The Vehicle Builders and Repairers Association has refuted speculation that it is to merge with rival trade association RMI due to falling membership.
Ron Nicholson, VBRA director general, claimed subscription levels were “satisfactory at this time of the year”. He denied the association was in negotiations with the RMI: “We are not talking to anybody at the moment.”
The RMI has made several attempts to acquire the VBRA. The last unsuccessful bid, in 1994, resulted in the RMI launching its own Bodyshop Services division.
One source said VBRA membership had dropped to 800 repairers, from a high of nearly 3,000 in the early Nineties.
He believed a merger was likely within 12 months. “It would not only make economic sense but also present a more united front when dealing with the Government and other bodies,” said the source.
“The in-fighting that has gone on between the trade associations over the years has not helped repairers fight their corner. The falling numbers of repairers means that to be strong and united we will have to operate through one single trade body.”