Warranty Direct has released details on the average cost of repair for several marques and models in the UK utilising a survey of 30,000 claims. The findings suggest that Fords are the most inexpensive cars to maintain, which is good news for the manufacturer since such surveys carry increasing weight with consumers.

Warranty Direct, an independent UK warranty provider, examined 30,000 of its policies to determine the average cost of repairs for a range of models on sale in the UK. It found that the Ford Ka city car is the cheapest to fix with an average bill of £86.

Ford models take two other spots in the survey top 10 and is the cheapest marque overall with repairs costing owners £195 on average. Vehicles built by Volvo and Volkswagen also performed well against the criteria.

One of the key elements of vehicle purchasing strategy in the volume car sector is the cost of maintenance. The cost of maintenance can often be steep, hence the use of free servicing by several manufacturers in retailing new cars. The use of warranties is another key feature in both the new and used car market for boosting sales. Another determinant of car choice is the reliability ratings of various models and manufacturers. The release of new information indicating actual costs of repair and subsequent rankings is yet another tool which will help the driver to choose their next vehicle.

Essentially, this is free advertising for vehicle manufacturers that have fared well in the rankings, but bad publicity for those that have not. For Ford, the company that ranked the cheapest for repair bills overall, this is excellent news as competition in the volume sector is highly intense. Receiving this accolade from an independent company will carry more weight with potential consumers, though a repair cost survey can in no way be used as an indicator of how reliable a car is in the first place.

For consumers in general, any ranking or survey highlighting actual costs is useful and motorists are paying significantly more attention to statistics on performance, reliability and costs. Vehicle manufacturers that are ranking poorly in such surveys will find themselves 'named and shamed' into improving product quality.

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