The future is electrifying but we must adapt now to meet it

Man working on electric vehicle

Ensuring successful automotive businesses remain profitable in the long-term means acknowledging and adapting to electric vehicles.

Recently I wrote here about how, as business leaders, we must all learn to balance and prioritise our time, and to be open to reinventing our business models as necessary.

The idea was that we can all take small steps to help ourselves rise to the challenges ahead of us. I also pointed out that, as an industry, we have the ability to see the challenges laid out on the road ahead of us. We have time to react to these challenges, I said, but we must act now.

Capricorn’s recently released State of the Nation Report 2021 clearly marks out precisely what those challenges are. As the largest ever survey of Capricorn Members (2,075 took part), and a landmark report for our industry, State of the Nation and its findings should be taken seriously. Although it paints a generally very positive picture of the industry today, those of us with one eye on the horizon must pay attention to the report’s warnings. I’ll tackle the most urgent of these warnings over the coming months, but the first big alarm bell I wanted to address was the need to take EVs more seriously.

Whether we like it or not, EVs are coming. They might not be driving up onto the workshop apron very often right now, but the major vehicle manufacturers are focused almost exclusively on the development of EV technology and, globally, governments are adopting policies likely to entrench EVs as the future of automotive. Even in Australia, where government policy isn’t yet pushing for electric alternatives, Bloomberg predicts 18% of new cars will be EVs by 2030 and 64% by 2040.

Yet 27% of Members told State of the Nation they’re not interested in servicing EVs, and just 17% said their workshop would soon be ready to service electric vehicles. Are we failing to rise to the challenge ahead of us? Have we buried our heads in the sand?

This isn’t an argument about EVs being good or bad. It’s all about ensuring successful businesses remain profitable in the long-term. If we don’t start preparing for EVs now — if we don’t train our people and tool up appropriately — we risk being left behind. Those who don’t adapt will be fishing in an ever-shrinking pool, servicing older and older combustion engine vehicles, until one day, they go out of business.

Those who show leadership now, and adapt their business model, will be the winners of tomorrow.

Yours in cooperation,

David Fraser
Capricorn Group Chief Executive Officer 

This article was published 27/08/2021 and the content is current as at the date of publication.