The AA has launched a tool for motorists to help them find the best local franchised dealer or independent garage for servicing and repairs.
AA Garage Guide is billed as unique in the market because it ranks dealerships and garages by quality and standards, not price.
This new approach to online garage search and booking is in response to AA research** showing that nine in 10 AA members consider trust and reliability to be more important than price when choosing a dealer or garage.
AA Garage Guide is a joint venture between Motoriety and the AA.
A dealer listing is free, but all dealers and garages must be verified first.
The process involves checking a company’s information and trading history, cross-referencing any industry schemes and bodies it is affiliated with or subscribed to such as TSI accreditation and checking its reputation online.
Listed franchise dealerships and independent garages pay a flat fee per accepted booking.
Importantly, dealerships and garages are able to select the exact type of work they want rather than waste resources dealing with enquiries are not concerned with.
Dealers and garages without their own online booking facility can place the free booking widget provided on their websites.
As well as helping dealerships and garages to win new business, AA Garage Guide also helps them retain customers.
Once a customer has booked at a particular dealership or garage, the AA Garage Guide will always refer them back there as the first choice for their next booking or when advisory work on a customer’s record becomes due.
Vehicles under the manufacturer warranty period will be directed to a franchised dealer.
Alongside AA Garage Guide, the AA app and website are being enhanced to enable motorists to manage all aspects of their vehicle ownership — from tax, MOT and insurance documents to vehicle servicing and repair service records — in a secure, cloud-based environment.
Lucy Burnford, co-founder of AA Garage Guide, said: “In recent years, there has been an explosion in online service booking platforms, but these are price-focused rather than quality-led, which we don’t think best serves UK motorists or attracts the best businesses.
“Also, many of these booking platforms aren’t available to franchised dealers, so are not genuinely whole-of-market.
“As a result, AA Garage Guide hosts both franchised dealerships and independent garages with the focus on quality and standards rather than price. The platform is something we feel will really appeal to; and benefit, both the industry and the millions of UK motorists.”
Edmund King, AA president, adds: “88% of our members tell us that trust and reliability are more important than price when choosing a dealer or garage and it was very much with this in mind that we created AA Garage Guide.
“The goal of this powerful new search tool is twofold: to deliver more custom to high quality dealerships and independent garages, and to provide a premium experience to our members.
“The AA Garage Guide is a unique online system where car owners in search of quality service can effortlessly search for, and book online, the very best dealers and garages.”
* Populus received 17,629 responses from AA members to its online poll between December 12-17 2013.