The automotive industry is set to experience significant transformations that will fundamentally redefine the approach to fleet management and car servicing. We believe that with the increasing relevance of AI and other digital technologies, the future of car repair will be characterized by specialized, connected and sustainable solutions.

In this blog, we aim to provide helpful predictions for the future of car repair and the broader automotive aftermarket in Europe. The future of car repair is within reach, and by embracing the digital revolution, fleet and claims managers, OEMs and service providers can position themselves to thrive in the years to come.

Specialized services for modern vehicles

With constant developments across the automotive industry and new OEMs emerging around the world, cars are becoming increasingly diverse in design and operation. This poses challenges for fleet and claims managers, as not all vehicles can be brought to the same shops. They must now ensure the repair shops they work with are not only fairly priced and efficient, but also equipped and certified to handle the unique technologies in today's vehicles, particularly electric vehicles (EVs).

Labor shortages within the industry further compound these challenges. A survey by Fixico revealed that 52% of repair shops identified labor shortages as their number one concern. This is mainly due to senior technicians retiring or struggling with new technologies and a lack of industry appeal to younger talent.

The key question then emerges: how do vehicle owners and fleet managers identify the best service provider— which also has availability — for their specific car?

Connected ecosystems to find and manage services

As the industry becomes more specialized, we'll depend on connected ecosystems to act as the bridging infrastructure. These ecosystems enhance collaboration, streamline service journeys, and elevate customer satisfaction by identifying qualified service providers.

One benefit of connecting all stakeholders via digital marketplaces is the ability to use smart matchmaking to automate the allocation process and ensure you are connected to the best service provider for your specific damage. This process considers specific criteria like brand certification, specialization, costs, availability, distance, and carbon footprint. Access to a comprehensive network of service providers streamlines the entire service management process, reducing manual tasks like calling/emailing service providers to discuss capacity and costs.

Connected ecosystems also allow access to comprehensive data, which significantly enhances industry transparency. Fleet and claims managers gain valuable data insights into costs, cycle times, and service provider performance, empowering them to make strategic decisions to optimize their service process. Repair shops also stand to benefit from this data, as it enables them to showcase their track record and certifications on a marketplace, fostering fair competition and continuous improvement in their offerings.

Investing in sustainable practices

From OEMs to service providers, businesses are urged to embrace sustainable practices. This shift fosters employee pride and customer loyalty. Early investment in sustainability also helps companies stay resilient amid industry shifts and tightening environmental regulations.

There are many ways for the automotive aftermarket to embrace sustainable practices beyond the switch to EVs. OEMs can consider embracing the circular economy when it comes to the procurement of parts for their vehicles, as well as vehicle designs that promote longevity, repair ease, and recyclability. Another example is favoring repairing over replacing parts when your vehicle is damaged. Research from the Fraunhofer Institute shows 40-60% less CO2 emission when repairing.

Furthermore, by digitalizing the service management process, you can achieve more sustainable results. For instance, with digital damage intake, it reduces the number of necessary trips to the repair shop. Service providers are also striving for carbon neutrality by adopting eco-friendly practices, attracting environmentally conscious customers. To make a significant impact on carbon emissions, the entire industry must align efforts, making sustainability a critical business strategy in the face of growing societal demand.

How Fixico is shaping the Future of Car Repair

“As our cars get smarter, we have to get smarter too — that means more cooperation across the board, and tapping into the potential of AI and other digital tools. We're seeing the rise of platforms, marketplaces and specialized services just to keep up with these high-tech vehicles. That's why Fixico is investing in automating processes, connecting more stakeholders across the chain, offering more services for EVs, and building products that support businesses in adopting sustainable practices. We’re not just watching the future of car repair unfold, we're in the driver's seat.”

Mark van Laar, COO and Co-founder — Fixico

This blog was based on our Future of Car Repair report series, specifically Part 2 which addresses our vision for how the European aftersales industry will evolve over the next 5-10 years. Interested in learning more insights from industry experts? Visit here!