Researcher Dennis DesRosiers says that despite the bad year in the past, and the pessimistic outlook, the data may reflect a more positive reality.
Presenting the Automotive Industries Association of Canada’s Outlook Study, DesRosiers revealed that pessimism is out of step with the data. While, says DesRosiers, data predicts a 2% to 3% increase in the aftermarket in the next year, the perception is that the aftermarket will decline by about that much.
“The data says that the independent garage has been able to hold (his share) but the interviews and the focus groups (undertaken as part of the AIA study) question the independent’s ability to hold.
“This has been a constant worry for more than a decade, but he continues to hold. There is a slight decline in the generalist, but (nothing) compared to the hysteria about the disappearance of the independent.”
There was some good news out of the research, says DesRosiers.
“For the first time in 10 years, nobody talked about AutoZone or Pep boys coming to Canada. Nobody was worried about U.S. competition.”
Competition, he said, could come from elsewhere, though.
“Car dealers,” says DesRosiers, “are in the power position. They have customer data to the tune of 1 million people a year. The big issue for them is that they don’t take advantage of their opportunities. They are still fixated on the new car side of the business, not on the parts and used car business.
“If they ever go for it there going to be a lot of blood on the floor.”