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An initiative aimed at raising minimum standards in auto repair services, to provide motorists with quality maintenance and auto-care services, was officially launched Wednesday (October 27).
Dubbed ‘Approved Auto Repairer’, the programme seeks to assist auto repairers to establish best practices, so that they not only improve the quality of service offered to motorists, but also grow their businesses.
Participating motor vehicle repair establishments are required to maintain best practices in their operations, facility upkeep and customer service. These establishments must also ensure that their technicians are certified by relevant schools and training institutes, such as the Jamaican German Automotive School.
Speaking at the launch at the Jamaica Automobile Association (JAA) in Kingston, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Reginald Budhan, commended the initiative as an expansion of the range of services offered by the JAA.
He said that the demand for improved motor vehicle service is always increasing, as there are nearly 600,000 registered vehicles in Jamaica.
“The demand for high quality repairs establishments is increasing, as technology increases repairs establishments must involve and they must evolve from under the Ackee Tree to more certified establishments,” he said.
General Manager, JAA, Duane Ellis, said that depending on the range of services offered at the garage, the association will approve auto shops in two categories. They are approved auto body repairs, which includes garages that do body repairs and vehicle painting, and approved auto repairs which include garages that do mechanical and electrical repairs.
“In year two of the programme, a monitoring committee will be established to ensure that the standards are being promoted by the JAA are upheld. This Committee will guide and approve participating auto repairers, based on the programme criteria and, where necessary, reject or suspend non-performers,” he said.
He added that every garage will be provided with the “JAA Approved Auto Repairer” logo, to be displayed on shop signs.
In endorsing the initiative, Managing Director of Ankara Limited, Max Ray, said the JAA Approved Auto Repairer programme is an opportunity for operators to establish standards where they are low or non-existent; hone and maintain the skills of mechanics; and ensure that garages employ best practices.
“Our sector currently has no clear policy in place. For example, there are no minimum standards by which repairers must abide. This programme is, therefore, a first step toward establishing those standards, and it will also protect our discipline from non-professionals who may bring our vocation into disrepute,” he said.
The approved garages must also use up-to-date and precise equipment to diagnose and repair motor vehicles, as well as sustain clean and non-hazardous garage facilities. And the facilities need to maintain a minimum standard in their business administration and customer service.
Currently there are four facilities that are participating in the programme. They are: Ankara Limited, Andre’s Auto Supplies Limited, Auto Maintenance Limited and Everett Fenton’s Garage Limited.