The campaign follows a recent report by Motaquip, which launched its own Dedicated Garage Programme last year claiming that garages were not convinced by the possible benefits of Kitemark accreditation.
BSI hopes television-based publicity from Quentin Willson and new interest from Unipart and MVRA, who are now supporting the scheme, will help to raise its profile among consumers.
“The BSI Kitemark for Garage Services is the only scheme with independent, third-party verification and certification,” said Ian Harper, general services manager at Kitemark. “This gives the customer assurance of quality and service.”
Since the scheme was introduced in late 2005, only 80 garages have gained a Kitemark, although another 50 are paid up and awaiting accreditation. BSI is hoping to increase this to between 500 and 700 by the end of 2009, by encouraging car manufacturers, lease hire companies and heavy commerical firms to request it from their garage partners.
Kitemark licences cost £1,500 per year, but the BSI believes that as well as improving customer experience and confidence in the garage, the improved management practice required for accreditation will help boost profits through more efficient administration.
Jack Kyriacos, of Kitemark-accredited East London Garages, claims the increased customer confidence allows independents to compete against main dealers much more effectively. Since receiving accreditation last April he claims a 20% hike in turnover, which more than covered the £25,000 spent on advertising.
“Independents have a problem communicating their benefits to consumers compared with using a franchised dealership,” he commented.
“The Kitemark has put us on a par with the main dealers.”