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ATA goes public with 10,000 technicians

A media campaign has begun for the Automotive Technician Accreditation initiative, with the aim of reaching five million consumers by the end of March 2009.

Two years after ATA’s launch to the motor industry, and with more than 10,000 technicians accredited, the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) has decided it is ready to drive the scheme into the public’s awareness.

ATA also wants to gain more members from independent garages, as membership is dominated by manufacturers’ franchised networks.

Although independents such as Nationwide Autocentres, the RAC and Unipart have been on board since launch, only around 20% of ATA technicians work in that segment.

Nigel Beaven, the IMI’s head of marketing, said the media campaign takes care not to say that non-accredited technicians are bad and ATA-accredited ones are good.

Under the strapline ‘You Know You’re OK With ATA’, it will explain that ATA is a voluntary scheme which tests the competence of technicians and requires them to abide by an ethical code of conduct.

The awareness drive began with a stand at the British International Motor Show promoting the scheme and its consumer website, www.okwithata.com.

That is being followed this month by online activity, such as with the Top Gear website and the Which? Local network.

From September, ATA will target consumer groups and fleets through regional press and radio adverts, focused on high-population areas.

All ATA technicians are being supplied with a poster and window sticker to highlight their accreditation at their workplace.

“If we all get behind it and drive it well, it should do good things for our technicians and our industry,” said Beaven.

He hopes the campaign will draw trade interest, as more garages see the value in the ATA stamp of approval.

Ultimately, the IMI wants nationwide coverage from ATA members.

IMI chief executive Sarah Sillars added: “We’re trying to put some trust and confidence in the consumers who don’t know how to choose a garage, by suggesting they look for the ATA logo.”

Independent research by BMG found that 65% of employers of ATA technicians thought it had improved the image of their business, and more than half saw an improvement in customer satisfaction and business efficiency.

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