Us, by the numbers – Part II

By Jim Taylor, Editor MACS ACtion Magazine

We’re continuing our data romp through the  “ETI Market Research Study on A/C Service, Equipment and Trends,” for sale through MACS, ETI and possibly other outlets as well. As noted before, much of the collected data is proprietary and only available with the purchase, but we received ETI’s kind permission to abstract some of their general demographic data. Today we’re looking at what shops said they work on.

The survey’s Question 11 asked about what brands and types of vehicles your business has performed A/C services on. As you’d expect, the percentages almost  exactly follow sales and purchase patterns. GM and Ford led the list, with 83% of shops mentioning them. Chrysler was in at 77%  followed by Toyota-Lexus, Honda-Acura, and Nissan-Infiniti, all variously in the 60% range. (Remember, the question asked about A/C work, not all work…)

The A/C service numbers fall off for the lower sales-volume cars: 54% of shops had worked on a Subaru, 38% had seen a BMW or MINI, and 31% had handled a Jaguar.  Surprisingly, 23% of respondents also said they’d done A/C work on a Porsche product and 28% mentioned Land Rover as well.

Way down at the bottom of the list, 6% had hands on a Rolls Royce, 5% sounded off for Ferrari, and 4% said they had worked on a Bentley.  Pantera (!), Classic Mini, Lotus and Studebaker were mentioned in 1% of the responses along with 1% for “private or business aircraft”, “old hot rods”,  and “custom vehicles.”  Looks like some folks out there are working on some really cool stuff !

Of particular interest however, and reflecting expanding markets for A/C work, 35% of responding shops – more than a third of the sample – said they also work on medium or heavy-duty trucks and equipment. Another 9% specified buses, and 5% specified work on RVs or motor homes. For the trucks, the nameplate breakdown again pretty much follows sales trends, with Freightliner, International, Kenworth and Peterbilt the most frequently seen.

Off-road, construction and agricultural vehicles also figured into the equation as this field continues to grow for mechanical and A/C service on-site.  Cat, CNH, Deere, Kobelco, Hitachi and Linkbelt were frequently mentioned along with other specialty names.

Question 12 asked for the respondent’s “overall experience” for A/C repairs on vehicles by brand using a 1-10 rating. A 1 rating meant “extremely easy to work on” and 10 equaled a hair-pulling, wrench throwing “extremely difficult.” Care to guess at the results?

Simply take the “frequently worked on” list from Question 11 and turn it upside down; the infrequently seen cars were rated the hardest to work on for A/C repairs. We can’t say whether this is due to real difficulty of access, lack of diagnostic information or simply due to a lack of technician familiarity.

Either way, all the German marques were rated the hardest to fix.  Porsche’s average difficulty rating was 6.0, BMW-MINI and Mercedes-Benz each averaged 5.7, and VW-Audi got 5.1.  Other European brands – Volvo and SAAB –  were next in line.

At the other end of the scale, the ease-of-work winner was GM (3.2 av. rating), followed closely by Ford (3.4), then Hyundai, Toyota-Lexus, Kia, Mazda, Honda-Acura, Isuzu and Chrysler, all averaging under 3.8 from respondents.

Do you see your business in any of these mirrors? Remember, all this data was collected from almost 300 shops. It may not reflect your shop or business exactly, but we think it’s a fair sketch of what our industry looks like at the moment.


The Mobile Air Conditioning Society’s blog has been honored as the best business to business blog in the Automotive Aftermarket by the Automotive Communications Awards and the Car Care Council Women’s Board!

When having your mobile A/C system professionally serviced, insist on proper repair procedures and quality replacement parts. Insist on recovery and recycling so that refrigerant can be reused and not released into the atmosphere.

If you’re a service professional and not a MACS member yet, you should be, click here for more information.

You can E-mail us at or visit to find a Mobile Air Conditioning Society member repair shop in your area. Visit to find out more about your car’s mobile A/C and engine cooling system.

The 33rd annual Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Training Conference and Trade Show, Be the Best of the Best will take place February 7-9, 2013 at the Caribe Royale, Orlando, FL.


About macsworldwide

Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Founded in 1981, MACS is the leading non-profit trade association for the mobile air conditioning, heating and engine cooling system segment of the automotive aftermarket. Since 1991, MACS has assisted more than 600,000 technicians to comply with the 1990 U.S. EPA Clean Air Act requirements for certification in refrigerant recovery and recycling to protect the environment. The Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide’s mission is clear and focused--as the recognized global authority on mobile air conditioning and heat transfer industry issues.
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