Time is valuable for customers, but also for dealerships who might want to get fixes right the first time
Starting March 1, Lincoln dealers will pick up a client’s 2018 vehicle when it is time for service and drop it off when finished.”
Lincoln, you have just said the magic words.
The best way to make my vehicle service experience fantastic is by removing me from the equation. Let me avoid the faux ficus and the leather-like couches; let me not drink a partial cup of lukewarm pod coffee while I read the promotional material perched on the pile of tires for the umpteenth time because the Macleans is a year old and the declared Sexiest Man Alive, well, isn’t.
Oh, for sure there have always been secret lists for premium brands, customers who never have to bump shoulders at the service desk with mere mortals, but this announcement from Lincoln is definitely throwing down the gauntlet. For the cost of anything sporting the Lincoln badge, you can be special, too.
Genesis offers a similar service, but that was mostly due to not having stand-alone dealerships, and a need for Hyundai to widen the perception gap between the little Elantra sitting in my driveway and the G90 I would buy if I could. But though there will be brick-and-mortar Genesis dealerships soon, the service will still continue. Ford/Lincoln has plenty of dealerships on the ground; they’re just letting you know you don’t have to go to them for service.
When Lincoln comes to get your 2018 car for service, they’ll leave you a loaner behind. To be honest, if more manufacturers did even just this, consumers would be less frothy about the service experience. I own a car because I need a car. If I’m driving a ten-year-old car that requires more care and feeding than a new one, I get that I can’t expect a dealer or manufacturer to accept blame for the fact my car is simply aging; what would be nice is if they stepped up more when things go beyond anticipated, reasonable maintenance. Especially when it’s a build fault, and not an owner fault.
And this is where the Lincoln Proclamation could truly steer the automotive industry in a whole new owner-friendly direction. For car owners, the number one time suck begins with the sentence, “We’re sorry, we were unable to replicate the problem you’ve described.” I’m not saying a dealer, and by extension the manufacturer, would work harder or differently if they were the ones traipsing back and forth trying to solve a mystery issue.
Oh wait. Yes, I am.
The Lincoln program will see the manufacturer and the dealer coordinating for its execution. To minimize waste in that program, they will no doubt not just be addressing needed service, but anticipating other things. If this car is in my shop’s bay right now, I’m going to check on recalls, remember any other hiccups that have occurred with similar vehicles and do whatever I can to make sure I’m not heading off to pick it up again next week. If I have a pricey loaner car out there (and it will be a Lincoln-for-Lincoln), I want it back.
For anyone who doesn’t like letting their car out of their sight, it’s been a long time since you could go past the garage gates and see anything anyway. When a tech comes out to announce they’d like to do a brake service, that information is just as quickly transmitted to you via your phone. You can easily look up service that is recommended by the manufacturer, make sure it lines up with service being recommended by the dealer (another huge point of contention between car owners and car sellers), and make your choice.
As this program rolls out into the next year or two, Lincoln is also smart to put their brand-satisfied customers behind the wheel of a new car a couple of times a year. What better way to show off the new product than by letting someone pilot it around for a day? These will prove to be invaluable test drives with zero pressure from a salesperson yakking away in the back seat.
Most new vehicles require very little maintenance. As more and more technology comes on board, however, it’s reflashes and reboots of computer systems that send cars back to the mothership long before the new car smell has faded. While more and more updates can be sent directly to the car, there are still growing pains and glitches in every brand, no matter how much you pay. To a consumer, taking the car to the garage is taking the car to the garage, regardless of the reason, and it throws a wrench into most people’s work day.
Lincoln wins with this program.