IAAF Conference 2013: Round up

A summary of key discussions from this year's independent aftermarket event

Published:  09 December, 2013

The IAAF conference on the 5th December 2013 brought together a number of subjects aimed at preparing the automotive aftermarket industry for the years ahead.

Keith Southerton, Head of Vehicle Safety Branch at the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (the new name for the combined VOSA and DSA), presented on the impact of vehicle and parts recalls, and revealed that in 2012, just six aftermarket parts were subject to a safety recall, affecting 4272 customers and a response rate of 88%, considered good compared to the large number of vehicle manufacturer recalls.

Andrew Rowson, Managing Director at E-motive, discussed the opportunities of web-based trading, a topic which provoked varied responses with the option of customers purchasing parts online, and bringing to a workshop for fitting without the technician's involvement. It was revealed that in 2012, 65% of parts and accessories bought through online auction website eBay were for DIY, with 20% purchased by mechanics. eBay is also set to trial a Click & Fit service in 2014.

Bill Bates, HM Principle Specialist Inspector (Electrical Engineering) at the Health and Safety Executive talked through the safety aspects required when working on electric vehicles. While most points may have sounded like common sense, the need to ensure that workspaces were clearly marked out and checks were in place to confirm all power systems were isolated was explained to ensure that as more electric vehicles are manufactured, safety when repairing them is paramount.

Aftermarket Magazine contributor Neil Pattemore guided the delegation through the pitfalls of requesting data, and what the FIGIEFA, the International federation and political representative of independent wholesalers and retailers of automotive replacement parts and their associated repair chains in Brussels, is doing to improve access for workshops.

Finally, Chris Oakham of market analysts Trend Tracker, explained how the independent workshops are continuing to improve its market share over franchised dealers, mainly thanks to the fall in new car sales since the economic downturn. While the gap has closed slightly in 2013, the independent sector still holds a considerable advantage.

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