As many folks with a passion for the wonder of the automobile will likely be aware, while the vehicle has centuries of development behind it – arguably rooted in 18th century concepts of wind- and steam-powered vehicles – the first automobile (or at least, the first thing that constitutes what we would consider an “automobile” today) arguably came about in the late 19th to early 20th century, around the time that Mercedes was registered as a brand.
It was likewise around this time that automobiles first became available to the general public (though of course, in those early years, they were only really accessible to the highly affluent). In the early years of this new-fangled machine, the market had not quite caught up with demand, and as such, the concept of “car servicing,” at least as we would refer to it today, did not really exist – indeed, the only individuals who could really be considered “car mechanics” were those who actually built the cars. As a result, the first automobile owners were forced to go to other mechanically inclined tradespeople – bicycle mechanics, plumbers, smiths, and the like – in order to seek out basic repairs or replacement parts for their vehicles. This was a challenging process – not least because the very earliest automobiles were not nearly as “standardised” as they are today.
However, this did not last – a niche in the market was recognised, and in the early 20th century, the first car servicers, and car service businesses, emerged. This was a business that became even more viable once automobile manufacturing became more standardised.
Of course, even though car servicing is typically seen as one of the more stable career paths, such has not always been the case. Indeed, only a few short decades after the first modern automobiles hit the public market, the Great Depression struck the US economy, drastically draining disposable income in America, and, in turn, much of the rest of the world. As a result of this, automobile ownership, already still rather esoteric, fell down in numbers; and as the automotive industry slumped, so did those such as mechanics and servicers, whose target demographic was automobile owners.
Nonetheless, the Great Depression passed on; and thanks to their universal usefulness, car ownership picked up once again – and along with it, demand for the services of car service businesses. Today, car servicing, automotive repair, and other similar services remain among some of the most stable careers in an ever-uncertain economy. Car ownership is one of the few phenomenon that can be considered near-universal; and as a result, car servicing is, too. And like so many other businesses, it is increasingly being influenced by the constant development and growth of modern technology, making it a business that is not only universal, but ever-shifting in nature.