Each year, J.D. Power publishes an annual report on Canadian's automotive maintenance and repair spending. This issue of SSGM has a closer look at the J.D Power study and an interview with the study's lead researcher, Ryan Robinson, as well as...
Each year, J.D. Power publishes an annual report on Canadian’s automotive maintenance and repair spending. This issue of SSGM has a closer look at the J.D Power study and an interview with the study’s lead researcher, Ryan Robinson, as well as comments from Christopher Thorne at NAPA AUTOPRO. NAPA AUTOPRO was ranked this year by Canadians as having the highest overall service experience amongst the 28 rated service providers in the study.
On the heels of this study the online classified site Kijiji Canada released a study on people’s feelings about vehicle depreciation. Not surprisingly, we are not very happy with how quickly vehicles depreciate in value once they roll off the dealer’s lot. Scott Neill, head of Kijiji Autos, said pre-owned vehicles make more economic sense in terms of costs compared to new vehicles.
Now, it has to be admitted that Kijiji is touting it own horn in this study as it has become popular with folks looking to sell and buy pre-owned vehicles. The study does find one piece of information that independent service providers can use in today’s market: a well maintained, older vehicle costs less to operate and own than a new one. If an owner follows a prescribed maintenance schedule — such as regular changes of fluids and oils, replacing worn parts, etc. – an older vehicle will last for a very long time without placing a significant dent in an owner’s pocketbook. When maintenance is postponed is where problems start. Forgoing maintenance work that may be priced at a few hundred dollars has a way of coming back later with a price tag that can run well over one thousand.
This has to be made clear to vehicles owners right now as many are starting to postpone or ignore maintenance work in order to save money during this economic downturn. The result is greater competition between independent service providers and dealers service operations in a contracting service market.
Independents will have to make greater efforts at helping vehicle owners keep to scheduled maintenance. It may involve greater education on the importance of maintenance, using a system to better distinguish the difference between required and suggested service, or even taking the time to help an owner make a budget to tackle the maintenance work the vehicle needs. This last bit may seem one step too far: how do you approach a customer about the tricky, often emotionally fraught subject of their finances? You might as well ask them about their love life. Still, it has to be done and if you have a good relationship with a long-time customer, it is easier than it may first appear. Likely, that customer may appreciate the effort you are making to help them.
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