Dealers are being urged to recognise aftersales and servicing as a way to combat the decline in the new car market, by Incadea UK managing director Paul Humphreys.
Humphrey’s comment comes in response to the SMMT data release last week which showed a 5.7% decline in new car registrations during 2017.
Humphreys said: "While the used car market is performing strongly, it has been a challenging time for new, and for many dealers, this has hit their bottom line.
“However, there is a huge opportunity for dealers to counter this downturn and increase profitability through improving their aftersales service.
"Reviewing service capabilities not only helps the sales process by making it more appealing to new customers, it is also a significant retention opportunity for existing customers, and certainly should not be overlooked.
“At present, we believe dealerships are not speaking loudly enough about their capabilities, and as such, they are missing key opportunities to maximise profit."
Further signs that franchised car retailers should be working harder to attract new aftersales custom and promote trust among prospective customers was seen in recent research from MyCarNeedsA.com that 74% of motorists rely on independent garages for repairs and servicing.
Humphreys continues: "Times have changed, gone are the days where dealers can rely on buyers going back to the same dealership, or seeking their advice, time and time again.
"When buying a car, customers expect the dealer to offer a wide range of services, not only during the buying process but throughout the lifetime of the vehicle. It's critical that dealers recognise this, rather than opting for a 'car sold, job done' approach.
"Loyal customers are essential to dealership survival, through repeat purchases and recommendations, and ensuring quality levels of service are maintained is how they will return time and time again.
"Many dealers may not have considered the impact on customer loyalty that can be gained simply by improving their aftercare.
"If service levels are poor, or non-existent, customers will not remember the experience well, if at all, and will undoubtedly seek alternatives when it comes to their next purchase or service need."
Humphreys concludes: "Reviewing the aftersales service, in terms of database management, resource control and optimising bookings, is a key step and can generate a substantial return for dealers, much needed in the present climate.
"If they don't act upon this and evolve with the times, then they stand to lose out to their competitors - both from a car sales and servicing standpoint."