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New service for used models - Two dealers consider vehicle's history

Published:Friday | September 16, 2016 | 12:00 AMNeville Graham
The front of the redesigned 2016 Honda Accord. Older Accord models are carried in by used car dealers.
Honda states its driving commitment in its slogan.
A Subaru Forester inside the KIG Old Hope Road, St Andrew, showroom in 2015. The Forester is one of the Subaru models which is also popularon the used car market.
A technician using a diagnostic machine.

While Automotives reported the reluctance of new-car dealers to service second-hand imports last week, not all of them shy away from doing repairs to your JDM or grey market import.

But don't expect them to work magic.

If there is a problem with the vehicle, at least two dealers will give a listening ear and work with the JDM owner as far as they can to find a solution. Kingston Industrial Garage (KIG), agents for Subaru and Ford, say they will take a look to see what they can do. Customer Service Manager Ryan Davis said KIG wants to know as much as they can before going ahead.

"We, at least, want to have a brief history of the car so that we can get a clearer picture about what may need to be done. Our representatives work with the customer and then liaise with our experts, and we make a determination of the best way forward," Davis said

Honda motor vehicles rank second to the Toyota line on the Jamaican market. ATL Automotive is keen to take a look whether a car is JDM or coming from the grey market. They will try hard to please the customer, but there are no guarantees. Head of Business Samuel 'Sam' McKenzie says the first thing that ATL does is to run a check on the vehicle's vital numbers.

"Any vehicle that has never been serviced by us, by way of the chassis number, we will know. Once it is a vehicle that has never been serviced by us, we know that is a vehicle that we have never sold. The customer then has to sign a log to say 'we know that it is a JDM car or a grey market car' and we let them know that we have no guarantees for this car. We can do the diagnostics, tell you what is wrong, and if you want us to do the repairs and the parts are provided, we will do the best we can," McKenzie said.

For both KIG and ATL, it is a question of representing their brands while taking caution. McKenzie portrays it as a matter of enlightened self-interest mixed with a public good.




"We represent the Honda brand here locally, wherever that car comes from and, as such, that is why we will try to help. It is not only a question of our reputation from a brand standpoint, but also customer satisfaction and, more importantly, public safety, because every Honda that takes to the Jamaican roads must be of a certain quality," McKenzie said.

At the same time, ATL Service Manager Steve Chin says customers must do their due diligence and be prepared for the realities.

"We do repairs to them (second-hand imports), but if a vehicle is waterlogged, we can refuse repairs since those vehicles were originally written off. There are also those that have been in accidents overseas and have been written off. We can't guarantee repairs on those either," Chin said.

At KIG, despite the accommodation, there is a point where they are wary of going further, especially if the vehicle's history does not paint a rosy picture. Davis says a vehicle that suffered from bad servicing elsewhere may mean trouble going forward.

"There are some jobs where, when we look into the history, we realise that fundamental mistakes were made at some point that would open up other problems. In those instances, we are careful because we have a service reputation to protect. We would respectfully decline that job," he said.

Meanwhile, president of the Jamaica Used Car Dealers Association (JUCDA) Lynvalle Hamilton points to the value proposition that buying a used vehicle offers. Hamilton believes that the wider range and lower price points cater to real needs and asserts that JUCDA "members are mainly committed to providing affordable, reliable used vehicles for the public." There are indications that many used-car dealers offer after-sales service for their customers who operate outside of the six-month warranty offered.