Canadians spending less on cars but remain loyal to service facilities

Canadians are spending less on their cars according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2010 Canadian Customer Commitment Index Study.

The second annual study found that Canadians spent $9.8 billion on vehicle maintenance and repair services in 2010, down from $11.2 in 2009. The decrease is two-fold. One is due to a spending drop in regular maintenance among owners who have four-to-seven-year-old vehicles and the second is a lower number of overall service visits and less money spent. The average cost of a service visit in 2010 is $287 versus $352 in 2009.

“Stagnant economic conditions may be one reason owners might postpone expenditures, including routine vehicle maintenance,” said Ryan Robinson, director of the Canadian automotive practice at J.D. Power and Associates.

Other reasons for the decline in maintenance and service expenditures can be traced to a change in industry standards. Car manufacturers are recommending longer service intervals, there has been increased vehicle reliability and less cars aged three-to-12 on the roads thanks to strong new car sales during 2006-2007.

In a case of “we knew this already,” the survey also found that Canadian drivers of three-to-12-year-old vehicles are very loyal to their service and maintenance facilities. The study reported that high levels of customer service meant that Canadian drivers were more likely to return to the same service facility.

The service facilities included both new-car dealerships and after-market facilities and were ranked on a 1,000-point index scale. The average score was 815. Satisfaction was determined with five criteria:

  • Process of getting the vehicle in for service
  • Service adviser performance
  • Service facility
  • Quality of work performed
  • Process of vehicle return/pick-up

Based on the above criteria, the top five facilities were:

  • Certigard (Petro-Canada) with an index score of 869
  • Goodyear Auto Service Centre with 838
  • Jiffy Lube with 835
  • OK Tire with 832
  • NAPA AUTOPRO with 831

And the bottom five were:

  • Ford/Lincoln dealerships with 790
  • BMW dealerships with 788
  • Canadian Tire Auto Service with 758
  • Costco with 756
  • Wal-Mart Tire & Lube Express with 734
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