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Will dealership service tech get more attention, money? – Automotive News

by Nov 7, 2022Blog0 comments

I spent some time earlier this month immersed in dealerships’ parts and service business.
I’ve written a lot during my three-plus years covering retail technology — almost all of which overlapped with the pandemic — about how dealerships have used technology to bring their sales process into the e-commerce era. A significant part of my beat has focused on online sales, from lead generation to electronic signatures. Companies have invested a lot of time and resources in the last few years to improve the capabilities of their software so dealers can provide a digital purchase experience.
While reporting on dealerships’ fixed operations for a package of stories that ran this month, some dealers told me they haven’t seen the same level of investment in technology to support the service side.
To a degree, that makes sense — service departments were often allowed to remain open under states’ stay-at-home orders in the spring of 2020, while showrooms were forced to close. Many dealerships had to quickly figure out how to sell vehicles online and remotely if they were going to sell any vehicles at all. But to hear dealers say they’re now looking for more technology to help them on the service side, with such things as efficiency and productivity, suggests that there are potential white space opportunities for companies that can figure out how to do it.
Automotive Ventures, which provides venture capital and consulting resources to automotive entrepreneurs, is trying to find them with its new DealerFund. The fund’s dealer investors have set service capacity and efficiency as their first priority for investments in technology startups.
I asked dealers about the technology they wanted to see. They told me about the challenges they wanted to solve: One said he wants to maximize technicians’ time in their bays; another wants to save consumers time, including when dropping off their vehicles for repairs. It is difficult to pinpoint a specific tool that doesn’t yet exist.
That soon may change.
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