Executive Interview

Jan. 1, 2020
In cooperation with the Advanstar Automotive Group (AAG) News Network, the broadcast sister of Motor Age, we discuss hybrid service in today's aftermarket with Andy Fiffick, CEO of RadAir Complete Car Care.
In cooperation with the Advanstar Automotive Group (AAG) News Network, the broadcast sister of Motor Age, we discuss hybrid service in today's aftermarket with Andy Fiffick, CEO of RadAir Complete Car Care.

Motor Age: How significant a role do you see hybrid-electric vehicles playing in the near future? How about the trend of OEMs to focus on development of plug-in hybrid electrics (PHEVs)?

Fiffick: I have embraced the hybrid technology and personally drive a 2005 hybrid Escape. We also have a 2008 hybrid Escape as a parts runner shop vehicle in our fleet. Even though we have trained and are prepared to service hybrids, the Cleveland (Ohio) market has relatively few hybrids on the road. We stock all of the oil, air and cabin filters, and have trained our staff to properly service hybrids; nonetheless, we see very few in our bays. Hybrid sales are up; however, it will be some time before we see them in our shops due to the long factory warranty periods. I would buy a plug-in hybrid in a second; however, I don't believe that they will have any more of an impact than the current hybrids have on the market now.

Motor Age: In your opinion, is there enough training available in the industry to handle a potential influx of hybrid owners in the aftermarket?

Fiffick: Yes, hybrid training is everywhere! We have trained our entire staff with over 28 hours of training in each of the last three years, and we have six technicians with over 100 hours of training on hybrids on staff.

Motor Age: What's the biggest setback to independent repairers competing with dealerships?

Fiffick: If there is one setback it is the longer and extended warranties. However, we have no problem keeping up with the technology and the new vehicle dealership repair shops. In fact, I believe that our technicians are better trained and more rounded than the technicians in new car dealerships. Our technicians can fix any brand of vehicle, with any type of problem and at any time; the depth of skill, intuition, and knowledge (both formally and through the school of hard knocks) better prepares them to service and repair vehicles. As part of the ACDelco TSS program and the use of the top independent trainers for hire, we keep all 32 of our technicians up to date with timely and advanced training. Our technicians don't have a vehicle manufacturer or a buddy in the parts department feeding them information and trial and error free parts to repair one brand of vehicle. With all of the electronic repair and diagnostic information available to us, we repair vehicles the old fashion way with proper diagnostics and sound repair procedures.

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