Aug 232007

Labour ratesWith garages charging up to £183.30 an hour for a mechanic, it’s no surprise to hear that British motorists forked out more than £3.7bn on labour to fix their cars last year.

The unique Warranty Direct Labour Rates Survey 2007, which compares franchised and independent garages, also highlighted the massive North South divide when it comes to the cost of motoring.  Visitors to can now check regional differences for mechanic labour charges.

For every £100 spent at a garage, £63 is spent on materials and £37 on labour according to analysis of Warranty Direct data*. In total, motorists spent nearly £10bn** last year servicing and repairing their vehicles, and paid for more than 504,000 mechanic hours.

Unsurprisingly, Greater London is the most expensive region in the country with an average labour rate of £89.78 per hour when combining both franchised and independent garages.

The Capital was also home to the most expensive dealer in the country charging an incredible £183.30 an hour – the equivalent of 41 gallons of fuel or 1,500 miles***.

The ten highest counties were all from the South of England, including Hertfordshire (£86.68), Essex (£80.20) and Berkshire (£78.76).

Ten Most Expensive Regions

Average Cost of Mechanic per hour

Top Least Expensive Regions

Average Cost of Mechanic per hour


Greater London

























































Perth & Kinross



Conversely, the cheapest part of the country found by Warranty Direct was Fife with garages charging £55.40 on average. Besides Cornwall (£62.68), Lancashire at £61.67 an hour was the most southerly region in the ten least expensive areas.

There remains a significant difference between choosing a franchised dealership over an independent garage at £89.31 and £49.92 an hour nationwide, respectively.

The data is based on labour rates from more than 3,856 franchised and independent garages across the UK.

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Call Andy Francis or Andy Bothwell at Performance PR on 0208 541 3434, or email

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, 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 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)


(average   from basket)


(average   from basket)

Fast   Fit




Independent   Chain




Specialist   Independent Garage









“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 “The winner is the consumer who has unprecedented choice nowadays.”

Aug 102006

Repair BillsThe cheapest and most expensive garages in Britain

London is officially the most expensive place in Britain to get your car fixed with garages charging up to £170 an hour, a new report revealed today.

According to the 2006 Warranty Direct Garage Labour Rates Survey, which compares franchised and independent garages, British motorists fork out an average of £72.28 an hour for a mechanic’s time – with the Capital topping the table at an average of £86.51 or £116.53 if you opt for a franchised dealer.

Across franchised dealers, the national average jumps to £91.07, and falls to £49.61 for independent workshops. The most expensive dealer over the past twelve months charged £170.61 an hour, with one independent billing a customer £117.45.

Oxfordshire proved to be the most expensive region as far as independent garages were concerned. It recorded an average of £67.20 an hour, more than twice as much as the comparable rates for Lanarkshire, Scotland (£32.12).

Similarly, the £116.53 an hour being charged by franchised dealers in London to carry out repairs was almost 60 percent more than the cheapest region, Cornwall (£70.34).

Five Most Expensive Regions For Franchised Dealers


Average Labour Rate

Max Labour Rate Recorded
















Five Least Expensive Regions For Franchised Dealers


Average Labour Rate

Max Labour Rate Recorded










North Yorkshire






The nationwide analysis of over 3,000 workshops by aftermarket warranty provider, Warranty Direct, discovered that the £100 an hour barrier was breached in eight out of ten regions (52 were examined in total). Even Lanarkshire, which recorded the lowest rates for independents, delivered a £112.80 per hour charge for one of its franchised dealers.

“After a couple of years of excessive rises, mechanic labour rates have started to stabilise but it’s obvious that there is still a major gulf between regions, and independent and franchised garages,” says Duncan McClure Fisher, spokesman for Warranty Direct.

The disparity between franchised and dealer labour rates is perhaps starkest in the West Midlands where the average is £66.35 an hour, but as high as £117.45 (franchised) or as low as just £23.50 (independent) – the cheapest recorded.


Five Most Expensive Regions For Independent Workshops


Average Labour Rate

Max Labour Rate Recorded







East Sussex










Five Least Expensive Regions For Independent Workshops


Average Labour Rate

Max Labour Rate Recorded
















“The latest findings show that garage rates are still extortionate, but motorists can help themselves by asking how much they charge an hour. Unfortunately, once you get the bill, it’s too late to yell,” adds McClure Fisher.

All rates include VAT.

For the full report visit

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 ( 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.

Feb 162004

Car MOTBritons paid out £1.6bn in 2003 to repair their cars with the average garage bill ranging from just £85 to a bank busting £1,623.

Analysis of claims paid by independent warranty provider, Warranty Direct on cars aged between 3-10 years old found the Ford Ka as the cheapest to repair with an average £86.49 bill for each visit.

At the other end of the scale, engine failure on the World Rally inspired Subaru Impreza pushed it to an average of £1,623. With 36 percent of its Impreza bills over the £1,000 mark, the largest repair claim handled by Warranty Direct in 2003 stood at £4,500.

The majority of new cars come with a three-year manufacturer supported warranty as standard to protect the consumer against unwanted bills. With 12.689m vehicles falling within the 3-10 year old bracket on British roads according to the DVLA register, Warranty Direct claims suggest the chances of failure run at more than a third. The average bill paid by the specialist insurer last year stood at £379.31.

Top   10 Models

Model Cost Claims per 100 policies
1.   Ford Ka (96-on) £86.49 22%
2.   VW Polo (95-00) £103.72 24%
3.   Volvo S/V40 (96-on) £113.72 17%
4.   Renault Clio (98-01) £128.54 9%
5.   Mazda MX-5 ( 90-on) £133.81 8%
6.   Vauxhall Corsa (93-00) £137.92 27%
7.   Vauxhall Astra (98-on) £138.44 16%
8.   Ford Mondeo (93-00) £140.85 25%
9.   Ford Focus (98-on) £143.06 21%
10.   Volvo 850 (93-96) £146.70 19%

Bottom   10 Models

1.   Subaru Impreza (93-00) £1,623.00 25%
2.   Jeep Cherokee (93-01) £693.36 49%
3.   Porsche Boxster (96-on) £671.95 19%
4.   Range Rover (94-02) £523.90 52%
5.   Ford Scorpio (95-98) £521.05 55%
6.   Fiat Coupe (95-01) £493.52 39%
7.   SAAB 9000 (88-98) £459.57 50%
8.   Mitsubishi Shogun (83-00) £407.15 22%
9.   Rover 600 (93-99) £406.39 30%
10.   Nissan Primera (96-99) £402.51 14%

Although Britain’s biggest selling model, the Ford Focus, shows an average spend of £143.06, the biggest claim stood at £353. The Blue Oval does, however, prove to be the cheapest manufacturer to repair. Three models – the Ka (1), Mondeo (8) and Focus (9), fall inside the Top 10 giving an average of £195.44.

“The figures offer an indication of the cost of repair if something did go wrong for the owner,” explained Duncan McClure Fisher of Warranty Direct. “It is also a valuable guide for people looking at a new car so that they can make a more educated judgement on future running costs.”

In terms of market segment, superminis cost an average of £197, less than half the £414 faced by 4×4 owners. Small family models like the Ford Focus cost £221 on average, Executive models £335, Sports at £328 and MPVs, like the Renault Espace, £325.80.

McClure Fisher added: “Repair bills vary dramatically but as a rule of thumb the bigger, more complicated the vehicle in terms of electronic wizardry, the more expensive it is likely to be to put things right.”