Dealer Programs Service You and Your Trucks

Not all automotive dealers are created equal. A dealer that is specifically focused on the needs of your company can simplify life and minimize downtime. The last thing you need is to be waiting in line behind general consumers to get your vehicles repaired or serviced.

Many major suppliers recognize that vehicles are critical to the financial success of your business and have established unique programs and dealer networks for vocational fleets. Check out the programs offered through select dealers for Ford, General Motors and Ram Trucks.

BPN handles unique challenges

Ford launched its Business Preferred Network (BPN) in 1989 to help dealers address the needs of small fleet customers. It has evolved to include the buying, financing and service experience.

“The 600 Ford BPN stores understand the unique needs of commercial customers, recognize the importance of uptime and have the expertise to handle challenging service issues,” says Larry Gach, sales manager, Ford Commercial Truck. “They also stock commercial vehicles to reduce delivery time, and maintain sales, service and finance staffs that understand how to properly handle a customer’s needs, from vehicle acquisition to end-of-life management and everything in between.”

BPN dealer personnel are trained and certified in commercial trucks and their applications. “We have programs in place for our BPN dealers that encourage them to ship parts overnight; participate in Ford’s Quality Fleet Care, which offers centralized billing; and enroll in our Commercial Truck Direct Tow Program, which encourages our BPN dealers to perform a ‘Priority Diagnosis’ (service triage) within 24 hours of tow in,” says Gach.

With BPN, you can set up Quality Fleet Care, a monthly single-payment billing option for parts purchases and service work from any Ford dealer or Quick Lane Tire and Auto Center. This is available for all your fleet vehicles, including both Ford and competitive makes.

An online BPN dealer directory (www.bpndealerdirectory.com) assists customers in choosing a dealer based on specific criteria. “For example, if they search for Cummins Certified Dealers in a specific state, only BPN dealers that meet the criteria selected will be displayed,” notes Gach.

“We recently launched a new tool called Co-Pilot on an interactive flash drive,” says Gach. “Co-Pilot can be updated daily. It can populate an online garage and help commercial customers manage their vehicle fleet. The information provided on the drive is constantly expanding and can assist a fleet with several aspects of their business, including vehicle maintenance.

“In addition, customers that utilize Ford Quality Fleet Care centralized billing have a means to review maintenance (by VIN or Unit Number) to help avoid unexpected downtime,” he continues. Customers with a Ford FIN code also have access to online business reports (www.qfc.ford.com) at no charge.

“Customers choosing not to invest in technician training, tooling and shop equipment can turn to Ford dealerships for the latest maintenance products and services that meet Ford’s recommendations,” says Gach. “From proper fluids and filters to recommended brakes and tires, dealerships are well positioned to provide maintenance and repairs specific to each vehicle’s needs.”

Ford also offers extended service plans for commercial applications and includes both maintenance and repair coverage options.

Business Central is tailored to your business

General Motors serves fleet customers with a coast-to-coast network of Business Central dealers. Their service departments have the facilities, special tools, parts, equipment and technicians to keep you running. Expanded service bays with 14-ft. service doors can accommodate tall, upfitted vehicles. Heavy-duty hoists are capable of lifting up to 16,000 lbs. for service work on vehicles filled with tools and supplies.

“Business Central dealers usually offer longer business hours, and offer regular preventive maintenance, as well as complete warranty repairs when necessary,” adds Jennifer Costabile, general director of marketing and sales support, GM Fleet and Commercial Operations.

“Each Business Central dealership offers a team of expert consultants that help business customers select the right vehicle for the job,” says Costabile. “And every service department has the facilities, tools, equipment and certified technicians to accommodate your special needs. With vast experience in vans and cutaways, chassis cabs, pickups and vocation-specific upfits, [the dealer] salespeople have the tools and experience to assist commercial construction contractors.”

Business Central dealers offer Cross Divisional Warranty Service, and are better equipped to handle commercial vehicles, with facilities that have larger doors and lifts compared to light-duty dealers. “Business Central dealers have more experience servicing upfitted vehicles and working with upfitters, and they’re ready and willing to meet customers wherever and whenever it’s most convenient for them,” says Costabile.

GM also offers FleetTrac, which simplifies the vehicle maintenance process for fleets of all sizes and types by consolidating vehicle maintenance invoices, documenting vehicle repair history, and minimizing the process for repair authorization. Invoice details are delivered through a secure website and can be customized to fit any business structure.

“This program offers consolidated billing and additional features that reduce the administrative burdens associated with fleet maintenance, providing fleet drivers and managers with unsurpassed convenience,” says Costabile.

“The GM Protection Plan — a comprehensive product for GM vehicles that is provided by Ally — protects against unexpected vehicle repair costs and ensures vehicles receive proper maintenance,” she adds. “It is available in a variety of coverage, time and mileage combinations.”

Business Central dealers work closely with upfit manufacturers and distributors to service upfitted equipment, saving an extra trip. Service technicians are knowledgeable about special tools and are certified to work on diesel engines, Allison transmissions and hybrids. A service advisor can help you develop a simplified maintenance schedule for maximum vehicle performance and uptime.

BusinessLink offers personalized sales and service

Chrysler Group’s BusinessLink is available on any vehicle registered for a business (Ram Trucks or other OEM). The BusinessLink program is a free service to business owners through the BusinessLink dealer network. “The program goal is to provide the personalized sales and service that businesses expect,” says Mike Ring, Chrysler Group LLC.

The program entitles business consumers to same-day next-bay service and maintenance, 24/7 towing, loaner vehicles, free shuttle service, a dedicated account manager, financing expertise, extended service hours, jobsite service in some areas, upfitter and bailment pool connections and unrestricted dealer service.

“The greatest benefit of working with a BusinessLink dealer is the personalized sales and service. There is one point of contact managing your vehicle sale and service experience,” says Ring. “This point person gets to know you and the particulars of your business, and will keep in touch to ensure an overall positive vehicle ownership experience.

“Chrysler Group’s 500+ BusinessLink dealers understand and focus on the specialized sales and service requirements of contractors and commercial business owners of all types,” says Ring. “The BusinessLink network is required to staff certified technicians who complete tasks from regularly scheduled maintenance and service to specialty upfits that require large bays and lifts.”

The company also offers the On the Job program, which provides the option to choose from various incentives for your vehicle, such as two years no-charge oil/lube/filter, up to $1,000 upfit or graphic allowances.

“Chrysler Group features extended service agreements to our commercial small business and fleet customers,” says Ring. “When a consumer takes a proactive approach to maintenance and maintains a regular service schedule, the overall life of the vehicle is extended and total cost of ownership is kept minimal.

“The advantages of using a BusinessLink dealer instead of a service shop are many,” says Ring. “However, the greatest advantage is the one-on-one relationship with the dealership.”

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