The French carmaker is offering fixed prices on a range of service and maintenance jobs across its network of more than 300 outlets in a package called Renault Fleet Charter Pricing – using IT solutions company Epyx’s 1link online network.
The announcement comes on the heels of a claim by Epyx itself that vehicle leasing companies are channelling 21% of their aftersales spend towards multi-marque repairers – franchised and independent. Epyx says this is a 13% year-on-year rise.
It’s a claim that puzzles the carmakers to whom AM spoke. One manufacturer said: “Fleets are always looking to reduce costs and improve efficiency – there’s nothing new about that. They may have dropped some of the less efficient dealers, but there’s no sign of a significant move to multi-marque repairers.” Franchised dealers, like Reg Vardy, were similarly left scratching their heads. Finance director Robert Forrester said: “That’s news to me. Demand for aftersales service and parts remains strong from all sectors, including the fleets.”
But Epyx’s head of business development Ken Trinder insists there’s a definite trend, concentrated among mainstream cars where it is perceived by fleets that a service history stamped by a multi-marque garage will not hit residual values. And the prestige sector is not insulated from similar developments.
“We have seen instances where long service booking lead times from prestige franchise dealers have caused them to be passed over in favour of an independent specialist,” he says. “The service standard is high, the quality of technical expertise is comparable and the actual cost of work undertaken is sometimes halved.”
A spokesman for Renault UK says the network is not under threat from multi-marque operations. The initiative with 1link simply provides a better service to fleets.
“We have been able to offer menu pricing in the past, but on a fairly limited basis,” he says. “1link enables us to adopt menu pricing across a much larger number of service jobs and to add jobs and change prices across our franchise outlets in a matter of minutes.”