Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 31

FIXED OPS JOURNAL

The new car-sharing economy requires dealers
to take new approach to service I PAGE 18 I

ULTIMATE DISRUPTION

 How service shops could be big winners from autonomous vehicles

A

NN ARBOR, Mich. - Sitting in the
back seat of a Ford Fusion as it
drives itself through a roundabout
in a faux city on the University of
Michigan campus here, I think about how
self-driving vehicles will transform the
service business.
The Fusion's trunk is filled with computer
equipment. The midsize car's exterior has
two lidar units.
Cameras, radar and other sensing
RICHARD
equipment help the car know where it is.
TRUETT
These components make today's complex
Fixed Ops Journal
cars seem like Tonka toys.
Autonomous vehicles could be among the
biggest disruptors the service business has ever had. That may not be
bad for franchised new-car dealers.
"Given the safety-critical nature of [autonomous vehicle]
technologies, customers might strongly prefer strict adherence to OEM
service processes and the use of original service equipment when it
comes to maintaining and repairing AV systems," the consulting firm
McKinsey & Co. said in a recent report.
"This could imply a disadvantaged position for independent service
providers unable to afford AV maintenance systems," the report added.

Techs wanted
If McKinsey is right, that preference may exacerbate a chronic
problem for dealerships: a shortage of top service technicians.
The skills that techs will need to diagnose and repair self-driving
vehicles will require much more training and expertise than today's
techs possess. Dealers will have to invest more in training and probably
recruiting. I have a suggestion about where they can find candidates.
This year, I judged the Michigan finals of a FIRST Robotics
Competition. FIRST - For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and
Technology - is an international program for K-12 students, who form
teams and design and program robots to perform intricate tasks.
The FIRST students at the competition were junior versions of the
engineers I saw when I worked for Ford. (Check out FIRST at
firstinspires.org.)
Ford, General Motors, Toyota and Fiat Chrysler are FIRST sponsors,
along with many automotive suppliers. Competition for these students'
attention is fierce.
At the Michigan event, I noticed new-car dealerships sponsoring
FIRST high school teams. Smart move. Some of these students won't go
to a four-year college and could be excellent candidates for tech jobs at
dealerships.

Software skills
"New skill sets will be needed for technicians on [autonomous
vehicles], especially when it comes to repairing things like lidar
systems," says GM spokesman Kevin Kelly. "There will definitely be

A self-driving Ford Fusion travels through a simulated city. Servicing
such vehicles may give franchised dealerships a competitive edge.

more of a need for software troubleshooting."
Ford plans to launch a fleet of self-driving vehicles in four years, but
has said little about what it will take to service them. Today's FIRST
students could be a resource, says Ford spokesman Alan Hall.
"FIRST is a great program," Hall says. "It will definitely help create the
next generation of techs and engineers."
Universal Technical Institute, one of the nation's largest technician
training schools, is revising its curriculum in anticipation of self-driving
vehicles.
"We're already seeing a growing demand for advanced diagnostic
skills based on the new autonomous technology," Walt Langley, the
school's vice president of industry alliance, told me.
"That demand will only increase as the next levels of autonomous
features and vehicles come on the market," he adds.

Back to the shop
The McKinsey report concludes that legal factors may influence
service customers to bring their self-driving vehicles back to the
dealership.
"Our research shows that nearly 60 percent of customers would
follow their smart cars' recommendations for service locations," the
report says.
"Beyond the benefits of a bigger after-sales revenue stream, OEMs
will have a strong incentive to service these vehicles, since regulators
could ultimately force them to take on the greatest portion of the
responsibility and risk associated with crashes caused by AV technical
failures," it says.
Service directors have a full plate trying to boost customer retention,
recruit and keep technicians and address dozens of other issues. But
autonomous vehicles will fundamentally change your business. It's not
too early to prepare for that. 

AUGUST 2017

PAGE 31


http://www.firstinspires.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017

Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017
Contents
Need a lift
Tire track
Mobility devices
Times to recall
Slick trick
Fatal fire
Players club
Online parts
Lean inventory
Loyalty test
Patent pending
Open minded
Editor’s Letter
Service Counter
Legal Lane
Richard Truett
Feedback
Five Minutes With
Letters
Fixed in Time
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Intro
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Cover2
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Contents
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Editor’s Letter
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 5
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Service Counter
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 7
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Legal Lane
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 9
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 10
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Need a lift
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Tire track
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 13
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 14
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 15
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 16
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 17
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Mobility devices
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 19
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 20
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 21
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 22
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 23
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Times to recall
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 25
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 26
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 27
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Slick trick
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 29
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Fatal fire
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Richard Truett
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Players club
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 33
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Online parts
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 35
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Lean inventory
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 37
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Loyalty test
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 39
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Patent pending
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - 41
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Feedback
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Open minded
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Five Minutes With
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Letters
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Fixed in Time
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Cover3
Fixed Ops Journal - August 2017 - Cover4
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