Tuesday, December 18Serving the aftermarket

Will it be a happy new year?

Let’s face it, 2017 was not a fantastic year. Brexit threw up more questions than answers, car sales dropped and various other challenges rose their heads.

However, this year should be better. After all, you cannot experience change without some degree of pain.

The government, for example. Like them or loathe them, they should have a better understanding of how Brexit negotiations will run. That should help sort out a bit of the instability that the situation currently presides over. The question of whether we face a ‘soft’ or ‘hard’ exit from the European Union will be answered and we’ll know where we stand.

In 207, the SMMT suggested that should the UK face a hard Brexit, where there is no deal on free trade and tariffs are imposed on imports and exports, then the cost of vehicle servicing would go up.

Around 80% of replacement vehicle parts are imported into the UK, with around 75% of these coming from mainland Europe. In addition, component manufacture in the country is growing which means tariffs will be imposed on those parts leaving the country. A ‘no deal’ scenario could cost the domestic industry up to £3 billion. And that cost has to be recovered from somewhere.

But will it happen? And what else will happen in 2018? This year starts as a blank canvas. No one knows what challenges lie ahead; while we have plenty of time to prepare for the ones we know about. The continued demonisation of diesel, for example, means garages should be thinking about electric and hybrid training, while a drop in car sales was not mirrored in the used car market – well, not as severely, meaning plenty of opportunity for servicing.

Yes, 2018 is indeed a new year. And you can follow every part of it with us!

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