OE warranties subject of research study

The increasingly aggressive efforts of vehicle manufacturers and dealerships to capture consumer “touches” through longer warranties and complimentary maintenance programs will be the focus of the University of the Aftermarket’s Leadership 2.0 research presentation during next month’s Global Automotive Aftermarket Symposium (GAAS) in Chicago.

Four members of the 2010-2011 Leadership 2.0 class will present their findings Thursday, May 19, in a presentation titled “OE Warranties and their Effect on the Aftermarket.” Presenters will be Aaron DiBucci, independent; Todd Friedt, Affinia Global Brake & Chassis; Glenn Schaefer, CARQUEST Canada Ltd.; and Brad Sechrist, Motown Automotive Distributing.

The team found that vehicle manufacturers are increasingly using extended warranty terms and “worry-free maintenance” packages to attract buyers. Among the most recent factory and dealership programs are free oil changes and tire rotations for 24 months or 25,000 miles through Toyota and a comprehensive four-year program from BWM that covers all wear parts, including brake pads, wipers, headlamps and more.

“BMW decided to make it easy on the customer and use worry-free maintenance to make sure they get the vehicle back to the dealership no matter what the issue,” says Todd Friedt. “If you’re going to the dealership for four years it’s probable you’re going to continue in years five and six. If all manufacturers went to similar plans, it gets scary for the aftermarket.”

The team will offer a number of recommendations for distributors and service providers to “take back the touches” through special introductory vehicle maintenance offers as well as a technology platform designed to enhance customer relationship management.

The research project was one of six completed by the latest Leadership 2.0 class. Other research topics included “Adoption of Technologies from Outside the Aftermarket”; “Role of Social Media in the Aftermarket”; “Impact of Alternative Energy Vehicles”; and “Influence of Private Label vs. Branded Product.”

The team project is the “capstone” of the Leadership 2.0 experience, enabling aftermarket professionals to work alongside customers, suppliers and even competitors in identifying and addressing difficult industry issues.

“All of our teams did an excellent job this year, but the winning team really stood out in their ability to identify a problem with far-reaching implications and offer a number of well thought-out, practical solutions,” said University of the Aftermarket Director Brian Cruickshank, MAAP. “I’m certain the audience at GASS will find their presentation valuable.”

For additional information regarding the Leadership 2.0 experience and to request a spot in the 2011-12 class, see www.universityoftheaftermarket.com.

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