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Longer service gaps worrying for retailers

Franchised dealers are worried about the trend to longer intervals between routine services and few believe manufacturers are concerned about the effect on profits.

Asked whether they were concerned about the longer gaps, 76% replied 'yes'. When questioned about manufacturers' understanding of the problem, 68% of those asked thought there was no concern.

Audi has announced plans to extend servicing intervals to up to 30,000 miles, depending on how the car is driven.

An Audi spokesman has said this development was “the way of the world” and that dealers of all manufacturers would need to look at other areas of their business for income.

Dealers were asked about how well they were faring in the battle against specialist aftersales business and most (65%) said 'holding steady'. Eight per cent believed their company was losing and only 27% said 'winning'.

A small majority (53%) said investment to make their aftersales reception area more welcoming would probably increase business. Many said they had already carried out the work.

Asked whether investment demanded by manufacturers in terms of workshop equipment was reasonable, 73% said 'yes'.

There appears to be a growing awareness among dealers of the need for customers to gain confidence by talking to people working on their cars.

Asked whether the management encouraged workshop technicians to talk to customers, 75% said they did.

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