Things in the automotive industry are constantly changing. From one year to the next, it is difficult to tell what the most popular vehicle will be. Recent trends suggest that SUVs, crossovers, and trucks are in and cars are out. In fact, cars are becoming so unpopular that automotive manufacturers, like Ford and Chevy, are discontinuing almost all their sedan models and SUV or truck. Drivers who don’t want to give up their Ford Taurus, Ford Fusion, Chevy Impala, or other passenger cars, will have to find a way to extend the life of their vehicle, and service departments will be their saving grace. HowThough cars are less popular, there are still many people that prefer a smaller vehicle over ever, even though these car owners will be desperate to keep their vehicles in working condition, service departments will still have to attract and retain these car owners. The following are a few ways that service departments can do just that. 

Be Mindful of Inventory 
  service departments If a service department assumes that they will be seeing an increase in certain types of car repairs, they should plan ahead, starting with their inventory. Though it is common for the ordering and delivery of parts to add to vehicle turnaround time, proactive service departments can have necessary parts on hand. This allows them to decrease a vehicle’s time in the shop and increase customer satisfaction. 
This doesn’t mean that dealerships should create a huge inventory overhead. Rather, they should make educated guesses about which models they will see an influx of and which parts they will need so they can buy a small number of those parts. After analyzing repair trends within their department, they will be able to more efficiently choose which parts to have on hand. 

Embrace Technological Advancements 
New and innovative products can turn a struggling service department into a thriving one. When profits are put back into the dealership, it is important to consider upgrading old technology and exploring new products that can increase productivity and customer satisfaction. From diagnostic machines to reusable service tags and everything in between, embracing technology in the service department will be a worthwhile investment. 
Though upgrading technology sounds like an expensive and difficult endeavor, it doesn’t have to be. One small change, like a website that allows for online maintenance scheduling or a system that updates customers on their vehicle’s status, can greatly increase customer satisfaction and lead to more return customers. Relatively inexpensive technology like this can make a world of difference without breaking the bank. 

Attract Owners of Discontinued Cars 
Depending on the car, anywhere from 25% to 30% of people who buy a new car will buy the same make and model as their last vehicle. If these car owners are unable to purchase the same vehicle, it’s logical to assume that they will want to keep their current vehicle on the road as long as possible. This is where service departments will benefit. 
Using marketing and advertising to let car owners know that their service department is devoted to keeping their discontinued model of vehicle running will attract these vehicle owners. Rather than feeling pressured to go out and purchase a car they are unfamiliar with, they will be able to rely on their local service center to keep their car running until their vehicle is no longer roadworthy. 

Turn Discontinued Cars into Service Department Profits 
Smart service departments can turn discontinued cars into a golden opportunity. Not only will there be an influx in small car repairs, there will also be the opportunity to retain these customers once they must purchase a new vehicle. This means that, even when their current car is no longer drivable, they are more likely to take their new vehicle to the same service department if they’ve been satisfied with the service. This shift in the automotive industry will prove to be a big money maker for proactive and well-prepared dealership service departments.

 

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