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RMI slams latest What Car? survey

Matthew Carrington, chief executive of the Retail Motor Industry Federation, has spoken out against the latest What Car? survey, which states consumers are paying more than £100 an hour for franchised service deal labour rates.

The survey alleges that car servicing costs at 200 UK dealerships show that it can be cheaper to employ a barrister or a doctor than a mechanic.

Carrington said: “What Car? purports to be examining the labour rates of certain professions - a mechanic, a locum doctor, a freelance journalist and a junior barrister - but has misleadingly entitled its findings “salary investigation”, even comparing the length of “training” between the professions! Which is it investigating, salaries or labour rates?

“It is obvious it has confused salaries with labour rates, and has misinterpreted its findings to the detriment of consumers. The recently published 2006 RMIF/Sewells Retail Motor Industry Pay Guide reports that a mechanic at a franchised dealership currently receives an average of £19,972 total pay per annum.”

The pay guide shows the national average retail service labour charge-out rate for dealers is £63.04 per hour, with dealers’ warranty labour charge-out rates averaging £51.35 per hour.

“To put side by side the labour rates of a junior barrister with a franchised dealership is ridiculous, as it is not a “like for like” comparison. This kind of sensationalist reporting does the industry and the consumer no favours,” added Carrington.

The What Car? results showed hourly rates vary across the country, from £49 for Vauxhall in Scotland to £140 for BMW in London. Its researchers discovered advances in technology have made previously-simple jobs fiddly and time-consuming, increasing labour costs. Replacing a main-beam bulb on an Audi A2 can cost as much as £66.00 – with the bulb costing just £3.96.

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