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Independent sector urged to adapt amid rise of the hybrid car

The independent automotive sector was urged to “survive and thrive” amid an increase in hybrid vehicles, changes to government legislation and new vehicle production techniques.

Leading industry representatives gathered for the 2015 IAAF conference at the ICC, Birmingham, and were warned that they must prepare for the “beginning of the end for the internal combustion engine”.

Steve Carter from eXponetia urged the industry to keep pace with the move towards complex hybrid drivetrains in the light of Ford’s recent announcement that 40 per cent of its new cars will have electric or hybrid engines in the next four years.

Wendy Williamson, IAAF chief executive, announced internal changes at her organisation – notably the appointment of an additional IAAF head, Mike Smallbone and new member friendly website – at the conference which, she said, offered “plenty of industry expertise and advice, helping to educate the independent aftermarket about issues that could greatly benefit it in the future”.

Williamson outlined the latest activity the IAAF has carried out to combat unwelcome legislation affecting the aftermarket such as a proposal by the chancellor George Osborne to extend the frequency of MOTs, as well as its communication with Vauxhall over Zafira fires.

Following on from Williamson, Quentin Le Hetet from GIPA, addressed issues surrounding drivers’ lack of knowledge regarding their rights when it comes to servicing newer vehicles outside the manufacturer network.

He also addressed the rapid increase of hybrid cars and the need to educate the public about the services offered by the independent sector.

Headline speaker, Dr Ben Wood, captured the audience’s attention with his presentation “How far away is the 3D printed car?”.

Wood explained the step-by-step procedure and emphasised how it is unique in that it offers something not possible in the usual manufacturing process, focusing on the many benefits and opportunities that it provides.

An IAAF spokeswoman said: “With the process not quite ready at present, Wood encouraged the aftermarket to not let the efficient and cost-effective opportunity slip by when it comes round.”

Elsewhere at the conference Peter Golding, from Fleetcheck, was on hand to discuss the importance of regularly servicing a fleet of vehicles, as well as ensuring each driver works safely and follows safety advice as companies could be liable if this is not adhered to correctly.

Peter Seagroatt, meanwhile, delivered an overview of how companies in the aftermarket can successfully measure data across the UK, helping them provide the very best service and costs to their customers.

Williamson said: “The conference was one of our best yet.”


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