The VBRA has long claimed that repairers are being crippled by supplying free replacement cars while they are working on vehicles. A spokesman said: 'Recent business failures confirm there is a worsening situation to come. There are many stories of lively businesses, with volume work, which end the trading year with very low or negative return on their investment. Many have given away as much as £50,000 in 12 months supplying free courtesy cars.'
Fellow trade body the Motor Vehicle Repairers Association said that one solution was 'differential' insurance policies offering customers the choice of a courtesy car for an increased premium. Another was to rent out courtesy cars when they were not being used.
The Retail Motor Industry Federation says expecting policyholders to pay extra was not the answer. RMI Bodyshops adviser Robert Hadfield said: 'To get someone to give up a benefit that is already being given is almost impossible. The repairers that have agreements with insurance companies to supply courtesy cars will continue to do so. They have to find ways of working around that and finding a commercial solution.'