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UK franchised dealers saw a significant year-on-year decline in aftersales business in 2017, according to data from electronic vehicle health check provider autoVHC.

The company, which sampled 500 UK dealers, found that over the 12 month period the average dealer saw 3,320 vehicles presented at its service department, a 19% drop from the 4,080 vehicles seen during the course of 2016.

It said the fall in aftersales activity combined with a tail off in new car sales was likely to put further pressure on dealers.

autoVHC said dealers on its books were not just seeing fewer cars but they were also losing out by selling just 53% of emergency ‘red’ work identified during the service process.

Red work is identified as faults that if not addressed pose a serious safety risk and in many cases will mean the owner will be breaking the law if they continue to drive the vehicle.

The data revealed the average UK dealer failed to sell £87,600 worth of urgently required work over the twelve-month period.

Across the sample group this equated to £43.8m worth of lost sales, meaning a total lost sales figure of £429m across the UK’s 4,900-strong franchised dealer network.

Chris Saunders, business Unit director at autoVHC, said: “This continued trend of missed sales opportunities is worrying, particularly as many dealerships are now relying on aftersales revenue to offset any losses associated with the recent dip in new car sales. Clearly, there are failings in the way technicians are communicating with motorists, and these need to be addressed as a priority.

“Aside from missing out on millions in lost earnings, failure to convert such a large proportion of Red work also raises serious concerns over customer safety. Motorists are effectively being allowed to drive away from the forecourt in vehicles that may pose a risk to their lives and those of other road users.

“Service departments must focus on improving sales skills if they are to maximise revenues, safeguard future business and protect their customers.”

Source: Motor Trader

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