Franchised dealers increased their share of the aftersales market in 2011, halting a continuous decline in market share since 2009. The franchised sector captured 22.6 per cent of own-marque aftersales work in 2011, up from 21.8 per cent in 2010.

The value of the aftersales market has also risen in value from £8.43bn in 2010 to £8.97bn in 2011 (excluding MOTs and VAT), in spite of falling servicing volumes across the sector, according to the new 2012 Castrol Professional Car Servicing & Repair Trend Tracker report.

The figures represent a warning shot for franchised dealers, however, says Trend Tracker as independent workshops further increased their dominant hold on the aftersales market, capturing 56.1 per cent of all UK aftersales work carried out in 2011. In 2010, the independent sector accounted for 53.8 per cent of the market. Fast-fit repair outlets lost out, meanwhile, as their share of work dropped from 9.2 per cent in 2010 to just 7.7 per cent in 2011, while DIY servicing accounted for 10.9 per cent of the market, down from a recent 12.1 per cent high in 2010.

While the franchised sector has managed to arrest the fall in its market share, dealerships looking to capitalise on an ageing car parc are still failing to capture work on older cars – with MoTs representing the greatest missed opportunity.

Last year, independent workshops dominated the MOT market with a 71 per cent market share by volume, and captured 64.3 per cent of servicing, maintenance and repair (SMR) as a whole on cars over four years old. The franchised sector, meanwhile, only accounted for 17.3 per cent of MOTs and 25.1 per cent of SMR work on cars between four to six years old. This figure drops to just 11.7 per cent for cars between seven and nine years old.

Trend Tracker analyst Chris Oakham said: “Independent workshops have done a good job of capturing servicing work from fast-fits and from among those motorists who would normally attempt to service their cars themselves. Franchised dealer workshops are suffering, however, as the number of cars up to four years old has fallen in recent years and the new car market isn’t expected to expand a great deal in the coming years. As motorists look to combine MOTs and servicing work, dealerships need to do all they can to make gains in this area.”

Nigel Head, Castrol OEM & franchised workshop marketing manager – UK & Ireland, said: “Franchised dealers’ efforts in boosting aftersales revenue look to be paying off, and the sector should be praised for turning the situation around. But as motorists are now holding on to their cars for longer than ever before and owners become liable for servicing work on an older car, they are turning to the independent sector instead, both for servicing and MOTs. Dealers need to fight hard and be even more proactive and innovative in their approach to retaining aftersales work on older cars, and in encouraging owners of ageing cars to come back into the dealership. They must clearly communicate to motorists that the franchised dealer proposition represents good value for money – for example, a full franchised dealer service history can help boost a car’s residual value, while manufacturer-recommended parts and lubricants can help reduce repair costs in the long term.”

“Given the drop in customer retention after three or four years, it’s crucial that franchised dealerships also communicate these messages to those motorists purchasing used cars from the dealership. This could be anything from offering fixed-price servicing for older cars, upselling the next MOT at purchase time, or even just placing a follow-up call further down the line to find out how they’re getting on with the car.”

Details of the report can be found at trendtracker.co.uk. Source: am-online.com