The days of old-school car repair garages or low-volume dealerships may be on their way out, unless they’re ready for the future. The industry is no stranger to change, but automotive repair is getting more and more technical, with a tablet computer being as commonplace as a decent socket set or a can of WD-40. There’s a transformation coming – indeed, some of it is already here – so what are the skills and equipment that workshops and garages need to be preparing for?
Self-drive technology, electric vehicles and connectivity come hand-in-hand with big implications for the skills needed to do the job, as well as the need for new equipment and test facilities that can handle the new technology. Many cars with connected technologies can already diagnose themselves and update their own software. Self-drive technology will need sensor specialists to clean and maintain autonomous systems. It’s common nowadays that self-diagnostic systems inform drivers immediately if a part needs to be replaced or the tyres need air. With a call to protect the planet the next generation will want alternative fuels, green technology, renewable parts and instantly available 3D printed parts – this widens the skill set needed to maintain vehicles considerably.
It’s worth noting that, Euro-wise, older diesel vehicles (EURO 1 and vehicles without a EURO standard) are banned from the Brussels region from 1 January 2018. There will still be plenty around for a while – any Euro 6-compliant diesel Audi, BMW, Citroën, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz or Peugeot, are likely to use AdBlue technology, so those new AdBlue tanks are still a good investment – but the ban will gradually extend to other vehicles up to EURO 5 standard diesel vehicles in 2025. Even petrol vehicles (up to the EURO 2 standard) will be banned from 2025. We work in a world where, on entry to a garage, TreadReader’s scan vehicle tyres for wear (and potential up-sell) and photograph the vehicle for protection against fraudulent damage claims – it’s the future of workshop management. We offer a wide range of lift to meet the requirements of electric vehicles, allowing for the removal of batteries, etc.
In the recent ‘Workshop Professional of the Future’ study from CitNow, 42% of our current technicians think that knowledge of hybrid and electric vehicles will be the most important workshop skill in only five years’ time, with only 18% of professionals ranking EV expertise among the most important skills over the last decade.
Registrations of electric vehicles (from hybrids to full electrics) are amped up and on the rise, reaching 100,000 for the first time in a single month (this March). More than three quarters (76%) of workshop workers think that an alternative fuel powertrain will power the car of choice for most buyers over the next 10 years.
Having the right skills and the right training scheme in place, plus (obviously) being ahead of the crowd with the right workshop equipment, will be essential to keep ahead of the competition and to stay relevant in an ever-changing market. The secret to being ready for the future is to act in the present – talk to us, we can help.