Auto Service World
News   March 28, 2024   by Adam Malik

CARS Executive Outlook 2024: Bruce Eccles

CARS reached out to leaders in the automotive repair and service sector of the automotive aftermarket to ask them about their thoughts about the industry over the next 12 months. We wanted to know how things will change this year, what’s the biggest challenge and how they can seize the biggest opportunity. We will present their answers in alphabetical order over the coming weeks…

You can view the full feature in the February 2024 issue.

Bruce Eccles, Vice Chair  |  Automotive Aftermarket Retailers of Ontario (AARO)

The high interest rates and elevated inflation that we’ve been seeing will have consumers keeping their vehicles longer than they planned.

Many EV models have been around for a decade. I predict shops in the Greater Toronto Area will see more of them in their bays than previous years. In areas where EVs are not as common, the boom will be with their own clients and an increase in the eight- to 10-year-old vehicles that would have traditionally been traded in. Furthermore, in Ontario, the new DriveOn digital vehicle safety and emissions inspection program is rolling out.

Shops will be busy. Efficiency and profitability will require proper service appointment scheduling systems to be put in place. All too often, repairs are deferred because of over-scheduling.

The biggest challenge will be the same one for many years: Staff, from the office to technicians. I would suggest shops create a “hire young and train them” strategy, utilizing all training available through manufacturers, jobbers, associations and government programs.

The biggest opportunity for 2024 is perhaps all of the above. Here is something to think about: Many independent shops have closed in the past five years, Dealers don’t have the facilities to service every vehicle they sell and consumers are keeping their vehicles longer.  This all adds up to an increase in business.

Shops that have good management systems in place will see sales and profits go up.

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