Are high-tech cars killing repair shops?
“Automotive insiders have waxed poetic about the safety benefits of the ‘software-defined vehicle,’ which also provides an opportunity for increased revenue. data collection and subscriptions that makes it safer to be an executive car, too,” Wired wrote.
“There is less talk the effects of computerized cars in the auto shop.”
Repairing complex vehicles requires increasingly expensive and expert knowledge and tools that are in limited supply…. [T]As a result, it may take longer to repair the car.
The trend is exacerbated by the continued decline in the number of auto dealerships in the U.S., driven by consolidation and owner retirements….There are far fewer places to get your car repaired in the U.S. now than there were five years ago. One industry publication There were 225 cars and trucks on the road in 2016 for every active service bay in US auto shops. There are now 246 vehicles per bay.
Pandemic supply chain tasks computer chips and auto parts, and a national labor shortage auto technicians, have made the problem worse. Cars took an average of 2.1 days longer to repair in 2021 than in 2019. according to CCC Intelligent Solutions, which sells software to automotive and insurance agencies, nearly 11 days in total. Industry experts say the problem will only get worse. “In 10 years, I see a lot less shops, and I see a lot more people looking for shops,” says Rick White, who coaches auto repair shop owners through his company 180biz. An industry survey At the end of last year, 96 percent of stores reported delays, with an average schedule delay of 3.4 weeks, compared to 1.7 weeks at the end of 2019…
Some makes of vehicle can only be calibrated with specialized and expensive tools…. In total, it can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to get tools and make shop adjustments to fix some makes of car. That’s before the cost of training employees to use these tools, shops pay thousands each year to have their employees certified to repair specific cars. Investing for the future can therefore set the store owner back millions.
Wired interviewed the former owner of a collision repair shop. Their rating? The store owner was “disgusted… we went from a very simple industry to a very complex industry.”
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