Why an independent German repair shop is better than the dealer | VFC Engineering Chicago IL

The reality on why independent shops like VFC will take better care of you than the dealer

For decades, the assumption has been, “The dealer knows best.” And carmakers and dealers alike have spent millions reinforcing the notion that “the dealer” is the only one qualified to service your German automobile.

But after nearly 20 years in this business, here’s what I can tell you: You’ll almost always be better served at a specialty repair shop like VFC than you will at the dealer. Here’s why:

1. We’re better at fixing the car right, the first time.

Because we work on all German cars and a wide range of model years – from the classic Porsches to 2017 VWs – we actually understand how the vehicles operate and how to fix them. Not to mention, we’ve spent years taking Audi, BMW, Porsche and VW street cars and building them into race cars. Conversely, many dealer mechanics identify pattern failures and simply walk to the parts room and drop a new part in the car. They don’t spend the time to diagnose the whole system.

When it comes to tools and equipment, we have the same factory scan tools the dealers have for all the makes we service. And we have all of the specialty tools we need to repair your car correctly the first time.

Pair our top-notch technical abilities with the factory diagnostic tools, and you’re in a much better position to have your vehicle fixed right the first time. We care about you and your car, not some sales number corporate has told us we need to meet this month.

2. We can choose the best parts for the job.

This goes hand in hand with fixing the car right the first time. Because we’re not affiliated with any car company, we can source the best replacement part for your needs. We will always use an OEM replacement part, but even OEM parts come in different tiers. When it’s necessary to ensure a long-lasting repair, we will upgrade to the higher quality OEM parts. The dealer has less flexibility, typically putting on the car exactly what it came with.

3. We offer a better repair warranty.

We stand behind all of our repairs with a 3-year/36,000-mile warranty. Every dealer I know of offers a standard 12-month/12,000-mile warranty on repairs.

4. Dealers are still all about new car sales.

Despite razor thin margins on new car sales, dealers are still all about sales. Their goal is the month-end bonus they get from the manufacturer. This bonus is how they stay in the black. Their service department is a necessary offshoot of the business they really want to be in.

But when you step into an independent shop, service is what we sell. We have to be better at it than the dealer.

5. We know you by name, not your VIN number.

With an independent shop like VFC Engineering, you typically deal with one person—Zach, Carlos or me—from start to finish. At the dealer, how many times have you talked to one person to make the appointment, the service advisor to check in, a cashier to check out and a porter to find your car?

6. We’re easier, more convenient.

Typically, when you call an independent shop, you can get an appointment with a free rental car within a day or two. And when you arrive, you pull in, park and walk inside. It’s easy in, easy out.

For many dealers, you have to schedule much farther in advance for a rental or loaner. Dropping off your car, getting a loaner and picking your car up again are much more time-intensive tasks.

7. You’re working with people who live and work in your community.

As you know, VFC is family-owned and operated. When you come to our shop, you’re working with real people who live in your community. Our business is our lifeblood. I intend to run this business until I retire, and then I’ll be passing it on to my son, Zach. We have a vested interest in the long-term success of the business—and of taking care of you.

Conversely, the staff at the dealer is at the mercy of a corporate culture. They’re much larger organizations where it’s typical for employees to feel like a cog in a wheel. And yes, many dealer owners are local, too, but they’re not typically on the front lines like we are.

Want to experience the difference in working with a shop like VFC? Schedule an appointment today.

—Doug Hillman,
VFC Owner & Founder

Posted in German Automobile Repair.