The 2018 Lightstone Consumer Labour Rate Report is out. Which motor brands charge the most for labour per hour when servicing your car? And which the least? How have labour rates increased in recent years?
These are some of the questions that the annual Labour Rate Reports for passenger as well as commercial vehicles answer. Many brands offer Maintenance or Service Plans and most consumers have little idea what the Retail Labour Rate charged by their dealer is – that is until the maintenance or service plan runs out.“These reports are of huge value to the motor industry – they allow manufacturers, dealers and fleet managers to compare the relative labour rates between the vehicle brands and even between regions” says Lightstone Consumer MD Paul De Vantier, “this ensures that they remain competitive and that’s good for the consumer.”
For the past 10 years Lightstone Consumer has measured and tracked Retail (the rate charged to a customer), Warranty (the rate that the dealer is reimbursed by the manufacturer for warranty work) and the Maintenance Plan (the rate that the dealer is reimbursed by the manufacturer for maintenance plan work) labour rates.This year the report shows that the labour rates can vary across passenger brands from as little as R300 to as much R1 195 per hour. On average Premium Brands will charge around R810 per hour while Volume Brands average R587.
“This isn’t unexpected”, comments De Vantier, “Premium Brands are often packed with advanced technology and the level of expertise needed to maintain and repair these vehicles demands highly skilled technicians, and that can be expensive”.The Commercial Vehicle Report reveals that Commercial vehicle labour rates range from an average of R415 to R655 per hour and again there are differences within brands and across regions.
These regional differences are understandable too: “The overheads in running a 600 square metre workshop in Sandton are much higher than those for a 400 square metre workshop in, say, Vereeniging”. Lightstone Consumer recommend that you shop around and negotiate once a vehicle is no longer covered by a maintenance or service plan. You should stay with the franchise dealership if you can and at the very least if the car is out of warranty use a brand specialist. Even if it’s slightly more expensive these workshops have the right training and access to specialist tools and parts and that will pay off in the long run.
Paul B De Vantier
Tel: 041 364 0211