New car sales decline presents “unique opportunity” for the trade, says expert

Scott Hamilton, managing director at explains why workshops can gain and retain more custom

New car sales decline presents “unique opportunity” for the trade, says expert
Scott Hamilton, managing director at

New figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders show new car registrations at the end of 2017 were down 5.7 per cent on 2016, with the dip expected to continue this year.

Influenced by the current economic climate and Euro to Sterling exchange rates, manufacturers have been forced to raise the price point of new cars, driving the number of sales down.

With a proactive approach to aftersales, dealerships, garages and mechanics up and down the country can win and, most importantly, retain new customers.

As drivers now keep vehicles for an average of six years, compared to four years a decade ago, there is an increasing number of older cars on the road which will inevitably need more regular maintenance than newer models.

More older cars

Analysis of online search terms shows that over the past year the number of searches for new cars has fallen steadily, while searches for used cars have risen to match and at times exceed them.

Even more interesting is that searches for aftersales services like brakes and MOT have long surpassed those for new or used cars, showing that drivers are looking to invest in rather than replace their current vehicle.

This trend towards servicing rather than replacing presents a fantastic opportunity for the motoring trade.

“Fantastic opportunity”

We’re seeing an increasing number of drivers use to help them find a local mechanic who can work on their car, with our busiest ever day coming in February this year.

At almost half of the jobs accepted and carried out by garages are servicing and brakes.

In addition, 85 per cent of our customers’ jobs are ‘grade A’ profitable work such as brakes, MOT, servicing, timing belt, clutch and air conditioning work.

We have found the value of the average brake job to garages is £146, while the average value of a service is £127.

At, over 26,000 of our customers have MOTs due in March.

We’ve emailed those customers a reminder that their MOT is due and with just one click they will automatically be sent quotes to choose from.

Mechanics, garages and dealerships who are carrying out these jobs have an opportunity to secure new customers by providing great service and building trust with drivers.

A positive experience means vehicle owners will be more likely to return to a specific mechanic for future work.

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