MARS launch powers OE sales at Lou Fusz
St. Louis, Mo.—Current and prospective commercial account holders with Lou Fusz Buick GMC can take advantage of two programs, MARS and RAP, being offered by the dealership, both of which have been introduced within the last year. Parts Manager Butch Geringer said he is excited to get the word out.
General Motors rolled out its MARS (Maintenance and Repair Solutions) pricing program in May 2016. The program began with four categories of parts eligible for discounts, but recently has expanded to more than 15 categories of maintenance and repair parts, including powertrain components and chemicals that can be discounted by ordering online through RepairLink, he said.
“Qualified independent service centers have the opportunity to save anywhere from 8 to 15 percent, additionally to the discount they receive from us, when ordering mechanical replacement parts through RepairLink. The discount is figured from list pricing and covers a wide selection of replacement parts,” Geringer said.
In addition to passing savings onto the end consumer, shops will be installing more affordable OE replacement parts instead of aftermarket while still maintaining profit margins, he said.
“We look at this program as a way to be more competitive with aftermarket pricing. It has definitely helped as we have noticed a jump in the online ordering of OE parts since the program’s inception. Also, when a shop uses OE parts, the likelihood of failure is reduced, so a customer is not making return trips to the shop. Everybody benefits from this program from the manufacturer down to the vehicle owner.”
The parts inventory at Lou Fusz Buick GMC is in excess of $1 million, which includes parts for every vehicle component as well as collision repair parts, transmissions, and engines, Geringer said.
“Our inventory is enough to handle our shops’ needs as well as enough to handle our service center customer’s needs.”
Recently, there has been a huge increase in the number of electronic repair parts and electronic sensors that have been incorporated into inventory, he added.
“There’s plenty of room to handle all of the existing inventory as well as the new items especially since we recently added a second level mezzanine area.”
Delivery up to three times daily
The Lou Fusz Network of dealerships has 26 delivery vehicles that are routed from a centralized location that helps streamline delivery service. Each dealership also has one or two vehicles that are used to hotshot deliveries directly from each location. Lou Fusz Buick GMC has approximately a 100-mile radius of delivery.
“We run trucks three times a day west of the Mississippi,” Geringer said. “That’s significant. A lot of dealers run a morning and an afternoon run. That middle run for us allows shops to get parts and complete necessary repairs before the end of the day without carrying over.” He added that they also run delivery routes twice daily to the Metro East into Illinois as well.
Geringer, who has been with Lou Fusz since 1995, has six employees staffing the parts counter. All of them are in various stages of their career but when it comes to being up to date with current trends in the parts industry, training and education are paramount. “We all attend training or have reps come in to help us stay current with what is going on in the market,” he said.
Remote Assisted Programming
Another new program Lou Fusz Buick GMC has recently implemented is Remote Assisted Programming (RAP), which is done in partnership with Drew Technologies. RAP gives local repair shops the ability to program vehicles and components with assistance from a remote location, staffed with Drew technicians who can assist with each step of the programming process. “The program is great for shops that don’t have space or don’t have the resources to have this technology implemented in their shop,” Geringer said.
Each RAP kit includes a Windows PC or tablet, J2534 device, modem, OEM subscriptions, and a battery maintainer, which eliminates the need to purchase additional tools and OEM subscriptions, he said. Lou Fusz Buick GMC will deliver kits to shops, who then pays for each time they program or flash a vehicle or component.