Threats to independents will be overcome despite current lack of legislation, says IAAF

Tech dominates discussions at annual conference presenting "forward-thinking" garages with real opportunity

Threats to independents will be overcome despite current lack of legislation, says IAAF
Wendy Williamson opening the IAAF annual conference 2019.

Wendy Williamson of the Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) opened the federation’s 2019 annual conference yesterday (Thursday 5 December) with optimism, introducing this year’s theme: ‘how technology is transforming the automotive aftermarket’.

Held for the third year running at DoubleTree by Hilton, Milton Keynes, Wendy Williamson said that while “the threats are numerous” and “legislation somewhat scant”, the independent aftermarket “will find new ways, to fit the parts and supply the tools and equipment to service maintain vehicles of tomorrow”.

“Technology is transforming our marketplace”

She added: “Technology is transforming our marketplace and many of the traditional parts sold today won’t even be on a car of the future.

“Many of today’s parts will follow the same path as the manual choke and will be destined for the bin.”

Among the list of speakers yesterday, Andy Hamilton, CEO of Euro Car Parts, championed the success of independent garages but added that the aftermarket must act now in order to compete with main dealers who are increasingly directing vehicle owners back into their own networks.

Andy described a ‘digitalising the last mile’ concept which would see the electrification of paperwork and outlined a ‘fit for me’ proposition, which promises to route members of the public purchasing parts online back into the workshop for professional fitment.

Further support needed

Hayley Pells of Avia Autos, winner of Garage of the Year 2019, discussed the challenges faced by garage owners and suggested that more independents need to look at the opportunities presented by new technology, while calling for further parts, equipment, training and data support from the aftermarket.

With a nod to the environment, Hayley added that the aftermarket as a whole should be promoting the upkeep of existing cars, rather than buying new.

Head of repair sector service at Thatcham Research, Dean Lander addressed the challenges that are facing the industry with the growth in ADAS, referencing the capabilities of ‘Kit’ from 1980’s drama Knightrider as a surprisingly accurate portrayal of today’s vehicles.

Such advancements, he added, require professionally trained “engineers”, not “buffoons” of the type that serviced ‘Herbie’ as showcased by Walt Disney in the 1960’s.

Online servicing and repairs

Alistair Preston, co-founder of Whocanfixmycar.com, later explained how the internet is transforming the way in which customers are finding workshops to service and repair vehicles.

“In the future we may see fewer independents but they’ll be the forward-thinking ones,” he concluded.

The conference also heard an update from the Department for Transport on current legislative matters in the UK, along with an update from Neil Pattemore of FIGIEFA on the latest technological threats and challenges in the EU and how this will impact the aftermarket.

More on the IAAF’s annual conference to follow.

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    Wendy Williamson of the Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) opened the federation’s 2019 annual conference yesterday (Thursday 5 Dece
    [See the full post at: Threats to independents will be overcome despite current lack of legislation]

    #189073 Reply
    David
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    Currently I can’t speak for other traders but I see this as a problem;

    The conference also heard an update from the Department for Transport on current legislative matters in the UK, along with an update from Neil Pattemore of FIGIEFA on the latest technological threats and challenges in the EU and how this will impact the aftermarket.

    I have a subscription with Autodata each year and must admit that the data available has declined over the years, meaning it is becoming less and less in the technical sense. I have had emails in the past with AD but did not feel I got satisfactory answers to my concerns.

    A recent conversation with a technical guy from Snap On regarding their software in their scanners also raised concerns, a Toyota Proace I was recently investigating driveability issues with proved that no component test data was available in the software for this van although the van and engine code was correctly listed. The guided component test data referred me to other Toyota vehicles models where I had doubt about the accuracy of that said data to the Proace. The Snap On guy told me that Toyota were not forthcoming with their data and hence why the scanners did not have the available data.

    I then registered with Toyota online and downloaded the repair manual to the Proace only to read through it and find that Toyota are putting the technical data into their own diagnostic equipment instead of the repair manuals. I see other manufacturers doing the same, which is no good to the trade outside of dealer networks. If this practice is allowed to continue in the longer term then the aftermarket will seize to exit, thus a cartel has won because there will be nothing left.

    It is time now for the Government to act and stop this before it is finally too late to do anything positive about it.

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