Troubled auto industry sends car care business booming

Slow new car production, high used car costs force people to invest in current cars

The pandemic has triggered problems that have slowed the production of new vehicles, and with the cost of used vehicles at an all time high, people are hanging onto the cars that they have. Now, the car care industry is trying to keep up with the high demand.

UTICA, Mich. – The automotive industry has taken a hit over the last year, as the coronavirus pandemic triggered a shortage of microchips required to produce new vehicles.

Now, with the cost of used vehicles at an all time high, and with production of new vehicles nearly halted, people are investing in their current car -- and one business in particular is booming because of it: the car care industry.

Related: Until 2023? Parts shortage will keep auto prices sky-high

Now more than ever, people are investing in detailing and protective coating, especially rust-proofing, for their current vehicles. But the car care industry demand isn’t just about cosmetics: Drivers understand that they have to to hang onto their older car right now, so they need to prolong its life.

“The average person right now is keeping their car for about six years; cleaning, restoring and protecting it,” said Erik Fagan from Ziebart’s in Utica. “What’s also interesting: If they do get a new vehicle -- or a newer used one -- they’ll try to keep that looking better for a longer period of time.”

Related: Report: Some cars cost more used than new amid part shortage

According to Fagan, business at their shop is up 20% -- but nobody was surprised by that.

“Even in recession times, typically our business goes up,” Fagan said. “People hold onto and protect their vehicle. It’s their second biggest investment, next to their house.”

Watch the full report in the video above.

More: US automakers pledge huge increase in electric vehicles

About the Author:

Nick joined the Local 4 team in February of 2015. Prior to that he spent 6 years in Sacramento covering a long list of big stories including wildfires and earthquakes. Raised in Sterling Heights, he is no stranger to the deep history and pride Detroit has to offer.