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AUTOMOTIVE AFTERMARKET MAGAZINE MARCH 2013 21
DEALER WORKSHOPS VERSUS
INDEPENDENTS: A STUDY
In 2010 the European Union legislated that vehicle manufacturers must supply the same parts and diagnostic data information to
independent repairers as they do for their own dealers.
This was the result of a long term and hard
fought battle that the manufacturers tried in
vain to stop from happening.
A similar battle is also currently being
fought in Australia with government and
industry lobbying taking place to ensure 'the
right to repair' or in other words, a fair playing
field for this country's thousands of
It seems that the future will be bright for
the independents if customer information
gleaned from a recent automotive repair study
conducted in Germany can be used as an
One of the country's top universities
completed a detailed study to reveal how
customer price perception links with the big
automotive brands and dealerships, while also
outlining car owner criteria for workshop
In a finding which isn't surprising, price
topped the list of criteria for selecting an
automotive workshop, followed by quality and
reliability of the work and parts used.
The strong price sensitivity of customers
has proven to be a disadvantage for major
automotive brand workshops, as a high
percentage of respondents linked them to also
having a high price image.
When a sample group of drivers were asked
to estimate the cost of a $500 service at
authorised major automotive brand
workshops, after only being told the inclusions
and labour involved, 14 percent estimated
that it would cost $500 at a VW dealership,
while 14.5 percent estimated it to be $490
at an Opel (GM) dealership.
A further 20 percent estimated it to cost
$675 at a Mercedes-Benz dealership while
figures for Toyota, and Hyundai dealerships
were estimated at about $450.
Eleven percent of respondents estimated
an independent workshop would charge $375
for the same service.
The highest percentage of the sample group
(29 percent) rated price as their highest concern
with their selection of repairer, with 26 percent
rating the quality and reliability of work as the
Almost a quarter of participants cited the
quality of parts or fitment of original parts as
their main priority, while 7.4 percent noted the
proximity of the workshop location being of
The speed of repairs and waiting time rated
a priority for 5.3 percent, with lower percentages
edging towards appointment availability, hours
of operation and meeting deadlines.
Predictably, demanding drivers were the
highest percentage (35 percent) of people who
thought that the selection of repairer was
highly important and did not think that a low
price was important.
Commercial vehicle owners in the group
(39 percent) rated special customer attention
as most important in their workshop selection,
with price not being as important.
Dealer workshops were also perceived to
only offer a uniform level of service to their
This is opposed to them considering
whether certain services are even desired or if
even greater levels of service are required by
individual customers, as tended to be provided
by independent repairers.
The study also revealed that workshop
chains, in their attempt to upgrade their
service offering to compete with the major
dealer workshops, do this without realising that
they may lose a share of their customers as a
result, particularly the price-sensitive ones.
This study was provided by Marinelli
Motorsport PR and Media's Paul Marinelli,
who can be contacted on
03 9387 1333 or by emailing
GENERAL MOTORS AWARDS SCHAEFFLER
PLANTS FOR OUTSTANDING QUALITY
Schaeffler's Lahr and Elfershausen plants in Germany recently received the 2012
Supplier Quality Excellence Award from General Motors.
General Motors, which awards the prize to
suppliers that adhere to very strict quality
criteria within a 12-month period, also
singles out individual manufacturing
locations rather than whole companies for
Schaeffler AG's Automotive Division
Executive Board Member, Professor Peter
Pleus, expressed his gratitude to the staff
running the two plants.
"Receiving the Supplier Quality
Excellence Award from GM is recognition of
our performance in terms of quality and,
above all, of the performance of our
employees at Schaeffler's plants in Lahr and
Elfershausen," he said.
The award was presented to Schaeffler's
Lahr plant for the company's Pivot Element
product range and to its Elfershausen plant
for the Strut Bearing product range.
Both of these ranges are components that
General Motors uses in its latest vehicle
"There's always the next prize to think
about, so of course we're now all the more
highly motivated and we intend to do
everything we can to ensure that we get this
award again in 12 months' time," Prof. Pleus
The presentation of the awards took place
at the Opel/Vauxhall headquarters in
Schaeffler's Global Key Account Manager
for GM, Wendelin Backes, and QA Director at
the Elfershausen plant, Renato Krappmann,
accepted the awards on behalf of Schaeffler.
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