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AS MORE motorists choose premium vehicles, expectations around customer service levels have also increased, as has the need for insurers to provide like-for-like replacement vehicles in the event of an accident.

The premium car market share has grown by nearly 60% in the past 10 years, according to research by AX, provider of vehicle protection technologies and replacement vehicles.

The accident aftercare specialist said retailers and insurers that elevate their customer service offering to match the surge in premium market share could see increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Analysis of new car registration data and found that premium brands – including Mercedes, BMW, Jaguar, McLaren and Porsche – had increased in market share by more than 57% in the past decade.

The accessibility of lower premium vehicles could be one of the main reasons for the big increase in the premium market, with the likes of the BMW 1 Series, Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz A-Class all regular bestsellers.

The latter brand has seen the biggest growth over the last nine years, with Mercedes-Benz’s 172,238 new car registrations in 2018 an increase of 138% on its 2009 figure; more than doubling its market share. In 2018, Mercedes-Benz overtook BMW, recording 109 more registrations than its German counterpart.

Alongside traditional premium manufacturers like Audi, mainstream car brands are increasingly offering higher-end models – such as Ford’s bespoke Vignale range.

Despite AX’s data analysis including only long-established brands, the sector still showed an increase in market share of 57.3%.

Steve Molloy, Director of Commercial Sales at AX, said: “Since 2009, we’ve seen prestige car brands taking more and more market share and, as with any other product, they don’t want to downgrade to a less premium product while their pride and joy is repaired following an accident.

“Consumer expectation when it comes to customer service is only going to increase further still and insurers and brokers who can meet that throughout the accident management process will enjoy an increase in loyalty and retention.”

AX handles around 35,000 accident claims a year and, Its fleet of vehicles provides onward mobility and includes premium car brands so that drivers get a like-for-like replacement whatever car they own.

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