So how does Autodata repay its loyal subscribers for their support in openly discrediting those garages that are foolish enough to contemplate using counterfeit data and discs?
Simple – it hits them with a nifty little nine percent increase in their annual subscription price. And over the previous five years before this the increases have been three percent, 2.25 percent, 2.5 percent and two years’ of six percent. (See below for Autodata reply which says Meredith is in a minority of users and that 87% of its customers experienced price rises broadly in line with inflation)
No explanation is attempted in the most recent renewal letter and, when called, the subscription team’s programmed response is simply that the data is costing more to compile and this has to be passed on to the users.
Those are the same users who are supporting the brand in difficult times for the industry.
They are the same users who I dare bet haven’t attempted to increase their hourly labour rates for the past three or four years through fear of lost trade.
They are those same users who try to do the job right and actually provide Autodata with its income.
I know if ABP was to increase its prices by nine percent in the current climate a large majority of our customers would take issue with us.
Some may choose to shop elsewhere, some may choose to risk missing a service or two and some might even choose to seek a much cheaper alternative.
Strange how this story goes in a complete circle and maybe, just maybe, I can now start to understand those garages who are seeking a much cheaper technical data alternative elsewhere even when the risks are considered.
I am still in support of Autodata and its offerings, but I do believe the best trade relationships are based around loyalty, support, consideration and basic economics.
In this instance I believe Autodata has mistaken customer loyalty for stupidity and, through greed, it risks driving its customer base into the arms of others.
In response to these pricing concerns an Autodata spokesman said:
“Autodata can confirm that its new, replacement product for Online 3 will be priced just 4% above the current price. Regarding any price rises earlier this year, some customers may have experienced a price rise above that of the majority of subscribers; most of these customers are Online 2 users. This was due to several reasons, such as the amount of support given, the additional content and updates, as well as improvements to the service.
“Online 2/CD2 users account for only 8% of Autodata’s UK subscriber base. In contrast, 87% of UK subscribers take Autodata’s premium Online 3 application, where prices increased just 3.5% this year, which is roughly in line with inflation.
“UK pricing is a concern to us, as we have to balance the constant requirement of quality and updates along with the ever increasing costs of access to manufacturer data as well as production and distribution costs.”