Fleet News

Vehicle repairers in 'dire straits'

CAR repairers are at crisis point with many businesses facing closure and skilled workers abandoning the £5 billion industry and threatening service provision for fleets, according to leading industry figures. Ken Lane, managing director of Nationwide Crash Repair Centres, speaking at a Retail Motor Industry Federation accident repair specialists meeting, said car repairers in London were in dire straits, with business closures and job losses predicted, while poor labour rates were putting off potential recruits.

The RMI has written to all insurers stressing the feelings of vehicle repair businesses in the London area. All repairers at the meeting agreed to contact their business associates to open contract renegotiations, but a further meeting emphasised that partnership, not confrontation, with insurers was the best way forward. A shortage of skilled staff in bodybuilding and repair are undermining the industry and overshadowing recognised high levels of customer service and professionalism, according to the Vehicle Builders and Repairers Association.

Together with the Institute of the Motor Industry, a jointly-accredited structured career path to encourage new recruits into the vehicle bodybuilding and repair sector has started. The new initiative dubbed the VBRA/IMI Career Path, will be circulated to training providers and careers advisers at schools and colleges of further education. The VBRA warns that if left unchecked, the shortage of skilled professionals will undermine the industry's ability to meet customer demands.

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