Report: BMW Customers Often Ignore Service Reminders

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Even though many of the services are free, many BMW owners routinely skip the service intervals recommended by their cars' on-board computers. Despite easy-to-understand messages prompting owners exactly when their vehicle needs servicing, BMW has found that many drivers skip or delay taking the car to the dealership. To help deal with the problem of owners who are lax about service, BMW will increase its efforts to call owners proactively based on the cars' TeleService notifications. The on-board system automatically emails a BMW dealership if it detects wear to any of the vehicle's key components like engine oil, spark plugs, and brake pads.Then a representative from the dealership calls the BMW's owner to schedule a service appointment. All new BMW models come with a free four-year/50,000-mile maintenance program. It encompasses everything from wiper blades and oil changes, to engine belts and brake pads. Even so, BMW is finding that many owners don't bother making service appointments for their pricey cars. By increasing the contact with drivers, BMW hopes it will get owners to spend more time -- and perhaps more money -- servicing their vehicles at dealerships. Around ten percent of all service appointments are a result of TeleService prompts, and BMW can reportedly "up sell" the customer on more services, potentially doubling the repair order for a dealership. To increase the number of customers who visit dealerships in response to TeleService calls, BMW plans to increase its marketing of the feature. The company also will send representatives to underperforming dealerships to help them make more service appointments based on TeleService alerts. TeleService works through a cellular connection and was first introduced on the 5 Series sedan in 2004. It is free on all new BMWs for four years, after which the service costs about $199 per year. Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)

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