Parts Director Ray Lopez (front row, center) and his Ford-certified parts specialists, and Service Director Oscar Najera (front row, far right) work as a team to provide the best customer service possible.

Building on parts sales success

In a ‘cut-throat market,’ Ford of West Covina increases parts sales 7 percent as department expansion is underway

West Covina, Calif.—Ray Lopez, parts director for Ford of West Covina, who has 38 years experience in the parts business with Ford, GM, Chrysler, Honda, and Toyota, said since joining the dealership in January 2016 he has been working closely with management to expand the parts department, build its customer base, and increase inventory.

“Currently, we have more than $520,000 in parts covering 10,000 SKUs, 35 percent of which are collision parts, and we carry a number of new Ford Omnicraft parts, and those numbers will increase as we expand the department.”

Lopez said the Omnicraft brand is gaining traction as Ford continues to roll out more parts.

Ford is currently running a rebate program on Motorcraft powertrain parts for independent repair shops that includes remanufactured gas and diesel engines, and transmissions with a no-risk core return credit, a nationwide warranty, and same- or next-day delivery.

The gas engines and transmissions are covered by a three-year unlimited mileage warranty, and diesel engines have a two-year unlimited mileage warranty covering parts and labor.

“We get our Ford reman products from Fred Jones Enterprises, which is an distributor of Ford remanufactured powertrain assemblies, powertrain components, and an authorized distributor of Ford accessories,” Lopez said.

Ford has also launched a Professional Service Network (PSN) that Lopez said gives members purchase rewards for Ford, Motorcraft, and Omnicraft parts purchases, technical training, marketing materials, a resource library, business insights, and rebates. 

In addition to factory promotions, Ford also offers aftermarket parts price matching for OEM parts. And, to be fair to his regular customers, Lopez offers volume discounts to those who purchase numerous parts.

“For example, I have one body shop that buys $20-$30,000 a month and we give him a discount. I don’t want to give a guy a long deal if he only buys $100-200 a month.”

He said even though the dealership is comparitively small, he has a competitive edge over others because his team is focused on providing customer service and being consistent with customers, which he calls on himself, many of whom have followed him from other dealers he’s worked at as far back as 1991.

“There are so many dealerships around that shops can buy from, but I’m starting to capture more customers and eventually the majority of them will come around because I don’t believe in telling a customer we can’t get the parts. I will exhaust every avenue before I tell the customer otherwise.”

The parts department has four Ford-certified parts specialists who also receive ongoing Ford training, and three trucks that make two or three deliveries a day within a 10-mile radius and offers hotshot deliveries.

“The biggest challenge we face is dealershipsa not being consistent on parts pricing; it’s pretty cut-throat out there,” he said. “We overcome that by giving our loyal customers better customer service, customer satisfaction, and focusing on what their needs are, which has resulted in a 7-percent increase in parts sales.”

The service department, headed by Oscar Najera, who has had 32 years experience, oversees three Ford-certified service writers and nine Ford factory-trained technicians.

“We encourage our technicians to obtain ASE certifications, as well, to give them a well-rounded understanding of vehicle repair in general. Our number one goal is to get our customers out in a timely manner.”

They also perform ADAS sensor recalibration for several local body shops. 

To maintain customer satisfaction and loyalty beyond the repair, Najera said they have an in-house business development center (BDC) that calls on customers to make sure they are satisfied with the repairs, schedule next-service appointments, and notify them of recalls.

“They also make contact with the customer before they leave, which allows the service advisers to spend more time selling to customers and less time on the phone as order takers.”


Parts & People

Parts & People is published monthly by Automotive Counseling and Publishing Company, Inc., a Colorado corporation, P.O. Box 18731 Denver, CO 80203, 303-765-4664. President-Lance Buchner. Founded by Lance Buchner and Dave Lucia.