Independents preferred to main dealers for servicing and MoTs says survey

Car owners prefer the independent sector to franchised dealers for servicing and MoTs according to new research from GForces.

The results of the study, which sought the opinion of 2,000 car owners on a variety of aftersales topics, found over half of the respondents (50.3 per cent) used independent garages, compared with 34.1 per cent who use main dealers.

The survey, the first in a series to be undertaken by GForces, found regional variations in the choice of independent or franchised sites. Owners in the South East were least likely to use a main dealer for aftersales work with under 30 per cent of respondents stating this as their preferred outlet. In the North East and Scotland, however, over 40 per cent of car owners favoured franchised outlets.

The survey also asked car owners about their attitude towards service plans. Of those surveyed, 17.5 per cent had a service plan, with a greater proportion of car owners between the ages of 18 and 24 having one (29 per cent) compared the 45+ generation at just 13.5 per cent.

Younger car owners, aged between 18 and 34, were most likely group to cut costs, the highest proportion using fast-fits or servicing their vehicles themselves at 11.9 per cent and 6.2 per cent respectively. Just 28.8 per cent in this age range used a main dealer.

“Knowing that more people are turning to the independent sector is one thing; it’s much more important to know why. With pricing as the main factor, it’s more important than ever for dealers to advertise their value proposition – both online and off,” said Tim Smith, group strategy director at GForces.

“Building relationships with customers is also clearly very important when it comes to retaining them, so dealers should seek to create a community of advocates and continuously engage with them. Many businesses are doing this through social media.”


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