The first three garages to win accreditation under the new British Standards Institute Kitemark quality scheme have been revealed.
After nearly five months and fewer than 100 applications from the UK's 25,000 garages, the BSI has sent out licenses to Ongar Bridge Motor Company Limited of Essex, the Village Motor Company of Merseyside (part of the Unipart Car Care Centre chain) and Whitehouse Crayford of Kent.
Motorists can be assured that the quality of work and service from the garages is up to the BSI's tough requirements, which the National Consumer Council described as a gold standard. The BSI will audit each of the garages, as well as conduct mystery shops every year to ensure standards remain at the highest level.
The NCC hopes that another 2000 garages around the UK will prove their worth and join the BSI scheme by the end of the year. It is also looking to another new scheme, which the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders is involved in creating, as evidence that the industry wants to turn itself around.
The NCC has threatened to launch a super-complaint to the Office of Fair Trading if the £10 billion-a-year service and repair industry doesn't put its house in order, a move which could force through Government regulation of workshops.
Its decision on whether to launch the complaint, or give the new schemes more time, will be announced at the end of March.
Another scheme that tests the skills of technicians now has 1000 workers on its books. The Automotive Technician Accreditation from the Institute of the Motor Industry puts candidates through practical trials and an online knowledge test, and re-evaluates the technicians every five years.
Village Car Company, Wallasey, Merseyside: tel 0151 630 1060
Ongar Bridge Motor Company Limited, Ongar, Essex: tel 01277 366661
Whitehouse Crayford, Crayford, Kent: tel 01322 621050
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