Repairing a vehicle's air conditioning system can be a time-consuming operation fraught with problems unrelated to repairing the mech-anical parts.

Ever since R12 (Freon) was outlawed, the substance has had a tendency to creep into service department equipment and customer vehicles, causing each to function below their capabilities. Such problems hurt the bottom line and customer satisfaction.

General Motors Service Operations says it has a new machine to prevent such snags.

Jointly developed with SPX, the air conditioning system refrigerant recycling machine is touted as solving many of the problems associated with servicing climate control systems.

GM will pay half the cost of a dealer's first unit. The new equipment lists for $5,193. Large dealer organizations can expect to pay less when ordering multiple units.

"We want this equipment in the dealerships," says Dave Rowland, GM's project manager for the new machine. "We know it will give them a competitive advantage."

To prevent R12 and other contaminants from getting into the new system and being passed into customer vehicles, the ACR 2000 has an identifier component that senses every chemical in the system being worked on.

If it identifies a contaminant, it will stop and signal the technician to use another system to extract the contaminated fluid.

In addition to contaminants, air can get trapped in the vehicle's system, which causes it to work below its capability.

This happens when a recycling machine doesn't replace the volume of refrigerant. So, the new machine has an advanced continuous air purge system that keeps out air bubbles that can hamper the efficiency of an AC system.

SPX Sales Engineer Derek Trimble says the new machine is accurate to within an ounce. The previous machine was accurate to within six ounces.

The process of recovering old refrigerant and re-charging with new chemicals can take a lot of valuable service technician time.

Mr. Trimble says the ACR2000 is 45% faster than the version of the machine it replaces. In fact, GM has reduced labor time it will pay for the operation from 9/10ths of an hour to 5/10ths of an hour.

Newgen Results Corporation, a provider of customer relationship management technology for service departments, is signing up dealerships for a new management product that runs fixed operations.

Signed to a two-year pilot project are 20 Ford Dealer Development dealers.

Two other dealers signed on for longer-term relationships.

Randall Reed, owner of Planet Ford Dealership in Spring, TX, has signed a three-year agreement with subsidiary Newgen Management Services. John Calcott, owner of several Midwest dealerships signed a five-year agreement for three of his dealerships in Illinois and Iowa.

Newgen Management Services will provide its Ultimate Service product to these dealerships and will receive a monthly fee for its management services and a share of the improvement in the profits of the service and parts departments.

Gerald L. Benowitz, CEO of Newgen Results Corp., says, "With this program we literally take over management of the service and parts departments of dealerships, which allows us to utilize our core Results and Reservation programs and new eServices in order to increase the dealership's profits.

"And in turn, we benefit by receiving a share of that profit improvement. We are in discussions with several dealerships about Ultimate Service and plan to announce additional contracts over the next three to six months."

Randall Reed, owner of Planet Ford, stated, "Ultimate Service is the Mr. Calcott says, "I am very impressed with Ultimate Service and Newgen's ability to come in and take over the whole process."

Newgen Results Corp. uses database marketing and customer retention efforts to deliver highly targeted and customized solutions to the automotive community.

Newgen currently supports 5,500 auto dealerships nationwide and maintains relationships with leading automotive companies and dealer groups.