Deal­ers charge for labour

Sur­vey re­veals rates vary even within same brand

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Ever since ser­vice and main­te­nance con­tracts be­came the norm with most ve­hi­cles sold in South Africa, new­car own­ers haven’t gen­er­ally been too con­cerned about labour rates and the cost of spare parts.

But it be­comes a big deal once the ser­vice/main­te­nance plan ex­pires, and keep­ing your car in good me­chan­i­cal nick could burn a re­ally big hole in your pocket.

A re­cent study into labour rates by Light­stone Con­sumer lists the in­dus­try’s he­roes and vil­lains, re­veal­ing that some brands charge far more for the ex­per­tise of their me­chan­ics than oth­ers. More sur­pris­ing how­ever, is that labour rates can even vary hugely from dealer to dealer within the same brand.

Dur­ing April 2017, Light­stone Con­sumer polled the deal­er­ships of all ma­jor au­to­mo­tive man­u­fac­tur­ers in South Africa. Cov­ered by the sur­vey were the re­tail labour rate at 897 pas­sen­ger and light com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle deal­er­ships across 37 brands, to find out what they charged for work.

The find­ings re­vealed that there can be a huge dif­fer­ence in the labour rates charged; rang­ing from R300 to R1 000 per hour, de­pend­ing on ve­hi­cle brand or dealer lo­ca­tion.

They fur­ther found that the most ex­pen­sive brands to ser­vice and main­tain are Land Rover, Mini, BMW, Jaguar and Audi while the cheap­est are GWM, Cherry, TATA, Fo­ton and Mahin­dra.

The ac­com­pa­ny­ing chart shows the low­est, high­est and av­er­age re­tail labour rate for each of the pas­sen­ger and LCV brands in South Africa in 2017.

The main les­son to take from this study is that it pays to shop around by phon­ing a few deal­ers for a quote be­fore book­ing in your car. Or, if you’re in the mar­ket to buy a new or sec­ond-hand ve­hi­cle with no ser­vice/main­te­nance plan, the chart gives a use­ful snap­shot of how var­i­ous brands will bru­talise your bud­get.

The sur­vey cov­ered only of­fi­cial agents, and it may be a bet­ter op­tion to ser­vice out-of-war­ranty ve­hi­cles at in­de­pen­dent work­shops where the labour rates are gen­er­ally cheaper.

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