Drivers ‘let down’ by car servicing
MOTORISTS should be getting as good a service from car dealers as the best shops but they are still being let down by many garages, according to a new owners survey.
Drivers of Chevrolets, Fiats and Mazdas are the least happy with getting their cars serviced, the poll by vehicle researchers JD Power and What Car? magazine found.
By contrast, owners were happiest with Jaguar, Lexus and Toyota garages.
What Car? said car owners deserved better, considering the high cost of servicing. Dealerships can make more profits from such after-sales activities than from selling cars.
Editor-in-chief Chas Hallett said: “This survey shows that lots of dealers are doing a good job but some still have a lot of work to do.
“Car buyers are spending a lot of money and should have the confidence that they will get the same standards of service as the best retail outlets on the high street.
“These opinions, from people who have lived with their cars and experienced these dealers for some time, show that this is not always the case.”
The survey of 15,000 drivers who took their cars to a dealer last year covered five areas, including how they were treated by staff and the quality of the work.
Chevrolet owners gave “damning” responses, putting the American car maker’s dealerships “firmly in the doldrums of every single category”.
Placing the dealer network in bottom-placed 27th in the table, with a score of 71.5 per cent, drivers expressed dissatisfaction at how long it took for servicing and repairs, and with garage parking.
Even Chevrolet’s best scores, for cleanliness, were poor compared with the other dealerships.
What Car? described Fiat owners’ opinion of its dealers as “scathing”, with servicing taking too long and below-par workmanship.
Mazda, placed third worst, was criticised for staff failing to properly explain the work carried out, and cars being returned in an unsatisfactory condition. However, staff were praised for their courtesy.
Topping the table, Jaguar dealers scored 86.1 per cent for their helpful staff, clean and comfortable facilities, and high-quality workmanship, but steep workshop charges were criticised.
Mr Hallett said: “Customer satisfaction is not just about the product, it’s about the whole package, and Jaguar is delivering.”
The Institute of Advanced Motorists said the worst performers must improve to retain business.
Policy and research director Neil Greig said: “A few years ago it would have been a dream to have anyone but a Japanese car maker at the top of the table, so this is a real turnaround.
“This shows Jaguar’s investment in customer care training and making your customers a priority does deliver satisfaction.
“For owners of Fiats and some Japanese makers such as Mazda and Suzuki, it shows they need to work even harder on getting the fundamentals right if they want to retain their buyers in a very competitive environment.”
Chevrolet said improvements had been made. Its spokeswoman said: “The results are disappointing and do not reflect the hard work and commitment of many of our dealers.”
However, she added: “We recognise there have been issues in the past, which were picked up during the time JD Power were conducting the survey.”
A Fiat spokesman also said the results were “disappointing” and they would be evaluated.
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