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Kia seeks service work beyond warranties

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Kia seeks service work beyond warranties

Kathy Jackson

Automotive News -- March 1, 2010 - 12:01 am ET

LOS ANGELES -- As warranty work declines, Kia is trying to help dealerships boost customer-pay service revenue.

For years, Kia dealerships relied primarily on one source -- warranty payments -- for service revenues. But vehicle quality has improved, and Kia dealerships need more service business in addition to warranty work.

The first program to address that need, Customer 360, is geared toward buyers of new Kias. Meanwhile, ServiceSmarts is an online marketing program aimed at Kia owners who get their vehicles serviced at independent shops.

John Crowe, Kia's vice president of service and product quality, says that under Customer 360, dealers tell buyers about service work that the stores offer, after explaining how their services compare to aftermarket stores.

Kia gives dealers co-op dollars to encourage them to explain their service work to customers. At every service visit, dealers will give customers a multipoint inspection to let them know when they may need additional service.

Although Crowe says little profit can be made from tire sales, Kia dealers now are selling them.

"If you go to the tire store down the street, they may also sell you brakes and other services," Crowe says. "It's critical we get them at the tire point."

The online ServiceSmarts program is focused on customers who do not return for regularly scheduled maintenance or repairs.

Greg Silvestri, director of service operations at Kia, says dealers can go to a Kia dealers' site to download a list of potential customers in their area. There's also an ad creator with templates so they can design their own personalized advertising.

Kia also is getting more aggressive with sales of parts and accessories. Crowe says PartsEye, of Taunton, Mass., is working with dealers to help increase parts sales and maintain the right inventory.

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