COVID-19 Update: Nissan Recalls Models with Faulty Hood Latches

By Desiree Homer

Dealers Capitalizing on Service to Spur Sales

Nissan Motor Co. recently announced a recall of more than 1.8 million Altima sedans. The recalled cars are predominantly in the U.S. and Canada and address a potentially faulty hood latch. To some, the announcement may seem untimely as dealers are looking to reopen their showrooms and resume operations. But for other dealers, recalls present an opportunity to reach out to customers. And they continue to use the service lane to drive sales.

The Nissan Altima Hood Latch Problem

The latest recall addresses a secondary hood latch problem with Altima cars within the 2013 and 2018 model years. Details suggest corrosion is the culprit, causing the latch to fail when the hood is closed and the car in motion. This isn’t the first time Nissan has recalled vehicles for this latch issue, either. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed past issues with these same latches for 2013-2015 models back in 2016. Nissan is working on a current remedy and shared 16 reports of minor crashes as a result. While this may sound like bad publicity for Nissan, it presents an opportunity for dealers who need a reason to bring customers through their doors. Bring in your Nissan Altima for the recall, and while you’re here, let’s put you in a new Nissan.

The Service Lane Continues to be the Lifeline for Dealers

As dealer showrooms continue to open, and car buyers trickle in, it’s clear the service department continues to be busy. Consumers may not be able to secure financing right now for a new car, meaning they’ll continue to drive and maintain their older models. Some car buyers may still be hesitant to come in and engage a sales member. But they’ll certainly make an appointment for an oil change. The relationships in the service lane can keep car buyers in the sales funnel and help retain customers for the long-term. Having a recall to contend with can provide dealers another reason to contact existing service customers and keep them engaged with the store.

Consumers Will Always Need Service

As you carve out your strategies for sales and bringing customers to the showroom floor, consider beefing up any parts and service strategies, as well. There is pent up demand for vehicle maintenance as car owners put off getting those oil changes and sheltered in place for two months. Increased unemployment claims, means thousands of people experienced job furloughs and layoffs, making it harder to secure financing. So instead of buying that new car they wanted, they may only be in a position to fix the brakes or replace the tires right now. Attractive deals and service lane promotions will continue to be necessary for many. It’s also an engagement point that dealers recognize to be just as lucrative and essential as the sales side of the house.

“Have you adapted to the change?” Tune into to hear Dave Cantin ask this question and talk to Chris Sondesky, Managing Partner for BDC Pros during a recent Dealer News Today podcast episode. Understanding the changes in customer behavior is what helps address the difference between a “progressive company and what is core operations.” Nissan is recalling 1.8 million vehicles right now. But it’s a reminder that service drive engagement is just as important as developing a sales plan.