4 Bold Predictions for the Auto Industry•
Auto lift technology has advanced well beyond what it used to be. In the 1970’s, above-ground lifts were rarely used, and leaky in-ground car lifts were all the rage. Today, in-ground lifts are being phased out in favor of less expensive, more reliable options. WeHopefully, the predictions in this article won’t be laughed at by future generations. We’re predicting new designs and technology, more options for DIY’ers, changes in vehicle technology, and an increased role for women in the auto industry. Feel free to judge our bold predictions and tell us what you think.
Auto Lifts Will Look… Kind of the Same!
The very nature of car lifts makes their design somewhat immune to drastic changes. We can expect changes in design, but life won’t suddenly be the The Jetsons. Part of this has to do with the importance of making cost-effective changes that shops can afford. If we go reinventing the wheel, so to speak, shop owners will need to replace a lot of equipment. Looking ahead, it’s likely that structural supports will continue to get stronger and side posts will get shorter. Shorter and narrower beams make lifts easier to install in home garages. Imagine two small, thin rods capable of supporting the weight of a vehicle while taking up almost no garage space. We’re not there yet, but it’s amazing how fast technology is changing. Just like smartphones and other household devices, car lifts are likely to become more powerful, compact, and efficient in the years to come.
More Auto Lifts Will Be in Home Garages
BendPak’s GrandPrix two-post lift series is changing the industry. With three models to choose from, the GrandPrix is the world’s most space-efficient closed-top lift. When we think of the future at BendPak, we’re really thinking about the now. The next five to ten years are bound to bring additional low-ceiling lifts into homes. In a very real way, this could change what we expect to see when we step into a garage. And now that low-ceiling garages can fit a two-post lift, in a few years, fewer people will be forced to say, “If only my ceiling was higher.”
Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Services Will Expand
Right now, hybrid and electric vehicles are still more expensive to maintain than traditional gas engine vehicles. Hybrids and EV’s cars benefit from increased fuel efficiency, but most people have to take them into the dealerships, where repair costs are steep, to get them repaired. We can reasonably expect maintenance costs to drop as more auto shops are able to handle these types of cars and parts are mass-produced in greater volume.
At the same time, auto lifts need to be future-proofed to accommodate the unique undercarriages of hybrid/EV vehicles. Since some of these cars feature large batteries that can be damaged by the telescoping arms found on two-post and scissor lifts, OEM lift points and jack points tend to be extended to the extreme outer edges of the vehicle frame. BendPak is aware of this need, and we’ve already redesigned a few of our lifts to accommodate hybrids and EVs. If you’re in the market for a lift, be sure the company you purchase from is ahead of the curve, or you just might find yourself back on the lift market in a few short years.
More Women Will Speak Out, and the Industry Will Listen
It’s no secret that the automotive world is predominantly male-driven. Car culture in America thrives when it focuses on the art and science of the machines we love. Unfortunately, this thriving culture has its fair share of distractions. Let’s not get into the weeds about this, but as a result of some of these distractions, very few ladies are getting their hands dirty alongside the boys. At BendPak, only about 7 percent of our customers are female, and that’s up from about 5 percent a couple of years ago. For a great discussion on why this might be, watch the Gears and Gasoline video below.
Now more than ever, men who work in auto shops need to communicate effectively with women. (That doesn’t mean “talk down to.”) There’s plenty of evidence suggesting women feel out of place when they take their car into the shop. First off, that’s shame on the industry. Second, it’s bad for business: Women make up 63 percent of the overall purchasing power in the United States. And that vast purchasing power extends to the automotive field.
At BendPak, we predict that the industry is going to make positive turns to stop intimidating female customers. Hopefully, as women feel more comfortable with car culture, more will be encouraged to become professionals in the field (as mechanics, engineers, shop managers, etc.). Things are trending in the right direction, so who knows? In ten years, there may be as many female mechanics as there are male ones.
Your predictions are as good as ours, so tell us what you think the future of auto lifts and vehicle service will look like. Do we miss any obvious predictions? Let us know in the comments!