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Consumers evaluate major repair outlets across four performance factors

Lang Marketing’s latest report focuses on the consumer perceptions of shops, dealerships, repair chains and tire stores for repair convenience, technical ability, low price, and fairness of price

Fort Wayne, Ind.—Lang Marketing has surveyed over a number of years how consumers evaluate major types of repair outlets across four key performance factors: repair convenience, technical ability, low price, and fairness of price.

Lang’s latest report focuses on the consumer perceptions of shops, dealerships, repair chains and tire stores. Its findings are as follows:

Repair convenience

• Shops received the highest consumer ratings for repair convenience among the four outlets covered in this year’s analysis, 3.8 (on a scale of 1 to 5), followed by repair specialists with a 3.5 score. Dealerships held third place with a 3.3 rating.

• Consumer ratings of the repair convenience of shops and dealerships have changed over the past three years. Shops decreased from a 4.0 to a 3.8 rating, while dealerships climbed from a 2.9 to a 3.3 score. By expanding their hours and adding quick lube bays, dealerships have become more convenient and customer friendly.

• For specific jobs, such as oil changes, quick lubes (repair chains) have the highest rating for repair convenience, but they score lower on an overall basis since they offer a limited menu of repairs.

Technical ability

• Consumers rated dealerships significantly higher than the other three repair outlets for technical ability, with a 4.6 score.

• Shops were ranked much lower by consumers at 3.0, but stronger than their 2.9 rating in Lang Marketing’s survey three years ago.

• Consumer perceptions of technical ability vary by type of job. For example, for complex repairs, dealerships’ technical ability rating was 4.8, significantly higher than other outlets, with shops falling to 2.7.

• Repair chains and tire stores ranked third and fourth in consumer perception of technical ability.

• There are significant differences among consumers in how they perceive the technical ability of repair outlets depending on the age and nameplate of the vehicles they own (domestic versus foreign).

• For routine repairs, such as oil changes, quick lubes rated high this year in technical ability, at 4.2.

Low price

• Consumers ranked shops best of the four outlets for the low price of vehicle repair, with a 4.2 score. Dealerships in contrast, were rated at the bottom with a 2.9 score.

• The importance of low price to consumers varies depending on their income, vehicle nameplate, and vehicle age.

• Low price differs in significance by type of repair. For more complex repairs, price has much less significance to consumers than it does for routine repairs and maintenance.

Fairness of price

• Shops received the highest consumer ratings for fairness of price, with a 3.8 score, better than the 3.3 rating of dealerships (up from 3.1 three years ago).

• Much of this improvement can be attributed to dealerships now offering non-OE products and lower service rates for older vehicles and the used vehicles that they sell, especially nameplates other than what they sell new.

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