Much discussion by Kar and Carmichael centered around the changes to expect – hybrid drives, electric drives, “de-contented” vehicles, unserviceable systems, etc. The long and short of it is: There are large segments of the truck buying public, particularly in municipal, city delivery, rental/lease and short haul that will be ripe for the cost savings offered with these new vehicles. They will most likely not have extended warranties or the robustness that goes along with domestic manufactured vehicles. That will mean earlier and more frequent parts and repair opportunities.
We can expect a fairly large percentage, as high as 20 percent, of the market to switch to these lower cost vehicles fairly early on. The framework of a support network will likely be in place via the domestic manufacturers’ dealer networks. There will be a few where entire dealer networks will be developed for the sales and service of the new brands of vehicles.
The good news for those in the parts and service business is that most of you will begin servicing these vehicles a lot earlier in their lifecycle than their domestic counterparts. Many of the systems and components will come from supplier brand names that you are already familiar. This could be a real opportunity for those willing to prepare, train and equip to service the new vehicles.
These new market entries certainly are, as the theme of Heavy Duty Dialogue 2011 stated: Game-Changers in the Commercial Vehicle Industry. We all need to be willing to keep an open mind and prepare for significant changes in order to benefit from the new opportunities that will come along.
Some 40 years ago, I was in the service station business. New domestic vehicles and all of the electronic systems chased me away from the light vehicle repair business.
Many of the service stations from the past are today’s convenience stores, with gas pumps out front. It became easier and more profitable to sell candy bars and soda than to work on cars.
We would hope to help our current parts and service providers from a similar fate. Besides, we don’t need that many more C-Stores.