Meineke to Introduce Uber Model for Car Care, Says Company President
Uber's on-demand model is disrupting countless industries -- and the auto repair industry is next.
"I think this is where things are going and I see it as a huge opportunity," said Danny Rivera, president of privately held Meineke Car Care. "Americans want convenience -- I don't want to go to a shop on a Saturday morning to get my oil or brakes changed - I want someone to take care of it."
Rivera said Meineke, which is a franchise-based business, is trying to transition into such a model, likely by the end of 2016 and into 2017.
"We want the app to tell you your car is due for service and to allow you to schedule an appointment, which may involve us picking up the vehicle for you," he added. "We'll fix it up and we'll return the car to you and you didn't even have to leave your couch."
He said that model currently exists at its China locations.
'We have a master franchisee in China who is developing an entire business model around convenience,' he added. 'When we look at what Uber is doing in the United States, we're actually doing that in China -- consumers can have a concierge service where there car is picked up, fixed and delivered back to the customer.'
Meineke has ambitious plans to expand in China. "China is a huge country with many people and cars and I think there's great opportunity there," he said.
Rivera said he hopes to have 500 locations in China over the next five years. Meineke has seven locations in China, according to its website.
Back in the U.S., auto sales are gaining steam, rising 1.8% in September, according to the Commerce Department.
For new cars, the need to visit an auto repair shop for service isn't as pressing as if a consumer was keeping their existing car for a longer time span. That could pose headwinds for Meineke. But Rivera sees the strength in the auto market as an opportunity. "When I look at new car sales, it signals future demand," he said. "Three or four years down the road, those cars will be coming to Meineke to be serviced."
This article originally appeared on The Street.