The Independent Automotive Aftermarket (IAAF) raises concerns for small businesses within the industry as the vast array of added pressures facing them, both automotive and non-automotive, continues to increase..

With new legislation now in place, such as the introduction of the National Living Wage and the announcement of the upcoming Auto Enrolment law ruling that businesses must offer all members of staff access to a workplace pension scheme and contribute towards it, IAAF considers the consequences involved.

While this is a significant step forward for low paid workers and will be sure to considerably improve their financial situation – particularly for the over 25’s who the National Living Wage legislation affects – it is unclear what effect it will have in the likes of independent garages. The wage increase, coupled with Auto Enrolment, will require additional funding which may prove difficult for small business owners.

After collating credible research, IAAF has also been reliably informed that there is a current shortage of technicians and garages are struggling to find and employ highly qualified and experienced personnel.

Not only does this shortage raise concern for the future of the aftermarket, but the lack of funding from the onset of the new legislation could prevent garages expanding their team when necessary, increasing current employee workload and potentially demotivating the workforce.

As well as this, at its most recent annual conference, IAAF highlighted the need for garages to gear up and ensure they have the appropriate skills, training and equipment to cope with the rising demand of hybrid and electric vehicles, with sales increasing year on year and the EU so keen to push eco-friendly alternative.

It is always important that garages are multi-specialists and can meet the vast needs of the market.

Major vehicle manufacturers are increasingly announcing plans to escalate the manufacture of this type of vehicle because of pressures from environmental concerns and world leaders actively encouraging low emission standards.

Mike Smallbone, IAAF Membership Development Manager, said:

“ Now more than ever, it is important that the independent aftermarket, with garages in particular, keep a sharp eye in the new pressures they are facing and that they are fully prepared to deal with them if necessary. ”

IAAF represents the largest number of parts distributors, suppliers and garages in the independent automotive aftermarket, meaning it has total representation of the trade. This reinforces the strength of its voice within government departments, increasing its power over legislation affecting the industry.

Smallbone added: “We will continue to assess any impending legislation affecting the industry and will offer our support, acting in its best interests at all times.  This industry is always developing and we encourage garages to keep on their toes in order to be ready to embrace the imminent changes on the horizon.