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Independents dominate MoT sector

MoT testing is playing a critical role in establishing the dominance of the non-franchised sector in the car repair market.

The finding comes in a new report ‘Castrol Business Services ‘maintenance and repair’ trend tracker.

It reveals that independent garages get a massive 71% of MoT tests whilst franchised dealers get just 18.7%. Fast-fits only get 3.1% of tests despite many of the outlets being MoT Test centres. The remainder of test are carried out by other types of outlet – possibly one sub-contracting the test, which would likely boost the independent garage proportion even higher.

Author of the report, Trend Tracker director Robert Macnab says: "When you consider that earlier reports researched by us identify that over 30% of all work carried out by independent garages is directly linked to an MoT test, it shows the important influence of this dominance of the test market by independent garages.

"Major fast-fit product offers are also amongst the highest MoT test failure categories. But this strangle-hold on MoT testing by independent garages could be one of the reasons for the leakage of typical fast-fit products to independent garages – combined with the much higher number of independent garage outlets out there, of course. And it could also be why many of the respondents that mentioned more than one job were using an independent garage."

With repair jobs, again independent garages get the majority at 44.6% compared to franchised dealers who only get 19.2% – mostly warranty work. Fast-fits get 11.7% – mainly replacement tyres and exhausts. The DIY/friend category gets 18.6%, much higher than the proportion of service jobs carried out using DIY. It shows that DIY is more of a repair activity than a method of keeping cars regularly serviced.

Independent garages account for the largest slice of service jobs at 45%, with franchised dealers accounting for 36.2%. Fast-fits only get 1.6% of service jobs. The DIY/friend method gets 11.6%. Breaking garage trade sector’ customer profiles down further across the Trend Tracker car age groups offers clues to the dynamics of consumer preferences for different types of outlet.

First of all we’ll look at servicing. The franchised dealer focus on younger cars is clear – as is DIY activity being focussed on older cars. However, the vehicle age profile for fast-fit service customers appears to be on cars aged 7-9 years old. This is reflected in a dip in the number of independent garage service customers owning cars of the same age profile.

This may be attributable to confusion in the minds of motorists when describing the type of outlet used. But it may also signal a trend for service jobs to slip away from independent garages to fast-fits before motorists with older cars move on to become DIYers. However, as fast-fits only account for 1.6% of total service jobs it is more likely due to confusion.

The report opens up by looking at the service and repair market in total, comparing each marque’s performance with the all-marques’ performance. It also relates each marque’s 2005 performance with that identified in 2004. The marques surveyed are similar to those analysed in the Castrol Business Services ‘Service’ Trend Tracker which is published each January. The marques surveyed were: Fiat, Ford, Nissan, Toyota, Mazda, Daihatsu, Suzuki, Mitsubishi, Peugeot, Citroen, Renault, MG Rover, Vauxhall, Volkswagen, BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Honda, Volvo and Saab; car age groups were: under 4 years, 4-6 years, 7-9 years, 10 years and more.

Type of work carried out in last month

Total all-marques sample

Jobs split by sector

Servicing jobs

(accounting for 31.1% of all jobs mentioned)

Repairs

(accounting for 39.2% of all jobs mentioned)

MOT tests

(accounting for 25.5 percent of all jobs mentioned)

  • The new Castrol Business Services Maintenance and Repair Trend Tracker is available to buy for £325. For more information on the report and its availability go to www.trendtracker.co.uk.
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