Mini, Audi and BMW have been named as the most expensive passenger vehicle brand to service in South Africa, according to automotive research by RGT Smart.In its latest research the company revealed its findings about labour rates - the hourly fee quoted by dealers for working on a vehicle - in the SA passenger vehicle market across various brands.It showed that the most expensive was Mini at an average of R602.27 per hour, followed by Audi (R583.62), BMW (avg R580.13) and Lexus (R579.09).The least expensive brand was Chana (R342.52) followed by Mahindra (R362.29) and Tata (R385.30).Paul de Vantier, CEO of RGT Smart, said: “Retail labour cost increases among brands surveyed have increased on average by 4.1% year-on-year.”'SHOP AROUND'According to the report, Fiat’s retail passenger labour rate has increased by 16.3% since 2011, followed by Alfa Romeo (12.2%) and Citroen (11%). Brands that have reduced labour rates since 2011 include Changan (-10.5%), Subaru (-5.5%) and Daihatsu (-0.6%).Gauteng has been named as SA's most expensive region and the Free State the cheapest.Vantier said: “Labour rates in the Western Cape are most expensive on B and C-segment vehicles and least expensive on sub-one ton vehicles. Labour costs on B and C-segment vehicles seem to be the most expensive across most provinces. "From a vehicle purchasing perspective, the report reveals that it is advisable for consumers to factor in a brand’s servicing rates and dealership footprint when deciding which brand to buy," he said.'DEALERS SET THE RATE'RGT reports that the Northern Cape has the highest retail rate increase at 10%, followed by North West (9.5%) and Limpopo (7%). The lowest retail rate increase was 2.8% recorded in the Free State. Vantier explains that labour costs are determined by dealers and are based on cost and overhead structures along with supply and demand."It can also sometimes pay to shop around before choosing a servicing dealership," he added, "As fuel and insurance costs are already quite high, additional vehicle costs should definitely be factored in when deciding what vehicle make and model to buy."