The auto repair business has become one of the fast-growing industries, not just in the U.S. but worldwide. While we might not think about its history, it is important to look back and see how far things have unfolded for automobiles, considering its significant contributions to modern transportation.
Today, auto repair has become a thriving business in the U.S. auto industry. But before reaching its success, the auto industry went through a lot of changes and complex innovations. To know more about it, here is a brief history of how the auto repair industry has transformed throughout the years.
The early 1800s: The first automobile
In the late 1800s, Europe released its very first group of cars. In fact, history says that Europeans perfected the art of inventing the first modern automobile in 1901. Although the inventors took a while to create a fully functioning model, they eventually sold these cars to the upper-class.
Carmakers in the late 1800s became the first auto mechanics. These people designed, engineered, and built the first successful vehicles, launching a trade for like-minded individuals.
The early European automobiles became so advanced, but they were never standardized. The problem comes up when the automobile breaks down, and the owner faces a difficult task to fix it. Since automobiles were a recent invention, very few people have the skills and knowledge in repair.
Eventually, the car owners turned to their drivers who had specialized knowledge in maintaining a vehicle. These drivers learned how to fix the cars they were driving, leading to the initial set of mechanics. These people not only saved their employers from their car dilemmas, but they also played a role in merging the gap between the lower and upper class.
In the process, these upper-class car owners recognized the car repair abilities of their drivers, allowing them to increase their wages and privileges.
The early 1900s: The U.S. automobile making
Henry Ford earned recognition for perfecting efficient automobile-making in the U.S. The great thing about Ford vehicles is that they were not as complex as European automobiles, making them faster to produce and cheaper to buy. This led car ownership to gain a new market, leading to its popularity.
As car manufacturers released more vehicles, the need for auto repair grew rapidly. Recognizing the need for mechanics, private businesses and car dealerships started offering auto mechanic services. With their standardized parts, the auto repair trade became simple and easy to learn.
Later on, the competition grew rapidly among mechanic businesses and individual auto repairers. As car repairs were paid by the hour, car owners hired the most skillful mechanics who can work faster so they can pay them at lower costs. In turn, mechanics and dealers began to score more repair projects.
The 1930s to mid-century: Market decline
When the Great Depression hit, the entire auto industry declined in sales, production, and maintenance. The industry was pressed to make more sales despite its inability to develop until a new demand arises.
During the early years of car maintenance, the car owner often deals with auto paints and body tools. Unfortunately, the paints used for cars in the mid-1900s were far less durable than the modern paints used today. Thus, early cars required frequent touch-ups for protection from outside elements.
Car owners used to paint their cars by hand using brushes. Runs and finish imperfections were also common, especially on cars released from the assembly line. Therefore, owners had no reason to hire an auto body mechanic for paint repairs.
Mid-century to present: The rise of auto body repair industry
As the car trade encountered market stagnation and more owners developed a do-it-yourself mindset towards auto body repair, American business executive Alfred P. Sloan focused on automobile style. To encourage a new demand for cars, Sloan introduced the car industry’s cosmetic side and established the market’s desire to own fashionable automobile models.
Meanwhile, those who cannot afford the latest car model resorted to low-cost alternatives by looking for ways to achieve the same level of automobile style. This idea paved the way for the auto body repair industry.
Since then, the rise of auto body and auto repair businesses created a lasting split in the car industry. In turn, car owners have plenty of options to make their vehicles more advanced, efficient, and powerful.
As the car trade continues to flourish worldwide, the role of technology has become more pivotal in the auto repair and auto mechanics industry. At the same time, developments in car repair skyrocketed, making it easier and cheaper to maintain a vehicle.