May 172007
 

43Motorists may be benefiting from increased competition to get their cars serviced, but some dealers are still charging over 200 percent more than neighbouring garages.

European laws aimed at removing restrictions on servicing new cars have allowed Fast Fit chains and independent garages to compete for work that was previously controlled by dealers, according to data from motoreasy.com, the all-in-one car maintenance company.

The firm analysed a basket of five popular models across franchised dealers, independent garages, independent specialists and Fast Fit centres.

Although franchised workshops remain more than 50 percent more expensive on average, there are significant signs that competition is forcing prices downwards. In 12 percent of cases, independent garages came out more expensive than their manufacturer supported peers.

However, that’s not always the case.

In one example, a Glasgow dealer quoted £414 to service a Mercedes C Class C200 when an independent garage chain was willing to undertake the work for just £135 – a massive 206 percent difference.

The data from motoreasy.com also highlighted the differences in servicing costs across the country.

The analysis of a basket of three-year old vehicles in London, Birmingham and Glasgow found the Capital was by far the most expensive at £216.88 on average. In comparison, the cost fell to £180.75 in Birmingham, and just £157.46 in Glasgow – or 38% cheaper.

Type   of Centre

London   (average from basket)

Birmingham

(average   from basket)

Glasgow

(average   from basket)

Fast   Fit

£145.00

£139.00

£153.19

Independent   Chain

£224.99

£190.59

£132.80

Specialist   Independent Garage

£196.73

£159.15

£138.12

Franchised

£300.80

£234.24

£205.74

 

“The decision by Fast Fit chains to expand from tyres and exhausts into servicing has really started to shake up the market in terms of pricing,” explained David Gerrans, director of motoreasy.com. “The winner is the consumer who has unprecedented choice nowadays.”

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