Autonomous vehicles could be among the biggest disruptors the service business has ever had. This may not be a bad thing 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.
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.
“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 more of a need for software troubleshooting.”