Is the mainstay of the automobile trade still the selling of new cars or does one, once again, earn the most on repairing them? It should be clear, that the elimination of accident damages is one of the most reliable sources of income. If we're talking about servicing and inspections, here the intervals have become longer and the amount of work needed has rather become less.
A lot more than half of all car buyers use the internet, at least as a support. The dealers have the disadvantage of not being able to have available the huge number of models. Pamphlets or brochures on the other hand, can nearly always be downloaded.
VW is countering the lack of action in the automobile trade with digitalisation. It all started with, e.g., an Audi-Store in London and in the meantime, has been extended to more than 200 sales outlets in Germany. There the customer can configure his/her vehicle in as much detail as possible and can then view the 3D result straight away and from almost any distance (zoom-function).
To do this, the manufacturer uses 'high-performance computers' which make it possible for the customer to take the pictures home on a USB-stick. In order to carry out the configuration, a sales person does not necessarily have to be present, because everything is done with touch-screens. One could even say, that in this phase, sales staff are not really necessary.
Now, how great is the risk, that the customer will try out a number of things and in the end, will buy the car through the internet? Could one day, an efficient computer replace the one in the showroom?, and if the dealers are forced to establish expensive pre-defined outlets, how can the additional expenses be recouped, not to mention the labour costs.
One concession for the car dealers, is the repairing of the quite frequently faulty electronics. Air-conditioning units are also a useful component, because, assuming the dealer has the suitable equipment, the servicing is done almost by itself. Apart from this, the possibility nowadays, of acquiring spare parts rapidly, keeps the need for a stock of spare parts low.
Doing it yourself, is hardly worthwhile anymore, because either the know-how or the suitable tools or in most cases both, are lacking. Indeed, even professionally carried out repairs have be rationalised, e.g., through the guided error analysis. It would appear however, that the number of unrepaired cars leaving the workshops, has unfortunately increased. 07/15