The Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA) commissioned ACA Research to survey over 300 automotive service and repair workshops on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The report saw 83 per cent of automotive service and repair workshops suffering a decrease in revenue, with half experiencing a downturn of more than 30 per cent.
The AAAA says the automotive service and repair workshop sector is one of the country’s largest, employing around 150,000 people in 23,000 small businesses.
“When people aren’t getting their vehicle serviced or repaired, that results in wider implications for businesses that make, sell and distribute brakes, oils, engine parts, tyres, etc., a sector itself that employs an additional 360,000 people,” said Stuart Charity, CEO of the AAAA. “The survey revealed an industry under intense stress but also displaying remarkable resilience. Despite taking such a financial hit, the auto repair and service industry is highly optimistic about the future, higher than any other small and medium business type.”
The survey found that Victoria is the most affected state with 61 per cent experiencing a 30 per cent or more decline in revenue, while Queensland is the least affected at 41 per cent. Regional areas have been less affected with a little over half of metropolitan workshops experiencing a 30 per cent or more revenue reduction, compared to 40 per cent regionally.
Charity believes the industry had been hit hard because consumers were unsure about whether they could go to a workshop, partially due to state restrictions and advice to stay home.
“Despite this, most see this unprecedented situation as having a short-term impact,” said Charity. “They share a level of confidence about the ongoing viability of their business and they are more optimistic of a bounce back than any other sector. My discussions with industry leaders indicate a shared understanding that there will be a bounce when restrictions are lifted. We are hearing of workshops sharing staff between stores within the same group to help each other cope on the busy days and to keep their valued workers in jobs.