HERNDON, Va.—The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) is targeting women in an advertising campaign educating consumers on its technician testing and certification. The institute said it has found that once consumers know about Automotive Service Excellence certification, they want to seek mechanics with that certification.
Women are particularly interested in the program, the organization said.
After reading a brief description of what the certification means, 77 percent of women surveyed by the institute said it would be an important factor in their next auto repair.
The campaign could provide service shops that have ASE-certified mechanics a chance to promote their business to women who own cars.
A blue seal
The spokesperson for the campaign is Margaret Baillargeon, president of North Central Ford in Richardson, Texas. She has given drive-time radio interviews in top 30 markets. Ms. Baillargeon is chairman of the board of directors for the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence in Herndon, Va., a Washington, D.C., suburb.
``Women have become a dominant force in the purchase and service of today's vehicles,'' said Ms. Baillargeon, pointing out that the institute's research shows 65 percent of auto service customers are women. At least 75 percent of the the technicians at Ms. Baillargeon's dealership have the certification.
Her dealership has plenty of company when it comes to hiring ASE-certified mechanics. A total of 143,536 car dealership technicians have that certification—almost a third of the total 440,000 techs certified nationwide.
Dealerships also represent 140 of the total 762 participants in the ``Blue Seal'' program—shops where 75 percent of the techs are ASE-certified. Also, the facility must have at least one certified tech in each service performed. The ASE logo is a blue seal promoted on literature and an arm patch worn by certified technicians.
A tour and more
In addition to the magazine and radio coverage, the institute:
Broadcast its first live World Wide Web chat July 29 on the women.com network, a general interest Internet service for women.
The event featured a session allowing listeners to ask questions of Christine Vinson, an ASE master certified technician—the highest Automotive Service Excellence rating—who works for Fairfield Toyota in Fairfield, Calif. Ms. Vinson also is a Toyota master certified technician.
Plans to continue its tour of major cities in which the institute staff has lunch meetings with consumer advocacy groups.
Will promote Automotive Service Excellence certification at expositions that showcase products and services useful to women.
Plans to promote car care tips in women's magazines during October—``National Car Care Month.''
The institute would not disclose how much it is spending on the campaign, which is funded through testing fees.