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70% of UK motorists prefer independent garages over main dealer, Servicing Stop reveals

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A new survey by Servicing Stop has revealed that 70% of UK motorists would prefer to visit an independent garage than a main dealer to meet their car's maintenance needs.

The survey, which asked participants to justify their choices by listing the benefits of each garage type, found that low prices and the ability to haggle as the main reason for visiting an independent, with many also stating that they felt supporting local businesses was important.

Respondents also said independent garages were more personal, bespoke, honest, trustworthy and friendly. Proximity, reputation and the ability to talk to a mechanic were also on the list.

Servicing Stop's survey seems to highlight the misconceptions of UK motorists which the NFDA's Consumer Satisfaction Survey attempted to dispel with its findings in 2016 and 2017.

The majority of motorists who responded to Servicing Stop's survey opted for the smaller, local and independently-run garages as their favourite place to have their car serviced, with just 30% opting for a main dealer garage.

The most common reason given for main dealer preference was specialist knowledge about the make and model of a vehicle, alongside a higher quality of work.

Other reasons were increased likelihood to stock car parts and offer courtesy cars – while some were concerned about the dealer stamp in their service book.

Servicing Stop’s chief executive Oly Richmond, said: “I have always been an advocate for independent garages and always will be. Our network is made up of more than 1,500 independent garages across the UK and we’re always recruiting more.

“Independent garages offer motorists the chance to have skilled workmanship carried out on their vehicle in a trusted, safe and local environment. It also saves hundreds of pounds on a service.

“I’m thrilled to see that the majority of motorists are now accepting that independent garages are the way forward and I hope it is something that is celebrated in the industry.”

What are the benefits of going to an independent garage? (open-ended)

  • Supporting local people and business
  • Good deals/ cheaper/ lower-priced/ Able to haggle on a price
  • More personal and bespoke
  • More local reputation
  • You don’t have as much of a chance of being charged for something you don’t need
  • Maintains my lifetime warranty
  • I know the mechanic personally
  • More trustworthy and honest
  • Location - not having to travel out of town
  • Friendlier staff
  • Quicker and easier to source parts
  • Ability to talk face-to-face with the mechanic servicing your vehicle

What are the benefits of going to a main dealer garage? (open-ended)

  • High quality of work often guaranteed
  • Knowledge of your make and model of car
  • Have needed parts in store
  • Specialist trained staff
  • More concerned about reputation
  • Genuine parts
  • More professional
  • You can get a dealer stamp in your service book
  • Courtesy car availability


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