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Chrysler Wants Dealers to Expand Service Hours to Weekends

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author photo by Autotrader February 2011

Anyone working long hours during the week knows weekends are the best times to run errands. Chrysler knows it too – and that’s why the automaker is making a push to get dealers to open their service departments on Saturdays and Sundays.

Around 70 percent of Chrysler’s dealers are open for service on Saturdays, up from about 60 percent in 2009 – but still far below the automaker’s year-end goal of 80 percent, set by Pietro Gorlier, head of Chrysler’s Mopar service, parts, and customer care unit. Meanwhile, less than 30 of Chrysler’s 2,300 dealers are open on Sundays for service – a practice allowed even in the 18 states, which still prohibit Sunday car sales.

According to Chrysler, dealers should take to the idea of seven-day-a-week service departments since it boosts their bottom line. Gorlier told Automotive News that dealers adding Saturday service hours have seen business increase by 20 percent, while Sunday hours could boost business by an additional 10 to 15 percent.

“I will start addressing the problem, and we will define probably a target for 2012,” said Gorlier of Sunday hours at last week’s Chicago Auto Show. “Everything is open on Sundays. If you go around, the malls are open; the shops are open.”

Despite more dealers opening for Sunday sales as so-called “blue laws” are slowly repealed nationwide, Sunday service is almost unheard of in the auto industry. While parts for extensive work may be difficult to source on weekends, the automaker plans to focus its weekend service efforts primarily on quick-lube services, in order to give customers an alternative to independent service stations like Jiffy Lube and Midas.

Undoubtedly, Sunday service hours would also help the ailing Chrysler, which cut nearly 800 dealers amid bankruptcy in 2009. While the automaker has been steadily regaining profitability, it must strive to generate increasing revenue from its newly-trimmed dealer body ahead of its planned initial public offering.

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Chrysler Wants Dealers to Expand Service Hours to Weekends - Autotrader