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Bodyshop: Concern over future after SSVG is put up for sale

SSVG, the crash repair parts division of Unipart, looks set to close following an announcement that the business is for sale.

Repairers who are supplied by SSVG last week received letters stating that the company was in talks with a third party over the sale of its stock of panels and ongoing support for independent distributors.

An SSVG spokesman said the company is expected to close on June 10 but will continue to trade as usual until then.

Roy Kishor, automotive analyst and partner at Kroll’s corporate advisory and restructuring group, said the imminent closure suggested Unipart could not find a buyer for the business: “Closing SSVG rather than selling it means a series of extra costs, for example, redundancies.”

However, Kishor did not think it would have a notable effect on repairers: “If it is closing, sales are not good and, therefore, I don’t think it will have a major effect on the market.”

Since the statement, one of SSVG’s partners, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), has informed its repairers that it will no longer be using the crash parts supplier.

While it reviews other options, RBS asked its bodyshops to use suppliers of their choice, so long as parts were original equipment or Thatcham-approved.

Concerns regarding the warranty of SSVG parts are now rife.

One RBS repairer thought insurance companies will have to swallow warranty costs.

He felt this would become a bigger problem due to the growing use of non-manufacturer parts to keep costs down.

SSVG said Unipart will honour warranties on SSVG products sold prior to June 2, where it is required within its customer agreements.

PPG Industries bought Unipart’s bodyshop distribution business Brown Brothers for an undisclosed sum in January.

Unipart retained SSVG, but its products ceased from being sold through the Brown Brothers network.

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