The U.S. auto industry has rebounded. Many automakers are profitable for the first time in nearly a decade and auto sales are on the rise – with 16.1 million in 2014, up from 15.6 million in 2013. The upward growth is fantastic, but one critical challenge remains that could threaten the continued success of the industry: There are not enough skilled auto technicians to sustain the industry’s growth, leaving dealers scrambling to find technicians to service the vehicles they sell. 

Read more: Education

Automotive companies have long recognized the enormous potential in Consumer Relationship Management (CRM). However, rapid technology advances, social media, changing consumer behavior and an increasingly competitive marketplace have left many companies scrambling to get in front of their customer base. 

Trying to gain attention and engagement in the increasingly cluttered media sphere with challenged budgets calls for more than a re-evaluation of tactics and cadence in existing CRM programs, it calls for a whole new model, one that is better tailored to today’s consumer, technology and budgets. It calls for a move to dynamic CRM.

Read more: Customers

Just after the 2008 presidential election, the heads of GM, Ford and Chrysler - with the UAW along for the ride - went to Washington seeking financial assistance. Precedent had been made in 1979 when President Carter loaned Lee Iacocca’s Chrysler $1.5 billion. That loan, which required concessions on the part of labor, was paid off in record time, with the government earning a profit of $305 million, almost $1.1 billion in today’s dollars.

Read more: Washington Report

Much of the credit for the recent revival of the U.S. automotive industry has been given to the doggedness of the American workforce. The media has personified the manufacturing worker as a rugged, never-give-up type of guy whose unfailing determination has single-handedly built the next generation of automobiles. 

Read more: TECHnology

There has been an unprecedented amount of media attention focused on auto recalls in 2014. In this environment of heightened awareness, manufacturers have been quick to initiate recalls for issues that would have previously gone unaddressed. The data covering these recalls underscores that they are more complex than ever, and that every component of the manufacturing and distribution network has a role to play in avoiding the “auto recall pileup.” 

Read more: Supply Chain

According to recent studies, the average age of passenger cars on the roads is currently at an all-time high with Americans spending more than 100 hours each year commuting to work. To cater to the increasing number of used car owners and resulting used car dealerships’ businesses, the team with Creative Colors International (CCI) – the industry leader in on-site repair, restoration, cleaning, protection and dyeing of leather, vinyl, fabric, plastic and carpeting – recommends that auto dealers ramp up their efforts to educate their customers on car care best practices in order to distinguish themselves in the saturated marketplace and outpace competitors. Offering guidance and educational resources free-of-charge will position dealers not only as experts, but as caring, knowledgeable local professionals, which in turn will increase customer retention and attraction, as well as serve as a reputation booster.

Read more: Detailing

Technology has changed the way we shop, communicate and even attend school. Today, the digital age has reached the automotive industry, as well. Technology today offers a huge opportunity for repair shops to establish trusted, long-term and loyal relationships with customers by communicating honorable values and delivering service expertise. 

The digital age has given birth to more savvy and demanding consumers. With information at their fingertips, consumers have increased access to resources making them more informed, and consumer empowerment through technology is making its way into auto repair, as well. Consumers can often learn how a problem with a car should be fixed and at what cost, upping the ante of the integrity and level of service delivered by repair shops.

Read more: Auto Services

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