Jun 292004

Repair BillsMotorists are being charged as much as £152.75 an hour for labour to get their cars repaired, according to data released by independent automotive warranty specialist, Warranty Direct (www.warrantydirect.co.uk) today.

Analysis of twenty-seven manufacturers highlights the dramatic variation across the country with the headline £152.75 an hour being charged by a BMW franchised dealer in Central London. This figure compares to a combined franchised and independent garage average of £56.72 for the whole country.

The Thames Valley belt of Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire is the most expensive region in the UK with an average hourly charge of £68.61. Scotland is the cheapest, nearly sixty percent less, with an average of just £43.12.

Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, Porsche and Audi dealers provided the five most expensive rates recorded by Warranty Direct. At the other end, Mazda delivered an average of £44 an hour, yet the dearest franchised dealer noted would set you back double that figure. Similarly, a Ford may cost £50 on average but a London franchised dealer will charge £106.


Highest Franchised Dealer Labour Rate   Recorded

Average Labour Rate Recorded
(Franchised & Independent)

Thames   Valley



North   London






South   London



North   West



Northern   Ireland



South   Coast






North   East






South   West









After pressure from the OFT, manufacturers have recently lifted servicing restrictions allowing owners to freely choose where they have their new car serviced.

“Unfortunately, manufacturers don’t have any control over dealer labour rates, hence the sometimes truly extortionate charges some motorists are having to stomach,” explained Duncan McClure Fisher of Warranty Direct. “Everyone appreciates that the cost of living differs across the country but surely not to this level?”

Compared to the previous twelve months, Warranty Direct has registered a three-fold increase in the number of franchised dealers charging over £100 an hour.

“The obvious advice is to shop around, and as manufacturers have effectively given them a stamp of approval, don’t ignore established or specialist independent garages. The service is just as professional and competent but you don’t always have to pay the price,” added McClure Fisher.

The data is based on claims handled by Warranty Direct since June 2003 and its annual survey of franchised dealer rates from across the UK.