The chief executive of LKQ UK and Ireland, Kevan Wooden, has revealed his predictions for the independent aftermarket in 2024, with the electric vehicle (EV) transition set to move up the gears over the next year.
The newly appointed chief executive expects more independent garages to invest in their equipment and skills to service EVs. Though the government has moved the end date for the ban of ICE engines to 2035, vehicle manufacturers target for EV sales at 22 percent has not changed in 2024. He warned that component manufacturers, motor factors and independent garages and chains must all increase their focus on EV to be able to support an ever-growing part of the car parc.
The motor factor’s training arm LKQ Academy will boost its training provision in 2024 to cater for increased demand for EV skills, as well as hybrid engines.
As the EV transition accelerates, Wooden expects to see greater ingenuity from garages in fixing and maintaining batteries, which would otherwise be fully replaced at a high cost to customers and the environment.
Wooden also sees motor factors joining forces to act as champions of independent garages and bodyshops. Motor factors will help the industry to address market and legislative challenges such as enforcing the Motor Vehicle Block Exemption Order (MVBEO) to its fullest extent, and to support a replica scheme to the EU’s SERMI, which will provide criminal background checks on technicians to in effect vet them for work on vehicle security systems.
From its perspective, Wooden sees LKQ UK and Ireland further investing in its capabilities to provide the training, expertise and products the aftermarket needs to become more environmentally and financially sustainable.
The ongoing modernisation of the independent sector is a topic Wooden has long-promoted as a means of tackling the industry skills crisis and boosting its competitiveness
Wooden was appointed chief executive at the leading motor factor last month, with incumbent Andy Hamilton becoming senior vice president of LKQ and president and executive managing director of LKQ Europe.
Kevan Wooden, CEO at LKQ UK and Ireland, said: “The EV transition will continue to influence motor factors’ and independent garages’ direction of travel in 2024. Simply put, those that fail to prepare risk falling behind in the market, with plug-in vehicles representing a major, growing share of all new and used car sales.
“The transition to EVs represents a multifaceted challenge, from upskilling thousands of technicians UK-wide – to finding innovative solutions for fixing and maintaining these vehicles. We’ll continue to rise to this challenge and to support independent garages, with 2024 representing a pivotal year for progress – despite the ICE ban delay to 2035.”