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Hope for the future

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Over 5500 businesses have already expressed an interest in working with the code, and the SMMT is hopeful that over 10,000 will be on board in the foreseeable future.

Worries that the code won't have teeth because it's voluntary have been eased, too - the SMMT and RMIF say that good garages will want to be on the code because it's good for business and their good service will be praise, and there's no good reason for garages not to be on it.

If garages don't sign up to the code, they say, why would you want to take your car to them? In any case, garages that don't make the grade will be blacklisted on the website when it's up and running.

The code has been drawn up with advice from both the OFT and the NCC. They are happy with the progress so far, but are keeping a watchful eye on progress.

This is only the first part of the code gaining OFT approval. Chris Mason, who heads up the code's implementation for the SMMT, expects Stage One approval 'very shortly'.

Following that, the scheme can then aim for more complex Stage Two certification, which assures consumers about the quality of service. Mason admitted to What Car?: 'There's no quick fix, it's more like a slow burn.'

However, given the chequered past of garage standards, how likely is it that things will improve?

Importantly, both the SMMT and the RMIF have made a commitment to this new scheme, and point out that it's taken this long to get a code that's appropriate to the industry, and that appeals to garages.

Mason is confident. 'Let's draw a line under what's gone on in the past, and move on to the future.'

Sue Robinson, Director, RMIF agreed, telling What Car?: 'This time we are going to get it right.'