“During dealership refurbishment, many on-site bodyshops disappear in favour of more lucrative activities such as servicing and repair,” says one industry observer. “The labour rates commanded for the lesser investment in service can be three times as much as the more expensive outlay in body repairs. After all, who would want to invest £500,000 to pull in just £23.50 per hour?”
But another key factor is that capacity, which is determined by the number of skilled workers rather than volume, is declining. A shrinking skills base has meant many workers have had to work longer hours while companies look for ways to boost efficiency. Carmakers also employ independent dealers to make up the network coverage.