New Thatcham chief executive Peter Roberts intends to strengthen and develop the repair research centre's relationships with insurers on a worldwide basis. He replaces Michael Smith, who retired last year.
Mr Roberts, formerly Pirelli marketing director before joining Parto as group business manager, said: “Thatcham does an excellent job for the insurance industry and is now internationally respected for its leading edge expertise in impact test evaluation and repair analysis.
“We will continue to develop new research strategy – for example, we are investing £1m on reducing injuries from whiplash.”
Mr Roberts will oversee the final phase of Thatcham's investment in new facilities. Its new centre near Newbury uses the latest equipment and technologies for automotive research and training.
Thatcham is relaunching its TTS estimating system, adding graphics and panel repair times, with developments to include faster moving mechanical parts.
“We have had strong support from insurers to do this – they want to ensure there is not a monopoly situation of systems' times,” said Mr Roberts.
“Lately, there has been a trend back towards the manufacturers' times due to the need for management information. We are reasserting our role with TTS.” He claimed TTS had a “strong following” from body repairers. “It is seen as fair and pragmatic at a time when there is strain between insurers and bodyshops. Other systems have disadvantages – they do not allow enough time for repairs.”
Thatcham, exhibiting at EATS for the first time, revealed eScribe, which offers vehicle research data for repairers on CD for £400 a year.