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Service competition increases as dealer FSH wanes

Franchised dealers look set to come under further pressure from independent workshops as the need for main dealer service stamps to maintain optimal residuals appears to be waning.

Although an increasing number of fleets, contract hire and leasing companies and rental firms are using Kwik-Fit centres for car and van servicing, some operators believe that not taking vehicles to a franchise dealer could damage used values.

And many carmaker approved used car schemes require stock to have manufacturer-specified full service history to qualify.

But Tim Hudson, vice chairman of the National Association of Motor Auctions, and managing director of vehicle remarketing company Aston Barclay, told a break-out session on remarketing at a recent British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association industry conference: “There is a threshold in most manufacturer ranges that determines whether the franchised dealer stamp is critical in eyes of the used car buyer. Those requiring a franchise stamp tend to be at the premium end of the model range."

However, whether having vehicles serviced at a franchise dealer or through the independent sector, such as at a fast-fit organisation like Kwik-Fit, Hudson said: "What is essential is that company cars and vans have a documented service history across their fleet life to ensure top residual values are potentially achievable."

Kwik-Fit Fleet sales director Peter Lambert, who attended the seminar and was in the audience for the break-out session, said: "Confirmation from an independent authority such as Tim Hudson of the National Association of Motor Auctions will give more fleets and leasing companies the confidence to have their vehicles serviced at Kwik-Fit centres in the knowledge that residual values will not be damaged."


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