YELLOWKNIFE, N.W.T. — Phrases such as cold and desolate could pertain to rural Saskatchewan, or Northern Ontario, or Quebec. But the words take on new meaning when customers also live up to 1,000 kilometres away from their dealership. Vehicle reliability? That also takes on new meaning.
And when those customers need to use river barges or ice roads to reach the service department, or they need specialized hardware to manage long and extreme winters, it makes sense to offer them creative solutions.
Dealer principal Greg Boucher of Yellowknife Motors, which sells Chevrolet, Buick and GMC brands, says his service department works with established independent garages in remote communities to diagnose and repair any issues that might arise with customer vehicles. In doing so, Yellowknife Motors saves customers long trips back to the dealership, trips that might not even be possible if their vehicles need repair.
The process often involves communicating by phone or exchanging photographs between technicians via email to help pinpoint problems.
If the vehicle needs to be serviced at the dealership, Yellowknife Motors works out the transportation, using a combination of towing or cargo-shipping companies.
“We sometimes take on that cost ourselves or will share it with the customer depending on the nature of the problem,” Boucher told Automotive News Canada. “That helps ensure that the vehicle keeps coming back to us for service.”