The automobile industry saw a sharp decline in sales in 2008 and 2009 which certainly affected automotive repair shops; however, changes in lending tactics and inventory surpluses have made it easier for consumers to once again purchase new vehicles and they are gravitating toward very specific types. Now, auto repair shops should align themselves with consumer buying habits to ensure that new car owners will become their customers in the upcoming years.
The 2009 recession affected many sectors, and the automobile industry was certainly one of the hardest hit. Automotive industry trends in the past five years demonstrate this. Edmunds reports that in 2009, approximately 10 million new cars were sold in the United States compared to approximately 13 million in 2008, and 16 million in 2007.
Recovery, though, has been steady. In 2012, there were 15.5 million automobiles sold in the United States, and this year Edmunds forecasts that this number will reach 16.4 million. Still, while automotive industry trends show an ongoing recovery for this market as a whole, specific types of automobiles stand out for their ability to generate consumer demand.
Large trucks sales in 2013 reached 87 percent of pre-recession levels. That compares favorably to 74 percent of pre-recession levels in 2012. This trend is expected to continue as the housing market recovers and there is more demand for vehicles that are commonly used in the construction industry.
With an increase in sales, automotive repair shops should prepare to service customers with large trucks and utility vehicles, and become educated on the latest technology found in redesigned models from the most popular manufacturers such as Chevrolet, GMC, and Dodge.
Green vehicles are also slated for rising sales. This category consists of automobiles that rely on significantly less fossil fuel than their traditional counterparts (popular models are the Toyota Prius and Chevy Volt). Although many models are pricey compared to traditionally fuelled cars in the same size and class categories, prices for environmentally friendly vehicles are expected to drop as the technology improves and demand grows.
This category poses a unique challenge to auto repair shops as it creates a need for education in an entirely new type of car. To prepare for an increase in green car customers, auto shop owners should invest in education, tools, and equipment required to repair and diagnose these vehicles.
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