The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) has brought its very first online ‘Industry Briefing Bitesize’ to aftermarket professionals, providing them with an informative insight into the continued growth of electric vehicles, as well as giving an update on ongoing IAAF activity.
Mike Smallbone, head of membership development at IAAF, kicked off the proceedings on June 25, welcoming members as they joined, before introducing Steve Carter from Train4Auto Consultancy, who delved into the increasing demand for cleaner vehicles.
Carter spoke of how the effects of the pandemic has led to a dramatic improvement in air quality as a result of the significant reduction in NOx, and how this will accelerate momentum for electric and hybrid vehicles. Carter acknowledged that less than 10 per cent of garages in the UK are equipped to work on these vehicles and is calling on the aftermarket to embrace this form of technology sooner rather than later.
Even before lockdown, sales of EVs were amplifying, making up 35 per cent of all UK car sales in March alone, and with governments across Europe making huge investments into clean energy, Carter warned that this trend is set to continue.
Carter said: “As an industry, we need to take the rise of electric vehicle sales seriously and view it as an opportunity. Change is inevitable and it’s important that the supply chain plans accordingly sooner rather than later, as we’re beginning to see justifiable benefits as a result of the effect Covid-19 has had on the environment.
“Technology is constantly evolving, and the industry needs to keep up to speed, which is why new training will be available to ensure technicians can safely service electric vehicles, while developing their skillset.”
Wendy Williamson, IAAF chief executive, then addressed members, highlighting IAAF’s current activity, including the recent good news that the government have launched a consultation for the MOT extension to end.
Williamson also discussed how the IAAF welcomes the proposed adoption by the UK government of the forthcoming Type Approval legislation, which would ensure the OBD port would remain open for repair and maintenance information. Work is also continuing on the forthcoming Block Exemption renewal, due in 2023, which is absolutely vital for the sector, as it underpins our right to repair vehicles from new and to fit parts of OE matching quality.
More information was also provided on how IAAF is building a consensus against an overall scrappage scheme, before Smallbone spoke about member communication and gave an update on membership activity for the second part of 2020. This includes Hannah Lyon-Wall from Financial & Credit IS, who will update members on the impact Covid-19 is having on the credit insurance market. Members will also experience an exciting addition to the range of benefits, provided by Fin Cred IS.
An open forum then followed, whereby members could engage with one another and the key speakers to discuss how the coronavirus has affected their business, as well as pose any questions on the topics discussed.
Smallbone added: “It was great to see so many members come together and embrace our ‘new look’ Industry Briefings, and we’re really pleased with how smoothly the ‘event’ went. It’s important that we continue to engage face to face with members in whatever format necessary to keep them updated on the latest goings on in the industry, and it’s a real positive that these online sessions can enable us to continue to do so.”
The next event is set to take place on July 23 with Quentin Le Hetet, general manager of GiPA UK.