Editor’s Viewpoint PMM September 2017.
In late July, the Government announced its ambitious plans to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040, in a bid to further encourage a shift towards electric vehicles and the anticipated cleaner air that this would yield. Many have forecasted the death of the internal combustion engine for a while now – with diesel in particular coming under scrutiny in the wake of the VW ‘dieselgate’ scandal – but any legislation in a form resembling the Government’s current proposal will surely be the beginning of the end.
“Before long, this wave of vehicles will begin to flood into the aftermarket. The question is: will your workshop have the appropriate measures in place to deal with the torrent of new technology, or will you be swept away?”
Around the same time that Gove et al were eulogising about cleaner air and a healthier environment, BMW revealed that production of the first fully electric Mini would take place in Cowley, near Oxford, from 2019. Not only did this announcement allay any fears that the German giant might move its production outside of the UK post-Brexit, it also signified an acknowledgement from a large manufacturer that the electric revolution is inexorable.
And it’s not just the Germans that are embracing electrification. Jaguar is believed to be testing its very own fully-electric car – the I-Pace SUV. For a company that is steeped in tradition, the news that it will be mounting a challenge against Tesla is all the more demonstrative of the way the market is going.
What we must not lose sight of, however, is that, whilst 23 years might seem like an eternity, 2040 is effectively the endgame. Between now and then, more and more manufacturers will start production of electric models, while phasing out their petrol and diesel offerings. Before long, this wave of vehicles will begin to flood into the aftermarket. The question is: will your workshop have the appropriate measures in place to deal with the torrent of new technology, or will you be swept away?
To my mind, it’s not all doom and gloom. In fact, for the proactive garage owner, the changes in vehicle technology present an opportunity to secure good business for many years to come. Those that invest time, money and effort in getting the knowledge, tooling and skills required to service these new vehicles will elevate themselves above local competitors and win business because of it. The automotive industry is undergoing an exciting renaissance, and its crucial that the independent aftermarket is a part of it.