Chrysler’s Mopar to Expand Dealer Ops to 7 Days

There are 2,311 Chrysler Group dealers in the U.S. and they service about 2.6 million brand vehicles other than Chrysler Group brands, such as Ford, GM, and many Asian makes. Chrysler’s Mopar parts division chief, Pietro Gorlier, wants dealers to keep their servicing departments open every day of the week.

Pietro Gorlier, wants dealers to keep their servicing departments open every day of the week.

The Mopar chief notes that many Chrysler owners, including Jeep and Dodge brands, also own other makes of vehicles — or members of their family do. His goal is to make Chrysler brand dealers not only the service provider of choice for the company’s own makes, but also for all brands. “We want to be a one-stop shop for our customers,” Gorlier says.

Chrysler dealers generate 18 to 50 percent of their revenues from servicing and parts sales says Tricia Hecker, director service and parts marketing for Mopar. Gorlier declines to say how much more he wants dealers to lift those revenues, but wants dealers to cover all their expenses with profits from service and parts sales.

That would enable dealers to enjoy all the profits they take in from new and used car sales, as well as financing and insurance services they provide to their customers.

Mopar not only provides parts to Chrysler dealers, but also sells them tools and service help. Mopar points out that there are 37 independent service centers surrounding every Chrysler dealership. Gorlier says the independents are eating Chrysler’s lunch and he wants that to change.

Gorlier announced a new strategic alliance with Magneti Marelli, Fiat’s $7 billion parts-making subsidiary and Shell Lubricants to assist dealers’ service all makes of vehicles. Sourcing from Magneti Marelli enables Mopar to provide replacement parts for virtually all non-Chrysler brands. The Italian parts maker adds 3,000 new components to the Mopar parts bin.

Dino Maggiano, CEO of Magneti Marelli’s aftermarket division, says aftermarket sales are important to his company. “We have not been in the U.S. [up to now], that’s why we’re launching this partnership,” Maggiano says.

In addition, Gorlier is pushing the 18 percent of Chrysler dealers who are not open on Saturdays to do so. He even wants many dealers to keep their service operations open on Sunday, too. The goal is to attract car owners away from independent repair shops and quick oil change facilities — and 90 percent of those are open seven days a week.

One major innovation Chrysler is rolling out to achieve this target is the opening of Express Lane at its dealerships. This is a 15-minute oil change facility that about 600 Chrysler dealers (about 27 percent of the Chrysler retail network) already offer. Gorlier wants to increase Express Lane to 80 percent of the Chrysler dealers. But he admits it may take a couple of years to achieve that goal.

Gorlier says his new aftermarket program is a major opportunity for Chrysler dealers to retain customers and increase the amount of money they take in. After all, it’s not uncommon for a customer waiting for a vehicle to be serviced to wander into the dealer showroom and look over the vehicles on display. This could in some instances lead to a sale. — Herb Shuldiner, Motor Matters

Manufacturer photo: Chrysler Group’s Mopar division announced a strategic agreement with Magneti Marelli and Shell Lubricants that will give its dealership network the ability to fully service competitive vehicles from GM, Ford, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Hyundai and Kia.

Copyright, AutoWriters Associates Inc., 2011

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