IGA News

Major factors affecting the independent sector: Brexit

Major factors affecting the independent sector: Brexit

31 January 2020

The IGA have been releasing a series of bulletin articles detailing factors affecting the independent motor industry in today’s modern age. In our final instalment, we’re discussing the impact of BREXIT on the industry.

Brexit is a phrase we have become all too familiar with over the last couple of years, but as the deadline for this becomes very real it is unclear exactly what it will mean not only for our industry but for the UK as a whole.

There is the possibility that the UK could feel somewhat isolated from the European vehicle manufacturers, and parts supply may well be disrupted, however as a nation we have a history of digging in and finding solutions. One thing is for certain, unless your customers drive across from Europe to have their cars serviced, your customer base is likely to remain largely unchanged.

As we all know 2023 will see the end of the current automotive block exemption regulations that requires vehicle manufactures to enable access to repair & maintenance data and parts supply to the independent garage sector. The current regulations allow vehicle manufacturers a significant amount of control in how their vehicles are sold to the end user, but are based on making the cost of vehicle ownership as affordable as possible.

So, if Brexit does change things before 2023, the end of block exemption will mean that that manufacturers will lose the control of how their vehicles are supplied to the end user, but more importantly for the independent sector, they could make access to technical repair data and parts significantly more difficult.

For the European VMs, the UK is and will undoubtedly remain an important market. It is unlikely they will want to put that market at risk, so will potentially exert their own pressures behind the scenes to ensure the UK car market remains accessible and viable.

Consumer confidence may take a knock immediately after Brexit, which may lead to vehicle users keeping their cars for longer. This will present an opportunity for the independent garage sector to prove its value, by providing an alternative to main dealers, to those customers seeking to reduce their motoring costs whilst still wishing to maintain their vehicles and safeguard their asset.

The truth of the matter is that the landscape of our sector post Brexit is very much unknown, however, there are still millions of vehicles on our roads that will still be there after the exit deadline passes and these will need to be maintained. The aftermarket parts suppliers, including OEMs, will look to increase their market share so there is also the possibility that the push for market share may work in the favour of the independent sector with more competitive pricing.

Take a look back at the rest of the articles in this series here:

Part 1: Garage work provision

Part 2: Issues with parts in the modern world

Part 3: Shortage of skilled technicians

Part 4: Access to information

Part 5: MOT structure changes and official communications

Part 6: Call for licensing of vehicle repair businesses

Part 7: The ending of block exemption

Part 8: Changes in car buying habits

Part 9: Advances in vehicle technology

We hope you have enjoyed this series. If you have any further questions, please call the direct member helpline or 0845 305 4230.