Electric vehicles, autonomously-driven vehicles, Uber and shared vehicles, as well as a change in market control by the Original Equipment Manufacturers, are all upcoming events predicted to change the face of the motor industry in the next 10 years and beyond.
These were some of the topics raised at the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA) conference at Automechanika late last year.
Jan Jooste, of Sebokeng Campus says, “According to RethinkX, from the early 2020, a family will save US$5000 (R68 000) per year by not owning a vehicle and by 2030 new car sales will drop by 70% in the US.”
“The international move away from internal combustion engines to hybrid or electric cars will mean that, due to economies of scale, electric cars will become more affordable. The maintenance costs of electric cars are 10% of those associated with combustion engines. A combustion engine has 2 000 parts compared with an electric car that has 20. This is going to impact the role of the repairer.”
While the ecological argument for moving to electric cars is sound there are still very real challenges including hacking, the price and theft of copper, battery problems and so on.
Jan also points out that every new Uber vehicle replaces the new sale of 18 to 20 privately-owned vehicles in Europe. “It’s worth considering than many people walk and commute in Europe since the distances are smaller. There is more need for vehicles that travel further distances in South Africa so the adoption of using Uber in SA could be even greater,” says Jan.
A more pressing issue he raises is the current situation with the coding of parts and what it means for vehicle owners who need car repairs. “Consumers can’t afford being messed around any longer and there has to be a change in who has control of the repair of your vehicle. The coding of more and more parts on the vehicle means that consumers are forced to repair their vehicles at Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) or dealers. This is costly and removes their right to choose.”
Quality of service
Gunther Schmitz, Vice Chairman of Right to Repair SA (R2RSA) weighs in, “Studies in the EU and US, where the Right to Repair has been implemented, show that the price for non-captive parts are 6-10% lower. Another benefit for consumers is improved quality of services. Currently authorised repairers are perceived as having a premium status within the repair sector, despite the fact that surveys generally tend to show little difference with regard to the quality of the services provided.
We expect a small shift from dealers to independent aftermarket for repairs on newer vehicles but a higher customer retention rate of dealerships due to improved service. In the end, those offering the best service will benefit.”
Regarding the code, Gunther says generally R2RSA is satisfied with the points of the code but is awaiting responses from the industry especially the OEMs. “It is a voluntary code at this point. Those who comply to the code will have a year to implement it. While we hear the concerns regarding the voluntary nature of the code we believe the reason it is voluntary at this point is to hasten the process of implementation.
A mandatory code would need to follow a legislative process which will be lengthier. However, it is worth mentioning that a voluntary code was implemented in Australia and after lengthy negotiations only one OEM complied. We are hoping SA does not have to go down this road too,” he says.
Pieter Niemand, Director of MIWA, concludes, “There’s no doubt that we are going to see major advancements and changes in the motor industry in the not too distant future and independent repair workshops need to be aware and ready for these changes.”
MIWA conference Automechanika