Auto Service World
News   April 12, 2022   by Adam Malik

CARS Executive Outlook: John O’Dowd

CARS reached out to leaders and executives in the automotive repair sector and asked them their thoughts on how business will change for shops in the year ahead, what the biggest challenge for the industry is moving forward and what they see as the top opportunity in 2022. We will present their answers in alphabetical order over the coming weeks…

You can view the full feature in our February 2022 issue.

John O’Dowd, VP, Marketing | NAPA Canada

There’s a shift happening. Things are moving more towards technology with the direct consequence that more training is now required. There’s more demand on the shop network to get updated. But the workforce isn’t getting younger. Over the next 12 months, you’ll see many shops sell their business.

We’re going to see more brand affiliations. Independent garages will not go away, but there will be fewer. Shops will want to align with a banner to stay on top of what’s going on.

What we’ve started to see and will likely continue is multiple facility ownerships. You don’t see that much in the shop business — you see it in the parts stores. We’re starting to see more guys that own one shop wonder, “Why don’t I buy a second one?”

Becoming more tech-savvy is going to be the biggest challenge going forward. The main questions will be: How do you stay on top of it? How do you get your guys trained? How do you get customers to come into your shop and feel confident that you have the required knowledge to work on the latest technologies? It may not be an issue in 2022 but will be in five years.

There may not be one big opportunity, but many smaller ones. We have to see technology as an opportunity. Everything now has to do with sensors, ADAS and calibration. We see more hybrids — we need to get our people to look at this as a great opportunity to become experts and capture a new market. Learning to service electric vehicles in 2022 can be great, especially when no one else in your area is doing it.


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