For years, Central Illinois consumers have assumed that common automotive services such as oil changes, batteries and brakes cost less at mass retailers or national chains than at local franchise dealers. A recent study by the Uftring Auto Group reveals lower prices, superior facilities and higher overall customer satisfaction at their stores than at national “chain” retailers and even locally operated service shops in the Peoria area.
“We sent in mystery shoppers to make sure we were competitive on price,” said Jon Peters, Director of Fixed Operations for the Uftring Auto Group. “We know consumers would prefer to get their service work done at a franchise dealer, but are concerned whether they can afford it. Our study results revealed that not only were our prices competitive, but in many cases lower. Now we have solid proof that customers can get the best trained technicians, higher quality parts than aftermarket parts and pay about the same or less. We’re competitive on more than just maintenance too. Our stores have offered a 30-day price guarantee on tires for over three years and our parts departments are some of the best in Illinois at having high-use parts in stock and locating hard to find items.”
According to Peters, dealerships used to be so overrun with warranty work that it was difficult to schedule routine maintenance items as quick as consumers would like. However, over the past 7 to 10 years, the improved quality of vehicles has reduced warranty work to a small part of a dealership’s service business. “Less warranty work means we are able to serve our customers even better,” Peters said. “Most of the time we can perform an oil change without an appointment.”
The study also found that initial advertised pricing may be less at some service centers, but climbs to equal or above dealership cost once the customer walks out the door.
The Uftring Auto Group has five locations in Peoria, East Peoria and Washington. They service and maintain vehicles of virtually all makes and models for over 50,000 satisfied customers in Central Illinois. “Our dealerships are well represented in Peoria and the surrounding communities,” added Peters. “It makes it convenient for most people to have their service done at one of our stores since we are likely located near where they work or live. It doesn’t matter what you drive or where you bought it, chances are good we can handle the service work. There’s no doubt we can do everything an independent shop can do and much more. Plus, our stores offer the convenience of shuttle vehicles and loaner cars.”