Lang Aftermarket iReport: Consumers rate ‘Service Stations/Garages & Dealers’

“Consumers perceive Service Stations/Garages and Dealers differently across four key repair outlet performance factors: Convenience, Technical Capability, Low Price, and Fair Price.

“Over the past five years, consumers have changed some of their perceptions of Service Stations/Garages and Dealers regarding these key performance factors.”

— Jim Lang, publisher, Lang Aftermarket iReport

Four Major DIFM Outlet Performance Factors

Since 2014, Lang Marketing has tracked consumer perceptions regarding four major groups of light vehicle repair outlets: Service Stations/Garages, Dealers, Repair Chains, and Tire Stores.

In its recent national survey, Lang Marketing compared consumer perceptions of Dealers and Service Stations/Garages in terms of four performance factors:

  • Convenience of Repair
  • Technical Repair Capability
  • Low Price
  • Fair Price

This Lang iReport focuses on differences in consumer perceptions of Service Stations/Garages and Dealers and also includes selected comparisons with consumer perceptions of Repair Chains and Tire Stores.

Convenience of Repair

Two Forces Whipsaw Domestic Nameplate VIO

Service Stations/Garages received the strongest consumer rating for Convenience of Repair among the four outlets covered in this analysis, followed by Dealers in second place.

Despite their population decline following the Great Recession of 2008, Dealers have redoubled their efforts to make repairs more convenient by extending service hours, adding Quick Lube/Service bays, and expanding the menu of repairs for which they provide same-day service.

The convenience of Service Stations/Garages is based on their large number of locations, with more than 120,000 outlets nationwide, representing over half of all light vehicle repair locations.

Technical Repair Capability

Dealers were rated significantly higher than the other three repair outlets for Technical Repair Capability.

Service Stations/Garages were ranked second by consumers, stronger than the rating by consumers five years ago.

Repair Chains and Tire Stores were third and fourth in consumer perceptions of Technical Repair Capability during Lang Marketing’s latest research.

The Technical Repair Capability of repair outlets has varying importance to consumers in outlet selection, depending on the level of technical repair required.

There are also significant differences among consumers in how they perceive the Technical Repair Capability of specific groups of repair outlets, depending on the type of vehicle they own (domestic nameplates versus foreign nameplates) as well as the age of their vehicle.

Low Price

Consumers ranked Service Stations/Garages highest among the four outlets for Low Price of vehicle repair. Dealers, in contrast, were at the bottom for Low Price.

The importance of Low Price varies among consumers depending on income as well as the nameplate (domestic versus foreign) and age of the vehicle they own.

Fairness of Price

In addition to Low Price, Service Stations/Garages received the highest consumer rating for Fair Price, substantially better than the rating that consumers give to Dealers.

Repair Chains ranked second in Fairness of Price, followed by Tire Stores in third position.

Tracking Consumer Perceptions

Over the past five years, Lang Marketing has tracked the perceptions of consumers regarding four major groups of repair outlets.

During this time, Service Stations/Garages have increased their ratings in terms of how consumers perceive their Technical Repair Capabilities, while Dealers have improved their consumer perception regarding Convenience of Repair.

Six Major Takeaways

  • Consumers ranked Service Stations/Garages highest for Convenience of Repair, while Dealers received a strong second place rating.
  • Dealers are improving consumer perception of the Convenience of Repair by expanding service hours, improving their repair facilities to include Quick Lube/Service Lanes, and adding consumer friendly repair practices.
  • Dealers ranked highest for Technical Repair Capability, followed by Service Stations/Garages.
  • Service Stations/Garages received a higher rating for Technical Repair Capability among consumers than they did in a similar research project conducted by Lang Marketing five years ago.
  • Service Stations/Garages have the highest consumer ratings for Low Price and Fairness of Price; while Dealers received a fourth-place rating by consumers for both of these performance criteria.
  • Lang Marketing found that the importance of Technical Repair Capability to consumers varies by the level of technical repair they need, and the importance of Low Price varies by the income of consumers and the nameplate and age of the vehicle they own.

Copyright 2019 by Lang Marketing Resources, Inc.

NOTESpecial thanks to publisher Jim Lang for granting us permission to publish the Lang Aftermarket iReport.