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A recent article on The Hill.com detailed how the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers is teaming up with a Republican pollster to survey Americans on why they don’t bring in their vehicles for recall repairs. These actions are in advance of the NHTSA’s forum on the same issues. According to the article, recall repair completion rates are at 75 percent with that number dropping to 15 percent for vehicles older than 10 years. It goes on to say that this is especially worrisome, because the average age of vehicles on the road is currently 11.4 years.
The newer a vehicle is, the more likely recall notices will be received and complied with. As vehicle’s age, the likelihood that they have changed hands increases. As does the likelihood those new owners will not receive the notices. Each time a vehicle changes hands, the percentage of people receiving notices drops.
Recall repairs are important, not only for the safety of our roads, but also as a revenue streams for dealers. Many dealers limit recall repair notifications to vehicles/owners within their DMS, as well as notices sent out by the manufacturer. This is incredibly limiting as far as reaching the huge audience of recall customers in each dealer’s DMA. However, there are several ways to obtain information and capitalize on increased recall repair work.
To find consumers in your areas with open recalls begin by looking in DMV and insurance records. Once this information is obtained, look through the data specifically for owners of vehicles with open recalls that have not previously done business with you. The older the vehicle is, the less likely it will be that the person is the original owner. And the more likely that they did not receive a recall notice, especially if they have been using independents for service.
Prioritize which customers to contact by which recalls are the most dangerous. Do a little research and see which recalls you can handle in volume. Figure out which parts are available and order them. Ensure that service technicians are trained on the recalls. Also spend time internally to ensure that front-line employees are informed and know how to handle incoming calls regarding the recall after you start notifying these vehicle owners.
It might take a little coordination, but consider the benefits. You are likely to pick up recall repair work that you wouldn’t normally get. The vehicle owner will be grateful for the notification and your dealership gets an opportunity to pick up a new customer and future work. Regardless of the outcome, both the dealership and community benefit in this win-win situation.