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Audatex pay criticized by bodyshops

Audatex UK boss Paul Tucker received a 17% pay increase last year, as many repairers continue to struggle to break even.

Accounts for the UK’s dominant accident damage estimating system provider show Tucker received a salary of £204,225 and also had £24,996 paid into his pension scheme. The average salary of its 69 staff was £42,361, an increase of 7% on average over 2003. The present UK inflation rate average is 2%.

The news was met with hostility by some repairers. Many have been required to adopt Audatex’s systems by insurer-approved schemes.

“This is disgraceful,” says one bodyshop owner. “This estimating system, forced upon repairers to use it like it or not, is still questionable in what it contains or lacks on key areas such as safety issues.

“Surely Audatex would be better put to give this bloated increase into R&D to enhance the product so that it begins to give its hapless users some comfort?”

An Audatex UK spokeswoman says salaries are a personal issue, but Tucker and his team run a successful business which provides a broad range of products and services to bodyshops.

“We are fairly rewarded but not excessively, but we do have a very busy and successful organization,” she adds.

Audatex increased turnover from £13.46m in 2003 to £15.3m last year, and operating profits from £1m to £2.9m.

Last year the Vehicle Builders and Repairers Association backed an international study by the AIRC Research Centre into inaccurate repair times quoted by estimating systems. According to the VBRA, some systems’ estimates are out by as much as 22%. Audatex has been cooperating with the investigation.

Earlier this year Audatex launched an industry forum comprising of leading figures from odyshops and insurers.

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