Lifting the lid on the true cost of car maintenance once more, WhoCanFixMyCar analysed the costs associated with car repair and servicing for Volkswagen Groups volume brands; Volkswagen, Audi, Seat and Skoda.
Theoretically, with so much similar under the bonnet it’s expected that costs would be similar.
Louis Butcher (pictured), digital marketing manager of WhoCanFixMyCar.com, looks at the reality.
Insight #1 Audi tops the list whereas Seat comes out as least expensive
Perhaps understandably as a premium marque, Audi is the most expensive of the four brands (£202.81 average quote).
However, Audi is only 8% more expensive than the average repair cost across the four brands (£188.22) and 20% more than the least expensive brand, Seat (£169.06).
The more interesting comparisons come when discounting the premium brand Audi.
VW is 10% more expensive than Seat and 6% more expensive than Skoda.
Although these three brands have near identical parts under the hood, the cost of maintenance seems to correlate with the popularity of the brand.
This suggests brand equity fuels more expensive maintenance costs.
Insight #2 Different brands are more expensive in different segments
When comparing the three volume superminis; Seat Ibiza, Skoda Fabia and VW Polo, the price difference is small – just £10 difference between the cheapest (Ibiza £153.52) and the most expensive (Fabia £163.05).
Similarly, the price difference on the high volume saloon models is small across Audi A4, Skoda Octavia, and VW Passat with only £14 separating the A4 and Octavia.
When it comes to hatchbacks, the Audi A3 repair bills are 11% more expensive than the Leon and 7% more expensive than the Golf.
Only £8 separates the Golf and the Leon, which is what you would hope for considering when they are stripped down they are essentially the same car.
Discounting Audi, the other three brands battle for price supremacy across different segments.
So what is driving the price difference?
Insight #3 Routine work shows Audi clearly more expensive - but the other three are similarly priced
Audi is the most expensive across the routine job categories: brakes and exhausts, electrical and batteries, servicing and MoT and steering and suspension.
The most notable is brakes and exhaust work.
On average, pads and discs will cost the consumer an extra £53 for an Audi than they would for a Seat, £47 more than Skoda and £37 more than VW.
Exhaust fitting will cost £207 on average for an Audi, 46% more than Skoda (£112), 36% more than Seat (£132) and 33% more than VW (£138).
Insight #4 VW is reasonably priced on routine work - but expensive for non-routine work
The fact VW comes out more expensive on average than Seat and Skoda is driven mostly by non-routine work.
Considering bodyshop work, the average VW quote is £407 – 25% more than Skoda (£306) and a whopping 35% more than Seat (£266).
In comparison, £4 separates the cheapest (Seat £191) and most expensive (Skoda £196) for a routine full service and MoT.
Insight #5 Age of vehicle impacts the brands in different ways
As expected, prices leap once the car is over three years old for all of the brands as mechanical work becomes a requirement.
Between three and five years old, Seat costs jump by 30%, Skoda by 23%, VW by 19% and Audi by 18%.
However, Audi costs continue to soar up to the eight-year mark when they then tail off and plateau.
Audi remains the most expensive throughout, whereas Seat, VW and Skoda all dip in price after five years for a short period.
The peaks in the graph highlight where a majority of big ticket jobs such as clutch and cambelt work take place.
The first three years is mostly servicing work and lower ticket routine jobs such as oil changes and air con services.
Butcher said: “As expected Audi is consistently more expensive than their counterparts, likely down to its positioning as a more premium option.
“VW is consistently more expensive than Skoda and Seat in the first 12 years of ownership.
“Interesting, considering many of the models are very similar in terms of what is under the hood – brand equity may result in a more expensive product.
“Are customers willing to pay the premium?”
WhoCanFixMyCar.com is an online marketplace for car servicing and repairs.
A total of 425,000 quotes have been requested through the system.
With over 8,900 garages on the platform, drivers receive multiple quotes for service and repair work, enabling them to compare garages based on reviews, location and price.
119,095 lines of data from quotes provided on WhoCanFixMyCar.com were used to produce this report.