The Government has warned that if the Motor Industry Code of Practice for Service and Repair does not attract “adequate numbers” it will revisit the case for tighter regulations for garages.
Kevin Brennan, minister for consumer affairs, said: “I have been encouraged by the take-up there has been so far by garages. The 5,900 garages that have already become members are indicative of a commitment to good practice across the industry.
“However, if the code fails to achieve adequate numbers from the independent sector the Government will need to revisit the case for tighter regulation of garages.”
Brennan said the trade associations coming together in support of the code is testament to how robust the code of practice is.
He said: “The code offers an opportunity for the industry to take control of its own reputation and future.”
Trade associations, including the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMI), the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the Scottish Motor Trade Association (SMTA) and the National Tyre Distributors Association (NTDA) have all joined together, alongside Brennan, to give their approval to the code.
Developed and launched in response to consumer concerns over pricing, quality of work and customer service, the code aims to safeguard consumer interests by helping them to identify responsible garages.
Chris Mason, Motor Codes director, said: “We are pleased to have been recognised by government and such influential industry bodies.
“A fifth of the UK’s garages have already signed up to the Service and Repair Code, 10% of which are independent service centres.
“This additional vote of confidence is sure to encourage more garages to join the scheme, particularly independents that will benefit from the greater degree of consumer confidence resulting from such high-profile associations.”
Paul Everitt, chief executive of SMMT, said: “The Motor Industry Code of Practice for Service and Repair gives the best opportunity yet for garages owners to clean up their trade’s reputation.
“Most garages already exceed the minimum standards set by the Code but by signing up and displaying the logo they can help motorists identify the better businesses and drive out the rogue traders.”
Douglas Robertson, chief executive of SMTA, said, "Garages have the choice of whether to sign up or not, but we are fully supportive of it and believe it to be a good Code that brings benefits both to the customers and those businesses that do sign up."
Rob Foulston, chief executive of RMI, said, "The RMI is facilitating membership of the Code through a discounted pricing structure and membership via the RMI's own membership department."
Richard Edy, director of the National Tyre Distributors Association, said: “The NTDA is totally committed to improving standards across our membership. We fully support this code of practice and actively encourage our members to embrace it.
“It provides a very cost-effective way to let the public know that you have all the necessary consumer protection procedures in place.
"Early next year we plan to embark on a series of regional seminars, working closely with SMMT, the administrators of the Code and Trading Standards, to provide our membership with detailed information about the benefits of the Code to their businesses."