Regional/Area Monopoly on Sales/Service...Anti- Competitive.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by solarmer1, Aug 10, 2011.

  1. solarmer1

    solarmer1 Active Member

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    Hi.

    I've had some problems of poor service arising from the repair and servicing of both my 210 saloon and 210 estate and I've been exploring the possibility of using another franchised dealer.

    There is a major problem that I've met with; in that within the West Midlands all franschises are operated by the Drayton Group. Now I don''t see the purpose in using another Drayton Group dealership other than my local one as I believe that the service levels that I have encountered are most probably replicated throughout the group.

    Beyond my own requirements there is the issue of regional monopolies existing throughout the country which by their nature will prevent competition in prices of new vehlcles together with servicing and repair. In other words ant- competitive and it follows; ant-customer behaviour.

    Whoever wins in this situation, it's certainly not the customer. Why is this situation allowed to exist by the manufacturer or MB UK? Why is there not an outcry about this situation and a referral to the M and M Commission?

    It's about the most anti-competitive behaviour there can be with one group able to fix prices for both new and used sales together with ongoing costs.

    I'm trying to think of another privately owned service provider where this localised monopopoly exists in the choice of one particular product.

    Regards
     
  2. GP801

    GP801 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Same thing in our area. Crawley, Redhill, Brighton and Eastbourne all belong to the same dealer group. Fortunately Crawley have proved pretty on the ball but the lack of choice is anti competitive.
     
  3. nick mercedes

    nick mercedes MB Club Veteran

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    MB Central and MB Tamworth are owned by MB retail, and in theory MB Direct can service cars too.

    "referral to the M and M Commission"

    Because you can go any you want to get your car fixed, nobody is forcing you to use Draytons.
     
  4. OP
    OP
    solarmer1

    solarmer1 Active Member

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    Hi Nick.

    I don't believe that your last sentence is entirely true. Whilst I have a choice of franchise vs independant there is a trade off in the willingness of MB UK to finance repairs work either under goodwill or rust warranty.

    My 2002 E320CDI estate (three owners) had major rust repairs carried out two years ago. My 2001 E320 CDI saloon ( owned from new by myself) had major rust work carried out three years ago. On each occasion my local dealer made it clear to me that this would not have taken place had I not had a Full MB Service History. In other words both my cars have a Mobilo 30 year anti perforation warranty however you will have a major battle if you can't demonstrate a FMBSH.

    I know what the law states however with reference to the Mobilo 30 Year warranty, MB UK ignore it if they possibly can. At my local dealership the receptionist argued and argued that I was incorrect and that no such warranty existed. She had never heard of a 30 year Mobilo Warranty and hence attempted to dismiss my enquiry. When, eventually I insisted on speaking with her supervisor, she in turn at first stated I was incorrect in my belief until I read her the statement releting to the Mobilo anti-perforation in my Service Book.

    So, yes, you can have your car serviced anyhwere however there is a price ongoing!

    Regards
    solarmer1
     
  5. nick mercedes

    nick mercedes MB Club Veteran

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    Like I say if you don't like Drayton use MB Central or Tamworth.
     
  6. Bobby Dazzler

    Bobby Dazzler MB Club Veteran

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    It's not unusual within franchised business models - a business or individual buys the right to operate within a territory or geographical area within the terms agreed by the franchisor.

    When was the last time you had a Costa Coffee, or maybe a McDonalds burger? Maybe your last car was a BMW, or your next car will be? All operate the same territory based approach.

    You're actually one of the lucky ones. If you don't like dealing with Drayton then you can deal with MB themselves. You don't mention which Drayton dealer you're using, but you can't be far from Mercedes-Benz of Birmingham (Central, Solihull or Tamworth), or if you're from the the North of Drayton's territory then you could go the Mercedes-Benz of Manchester. They're all owned by Mercedes-Benz UK Ltd.
     
  7. bolide

    bolide Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Agreed - but right next door to Brighton Mercedes is Rivervale Mercedes, an authorised MB parts supplier & repairer

    Also close by are Alan Robertson and John Haynes so you're hardly stuck for Mercedes servicing in Brighton

    Nick Froome
    the independent Mercedes Estate specialists
     
  8. OP
    OP
    solarmer1

    solarmer1 Active Member

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    Bobby Thanks.

    Selling and servicing high end cars is hardly comparable with selling hamburgers. I don't look for a 30 year mobilo warranty on a hamburger yet I do on my cars. Additionally if I want a hamburger then in most built up areas there is usually a selection of outlets to select from; including Macdonalds. I accept your point about area franchises yet I'm talking here more about regional franchises which clearly do not trade to the customers benefit purely because they have a near monopoly.

    That said I've just had a major repair carried out at an indie:- MD Motorcare in Ellesmere Port Wirral. 0151 357 3111. Superb breath of fresh air after the c... dealt out at my local franchise. Highly, higly recommend.
    Regards
    solarmer
     
  9. grober

    grober MB Club Veteran

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    There was a time a few years back when many individual dealers [ sometimes small family owned units of many years standing] were literally forced to give up/sell on their Mercedes franchise to larger conglomerates/Groups consisting of multiple dealerships in designated territories. I can't actually remember now why this was done or by whom?? MB UK or headquarters in Germany :dk: but it certainly reduced dealer choice considerably at the time.
     
  10. Bobby Dazzler

    Bobby Dazzler MB Club Veteran

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    Whilst even the tastiest AMGs are not quite as tasty as a hamburger, I think the analagy is deeper.

    >> You don't want to visit a McDonalds restaurant operated by a specific franchisee? Go to another McDonalds restaurant operated by a different franchisee.
    >> You don't want to visit a Mercedes dealership operated by a specific franchise? Go to another Mercedes dealership operated by a different franchisee.

    >> You don't want McDonalds? Go to a Burger King or Wimpy Restaurant.
    >> You don't want Mercedes? Go to BMW or Audi.

    >> You don't want to eat in chain-restaurants? Go to an independent cafe, restaurant, van, etc?
    >> You don't want to use official dealerships? Go to an independent specialist, garage, mobile mechanic.


    IIRC It was in 2002/3 and was part of the rebranding exercise that created the "Mercedes-Benz of Town" naming convention rather than "Business Name Mercedes-Benz". Some were indeed lost their franchises, and many of the winners were the big dealer groups (Inchcape, Pendragon, Sytner, etc) some of which got the rights to acquire several territories.
     
  11. OP
    OP
    solarmer1

    solarmer1 Active Member

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    Hi.
    So. To get back to my original discussion point. Is the present system of franchise by town/area/region beneficial to the average customer? You and I know that we can obtain service/repairs at an indie yet I would argue that the average private purchaser of the MB product isn't aware of this and if he is then he is probably wary of the impact on his warranty ongoing goodwill and mobilo repairs and trade in value.

    If Macdonalds held the only franchise to sell coffee and hamburgers in the whole of Shropshire then it might be construed that they can then fix their prices and level of service? Until. of course, another non Macdonalds hamburger/coffee outlet opened up in competition.
    Regards
    solarmer
    :)
     

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