Getting on the Franchise FAST TRACK - Page 4 of 4

Getting on the Franchise FAST TRACK

of consumers are holding on to their cars longer while others seem more likely to purchase pre-owned vehicles. According to a 2007 National Automobile Dealers Association report, new-vehicle sales for 2006 were 16.5 million, a near 3% decrease compared to 2005 unit sales. And nationwide, franchised new-car dealers sold more than 19 million used vehicles last year.

Judging by these figures, car owners seeking out automotive repair and _service facilities for routine maintenance and upkeep will make for a strong market. And there are a myriad of nationwide franchise automotive repair and service chains that offer parts, and/or full-service repair at rates more reasonable than dealerships and often with a quick turnaround.

“Automotive franchises are kind of coming in and taking over. Convenience and cost are the main factors,” says Larry Hecker, president of the Automotive Maintenance and Repair Association, a Bethesda, Maryland-based group of repair shops, parts, and equipment suppliers, car companies, consultants, and other organizations that represent the automotive repair _industry. “People like convenience, so if an independent repair shop is closer and _cheaper than the dealer, they will use it.”

The impact these franchises have on the automotive industry goes beyond _vehicle sales. Total service and parts divisions of nationwide franchised dealerships also report a decrease in sales, going from $85 billion in 2005 to $80.5 billion last year. NADA attributes the decline to the steady increase of competition from independent service stations and quick-lube centers, which of course cuts into dealerships’ service work–a prime _opportunity for prospective franchisees.

According to the IFA, franchises to watch in this category include Matco Tools (, Meineke Car Care (, and Midas International (
–Additional reporting by Nicole Norfleet

Specialty/Gourmet Foods: 130.7%
Auto–Electrical and Battery: 29.6%
In-Home Health Care: 28.3%
Health–General: 23.5%
Business–General: 21.2%
Window Repair and Services: 18.1%
Computer–Other: 16.9%
Truck Rental: 16.2%
Window Treatments: 14.3%
Computer Repair 14.3%

Source: FRANdata ( Percentages are based on unit growth,
year-end 2005 through year-end 2006.