Vehicle repairs cost an average 34 per cent more at new car dealerships than at independent repair shops, resulting in $11.7 billion in excess costs annually to consumers, according to a debut study just released by the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA).
While the study does not reflect Canadian service stations and garages, it does reveal dramatic differences in the costs of parts and labour between domestic and import vehicle nameplates and from city to city in the U.S. Consumers in Los Angeles pay as much as 46.8 per cent more at dealerships than at independent repair shops for repairs. The cost to consumers of specific repairs also varies widely. For example, the average cost for radiator repair for a foreign nameplate vehicle, including parts and labour, is US$325.99 higher at a dealer than at an independent shop; and the cost to purchase and install front brake pads on a foreign nameplate vehicle is US$138.92 more at a dealer than at an independent shop.
AAIA’s Vehicle Repair Cost Analysis, which compares new car dealerships against independents looks at the parts and labour costs of 10 vehicle repair jobs for domestic and foreign nameplate vehicles in six cities across the country, including Boston, Newark, Atlanta, St. Louis, Los Angeles and Seattle.
“In response to repeated requests by congressional leaders studying the merits of the Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair legislation, AAIA commissioned a study to once and for all provide a comprehensive analysis that validated the contention that it costs consumers more to repair their vehicle at new car dealerships than at independent repair shops,” said Kathleen Schmatz, AAIA president and CEO.
Highlights of the study include vehicle repairs for parts and labour averaged 34.3 per cent more at new car dealers than at independent repair shops. Foreign nameplate repairs performed at dealers averaged 36.8 per cent more than at independent repair shops while repairs performed on domestic nameplates averaged 31.5 per cent more at dealerships than at independent repair shops. Total 2008 cost difference for consumers having repair work performed at car dealers rather than independent repair shops for the 10 jobs equaled 11.7 billion.
The cost for non-AAIA members to obtain a copy is US$400. To obtain a copy, contact Member Services at 301-654-6664 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the association online commerce center.