Fast-fit worries franchised

Time 4:31 pm, November 1, 2011

workshopFRANCHISED workshops have lost customers to independent and fast-fit outlets so far in 2011, new data shows.

The findings come from the Castrol Professional Car Service and Repair Trend Tracker report, and find that franchised workshops have lost even more customers to independent and fast-fit outlets so far in 2011.

The results indicate that independents and fast-fits now account for 45.7 per cent of servicing work, up from 42.1 per cent in 2010. A decade ago the independent garage share of servicing was just 30.2 per cent

NFDA’s Sue Robinson said ‘Franchised dealers are fully aware of the issues surrounding workshop servicing retention and are already working to address this with a number of proactive strategies.

‘Franchised dealers are working hard to stay competitive within an ever changing market. They are already adopting new approaches to retain their customer base. However dealers need to explore even more ways to retain value-conscious customers.

‘In the current economic climate consumers are reducing spending more than ever and are always looking for the best prices. Franchise dealers are fully aware of the price comparisons made by consumers and many dealers are now offering a ‘price match’ within their region. It is extremely important the consumer looks at a ‘like for like’ service schedule when making any such price comparison.

‘The independent sector must not sit back, standards can be raised even higher’

‘Franchised dealers are committed to offering specialist in-depth and up to date brand knowledge to ensure the service they offer is at the highest possible level. They continue to invest in equipment, facilities and staff training.’

However, the findings have pleased Stuart James from the Independent Garage Association. James, IGA director said: ‘It is great news that the independent sector has increased its share of the servicing market to more than 40 per cent. To see that they are regarded favourably across the board proves that independent garages are in tune with consumer demand.

‘The independent sector must not sit back, standards can be raised even higher. We have fought for the right to access manufacturer information and for independents to repair newer cars within the warranty periods, and won. The opportunity for independents to expand their customer base beyond the three-four year old cars to the newer car market is there.

‘The independent sector must be prepared to evolve and work on becoming more attractive to consumers. If they were to work on the consumer image and curbside appeal then they would have the fully rounded package and increase their work load.’

James Batchelor's avatar

James – or Batch as he’s known – started at Car Dealer in 2010, first as the work experience boy, eventually becoming editor in 2013. He worked for Auto Express as editor-at-large and was the face of Carbuyer’s YouTube reviews. In 2020, he went freelance and now writes for a number of national titles and contributes regularly to Car Dealer. In October 2021 he became Car Dealer's associate editor.

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