Turnover is a dirty word in the fixed ops world.
Across the country, dealers are finding that turnover -- especially on the service side -- is one of their biggest problems. A shortage of good, qualified talent has dealers and automakers scratching their heads on how to keep the mechanics and service technicians they have while attracting new, younger blood into the industry.
"It's the perfect storm," said Walt Langley, vice president of industry alliance at the for-profit Universal Technical Institute. The school, headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz., trains technicians at 12 campuses for careers in automotive, diesel, marine, collision, motorcycle or NASCAR work.
A rebounding auto industry means more and increasingly sophisticated vehicles are sold each year. Pair that with greater numbers of baby boomers looking to retire, and the shortage isn't a problem Langley expects to go away soon.
David Fabre grapples with the problem. "It's a technician's world at the end of the day," Fabre said. "They can leave your place in the morning and have a new job in the afternoon. That's how in demand a good technician is."
Fabre is chairman of the Acura National Dealer Advisory Board. He and his brother John own the Fabre Group, which has Acura, Subaru and Infiniti dealerships in Baton Rouge, La., and an Infiniti store in Lafayette, La.