AAA is now offering a roadside assistance app for Android-compatible smartphones. The AAA Roadside App is free, and it enables AAA members to request help without ever making a phone call.
If the member is directionally challenged or just plain lost, the application can use the phone's GPS to transmit the call for help to AAA's call center, which will then dispatch a truck to the location. If the problem with the car is a battery in need of replacement, the app has a feature (Battery Quote Calculator) that will let you know the price after supplying the year, make, model and engine size of the car. If you decide that it's a go, the catalog number of the battery along with the pricing is sent together with your request for roadside assistance.
If your car needs more in depth repair the AAA Roadside app can tell you the location of the closest of the club's 7700 AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities. This is a network of repairers that have met AAA's standards and have maintained a 90 percent customer satisfaction index.
AAA is expecting acceptance for this new slate of services among Android users, since the iPhone version was downloaded over 500,000 times since 2009 by its 52 million members.
The auto club has been expanding its business model of late with the introduction of a mobile glass service as well as an aggressive plan to open its own repair facilities. AAA Mid-Atlantic plans to open four locations in the Maryland-Northern Virginia region during the first quarter of 2011. It remains to be seen how their network of Approved Auto Repair facilities will react to the mammoth auto club competing directly for the same repair market.
As a principal in a shop that has been in their AAR program since its inception, I am interested in seeing if they can both partner and compete in the same marketplace.