“Upcoming challenges for garages” – an interview with Stefan van Dalen, Member of the HELLA Management Board
What are the major challenges the workshops will have to face in the coming years?
Mobility is changing. This means that workshops will be confronted with increasing complexity in several areas. Firstly, in vehicle technologies, both through the increasing ADAS and through the diversity of drive systems, key words being e-mobility, hybrid vehicles, and hydrogen. Secondly, the diversity of brands is currently increasing. This is new, because in the last 30 years there has been a consolidation in the market. This has allowed independent workshops to specialize in a few vehicle manufacturer groups. For the last two to three years, we have seen new, volume-weighted brands establishing themselves in European markets. These also include automotive newcomers. Others are ready to enter the European market. In addition, a third trend that has received little attention is likely to become a challenge in the future: The transformation of individual mobility to guided mobility by mobility providers such as insurers, leasing companies, etc. The influence of third parties on the mobility process is increasing with the networking of vehicles and people. In the future, workshops will therefore have to deal less often with private customers and more often with central management.
Is the increasing complexity of vehicles a problem for the workshops?
In the future, workshops – especially independent workshops – will see greater complexity in all three areas mentioned. In other words, more ADAS, more drive types, more brand diversity and changed order management. It is and will increasingly be a challenge for the workshop to stay competent in all areas.
In view of this, the openness of employees to new technologies and workshop processes is particularly important. A workshop operator who wants to successfully lead his workshop into the future must support his team both through training and in the ongoing technical workshop process. This means that the right information should be available to a technician at the right time directly at the workplace. IAM Workshops need to connect their devices to the cloud with all available data within. To achieve this, investments in modern, networked tools and a digital infrastructure in the workshop are essential. As a partner of independent workshops, Hella Gutmann offers state-of-the-art workshop equipment for high-voltage vehicle work, diagnostics, headlight adjustments and ADAS calibrations, as well as modules such as Training Material, RMI Data, Technical Hotline and Remote Services. This interlocking range of services helps IAM workshops to achieve maximum independence from services provided by manufacturers’ authorized workshops.
In view of the automotive transformation with increasing vehicle complexity, workshops should nevertheless consider the fields in which they want to be active. For example, whether they want to offer service and repairs on high-voltage vehicles, whether they want to perform ADAS calibrations in-house or use service providers, and whether all brands should be served in the future. Specializations would be an alternative.
How do you think workshops may prepare themselves for the changes on the market? Are there any steps they can take now in order to be ready to service the future cars?
For workshop operators, it is important to stay on top of things and actively deal with the changes in order to make timely decisions for specializations or investments. This also includes a certain degree of digitalization and good Internet. The basis for professional work is definitely a high quality cloud-capable diagnostic device, because communication with the vehicles and the diagnoses are essential. Here, modern technologies such as Artificial Intelligence can save a lot of time and lead users to targeted results. With the current market launch of the Automated Diagnostics function in the mega macs multi-brand diagnostic unit, Hella Gutmann is setting new standards in this respect. In addition to efficiency in diagnostics, the compatibility with Ethernet on-board networks will be increasingly important. The first of such Ethernet vehicle models are already on the market and their number will increase. Thanks to the integrated data protocols, the mega macs X from Hella Gutmann is already DoIP-capable. Workshops using the mega macs X are already prepared for this today.
Moreover ADAS calibration is currently a particularly urgent topic. As early as 2030, every second car in the EU will be equipped with ADAS. Workshops will be confronted with ADAS in their daily work, just as they were when OBD was introduced. Decisions to invest in know-how and workshop equipment or to use service providers should be made as quickly as possible.