Initial service packages make franchisees more valuable than ever when it comes to after-sales work, according to a new survey – but industry bosses say perceptions of the higher costs created by high-end facilities still need to be addressed to gain customers trust.

The National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) Consumer Attitude Survey 2019 interviewed more than 2,000 car owners under the age of seven, and the results show that public confidence in franchise dealers has improved significantly in a number of areas.

But Richard Roberts, chairman of the NFDAs National Aftermarket Working Group, said: “Its great that the data shows that franchisees do a great job – and that belief in their skills improves significantly among anyone who has had an interaction with them.

“But the challenge remains to make the perception of quality coincide with that of value for money. There is a truth to the statement that we can scare customers with our wonderful facilities. Its a shame, especially in this era of fixed-price service that offers peace of mind for an incredibly fixed price for several years after buying the car. These packages represent phenomenal value for money and we have to get that message across.

The survey results show that an increasing number of consumers consider franchisees to be professional, knowledgeable and capable of providing good customer service. Two-thirds of respondents also rated them as the “safest” option for after-sales work, while there was also a significant increase in consumer awareness around franchised dealers offering smaller jobs – such as new tyres or replacement windscreen wipers – at a good price.

Franchise dealers also scored significantly higher on confidence in the service of all types of engines, but especially hybrids, plug-in hybrids and pure electrics, suggesting that technological change for new cars would open up more opportunities.

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