Dealer Insights - September/October 2012 - Dealer Digest

August 27, 2012


The average cost of certain car repairs fell 6% from 2010 to 2011, a recently released study by consumer website CarMD reports. The average cost of an auto repair last year was $333.93 — 21% less than its high in 2006 — according to the study, which examined 163,582 “check engine light”-related auto repairs state by state.

CarMD, which tracks vehicle trouble codes, attributed the repair cost decline to a double-digit drop in labor costs at dealership service departments and repair shops.

The most commonly reported repairs included replacement of oxygen sensors and damaged or loose gas caps. New repairs to appear in the top 25 included “inspect battery and charging system and repair as necessary,” “replace wheel-speed sensors” and “replace ABS control module.” 

The four states with the highest car repair costs: Wyoming (average total cost: $389.18), followed by Utah, California and Montana. And the least expensive states for repairs were Indiana (average total cost: $283.95), Maine, Wisconsin and Iowa. Find out how other states ranked on the CarMD website.


If business has been rosier at your dealership over the last 18 months or so, you’re not alone, according to the recently released NADA DATA 2012 study. Here are two statistics signaling that 2011 was a good year and, if the momentum continues, this year might even be better: 

  • Approximately 41,200 more people were employed at a U.S. franchised dealership in 2011 compared to 2010, and 
  • The number of dealerships increased by 66 in the first quarter of 2012. 

The study also showed an uptick in new-vehicle sales, creating less reliance on used-car sales. Sales in the new-car department — up 15.6 % — topped the 9.8 % revenue growth in used cars.


A booklet you’ve been handing out to new-car customers since 1991 would become history if H.R. 5859 becomes law. According to the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee, the bipartisan legislation would repeal an “obsolete” mandate requiring motor vehicle insurance cost reporting.

Passage of the bill (which, as of this writing, hasn’t been voted on) would eliminate the requirement that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) develop information on insurance rates for different makes and models of passenger vehicles. Auto dealers would no longer be required to make the NHTSA booklet, Relative Collision Insurance Cost Information, available to prospective buyers or face a $1,000 per violation fine for noncompliance.

Check with your area congressman’s office or your dealership association for the latest information on the bill’s status.


Dealer Insights - September/October 2012 Issue 


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