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Wed, 19 Aug 2009

Loyalty counts – 77% go back to the same garage every time but Motor Codes still doesn’t have sufficient awareness.

Good Garage Guide

A new survey from authoritative motoring website,, reveals that 77% of motorists use the same garage every time they need their car serviced because they know and trust them. And 65% rate a local independent garage as likely to provide the best service.   Indeed, local garages came out on top for all aspects of vehicle maintenance – from overall servicing to MOTs, general repairs and tyres.

“Our survey shows that motorists value a local garage or dealer who they can rely on to do a good job. Local independent garages must be doing something right because they come way out on top in all the areas we asked consumers about,” explains Honest John.  “With 95% of the respondents to the survey driving their own vehicle rather than a company car, this highlights a very important sector of the car market which, although keen to find the best price, also puts considerable value in long-standing relationships with local garages.

“It was encouraging to see that motorists appear not to be putting vehicle maintenance at risk because of the recession.  82% said they have not put off getting their car serviced because of financial pressures.

“We were also pleased to see that today’s motorists are no pushover if they feel they haven’t received good service.  More than half (57%) said they would take their vehicle back to the garage if they were unhappy with the work with 88% expecting repair or replacement of the faulty part free of charge.  And nearly two thirds (61%) said they would go to the local trading standards officer for assistance if they weren’t getting what they thought was the right response from the garage.

“But what is disappointing is the low level of awareness of the Motor Industry Code of Practice for Service and Repair amongst car owners, which reinforces the findings of a Which? report earlier this month.  The Motor Codes Consumer Advice Line** is the best place for a motorist to go if they feel they haven’t received a good and fair service.  Yet, 17% of respondents said they would actually come to Honest John for help with only 1% citing Motor Codes.

“Motor Codes really does provide consumers with the best possible assistance if they have customer service issues.  But unfortunately it doesn’t appear to be getting the take up from the trade, which still has its share of wide boys and cowboy operators who think they are too smart or too hard pressed to bother with self-regulation.  They simply don't realise that if they don't adopt Motor Codes and abide by it, the OFT will step in and will very heavy handedly (and expensively) take over.

“But Motor Codes also needs to do more to create consumer awareness – and demand.  It cannot be seen as a 'lip service' operation. It has to get deeply stuck into some high profile cases and be seen by the public to be on the side of the public.

“Our survey demonstrates that consumers value trust and quality of service above everything when it comes to car repairs and maintenance. They know what they want from a service and expect some recourse if the job isn’t up to scratch – and Motor Codes needs to build its position in this area making it a ‘must have’ for motor dealers and customers alike.”

Key Survey Data

Just over half (54%) have their car serviced annually with the local independent garage coming top for servicing at 39%.  However, just over 1 in 10 get a family member to service their car, which could present possible safety risks for the driver.

Loyalty definitely counts for car servicing with 77% using the same garage each time because they know and trust them.

The majority (55%) paid between £100 and £250 for their car service.

For annual MoTs, 63% turn to their local independent garage, placing them head and shoulders above the competition. And loyalty was, once again, a key factor with 29% saying they always use the same garage and nearly 1 in 4 (24%) using a garage recommended by family or friends.

However, convenience is also an important influence for MoTs with 19% choosing a garage that’s close to home or work.

This was the only sector where the retail chains almost out-performed the independent local garage.  The independent local garage is the most popular place to go for replacement tyres at 45% closely followed by retail chains such as Kwik Fit or ADT at 41%.

Price is definitely the biggest influence for tyres, with 42% shopping around for the cheapest deal and only 24% going back to the same place they have previously used.

Consumer Rights:
A phenomenal 80% of motorists said they feel very or fairly confident when going to a garage for servicing or repairs, with over half (57%) feeling certain that they would be able to take the car back to be repaired free of charge if there were problems with the original work. This indicates that motorists are generally happier with garage service and repair than the volume of complaints suggests, and that Motor Codes and, if necessary, the Small Claims Track at the County Courts can handle them with no real need for OFT interference.

*The HonestJohn survey was conducted amongst Backroom forum members of the HonestJohn website, July 2009.  1,200 motorists responded to the survey, 95% own their car.

** Motor Codes Consumer Advice Line 0800 692 0825, Link: Motor Codes , Video Link: Motor Codes Video




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