Indy garages ‘struggling to compete’ with dealers when it comes to repairs

Independent garages are finding it increasingly hard to compete with dealers when it comes to the repair and maintenance of both new and used cars, research suggests.

This is down to both a lack of aftermarket parts and the need for specialist equipment or labour due to the makeup of cars becoming more complex, according to Warranty Solutions Group (WSG).

This means, in some instances, the price of repairs for independent garages is higher than their dealer counterparts, driving customers away.

Amongst the most expensive repair costs were Land Rover diesel particulate filters (averaging £1485.26 including VAT), Mazda turbochargers (£705.60) and Subaru catalytic converters and gearbox valve bodies (£2358.20 and £1671.52), all of which require the fitment of new OEM parts.

There were also a number of repairs in the top faults that can only be carried out by main dealers or specialists, increasing labour costs. Two examples of this were Mitsubishi gearbox repairs (£1129.29) and Suzuki media head replacements (£1692.43).

Elsewhere, the high average claim cost of BMW timing chains (£1236.92) was due to the lengthy stripping process required in order to replace these parts across many of the BMW models, resulting in large labour bills.

Martin Binnee, Operations Director of WSG commented: “The build quality has improved significantly across all car manufacturers over the last few years and generally vehicles have become more reliable. However, rapidly advancing electronics have increased the likelihood of more complicated and expensive faults.

“One knock-on effect of this is being seen in the SMR sector, where smaller independent garages are finding it increasingly difficult to compete with franchised dealers and specialists due to equipment and expertise constraints.”

Limited availability of aftermarket parts also impacted the repair cost of more niche brands.

Amongst the most expensive repairs were Chevrolet automatic transmissions (£3,600), DPFs (£1,766.04) and dual mass flywheels (£833.33), Caterham differentials (£3,531.10), Maserati catalytic converters (£2,435.77) and transfer boxes (£1,962.65), Chrysler gearbox repairs (£1,625) and Alfa Romeo dual mass flywheels (£963.33).

WSG’s research also picked out the most reliable brands, based on warranty claims. Honda took the top spot with a claim rate of just 4.18% and average cost of £364.89.

This is down to a significant drop in the overall costs of parts, mainly due to the increased availability of aftermarket components. Battery failures were the most common issue across Honda models, making up 20% of all claims with an average replacement cost of £220.50.

Steph Newbery, WSG’s Group Marketing Director commented: “The Honda Jazz takes the pole position as the most reliable used car – an outstanding achievement for Honda, which was also the most reliable manufacturer in our analysis. With an enviable reputation for reliability and longevity, Honda has low claim rates and competitive parts prices, making it a great choice for the budget-conscious buyer.”

Price uncertainties: Can suppliers protect themselves?

While stable prices are a distant memory, there are steps suppliers can take to protect themselves

Read More

Movers & Shakers: New CFO and CTO appointed

All the latest changes from across the sector, including new roles, promotions, and retirements

Read More

Autoglym acquires GnG Sales as it expands into Australasia

The wholesale supplier of car care products has marketed and supplied the Autoglym range for over two decades

Read More

Comline Group to move to new headquarters

Move hailed as “inspiring new chapter” for UK-based parts firm

Read More

Worry as drivers are ditching garages to make repairs at home

New research finds that more than a third of drivers are resorting to DIY repairs in a bid to save cash

Read More

Go to comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *