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Franchise networks improve service retention

The January 2004 edition of the Castrol Business Services Trend Tracker shows Honda and Toyota dealers achieved the best service retention performance last year. VW, Audi Mercedes and Volvo also gave good accounts of themselves.

The latest Trend Tracker indicates service customer retention gains by franchised dealers across all marques and car age groups, from consumer poll data, while independent garages and DIY servicing both lost service market share.

Dealers' performance across all franchises in retaining service custom for cars up to four years old improved on recent years, in all probability thanks to extended periods of new car warranty cover. Trend Tracker author Brian Taylor comments that the OFT's demand for the deletion of tied warranty clauses from new car warranties may halt or reverse this trend.

Extended service intervals are taking their toll on franchised dealers' servicing volumes, the report indicates; the proportion of owners of cars under four years old stating “not yet serviced” increased in the latest research to nearly 33% of all responses in this car age group. Ten years ago, it was less than half that percentage.

The Castrol Business Services Trend Tracker, priced at £265.00 plus p&p for two copies, covers trend data in several areas of the UK automotive aftermarket, and includes analysis of topical issues such as warranty cover and quality assurance. A supplementary electronic version costs £59.95. Information from:

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