SMMT News

Automotive aftermarket sector ready to keep millions of British vehicles roadworthy as SMMT launches COVID-19 guidance

14 May 2020 #SMMT News
  • New automotive sector-specific guidance for aftermarket providers published by GEA, IAAF, IMI, SMTA and SMMT today.
  • MOT testers and service and repair sector ready to welcome back more customers with comprehensive COVID-19 safety measures across all points of interaction.
  • Sector can cope with significant ramp-up in demand but calls for end of six-month MOT extension as soon as possible.

The UK automotive aftermarket sector has signalled its readiness to cope with increased demand for MOT tests, service, maintenance and repair with the publication of new sector-specific guidance1 by the Garage Equipment Association (GEA), Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF), Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), Scottish Motor Trade Association (SMTA) and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Although workshops have been allowed to stay open throughout the lockdown, helping to keep vehicles roadworthy for essential journeys, the new guidance will help companies of all types and sizes in the aftermarket operate safely while minimising the risk of Covid-19 transmission.

The best-practice guidance covers the entire aftermarket sector, including workshops, warehouses, mobile operations and parts distributors. It covers every aspect of their operations, from clear communications with customers and colleagues to social distancing, sanitisation and hygiene, and collection/delivery of vehicles from vulnerable owners. It is designed to complement government advice and help the aftermarket sector demonstrate safe practices for employees and customers across all points of interaction. It comes as vehicle mileages start to climb and the sector calls for an end to the six-month MOT extension.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,

With government advice stating that workers should avoid public transport when returning to work, the use of private cars is likely to rise more sharply than it already has over recent weeks. Given many of these vehicles have been idle for weeks, a reconsideration of the six-month MOT extension needs to be made as soon as possible.

It is timely that the aftermarket can assure customers and colleagues that it is ready to re-open safely to ensure workers’ vehicles remain roadworthy. This is essential, not just for the sector, but for the restart of the wider UK economy.

The automotive aftermarket sector provides employment to more than 370,000 people and, with a turnover of around £21.6 billion,2 contributes £12.5 billion to the UK economy. There are more than 40 million vehicles licensed in the UK,3 many of which may need to use the aftermarket sector for servicing or replacement parts.

Notes to editors

1 The GEA, IAAF, IMI, SMTA and SMMT automotive aftermarket guidance and best practice is designed to complement official advice and will be updated to reflect any changes over time
2 SMMT report: The importance of the UK aftermarket
3 SMMT Motorparc data: vehicles on the road, 2019

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