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Franchised car dealers are winning back lost car service share, says study

The franchised dealer sector is increasing its share of the aftersales market fuelled by rising new car sales, a focus on customer service and new servicing initiatives.

That’s according to research by Castrol Professional, which has identified that franchised repairer share of workshop entries for cars up to two years old has risen to 73% from 66% within five years.

Its share of work on cars aged three to four years has also risen to 35% from 28%.

Nigel Head, Castrol’s head of marketing, UK & Ireland, said: “The introduction of competitive service plans and fixed price servicing, as well as a consistent focus on improving customer service and convenience, have helped franchised dealers to capture a greater proportion of aftersales work.

“Franchised dealer servicing represents excellent value to motorists. Workshops that consistently engage with customers with a strong ‘value for money’ message are poised to reap the rewards.”

Castrol suspects consumers’ lack of awareness of their rights may also be a contributing factor. 42% of motorists believe their vehicle’s warranty will be void if they have the car serviced outside the manufacturer’s network during the warranty period. Among owners of vehicles under two years old the misapprehension is even more widespread – 56% of owners of new vehicles believe they would lose warranty cover, while 26% don’t know.

Head added: “Put simply, franchised dealers can’t rely on a lack of consumer awareness of the Block Exemption Regulations. Any dealer making the mistake of trying to capitalise on this will be doing themselves no favours in the long run. Instead, they must continue to focus on the positive messaging that differentiates their offer, or justifies any possible price premium, from that of rivals in the independent sector.

“Franchised dealers can benefit most from offering genuine parts and complementary, manufacturer-recommended brands, and highlighting their use of manufacturer-trained technicians. It’s important that dealers make the most of the full range of services they have at their disposal, and continue to focus on positive messages like this will be required if dealers are to make further gains.”

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