Mopar expects Express Lane experiment to cut wait times

Article by Christian A., on January 27, 2014

Mopar is currently conducting an experimental quick-stop service operation separate from the dealership that allows Chrysler customers to avail of basic maintenance services like oil changes and battery sales without having to set an appointment. The Express Lane experiment should show Chrysler dealers how they could improve service profits and hire promising technicians for their dealerships, according to Mopar. About a third of the Chrysler's 2,400 dealerships have Express Lane in their service departments. Only one dealership -- Freedom Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep-Ram in Duncanville, Texas -- has opened an Express Lane site that isn't physically linked to it.

According to Pietro Gorlier, global head of Mopar, the experiment in Duncanville – which features a four-bay stand-alone Express Lane center – targets to determine if dealerships can compete better with independents by offering the service. “The dealers are surrounded. There are an average of 37 independents around each of our dealers in the United States," Gorlier remarked.

Chrysler dealerships that have installed Express Lane in their service departments managed to sell more parts and write more repair orders than those without, Gorlier said. However, once stand-alone service areas become too busy, the Express Lane concept would be overwhelmed with longer wait times – resulting to a degradation of a dealership's appeal.

According to Gorlier, Express Lanes would enable dealers to separate basic maintenance work and keep customers rolling without clogging a busy service area. "You get to a point where you see dealers with 1,000 repair orders per month," Gorlier said, adding that would mean “a lot of traffic.”

He noted that dealers need to dismiss the customer perception that a visit will take more time and will be less convenient than going to an independent. He remarked that aside from reducing times, an Express Lane could provide dealers more flexibility with extending service hours. He added that an Express Lane could also serve as a training ground to identify and develop talented entry-level technicians. [source: automotive news - sub. required]

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