WYCKOFF, N.J. — In a Lang Marketing national survey of service station and garage operators, three subject areas led in technician training needs: hybrid, diagnostic and electronic training.
Nearly one-third of respondents stated training is more necessary for foreign vehicles than domestic models. However last year, technicians at over one-quarter of shops received no auto repair training.
Foreign versus domestic vehicle training
Nearly one-third of shop operators believe training is more necessary for foreign nameplate vehicles (imports and transplants) than it is for domestic models.
This reflects the greater variation and number of foreign nameplates compared to domestic models on U.S. roads, as well as the high concentration of hybrids among foreign cars and light trucks.
Small versus large shops
There are priority differences in training needs by repair shop size.
Diagnostics ranked first among shops with three or fewer bays, followed by electronics, with hybrid training third.
In contrast, larger shops said hybrid training is most needed by techs, followed by diagnostics and electronics training. This indicates a developing gap between large and small shops in hybrid repair capabilities over the next few years.
Differences in foreign repair training needs
Shop operators split along their foreign repair percent on the need for foreign vehicle repair training versus training for domestic vehicles.
Shops for which foreign nameplates generate at least 45 percent of their business were most likely to indicate foreign vehicle tech training is more necessary than training for domestic models.
Conversely, outlets conducting 20 percent or less foreign repair work were most likely to indicate no difference in tech training needs between domestic and foreign vehicles.
Smaller shops more likely to lack training
Over one-quarter of shops said no techs received automotive repair training last year.
There was a marked difference between large and small shops in training occurrence, with outlets operating three or fewer bays twice as likely to report techs received no training last year than were service stations and garages with at least four bays.
Future repair shop differences
These findings point to a growing chasm between shops of differing size as well as those with varying mixes of foreign and domestic vehicle business in terms of how they are using (or not using) training to position themselves to compete in the increasingly diverse and complex service market.
How different types of shops seek tech training could lead to a multi-tier repair shop population, with tiers differing in shop capacity for high-tech repairs, as well as the ability of shops to repair foreign nameplate vehicles.
This report is from “Aftermarket Insight,” a weekly analysis of the automotive aftermarket by Lang Marketing Resources.