Study: How the workshop business will change by 2030

19. Jun 2021 | Industry + More

When it comes to the future of the automotive aftermarket and workshop business, most people think of electric mobility and digitalisation. In fact, the two trends do already present major challenges for automotive companies. And by 2030, the current challenges will intensify and new ones will be added. A current study has been searching for the trends of the future.

For this study, the consultancy firm "Boston Consulting Group" in cooperation with the European Association of Automotive Suppliers (CLEPA) and Wolk Aftersales Experts, a consultancy firm for the automotive aftermarket, surveyed 600 workshops throughout Europe. The organisers of the study also held 30 in-depth interviews with managers from the aftermarket sector. The result was a very comprehensive study, in which the almost important market changes are outlined.

The good news: The market will continue to grow. According to Antti Wolk, Managing Director of Wolk Aftersales Experts, it is clear that the current decade will bring even more changes to the automotive market." Electrification and digitalisation are still two of these drivers that are accelerating the change. And this trend will continue: "Aftermarket is becoming ever more varied and complex."

The vehicle stock on the roads is getting older

In Western Europe, the proportion of vehicles older than eight years rose from 50% in 2011 to 65% in 2019. The industry expects the trend to continue: By 2030, the proportion of passenger cars over eight years of age could even achieve 75%. This is, of course, positive for independent workshops and the parts industry, as older vehicles tend to require maintenance and spare parts. And: The older the cars, the lower the number of owners who bring the car to the authorised dealer for maintenance work.

Further increasing complexity in spare parts

According to the study, the complexity in the field of spare parts will continue to increase. More and more vehicles are also being equipped with new technology such as sensors and systems and parts are increasingly networked. This will not only increase the prices for parts. According to the organisers of the study, the increasing complexity "requires additional interfaces and increases the complexity of repair services, which is helping to boost workshops' labour costs."

Driver assistance systems

At the same time, modern safety technologies and driver assistance systems will continue to reduce the number of accidents. The study predicts 15 percent fewer accidents by 2030. This, of course, has a direct impact on car body manufacturers and paint shops.

Electric mobility

The study predicts that around 20% of European vehicle stock will be electrified by the end of the decade. Battery electric vehicles (BEV) will make up around six percent of the existing stock. "Battery electric vehicles generate around 20% less costs for spare parts than comparable vehicles that run on fossil fuels. (…) The greatest reduction - 50% - is in terms of maintenance costs due to the lower number of engine components in a BEV. When spare parts such as spark plugs or injector nozzles become superfluous, other components such as brake pads, for example, have a longer service life thanks to regenerative brake systems.

Vehicle data

And it's no secret that modern cars are increasingly being networked. According to the study, around 50% of the vehicle stock will have either basic or advanced connectivity systems, which include direct data streaming, processing and communication with external parties by 2030. This is putting car manufacturers in a perfect position. They have direct access to the vehicle data and can therefore provide remote diagnosis and indicate that a replacement is required before the failure even happens and suggest an appointment at an authorized workshop. This gives OEM a clear advantage over the independent aftermarket, which has therefore been requesting equal access to vehicle data for years.

OEMs will push for stronger penetration of the spare parts market

Coupled with this, the study states that car manufacturers will push for a stronger penetration of the spare parts market, which means additional turnover and profits for the OEM: "They see room for growth by obtaining more business from the large pool of older car owners."

Further trends

  • The distance travelled in vehicles is being reduced by working from home and e-commerce. People are travelling fewer kilometres, which reduces the need for spare parts.
  • Fleets and insurers will control a larger proportion of the vehicle stock and then award repair work to companies that have agreed to lower prices.