The publication of draft guidelines for the automotive aftermarket sector have been met with strong support from the South African Motor Body Repairers’ industry (SAMBRA), whose members are responsible for repairing over 80% of all insured repair claims in the country.
Richard Green, National Director of SAMBRA says the guidelines which promote inclusive and fair allocation of repair work by insurers will do away with any anti- competitive behaviour and broaden the pool of repairers’ significantly for consumers who now will have a much wider choice of approved accredited repairers within their geographic area. “As a sector we strongly reject any bias, no matter what form it takes and have always robustly opposed any form of unfair business practice,” says Green.
Green is fully supportive of the standards and specification guidelines from OEMs, but has been lobbying for some time to ensure these are fair and equitable and are not restrictive in number.
“We must not lose the connection between the Motor Manufacturers and the Motor Body Repair industry, as the connection is essential to ensure continued skills development – without it repair quality will suffer, which is ultimately not in the interests of the consumer.
Green says the guidelines for part suppliers is positive as the cost of premium vehicle parts is currently not sustainable and alternative parts manufacturers, which are able in many instances to produce body parts matching the specifications and quality of premium parts, have already made significant inroads into the genuine parts market.
We have said in the past that unless OEMs produce creative and effective alternatives, the erosion of their original part market share will continue. An additional impact is the increase in effective repair technology which allows MBRs to repair panels that were previously replaced.
The guidelines, in SAMBRA’s view, are intended to ensure transparency, fair competition and market access for any/all motor body repairers’ that have attained the industry recognized SAMBRA’ grading. It is also essential that OEM approval standards are retained for repairs that require specialist technical knowledge and equipment. OEM’ need to open up their supplier base to paint companies as more local production is a necessity to encourage local investment, training and employment. Only a small percentage of paint and equipment supplied to the MBR market in South Africa is locally produced.
“The guidelines could not have come at a better time to stimulate growth and as an industry we are committed to working tirelessly with all our business partners to ensure a sustainable trading environment which benefits the consumer,” concludes Green.