Do OEM Service Bays Offer Opposition or opportunity?

Do OEM Service Bays Offer Opposition or opportunity?

With great power, of course, comes great responsibility.

With Labor Day just past us, it’s the perfect time to reflect on the talent in this industry. Congratulations on your success in recruiting, hiring and retaining the best technicians, service advisors and ancillary staff members in your market!

These are exciting times, not necessarily easy times, but defininitely intriguing (and, yes, I know about that ancient curse “May you live in interesting times”) – and things are sure to get even more interesting in the next few years.

Are you confident in your ability to successfully navigate the road ahead?  I had a very interesting conversation with Derek Kaufman, my unrelated brother from another mother, recently about what may be right up around the bend and even a ways farther on up the road. Derek is a managing partner with industry experts Schwartz Advisors and he brought his crystal ball over to share some insights about the power you and your team hold in helping this industry to thrive.

In a nutshell, Derek feels we’re in great shape, even if it sometimes feels otherwise.

“I think the independent shops in the United States hold all the power of the data in the aftermarket,” he explains. “I’ve got a 12.5-year average age, I’ve got 120 some million vehicles that are over the age of 12 and a ton of them over the age of 20. I’m trying to balance this thing where I need expertise in the shop to work on the 25-year-old car, and here comes the three-year-old car that I need all the embedded software expertise for.”

Here’s the rub – although the OEMs feel they’re in a perfect position to retain control because they want to charge for repair information (forcing the Right to Repair battle), their company reputations are built on vehicles that may be well over 15 years old. They can’t afford for those cars not to be correctly repaired because the reputation of their brand goes down with every incorrect repair. 

“It’d be very interesting if the aftermarket one year said, ‘We’re going to stop servicing any five-year-old car that we don’t have the service data for and send it back to the dealership,’” Derek says.

Talk about power! 

“Our opinion is that the bartering between independent shops and dealerships will increase, and we’re going to see more and more of what we call ‘coopetition.’ I’m not saying it solves the Right to Repair, but it says, ‘Okay, we’ve got to cooperate. We have to co-exist here. You can’t charge me out of my business for the information that I need. I need the same information your dealership needs to repair the car correctly if you’re going to retain your reputation.’”

It’s simple, Derek says – the OEMs just don’t have the capacity to handle everything on the road.

“All of a sudden, a bunch of vehicles start to show up and slow your shop down. Well, now your warranty customers are upset because you can’t turn their cars fast enough and it starts to spiral down.”

With great power, of course, comes great responsibility. At ShopOwner, our legacy goes back to the beginning of the automotive aftermarket and our company has stood witness to every significant development in this industry. At times, it has been interesting, to say the least – but would you want it any other way? 

You May Also Like

Do You Want The Bad News Or Good?

There are many ways you can help play the long game, and TechForce has free resources to help inspire and promote the profession. 

Let’s start  with the bad news – get right into it, Band-Aid style.

There is likely to be a shortfall of more than 800,000 techs to serve the motoring public over the next five years.

Of course, that not really “news,” at least not of the breaking variety. We’ve been wrestling with numbers like these for decades – the information that fewer students are coming out of school trained to be or at least excited about being part of this industry has been on a lot of minds for a very long time.

Keep On Rockin’ Into The New Year

We are still accepting nominations at VehicleCareRockStars.com.

EV Charging

Charging will get better as technology improves and drivers change their behaviors.

Being Happy Gets In The Way of Being Successful

Bryce Kenny says his greatest satisfaction comes from helping others to find the courage to chase their dreams. 

Quality Triumphs!

New technologies have changed how we interact with our cars. Now, replacement parts quality matters more than ever.

Other Posts
Topology And Your Scan Tool

Topology influences how you access the modules with your scan tool.

Car properties detailed in "see proof" car image.
ShopOwner’s June Digital Magazine Available Now

This issue is free to download and read; priceless in business value.

ShopOwner’s May Digital Edition Is Available Now

Free to download and read, priceless in business value.

April’s ShopOwner Brings May Business Success

Read the new edition online now for solid business, technical and management information for your shop.