Why Foreign Specialists are Gaining Advantage over General Repairers

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July 12, 2018—According to Jim Lang and a recent Lang Aftermarket iReport, domestic auto repair products achieved only marginal growth between 2012 and 2017, an estimated $600 million. However, foreign vehicle products soared by more than one-third between 2012 and 2017—more than $11 billion at user-price.

The growth in sales of foreign vehicles has coincided with a boost in bay count for foreign repair specialists. In another of Lang’s recent iReports, he found that foreign specialists (outlets focusing on the repair of foreign makes) attained a service bay gain of nearly 20 percent from 2006 to 2016.

“These outlets are at a highly competitive advantage based on what’s happening in the marketplace,” Lang said.

Repair specialists have an ability to focus activity on certain types of repairs, Lang said, and can advertise those repairs both on a local and a regional, city-wide basis. In that respect, a foreign specialist can attract a much more focused group of consumers than a generalist.

Additionally, Lang said they usually have factory trained technicians from foreign dealerships that are very knowledgeable in what they’re working on.

Foreign specialists aren’t growing everywhere, however. For these operations to thrive, they need a certain population base and dealership base to generate the new vehicle sales in the area. Sales of German vehicles tend to be in more affluent areas.

“They tend to be concentrated in larger metropolitan areas,” Lang says. “They’re in the West Coast and coastal states rather than the Midwest.”

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