At mid-year 2016, there were 35,000 fewer service bays than ten years earlier across all light vehicle repair outlets in the U.S. Additionally, at mid-year 2016, there were fewer than 123,000 service stations and garages performing car and light truck repair in the U.S., down from 128,000 six years earlier.
While the number of general service stations and general service station bays are going down, Lang says shops are making up for it by being much more productive than they have been in the past.
“The bays have been able to take care of a growing volume because of shop management programs and other assistants that make it faster for them to do certain types of jobs,” Lang said.
This productivity increase does put pressure on the quick delivery of parts and merchandise, as workers have less time to wait for parts to get these cars through.
Additionally, Lang says that larger general shops tend to thrive over smaller shops in service stations and small garages. Those shops, he says, tend to be undercapitalized and can’t afford the advanced training or equipment now required to work on foreign and other complex vehicles.