Proximity of dealership, service centre an influencing factor

This is more relevant, especially in smaller towns and probably not so in major cities.

BHPian Emvi recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

A lot of factors influence an individual’s vehicle buying decision, especially the four wheelers. First and foremost is the pricing, followed by the looks, safety and covenience features, fuel type, performance, maintenance cost, interior space, resale value, to name a few. Of course, the order of precedency might not be the same for everyone. In addition to these obvious factors, IMO, proximity of the dealerships/service centres have a major say in the vehicle buying decision. This is more relevant, especially in smaller towns and probably not so in major cities. To put things into perspective, I would like to take my hometown as an example, a rural place about 17 kms and 100 kms away from the taluk and district headquarters respectively. I am listing out the dealerships/service centres of a few automakers and their proximity to my hometown.

Maruti Suzuki

  • Dealership/Service centre with body shop – 18 kms
  • Nexa Dealership – 100 kms approx.

Hyundai

  • Dealership/Service centre – 50 km
  • Service centre with body shop – 100 kms approx.

Mahindra and Mahindra

  • Dealership/Service centre and body shop – 50 km.

Tata Motors

  • Dealership – 18 kms (opened recently)
  • Service centre – 50 km
  • Service centre with body shop – 100 kms approx.

Renault

  • Dealership – 50 Kms
  • Service centre and body shop – 100 Kms approx.

Kia Motors/Toyota/Ford/Honda/Volkswagen/Skoda/MG

  • Showroom/Service centre and body shop – 100 Kms approx.

Mercedes Benz/JLR/BMW/Audi

  • Showroom/Service centre – 100 Kms approx.

This segment of cars may not have much relevance for the intended discussion.

Note: Only Maruti and Hyundai have multiple showrooms and service centres (atleast 3) within 100 Kms distance from my hometown.

It is not at all surprising that Maruti Suzuki cars are the ones most seen on the roads followed by the rest, pretty much in the order of the list above. Yes, it may not be a major issue for an individual to take delivery of a vehicle from a dealership 100 kms away or even going for a scheduled service twice or thrice in a year. But it can get cumbersome, when you want to test drive different cars or the same car multiple times, when you have minor but bothersome niggles, minor or major accidental repairs and breakdowns. Even scheduling a service appointment as per your convenient time may not be that easy. With a solitary dealership in an entire district, if a car owner is not happy with the quality of service provided or any other reason for that matter, the owner is left with no choice other than travelling to the next city/town/district just to get the car serviced. I know a couple of people in my hometown, who own Ford and Renault cars, travel to Mysore which is about 165kms from here just to get their cars serviced. Not everyone can afford to travel that long just to get their cars serviced or a minor niggle rectified. Just imagine the plight of a car owner, if the car turns out to be niggle prone. Also what we have to understand is not every car owner is an auto enthusiast. For a lot of people, a car is just a mode of transport from place A to B. For such car owners particularly and in general for everyone, proximity of service centres does help with regards to ease of maintenance.

I am pretty sure that there are a lot of such towns/villages in our country where the majority of car dealerships have absolutely no presence and when present, they are few and far. In such a scenario, proximity of the dealerships/service centres becomes a compelling factor as far as car buying decision is concerned for a lot of people, if not for everyone. It is one of the key factors if you ask me, is it a factor for you guys?

Here’s what GTO had to say on the matter:

No way, definitely not for me. I value competence & my relationship with the service advisor over proximity. As an example, my 5-Series goes 1 – 1.5 hours away to Turbhe or Jogeshwari, even though there is a service outlet 15 minutes from my place at Worli. Reason = relationships & comfort level. My Jeep currently goes to Shanbagh who is very close to home, although my next-best option is an incredible Jeep expert somewhere near Madh Island (1.5 hours).

My cars visit the workshop an average of once / year, as is the case with most BHPians. I don’t care about the extra 60-minute commute for the additional comfort level & trust. I never drive myself to the workshop anyway as I use their pickup & drop service (no time on weekdays to do it myself & weekends are for fun).

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