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UK customers split between independents and franchised for servicing

Almost half of car owners (47%) would get their car serviced at a local independent garage rather than take it to the dealer they bought the car from.

The stats follow an independent online survey by Research Plus on behalf of Experian’ Automotive division, which also shows customers are even less likely to use a franchised dealer that sells the same brand of car to service their vehicle (13%).

The results were based on 1,008 British car owners aged 18 and over which were quizzed between January 21-26 this year.

Experian’s survey also revealed a clear difference between new and used car owners.

Sixty four per cent of used car owners would go to a local garage to get their car serviced, compared to just 23% of new car owners.

Meanwhile, just over half (51%) of new car owners would prefer to use the dealer they bought their car from, compared to 13% of used car owners.

Workmanship and value for money

However, all car owners, regardless of whether they own a new or used car, place quality of workmanship (72%) and value for money (67%) as the two most important elements of a good car service provider.

Kirk Fletcher, managing director of Experian’s Automotive division, said: “Sixty-two per cent of car owners keep their cars for at least three years before considering a change and our survey reveals that at least half of motorists are likely to hold onto their car for longer if the current climate persists.

“This makes car servicing an important area for dealers and even an area of differentiation.”

Fletcher advised dealers to focus on highlighting the good workmanship and value for money aspects of the dealership to customers during the current climate.

He added: “Database cleansing becomes a key activity at this point. By keeping track of what the customers are driving dealers can achieve far higher returns from their marketing activities.”

The older the car owners, the more likely they are to stay loyal to the dealer (41% of those aged 65 years old or older compared to 20% of 18 to 34 year olds).

Older car owners are also more inclined to be influenced by the quality of workmanship (84% of 65+ year olds compared to 61% of 18-34 year olds).

Younger car owners, however, are more likely to go to a local independent garage (52% of 18 to 34 year olds compared to 45% of those aged 65 years old or older), with price playing a more prominent role in their decision (56% of 18 to 34 year olds compared to 33% of over 65 year olds).

Gender

A local independent garage is more likely to be the choice that women (51%) take compared to men (43%), while men are more inclined towards a franchised dealer owned by the same brand as their car (15% compared to 10%).

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