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‘Invest to survive’, RMI tells independents

The Retail Motor Industry Federation has told independent garages that they ‘must have diagnostic equipment that allows them to service multiple marques’ at the AM Aftermarket Conference today.

But the RMI’s head of aftermarket, Mike Owen stated that ‘unless vehicle manufacturers allow equipment makers access to their technical information none of this will be possible’.

Owen commented on the dilemma faced by independent garages that are trying move into servicing cars under warranty.

Rules introduced last year by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) allow consumers to use any garage for car servicing, as long as that garage complies with manufacturer schedules and standards, and uses manufacturer parts where appropriate.

To take advantage of this opportunity, independents need diagnostic equipment that will allow them to work on all makes and ages of car. For this to happen, vehicle manufacturers need to allow equipment manufacturers access to their technical information, called Databus.

Owen says: “None of the diagnostic equipment available at present will work on all marques, which severely limits businesses now, and in the future.”

According to Owen, businesses need all-marque compatible diagnostic equipment now: “Many owners may choose to approach independents for servicing and repairs. Without equipment that can be used on these vehicles, many independents will go out of business.

“Independents need to invest in diagnostic equipment, and need to get technical information updates as often as possible.”

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