Delays affect body repair industry

The SA Motor Body Repairers’ Association (Sambra) has warned motorists that damage repairs may be delayed owing to a current acute shortage of motor body repair components.

Stock image vehicle servicing

Richard Green, national director of Sambra, an association of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI) representing almost 1 000 motor body repair businesses across South Africa and accounting for over 80% of all insured repair claims in the country, says the association has received notifications from several original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) advising that these supply constraints will continue for many months to come.

Green said Sambra members will do everything in their power to inform clients accurately when dealing with authorised repairs on the state and timing of the repairs required but stressed the situation was totally out of the control of its members.

“The supply constraints have affected the production of alternative parts in the same manner, and we are finding that there has been a knock-on effect on the quality of available alternative parts," he says.

Green was unable to name the components that are in short supply, adding that the shortages vary from OEM to OEM.

“It really depends on what kind of car you are driving to determine how badly you will be affected.

“It ranges from the semiconductor issue right down to a basic part,” he says.

Green added that the further dramatic increases in the cost of international cargo container logistics, which has increased fourfold over the last 12 months, have exacerbated the supply crisis.

He says Sambra will continue to liaise closely with insurers and OEMs on the status of certain critical parts and wherever possible will repair rather than replace the part in question.

"Developments in repair technology have advanced substantially over recent years, significantly improving the ability of our accredited Sambra members to repair metal and plastic panels on a motor vehicle," he says.

Green strongly advised motorists who do not have car hire cover on their motor insurance policies to include this cover as a matter of urgency because it is inevitable that vehicle repairs will take far longer than normal while manufacturers struggle to restore the parts supply chain.

Renai Moothilal, executive director of the National Association of Automotive Component and Allied Manufacturers (Naacam), says a multitude of supply chain challenges are making it difficult to ensure the full availability of stock requirements.

Moothilal reckons these shortages are impacting the aftermarket and even at platform level at some OEMs.

He says global supply chains have been a challenge for the automotive sector since the second half of 2021, but Naacam is hopeful that many of these challenges should have made their way out of the system by the end of this year.

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