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Service plans: how they can save fleets money

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“Dealers can sell cars for more money if they are with the service pack because they know the car has been regularly serviced at a franchised dealer,” Chater says.

“We know that this gives the consumer greater reassurance.”

BMW recently reviewed its SMR options with leasing customers and end-user fleets, suggesting alternatives such as fixed price servicing.

They said the existing service pack product was the most appropriate for them.

Vauxhall says one of the benefits of using its service plans is “the knowledge that the Vauxhall retailer(s)/authorised repairer(s) undertaking the work conform to the Service4Fleet aftercare standards, and that vehicles will have a full Vauxhall service history to maximise their resale value”.

Vauxhall’s service plan includes all scheduled servicing costs, maintenance, repair of any mechanical or electrical failure, and parts that need replacement due to fair wear and tear, as well as free vehicle rental and full Vauxhall Assistance for the length of the plan.

Vehicle sale/write off protection is also offered as part of the programme. Glass, tyres, and accidental damage are not included.

Ford has also recently extended its Blue Service aftersales package to fleet operators (see www.fleetnews.co.uk/blueservice)
Skoda, Toyota and Lexus, Fiat and Mitsubishi are looking into a service plan offering for fleets.

Sharon Townsend, general manager – service at Mitsubishi, says: “We are starting to get interest from fleet managers and we are looking at this. Currently the plans are promoted only to the retail customer and there is a 93% uptake of service plans.

“I believe that fleet managers see a value in manufacturer servicing and using OEM parts. They need reliability in their fleet of vehicles and if servicing costs can be fixed up front this simplifies the process for the end-user.”

The Environment Agency has taken up service packs on Mitsubishi L200s as the vehicles are outright purchased and travel only 12,000 miles a year.

“We have used service packs on and off for the past five or six years, if not longer,” says Dale Eynon, head of fleet operations at the Environment Agency.

“We started using them on plant and then moved into vans. It’s a fixed cost so you know what you are spending and, generally speaking, you get a good deal.”

Eynon also prefers to use main dealers for specialist vehicles as they have the appropriate equipment for servicing and repairs and if there are any warranty issues they are dealt with immediately, which reduces downtime.

“The problem is that there is a variation in which manufacturers offer service plans, which vehicles they are offered on and what is not included in the plan,” he says.

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