EVs Are Changing the Fixed Ops Landscape For Dealers

The automotive industry is constantly changing, which means that dealerships are often required to change the way they do business. The pandemic was a good example of that, but the new change on the horizon is the increased visibility of EV models. Right now, this will especially affect the fixed ops departments of dealerships.

How Fixed Ops Might Change In the Future

Fixed operations consist of the service and parts department of a dealership. Regardless of the variables that impact car sales, the service department is more consistent. Customers still need parts and repairs for their cars, even in a sales downturn. But standard maintenance items like oil change services and coolant flushes may go down with the proliferation of EVs. EVs don’t require oil, and they don’t wear out fluids as often as gas vehicles.

Some industry experts have predicted that the increased number of EVs on the road will ultimately hurt dealership service departments. But some fixed operations experts also think that the changes won’t be that significant and certainly not all negative. For example, EVs will still need tires, brakes, wiper blades, and transmission repairs. Just as dealerships adjusted during the pandemic, they will likely find ways to adjust to more EVs on the road.

Recent Impacts On Fixed Ops Departments

When inventories dipped, and car sales slowed down, most dealership service departments saw an uptick in repair orders. Many people decided to hang onto their existing vehicles and started spending more money on repairs and maintenance. However, labor issues became more pronounced. Building and retaining a complete staff in the service department was always a challenge, but it got significantly worse with pandemic response measures.

Supply chain issues also affected dealership service departments. As parts became more difficult to source, managers were often forced to give customers long wait times for certain repairs. Some managers resorted to using aftermarket parts and even rebuilding certain parts instead of replacing them.

Now, with high gas prices and many more people working at home, drivers are putting fewer miles on their cars, which naturally leads to a reduced need for oil change services and other maintenance items.

Fixed Operations Solutions

Solutions for the changing environment of the auto industry will depend on consistent customer engagement and creative marketing strategies. Drivers might not even realize that EV models can be serviced and repaired at traditional dealerships. The key is to educate customers on dealership services and establish that the parts and repair department is the best for performing the work. While EVs may not need as much maintenance as a gas vehicle, they should be checked roughly twice a year for system function and tire rotations.

The automotive industry is constantly in a state of flux and evolution and has been since the beginning. Dealerships must pivot to face new challenges and new ways of operating.


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