Honda owners smiling
HONDA owners are Australia’s happiest motorists when it comes to newcar servicing.
But most car owners say that poor repair work and high service costs by dealers are turning them off some brands.
And transparent service costs — known as ‘‘cappedprice servicing’’ — have yet to change motorists’ minds.
Australians rated Honda, Subaru and Mazda respectively as the best manufacturers for their standard of service in a national Roy Morgan survey.
Interestingly, none of these car makers offer capped-price service pro- grams. Hyundai, which has a comprehensive cappedprice program, recorded a below-average result.
Only three car makers (Ford, Toyota and Nissan) with the program bettered the 85.8 per cent industry average of customer service satisfaction and one (Mitsubishi) equalled the average.
But Hyundai, which recorded 80.3 per cent, argues that the survey was conducted before it started its fiveyear program.
Hyundai Australia spokesman Bill Thomas says the survey ran from March 2011 to March 2013.
‘‘We introduced cappedprice servicing in August last year, so we expect that to have a positive effect go- ing forward,’’ he says. ‘‘We certainly receive a lot of great feedback about our capped-price servicing, and the standard of service that our dealers are providing.
‘‘We have thousands of customers all across the country who are satisfied with both our vehicles and our after-sales service.’’
Roy Morgan Research spokesman Norman Morris says, of the top 10 brands by sales volume, Honda drivers are most satisfied with services (94.3 per cent), with satisfaction levels almost 10 percentage points above the industry average of 85.8 per cent.
‘‘Subaru and Mazda round out the top three with 90 per cent and 89.3 per cent total satisfaction respectively, closely followed by Ford on 89.1 per cent,’’ he says.
Mr Morris says the ownership experience and related warranty coverage ‘‘is becoming an increasingly important factor for companies trying to sell new cars’’.
‘‘Many makes have introduced four- and five-year warranties in an attempt to woo potential buyers from competitor brands,’’ he says.
‘‘However, while over two in three Hyundai owners who returned the car to the dealership for servicing were covered by a five-year warranty, the make had the lowest service satisfac- tion score — more than 5 percentage points below the industry average.’’
Mr Morris notes that cars are becoming more reliable, saying that the bulk of vehicle servicing today is routine, such as the replacement of oil and other fluids, the tyres and the brake components.
Mazda Australia says owners get the best ownership experience through a genuine Mazda service.
‘‘We have adopted Recommended Maintenance Service Pricing (RMSP) so that owners can plan ahead and see the approximate cost of future services,’’ says Mazda Australia spokesman Steve Maciver.
‘‘Prospective Mazda ow- ners can also speak to their Mazda dealer to get an indication of the future servicing costs associated with the car they’re considering.’’
Mazda’s RMSP shows that a 2010 Mazda3’s 70,000km service should cost $245.
Mazda’s schedule requires servicing every six months and though not capped, the program shows vehicle owners what costs to expect.
Roy Morgan says it interviewed 50,000 motorists from all around Australia in the survey.
However, while it asked for opinions on a scale from one to five, it did not ask each motorist what specifically had caused their level of satisfaction.
According to a recent study, drivers of Hondas are well ahead of the pack when it comes to new-car servicing satisfaction