SER­VICE WITH A SMILE

HOW TO SHOP AROUND FOR THE BEST DEAL

Mercury (Hobart) - Motoring - - FRONT PAGE - BILL MCK­IN­NON

New car ser­vic­ing is huge busi­ness. Most deal­ers do lit­tle bet­ter than break even on new car sales, in­stead mak­ing their money on ser­vic­ing, parts, fi­nance and in­sur­ance. The Aus­tralian Au­to­mo­tive Dealer As­so­ci­a­tion es­ti­mates that the gross profit mar­gin on ser­vic­ing at a deal­er­ship is 64 per cent. On new car sales, it’s 7.3 per cent.

In re­cent years car com­pa­nies and deal­ers have won a lot of lu­cra­tive ser­vic­ing busi­ness back from in­de­pen­dent work­shops by in­tro­duc­ing so-called “capped price” ser­vic­ing schemes.

Capped price ser­vic­ing looks like a pretty sim­ple, at­trac­tive propo­si­tion. You know in ad­vance how much it will cost to ser­vice your car over a cer­tain pe­riod.

In­de­pen­dent work­shops claim it’s just a tac­tic to re­duce com­pe­ti­tion, lure cus­tomers into over­priced ser­vic­ing and in­crease the al­ready big prof­its made by deal­ers’ ser­vice de­part­ments.

De­pend­ing upon how many kilo­me­tres you drive be­tween ser­vices, some cars are thou­sands of dol­lars cheaper to ser­vice un­der capped price schemes than oth­ers. Ser­vice in­ter­vals also vary greatly be­tween makes and mod­els.

Some mak­ers in­clude flu­ids and fil­ters in the capped ser­vic­ing price, oth­ers charge ex­tra when they are re­quired.

We’ve com­piled this guide to the capped price ser­vic­ing schemes of Aus­tralia’s top 10 brands, with prices for pop­u­lar mod­els.

It’s im­por­tant to note that even these prices can and will change over time, ex­cept where you elect to pay up­front for ser­vic­ing over a spe­cific pe­riod, which locks in the price for the du­ra­tion.

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