The IGA has given its forecast on the state of the industry as we enter 2019, including difficulties that may be faced by the independent garages, and the IGA’s strategy for tackling those challenges. Here, the industry body tells PMM what lies ahead.
With Brexit around the corner and the government continuing to digitise its services, one of the major challenges facing independent garages this year will be keeping on top of new legislative changes and running their business effectively, on top of the day-to-day challenges of repairing cars and dealing with customers.
The elephant in the room
We have spoken periodically on the potential impact of Brexit across all industries, and 2019 will be the year that we begin to see these in reality. The severity of this will depend entirely on the type of deal the government is able to negotiate for us and we will be watching closely for those outcomes to emerge in the coming year. Up to now, every prediction is simply a guess, however well researched.
We continue to feel that an efficient, profitable and well-run independent garage business will continue to be an efficient, profitable and well-run business once we are no longer a member of the European Union. Whilst many sectors will be heavily affected and the possibility of a recession appears high, we believe that independents will be less affected than other non-automotive businesses.
The IGA has taken proactive steps to extend and enhance its relationships with other trade associations within the EU, such that we can continue to be a force for change worldwide in a post-Brexit era.
Data and GDPR
The impact of Brexit on the General Data Protection Regulation is as yet unknown. GDPR will be well established under UK law by the time our official exit from the EU comes around, but the guidance from the Information Commissioner may change over time, generating challenges across the board. Since the introduction of GDPR and the upcoming Making Tax Digital legislation, it is more crucial than ever to stay on top of your business administration.
Stay up to date
The IGA provides hot-off-the-press information at our member events across the country to ensure your business is equipped to take any changes in its stride. These will continue throughout 2019 – look out for your email invitation either directly from us or from the DVSA, an organisation which will continue to attend our events to provide the most comprehensive updates for garage businesses.
New skills for new technology
The Government’s drive for more electric vehicles and their position on diesel will continue to play a part in the movement of the sector towards a greener future. The industry will have to adapt by integrating more hybrid training and a greater awareness of new technologies whilst enticing more bright young people into the industry. As every day passes, and the parc of hybrid vehicles ages, more and more of them are finding their way into independent garages and this means that all independents will need to be able to safely service and repair them.
Annual Training for MOT testers will continue to challenge testers across all aspects of the assessment process, with the added pressure for testers and AEs that an individual tester’s score will affect the risk rating of the garage in which they work. As this new system beds in, we are already hearing concerns from our members – as previously green garages change to amber, or even red in the short term. As always, we continue to work with the DVSA to communicate the changes to members.
We have continued to build upon our Garage Work Provider Report and our position on consumer work provision remains unchanged – it is far better for the garage to seek work directly without the unnecessary costs involved with a middleman.
By highlighting the merits and strengths of the sector, we can build trust between garages and consumers to simplify the process for the benefit of all involved. For that reason, we are confident that independent garages will be presented in a positive light going into 2019.