Publisher's Statement - February 2018

The wolves are moving from the yard to the front porch

As new car sales begin to slow and level off, dealerships are searching for more revenue streams, and guess where they’re looking?

NADA Chief Economist Steven Szakaly reported that dealers are concentrating on service and repair and that they’ve experienced “tremendous growth.” Since 2010, for example, express service visits have nearly doubled as dealerships have shifted away from new vehicle sales to diversify in capturing other business opportunities and attract new customers.

Dealership warranty work has increased by the millions of dollars in total repair orders, as has customer-pay work, because they are doing a better job at bringing those customers in and are expanding their pool of consumers who now regard their dealerships as a service center.

How are they doing it? In addition to extended warranties and free oil changes, they’ve entered the aftermarket’s back yard by dialing into increased training, such as NADA’s “Advanced Service Management” and “Advanced Parts Management” seminars, both in February, to transform their parts and service departments.

The aftermarket is starting to realize that dealers are trying to keep a vehicle’s service and maintenance from cradle to grave, and it must become more aggressive and united to combat it.

Sometimes the best defense is a better offense.

U.S. Congressman Earl Carter, R-Ga., is developing an automotive data access bill to ensure independent repairers have a seat at the table during policymaking at the U.S. Department of Transportation. If enacted, Carter’s bill will establish a congressional advisory committee tasked with producing a comprehensive report on vehicle data, intellectual property protections, customer privacy and cybersecurity, among other concerns.

Brad Pellman, chairman of ASA Colorado, recently told me, “Our ability to repair cars with access to the necessary information hangs in the balance in Washington D.C. on a regular basis. If we don’t have a representative there, then we’re in trouble. We need that support.”

Parts & People supports the bill and encourages our readers to visit ASA’s and send a letter their respective Congressional representatives in favor of Carter’s bill.

There are also numerous aftermarket training and education opportunities for independent repairers in our regions, some of which are right around the corner, such as the Automotive Training Expo (, March 16-18, in Seattle, sponsored by ASA Northwest, and ASA Midwest’s Vision Hi-Tech Training & Expo (, March 1-4, in Overland Park, Kan.

Those are just two of many training opportunities available in the near term, many of which are smaller in size, but more frequent and just as valuable punch for punch. If your shop isn’t already a member of an aftermarket association, such as ASA, then we strongly encourage you to join your regional chapter to stay on top of the ever-changing service needs and build a unified front to protect aftermarket interests.

Because the wolves are moving from the yard to the front porch.



Parts & People

Parts & People is published monthly by Automotive Counseling and Publishing Company, Inc., a Colorado corporation, P.O. Box 18731 Denver, CO 80203, 303-765-4664. President-Lance Buchner. Founded by Lance Buchner and Dave Lucia.