Editor's Comment

The UK has voted so what happens now?

Published:  24 June, 2016

So the results are in, and that appears to be the only thing that is ‘in’ at the moment. After a four-month campaign the UK will be exiting the European Union. Whether it is the right or wrong choice remains to be seen and it is not for me to say, but as it is happening we can all only hope it’s best for the country.

The UK automotive market has been split on the subject, with industry bodies the SMMT and the IMI firing out releases stating their belief that the country would be stronger in the EU and that the industry could suffer should it leave. However, many garage owners, through social media channels and in person, have expressed their desire to leave, believing that the country is being run by ‘unelected officials’ and that we will be stronger on our own.

Now we know the answer, how does the industry, and the country, move forward? We have a very strong automotive sector with manufacturing growing increasingly year on year and part of this is due to the amount of which we export. There is now a two-year period before we officially come out of the EU, in this time the country needs to negotiate to ensure trade agreements are established that don’t hurt business. The government (and whoever is leading it) will also need to ensure key legislations for the UK aftermarket are established.

This would also include the need to establish a block exemption rule, something the UK is currently covered by through EU legislation and which prevents vehicle manufacturers from demanding their cars are repaired by their dealer network, using only their parts, allowing cars in their warranty period to be repaired through independent garages and crucially, allowing a fair access to vehicle data. If this is not done, or if the EU legislation is removed when the UK comes out, it could lead to difficult times for independents.

Therefore, the next two years are going to be critical for the automotive industry, the UK aftermarket and all who are employed within. It is a journey into the unknown and we can all only hope that it is the right one.

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