Two more companies have followed Ford Motor Co. and General Motors by offering stand-alone quick lube programs for dealers.
The Chrysler group has created a program it calls ``Lube Express,'' and a Shell Oil Products U.S. program allows auto dealers to brand their quick oil changes ``Pennzoil'' or ``Quaker State.''
Though a push for more parts and motor oil sales is one reason for the programs, stand-alone fast lubes have increased dealers' maintenance business substantially.
Both Chrysler and Shell were peddling their fast lubes to dealers at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in February.
The quick lubes are built on the dealership site. Chrysler requires a 100-foot-wide by 150-feet-deep space for parking and a three-bay building. Shell calls for the equivalent of 20 parking spaces for the stand-alone lube, said George Hough, CEO of Boegh Building Systems in Salisbury, N.C., which supplies buildings for the GM, Chrysler and Shell programs.
Although some dealers may not want to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in a separate fast lube building, these structures are more visible from the road and are generally perceived as more convenient than the dedicated fast lube stall in the dealer service department, he said.
``People (consumers) know you are in the quick lube business,'' Mr. Hough said. ``They can generally get in and out quicker from a stand-alone facility.''
Both Chrysler and Shell are offering turnkey programs that allow dealers to open the fast lubes alongside their dealerships a month after getting a building permit. Each package includes the modular building, furniture, equipment, computer hardware and LubeSoft software, tools and training.
Prices for both programs range from $200,000 to $400,000 depending on size, Mr. Hough said. The facilities can be leased.
In its package, Shell has included the MyCarPage.com Internet marketing program, which allows retail customers to receive safety recall information and keep track of their service history. Dealers get access to that consumer information including e-mail addresses, by which they can send service reminders and promotional offers.