Changing Consumer Perception of the Cost of Dealer Maintenance and Service

Challenge

Consumer perception may not always be reality. Subaru previously ranked low in J.D. Power’s Fairness of Charges survey for mass-market brands. Industry research indicated that 67% of customers were hesitant to use dealership service departments due to perceived high costs. Among Subaru customers aged 39 and younger, the primary influencer on deciding to service with a dealer versus non-dealer was a “reasonable” total cost of service and maintenance. However, research also showed that 81% of customers were willing to pay more for superior customer experiences including factory-trained teams, genuine Subaru parts, specialized tools, and free MPI – with nearly half, 44% willing to pay premium. So, we set out to decipher the contradictions – was it a matter of changing consumer perception, or were Subaru dealers priced higher than the competition?

35%

Increase in perceived Fairness of Charges rank

2,500

Doors supported

2 Out of Every 3

Dealers include API pricing data into marketing communications

Solution

Marketplace intelligence is a highly underrated input to local market activation and determining the best pricing strategy to serve parent OEM and individual Subaru dealers. Through a phone-based, mystery shop program among 630 dealers and 1,900 independent service providers, Ansira was able to show dealers where they stood in comparison to auto aftermarket service options. The data-led, competitive intelligence and price guidance has enabled 2 out of every 3 Subaru dealers to be so confident in their service pricing that they include the transparent cost on their website and other marketing materials. This pricing information is integrated into the Subaru Channel Partner Marketing asset portal with an API for ease of activation. In just one year, Subaru moved up seven ranks – from 20th to 13th in perceived Fairness of Charges according to J.D. Power.

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