As the Detroit News explains, many dealerships use their sales and service departments to pay for overhead. In other words, all those oil-changes, tune-ups, and other repairs pay for the light bill, the water bill, the contract on the Xerox machine, and so on. That leaves the cash derived from car sales as pure profit -- so even when sales are slow, the dealership can keep its doors open.
The only problem is, dealerships are having an increasingly hard time competing on the service front. Neighborhood garages and chain stores like Pep Boys are often more conveniently located -- and they're often cheaper, too, especially after a vehicle's warranty expires.
And so, given the obstacles of location and price, Chrysler shops are hoping to use service as a means of distinguishing themselves. We've all had bad customer experiences before -- experiences that have made us vow never to return to those shops again. Chrysler is hoping that its new service model will have the opposite effect, inspiring loyalty despite some slight inconveniences.
[via John Voelcker]