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Report highlights rocketing labour rate

Warranty provider Warranty Direct says UK car buyers are being charged 44 per cent more for labour at franchised dealers than five years ago – while the wage for a manual worker has increased by 12.1 per cent over the same period.

The company says the maximum hourly charge to repair a car has increased from an average of £52.96 in 1998 to £76.37 this year, while independent garages charge between £28 and £41 an hour.

On a marque-by-marque basis, Warranty Direct found that over the same period, VW technicians' labour rates have almost doubled from £51.11 to £100; BMW up by 85.6 per cent; Volvo by 79.2 per cent, Land Rover 77 per cent and Alfa Romeo 66 per cent.

The most expensive dealer recorded by Warranty Direct in 2003 was a BMW franchise - charging an hourly labour rate of £115.62 including VAT.

At the other end of the scale, the Mazda hourly rate has increased by just 2 per cent, with similar minor increases recorded by Citroen (up 3.3 per cent ) and Renault (up 3.6 per cent).

“Customers are having to pay more and more for the salubrious surroundings of a franchised operation. Admittedly, a shortage of skilled technicians, with many moving into the independent sector, is forcing rates of pay upwards too,” said Warranty Direct spokesman Duncan McClure-Fisher. “It's also a bit ironic that as new car prices have tumbled, squeezing dealer profit margins on the way, labour rates have rocketed.”

Source: Just-Auto

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