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Old 12-31-2012, 12:13 PM   #1
warpath
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Default Some Chevy Dealers Stop Selling GM’s Hybrid Over New Tool Costs

Isn't this the cost of doing business??

Carscoop: http://carscoop.blogspot.com/2012/12...lers-stop.html




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Last month General Motors informed its Chevrolet dealers of the requirements they should fulfill if they want to keep selling and servicing the Volt from January of 2013.
Among the prerequisites for Chevy dealers is an additional US$5,100 they had to pay for specialized tools needed to service the extended-range hybrid, the bulk of which, US$4,735, accounts for a battery de-powering tool. This is needed to drain the battery and remove sections of it, rather than the whole pack, and send them back to GM for repair.

It may not seem important but it was big enough of a deal for some dealers to stop carrying the Volt.

One of them is Jim Barnard Chevrolet in Churchville, N.Y. Allyn Barnard, owner of the dealership, said that the five hybrids he has sold in the past two years merely enabled him to break even on the five grand he had spent on tools, training and charging stations.

Thus, the extra cost just isn’t acceptable: “Going forward, the profitability would be really hard for us to justify the expense of the repair tools”, he told Automotive News.

John Holt, owner of the Chevrolet-Cadillac dealership that bears his names, has also sold only five Volts since 2011. In contrast to Barnard, he decided to spend the extra money on the tools as he wants to sell and service the new Cadillac ELR plug-in hybrid coupe that will go on sale next year and is based on the Volt’s architecture.

"I've heard that a lot of the non-metro dealers have opted out of the certified Volt program, but with the new Cadillac coming, I figured I'd be foolish not to buy the damn $5,100 tool," he told the publication.

GM spokeswoman Michelle Malcho said “it’s pretty standard” to require dealers to buy specialized tools in order to service certain models. She wouldn’t say how many dealers had quit the program, only that they account for less than one percent of the Volt’s total sales.

She also refuted some dealers’ allegations that GM is increasing the costs because it wants a smaller network that would lead customers to higher-volume dealerships and regions.
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Old 12-31-2012, 01:55 PM   #2
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Pays for tool, sells 5 cars and breaks even on tool, stops selling car.......


Makes perfect sense.


That said, something like a "battery de-powering" tool should be something issued to a regional service rep, unless GM is expecting a lot of battery failures, or offered as a rental on an as needed basis. Like a lot of special tools, I can see this one sitting around collecting dust (much like SOA's "lead ass" for testing the passenger ODS)
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Old 01-01-2013, 02:37 AM   #3
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I agree Hondaslayer. Many times specialized tools not being used mean there isn't enough proficiency in the service of that model. I'd want a mechanic working on my car that works on that model often to know his way around. I'm thinking dealerships should have a specialist tech available in the region for work that requires particular tools like this.
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Old 01-01-2013, 01:51 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sgilson View Post
I agree Hondaslayer. Many times specialized tools not being used mean there isn't enough proficiency in the service of that model. I'd want a mechanic working on my car that works on that model often to know his way around. I'm thinking dealerships should have a specialist tech available in the region for work that requires particular tools like this.
Yes and no.

Most often special tools (such as this battery changer) are not being used because the failure rate is so low that they are just "not needed" Why force the dealership to stock a tool (an expensive one in this case) for a part that has a low failure rate? Yes, I understand they are trying to avoid Lemon Law (time out for repair) and streamline processes, but adding an extra day or two (especially when explained why to the customer) is not going to change anything. Issuing the battery tool to district reps / stocking a few at regional offices / or having a "rental" program (tool gets sent overnight to the needed dealer) makes more sense than having a thousand or so made, charging dealers for them so they can sit and collect dust.

The one thing the dealership I work at does well is keeping track of special tools. Every single tool has a bar code and is scanned in / out by parts when service needs it. Over 70% of the tools in my inventory have not been used in over 3 years. Of the 30% that are used only %10 are used on a regular (ie weekly) basis. The common tools are: Diag scanners, charging system testers, coolant testers and hybrid disconnect kit.
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Old 01-01-2013, 02:36 PM   #5
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They are probably making this a mandatory purchase because the cars are starting to get older. A new volt would have little use for these things, but as they rack up miles and abuse, the time will come to start servicing them. And as lack luster as sales have been to this point, they do not need horror stories form dealer service to give them another mountain to climb.

It is a new technology and requires new tooling, technicians to handle it. That costs money. Not sure what the dealers are so surprised about. I bet they jumped at the chance to carry the volt thinking it was going to fly off the lots. But selling 5 in 2 years, is comical at best. The Volt makes sense to certain people in certain areas of the country. Perhaps this part of the country does not have the market to support the Volt. That happens.
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Old 01-02-2013, 09:35 AM   #6
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A friend of mine owns a Dodge dealership. They used to have a few vipers in stock (5-star certified, all that jazz), but now they only have up to SRT (SRT-8 Challenger, etc.). They are eligable for the new Viper, but the cost of tools, training, etc. is 400K. All that to sell maybe one or two cars with very little pmargin for profit.
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Old 01-02-2013, 07:11 PM   #7
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Ford is doing the same with the cmax. Smaller dealers cant afford the special tools to service the 2-5 they would sell. Atleast for the first year or so. I expect the gas prices to go way up to "help out" the big three's electric/hybrid effort.
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Old 01-03-2013, 01:12 AM   #8
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It's almost like GM is saying "We had no ****ing idea what we were doing the entire time. Sorry, everybody. Sorry."
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Old 01-03-2013, 01:49 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hondaslayer View Post
That said, something like a "battery de-powering" tool should be something issued to a regional service rep, unless GM is expecting a lot of battery failures, or offered as a rental on an as needed basis. Like a lot of special tools, I can see this one sitting around collecting dust (much like SOA's "lead ass" for testing the passenger ODS)
Just speculating here, but GM may be forcing dealers to buy the tool because damaged cells might need to be discharged quickly in order to avoid a 'thermal event'.

NHTSA's Volt caught fire after sitting for a while, so they probably don't want damaged Volts sitting on dealer lots with live batteries while they're waiting for a tool to arrive.
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Old 01-10-2013, 03:12 PM   #10
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We all have to keep in mind that there are potentially unthinkable scenarios where a dealership may need this tool. As a franchised dealership every dealer should be prepared to tackle the "worst" case scenario. $5,100 is an opportunity cost that the dealership should invest in. Ultimately EV's are the future. Plus $5,100 is a whole lot better than $50,000.
Subaru made it mandatory to have a road-force wheel/tire balancer by 2013 for all their dealerships. They were extremely specific in saying that if you did not have one, they would send you one and credit the dealership. It's a cost of doing business. Reality is, if there was ever an issue and only 1 regional traveling mechanic, the negative publicity from people having to wait a ridiculous amount of time to get their car fixed would simply kill everyone's reputation. That's the automotive business for you. "Damned if you do, absolutely damned if you don't."
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Old 01-10-2013, 03:39 PM   #11
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I think the issue is that there is not guarantee that this is the LAST 5100 dollar tool they will have to buy. It is more than likely that the EV technology will change from its current crappy design and this mandatory tool will be deemed useless.

If they offer a buy back program from the dealers it would not be so bad.
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Old 01-10-2013, 07:44 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hondaslayer View Post
... Issuing the battery tool to district reps / stocking a few at regional offices / or having a "rental" program (tool gets sent overnight to the needed dealer) makes more sense than having a thousand or so made, charging dealers for them so they can sit and collect dust.

Or, just have one at a centralized dealer in a particular area. Share it in a partnership. Split the cost among those several dealers and when one particular dealer needs it, they can go get it.
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Old 01-12-2013, 12:57 PM   #13
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Cheap dealerships that don't care about their customers or want to get with the times (even if low volume). The tech's at those dealers probably aren't trained to work on the cars either.
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