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Automotive Manager Duties and Responsibilities

While the specific duties of an automotive manager can depend on their organization and industry, most share several essential duties:

Assess Automotive Needs One of the central duties of an automotive manager is determining their organization’s automotive needs. This can include both acquisition of new vehicles and regular maintenance and supply needs. The automotive manager considers both current capabilities and future plans to determine how automotive decisions affect operations as a whole.

Oversee Fleet Maintenance Automotive managers direct both routine and emergency maintenance activities. This comprises a wide range of tasks, including ensuring that vehicles receive scheduled maintenance according to schedule and that mechanical issues are quickly reported and resolved. The automotive manager makes decisions regarding maintenance and repair contractors and negotiates service rates.

Order Parts and Supplies To ensure that vehicles remain available to drivers, automotive managers order parts and supplies. One of the major focus areas for automotive managers is fuel: automotive managers frequently need to negotiate with fuel suppliers to reduce costs and ensure that transportation activities remain within budget. Additionally, automotive managers order parts that are replaced in-house, such as tires, filters, and fluids.

Manage Drivers and Staff In this role, automotive managers manage operational staff and drivers. This can involve hiring new drivers or logistics professionals as well as ensuring that current employees maintain their qualifications. If the organization uses independent contractors, the automotive manager may check their licenses, conduct background checks, and develop contracts as part of the hiring process.

Ensure Compliance Automotive managers ensure that their fleets remain in compliance with applicable laws. This can include environmental laws related to vehicles as well as department of transportation guidelines. The automotive manager may have oversight of vehicle inspections as well as transportation restrictions that affect the materials that their fleet carries.

Coordinate Across Departments Finally, automotive managers work closely with personnel and management across departments to ensure that the entire organization’s automotive needs are addressed. The automotive manager may receive feedback about their department activities that necessitate changes to internal processes, or they may make recommendations to better integrate automotive needs and other business activities.


Automotive Manager Skills and Qualifications

Automotive managers ensure that their organizations have access to necessary vehicles through procurement and repairs. Workers in this role have at least an associate’s degree, management experience, and these skills:

  • Operations management – automotive managers are primarily focused on operations and logistics, so they should be familiar with how fleet management fits into their organization’s operations
  • Planning skills – in this role, automotive managers assess their organization’s current and future transportation needs and determine regular maintenance and supply needs, so they should be excellent planners
  • Negotiation – automotive managers procure parts, supplies, and vehicles, so they should be able to successfully negotiate with vendors and suppliers to achieve competitive prices
  • Team coordination – in this role, automotive managers work with departments and drivers to coordinate transportation-related activities, so they should be excellent collaborators
  • Budget oversight – automotive managers also need to maintain budgets and ensure that they allocate appropriate funding for repairs, supplies, and vehicles, so some financial management experience is necessary
  • Communication skills – written and verbal communication are both central to this role, as automotive managers need to communicate with their own personnel and prepare reports for executive leaders

Automotive Manager Education and Training

Generally, automotive managers have at least an associate’s degree, although many companies prefer to hire candidates with bachelor’s or more advanced degrees. Many automotive managers have a background in logistics, transportation, or business administration. There are few opportunities for on-the-job training in this role, as most automotive managers have significant experience in their industries before moving into this position.


Automotive Manager Salary and Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) categorizes automotive managers as transportation, storage, and distribution managers. According to the BLS, workers in these roles earn a median annual salary of $92,460. The highest-paid 10 percent of workers in this role earn more than $156,710 per year, while the lowest-paid earn less than $54,300. While the BLS does not provide employment outlook information for this role, O*Net estimates that it will grow at an average pace of 5 to 9 percent through 2026.


Helpful Resources

If you’re interested in starting a career as an automotive manager, we found many useful resources on the web:

Automotive Management Institute – automotive managers can join AMI to obtain a number of credentials and professional designations and access professional development and educational materials

Fleet: A Guide to Simplifying Vehicle Fleet Management for Small Business – read this book to learn the principles of fleet management, including maintenance, cost reduction strategies, and technologies to enhance efficiency

National Association of Fleet Administrators – NAFA is a professional organization for fleet and automotive managers providing annual events, educational materials, and the latest industry news

Basics of Fleet Maintenance – Joel Levitt’s helpful guide covers maintenance for fleets of any size, with information on cost control, fuel and parts management, and work standards