Lexus, Porsche and Mercedes-Benz are the best franchises for retaining service customers within the franchised dealer network, according to a new study by Warranty Direct.
Lexus retains 58% of customers with cars registered between 2001 & 2010, Porsche retains 54% and Mercedes-Benz retains 49%. The worst performers were Fiat with a 10% retention rate and Vauxhall at 11%.
There is a clear link between premium brands attracted greater loyalty with customers for servicing, while value and volume brands see customers stray to the independent sector.
The stats are based on Warranty Direct’s analysis of more than 70,000 policies. When a Warranty Direct customer takes out a policy, they indicate whether they would prefer to get their vehicle serviced at a franchised dealer or independent garage.
The study also shows that one in six of 10 year old car owners (16%) still use main dealers to service their cars.
That figure more than doubles for drivers of three-year old vehicles – often just out of manufacturer warranty – with 37% choosing to have their car looked after by a franchised workshop.
The company’s analysis of more than 70,000 policies shows that, overall, more than a fifth (22%) of motorists with three-10 year old cars trust the main dealer workshop over independent garages.
Even when the car is three years out of warranty – typically at six years old – one in four drivers (24%) will continue to choose franchised over non-franchised for servicing and repairs.
Duncan McClure Fisher, managing Director at Warranty Direct, said: “Once cars leave the protective umbrella of the manufacturer warranty and are on their second or third owners, they are typically lost to the manufacturer network and that has a negative effect on extended warranty penetration, customer retention and workshop absorption rates.
“But our research shows that drivers do value and trust the work of the franchised network over the independent sector – if manufacturers simply re-engage the pull dynamic they have through new car warranties, there are gains to be made for main dealers.
“While independents can offer savings when it comes to the garage bill, not having main-dealer service stamps on a logbook can negatively impact a car’s resale value, especially with premium brand models.”
Manufacturer and average % of vehicles registered between 2001 & 2010 retained within franchised dealer network
Alfa Romeo 44%
Land Rover 39%