Fleet News

Dealer servicing chaos hits fleets

FLEETS are being overcharged by dealers that are failing to keep on top of the latest service schedules for new vehicles.

In recent years, manufacturers have been specifying increasingly complicated servicing times as vehicle technology gets more advanced. But not all dealers are correctly applying the schedules, which can leave fleets out of pocket.

George Reid, head of technical services for Lloyds TSB autolease, said the sheer amount of different servicing schedules was confusing for fleets and dealers alike. He said: ‘It’s becoming more of a problem. Various manufacturers have variable servicing, others have set intervals but the intervals vary between models. When you throw in free servicing or free maintenance into the equation, you get very confused.’

Mr Reid said dealers often choose the wrong schedule and carry out unnecessary work.

‘Dealers are picking old model specs and quoting us for work which takes longer, so there are more labour charges. Some of the older models also have more things scheduled which means new vehicles are having parts changed unnecessarily,’ he said.

‘Any fleet with a fair number of vehicles will be having the same problems. They need to know their vehicles and understand the schedules.’

Ian Hare, commercial director of Motorconsult, which produces the maintenance costing service Maintbook, said servicing was getting much more complex.

‘Manufacturers are increasingly looking to reduce service, maintenance and repair costs and enhance residual values,’ he said.

Mike Owen, head of aftermarket for the Retail Motor Industry Federation, said fleets had a role to play in helping dealers.

‘The service schedules are now so complicated and the exposure to risk if something is not done tends to lead to people overdoing things,’ he said.

Mr Owen said fleets needed to ensure that up-to-date service records were kept.

‘The information isn’t getting to the technician on the floor,’ he said. ‘A fleet vehicle maintained at a range of places needs an accurate service record and that needs to be transmitted to the dealership so they can know what’s happened previously.’

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