Fixed Ops Journal - June 2020 - F15

FIXED OPS JOURNAL

MOBILE

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Mercedes-Benz, which also has offered mobile service since 2017, has seen a spike in
customer demand since the coronavirus pandemic began.
Its mobile van techs can replace tires and
perform complete brake jobs on some vehicles at a customer's home or business, says
Christian Treiber, Mercedes-Benz vice president of customer service.
"The tricky part - to a degree - is to schedule the route of the technician for their service
calls in the most efficient way. We have software for this now and that helps us schedule
more effectively," Treiber says.
Volvo also has been testing whether mobile
service makes sense for its customers.
"In the short term, we think there are a number of jobs that can be done in the driveway
and with a low investment for the retailer,"
says Scott Doering, Volvo Cars vice president
of customer service. "I think there is an opportunity for it for all the reasons there's an
opportunity for [pickup and delivery]. We just
have to figure out the financial equation to
make it work for dealers."
Though some Volvo dealers are offering mo-

House calls
bile service now, Doering expects it to be
available at every Volvo dealer once the company pivots to electric vehicles. "We have a
proposal that we intend to share with our advisory board. We're thinking about it in the
context of our electrified future and for very
specific repairs," he says.
BMW has a program in place with its dealerships in which an X3 SUV equipped with work
tools is dispatched for minor services such as
battery replacement, airbag recalls and even
trim repairs. Kevin Aniunas, service manager
for BMW of Fort Lauderdale in Florida, says
some customers "just prefer not to have to
come to the dealer for service."
One reason is that they don't feel the pressure of having to buy extra services, he says.
And they can watch the technician work at
their home.
"There's a lot of transparency this way," Aniunas says. "People are very friendly in their
driveways. They will offer technicians water
and other things when they see them sweating while they work."
Even after the pandemic subsides, such efforts by automakers and dealerships appear
likely to stick around. If managed well, they
could serve as a valuable step toward a mutual goal: loyal consumers.

Gus Machado Ford's mobile service van
can perform routine service and light
repairs. Here's a closer look.
Model: Ford High-Roof Transit van
Cost to dealer: $100,000 (Ford donated
$20,000 in tools)
Equipped with:
 Integrated Diagnostic System
 Parts shelves
 Complete set of tools
 Work desk
 Lube skid
 Dedicated Wi-Fi system
 Compressor
 Electric power generator
Monthly fee paid by dealer: $499 to
Ford for training, website instruction,
software updates and other services
Techs on board: One B-grade tech, paid
hourly, plus an occasional trainee
Cost to customer: None, but dealership
may change this if demand increases

"We need to meet the customers where they
want to be met, and frankly, that's at the office
or their home," Ford's Thomson says. "We
want to give the power of choice back to the
customer." 
Richard Truett contributed to this report.

Mobile recall fixes help keep dealership rolling

E

d Roberts added his second mobile
service van on March 11. It has become an $80,000 tool for picking up
recall work at Bozard Ford-Lincoln
in St. Augustine, Fla.
When the first one arrived late last year,
Roberts expected it to primarily serve the
dealership's fleet customers. But things have
tilted toward individual clients, with about
half of the orders involving recall work.
Apparently, customers who have a hard
time getting around to taking their vehicles to
the dealership for recall fixes are more than
willing to have the repairs come to them.
"It's probably the most-accepted program
I've ever put together in fixed ops," says Roberts, 46, speaking of his mobile van effort.
That includes work at six dealerships in a
two-decade career. The last eight have been at
Bozard, where he's the parts and service director overseeing a 96-bay shop and the two
mobile units.
Roberts says his team is systematic and aggressive about chasing recall work for his mobile fleet.
If a technician is scheduled to make a house

Bozard Ford in St. Augustine, Fla., has two
mobile service vans and plans to add more.

call 10 miles away, Bozard will look for another dealership along the route and scout online
for Fords and Lincolns in that store's used-car
inventory that may need recall work. Before it
heads out, the mobile van will be loaded with
parts for the potential fixes. On his way to or
back from the scheduled job, the mobile technician will visit the rival dealer and offer to do
recall work on the Fords and Lincolns on-site.
He'll also share a list of rival brands' used vehicles in Bozard's fleet that need recall repairs.
Because dealers are limited to doing recall work
on their franchised brands, it's a win-win.

Among other standard practices for the
fledgling mobile business:
 Roberts' six mobile technicians (four primary, two alternates) are expected to act as faces of
the dealership. They wear black polos with the
company logo and navy uniform pants.
 Vans are stocked with parts not just for the
ordered work but for work that would be commonly expected to go along with it. The goal is
to avoid the time-consuming expense of
heading back to the dealership for extra parts.
The dollar value of the typical mobile repair
order is 30 percent higher than the average inshop order, he says.
 Mobile service is limited to a 50-mile radius of the dealership for individual customers
and 150 miles for fleets.
 He initially charged a "convenience fee" of
$49.99 for the home visits. That has been
waived during the coronavirus crisis and
probably won't return. He expects to fold the
costs into the price of the mobile work.
And he expects a lot of it, with more vans.
Says Roberts: "We'll probably be operating
10 in the next year and a half."
- Dave Versical

JUNE 2020

PAGE 15



Fixed Ops Journal - June 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Fixed Ops Journal - June 2020

Contents
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2020 - F1
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2020 - F2
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2020 - Contents
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2020 - F4
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2020 - F5
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2020 - F6
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2020 - F7
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Fixed Ops Journal - June 2020 - F11
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Fixed Ops Journal - June 2020 - F15
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Fixed Ops Journal - June 2020 - F24
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