With 30% of new vehicles being part-exchanged back to the original dealer within three years, it is estimated that nearly one in four of these vehicles could have been involved in an accident.
The research highlights the importance of OEM-standard body repairs following an accident to protect the customer and safeguard dealer profits.
Accident Exchange surveyed several of the UK's top dealer groups, with some stating up to 40% of vehicles are sold back into the network or are part-exchanged within three years; the lowest rate was 18% – nearly a quarter, or 300,000 in total, will have suffered an accident in the same period.
While accident damage is sometimes minor and won't affect safety or resale value, poor or very extensive repairs can mask serious mechanical issues which surface later or go unnoticed entirely. This can affect the value of stock or even pose a safety risk.
Liz Fisher, Accident Exchange's Director of Sales Development, explained: "No dealer wants a car on the forecourt which is, effectively, a dud. If customers, especially in these straightened times, cut corners and don't have their cars adequately repaired, it could cost a dealer later.
The franchised network, together with its approved repairers, must do more to retain and educate customers to call the dealer in the event of an accident. One effective way of doing this is by providing an effective AM scheme.
There are the clear income streams to consider if a dealer provides an AM scheme, but it is the less obvious effect on customer satisfaction and therefore loyalty which really matters."
With so many vehicles arriving back on the forecourt, dealers are being urged to ensure customers are provided with high-quality accident management services, which will ensure quality body or mechanical repairs, increase customer satisfaction and provide additional revenue opportunities.