Location shouldn't matter when it comes to offering affordable servicing and repairs

Location shouldn't matter when it comes to offering affordable servicing and repairs


Judging by recent industry reports, it seems that British motorists are flying the flag when it comes to car maintenance. An analysis of the UK automotive aftermarket, published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), revealed that UK consumers spend an average of £695 on car maintenance every year; 12% more than the global average. Collectively, this equates to an eye-watering £21.1 billion a year for servicing and repair.

The report notes that, with more than 42,500 vehicle service and repair locations of all types, the UK aftermarket "offers consumers a wide choice of where and how they have their cars serviced, -and how much they spend".

The SMMT report makes for a very interesting read. Indeed, its findings are somewhat reminiscent of another great piece of research which came to light last year. During October 2015, WhoCanFixMyCar.com highlighted the so-called 'postcode lottery' motorists face when getting their cars repaired, revealing that prices can vary by as much as 30% depending on location. Analysing the most common car repairs, including 'under the bonnet' work, servicing and brake / exhaust repairs, workshop costs were found to fluctuate noticeably by region. East Anglia proved to be the most expensive region, with an average repair and maintenance cost of £241. At the other end of the scale, motorists living in the North East or Northern Ireland would be charged an average of £192 and £180 respectively.

The research also looked into how costs of repairs vary between UK cities: London had the highest costs with an average of £233, while Manchester fared nearly fifty pounds cheaper at an average of £184. Repairs carried out in Glasgow were by far the cheapest, coming in at an average of £166. Discrepancies in pricing could be attributed to a variety of factors, such as average wage rates or the degree of workshop competition. What's interesting to consider however, is how these price variations affect consumer behaviour. A separate study carried out by WhoCanFixMyCar.com looked at the distances motorists are prepared to travel for servicing and repairs. Surprisingly, drivers were found to travel up to 30% further when faced with a costly repair "possibly on the premise of a cost saving". For main dealers, who are traditionally (though not always correctly) positioned as the 'more expensive' option for servicing and repairs, this is an unwelcome revelation. It just goes to show why dealerships need to offer greater flexibility for customers. Too often motorists have to resort to driving further afield just to meet the cost of repairs; something which can be avoided with the option of an interest free payment plan. By offering instalment financing plans, dealerships can deliver affordable servicing and repairs, regardless of location!

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