According to a recent study by Automotive Industries Association (AIA) of Canada, not only is safety a key factor influencing the decision to invest in vehicle service/repair, but also trust. AIA set up a series of consumer focus groups in Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver to examine the vehicle service and maintenance habits. Ranked number one in those cities was ‘Safety’ followed by ‘Reliability and Dependability’ ranking second. Surprisingly, the ‘Cost of Work’ and its impact on the environment were of a much lower ranking.
According to AIA, an important piece of information to take away from the survey was the degree to which trust plays a role to determine ‘if’ and ‘where’ Canadians take their vehicles for service. “Consumers are telling us our industry needs to do a better job to gain their trust,” said Marc Brazeau, president and CEO of AIA Canada.
In each focus group, participants that had a ‘go-to’ person in the repair industry actively referred friends and family and were extremely loyal. On the other hand, most participants said they had never been able to establish a ‘go-to’ person/provider, leading to a general lack of trust and confidence.
Almost all participants stated that basic maintenance on their vehicles were completed on a regular basis and believed their vehicle was safe because of it. In contrast, the 2013 Canadian Automotive Aftermarket Demand Study examined Canadian spending habits around service and repair only to discover that the average Canadian is under-spending on vehicle maintenance and repair by $623 a year. “This is a distinct indicator that we have communication and education work to do as an industry. We need to better inform consumers about how regularly scheduled maintenance is essential to having a safe and reliable vehicle,” said Brazeau.
Data gathered from the focus groups is being used to promote vehicle maintenance in Canada while educating customers through the Be Car Care Aware program, which celebrated its 10th anniversary last year. The program – with a recently revamped and mobile enabled website – provides tools, resources and information to consumers before they arrive at the service shop. “Investing in consumer education and awareness are integral to the future of our industry. We know Canadians believe in the importance of service and repair, we know that keeping their vehicles safe and reliable is of primary importance and we know they believe they are doing that through basic maintenance. We simply nee to provide them with better information and tools so they can make more informed decisions on what is actually needed to keep their vehicle safe on the road,” said Brazeau.