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Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Trophy1200, Oct 15, 2007.
How about this for customer service?
sounds about right to me in my experience with main dealers. Rip Rip Rip.
$110 an hour... geez, labour's cheap there too.
This does not surprise me in the least, it sadly happens everywhere and the ones who suffer are usually women and older people who are not attuned as a young male enthusiast may be.
I hate to stereotype but I have been in many dealerships and overheard conversations with 'service managers' and they are not always pretty.
Oh surprised that he had a C Class Coupe too...
$110 CDN is only £55 ! Just goes to show what a rip off the equivalent central London dealers are at £165 hour
Still, it's a good example of why you should try to avoid main dealers, they replace parts instead of trying to fix.
There should be a law, attempt to commit consumer robbery by a commercial enterprise, $10,000 or 3 times the amount whichever higher! I wonder how many claims there would be against stealerships
How does that show that central London dealer rates are a rip off?
Do you know how expensive property is in central London?
That is a fair point, bear in mind property and therefore rent is cheaper across the pond as are labour rates.
I still do think we are overpaying on labour at MB dealerships.
On another point, I recently had an EML light on. MB diagnosed a split Kompressor hose which required the removal of the air box ECU etc.
Shortly after I had a pedal sensor issue for which the dealer replaced the pedal & after this did not solve it the ECU. This still did not solve it so it went back in and apparently it was a loose connection near the ECU!
Now my drivers door is not recognised, since the car was returned.
Being cynical (and i'm sure its true) I could say that when the hose was replaced the wiring was disturbed the pedal & ECU did not need replacing and my door not working is also reltaed to the messing about. What the problem was and what they admitted it to being was a loose connection no doubt caused when the hose was replaced.
Can I prove this...NO are they going to own up about it...NO
Where do I stand now? potentially having to fork out £300 for a door control module... am I pi$$ed? you bet I am!
This whole thing bugs me after 55 years in the service trade, why is it that car makers can and do charge what they like, do not have to offer any form of goodwill. They never offer to return or refit any part that has not fixed whats been paid for. MB engineers are no more than zombies without a mind of their own.
Your seat is not working sir, lets see now what it says on STAR
New switch £100
new wiring £100
new motors £100
new memory £100
So that ill be £900 plus VAT and do enjoy the coffee
I am off out to do a £20 service call
Every time I seem to go into a MB dealership, there always appears to be a customer going mad at the service desk......and always the same story similar to below.
Good thing this lot are not let loose on something like brain surgery !!!!!
Yes I do thank you, I have a flat there. I've spent some time with a Japanese friend with a place in central Tokyo where property prices are almost as high and the dealer labour rates are much cheaper there.
If the dealer rates are cheaper in Tokyo then I would suggest that the margin model on new cars is different in Japan which allows the dealer to make money from selling cars rather than just aftersales.
The high labour rates in the UK (and especially London) are the direct result of EU competition regulations brought in as a result of the 'rip-off Britain' campaign. Historically cars were priced higher in markets that had higher operating costs so that dealers made money from 3 areas of their business - car sales, service and parts - to cover the overhead cost of the dealership and, hopefully, leave a profit.
Over the last few years car prices have been harmonised across Europe (save for fluctuations in exchange rates and purchase taxes). Also the profit margin available to the dealer has been fixed across Europe. This means that a car sold in the UK is sold to the dealer at the same price as it would be supplied to a dealer in any other EU country and the dealer has the same profit margin. This works well in most EU countries but is a particular problem in the UK due to very high property costs and subsequent high cost of labour (higher property prices = higher cost of living = higher cost of labour). The profit margin on the sale of a new car in the UK barely covers the cost of employing a sales team and running a demostrator fleet. In order to cover the overhead cost of their facilities dealers have been forced to dramatically increase their labour rates to boost profitability in the service department to replace the loss of profits from new car sales.
If you think that Central London labour rates are a rip-off then there is nothing to stop you setting up your own business as a Mercedes-Benz Authorised Repairer and charging a lower labour rate. The Authorised Repairer option has existed for several years but to date no-one has tried to set one up in London.
Also, if you think that it must be possible to make money selling just new cars then consider that there are no Mercedes-Benz Authorised Resellers (i.e. independent car sales only operations) in the UK. Off the top of my head I can't think of any Authorised Resellers for any major brand in the UK but there may be some out there somewhere.
Eight years ago the firm I used to work for charged my time to clients at £495 (plus VAT) per hour. My target for hours charged was 1200.
They could get away with that because I had (and still have) a specialist skill in specialist market. Clients moaned greatly but they had no choice but to cough up in order to be excavated from the wide, deep and crap filled hole they were usually in. They could go elsewhere but would pay equal rates.
Myself and about six others were effectively cross subsidising a great deal of loss making work, covering expensive overheads and were of course treated like dirt. So we all left and eventually found that whilst we had made no attempt to take any of the work or clients with us, it sort of followed automatically.
Would that happen with main dealers? Well, only up to a point
Just have to accept that if you want to stay within the mainstream (or do not know any better) then absent a regulatory environment you will always be liable to exploitation. As the song says, Sad but True
A couple of things make that seem unlikely - I don't know, but it seems unlikely to me, that the property costs would be much different in say Paris or Munich, and what is *hugely* higher is the cost of employing people in those places.
In the UK, there may well be high 'headline' figure labour rates, but I know that the lease companies pay a fraction of those rates, and hefty discounts are available from most dealers, simply for the asking. Inchcape, for example, owner of my local and quite a few other MB dealerships, regularly advertises heavily discounted servicing, and reduced rates on other work.
In the past it was more expensive to employ people in France or Germany than in the UK but not these days. Lots of employment tax increases have been passed on to employers rather than employees.
In addition how many dealers are there in Paris or Munich? It is my understanding that Paris has one major (DC owned) brand centre that acts as a show room and a series of satellite service centres. I think Munich also has a huge brand centre so may have a similar operation.
Discounted servicing is becoming more common as DCAG has improved product quality other the last few years which has resulted in a significant reduction in warranty work. Over the last few years Dealers have invested in bigger facilities due to the amount of work they were expected to do and are now having to increase their penetration of the older vehicle parc (number of vehicles on the road) in order to keep the workshop busy (a lot of dealers are now offering '6+' discounts).
Lease companies do get a discount (depending on their fleet size and how much work they are giving to the dealership) but it is probably not much different to typical '3+' discounts.
I would take that video with a pinch of salt...
Those C Class Coupe Panoramic Rooves are very very well known for jamming.. When this happens its new cable time and the labour charge is huge as the rear end of the car has to be stripped inside out..
Ok so the technician didnt look into it properly but i dare say that many others would have done the same as its a common fault for these to jam...
Whenever I see a French or German MB dealer (or any other car brand for that matter) the showroom is invariably a rather cheap-looking pre-fab on the road way out of town. In this country, it appears that you cannot obtain authorised dealer status without a heavy investment in state-of-the-art facilities - including a showroom you could happily copy for your own living room and a workshop whose floor you could happily eat your dinner off.
Who is to blame for that I wonder? Is it the Vehicle manufacturers forcing these expensive premises (in premium locations) on the sales companies or is it the British public who have (by voting with their feet) shown that they will go to the flashiest joint in town to put their money down? I don't know the answer.
I remember when VW forced the dealers to separate Audi out as a separate operation - with the inevitable boost in plate-glass window sales. This would rather point the finger at the manufacturers but look at how the Audi showrooms have "poshed" up even further since then.
There are a few points on this thread that are among my pet hates, the first one, dealers mechanics not be mechanics, just fitters I addressed in another thread.
The second is comparison of costs with foreign countries without taking into consideration the economic differences of the countries in question.
Comparing anything with America is an utter waste of time, firstly forget the exchange rate, what is £1 in the UK is effectively $1 in the USA as far as the average Joe is concerned, of course if you happen to be an importer/exporter or money broker it's more relevant (I'm an importer/exporter BTW).
This is without even considering taxes, health care pensions etc. - you'd need some serious egg heads with a lot of equations to get you anywhere near a reasonable comparison.
Then thirdly is the expectations of the British Public at large. I'm an employer, the hidden costs of being an employer are simply frightening, my marketing manager I pay £30,000 a year and provide him with a company vehicle, He has to generate £200,000 in sales in a year to cover that before I make a penny from him, then there are business rates, eye watering property costs, planning rules at every turn governing what signage you can put up and how you advertise. Laws against mail shots, laws against emailing potential customers, heath and safety nonsense that you simply wouldn't believe.
I sell stone, mostly Limestone, marble and Granite and last week I had to install 3 fire extinguishers in my warehouse in case the stock catches fire. Have you seen how fast Marble burns?......The point is, the fixed overheads I have are such that you wonder if the government actually want you to be able to make money and pay taxes, and all the time Television is encouraging the general public to screw everyone down to the lowest price they can get at all costs (including quality costs).
Profit has become a dirty word in modern Britain, the property bubble we're currently in has fuelled an entire generation of people thinking they have endless credit and can get something for nothing, and this will be the downfall of this countries economy in the short term (next 20 years).
Rant over......(well...till the next time)
Strictly spealing all dealerships across Europe have to meet the same 'Corporate Standard'. However, I know that in some EU countries (France is one of them) there is legislation that protects small companies from being dictated to by larger companies so they can ignore the requirement.
That protection doesn't exist in the UK so dealers have to comply and build the 'glass palace'. The location is now up to the dealer but the size of the showroom is dictated by the manufacturer. Why does the manufacturer insist on such an expensive dealership? I think it is a bit like the old 'chicken and egg' conundrum. The manufacturer says that is what customers demand but by building them it raises the customers expectation further. I know that DCUK pay particular attention to one of the questions in the customer satisfaction survey 'did the dealership facilities meet your expectations?'. Enough negative answers and they will put pressure on the dealer to invest in a new showroom.
I think that a lot of people of the forum would say that the 'glass palace' is a waste of money but unfortunately there seems to be a lot of people out there that disagree. I can remember reading on another forum a post from an unimpressed customer who on taking his car in for a service was severely put out when he had to walk from the showroom door to the service reception to book his car in. He felt that as he had spent good money on a premium car the least he could expect was someone waiting at the door to greet him.
Was this a Mercedes-Benz dealership? No, it was a Honda dealership. But if enough people think the same and complain to Honda UK then all of their dealers will have to have 'meeters and greeters' and the cost will continue going up...
For your information, there are about 55 Mercedes dealers in Munich.
Property prices are slightly lower there than London, but the labour charge in a typical approved workshop is about £55/hr (actually they charge per AW, which is a "work unit" = 5 min at around €6.50 including tax. So if it takes 20 minutes to fit your part you do not get charged for a whole hour).
This works out at less than a third of what London dealers charge.
Personally I do not find the property price excuse justifiable. Perhaps there needs to be another rip-off Britain campaign to bring on any real changes.