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Dealers back IMI calls on government to licence the automotive sector

The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) is calling on MPs to licence the automotive retail sector, in a new lobbying campaign set to begin when parliament returns from recess.

The IMI will tell MPs that according to newly conducted consumer research, over 70% of voters think it’s already a requirement for technicians in the motor industry to hold a licence to practise.

The call follows news that the Government plans to have driverless cars on UK roads by 2015. The IMI believes the implications of this new technology represent the final straw in the need for legislation. They will argue that modern vehicle technology has reached a level where regulation is necessary to ensure automotive technicians are currently competent - for the safety of motorists.

The IMI has received the “in principle” support of several major companies and organisations for licensing including REMIT, AutoGlass, Inchcape UK, John Clarke Motor Group and TrustFord. The institute will look to build a consensus in the independent aftermarket during the campaign.

IMI chief executive Steve Nash said: “The imminent prospect of autonomous vehicles on UK roads makes the issue of licensing extremely urgent.

"The proliferation of hybrid vehicles and complex driver assist systems has already increased the skills requirements for effective and safe working on modern vehicles. Service technicians without the proper training are increasingly putting themselves and motorists at risk.
"Our parliamentary research suggests that MPs currently see the motor industry as low skilled, low paid and dirty. It is vital that they and the public come to a better understanding of the requirements necessary to work on modern vehicles, especially with a new wave of technology on the horizon.

"The template for licensing already exists in the professional register, so there is no excuse. Many skilled operators in the industry are already calling for licensing, so they aren’t forced to compete with rogue traders, who undercut them, further damaging the reputation of the sector and putting motorists at risk.” 

According to road safety charity Brake, in 2011, 2,125 crashes in Britain were caused by vehicle defects as a result of inadequate maintenance, 52 of them causing deaths.

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  • John Smith - 11/08/2014 13:17

    Smacks of self protectionism. I suggest main dealers get their own house in order before making these type of demands.

  • Mal - 11/08/2014 16:02

    No surprise that the IMI is promoting this given that they are the ones that supposed ly already have the template in the form of the ATA. As for the manufacturers . . Renault and Nissan included as part of the franchise standard that technicians had to be trained on alternative power vehicles before the Electric franchise was awarded, and the same would happen with driverless vehicles. As for quoting the figures from Brake, this is irrelivant as they were vehicles that had not been maintained, and there are planty of those on the road that just scrape through the Annual MOT test, and I imagine this will again worsen when the VIC Check is removed for damaged cars returning to the road - but thats a different issue. Also - is it a surprise that MP's dont understand one of the bigfgest industries in the UK? I don't think so as they dont understand the average working man either. Interesting to note part of the Automotive Skills Remit (which is now also IMI ran) was about promoting the industry as a workplace, making it desireable for Apprentices, Graduates etc . . . as well as producing information that would drive up the consumer understanding of the industry and ultimately trust. The more technological the vehicles are, the more difficult they are to diagnose, and the longer a repair takes and costs, which then drives distrust in the consumer. Vehicle health checks are used to drive additional sales in Dealers and Independants alike, as opposed to planning visit cycles and spreading maintenance accordingly . . . is it any wonder the industry is not trusted . . .

    • tony - 12/08/2014 10:42

      @Mal -

  • tony - 12/08/2014 10:56

    Don't be silly the least interference from the government and authorities the better. The majority of MP's are clueless and are there for the ride. All it will mean is that eventually they would use any new licences required as a money making scam in other words more tax. Just take a look at all the licensing and regulation introduced in the past all the honest hard working people are paying the price while the crooks are still in existence and getting away with it!!!

  • Richard Miller - 12/08/2014 20:49

    Sorry, heard it all before. I don't disagree with it but it won't happen, as soon as it looks like effecting the bottom line. The manufacturers were getting on track supporting ATA but it seems to have lost momentum. This government is free market anti- legislative and I broadly agree with it. Ask yourself one question, knowing that the recovery of the country is construction led and knowing what a bad reputation the construction industry has large and small, far worse than the Motor Industry. Do you think this or the next government should be or will be putting in legislation to combat all mal- practicing industries?