Automotive Blog

Ouch! How much?

Ouch

Whilst owning an older car means occasional financial ‘surprises’, the rewards can outweigh the risks and customers can be very happy with the outcome - but only if the customer is handled well by the workshop.

Many in the car industry never have to worry about possible surprises when their car goes into the workshop. Furthermore, because taking a new company car is encouraged, many car manufacturer executives don’t pay for the work, don’t see the workshop the car is taken to, and indeed have very little if any interaction with a franchised dealer on aftersales, let alone other types of workshop.  And running an older car? For some, that is a distant memory shrouded in the charms in youth, or something they encourage their children to do. However, it’s worth remembering that running an older car is the predominant experience of car ownership. When the rate of depreciation slows on a car, it becomes a more utilitarian vehicle but of course the running costs can start to rise. And this means dealing with faults both known and unknown arising from service inspections. However, with an older car, at least the conversation starts with an assumption that you may or may not want all the work done.  And at an independent repairer, you are offered both choices on parts and on how problems are solved. That may not avoid occasional big bills, but even a sizable bill can quite easily represent both an acceptable cost and risk compared with the costs of depreciation and finance interest on a similar car when new. For many owners, this is perfectly good enough, as they would rather spend their disposable incomes elsewhere.

How as an individual owner you judge risk and total ownership cost on the one hand, versus the peace of mind offered by a new car on the other, depends on what you want from a car and your attitude to risk, both real and perceived. But a garage that offers real choices and listens to what you want makes all the difference. If carmakers really want their franchised workshops to retain more customers, then perhaps they should try encouraging their management to spend some time running an older car.  Then maybe the value gap at a franchised dealer as perceived by many older car owners would become more clearly apparent, along with the big business opportunity that exists in offering a good service to owners of older cars.

Written by Ben Waller

Comments (1):

Soren said:
Would be interesting research to see customer service experience satisfaction for owners of older vehicles at OEM and non OEM garages. Porsche are heavily committed to lower service prices for older cars and their workshops are often full of older Porsches. Their service prices compare favourably with independent repairers. Are all OEM's making the most of this opportunity?

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