“Auto industry insiders have spoken poetically about the safety benefits of the ‘software-defined vehicle’ – which also enables data collection and revenue-boosting subscriptions, which also makes it safer to do so. to be an automotive executive,” Wired writes.
“We talk less about the consequences of computerized cars in the car workshop.”
The repair of complex vehicles requires increasingly expert and costly knowledge, and tools in limited quantity…. [T]This may result in it taking longer to repair your car.
The trend is compounded by a continued decline in the number of auto shops in the United States, driven by consolidation and the retirement of owners… There are now far fewer places to get your car repaired in the States United just five years ago. An industry publication found that for every active service bay in US auto shops, there were 225 cars and trucks on the road in 2016. There are now 246 vehicles per bay.
Pandemic supply chain lockdowns for computer chips and auto parts, and a domestic labor shortage of auto technicians, have compounded the problem. 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 car and insurance agencies, or nearly 11 days in total. Industry experts say the problem will only get worse. “In 10 years, I see a lot fewer stores, and I see a lot more people looking for stores,” says Rick White, who coaches auto repair shop owners through his company, 180biz. An industry survey late last year found 96% of stores were reporting delays, with an average schedule delay of 3.4 weeks, up from 1.7 weeks at the end of 2019….
Some brands of vehicles can only be calibrated with specialized and expensive tools… In all, it can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to acquire the tools and make the adjustments in the workshop to repair only a few brands of cars. That’s before the cost of training workers to use these tools, with shops paying thousands of dollars every year to have their staff certified to fix specific cars. Investing for the future can therefore cost store owners millions.
Wired interviewed the former auto body repair shop owner. Their assessment? Traders are just “fed up…we have gone from a very simple industry to a very complex industry”.