A majority of motorists (53%) would rather trade their car in for a model that can still be serviced by an independent garage, than pay more at a main dealer.
The survey by Servicing Stop found that almost 70% of motorists prefer independent garages over main dealers - 46% believe they offer the best prices, 40% prefer to use local businesses generally, and a further 14% claim they are more likely to have their MoT, service or repair completed on their chosen date.
Chief executive and founder of Servicing Stop Oly Richmond (pictured), said: “This is a protest to manufacturers preventing small garages from servicing their cars.
“Big brands are now following in the footsteps of BMW and Mercedes who already control where their vehicles can be serviced, and by who.
“So, it is no surprise that motorists back independent garages. This has always been the case, but it is vital that as an industry we continue to pledge our support to local garages and independents everywhere and say no to manufacturers monopolising the market.”
Premium brands, he said, have begun encrypting their car systems to such an advanced and sophisticated level that independent garages can no longer access the car’s inner server to find faults, repair damage or update the digital service records.
“Even the most technologically advanced garages are prevented from accessing the cars as brands hold digital keys which unlock the car’s software.
“This has already prevented hundreds of thousands of garages from taking on certain branded cars and the owners of these vehicles are left with no alternative other than to visit their manufacturer and pay the inflated cost.
“The premium brands are on a list of names who are on a mission to monopolise the servicing sector, a move that could wipe out the independent garage sector entirely,” Richmond said.
He said the manufacturer strategy could “backfire massively”, with less than half of customers willing to use main dealers and pay the “hefty price tag”.
Just one third of motorists said they prefer main dealers over independents, claiming they are more accountable and better trained. A quarter of motorists said they would rather pay more to get a service from a big trusted brand, but these are in the minority.
Servicing Stop commissions surveys through CINT, a survey provider with more than 40 million registered users worldwide.
This survey was completed in May 2017 on a pool of 1,698 motorists in the UK, based on a broad and equal range of the respondents location, employment, gender and age as well as vehicle type and age of vehicle profiles.