We recently published the results of our latest Australian automotive market research study which showed that 72% of independent workshop owners said that keeping up to date about the latest vehicle technologies and electronic systems was challenging. The biggest challenges facing independent workshops in Australia were training and hiring staff with the right skills and knowledge, getting access to online manuals and support from manufacturers and investing in new tools and equipment.
Levels of Support for Australan workshops from Manufacturers
Regarding the issue of online manuals and support, our survey asked workshops which manufacturers they thought provide the best level of support.
A surprising 45% of workshop owners said that they could not name any manufacturer who they thought provided the level of support for new technologies and electronic systems that they require. 17% said Toyota provided the greatest level of support, followed by Holden at 16% and Ford at 11%.
There is a clear relationship between the ratings given for overall support and the different elements of support provided to workshops. The majority rated Toyota, Holden and Ford as good across the board, including the provision of regular updates, the quality of technical support, and the quality of information provided online and in manuals. By contrast, just under a half rated Mazda and Hyundai as good for the quality of online information but the majority rated the quality of their technical support as poor. The majority rated Volkswagen as poor across all elements of the support package.
The most challenging technologies requiring most support were electronic compression ignition engine management systems, electronically controlled anti-lock systems and European electronic systems. There is no doubt these technologies are important differentiators for automotive brands but it is also important that the aftermarket industry has the capabilities to service these technologies and systems, with the requisite level of support. There is a significant opportunity for car manufacturers to address the current support gap identified by this research.
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