The AA’s Business Services team is calling for radical change when it comes to solving the outstanding vehicle recall challenge. AA Populus Driver Panel data suggests more than half (57%) of drivers would like an alternative to taking a recalled vehicle to the dealership, while three fifths (61%) would be more likely to act on a recall notice with a delivery and collection service. Just over half (53%) would be more likely to respond if a technician could come to their home or workplace.
Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) figures suggest one in 13 cars in the UK is subject to an outstanding recall notice*. With many of the country’s almost 35m cars registered to finance houses, fleet companies or businesses, the onus is on these organisations to ensure defects are dealt with promptly.
Alongside duty of care obligations, fleet operators and business owners are subject to the risk of fines or prosecutions if vehicles are not maintained appropriately or sold on with an outstanding recall, while ignoring the notice could impact upon insurance validity and pay-outs in the case of any claims. While three quarters of drivers in the AA poll (75%) said they were familiar with the recalls process, two fifths (42%) don’t know how to check for a recall on their vehicle.
Stuart Thomas, Director Fleet & SME Services, the AA, said: “The message for fleet operators, manufacturers and finance companies is clear. Drivers want to do the responsible thing and respond to a recall, but more than half (57%) feel it is an inconvenience. A worrying one in 16 (6%) admit to ignoring a recall notice, although the true number might be even higher.”
Thomas continues: “Unsurprisingly, it is younger drivers who have the lowest knowledge of the recall process** and who are demanding the highest levels of flexibility*** in responding to any issues. Fleet operators and finance houses should also take note that female drivers are more likely to delay contacting the manufacturer**** to arrange a repair and have a higher preference for convenience in servicing location, with 56% more likely to act if a technician could come to them*****.”
While the DVSA is encouraging operators to take advantage of text, email, advertising and marketing channels to reach an increasingly diverse group of end drivers, alongside the official recall letters, the AA wants to help fleet companies and finance houses go one step further in the push for recalls response. As such, the organisation is working with manufacturers to develop a complementary mobile recalls servicing team, to operate alongside the existing dealer network.
Thomas says: “We know that the ideal solution for manufacturers is to get their customers back into the dealership so they can manage the ongoing relationship throughout the vehicle lifecycle. However, for a variety of reasons, that might not always be possible. Our research suggests drivers are looking for increasingly convenient and mobile solutions and we’re working with manufacturers to meet that need.”
Examples include sending AA technicians to the Scottish islands to carry out planned recall work on behalf of a manufacturer without dealers in the area, while pilots have also been conducted on a regional basis to support dealers managing a backlog.
Thomas concludes: “Our focus is on developing data and technology to better support an approach that focuses on predictive and preventative maintenance. Going beyond traditional breakdown, we are working closely with organisations across the mobility sector to develop solutions which will provide the changing driver demographic with increased convenience and the opportunity to better plan their lives around their vehicle requirements. Our work on recalls is just one part of the process.”
AA Business Services will be hosting a conference themed around ‘The Smart Approach to Managing Vehicle Lifecycles’ at its Oldbury Customer Experience Centre on Tuesday, 2nd October 2019. Fleet operators, manufacturers and third parties with an interest in servicing, maintenance, repair, recalls and vehicle inspections should register their interest in attending by contacting email@example.com.
* https://www.thesun.co.uk/motors/9028427/your-car-could-be-unsafe-as-almost-three-million-dangerous-recalled-motors-are-still-on-uk-roads/ and https://www.autoexpress.co.uk/car-news/105600/mot-rules-could-be-toughened-up-to-address-outstanding-safety-recalls and https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/cars/article-6557589/DVSA-wants-MOT-test-include-checks-outstanding-safety-recalls.html
** Overall, 30% of respondents contacted the manufacturer straight away to arrange rectification, but the breakdown was 9% for 18-24-year olds, rising to 35% for those aged 65+
*** Overall, 53% of respondents would be more likely to act if a mechanic could come to their home or workplace, but the breakdown was 67% for 18-24-year olds, falling to 44% for those aged 65+
****Overall, 30% of respondents contacted the manufacturer straight away to arrange rectification, but the breakdown was 33% male compared with 23% female drivers
*****Compared with 52% of male respondents