The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) has responded to a recent Motorist Forum report on customer experience of franchised and independent MoT stations and garages in the wake of the government’s statement on the matter. While Brian Spratt, IAAF chief executive, praised the Roads minister for taking a “balanced view”, he said a fundamental change of attitudes towards communication is the key to improving the garage customer service experience. The Motorists Forum report put forward 12 recommendations to the government on how to improve the garage customer experience, details of which can be found on the IAAF website.
A report in the consumer press claiming that a rise in BMW thefts can be attributed to aftermarket technicians – courtesy of a European Union regulation – has been branded as “outrageous and wholly inaccurate” by HiQ. The company’s fast fit manager, Stuart Carr, has joined the Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation in refuting claims that a recent rise in BMW thefts is linked to the independent automotive aftermarket.
At the General Assembly of the international association for parts distributors, FIGIEFA, held on 24 May in Brussels, president of the German association GVA, Hartmut Rohl, was unanimously voted (with 34 votes) to the position of Figiefa president for the second time. He takes over from Michel Vilatte of FEDA (France) who was elected to the vice-president’s role with 30 votes. IAAF chief executive Brian Spratt was elected as Figiefa’s new treasurer with 31 votes.
The government is aiming to lead garages to make improvements in customer service in “a package of transparency and value-for-money measures” unveiled today by transport secretary Justine Greening. According to a statement released by the department, an evaluation of existing MOT test standards and frequency took account of the views and evidence offered by a wide range of organisations.
Some eighteen months after the Government announced that it would review the MOT System and following the RMI’s numerous meetings with Ministers and officials the government has finally now acknowledged industry advice and accepted that frequency should remain unchanged.
Pro-MOTe, the lobby group set up to campaign to keep annual MOTs, has welcomed news that ministers have dropped plans to reduce testing frequency to 4-2-2.
In a written ministerial statement this morning, Transport secretary Justine Greening announced: “Having listened closely to the very many views put forward and considered the available evidence, I have decided that I am not going to carry out further work in relation to relaxing the first test date or the frequency of testing.”
Despite being the subject of widespread discussion both inside and outside the industry, the much debated MOT proposals are missing from the latest government plans issued as a result of the Road Transport Red Tape Challenge. The lack of further details updating the public and trade of what is happening with the consultation and proposed legislation had particularly annoyed trade bodies such as the IAAF.
UK aftermarket business group The Parts Alliance has won three awards at the annual Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation Excellence Awards, held at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole Hotel on 8 December. IAAF president Nick Best presented the evening’s awards, honouring excellence in the aftermarket. Parts Alliance member Mill Autoquip won Distributor of the Year; Matthew Warren of CES (UK) received the coveted Parts Person of the Year award, and Alliance Autocentre member D & D Autos won the Garage of the Year award.
Euro Car Parts’ founder and chairman Sukhpal Singh Ahluwalia will meet with the UK’s prime minister and chancellor of the exchequer when he attends a “reception for business leaders at 10 Downing Street in mid-September. Ahluwalia has invited comments from the garage trade prior to his meeting with David Cameron and George Osbourne, stating that he will use the occasion to discuss key issues such as the proposed increase in the gap between mandatory MOT tests.
The opposition to the UK Government’s proposed changes to the MOT test has acquired another voice, as fast fit network HiQ makes the argument that doubling the length of time between legally required tests will eventually cost motorists more: “The pockets of motorists will be hit harder than ever,” HiQ stated. Secretary of State for Transport Philip Hammond hopes to introduce the initial MOT test for new cars after four years instead of three, as it currently stands today.
An application for a petition to abandon proposals to change the frequency of the MoT test lodged by the IAAF has been accepted. The e-petition went live today. Now the federation is urging everyone in the trade, as well as motorists, to add their voice to the IAAF‘s demand that “the ill-considered proposals to relax the frequency of MoT testing be dropped.
TyreSafe has become the latest motoring body to come out in support of maintaining current MOT frequency along with other road safety organisations such as the AA and consumers Association “Which”. Tyre Safe pointed out that over 2 million MOT failures annually are attributed to illegal tyres and any extension would lead to thousands of cars running around on our roads with unsafe, and in some cases dangerous tyres.
In a fact sheet published today and sent to Tyres & Accessories, TyreSafe outlined its position: “Tyres are safety critical items which constantly wear with vehicle use and it is imperative that they are regularly inspected and properly maintained. As many motorists rely on their annual MOT for the inspection of their tyres, any extension or lengthening of the MOT frequency is likely to have a significant detrimental effect upon driver and road safety. For these reasons TyreSafe does not support any extension to the frequency of the MOT test.”
The Retail Motor Industry (RMI) has become the latest automotive industry body to voice opposition to the proposed MOT test changes. Says John Ball, MOT Chairman for the RMI: "The RMI has taken a leading role in the fight against the possible change to the frequency of MOT testing and will continue to lobby on behalf of its members. The MOT debate is already very much underway on the Red Tape Challenge site and it is important that our views and accurate information are put across to help our anti 4.2.2 regulation cause. We are urging everyone to voice their opinion against the change to ensure the safety of our road users and livelihoods.
The National Tyre Distributors Association (NTDA) is calling on those involved in the tyre, fast-fit and garage industries to put pen to paper before the government goes ahead with recently announced MOT changes. As we reported yesterday, the NTDA believes that the proposed MOT revisions are “a dangerous and retrograde step, which would lead to job losses in the tyre and garage trade, more pollution and an increase in accidents, injuries and deaths on our roads.”
There are signs that the government is moving closer to changing MOT frequency, despite the protests of industry experts and associations. Announcing a consultation on the proposed meaures, Philip Hammond, the Transport Secretary, said: “Car technology has come a long way since the 1960s, that’s why we think its right to look again to check whether we still have the right balance of MOT testing for modern vehicles. We want to work with the industry and motorists to get the decision absolutely right.”