ORLANDO, Florida - Top graduates of Universal Technical Institute's automotive programs have the chance to receive additional training through BMW's Service Technician Education Program.
The program is six months of training in the repair, maintenance and technology of BMWs. It is also administered by Universal Technical Institute of Orlando. All 27 graduates of the 1997 class had job offers from BMW dealerships before the sessions ended. Starting salaries are $15-$17 an hour. 'Our cars are increasingly complex,' said Victor Doolan, president of BMW of North America. 'They have to be (serviced) by experts.' A dealer who hires a graduate reimburses BMW $7,500 for the training.
Cadillac, Lexus tops
DETROIT - Cadillac does the best job of retaining service customers, and Lexus is tops when it comes to satisfying service customers. Still, 46 percent of all customer-paid service work goes to service providers not connected to carmakers.
The J.D. Power and Associates 1998 Service Usage and Retention Study, released last month, compares the service habits of customers whose vehicles are covered by warranties with the habits of customers once their new-car warranties have expired.
Suzuki launches powerful Vitara
RIDGEDALE, Missouri - Gary Anderson, vice president of American Suzuki Motor Corp., hopes to reach his Suzuki sales goals with the new four-door Grand Vitara.
The car, a more powerful successor to the Suzuki Sidekick Sport, will be launched in August. It will have a V-6 engine, while its competitors, the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V, have four-cylinder engines.
American Suzuki is working toward a sales goal of 100,000 units for the 12 months ending 31 March 2001. The current sales pace is 40,000 units a year. Suzuki will sell the passenger car Esteem and two sport-utilities, the Grand Vitara and the Vitara.
Honda: most satisfied US owners
DETROIT - American Honda Motor Co. Inc. has the most satisfied customers in the US car market, according to a new survey by Strategic Vision of San Diego, California.
The best models were the Acura Integra, BMW 318ti and Mercedes-Benz S-class: only 4 percent of their owners were dissatisfied with their cars.
The worst brand was Kia; problems caused 35 percent of owners to be dissatisfied, and the Kia Sephia scored as the worst model, with 36 percent dissatisfied.
Lexus, which often leads similar surveys, tied for 20th place out of 36 brands studied, as 15 percent of Lexus owners were dissatisfied. Strategic Vision said the Lexus GS series pulled down the scores, with 22 percent of GS 300 and GS 400 owners dissatisfied.
Strategic Vision Vice President Dan Gorrell said the overall industry dissatisfaction rate was 15 percent. The report is based on responses from 33,000 people after three months of ownership of a 1998 model bought in October and November.