How to Grow Your Small Business in the Automotive Industry

At the moment, there are still plenty of opportunities to make money in the automotive industry. People still need cars and trucks, businesses depend on haulage, and there’s no shortage of jobs for skilled mechanics and engineers. Nevertheless, many countries around the world are putting plans in place to reduce the use and production of internal combustion engines, particularly gasoline and diesel-fuelled vehicles.

Whether or not you believe that climate change is due to humanmade emissions, the tide is steadily turning away from fossil fuels and towards sustainable means of transportation. The realization that exhaust fumes are posing a severe threat to public health is further fuelling the drive towards change, and in the UK for example, it’s proposed that the sale of petrol cars will be banned from 2040. That may be over twenty years ahead, but it’s an indication of the seismic shifts the automotive industry is currently undergoing and will continue to in future.

Future markets

If you’re a small business owner with a garage or car sales business, these changes can’t be ignored, but what can you do to prepare your business for what’s to come? One way is to consider what the marketplace will look like in a few years. It’s likely that electric and hybrid cars will gradually replace standard vehicles, especially as the technology improves and prices start to drop. At some stage, there will be a tipping point where the sales of electric vehicles overtake standard cars, and that might not be too far down the road.

If you want to be in a position to take advantage of the changing market, you need to start now, by learning about electric powered cars and becoming knowledgeable about the technology, the operation of these types of cars, and how to incorporate electric vehicles into your business. If you prepare now, then you’ll be equipped to move with the times even if change takes place at a more rapid rate than anticipated.

Restoration and repurposing

A couple of niches within the automotive industry that is still thriving and are likely to continue to do well even when electric vehicles become the norm are restoration and repurposing. Classic cars have been popular since cars first started to age, and people’s enthusiasm for old vehicles shows no sign of diminishing.

One niche is focused on restoring vehicles to their original condition, so they are as close to how they’d have been when they rolled off the production line as possible. The other niche is concerned with taking old vehicles and altering or improving them or turning them into a new type of vehicle. For example, you could take an old van and turn it into a camper van, or take an old rusty truck and turn it into a hotrod.

The interest in restoration is increasing in large part because of a number of high-profile car restoration television programs, such as Fast and Loud, and Counting Cars. People can see what it’s possible to achieve with even the most unpromising of old cars and feel inspired to get their own unique vehicle. As the number of gas and diesel cars dwindles, old cars will become increasingly valuable, and more and more people will want to own a classic or a modified car.

Restoration businesses

That sounds like great news for automotive companies that can offer restoration services, and doubtless, there’ll be an increase in the value of this niche. However, if there’s an increasing market, there’ll also be increasing numbers of businesses vying for trade, so you’ll need to be sure your business stands out. Having your own reality TV show is probably one of the most effective forms of marketing, but if you don’t manage to get a TV deal, you’ll have to fall back on the tried and tested ways of making your offer stand out from the crowd.

Firstly, you need to determine your unique selling point or proposition; what is it about the business that makes you stand out? Why should customers come to you instead of your rival down the road? Price isn’t going to be the primary motivator for customers in this industry, because the quality is the most important aspect of buying a restored or repurposed car. Therefore, offering the lowest price for your services is likely to make people think you won’t provide the quality workmanship they’re looking for.

It’s preferable to focus on what you offer that no-one else does in your area. That could be specializing in a particular make of car, so you become the go-to place for Lincoln owners, for instance. Or you could emphasize the quality of your finishes, and that you use the very best spray coatings from industry leaders like Industrial Polymers Corporation to protect the bodywork. Perhaps you have an employee who is skilled in automotive art, so you can create bespoke designs for customers who wish to have their car illustrated.

Staying on track with your business

In order to make the best decisions in relation to your business, you should keep up-to-date with developments in your industry, and also relevant news from the political arena. Keep yourself informed of how the industry is progressing and what the sales trends are, and monitor any global developments that could affect your business. It’s unlikely that any government will enforce an outright ban on all old cars, but it’s short-sighted to carry on your business under that assumption. You never know what the winds of change may blow your way, so be alert for any developments that could influence the path your business is on.

The automotive industry isn’t going to collapse any time soon suddenly, but change is inevitable. To survive and thrive in a changing marketplace, it’s essential to be aware of what’s going on and adapt your offering, so you don’t get caught unawares when the major changes take place. People love their cars, and there are some highly profitable markets in the automotive industry, so with some forward planning, you could have a successful car business for many years to come.

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