The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) has raised concerns about the future for independent garages as the Government’s post-Brexit plans create uncertainty for the sector.
Research from the IMI has found that an estimated 40,000 independent businesses could lose access to information and data needed to repair vehicles on the road today if Government fail to guarantee continuation of the ‘Right to Repair’ scheme post Brexit.
The IMI claims it could have massive repercussions for independents if this key content of the EU Block Exemption Regulation is not protected by Government.
The current EU Regulation means all manufacturers are obliged to share information on all new cars, which secures a fair market for independent businesses to operate in.
The IMI said that employers in the automotive sector face "further uncertainty" with new immigration laws potentially excluding nearly 10% of multi-national employees, adding: “The industry is heavily reliant on the international skillset currently available to businesses, which is helping to prevent a damaging skills shortage.
“So the IMI is calling on Government to also guarantee continued access to talent from across Europe.
"The Government must also recognise that multi-national employers in automotive – just as in other sectors - require the freedom to effect intra-company transfers, which will require employees to have the freedom to move across markets in Europe to learn and bring new skills.
“This is vital for the continued transfer of knowledge which has never been more important, given the technological revolution our industry is experiencing.
The IMI’s chief executive, Steve Nash, said: “The developments in new technology has already begun hitting the most vulnerable area of the industry so without the Block Exemption Regulation in place their will be catastrophic consequences for the independents that make up 80% businesses engaged in servicing and repairing motor vehicles in UK.
“In these ever-changing times where majority of manufacturers are developing vehicle technology faster than ever before, and Government setting a target of all vehicles on UK roads to be electric or hybrid by 2040, plus the added danger of seeing a sharp reduction in our ethnically diverse workforces.
"It’s important the IMI are supporting the industry and its workforces through these challenging times, whilst making sure the Government hear our concerns and secure a deal that allows us to continue to operate this £51bn industry.”