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Over half of drivers don’t know where to turn when buying and servicing their first car

Posted 05/09/17

  • Over half of drivers had no or very little knowledge as to where to buy or service their first car
  • Main reasons are not knowing what criteria to base their decision on and which garage would offer the best value for money
  • The Motor Ombudsman launches handy downloadable ‘one-stop’ reference guide to help those that have just passed their test with purchasing and maintaining a vehicle

London, 05 September 2017 A study by The Motor Ombudsman, the automotive dispute resolution provider, has found that over half (54%) of respondents had very limited or no knowledge at all when choosing which garage to buy their first car from. Similarly, 53% didn’t know where to get their vehicle serviced when they first started driving. The YouGov poll was commissioned to mark the launch of The Motor Ombudsman’s online guide, “#JustPassed”. The handy one-stop point of reference, which can now be downloaded from TheMotorOmbudsman.org, has been designed to make the process easier for new drivers when it comes to the purchase of a vehicle or where to take it for routine maintenance.

The survey of over 1,500 GB licence holders also revealed the primary reasons for the difficulty of selecting a retailer or repairer. Around one in two were unable to determine the criteria on which to base their opinion of the garage, with over half of people saying that they were unsure as to which business offered the best value for the money that they had available to spend1.

Furthermore, the results indicated that nearly two thirds of drivers who were able to come to a decision in terms of where to acquire their pride and joy, or where to have it maintained, did so thanks to word of mouth recommendations from friends and family (61% and 63% respectively). Close to a third simply visited the garage that was nearest to them, whilst a quarter used online customer reviews and ratings, such as those that can be found on The Motor Ombudsman’s Garage Finder, to help form their judgement.

The Motor Ombudsman study showed that out of the individuals questioned, 47% said that the price of the car, and affordability in terms of running and repairing it (33%), were key influencers in their choice of model. A vehicle that was of the right size for their needs was an important consideration for nearly one in four respondents (24%).

Bill Fennell, Chief Ombudsman and Managing Director of The Motor Ombudsman, said: “Passing a driving test often signals the start of greater independence for many, and therefore, people are eager to get behind the wheel of their own car. However, the findings show that for such a significant purchase, a large proportion of new drivers are having to make big financial decisions without the right information in front of them, specifically when it comes to what make and model to get, as well as where to buy the car and have it serviced when the interval comes around.” He added: “To help plug this gap, we have created a simple easy-to-use guide and a handy checklist to help consumers ask the right questions, including whether the garage is accredited to a recognised Code of Practice for that all-important peace of mind. As the first digital resource of its kind, we expect it to be extremely popular.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

About The Motor Ombudsman

The Motor Ombudsman is the automotive dispute resolution body. Fully-impartial, it is the first ombudsman to be focused solely on the automotive sector, and self-regulates the UK’s motor industry through its comprehensive Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI)-approved Codes of Practice. Thousands of businesses, including vehicle manufacturers, warranty product providers, franchised dealers and independent garages, are accredited to one or more of the Codes, which drive even higher standards of work and service, and give consumers added protection, peace of mind and trust during the vehicle purchase and ownership experience.


For more information on The Motor Ombudsman, visit www.TheMotorOmbudsman.org

The Motor Ombudsman media contact:
Simon Wittenberg
PR Manager The Motor Ombudsman Telephone: +44(0)20 7344 1609
E-mail: swittenberg@tmo-uk.org

About the YouGov survey data

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,134 adults, of which 1,599 hold a UK driver’s licence. Fieldwork was undertaken between 14th to 15th August 2017. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

Highlights of research results

Q1. For the following question, by "garage", we mean franchised car dealerships, local independent garages / mechanics etc. Please think about when you first started driving. By this, we mean when you had passed your test and were driving a car (either as a named driver or one you owned).How much, if at all, would you say you knew about each of the following when you first started driving?

How to choose which garage to buy a car from?

Didn’t know very much          30%
Didn’t know anything at all     24%
Knew a fair amount               20%
Knew a lot                            7%

How to choose a garage to get a car serviced at?

Didn’t know very much          29%
Didn’t know anything at all     24%
Knew a fair amount               22%
Knew a lot                            8%

Q2. You said, when you first started driving, you knew how to choose the following…In which, if any, of the following ways would you have chosen the following when you first started driving?

Which garage to buy a car from?

Through word-of-mouth recommendations from family and friends (not including on social media)      61%
By visiting my local dealer/ garage (i.e. the one closest to my home)                                                39%
By looking up online customer reviews and ratings                                                                           25%
By reading articles and adverts in the media (e.g. newspapers, magazines)                                       19%

A garage to get a car serviced at?

Through word-of-mouth recommendations from family and friends (not including on social media)       63%
By visiting my local dealer/ garage (i.e. the one closest to my home)                                                 29%
By looking up online customer reviews and ratings                                                                           21%

Q3. You said, when you first started driving, you did not know very much / at all how to choose the following...Which, if any, of the following are reasons you would NOT have known how to choose the following when you first started driving?

Which garage to buy a car from?

I didn’t know what to base my decision on                                    55%
I didn’t know which would offer the best value for money               53%

A garage to get a car serviced at?

I didn’t know what to base my decision on                            55%
I didn’t know which would offer the best value for money       54%

Q4. For the following question, please think about the first car you owned (either solely or jointly). Which, if any, of the following were reasons why you chose that make / model of car?

It was cheap to buy (i.e. initial cost, not including running costs)                               47%
It was cheap to run and repair (e.g. high MPG, cheap parts, low insurance etc.)          33%
It was large enough for my needs (e.g. boot size, number of seats)                           24%


1. Of those who said that, when they first started driving, they didn’t know how to choose a garage to service a car, 55% said they didn’t know what to base their decision on, 54% said they didn’t know which would offer the best value for money.

Of those who said that, when they first started driving, they didn’t know how to choose a garage to buy a car from, 55% said they didn’t know what to base their decision on, 53% said they didn’t know which would offer the best value for money.



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