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By Joe Marconi in Joe's BlogThere are many things to consider when creating a marketing plan. Among them are establishing a budget, what forms of media should be used, and whether traditional advertising, such as TV, radio, and print, is still relevant. And of course, how much should be allocated to social media and digital advertising?
All the above are essentials to any marketing plan. However, the first step is ensuring that you have a healthy workplace and that your employees understand your company’s culture and the overall mission and vision.
We all know that happy employees create happy customers. No form of advertising can overcome a toxic workplace with unhappy employees. If your employees are not creating an amazing customer experience, your marketing plan will not work.
Advertising and marketing may bring in customers, but the people in your company creating an amazing customer experience will be the most important component of your marketing plan. It’s the customer experience that sells work and gives the customer a reason to return.
Creating an amazing employee experience, which creates an amazing customer experience, is also the most cost-effective part of your marketing plan. In fact, it cost next to nothing.
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By Joe Marconi
As we head toward the end of the year and look to 2023, I thought it would be beneficial for all if we share the biggest challenges that are facing auto repair shops.
Is it hiring new employees? Employee retention? The economy? Technology? Or perhaps, finding the right training for your employees?
Let's start the conversation and post your biggest challenge!
By Joe Marconi
What are your Thanksgiving business hours this week? The balance between time off and responsibilities to our business and customers is a challenge.
What strategies do you implement and how do you balance the Thanksgiving holiday for your auto repair shop?
By Joe Marconi
Shrinking Repair Outlet Population
"Vehicle maintenance is becoming less convenient for Americans. There are fewer outlets repairing cars and light trucks, despite the increasing population and complexity of cars and light trucks on U.S. roads. The number of repair (DIFM) outlets fell by nearly 14,000 over the past five years (2016 to 2021), and future annual reductions are likely."
"Nevertheless, not all types of repair outlets suffered losses. Repair Specialists, Foreign Specialists, and Dealers have grown in number, while the four other major types of DIFM outlets have endured thinning ranks. See the all-new 2023 Lang Aftermarket Annual for a ten-year history of the changing number of all major types of auto repair outlets across the U.S."
14,000 Fewer Light Vehicle Repair Outlets
At mid-year 2021, there were over 211,700 car and light truck repair outlets in the U.S., down approximately 14,000 from 2016.
At the same time, vehicles in operation (VIO) climbed by more than 18 million and grew more complex, increasing the diagnostic and repair challenges faced by repair outlets.
Outlet Groups Growing in Number
Although the light vehicle repair outlet population fell by approximately 14,000 from 2016 to 2021, not all outlet types have declined.
Among the seven major types of car and light truck repair outlets, three increased in number between 2016 and 2021: Repair Specialists, Foreign Specialists, and Vehicle Dealers. These outlets groups grew even during the onslaught of COVID-19.
Focusing on a limited menu of vehicle repair and maintenance, Repair Specialist locations totaled just over 29,600 at mid-year 2021, up several hundred from five years earlier. Repair Specialists are the second largest DIFM outlet group.
Foreign Specialists concentrate on the repair of foreign nameplate cars and light trucks. They achieved the largest outlet gain over the past five years and the greatest percentage growth in locations.
There were just over 19,600 Foreign Specialists nationwide at mid-year 2012, up approximately 700 from five years earlier.
Vehicle Dealers recorded a small (less than 0.2%) increase in outlets from 2016 to 2021. This reversed a trend of declining Dealer locations in the years after the Great Recession of 2008.
Asian nameplates have been the most successful in expanding their Dealer counts.
Outlet Groups Declining in Number
Service Stations & Garages, Tire Dealers, Discount Stores/Mass Merchandisers with bays, and Retail Auto Parts Stores with bays all fell in outlet count over the past five years.
Service Stations & Garages
Service Stations & Garages were battered by a significant population loss from 2016 to 2021, down by approximately 13,000 locations.
This represented most of the repair outlets lost over these five years. Nevertheless, Service Stations & Garages remain the most prevalent type of DIM outlet.
There were approximately 800 fewer Tire Stores in the U.S. at mid-year 2021 than five years earlier.
Small Tire Stores suffered the brunt of this decline as growing competition from large, multi-outlet operations pushed many of them out of the market.
Discount Stores/Mass Merchandisers & Auto Parts Stores with Bays
The closing of hundreds of Sears Auto Centers nationwide contributed to the decline of Discount Stores/Mass Merchandisers with bays, which has been ongoing since 2011.
The falling number of Auto Parts Stores with bays between 2016 and 2021 continued a trend that has been underway for several decades.
Most of the DIFM outlet loss between 2016 and 2021 occurred over the past two years (2020 and 2021), reflecting the impact of COVID-19 and the resulting changes in consumers’ vehicle repair behavior.
Changes in the populations of the major types of DIFM outlets will continue, creating challenges and opportunities for a variety of aftermarket players.
Six Major Takeaways
The number and complexity of cars and light trucks in operation have continued to increase. Nevertheless, the population of repair outlets handling cars and light trucks fell by approximately 14,000 over the past five years (2016 to 2021). Despite the loss of car and light truck repair outlets between 2016 and 2021, three of the seven major groups of DIFM outlets expanded their populations: Repair Specialists, Foreign Specialists, and Vehicle Dealers. The number of Repair Specialists climbed by approximately 350 between 2016 and 2021, and approximately 700 Foreign Specialists locations were added. Vehicle Dealers posted a modest increase in number, reversing a trend of vanishing locations that began during the Great Recession of 2008. Service Stations & Garages suffered the most significant outlet loss from 2016 to 2021. The populations of Tire Stores, Discount Stores/Mass Merchandisers with bays, and Auto Parts Stores with bays also were battered during these years. The growing number and complexity of cars and light trucks in operation provide challenges and opportunities for the shrinking population of light vehicle repair outlets across the country. They must become more technically capable and productive to keep pace with the growing volume and complexity of vehicle repairs. See the all-new 2023 Lang Aftermarket Annual for the only ten-year analysis of the population changes sweeping across the seven major types of auto repair outlets in the U.S.
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By ASOG Podcast
What People Don't Understand About Modern Auto Repair
By Joe Marconi
NEW YORK GOVERNOR ACCELERATES ELIMINATION OF EMISSION-PRODUCING VEHICLES IN 2035
A goal for New York to stop selling new gas-powered vehicles in a little more than a decade took another step toward reality with an announcement Gov. Kathy Hochul made Sept. 29. Hochul spoke in White Plains, NY, at an event celebrating National Drive Electric Week. While detailing several initiatives to help boost the New York Governor Accelerates Elimination Of Emission-Producing Vehicles in 2035 l CONTINUED ON PAGE 10 sale of electric vehicles, she also called on the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to establish regulations that any new passenger vehicle sold in the state starting in 2035 produce zero emissions. Hochul’s announcement comes a little more than a year after she signed a bill into law that set the 2035 deadline for new passenger cars to produce zero emissions and a similar 2045 deadline for larger-sized commercial vehicles. It also comes a month after California issued its regulations to transition to zero-emission new vehicles by 2035. New York’s governor said the transition would not be a sudden stop on gas-powered vehicle sales. The state has a plan to have 35% of new cars be electric vehicles by 2026 and 68% by 2030. “We’re really putting our foot down on the accelerator and revving up our efforts to make sure we have this transition,” she said. Hochul announced the state has added $10 million to its “Drive Clean Rebate” initiative to aid in that transition. It gives people who buy or lease a new electric vehicle a $2,000 rebate on top of the $7,500 federal rebate. In the five years since the program started, the state has issued more than $92 million in rebates to New Yorkers. “As we bring more renewable energy to our electric grid and build out EV charging infrastructure, we continue to invest in market supports that bring us closer each day to zero emission passenger vehicles by 2035,” said Doreen Harris, the president and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. The state is also making nearly $5.8 million available to local governments to help them add zero-emission vehicles to their fleet or install public charging centers or hydrogen fueling stations. The deadline to apply for that funding was Sept. 30. The U.S. Department of Transportation announced it approved New York’s plan to install the additional charging stations needed to handle the expected increase in electric-powered vehicles. That plan includes $175 million in federal funds to create a network of charging stations to help EV drivers handle long-distance trips. Hochul said the federal funds, coupled with the $1 billion the state has invested in new charging stations, should raise EV sales. She added this year’s sales are already 30% higher than last year. The state also plans for school districts to buy only zero-emission buses starting in 2027 and to have any gas- or diesel-powered school bus off the road by 2035. “New York is a national climate leader and an economic powerhouse, and we’re using our strength to help spur innovation and implementation of zero-emission vehicles on a grand scale,” Hochul said Source: https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-hochul-drives-forward-new-yorks-transition-clean-transportation