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VBRA on hunt for new chief

The Vehicle Body Repairers Association is advertising for a director-general designate, as the current DG Ron Nicholson is to retire at the start of next year, after almost 50 years in the industry, including 21 with the VBRA.

To ensure a smooth transition, it is envisaged the new post holder will work alongside Ron for at least a few months, although the VBRA says it could take up to nine months to select and appoint a candidate.

Nicholson turns 65 at the end of the year and says he is looking forward to spending more quality time with his family. Meanwhile, he says the association is progressing with many of its objectives, including Office of Fair Trading Approval for the new Consumer Code of Practice, for which he was hoping the VBRA would qualify by the autumn.

“What this means,” he says, “is that VBRA member companies will be able to display the prized OFT-approved signage.” Some £1.7m has been allocated for advertising the Code to the public, and the VBRA is looking forward to benefiting from a good percentage of those funds. Nicholson adds that the VBRA had also recently secured its involvement in the AIRC body repair centre at Sassenheim in Holland, and plans to make a study of repair times within the estimating programmes.

“There are numerous anomalies in there,” he says. “We look forward to being able to demonstrate they are indeed in the systems, and making sure they are quickly put right by both vehicle manufacturers and the system houses. This is a major initiative for the VBRA and for the automotive industry as a whole.”

VBRA members will also soon benefit from the launch of a European Eurogarant repairer network, to be launched at Automechanika this year. It will enable fleet operators, and motoring tourists, to take advantage of cross-border services.

Insurance companies are also expected to embrace this new initiative, to avoid incurring high vehicle repatriation costs. Eurogrant is a high operating standard for AIRC member countries.

Commenting on the proposed marriage with the RMI’s bodyshop division, he says: “This venture has not progressed. Naturally we have a close working relationship with the RMI and will always maintain communications with them.”

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