Posted by Erik Landrum on January 10, 2020 in F&I Selling Strategies, General Communication Skills, Product Knowledge

We talk about it all the time. It is our responsibility to share information with our Guests so that they may make more well-informed decisions regarding how to best protect their investment! We aren’t well-prepared to do this if we don’t possess the necessary information, ourselves.

For example, recently a good friend and neighbor called, quite frazzled about what had just happened to him. His wife’s fairly new SUV had recently had a recall completed by the local dealer. Apparently, this involved re-flashing the PCM (Powertrain Control Module) with a software update. Almost immediately, after this was done, the vehicle started to experience random electrical issues regarding the ignition. The local dealer was unable to replicate the problem and, therefore, failed to sort the issue. As a result, a remedy was sought by leaving the vehicle with the originating dealer, for several days, who was also unable to replicate the problem.

Hopeful the problem had subsided, and in the care of his two young daughters, my neighbor headed out to run some errands. While traveling down a busy, local road, with traffic running 45-60 mph, the vehicle abruptly stalled and wouldn’t restart. My neighbor frantically tried in vain, for what was to him an excruciatingly long time, to restart the vehicle. Although he had his hazards flashing, he was certain they would be involved in a rear-end collision. All he could think of was his daughters, an infant and two-year-old, in the back seat!

Finally, the vehicle re-started and they were able to limp out of there. While on the way home, and with nerves still shattered, problems persisted for my neighbor. The fuel-saver system, which turns the vehicle off while waiting at a red light, attempted to activate as they were driving. The accompanying warning light began flashing on the dash, adding insult to near injury (or worse).

This vehicle is currently covered by a full-mechanical VSC. This isn’t a case of an uncovered component. In fact, the factory full-mechanical coverage is still in effect. We aren’t talking about a coverage issue, here. The point is that even the best brains around, putting their heads together to remedy this problem, using the latest training and diagnostic tools, haven’t been able to sort things out yet.

Not intending to be overly dramatic in the recounting of this occurrence, this, frankly, was a seriously dangerous situation! It highlights the nature of current automotive complexity. As of the writing of this article, my neighbor’s SUV has been back to the dealership for the third and fourth time, with many parts having been replaced, in an attempt to correct the issues. A factory engineer has even gotten involved to try and sort out the problems. The bottom line here is that these vehicles are immensely complicated electronic realities, anymore. Anyone willing to assume/accept the risk of self-insuring the potential time required to chase down electrical gremlins, at current hourly labor rates (let alone what they may go up to, in the near future), may not be making a fully informed decision!

Think about it.

Good luck and good selling!

For a printable version click here.

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