Things are looking up for auto repair shops

Times are tough out there; at least that’s what the mainstream media is telling us every evening. But aside from all the gloomy financial news surrounding bailouts, shady executive bonuses and the recession, there has been some recent news that sheds some light on our businesses in the automotive aftermarket.

According to several news sources, the aftermarket is set for a boom period on the repair side, and, aside from the anecdotal evidence, there are some hard numbers to back it up from a few different sources.

As countless stories have belabored the troubles of the Big Three and plummeting new car sales, the flip side is that consumers are holding onto their cars longer. Repairs are increasing as folks realize it really is cheaper to repair than replace.

The Automotive Service Association reported its members’ sales were up 16 percent, in a recent CNN story. ASA President Ron Pyle said in the story that consumers are looking to take care of maintenance and safety issues more and more as they realize they need the family car to last longer.

Additionally, the International Automotive Technicians’ Network polled its members and found that 79 percent expected business to be the same or better in 2009, with 61 percent forecasting an increase and 16 percent expecting a dramatic increase.

So, if your customers are telling folks like the ASA and iATN that they expect a better year in 2009, that can’t be bad for distributors. Make sure that you’re staying upbeat on your route, and as your customers start to see better times, they’ll want to expand that to you. Make sure you have what they need when they need it to help them meet the expanding needs of their customers.

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