More dealerships, selling mass-market as well as luxury brands, picked up and dropped off service customers' vehicles — for a fee — instead of requiring them to come to the store. And more dealers opened off-site centers, especially for quick service, to compete with aftermarket providers.
At the same time, cars — and, to a lesser extent, trucks — operated by the ride-sharing behemoths logged many more miles and required service more frequently and extensively.
Because those vehicles didn't converge on the service drive at 8 a.m. on weekdays, the way personally owned vehicles had tended to, service departments could smooth out their workflow and even operate 24/7 as demand dictated. Shops grew accustomed to having vehicles drive themselves to dealerships for service at all hours, by appointment.
One positive development of the proliferation of self-driving vehicles was a huge decrease in the number of traffic accidents. Driver error had been responsible for an estimated 94 percent of collisions.
That meant a lot less business for body shops. Many dealerships either closed their collision repair centers or sold them to the dwindling number of bump-shop chains and consolidators that remained.
Some things didn't change as quickly; dealers continued to lament the chronic shortage of well-trained service technicians. But instead of merely raiding their competitors, more dealers entered into partnerships with local universities, community colleges and even high schools.
Their goal: Build a pipeline of young techs who were comfortable with a new generation of cars and trucks that were repaired with computers more than wrenches.