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VBRA admits 30% not UHSS compliant

The Vehicle Builders and Repairers Association is facing criticism after admitting that 30% of its membership is not equipped or trained to repair boron and ultra high strength steels (UHSS), despite growing use of such materials in volume cars like Vectra.

The trade body, which represents fewer than 600 bodyshops, plus just over 100 ‘smart repairers’, says these non-UHSS compliant bodyshops will be equipped and trained by early 2007.

Countering a call by John Dwyer, former assistant chief constable of Cheshire, for the bodyshop industry to be more regulated, VBRA director general Malcolm Tagg told AM that he believes the situation is not as bad as indicated.

“I would be surprised if the rest of the industry was very differently represented to our members,” he says. Taggs concedes that VBRA membership is a “small proportion of the market”, however.

Robert Hadfield of Autobody Professionals believes that the industry is in need of regulation. “I support what Dwyer has said. The PAS125 will take care of the methodology aspects of this but that’s a long way off,” he says.

“At the moment we’re seeing a race by repairers to purchase the correct equipment but staff are not being trained to use it correctly or to identify where the actual material is used.”

Norwich Union claims that “all its approved repairers are equipped and trained to repair cars containing components made for UHSS”, while Howard Basford has also moved to reassure customers that it was “fully equipped to deal with boron and UHSS”.

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