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Service industry's last chance

20 March 2006

  • Approved workshop scheme needs 2000 garages
  • Service industry's last chance at self-regulation
  • Industry could be reported to Government

Garage mechanic

A seismic shift in the workshop industry is being predicted, and would give motorists better service and more choice than ever.

The British Standards Institute (BSI) reckons its new Kitemark for servicing, and another for crash repairs due later this year, will be embraced by the £10 billion-a-year workshop industry. Several thousand workshops are predicted to join the scheme within the next two years.

While only four of the UK's 25,000 garages have won the Kitemark so far, the BSI expects the number of applications and approvals to now increase rapidly.

It believes the industry recognises that the Kitemark is its last chance at self-regulation and says major fleets like Arval, which spends more than £100 million a year on servicing, are helping by asking workshops to join.

An estimated 2000-3000 garages would need to join the scheme to put every motorist in the country within reasonable distance of a Kitemark garage, so a figure of several thousand would give far better choice than exists today.

While it costs garages £750 to be a part of the standard, the BSI is keen to emphasise that this boils down to just £2 a day, and that workshops with the Kitemark logo could prove more profitable.

It now wants motorists to ask garages if they are applying for the Kitemark to encourage even great uptake from the industry.

The National Consumer Council (NCC) will announce at the end of this month whether it will launch a 'super complaint' against the industry for failing to get its house in order.

Last year, the NCC gave the workshop industry until this spring to improve matters, but a stay of execution is likely to give garages more time to back the Kitemark scheme.

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