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Car owners nationwide are taking advantage of complimentary or prepaid maintenance programs.

According to the 2014 J.D. Power Customer Service Index (CSI) Study, the percentage of vehicle owners with complimentary or prepaid maintenance programs has more than doubled in the past five years. Use of those maintenance programs are benefiting dealers and automakers through loyalty and repurchase rates, the study shows.

“Maintenance packages – whether they’re complimentary or paid for by owners – create a long-term relationship between the customer and dealership, which, when coupled with satisfying service experiences during that period, can have a very positive impact on loyalty rates,” said Chris Sutton, senior director of the U.S. Automotive Retail Practice at J.D. Power.”

In the study, 68 percent of luxury vehicle owners and 46 percent of mass market brand owners indicated that their vehicles are covered under either a complimentary or prepaid maintenance package during the first year of ownership. In 2009, only 35 percent of luxury owners and 15 percent of mass market owners reported the same.

“Maintenance packages help capture a higher percentage of service visits, and since customers with these plans are predisposed to purchase such items as batteries, brakes and tires from the dealer even after their plan expires, dealers retain key revenue opportunities for service and repairs, Sutton said.”

Even more telling is that 72 percent of those with a maintenance package repurchased the same vehicle make next time around, compared with 62 percent who did not.
For more about the story Prepaid Maintenance Improves Brand Loyalty: Study, visit AutoGuide.com.
 

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Duhhhh....that's what I have said all along. And part of the reason that Lexus remained high on loyalty and in satisfaction surveys. The service for X number of years was included in the purchase price, so there was no service 'sticker' shock to exaggerate the repair experience. Just drop it off, take a loaner, pick it up and pay nothing.

Then there is the issue of Asian consumers being loyal to Asian brands who won't officially report a negative thing about a product from their home country. Even when it accelerates out of control, breaks don't work, automatic breaking system does not work, steering column breaks, window controls catch on fire, and airbags fail to operate. They will still give the vehicle a high score.

Especially in CA, the largest auto market in the US, that has a high asian population and a high asian vehicle market share.

That's also why I know that if vehicle quality surveys were taken directly from shop repair data, and not from consumers, the repair rankings would change dramatically.
 

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At the same time, manufacturers have been extending the maintenance intervals to the point where their "complimentary maintenance" often did not end up costing them much. Even BMW's 50K "free maintenance" usually amounts to three oil changes and maybe a set of wipers. Still, the concept is good and I would not be surprised to see more manufacturers go that route, especially if pressured by dealers.
 
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