MoT testing facilities and longer warranties could help stem the flow of customer migration from the franchised network to the independent sector, says Trend Tracker director Chris Oakham.
Oakham will be speaking at AM’s Hit for Six Conference, which takes place at the Cedar Court Hotel, Wakefield on November 19.
The one day conference tackles six hot topics facing dealers - new cars, used cars, aftersales, finance, insurance and digital.
Oakham, who is also author the Castrol Professional Car Service and Repair Trend Tracker report, will focus on ways in which franchised dealers can retain aftersales customers and even win migrants back against the backdrop of latest industry analysis.
Identifying MoT testing as a key customer retainer, Oakham also highlights the problem that only around 60% of franchised dealers have MoT testing facilities compared to around 70% of independent outlets.
What’s more worrying is the latest Trend Tracker report figures for 2012 show of the 7,154 motorists interviewed, of those who had work carried out in the three months prior, a staggering 77% were undertaken at independent outlets and only 15% were administered by franchised dealers. The repair work volume was correspondingly significantly higher for the independent sector.
He said: “Dealers need to address ways in which they can attract MoT business including those who will have to use an off-site MoT test partner.
"Repairs are a much more lucrative revenue steam than routine services and when we are seeing huge independent fast-fit chains like Kwik Fit investing massively into MoT test facilities at their branches nationwide, that’s an indication of how vital they view on-site MoT testing to their business model.
“When my own vehicle was due its MoT recently, my local franchised dealer was straight on the phone booking in my vehicle. Interestingly, I was contacted by the sales executive who had sold me the car rather than the service advisor.
"When we had established I was not in the market for a new car, he was quick to ensure my MoT test was undertaken at the dealership. That’s how it should be done.”
Oakham also highlights the higher retention experienced by brands which offer longer warranties, in particular, Kia with seven years and Hyundai with its five-year warranty. Now well established in the marketplace and in the psyche of the motorist, the longer warranties appear to be having a substantial effect in retaining customers in the franchised network.
Oakham said: “Our research shows that brands such as Kia and Hyundai are enjoying higher service retention rates of all ages of vehicles of around 30-40% which is extremely good but even so, no workshop can succeed on service work alone.”