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Franchising a service

Service can be a franchising opportunity.
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Many don’t realize it, but a car dealership is also a franchised business. It’s a type of business format franchising; in this case, the carmaker gives the dealer or distributor the right to use or sell its products, services and trademark and use its business techniques. Restaurants, retail stores and many service businesses also practice this format.

[related|post]Take the example of Nissan Iloilo (S&J Motors) Inc. What makes the company stand out is its exceptional service to its customers throughout Panay Island. Besides running two branches in Iloilo City, the dealership has outlets in Roxas City, Capiz and Kalibo, Aklan—and is poised to open another branch in Antique, thus having an office in every province on the island in Western Visayas.

In fact, S&J Motors was the only Philippine dealer to receive the 2010 Global Nissan Sales and Service Way Award. The award is given to Nissan dealerships that display “the highest standards of performance in customer satisfaction internationally.”

Nissan Iloilo is the first dealership of the Japanese car brand outside Metro Manila to receive the global award—and it underscores what S&J Motors has been all about for nearly half a century.

 “We’ve always been a service organization,” says 76-year-old Virginia C. Segovia, president and general manager of Nissan Iloilo, recalling the days when her late husband Estefano and a partner, Alfredo Javelosa, founded S&J Motors in 1965 to sell Volkswagen cars.

When Volkswagen pulled out of the country in 1980, S&J Motors did not close shop, maintaining its service and parts business to cater to their clients. This continued until 1983, when Pilipinas Nissan (the forerunner of Nissan Motors Philippines Inc. or NMPI) asked the Segovias to become their dealer in Iloilo province. In 1995, Universal Motors Corp. (UMC), the 100-percent Filipino-owned assembler and distributor of Nissan cars and trucks, also asked S&J to carry its lineup for the Western Visayas region.

Since then, S&J Motors has consistently ranked among the top Nissan dealerships in the country, selling an average of 16 vehicles a month and servicing hundreds more in their four (soon to be five) locations.

NMPI named it the Best Provincial Dealer in Customer Satisfaction for 2009, and in March 2010, UMC recognized the upselling strategies of S&J Motors that led to a 24-percent growth of its service sales, “thereby enriching Nissan brand loyalty in the area,” the company said.

“We continuously aim to improve the experience of buying and owning a Nissan,” says Ma. Luisa “Marissa” Segovia, Virginia’s daughter and S&J Motors vice president for operations.

“Our mindset is that individualized service is at the core of every transaction. Inviting showrooms may be one thing, attractive products may be another, but Nissan Iloilo’s excellent service builds customers who will sell for us, generation after generation.”

Indeed, S&J Motors has practically become family to all Nissan owners in Iloilo and Panay Island. “People buy vehicles from people they consider friends,” says Virginia. “Therefore we have more reason to remain focused on what we do best—customer service driven by a passion to make a difference in the lives of our customers.”


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