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Your competitive edge

Thursday, September 18, 2014 - 07:00
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The Right to Repair fight is over. That’s what most of you reading this right now believe with good reason because that’s what the industry associations have reported and rejoiced over. They are correct that particular thing called the R2R is over, but it was only the latest OEM challenge — not the final one. 

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The OEMs tried to lock out the aftermarket before R2R and they will try again. To think otherwise is, frankly, naive. That’s because the greater issue at stake is the long term care of vehicles. As the manufacturers of those vehicles, why should we assume that from this point on, the OEMs will acquiesce to the aftermarket? Maintaining control of what they design, engineer and manufacture just makes sense from their point of view. Although there are many reasons for dealerships and the independent repair segment to work together, you know all too well that the dealerships are always going to be competitors as opposed to being partners. In sum, the R2R issue will never be over as long as there are OEMs with a franchised dealership base and an aftermarket seeking to repair their vehicles. 

Having said that, the dealerships aren’t your biggest competitors; rather, they are the independent garages just like you. Assuming the aftermarket will always be successful keeping the OEMs from locking us out, your greatest concern is obtaining and retaining customers who value the independent repair channel.  

That being the case, you need all of the competitive tools you can possess. As critical as the OEM information is, it’s just as critical to receive it in a format that mirrors what the OEMs provide their dealers. The auto repair business — like it or not — is built on the speed of the repair and the quality of the repair. You have to set yourself up as a shop that can repair a customer’s vehicle right the first time and you have to do it in a timely manner. If you fail either of these criteria you are likely not to see that customer again.

You all know that there are plenty of service information providers, but they always seem to come up short, even if you are persistent and willing to invest untold hours of time in searching for the right information. In fact, most of the information providers just provide snapshots — copies or scans of OEM pages, which in many cases are difficult to find. Not that this is poor information — if indeed you find it — it’s just not the best information. 

So, does anybody have the service information that every shop needs? I think so. Maybe you’ll agree with me, or maybe you won’t, but you certainly owe it to yourself to investigate a service information system called MotoLOGIC (motologic.com). You get all of the content from the OEMS’ websites — and get this — all in one searchable (Google-like) format. With 94 percent (and growing) OEM coverage right now, it is like using their websites because MotoLOGIC preserves their hyperlinks and any kind of interactive functionality.

By using MotoLOGIC, my guess is that you won’t be too concerned about any of your competitors, whether they are dealerships or independent shops. You’ll have every piece of information you need to diagnose and repair almost any vehicle that comes to your shop. Sounds logical to me. 

Now you can go back and worry about what the OEMs next salvo will be.

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