Auto Dealers’ Service Business is Strong; Challenges Linger

If Brian Godfrey could wave a magic wand, Pat Milliken Ford would have four more service technicians on the payroll, according to an Automotive News report.

The suburban Detroit dealership could keep that many additional technicians busy, said Godfrey, its president. Service sales, including parts for service operations, are increasing — up 15 percent year over year through September and exceeding levels seen before the pandemic in 2019.

Yet business could be even stronger, Godfrey said, if the dealership had the capacity to grab it.

With more help on the service drive, “it would put us in a position where we could go market ourselves for new business as opposed to kind of being on the defensive and trying to handle the business that’s coming in the door,” he said. “We’re doing the best job we can, primarily to take care of our loyal customers, but we’d like to go out there and be more aggressive to bring new business in.”

Across the industry, franchised dealerships’ service and parts businesses are growing, buoyed by an inventory shortage that has prompted some consumers to hold on to their vehicles longer, experts and economists told Automotive News. That is contributing to bigger-ticket repairs to keep vehicles on the road and, along with inflation, is helping to lift service revenue and gross profit.

Read the full Automotive News report.