Workshop portal: website compares car repair costs


Website compares car repair costs

Workshop portal: website compares car repair costs-repair

A matter of fate: Very few workshops want to commit to the costs in advance

Source: ddp / loh / gb

The online portal Autoscout24 makes the costs of inspections transparent for the first time. The comparison shows that the differences are enormous. Drivers benefit from increasing competition.

W.hat does a 50,000-kilometer inspection cost? How expensive is it to replace the brake discs? What costs do I have to expect if the electric window lifters jammed? Car owners who ask such questions in their workshop rarely get useful answers.

Anyone who has to have their car repaired seems to be at the mercy of fate. The master tool maker frowns, as if looking beneath the sheet metal were surprising. In fact, they rarely provide information about what work is necessary. Only at the end is the customer presented with the – often stately – invoice.

This business practice is likely to change soon. The Internet company Autoscout24 is currently building a workshop portal at, which is intended to make repair and inspection prices in the automotive industry transparent and comparable.

You type in the zip code of your place of residence, enter the type, year of construction and mileage and receive offers from various workshops for inspections, brake repairs or HU demonstrations.

Mostly brand-independent businesses

In addition, the service names the next free appointment for each company, which can be booked online immediately. Autoscout24 emphasizes that the pricing "Model-specific based on the manufacturer’s specifications and the information provided by the workshops about their hourly rates" based. A final price will be displayed.

An example from Cologne shows what car owners can save in this way: Whoever has a VW Golf here 1.9 TDI from the year of construction 2009 for inspection after 36 months can choose from more than 100 workshop offers with the help of the Internet service.

Mostly non-branded companies that want to carry out the inspection service at prices from 201 to 291 euros are listed. This means that savings of around 30 percent are possible.

If you are looking for a car dealership in the area around the cathedral city, you will pay even less because the hourly wages in the countryside are lower. The Internet portal informs that a free workshop in Bergisch Gladbach, 13 kilometers away, only charges 174 euros for the same inspection, while the nearest VW dealer charges 225 euros.

Not all regions of Germany have been recorded yet

The online service shows price differences of over 40 percent for the 50,000-kilometer inspection of a BMW 318i, which in Cologne will cost between 305 and 418 euros, depending on the workshop. The only BMW authorized dealer in the regional workshop comparison names a final price of at least 537 euros.

The new portal offers the long overdue cost transparency for workshop prices. However, Autoscout24 has not yet covered all regions of Germany and must also be suitable for many car models.

But the Internet company promises a rapid expansion of the service and wants to have workshops from all parts of the country under contract by the end of the year.

The companies pay a monthly fee of 49 euros and a one-time installation price of 145 euros for their participation in the comparison portal. "We have already brought an entire market to the Internet for used cars. Now we want to offer workshops the opportunity to use the online workshop portal as a sales channel", says Andre Stark, managing director at Autoscout24.

"Risk to the return on service"

At the Central Association of the Automotive Industry (ZDK), the new workshop portal initiative met with little approval. But one can neither prohibit nor prevent it, they say. "Why companies enter price competition via such portals is not entirely understandable", says ZDK Vice President Wilhelm Hulsdonk and warns of one "Risk to the return on service".

The motor vehicle trade fears above all the competition within the sector that the online price comparison has triggered in favor of motorists.

The ZDK’s arguments are neither new nor convincing: "A product as complex as a workshop service cannot actually be compared on the Internet. Even with a precisely defined scope of services, such as inspections, this is only possible to a limited extent", says Hulsdonk. However, he admits: "The more companies participate in such portals, the greater the pressure on prices – also on all other companies." In other words: car repairs are becoming cheaper.

While there is still debate at the association level, it has long been clear to many workshop owners that they have to change their business and pricing policies in order to survive in the long term. Because there are two strong trends working against them in the service market.

Experts like Professor Willi Diez from the Institute for Automotive Economics at the University of Economics and Environment in Nurtingen expect that the business volume in the field of maintenance and repairs will decrease by up to 13 percent in the coming years.

Every third driver changes the oil himself

He cites the slowly stagnating vehicle population in Germany as the reason. "The saturation of the automobile market, which has been observed for a long time on the new and used car market, has thus also arrived in the service business", writes the scientist in his study "Turning point in automobile service".

Another trend belongs to this turning point: a greater awareness of criticism on the part of many car owners who are no longer willing to put up with the price gouging in the motor vehicle industry. This is shown by a current survey by the expert organization Dekra among 1,300 drivers. More than one in two stated that they save on the maintenance and repair of their own car.

42 percent of those surveyed want to switch to cheaper workshops in the future and carry out minor maintenance work themselves. According to Dekra, more than one in three drivers do the oil change themselves, because this service in the workshop is too expensive for them.

The ADAC has long been advising its members to carry out a major repair "second opinion" and to compare the costs of different companies. The new Internet portal from Autoscout24 offers good options for this, but initially only for inspections and brake repairs.

Audi and BMW have the highest hourly rates

For all other work you still have to take care of cost estimates from various workshops yourself. According to the automobile club, it is less the prices for spare parts than the hourly rates of the companies that are of interest. Because here there is sometimes a large gap between authorized workshops and non-branded companies.

But in order to be able to compare the hourly prices, you first have to deal with the complex calculation system of the industry and know that calculations are based on so-called labor values ​​(AW). One work value corresponds to six minutes. If, for example, 30 AWs and 267 euros are specified for a repair, then the work takes three hours and the hourly rate is 89 euros.

According to ADAC, Audi and BMW charge the highest hourly rates, whose workshops collected up to 170 euros per hour in the last test by the automobile club, while other companies and other car brands only work for around 50 euros per hour.

VW offers package deals for inspections

Dekra offers a good overview of the local average hourly rates of the car dealerships at Here you enter the postcode and find out what the workshops calculate on average for various types of work.

The car manufacturers’ service specialists have also recognized the desire of many car owners for more cost transparency in repairs. Volkswagen reacts to this with package deals for inspections and laces "Economy packages" for certain repairs such as exhaust or brake replacement. In this way, car owners can find out in advance what they will have to pay afterwards.

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