by Alistair Jeff

While many aftersales departments remain busy and the search for technicians remains an ongoing challenge for many retailers, the aftersales market is changing. Future-proofing aftersales as an integral part of many retailers’ operating model must be seen as crucial, or indeed critical, because storm clouds are very evidently growing on the horizon.

The 1.8m new vehicle shortfall

Already, many franchised workshops will be feeling the impact of circa 1.8m new vehicles that, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequently the worldwide shortage of semiconductors, have never been sold over the last 30 months. Typically, many of the cars in this age range would have been serviced in the franchised network and have been serviced up to at least their third anniversary. They will not be seen.

The impact of EVs

The shift to EVs, most notably battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) with their lower maintenance requirement.

At the end of August 2022, there were more than 530,000 battery-electric cars on UK roads. Much of this growth has been very recent. Last year saw the biggest annual increase in the number of registrations, with more than 395,000 battery-electric cars registered, a growth of 92% on 2020. In August, year on year BEV registrations rose 35.4%, giving BEVs a market share of 14.5% of all new car registrations for the month.

According to data published by Auto Trader from 2026, there will be more electric cars that are sub-five-years-old than petrol or diesel, with the volume of three- to five-year-old stock being predominantly EV by 2030.

In early August, Hertz, which in October 2021 ordered 100,000 Tesla Model 3s, announced that the cost of maintaining its Tesla fleet was 50-60% below their ICE fleet. However, and of note, tyre wear was slightly higher.

Time to act

I do not aim to be a harbinger of doom, but nor can I turn a blind eye to trends that look set to impact the very area of the automotive industry in which my career started and for which I retain a huge passion.

As BEVs’ emergence necessitates a reinvention of petrol forecourts, the same must be true for aftersales.

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