New survey highlights growing trust in franchised dealers

A survey of more than 2000 car owners reveals improving attitudes towards franchised dealers, especially when it comes to competitive pricing and electrified cars...

Technician servicing a car

Franchised dealers are regarded as 'safer' than independent garages and branded high-street retailers, as well as offering a more professional, knowledgeable customer service, according to a new survey.

The twice-yearly NFDA (National Franchised Dealers Association) Consumer Attitude Survey sampled more than 2000 owners of cars less than seven years old, using a representative sample of the population according to gender, age and location.

It highlighted widespread growing trust of franchised dealers to carry out aftersales work and a growing awareness that franchised dealers could offer competitive pricing even on smaller work, including new tyres and replacement windscreen wipers.

However, areas where customers’ awareness of franchised dealer offerings was most closely challenged by independent garages and high street chains included servicing, MOT work, buying used cars, major repairs, tyre replacement and brake pad and disc work.

“The evidence is clear that people who use franchised dealers – and especially people who use them occasionally – have very high regard for the work being done,” said Richard Roberts, chairman if the NFDA National Aftersales Working Group.

Mazda at servicing centre

“These are competitive businesses fighting for your custom in a very professional way; it's retailing at its best. The challenge now is not about improving that service – although it's clear that it can be done – but in persuading customers as to the value for money that franchised dealers can offer.

“The truth is we can scare customers off with the quality of our premises; they project an image of expense, when the truth is that, especially with our fixed-price servicing packages that we now sell with new cars, we offer phenomenal value-for-money.”

Also highlighted in the survey was a growing demand by customers – most notably in younger age groups – for internet booking for service work, as well as a significant upswing in the belief that the safest place to have hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric cars worked on is at a franchised dealership.

Mark Squires, chairman of the NFDA, added: “Where do you go when your Apple product breaks? Most of us go to Apple, because we want a professional job done by trained professionals, with the back-up of the brand if anything goes wrong.

"As cars get more complex, I think the expectation among consumers will increasingly be that they want technicians trained on their specific car by the manufacturer who made it to do the work, and there’s no question that will open up opportunities.”

All Target Price deals offered through What Car? New Car Buying’s network of signed-up dealers are from franchised retailers.

Next: See the full results of the What Car? Reliability Survey >

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