Car dealers can hit a double when a vehicle is in for recall work.
First, automakers pay dealership service departments to repair the recall problem itself.
Second, while the vehicle is in the shop for that work, it offers service technicians an opportunity to detect other repair and maintenance issues. That can lead to additional service work, if the customer approves. (Experts say such upselling should be for legitimate reasons, not merely to pad a bill.)
“Recall or warranty work does result in other repairs,” says Juan Flores, senior director-product management at Kelley Blue Book, noting that the service department provides on average 48% of a dealership’s gross profit.
Considerable money is involved because there were 28 million automotive recalls in 2019, notes Jade Terreberry, Kelley’s director-dealer sales analytics.
As modern vehicles get more complicated, “we expect to see an increase in recalls,” she says.
Today, however, “many consumers are not taking the steps to take care of recalls” Terreberry says. That’s because COVID-19 has made them apprehensive about going to a dealership (and many other places) unless they deem it absolutely necessary.
That reluctance makes it imperative for dealers to assure customers that their stores adhere to COVID preventive measures, such as mask-wearing, sanitizing and social distancing.
Kelley’s website includes Featured Auto Repair Center, which is part of Auto Repair Guide on KBB.com. The service and repair guide gets about 1.7 million visitors a month and recommends local repair facilities.
After visitors supply their vehicle identification number, the tool reports on any applicable open recalls.
It also provides vehicle maintenance schedules and pricing for parts and labor. Consumers can schedule an online appointment at their local dealership of choice.
Steve Finlay is a retired WardsAuto senior editor. He can be reached at [email protected].