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J.D. Power warns coronavirus could cause car part shortages

This is a 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali on display at the 2020 Pittsburgh International Auto Show Thursday, Feb.13, 2020 in Pittsburgh.
This is a 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali on display at the 2020 Pittsburgh International Auto Show Thursday, Feb.13, 2020 in Pittsburgh.(Gene J. Puskar/AP)

The coronavirus pandemic could cause parts shortages at auto dealership service departments, J.D. Power warned as it unveiled its 2020 U.S. Customer Service Index survey.

“There’s no telling how widespread or long lasting the ripple effect of the coronavirus will be for the automotive industry, but it inevitably will have a financial effect on dealers’ service business,” Chris Sutton, vice president of the U.S. automotive retail practice at J.D. Power, said in a statement.

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“Automakers and dealers need to prioritize securing sources for their parts supplies or face the consequences of losing business,” Sutton continued. “Customers will be initially understanding of coronavirus consequences, but shortages will continue well beyond the current public health crisis. Customers will not understand in August, for example, why there are no parts to repair their vehicles.”

The annual survey measures satisfaction with service at franchised dealers and independent service facilities for maintenance or repair work on one- to three-year-old vehicles.

Buick achieved the highest ranking in consumer satisfaction among mass-market brands, while Lexus achieved the highest score among luxury car brands.

Chevrolet and GMC ranked No. 2 and 3 among mass-market brands, while Cadillac ranked No. 2 and Porsche was No. 3 among luxury brands.

Sutton said the coronavirus will present a challenge to automakers as they attempt to maintain their satisfaction scores.

“Performing work right the first time is the most critical activity for service satisfaction, and dealers now do a good job by successfully completing work 94% of the time,” he said.

“Under normal circumstances, 20% of the work that isn’t completed the first time is due to parts being unavailable, which is a source of frustration for customers,” he continued. “That 20% could dramatically increase due to parts suppliers’ extended shutdowns in China and other locations. When parts are unavailable, customer satisfaction and intended loyalty significantly decline.”

© 2020 The Detroit News

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