UK Car Owners Top Maintenance Charts
Each year motorists in the UK invest £21.1 billion in order to maintain their cars, making this country one of the world’s best in terms of automotive upkeep.
This is according to a new study conducted by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) which found that on average a car owner in the UK will spend 12 per cent more on servicing and repairs in a given 12-month period than is typically recorded in other countries.
This puts the annual maintenance bill at £695, with a number of factors likely to be responsible for this level of spending.
As well as a general willingness amongst British drivers to spend money on their cars, which for many are a prized possession rather than simply a mode of transport, the presence of the MOT also means that every owner is forced to ensure their vehicle complies with minimum safety standards. So incurring costs for repairs and replacement parts is an inevitable aspect of car ownership, even for those who are less interested in the technical aspects of their vehicle of choice.
Nationally, the number of garages at which repairs and servicing can be carried out has hit 42,500 this year. The report also looks at the aftermarket industry as a whole, reporting that its economic contribution is equivalent to over £12 billion and it helps to employ more than 345,000 people in the UK.
This means that Britain is ahead of countries with much higher populations, including Brazil and India, when it comes to the importance and impact of its servicing, repairs and aftermarket sales industry.
Within the next five years, the SMMT believes that this will only continue to grow because of the record car sales being recorded at the moment. In 2022 around 400,000 jobs will be linked to this industry, equating to an annual £28 billion injection to the economy.
While it may seem that British drivers are paying a lot for servicing and maintenance of their vehicles, the study also found that motorists are becoming much savvier about the options that are available to them thanks to the internet.
Owners are not only checking out the web when they want to find a local garage for repairs - they are also comparing prices on components and spare parts rather than opting to use whichever items are supplied to them by servicing firms.
Report spokesperson Mike Hawes explained that the competitiveness of the marketplace in the UK was helping to ensure that the vast majority of the 30 million cars which are on the roads today are well maintained, safe and likely to last longer than those vehicles in other countries around the world.
Running costs have been reduced thanks to a combination of improving technologies and the competition between retailers and repair companies, ensuring consumers can get a good deal whatever vehicle they choose to buy, Hawes argues.
He also provided a warning about the need for aftermarket operators to keep pace with the rapidly increasing complexity of the systems and solutions that are put in place under the surface of modern cars. Without this approach, it may be likely that some firms fall by the wayside as they fail to cope with the constant evolution of the automotive industry.
These statistics are especially interesting given that more people are taking advantage of favourable finance packages in order to buy new cars rather than opting for used models as they might have done in the past. Many dealerships and manufacturers offer deals that include free servicing for a fixed period, avoiding costs which would otherwise have been incurred by the owners.
The increased churn rate in the car market, with people buying new cars more regularly, might mean that for many the maintenance costs are absorbed as part of the finance rather than existing as a separate expense to factor in during the buying process.