Manufacturers are building vehicles with increasingly technology-laden features, but dealerships are having a hard time finding enough qualified technicians to keep those sophisticated autos serviced and on the road.
It's a problem that individual dealerships and the auto industry in general must address.
The industry has several challenges to overcome. Experienced baby boomer technicians are leaving the work force, while the population of younger workers shrinks.
With technology changing so fast, technicians must update skills frequently. The rapid switch from mechanical to electronic systems makes the situation even more complicated. Schools find it difficult to alter their vocational curriculums fast enough and to afford modern diagnostic tools and other specialized equipment. Automaker training programs are straining to keep pace, even with online training equipment.
The technician shortage affects dealerships and independent garages. It parallels personnel shortages plaguing automakers and suppliers in several fields, from tool-and-die makers, machinists and millwrights to engineers and designers.
Enterprising dealerships have developed ad hoc tactics to scout out technicians, from offering employee referral bonuses to tying into local high schools. But the industry must redouble efforts to bolster internal training programs and work more closely with formal educators on vocational programs.