Employees in automobile dealers work longer hours than do those in most other industries. About 85 percent of automobile dealer employees worked full time in 2002, and about 40 percent worked more than 40 hours a week. To satisfy customer service needs, many dealers provide evening and weekend service. The 5-day, 40-hour week usually is the exception, rather than the rule, in this industry.
Most automobile salespersons and administrative workers spend their time in dealer showrooms; individual offices are a rarity. Multiple users share limited office space that may be cramped and sparsely equipped. The competitive nature of selling is stressful to automotive salespersons, as they try to meet company sales quotas and personal earnings goals. Compared with that for all occupations in general, the proportion of workers who transfer from automotive sales jobs to other occupations is relatively high.
Service technicians and automotive body repairers generally work indoors in well-ventilated and well-lighted repair shops. However, some shops are drafty and noisy. Technicians and repairers frequently work with dirty and greasy parts, and in awkward positions. They often lift heavy parts and tools. Minor cuts, burns, and bruises are common, but serious accidents are avoided when the shop is kept clean and orderly and safety practices are observed. Despite hazards, precautions taken by dealers to avoid and prevent injuries have kept the workplace relatively safe. In 2002, there were 5.5 cases of work-related injuries and illnesses per 100 full-time workers in the new and used car dealers industry, close to the national average of 5.3 cases. Separately, used car dealers reported only 2.6 cases of work-related injuries and illnesses per 100 full-time workers-well below the national average.