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The future outlook for new technicians
Let’s start with the good news. There is a huge demand for automotive technicians throughout the automotive service industry. The not-so-good news is that fewer and fewer young people see this field as a worthwhile career choice. This has created a shortage of techs to fill all those positions at independent shops, as well as dealerships and the various service chains.
It’s a bad situation that is steadily getting worse. Here are some of the sobering facts:
Prepare for the future by adding services that customers want to spend money on:
As we look into the near future of the independent repair shop, there are some changes coming that will require adaptation for long-term survival. These include:
Service intervals have been getting longer for many years. This has been partially driven by longer-lasting oils, spark plugs, and other maintenance items. Another reason is to let manufacturers that provide “free” service during the warranty period keep their costs down.
Whatever the reason, your customers are bringing their cars into your shop less frequently. That translates into less income for your shop.
Another future impact on your shop will be the growth of the electric vehicle fleet. These vehicles are much simpler and may be more reliable than the internal combustion-powered vehicles. That also means...
Connected cars will bring many changes
As increasing numbers of new vehicles come with built-in connectivity and wi-fi hotspots, vehicle manufacturers will have 24/7 access to their vehicles. The carmakers will know where their vehicles are, how well they are running, and whether they need to be serviced or repaired. How will this affect your shop and its operations?
Vehicles use a huge amount of software to run their systems, and that software needs updating from time to time. As Tesla has demonstrated, connected cars can receive over-the-air software updates at any time of the day or night. These updates have been used to upgrade performance, add features, and fix previously-identified problems. Other manufacturers are following Tesla’s lead and are introducing new models with these capabilities. Eventually, all automotive software will be updated this way.
That’s just one aspect of what connected cars are capable of. Here are some others:
A new day is dawning for the automotive service industry and the stage has been set over the past few decades. Today’s vehicles are filled with electronics, with many of their systems controlled by computers. Every aspect of an engine’s performance, emissions, and fuel economy is monitored and regulated to conform to regulatory standards. The automotive aftermarket repair and maintenance business no longer deals solely with mechanical issues, and technicians must consider the “digital” aspects of most systems when diagnosing and applying a solution.
We now find ourselves in a transitional period due to the fact that modern vehicles can last a long time, with the average car on American roads being twelve years old. While the vast majority of vehicles are still powered by internal combustion engines, an increasing percentage have hybrid powertrains, incorporating electric motors and high-voltage batteries. Many more of these hybrids will be produced and sold, as fuel...