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Sewells best practise: Franchises cut independents' market lead

The latest edition of the Castrol Trend Tracker survey shows franchised dealers have further tightened their grip on the market for servicing.

Their share has risen continuously for four years, and exhibited a rising trend since the mid 1990s. Right now, Trend Tracker reports franchised dealers carry out 30% of services having retained their share of cars less than four years old and made gains in the four- to six-year-old segment.

However the independent sector still has a narrow lead with 32% of services, because it has benefited from the apparently terminal decline of DIY, which now stands at just above 10%.

Franchised dealer service departments are on a roll, but there are clouds on the horizon. The problem is the dramatically increasing number of owners reporting that they haven’t had their car serviced since owning it – 20% for the car parc as a whole.

But ominously for franchised dealers, the highest percentage of ‘not yet serviced’ is in the less than four years old segment. This reflects lengthening service intervals as much as anything, and the only consolation for franchised dealers is that they will capture services on younger cars when due.

More widely, retention of servicing offers the opportunity to secure wear and tear business. Unfortunately franchised dealers are not cashing in because they’re already working flat out.

The boom in new car sales has meant more pre-delivery inspections – and universally longer warranty periods have boosted work from this source. Our advice? Gear up your resources.

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