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'19 Forester Premium '18 Forester Limited
2,407 Posts
Unfortunately, it's not just about nuts & bolts anymore. Cardoc and I talked about this briefly before, but I’m coming to believe that the dealership may become the only choice for a number of types of failures in the near future. It’s about system complexity, the availability of diagnostic tools, and access to very thorough documentation on proprietary technology.

There are conference proceedings, white papers, etc., out there that clearly show the trend in warranty issues on newer vehicles heavily dominated by electronics. Software and distributed / networked on-board computer issue made up something like 40% of the warranty costs at one mfgr. Would any independent shop want to take on an image based pattern recognition problem in one of these ‘take control from the driver’ systems like Subaru’s EyeSight? I’ve worked on the development of some of the underlying technology that goes into this stuff, and I wouldn’t!

It’s going to take a new kind of business model to keep the problems in check, with an intensive training program and VERY expensive tools. I wouldn’t be surprised to see tag teams of a mechanic and an electronics tech in the typical dealership service bay of the future. How many independent shops will be able to complete in this game?
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