‘Tis the season to be of good cheer, and fixed ops departments have much to celebrate. The future for dealership parts and service departments is very bright. In fact, there has never been a better time in history to be in fixed ops than right now—and I’ll prove it to you.
Vehicles in Operation Increasing
There are more vehicles on the road today in the U.S. (over 273.7 million) than ever before in history. Compare that to 202 million vehicles in 2001; that’s growth of 71 million vehicles. Every year we manufacture more cars than we scrap, so the vehicle population continues to rise with no end in sight.
Service Centers Declining
Today there are 225,000 service centers in the U.S. compared with 245,000 in 2001. That’s 20,000 fewer places to have cars and trucks serviced, repaired, and maintained. Sadly, about 4,000 of those shuttered service centers were dealerships. (From 21,900 in 2001 to 17,800 today.) So let’s put these two statistics together: 71 million more cars and 20,000 fewer places to have them serviced. Wow, what an opportunity. The “supply” of service centers is dropping and the “demand” of cars on the road is increasing; therefore, your service department has greater value today than it has ever had.
More Money Spent
Last year U.S. consumers spent $252 billion on customer-pay maintenance and repair. That’s up from $199 billion in 2006—a $53 billion increase in 12 years. We are in a growth industry. Okay, let this sink in; $53 million more is being spent at 20,000 fewer service centers. Wow. Did I mention the future is bright?
Dealership Getting Bigger Share
Of the $252 billion spent on vehicle maintenance, only $37.4 million was spent at dealerships. The sobering news is that number represents only 15% of the total. (100% of all cars were purchased at dealerships, yet only 15% of service dollars were spent at dealerships.) The good news is that dealers gained market share (from 14% to 15%) in the past year, which represented several billion dollars in growth.
As a sidebar, the $37.4 billion dealers collected from customer-pay maintenance and repair represented $20 billion in labor and $17.4 billion in parts. That means the parts-to-labor ratio was .87:1, which is a very, very good number and shows dealerships are starting to grasp the importance of performing preventive maintenance service.
Unperformed Maintenance Dropping
Speaking of preventive maintenance, here is the most promising statistic from last year: unperformed maintenance dropped from $73 billion to $55 billion; that’s the lowest it’s been in over a decade. Obviously, the less unperformed maintenance, the less service money that was left on the table. The only way to recapture unperformed maintenance dollars is to perform more preventive maintenance services—and the only way to do that is by asking the customer to purchase needed, tech-recommended maintenance.
Seeing unperformed maintenance services on the decline indicates that service managers and advisors are starting to get it and it is paying off.
Time out. I’ve given you five indicators of great growth opportunities in the automotive industry. So, how is your service department doing? Are you experiencing the prosperity and growth in your shop? Is your personal income going up? Are you crazy busy all the time?
Or are your techs running out of work at 3:00 p.m.? Is your shop efficiency under 100%? Are your hours per CPRO under 2.0 hours? Are you saying, “what prosperity?”
If so, help is on the way. In 2019 I’ll be writing a series of articles centered around creating a sales culture in the service department. You can’t save your way to prosperity, you must sell your way to prosperity. The only way to grab your share of the $252 billion preventive maintenance pie is to ask for it. In 2019, I’ll show you how.
AASA Status Report, NADA DATA, Lang Marketing Annual Report, and Auto Care Association Fact Book