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Competition heats up in vehicle servicing as national fleet becomes more reliable

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source; Base: Australians who are drivers, 12 month moving average; Nov 2007 to Sept 2018; average n=14,526.
The proportion of drivers requiring their main vehicle to be serviced or repaired three or more times a year has declined from 30.5% to just 18.4% in the past 11 years, according to Roy Morgan’s latest vehicle servicing survey data.

As vehicles become more reliable, the percentage of drivers requiring two or fewer services or repairs a year has correspondingly increased from 69.5% to 81.6% over the same period (see chart below).

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source; Base: Australians who are drivers, 12 month moving average; Nov 2007 to Sept 2018; average n=14,526.

Motorists continue to show a preference for dealer-run service centres when their vehicle is new or near-new, with a tendency to shift to local garage service centres as the vehicle ages. This transition is most pronounced at the five-year mark, when many factory warranties or lease-hold agreements expire. 

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source; Base: Australians who are drivers, Oct 2017 to Sept 2018, n=12,295. Chart shows ‘Garages/workshop not selling petrol’ vs ‘Dealer who sold me my vehicle’ only, and excludes other kinds of service centres.

Dealers and local garages neck-and-neck

When it comes to driver satisfaction with various types of service centre, there is little difference between the various categories of dealers and local garage/workshops. Service centres that rate most highly include ‘Dealer selling makes other than my own’ (89.5%), ‘Local garage/workshop (not petrol station)’ (88.7%) and ‘Dealer who sold me my vehicle’ (88.3%) (see chart below).

Mobile mechanics were less popular, with an average total satisfaction rating of 79.0%, and tyre specialists and auto-electricians were less popular again, rating 77.5% and 75.6% respectively. 

Percentage of customers ‘very’ or ‘fairly’ satisfied with their last vehicle service, by type of service centre

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source; Base: Australians who are drivers, October 2017 to September 2018, n=12,295

The latest auto servicing data is collected as part of Roy Morgan’s Single Source survey, via in-depth, personal interviews conducted face-to-face with over 50,000 Australians per annum in their own homes, including 12,295 who rated their satisfaction level with various kinds of service centres.

Norman Morris, Roy Morgan Industry Communications Director, commented:

“Vehicle servicing is becoming less frequent, which presents a problem for companies whose main revenue streams are derived from servicing work. This is a trend that is widely predicted to continue as the vehicle fleet gradually transitions from traditional petrol and diesel vehicles to new-generation hybrid or electric vehicles.

“For dealers, the importance of servicing has a second dimension – it is their best means of forging and maintaining a relationship with their customers.

“Although there is a clear move away from dealer-run service centres when a vehicle reaches five years of age, it’s important to remember that often that vehicle will not be owned by the original purchaser – many leasehold customers, or those who value having a late-model vehicle with a dealer warranty, become the next wave of new-car buyers.

“Roy Morgan Single Source data can give any player in the servicing business deeper insights into who their customers are, where they are, and what they value when getting their vehicle serviced.

“Our psychographic segmentation tool Helix Personas offers even deeper insights – how customers’ values, beliefs and behaviours relate to future buying intentions.”

For comments or more information please contact:
Suela Qemal, General Manager - Financial Services & Consulting
Office: +61 (3) 9629 6888

About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%