a substandard service occasion can and will impact their ability to make a future vehicle sale or gain repeat service business.”

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Lexus, Mini, top J.D. Power Customer Service Index

Customers face little "upsell" pressure from dealer service shops.

by on Mar.11, 2011

The repair shop can make a big difference in the way a customer views a dealership - and a brand.

Lexus and Mini are the brands most likely to satisfy customers – at least those owners who take their vehicles in for service, reports J.D. Power and Associates.

While its conventional wisdom that consumers will be heavily pressed to make unnecessary repairs by greedy dealers, the 2011 Customer Service Index reveals that very few owners actually face “upsell” pressure from dealers who want to perform unnecessary repairs.

Only 7% of customers faced such pressures, according to Power’s survey of nearly 100,000 owners and lessees of 2006 through 2010 model-year vehicles.  But the report reveals that the older the vehicle the more likely an owner is to face upselling.  And, in some cases, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, reports Power.

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Suggesting additional service work can actually benefit both customers and dealerships,” according to Jon Osborn, Power’s research director, because “customers may prolong the life of their vehicle while service facilities may gain additional revenue.”

Nonetheless, he stressed that dealers need to properly train their staff to suggest additional work only when it is truly necessary – and not to make customers feel unduly pressured.

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Goodbye, Mr. Goodwrench

GM to focus on core brands, abandon its auto repair line.

by on Nov.09, 2010

The Goodwrench name was long associated with GM racing sponsorships, especially NASCAR.

General Motors has sidelined thousands of workers since its bankruptcy, last year, and though it has begun rebuilding its job rolls as sales improve, the maker has decided to make at least one more cut: Mr. Goodwrench.

The long-familiar figure, the symbol of the company’s dealer service operations, is being retired as of February 1, 2011.  First hired on three decades ago, the Mr. Goodwrench brand is being set aside to allow for more specific brand-related “Certified Service” operations for each of the four automotive brands, Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC, that survived last year’s run through Chapter 11.

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“Our No. 1 priority is providing a world-class ownership experience that creates positive long-lasting relationships with our customers,” said Steve Hill, GM’s vice president for customer care and after sales.

The move doesn’t mean General Motors – or its dealers — are cutting back on the service side of their business.  Anything but; along with financing and insurance, and used car sales, that’s where most retailers actually make their money.  In recent years, selling new cars has often proved a showroom’s loss leader.

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