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Repair charges top £150 per hour

Motorists are being charged as much as £152.75 an hour for labour to get their cars repaired, according to data released by independent automotive warranty specialist, Warranty Direct today.

Analysis of twenty-seven manufacturers highlights the considerable variation across the country with the £152.75 an hour being charged by a BMW franchised dealer in central London. This figure compares to a combined franchised and independent garage average of £56.72 for the whole country.

The Thames Valley belt of Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire is the most expensive region in the UK with an average hourly charge of £68.61. Scotland is the cheapest, nearly 60% less, with an average of just £43.12.

Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, Porsche and Audi dealers provided the five most expensive rates recorded by Warranty Direct. Mazda delivered an average of £44 an hour, yet the dearest franchised dealer surveyed would set you back double that figure. Similarly, a Ford may cost £50 on average but a London franchised dealer will charge £106.

Maximum and Average Franchised Dealer Hourly Labour Rates By Region

Region Highest
dealer rate
Average rate
(franchised and independent)
Thames Valley: £117.31 £68.61
North London: £115.62 £65.36
Anglia: £102.67 £64.87
South London: £152.75 £62.97
North West: £108.63 £60.71
Northern Ireland £81.66 £58.67
South Coast £119.85 £55.21
Midlands £111.63 £54.45
North East £101.50 £53.24
Wales: £96.31 £51.60
South West: £101.52 £50.35
Yorkshire: £98.70 £48.12
Scotland: £70.50 £43.12

After pressure from the OFT, manufacturers have recently lifted servicing restrictions allowing owners to freely choose where they have their new car serviced.

“Unfortunately, manufacturers don’t have any control over dealer labour rates, hence the sometimes truly extortionate charges some motorists are having to stomach,” says Duncan McClure Fisher of Warranty Direct.

“Everyone appreciates that the cost of living differs across the country but surely not to this level?”

Compared to the previous 12 months, Warranty Direct has registered a three-fold increase in the number of franchised dealers charging over £100 an hour.

The data is based on claims handled by Warranty Direct since June 2003 and its annual survey of franchised dealer rates from across the UK.

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