Auto Service World
Feature   May 1, 2000   by Jim Anderson

Times they are a Changin’

Just how does a new editor introduce himself to the over 31,000 readers of SSGM? I pondered that problem while strategizing the engine change in my dying '87 Fiero, and came to two conclusions: it won...


Just how does a new editor introduce himself to the over 31,000 readers of SSGM? I pondered that problem while strategizing the engine change in my dying ’87 Fiero, and came to two conclusions: it won’t be easy, and, it won’t be easy. I’m Jim Anderton, and as the new editor of SSGM I have the difficult task of taking over from Gary Kenez, who has moved on to bigger and better things. I know that in his eighteen years at the wheel of SSGM, Gary came to know many of you, both readers and advertisers, very well. In the coming months I hope to touch base with as many of you as possible, and hopefully go to school on what I know is a vast pool of knowledge and experience. In return, I intend to feed that knowledge back to you, the reader, by way of editorial content that’s interesting to read and useful both in the bays and in the front office.

One part of the changes to come in SSGM will be an increase in electronics coverage. While hard parts are, and will continue to be, a bread-and-butter part of automotive service, 20 percent of a new vehicle’s purchase price currently goes into the electrical system, and with new technologies such as in-car navigation, homing theft alarm systems, and even Internet access appearing with each model-year, service will definitely become an issue. And with increasing interconnection between vehicle systems, jobbing out high-tech service may become difficult. Can you imagine a software glitch in a satellite vehicle tracking system causing a no-start condition? And how about a “repair” by Internet download? The technology exists today, and shops that subcontract this work will be leaving money on the table. Big money. There’s simply no reason to let this happen.

Electronics is hot, but let me repeat, hard parts, “conventional” service (however it’s termed) is and will be the primary driving force of the installer community. There is a surprising amount of high technology in hard parts, and readers will continue to find it in SSGM. The other aspect of the service business is about business itself. Servicing modern vehicles is challenging; making money servicing those vehicles is even more difficult. SSGM will continue to cover the business of vehicle service, as in this month’s lead feature by Allen Jones on business software.

And for SSGM reader-technicians, I want to hear from you. Got a strange repair on your hands? A horror story? Or maybe you just want to vent about a poor design or difficult procedure. Fax me at 416/442-2213, or E-mail me at janderton@corporate.southam.ca


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