Smart workshops should still invest in equipment to service diesel vehicles as they will still be a part of the car parc for some time yet

In a recent survey of global automotive executives, one in two believed that diesel would be the first traditional powertrain technology to vanish from manufacturers portfolios.
Most OEMs have declared their plans for electrification. For example, every new Volvo from 2019 will have an electric motor; Volkswagen will electrify its fleet from 2030; and General Motors has 20 new electric models in the pipeline.
So, does this mean workshops need to gear up for the arrival of electric powered vehicles, and wind back investing in the know-how and tools required to service diesel engines?
Absolutely not. The trend in new vehicle registrations in recent years clearly shows that workshops need to be capable of servicing more, not fewer, diesel vehicles in the foreseeable future.
Over the period 2010-2015, nearly two million (1,929,952) new diesel vehicles were registered. Of these, 47 percent were light commercial vehicles (utes being the vast majority), 45 percent were passenger vehicles and nine percent were heavy commercial vehicles. Comparing 2010 registrations with 2015 indicates that while total registrations fell slightly, the number of diesel registrations increased both overall and proportionately.
The data clearly shows that diesel is on the rise and that workshops need to understand what this trend means for their business. Consider the following:
• Are you servicing proportionately more or less diesel vehicles than the typical workshop in your postcode?
• At a technical level, what skills, know-how and tools are required to service and clean a diesel fuel system?
• What does this mean for training your staff, including apprentices?
• What models of diesel vehicles should you expect to be servicing?
Vehicle registration data for period 2010-15 answers the question on which models of diesel vehicles workshops should expect to be servicing. Not surprisingly, the majority of new diesel vehicles registered were utes and SUVs with Toyota being the clear market leader. The top five diesel ute and SUV models account for 48 percent of total light commercial and passenger diesel vehicles registrations over this period.
The longer picture for diesel is not rosy, but in the short to medium term, this is a powertrain which clearly requires servicing.
Finally, this is not a question of diesel vs electric powertrains. Workshops need to be capable of servicing all powertrains in the market, meaning considerations about what is required to service, for example, an electric Volvo should start today not tomorrow.

This column was prepared for AAA Magazine by ACA Research, our partners in the AAAA Aftermarket Dashboard, which is delivered to your inbox each quarter.
For more information, visit www.acaresearch.com.au or contact Ben Selwyn on bselwyn@acaresearch.com.au