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Aging UK car parc means maintenance providers need to continually innovate

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The increasing age of vehicles on UK roads means that service and maintenance providers will need to continue to innovate in the next few years to meet customer needs.

The warning comes from Mike Wise, director at motor industry e-commerce expert Epyx. He explains that the shift will mean an ever greater demand for low and fixed cost servicing and maintenance among both fleets and private motorists.

He said: “Since the credit crunch, the car parc has been steadily aging and this trend shows no sign of abating in the near future, even though new cars sales remain healthy.

“What anyone running a car at the moment wants, and this is true of all parts of the market, is to minimise the cost of service and maintenance and make it as predictable as possible.

“The market has already responded to this with initiatives such as more use of menu pricing and comprehensive service plans and these have proven to be very successful where implemented thoroughly but we believe that further innovations will follow.”

Wise pointed to gaps in current provision such as products designed to meet the maintenance needs of aging fleet cars and fixed cost products designed to keep older vehicles on the road.

He said: “There is quite a lot of evidence that many fleets have extended their replacement cycle from around three to nearer four years, yet most mainstream manufacturers work on a three year warranty and service plan basis. This leaves many fleets without fixed cost motoring towards the end of the replacement cycle.

“Also, there are few fixed cost maintenance products aimed at vehicles that have covered more than 100,000 miles, even though the aging of the car parc and general improvements in build quality means that more and more vehicles will fall into this category.

“Providers of service and maintenance who tackle areas such as these and are able to meet customer needs stand to benefit.”

Wise added that a key element of future innovations could be making use of the increasing data available about used cars.

He said: “Vehicles now gather an increasing amount of information about themselves while companies such as ourselves can provide detailed service histories for a large proportion of the car parc. It could be that the service and maintenance innovations of the next few years will make good use of this mass of information.”

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