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Mopar, racer on the new Express Lane

by David Zatz on

In the mid-2000s, Chrysler faced a familiar problem: customers would buy a car from a dealer, but refuse to have oil changes there. The results sometimes led to damaged engines, when quick-change shops used the wrong grades of oil; and it cut dealer profits. Mopar looked into the reasons why customers didn’t return — time and price, in that order — and created the Express Lane.

Pietro Gorlier and Matt Hagan at ExpressLane

First unveiled in 2008, Mopar’s Express Lane provides fast service for services such as oil changes, tires, and vehicle inspections, where, in ordinary conditions, the paperwork would have taken longer than the actual work. With the backing and support of Mopar chief Pietro Gorlier, Mopar had one thousand Express Lanes in the United States in July 2016. Mr. Gorlier pointed out that the Express Lane slashed waiting time for an oil change from a dealer-typical 45 minutes down to ten, and could be set up in satellite locations.

Today, Mopar celebrated their ten-year mark during the opening of a new Express Lane at the Motor Mile in Pulaski, Virginia.  There are now over 1,850 Express Lanes in thirty countries around the world, including over 1,200 in the United States alone (200 more than in 2016).

In 2017, Express Lanes serviced over nine million vehicles, and not all were from FCA; like generic oil-change shops, the Express Lanes can handle a wide variety of makes and models, with two technicians working in parallel on each vehicle. Each time a vehicle is serviced, the techs go through a 30-item checklist.

Pietro Gorlier described Express Lanes’ mission as “Fast. Convenient. Efficient.”

There are now many standalone Express Lanes, a development also pushed by Mr. Gorlier. The Pulaski facility has ten service bays, a potential blueprint for future stand-alone Express Lane stores. Customers start under a large reception canopy; the waiting area has large windows facing both the outside and the service bay, with “upscale coffee-shop styling and amenities.”

This isn’t the dealership’s first Express Lane. They already had one at their Shelor Motor Mile dealership; the owner, David Hagan, said, “We’ve seen very positive feedback and demand from our customers with the Express Lane service we offer at our dealership location, so it made sense to open a new stand-alone facility.”

Along with Pietro Gorlier, David Hagan and his son attended the opening ceremony. His son, Matt Hagan, is the star driver of the Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car, and a two-time NHRA Funny Car World Champion. He lives on a cattle ranch nearby.

Matt Hagan said, “For me, Express Lane isn’t just a logo I carry on my race car, it’s a brand that’s part of my family’s business, as you can see. We’ve won championships and many races while carrying the Express Lane banner, and I’m proud to help my father expand the brand by opening up a new Express lane basically right in our hometown.”

See past interviews with Pietro Gorlier

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