If You Need Your Subaru Fixed Fast, Don’t Be Surprised If Longer Waits Are Ahead
If you are frustrated with long waits to get service on your new Subaru Forester, Outback, or Crosstrek, you aren’t the only one. Because Subaru has experienced record sales for the last ten years, now there is a shortage of qualified techs to work on your new all-wheel-drive vehicle. According to a report from Automotive News, Subaru is busy trying to fix the problem.
Customers waiting for long periods just to get their car in for regular service is an issue, and Subaru has had multiple recalls adding to the long waits. Subaru of America is trying to do something by actively recruiting entry-level techs and has training for the new recruits. "We have 6,677 techs" at Subaru's 631 U.S. dealerships, says Mike Campbell, vice president of service and quality for Subaru of America. "We need to double that in the next three to four years,” he told AN.
And the problem is only going to get worse. Subaru’s growth in the U.S. has traditionally been in the Northeast, Rocky Mountain states and Pacific Northwest, but they have experienced more growth in the past decade in regions outside the snow-belt where they are opening new dealerships. The report says there are 3.5 million Subaru vehicles on the road now, and the Camden, N.J. automaker expects to have more than 5 million vehicles in operation by 2024.
What should Subaru customers expect?
With heavy volume in their service departments, customers will likely experience longer waiting times for the foreseeable future. Tom Doll, COO of Subaru of America said recently, “For the next few years, (Subaru dealerships) are going to see increasing repair order accounts and so forth. Because the vehicles that are in warranty or customers that are coming back for repair or maintenance work are now going to be coming back for those types of services that the retailer would be providing.”
Torque News heard of a Colorado man who drives a 2012 Subaru Outback, who was recently notified of the Takata airbag recall on his all-wheel-drive vehicle. He is frustrated because the potentially deadly airbag problem will take months to get fixed. The service department told him they couldn't work on the car for five months because of a nationwide backlog on parts.
Help is a few years away
Subaru of America has a goal to increase its dealership workforce to more than 13,000 technicians by 2024. So help is a few years away before those long waits for customers trying to get in for service or recalls is eliminated. "We've got our work cut out for us, but we are confident," Ken Benson, training field operations manager for Subaru of America, told Automotive News.
So if you need to get your new 2019 Subaru Forester, Outback or Crosstrek vehicle in for service or recall done quickly, don’t be surprised if longer waits for service is ahead.
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Photo credit: Patrick Subaru, Jarvis Subaru