South African motorists could soon benefit from significant savings on vehicle parts.
Noseweek readers should by now have more than an inkling of the remarkably cavalier attitude that motor manufacturers display towards the rights of South African car owners regarding after-sales service, spares prices, workshop repairs and factory recalls. Over the years manufacturers and importers have become increasingly militant in their efforts to force customers to pay dealers’ hugely exploitative prices for services and parts that are often available much more cheaply from other sources.
Punishments, visited upon those with the temerity to try to save money by shopping elsewhere, have included cancellation of warranties. And horror stories abound of franchises refusing to work on cars that have had any repairs carried out, no matter how small or irrelevant, by “unauthorised” workshops. This, according to numerous accounts, sometimes happens irrespective of whether there is still a paid-up service or maintenance plan applicable on the vehicle.
But the industry worldwide is now no longer satisfied with having its fangs lodged in the customers’ jugulars for only the period of the warranty and service plan, usually between three and five years.