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CAPS under fire over ownership

Bodyshops have rounded on the new Common Automotive Platform Standard (CAPS), accusing the developers of a conflict of interest.

One of the repairers who took issue with CAPS at a recent ABP Club meeting is Steve Curtis, owner of SJ Curtis, Bristol, who operates two sites and has been in body repair for 32 years.

He says: “On the face of it CAPS sounds like a good idea, but just who owns and runs it? I believe too many people are involved and in it for their own gain.”

Curtis describes a system such as CAPS as being the “thin end of the wedge” as body repairers continue to lose ever more control of their businesses.

He believes that insurers and work-providers are increasingly in control of bodyshops and warns of opening a “Pandora’s box”. Curtis adds: “Body repairers are sick to death of being manipulated and pulled around. There’s so much ‘micro-management’ going on that repairing cars is almost becoming an afterthought, we just want to get on with it.”

Eddie Longworth, managing director at Norton Consulting and co-cordinator of the CAPS initiative, outlined the new operating platform’s financial structure.

“Two organisations originally owned 100% of CAPS,” he says.

“We persuaded them to sell off half of the company, with 10% going to Norton Consultancy.”

Longworth revealed around £400,000 had been invested to establish CAPS and that he saw no conflict of interests in that money being recouped. He also revealed that the RMI has a 1% stake in CAPS, a situation that sits uneasily with David Cresswell, chairman of ABP Club.

“I don’t have a problem with it as a concept, it’s the fact that the proposition of what CAPS is seems to be keep constantly changing,” Cresswell says.

“There appears to be a conflict of a body claiming to be providing a non-profit making independent standard at the same time as being a money making concern. And as for the RMI having a stake in CAPS, what is that about?”

Stephen Field of EurotaxGlass’s confirmed the company’s interest in signing up to CAPS. “It’s fair to say we support the concept, as we think it adds value. Bodymaster links are currently being made to make them CAPS compliant,” he says.

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