Will the number of car repair shops in Europe increase or decrease? Results of an international survey.

18 Jun 2023

The market for independent car repair shops is constantly changing. New car repair shops are opening and others are failing. The survey of car repair shop representatives from Europe indicates how they see the repair market in the coming years. Survey respondents commented on how the number of customers has changed recently and how, they believe, the number of car repair shops will change in the future.

Change in the number of car repair shop customers in Central and Eastern Europe

The answers coming from different European countries often differ, although a careful reader may find some parallels. Nonetheless, it seems that the auto repair shop market is specific to each country.

The highest optimism can be observed in the Hungarian and Bulgarian markets. In these countries, more than half of the car repair shops reported increases in the number of customers, while the average in this part of Europe is just over 40%.

Forecasts regarding the number of car repair shops in Europe

The data showing the expected changes in the number of car repair shops over the next 2 years is interesting. In this category, Polish car repair shops present the most pessimistic visions. Nearly two-thirds of repair shop and service representatives believe that the number of car service points will decrease. On the opposite side of the barricade are Lithuanians, among whom the share of pessimists is only 1/5.

The increase in the number of customers in most countries is not holding back negative predictions regarding the decline in the number of car repair shops. The reasons for the anticipated declines are the difficulties the car repair shops are currently facing. It is not a lack of customers or high business costs that is expected to lead to car repair shop closures. The rapidly increasing technical sophistication of vehicles and the lack of access to the technical data needed to service and repair them are cited as reasons. And this involves an urgent need for training, large investments in advanced tools for servicing modern cars, as well as improving EU regulations,” explains Alfred Franke, MotoFocus expert.

Is the sentiment of car repair shop representatives in Western Europe similar to Central and Eastern Europe?

The predictions regarding the decline in the number of car repair shops are even more pessimistic in Western Europe, as shown by the survey results from Italy and the United Kingdom. Representatives of these car repair shops also report an increase in the number of customers, but have no doubt that the coming years may be an insurmountable barrier for a large number of businesses. In Western countries, where the average age of vehicles in service is lower than in Central and Eastern Europe, car repair shops may already be experiencing major problems with access to repair data or the need for significant equipment investments.

The need to face new market challenges may trigger a trend toward further specialisation of independent repair shops (e.g., servicing only selected vehicle brands) and their consolidation into chains. At the same time, the independent repair shop market will continue to experience pressure to maintain its price attractiveness, which is its important advantage over the authorised service centres of automakers.

See also: How have European car repair shops changed service prices?

Research methodology

The survey which served as the source for the claims in this article was conducted by MotoFocus.eu, in the form of an online interview among car repair shops. In total, over 1130 individuals took part in the survey.


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