Automakers are looking at ways for their dealers to take in more business that traditionally went to the automotive aftermarket, specifically businesses that have a fleet of vehicles, according to an industry observer.
Tom Mayor, partner at management consulting firm Kearney, specifically pointed to efforts from Ford during the recent Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) Aftermarket Suppliers Global Summit in Miami.
The automaker saw the market of light trucks and light utility vans and saw a market of businesses with five to 30 vehicles in their fleet — ranging from plumbers to florists to landscapers — that were being treated like regular customers when they went in to have their vehicles serviced.
“So they wait in line, [they] drop the vehicle off and it comes back at the end of the day — and you lost today’s revenue for your crew,” Mayor said.
So Ford believed they could reshape that market and cater to those companies, taking business away from the aftermarket.
Importantly, Ford’s definition of aftermarket isn’t the traditional one, where a vehicle has to be a certain age before it enters the industry’s sweet spot — they consider “aftermarket” to apply to new vehicles.
“Because every one of those is going in and it’s getting decaled, it’s getting outfitted with shelving, with racking, with toolboxes,” Mayor explained.
This is a huge market, he noted, and Ford believes they can take a piece of it.
“Ford is going in and saying, ‘We can take that market away. We can create a business-to-business proposition. We can wrap software around it. We can help those contractors in those small fleets manage their drivers, manage their trucks; we can get them business-oriented repair services on those trucks. We can get all of that up-fitting revenue, all of that parts revenue around the outfitting and we can bring it in-house,’” Mayor said.
And the move is catching on. Mayor noted that General Motors is right behind them on this play. And it wouldn’t surprise him to see other carmakers operating in the work van realm do the same in markets worldwide, like Mercedes with its eSprinter or Toyota and its Hilux.
“They’re going to come with that very attractive business-to-business piece of the aftermarket,” Mayor said.