HERNDON, Va.—Even before supporters stepped up consumer education, the Automotive Service Excellence program had strong consumer recognition as a certification and testing program for technicians. One in nine consumers surveyed by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence remembers what ``ASE'' is without being prompted.
In 1998, the Herndon, Va., institute asked consumers to list organizations that provide certification for quality or confidence. Eleven percent of respondents listed ASE, 13 percent listed AAA (American Automobile Association) and 16 percent listed UL (Underwriters Laboratories).
Still, the institute felt a public awareness campaign was critical to promote ASE certification because few consumers understood the meaning of the ASE logo.
Just 17 percent of the consumers who recognized ASE as a certification program knew what the blue ASE symbol meant. In contrast, 67 percent of consumers who recognized AAA understood what the AAA logo meant, and 27 percent of the consumers who identified UL knew what the UL logo meant.
The institute's blue seal identifies facilities with ASE-certified technicians, who also wear the seal on their uniforms.
Once consumers read a brief description of what Automotive Service Excellence is, 62 percent said that certification would be very important in choosing which facility would perform their next auto repair.
The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence was founded in 1972 by a broad auto industry coalition in an attempt to thwart regulation of service garages. The institute's mission is to improve vehicle service repair quality by testing and certifying technicians.