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Specialising can add to bottom line for bodyshops

Should bodyshops specialise to become more efficient and, as a result, more profitable?

The question was posed at the Bodyshop conference when Andy Lawlor, from Volkswagen Group, claimed that vehicles repaired within the VW dealer bodyshop network cost 12% less to repair than in an independent bodyshop – a £112 saving per job.The reason was due to efficiency savings – building knowledge and skills by repairing the same cars, sourcing parts from the same supplier, using the same repair methods and familiarity with the estimating process. 

Alternatively, repairers could have staff dedicated to certain marques, for example panel beaters, fitters and painters focused on one carmaker brand. 

Parkford Coachworks in Maidenhead takes that approach with its Volkswagen business and claims it has real benefits for the bottom line. 

The downside is that if volumes of that particular marque drop off, can the technician be redeployed in the business?

Scrapping Block Exemption in 2010 might move the industry further down that route if access to technical data becomes more difficult.

“Bodyshops would be more efficient covering one marque,” said Lawlor.

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