UK motorists quash rip-off garage reputation

26 November 2012 #SMMT News

Nationwide satisfaction survey reveals security of Motor Codes network

  • The Motor Codes Report – a one-of-a-kind, comprehensive report on customer service levels in the automotive industry.
  • 25,000 consumers give Motor Codes their verdict on the quality of service received when buying a new car and when having their car serviced.
  • Exceptionally high customer ratings suggest motorists need never again be wary of trusting a garage – as long as they choose one within the government-backed Motor Codes network.


Gathering public opinion throughout the whole of 2012, automotive industry standards body, Motor Codes, has compiled a report on customer satisfaction with car dealers and service centres across the UK.

Looking at results from 25,000 surveys – 20,500 from car servicing customers using a Motor Codes affiliated garage and 4,500 new car buyers – Motor Codes asked for people’s opinion on the overall customer service experience when dealing with a garage and the results paint a reassuring picture of the quality within its 7,000-strong network.

Consigning the archetypal ‘suck through teeth, that’ll cost you’ view of garages to a stereotyped past, the Motor Codes Report shows that trust in its garages has risen to an incredible 98% since its inception in 2008.  Importantly, the survey also shows that, where the dreaded phone call comes and the garage has found that extra work is needed on top of a routine service, again, 98% of Motor Codes garage customers were happy that they were being charged fairly and only for work they were happy to have carried out.

Announcing the launch of the first Motor Codes Report, managing director, Chris Mason, said that it would pave the way for providing an ongoing check and balance of standards in the car industry:

“When the government first tasked us with reducing the number of complaints in the car service sector, we knew we had to get to the heart of the problem.  That meant talking directly to garage customers and asking their opinion.  To see that trust in Motor Codes garages has risen to such a high level is phenomenal.  This upward trend suggests growing consumer confidence in the professional standards of garages in the Motor Codes network.  But we won’t rest on our laurels.  This report will become an annual fixture – a regular, public check-in on our businesses and standards.  We’ll continue surveying customers to make sure that people can choose a Motor Codes garage with confidence.”

Traditionally, when choosing a garage, recommendation of friends and family is all-important.  Of those 25,000 surveyed, only 2% would not recommend their Motor Codes garage.

Headline figures on the new car side of things, where satisfaction amongst a cross-section of customers of all volume car manufacturers, measured within a two year period from the time of purchase, show that motorists were impressed with both sales and aftersales staff within dealerships.  On a rating of 1-5, customer scores for sales and aftersales were 4.4 and 4.29, respectively.

“What’s encouraging here”, says Chris, “is that dealers are demonstrating strong levels of customer care throughout car ownership, even where there may have been a warranty fix required.  People can be sure that their relationship with a dealer doesn’t end when they’ve paid for and collected their new car.”

Faced with such positive figures from such a sizeable sample of customers, Motor Codes managing director, Chris Mason added a simple message for consumers:

“All Motor Codes garages, from the biggest main dealer to the family-owned independent, are committed to our government-backed codes of practice, they submit themselves to online customer reviews and they’re all independently inspected by the RAC.  Plus, staff and customers at Motor Codes garages can make use of our expert advice line if things do go wrong.  And yes, cars can go wrong but, when they do, customers at Motor Codes garages can rest assured that there’s a process in place to get them back on the road as swiftly as possible.”

Looking beyond customer service levels, there are a number of regional and national trends shown within the comprehensive data that Motor Codes has gathered over the past year.  Perhaps more a reflection on the current economic climate than quality of vehicles or service, the Motor Codes Report showed a trend towards people keeping their cars longer.  The number of cars between seven and ten years old being serviced at Motor Codes subscribing garages now accounts for almost a third of all jobs carried out – up from 24% in 2009, when Motor Codes first began surveying motorists.

The Motor Codes Report is available online.  Visit to download the report from the homepage.  On the site, you’ll also find out more information on the Motor Codes government-backed codes of practice, a garage finder that searches all of its subscribing garages and a link to complete a survey on your own local Motor Codes garage.




Notes to editors:

The Motor Codes Report is based on two elements:  Non-targeted service and repair surveys received online at from January 1 through November 9 2012.  The new car data was gathered with the cooperation of all volume car manufacturers, each of whom gave Motor Codes details of 500 customers.  The new car survey generated a response rate of 25%.

Data was analysed independently and the report produced by Pringle Media Ltd, in conjunction with McGregor Creative Design.

Motor Codes has subscribing garage owners in every region of the UK that can provide regional comment, advice and industry guidance as required. Arrange an interview by contacting

About Motor Codes:

Motor Codes operates OFT-approved codes of practice that raise and maintain standards in the service and repair and new car sectors.

The New Car Code covers over 99% of all new cars sold in the UK and regulates the advertising, sale, warranty, replacement parts availability and complaint handling processes for new cars.

The Service and Repair Code helps motorists to identify responsible garages, offers a structured complaints procedure and promotes good customer service. Around 7,000 garages in the UK subscribe to the Code and millions of motorists benefit from its protection and standards, in addition to the free advice line and dispute resolution service.

The Code commits subscribing garages to:

  • honest and fair service
  • open and transparent pricing
  • completing work as agreed
  • invoices that match quoted prices
  • competent and conscientious staff
  • a straightforward and swift complaints procedure

It offers motorists:

  • a free motoring advice line (0800 692 0825)
  • an online Garage Finder tool, complete with real-time ratings, to locate the nearest reputable garage
  • free conciliation and low cost, legally binding arbitration


Further Motor Codes information is available at


Filter News

Update Newsletter