Got talking to the proprietor of my local garage while waiting to collect my wife's car from its annual service and found myself asking somewhat tentatively how business was going.

alclass Turns out he's doing brilliantly.

Armed with a good site and a decent name he's invested heavily in a bunch of decent mechanics and some impressive looking equipment, and can now service anything from our ancient Merc A140 Classic all the way to some very mechanically complex AMG offerings; and the same goes for Porsches, BMWs and Audis.

It seems that many people are struggling to pay main dealer labour rates and know a good job can be done for fraction of the price down the road. It's not ideal for the service history, but for slightly older cars some at least appear to think this is a price worth paying.

Back down at my end of the scale, he's also getting good business from customers deciding to hang onto their old nails a little longer rather than blow a wad of cash on a new car in uncertain times.

LRF Even as I write, he's got my 28-year-old Land Rover in for some much needed care and attention. So much extra business has come his way of late that his already expanded service department is running flat out and he's diversifying into car valeting and storage.

It's heartening to discover that amid all the unrelentingly grim tales coming out of this industry and many others right now that there are still a few good news stories out there.

And I expect this bloke is not alone: my guess is that there are well-run private garages up and down the country that are feeling the pinch rather less than the motor industry as a whole.