Friday, August 31, 2012

USA Today Speaks Out: Serious Shortage of Skilled Auto Mechanics Looming

It is interesting that USA Today thinks that this is important … even before Automotive News. Read it at

Here’s the gist of what they wrote: LOS ANGELES – Jonathan Hernandez figures if he is going to drive, he had better know how to fix cars. And he's well on his way to earning his degree in auto repair from Los Angeles Trade Technical College. “But the 23-year-old does not intend to put his community college credential to use as a career. He plans instead to become a tattoo artist. "I can do a tattoo in three hours and make $300," explains Hernandez, who says he isn't tattooed himself. "Tattoo money is a little easier." Such are the challenges for auto dealers and repair shops looking to recruit the repair technicians of tomorrow. A generation who grew up playing Xbox games instead of rebuilding carburetors doesn't seem to have the fascination with auto repair as earlier generations who grew up as shade-tree mechanics. … Many auto technicians are embracing how the job is evolving toward high-tech. A survey of 5,000 auto technicians conducted by consultant Carlisle & Co. on behalf of six automakers found that the second-biggest reason the technicians chose the profession was that they like working with technology — named by four out of 10. The only bigger reason, at six out of 10, remains having grown up working on cars. (Participants could give multiple answers.) But the same survey also pointed up the challenge: Top mechanics are getting older. Mechanics at the dealerships of General Motors, Ford Motor and Chrysler Group had an average age in the low 40s. "They are going to have to replace them more quickly," says Carlisle partner Harry Hollenberg. … Some students end up talking about a car as if it were a robot from another planet that they can understand. "It can talk to you and tell you what ails it," says Felipe Morataya, 32, of Los Angeles. "You can reason with it to tell you the problem."

Bottom line: Contrast this reality with the silliness of Right to Repair. It seems to say, “nobody really wants to get trained on how to fix a car, but, irrespective of this, they have the god-given right to repair all that stuff they have no desire to spend their time on.” Hmm. Maybe RTR isn’t really for the folks doing the repairs?

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