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Interviewed by David Zatz, February 2015, at the Chicago Auto Show — see part I.
Will you continue to support vintage vehicles with Mopar aftermarket parts?
We do whatever we can, but there is a limit to what we can do. You know, when you talk about vintage cars, you open a large category.
We are working on a program to support engines and transmissions for vintage cars, giving a better opportunity to customers to install new engines on old cars. That is typically one of their interests. For the rest, we support as we can. We have a dial-in connection line that if they call we try to help.
I would like to do more. We try to do what we can, but there is a limit because we’ve gotten into a very, very diversified market. I know that sometimes we don’t have the right parts. But then you enter into a market that’s mainly a market of used parts or service. It’s not the market where we are the best. But I always invite the customers to call our connection line and we’ll do our best.
Speaking of which, I’ve gotten one or two complaints that it might be a little hard to find parts on the Mopar website.
It’s absolutely true, and we are working to revamp it. I’m not happy. The website was done in the period of going to bankruptcy. So you can imagine how much money was really invested in that website. Very little.
It’s not optimal and we have already made some improvements. So if today you go there compared to one year ago, you’ll find a completely different experience. In the next 18 months, it should be significantly improved.
Do you handle that in-house, or is that outsourced?
It’s a combination. We design. We make the main decisions. Then something is done by our IT department or with software houses. But the control of the decisions is inside, the design.
By the way, thank you for putting up all that service information online for customers to see — via Mopar Owner Connect.
That is another part of the web that we need to improve.
But the same problem, I need to move to a different architecture, and there are so many interconnected things...
What were your biggest accomplishments for the year?
We made significant changes and progress in the way in which we deal with the customers at every level.
We talk about managing the journey of the customer. We were trying to find out what the purpose of Mopar is, really, because it is a classic question. People come and they look at Mopar and it’s the only after-sales brand that you find in an outdoor show [?].
We have so many different things that we do, because it’s not just parts; it’s not just service; it’s not just customer care; it’s not just accessories. We came up with a timeline that is all in service of the people who drive us. It’s really the essence of what we do. It’s not just servicing cars; it’s servicing people. Because the car is, if you like, it’s the tool? But the real people, the real target, is the person that is in the car.
Then you have three different ways, 3,000 different ways to serve that customer, keeping that customer happy when they buy the car, because you give them the opportunity to make that car unique. Making that customer happy because you give the customer the possibility to have a flawless experience when they come for an oil change through the Express Lane. Making the customer happy because when they come for repair, through wiADVISOR you make that process quick and efficient. Making the customer happy when they call our center, because we take care of the problem. Making the customer happy because we win drag racing and they are Mopar enthusiasts, [because] we participate and we offer programs, contingency programs, for our sportsmen. It’s through the connected cars, retrieving the service history to provide a service to the customer.
All the services we are already offering will improve. So buying parts online, it’s not a perfect experience today. Booking an appointment online. It’s really a 360° journey that we need to manage and we need to evolve while the needs of the customer are evolving.
I think the biggest accomplishment for Mopar, not for me, in these five years, is moving from what was a regional, American story, Mopar US, to now a brand that is global, present in 130 countries with 50 part distribution centers, 30 call centers, managing half a million part numbers, more than 6,000 people. Moving from what it was, the heritage of Chrysler, to something that is vital in every country from South America to the Middle East to China. That’s improving.
Creating the platform for what is the future expansion of Mopar, improving the customer journey at every touch point, is a longer process because the needs of the customers are evolving. Every time we deliver something that we think is great, a liftgate or something, there is something more that is potentially required by the customer.
... If you go online and you look at CNN, they made an analysis about collision repairs. Essentially there is a legal action of a number of independent dealerships that are forcing body shops to use not original parts. I always found that amazing that nobody is going after this process. We spend millions – billions – of dollars testing our cars, because if you crash . . . you have the proper quality of all the parts that we have in our cars. Insurance companies are often pushing the line. But they are requiring shops to put in not-original parts, which I found really interesting. [It was an Anderson Cooper story.]
I have a friend who reported that aftermarket headlights often have optics that fall far short of DOT standards.
Exactly. That I think is the exact problem. It’s not just the simple, basic quality of parts. It’s all the degradation with the vehicle. For the same reason, I say that our accessories are better because they are designed together with the car, they go through the same testing.
They drive me nuts, our quality team, because that bloody stripe needs to go through the ultraviolet testing to be sure that it lasts 10 years, 20 years, like the car, etc. That’s not the requirement for the aftermarket. Now a stripe is a stripe, but when you get to brakes and when you get to body parts there is a reason if things are sometimes costing less, right?
Yes. I found that out when I replaced my side mirror.
Oh, Yes. It can be a decision of the customer to say the car is ten years old, “I don’t want to buy an original part.” But that is the decision of the customer.
Also see: Part I: Improving sales and service • Part II: Corporate and customer satisfaction • Other interviews
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