A fleet maintenance and management company has criticised Mercedes-Benz dealerships in London after research revealed labour rates were as high as £100 an hour.
Bethell Fleet Services claims the dealers are putting up prices for servicing before their franchises are terminated in December. Mercedes-Benz UK wants to control the retailing of its cars in the London, Manchester and Birmingham areas.
One London-based service engineer claimed labour rates at Mercedes-Benz dealers were increasing throughout the South-east. One was said to charge an hourly £85 + VAT, equivalent to £100.
A number of dealers in the London area were found in the survey to charge more than £90 an hour.
At Mercedes-Benz owned garages in London, in Edgeware Road and Great West Road, labour rates are £65 an hour + VAT.
A spokesman for DaimlerChrysler UK said: “Our dealers are entitled to fix their own labour rates and this has nothing to do with our decision to terminate franchises. There are unique pressures in London relating to land costs and employment costs.”
Tim Jones, managing director of Bethell Fleet Services, claimed the dealers insisted fleet customers paid full retail labour rates which risked inflating contract hire rates.