In 2021 there were more recalls than previous years, but the good news is the total number of vehicles involved was less than in the past. Nonetheless, recalls are an unavoidable and ongoing challenge for manufacturers, dealers, and parts departments. One of the biggest issues with recalls is making the connection to customers who have purchased older models- even in life-threatening situations. Could putting more time into recall management at the dealership level not only save lives, but could also help improve your dealership’s client base, client loyalty, and long-term viability? Let’s explore.
By the numbers
According to Neil Steinkamp, Managing Director at Stout’s Disputes, Compliance & Investigations Group, 90% of vehicle owners with cars less than three years old complete recall repairs. For 5-8 year old vehicles, and below 50% for vehicles older than eight years. While over 90% of car owners expect their OEM to reach out to them by any means necessary with a recall notice, in reality, if their contact information isn’t registered or the vehicle has changed owners, most OEM’s won’t escalate to find contact information and ensure notice is received.
Evaluating your situation
While it’s technically the responsibility of the manufacturer to contact owners of recalled models, data shows that isn’t always the case and, as a result, millions of drivers are left operating vehicles with active recalls- some truly dangerous. Where does your manufacturer(s) rank on recalls? What’s the average completion rate of recalls for customers at your dealership? Is there anyone in your operation that is focusing on or perhaps even dedicated to recall resolution? On face value, recalls can feel like a huge time, energy, and resources drain on your operation. But, in reality, they are an unavoidable aspect of the business and, with a little perspective shift, could hold the key to your long-term success.
Imagine this scenario: you purchased a 5 year old vehicle from a private seller. Because you have no relationship with the original dealership, it’s unlikely you’d seek them out for ongoing repairs or maintenance. You get a call from the dealership checking to ensure you’re aware of a recall on your vehicle and to see if you’d like to schedule the free repair. You schedule, have a great experience, and feel genuinely cared for by the dealership. For life-threatening, dangerous recalls, we’d imagine the sigh of relief would be exponentially bigger.
Consider dedicating a member of your team to recall resolution. While it may be a bit of a treasure hunt to locate updated owner information and contact information, the pay-off in terms of expanding your customer base, establishing your operation as one that cares, and filling the gap left by OEM’s is truly invaluable.