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Automakers in concierge, free maintenance wars

The makers of luxury autos keep fighting to find ways to distinguish their brand from their competitors.

On Monday, Nissan said its upscale Infiniti division will offer a free concierge service for buyers of its vehicles. Getprev

The Infiniti Personal Assistant will give owners unlimited 24-hour access to a live team of professional assistants who can provide driving directions, weather forecast, dining suggestions and reservations, travel arrangements and sports scores through the car’s Bluetooth system or even away from the vehicle by phone.

The service is good for four years to one registered driver of the vehicle and is not transferable. Service for a second driver is $199 at the time of the car’s purchase. Other makes, including BMW and Cadillac, charge for similar services. 

But other manufacturers offer a range of other enticements to attract buyers.

BMW includes four years of maintenance with the purchase of its vehicles.

Equus, luxury sedan from Hyundai, comes with an iPad instead of an owner’s manual and a concierge service for maintenance. An Equus technician will come to the owner’s house or office when the vehicle
needs service, pick up the car and drop off a loaner car.  Equus then brings the serviced vehicle back to the owner.

“The brands tend to offer things based on their strengths,” said Dan Hall, an analyst at AutoPacific, an industry consulting firm in Tustin. “Lexus doesn’t offer years of maintenance because they are
known for being reliable. But BMW is known as Break My Wallet, so they had to do something.”

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-- Jerry Hirsch
twitter.com/LATimesJerry

Photo: The 2011 Infiniti M56. Credit: Nissan North America

 
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