There’s no doubt that 2020 has been a challenging year for the automotive sector, with the coronavirus pandemic exacerbating the ongoing issues caused as a result of Brexit.
However, the industry has also shown tremendous resilience, emerging from the economic depths of March and April of last year to deliver year-on-year growth in new-vehicle sales across China, Europe and the US.
However, further reports suggest that sales in Europe and stateside won’t rebound until pre-Covid levels until 2023 at least, creating a gap in the market that China may well be able to exploit.
But what’s expected for the market over time, and how can individual garages and mechanics look to future proof their businesses going forward?
Recognising the Rise and Rise of Electric Vehicles
Despite the initial sales decline through Q1 and Q2 2020 (and the fact that demand remains far below pre-pandemic levels), electric vehicles have become increasingly popular during the same reporting period.
Globally, the sales of electric cars accelerated at an incredible pace in 2020, rising by 43% to more than three million.
The UK market is particularly high growth, with nearly 280,000 pure-electric vehicles on UK roads by the end of June 2021. Additionally, you’ll find in excess of 570,000 plug-in models such as hybrids (PHEVs) on the roads, with these numbers likely to increase incrementally over time.
This should come as a stark warning to garage owners and mechanics, who must equip themselves to handle electric car repairs on a large scale if they’re to remain competitive.
Remember the shift towards electric vehicles has been incremental ever since 2012, and while the profile of new registrations may have changed over the course of the last decade, this trend is unlikely to abate anytime soon.
Investing in Sustainable Materials and an Automated Workforce
The evolution of the automotive industry has been characterised by a move towards sustainable manufacturing, so sourcing eco-friendly materials and equipment is another important step for garages.
One of the key focuses has been on reducing the level of CO2 used as part of the manufacturing process, with innovation, recyclers and metallurgists having helped to accomplish this objective.
The question for garages is how can they go about sourcing sustainable materials in the modern age? Well, the key lies in negotiating a transparent and competitive deal with suppliers, and this can be done by securing a futures contract. A key element of futures trading in the UK allows garages to buy in supplies at a fixed price for the duration of a contract, allowing far greater consistency in the process.
By making these subtle operational changes and incorporating automated processes into your daily operations (which in turn frees up skilled operatives to undertake more profitable work), companies can future proof themselves and assume a critical role in the global automotive industry.