In a recent survey conducted by the Vehicle Builders and Repairers Association (VBRA) in the UK amongst its body builder members using the Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA) route under the type approval regime significant geographical delays have been identified.
Malcolm Tagg, VBRA Director General said “not only are the delays a practical problem they very rapidly become a significant financial burden that stifles cash flow as vehicles ready to go on the road cannot be registered soon enough and ties up a huge amount of capital which in the long run could put jobs at risk”.
A number of VBRA members have complained that inspection delays which are entirely outside their control have resulted in them having to stockpile finished vehicles which are tying up, in some cases, more than £200000 of their capital.
“The corollary of this” continues Tagg, “is that whilst body builders succeed in getting orders through their excellent competitive engineering and innovative abilities, customers are rightly aggrieved they cannot use vehicles they have commissioned and, until they can, they won’t pay.”
The survey found the delays to vary by location with some demonstrating ‘reasonable’ speed in granting appointments but others taking 4 weeks to even respond to the request for an appointment and then even longer to actually provide a date.
Tagg adds, “reduced cash flow means some body builders may have to restrict the work they take on as they cannot fund it; they are stretching finance arrangements to the max’ which in turn adds cost to their businesses. If the bottom line, which is in many cases still fragile anyway, is adversely affected, problems inevitably result impacting on what otherwise is a haltingly recovering sector.”
Current arrangements require that the first contact for booking an IVA is by post to VOSA Swansea, the second problem is payment methodology which also ties up cash. Then things become convoluted due delays in the actual transmission of inspection requests to the selected IVA station, who then arrange their own physical appointments. The electronic nature of the process should speed it up but does not appear to do so.
Members also comment that “the speed at which the inspections are performed leaves much to be desire.”