IGA hits back at claims Indy garages can’t compete with dealers

One of the UK’s biggest garage lobby groups has hit back at claims independent garages are finding it hard to compete with dealers when it comes to the repair and maintenance.

It comes after new research from Warranty Solutions Group (WSG) claimed both a lack of aftermarket parts and the need for specialist equipment or labour was driving the price of repairs for independent garages higher than their dealer counterparts, driving customers away.

READ MORE: Indy garages ‘struggling to compete’ with dealers when it comes to repairs

The Group said this was down to how advanced cars were being, meaning “smaller independent garages are finding it increasingly difficult to compete with franchised dealers and specialists due to equipment and expertise constraints”.

But, the Independent Garage Association has told CAT this is not as clear-cut as it seems.

It notes that the creation of the UK Motor Vehicle Block Exemption Order (UK MVBEO) last year grants independent garages access to the same repair and maintenance information as franchised dealerships.

This means the independent garage sector is “positioned well to service the consumers needs with ample capacity, good choice and a solution for all but the most niche of problems’.’

However, it told CAT in a statement: “It may be unrealistic to expect every independent garage to handle all repair scenarios for every brand, as each may have different specialities, equipment, and staff trained in a variety of disciplines”.

It added: “Challenges may arise when repairs involve security-related tasks or components with security features incorporated as currently access to security related repair information and components are restricted under UK MVBEO.

“The Independent Garage Association is actively seeking solutions to this issue to ensure comparability in service across the board.”

WSG also claimed that limited availability of aftermarket parts was also impacting the repair cost of more niche brands.

In response, the IGA said: “Not all repairs have aftermarket part solutions as has always been the case. Parts availability generally may be a problem in recent years although this challenge exists not only within the independent sector but also in others meaning that if obtaining a part is challenging for an independent garage it will be a challenge for all types of garage.”

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