Look out for offers as dealers chase servicing profits

It is widely accepted that in many car showrooms used car sales have provided the vast majority of the profit opportunities in 2009.

From almost the first week of January this car dealers quickly learned to expect the unexpected and when the cash for bangers scheme was announced new car sales joined the profit party. This made dealers and carmakers alike realise that, despite the gloomy headlines, this wasn’t perhaps going to be the worst year on record after all.

As with any economic crisis customers have been far keener to look for value above anything else and as a natural consequence of this the budget brands and cheaper cars have been sought after by many car buyers who have made the conscious decision to tighten their belts.

However during this process the service departments in many franchised businesses have not had it anywhere near so good. The perception, by far too many to be healthy for this vital avenue for profits, is that main dealer servicing is far more expensive than a local one man band or “autocentre” type of operation. We’ve discussed before whether it actually ends up being cost-effective, during the lifetime of your ownership of a car, to shun the main dealer stamps but the general perception of exorbitant main dealer servicing costs is a strong one.

In 2010 this will almost certainly change mainly because, as far as the big boys are concerned, it has to. You can expect dealers to be much more pro-active in stopping the ‘leakage’ that they are currently experiencing with regards to clients going elsewhere to have their cars maintained.

Dealers will be offering service budget plans, cut price MOT’s and tyres, free RAC cover and many more goodies designed solely to bring back the lost customers and more importantly to try and capture new ones.

So it might just pay, like many other aspects of car ownership, to shop around for servicing deals in the same way you would compare car prices and finance deals and certainly include the main dealer next year in your reckoning.

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