Independents share of MOT reaches 74%

Draft report cites ageing car parc as reason for rise

Published:  10 May, 2013

A DRAFT report suggests that the retail market for service, maintenance and repairs increased to £9.37bn in 2012 (excluding MOTs and VAT), a one per cent increase in real terms over the previous year and a seven per cent rise since 2008.  However, the Castrol Trent Tracker report, due for release in June, also suggests the SMR ( servicing, maintenance and repairs) market is set to decline in the longer term.

The report suggests that growth across the aftersales sector is principally the result of motorists holding onto their vehicles for longer - motorists purchasing their car from new now keep it for 3.6 years on average, compared to just 2.9 years in 2008 - thereby incurring increased costs for servicing, maintenance and repairs (SMR).

The dearth of new car sales during the recession has seen the 0-4 year-old car parc, an area of the market traditionally dominated by the franchised sector, fall by 20 per cent.  The independent sector has benefitted because the parc as a whole has aged considerably - according to the report, the average age of a light vehicle in the UK has risen from 6.3 years in 2008 to 7.4 years in 2012.

With a greater number of older cars on the road, independent workshops carried out almost five times as many MOTs in 2012 as the franchised sector (74 per cent of all MOTs versus 15 per cent).  With MOTs comes a significant demand for repairs, and the majority of aftersales work for older cars is, in any case, conducted by independent workshops.

However, with new car sales predicted to continue to rise steadily, the report suggests that the average age of cars will fall and the size of the 0-4 year car parc will increase.  Consumer research for the report found that independent workshops captured around 54 per cent of servicing work in 2012, but this figure may decrease in future as the proportion of older cars falls in line with growing new car sales.

"Independent workshops have enjoyed the lion's share of aftersales work for a number of years, but as new car sales begin to make a recovery in the UK, businesses need to start thinking about how they will attract motorists to the workshop as the car parc becomes younger further down the line," said Marc Perkins, Castrol Independent Workshop Marketing Manager - UK & Ireland.

"Critically, independent workshops are still capturing almost three quarters of all MOT visits, and those businesses able to successfully promote their MOT facilities and high quality, high value servicing are going to be in demand for a number of years yet.  Giving customers access to guaranteed parts, as well as premium lubricants recommended by car manufacturers, is proven to improve customer retention and satisfaction, and provides workshops with the tools to successfully drive sustainable profitability."

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