A new service has been launched this month promising to turn insurance write-offs into repair business for bodyshops.
Borderline has been established by Orpheus Aftermarket, which runs the Vauxhall parts trade club and Volkswagen parts club.
Tony Evans of Borderline was responsible for setting Vauxhall's accident repair scheme in 1994 when he was aftersales trade programme manager. He believes Borderline is ideally placed as the “pivot” between manufacturers and insurers/repairers to help stem the current explosion in insurance write-offs.
“The manufacturer has the ultimate control over parts prices,” said Mr Evans. “Rising repair bills have seen write-offs going through the roof. What we are saying is the manufacturer has the ability to reduce its prices to make the repair feasible.”
Borderline will approach the carmaker once contacted by the bodyshop or insurance engineer to negotiate a price cut.
“If we can get the price down to an acceptable level for the insurer to agree a repair, it will benefit everyone,” said Mr Evans. “The manufacturer sells more original parts, the bodyshop gets the business and the consumer is satisfied.”
Vauxhall, Honda and Volvo have signed up to the scheme, joined by insurers Axa, Allianz, Zurich, Equity Red Star and NFU. The carmakers will fund the service, with no contribution from the bodyshop.
Mr Evans stressed the business would not conflict with the bodyshop because it was dealing direct with manufacturers, not dealers' parts departments.
“We are not telling bodyshops how to do their jobs. They decide if the car can be repaired; they decide how much the bill needs to come down in order to make the work viable,” he said.
“We don't expect the bodyshop to pay for this service or absorb any reduction from the repair bill.
“However, if the parts discount does not make up the shortfall, we will offer bodyshops the chance to lower their prices in order to secure the business – but it is completely up to them,” he added.