The car inspection profession is facing a crisis of legitimacy and the industry is in danger of being hijacked by unscrupulous individuals, according to a new report.
The Car Inspection Profession and the National Automotive Research Council (NAROC) said they were launching an investigation into the industry’s management of the Car Industry Accreditation Councils (CIA), which are a set of industry standards that certify the performance of new cars and make sure their drivers can get on with their jobs.
The CIA’s management, which includes a committee of car owners and owners of repair shops, are responsible for maintaining the accreditation of the industry.
The NAROC report, published in the Australian Financial Press today, called for an independent review into the accreditations’ management.
In a statement, the NAROS said the industry had been “subjected to repeated attacks on the accreditors’ integrity and credibility” in the wake of the scandal surrounding Volkswagen.
It said that the industry was “subjecting the CIA to relentless attacks in an attempt to destroy its credibility” and that “there is a clear and present danger that the accreation process itself could be undermined”.
“It is critical that these changes are made to ensure that the CIC remains in good standing with the Australian Automotive Standards Board and the Australian Public Transport Authority, and to ensure all the accredits are operating in the best interests of the profession,” the statement said.
“The NAROs review will include an examination of the processes and procedures that govern the accresation process.”
The NARSOC said that “a significant number of people” had made “significant amounts of money” by buying cars through “consultancy services”, which were “unacceptable” and were “in breach of industry codes of conduct”.
It said the business model involved in selling cars through consulting companies was not consistent with the “highest standards of conduct” that the accredited accreditation bodies should be following.
The review will be conducted by an independent body, the Accreditation Commission for Automotive Quality.
“We need to understand how the industry manages accreditation to ensure it’s operating within industry codes and that the ACC is operating in a way that supports the profession and the safety of the public,” NARO CEO and director David Gonsalves said.
The report said that an “incredible amount” of money was made through the business of consultants, but that the quality of the consultants was “not always the highest standards”.
The Narsos report, commissioned by the ACC, called on the ACC to conduct a “full, independent, comprehensive, independent and independent review of accreditation”.
“There needs to be accountability and accountability is not good enough,” Mr Gonsals said.
Mr Gants said the ACC needed to “be much more aggressive in protecting the integrity of accreditatories and accreditation processes”.
“If they don’t have that, then there will be a great deal of pressure on them to do it,” he said.
This is the third report in recent months that has found the industry to be in crisis.
The ACC’s own investigation into car safety found that the number of accidents involving car manufacturers was increasing, and that consumers were paying a “huge price” for the industry in car insurance premiums and car repairs.
But the industry has consistently insisted that its standards are the best in the world.
The industry has been criticised for a lack of transparency about car maintenance and the number and types of car inspections undertaken by its contractors.
Mr Hickey said that despite all the bad publicity around the car inspections, the industry continued to operate.
“You know, we’ve got to do a good job of keeping the accredited accreditation, and I think the ACC are doing a really good job, and they’re doing a very good job,” he told AAP.
“I think they’re going to be well rewarded by the industry.”
The ACC said the investigation would also look at the way in which car inspections are conducted by its own contractors.
It was not clear how many car inspections had been conducted by consultants in recent years, but a car inspection company called Car Inspectors Australia (CISA) said in a statement that it was aware of one inspection that was conducted by a consultant last year.
“There were six inspections conducted by CISA last year and four were in the last two weeks,” it said.
It did not provide any further information about what those inspections were.
In March, the ACC launched an independent investigation into a complaint that car inspections by consultants were not independent, but were instead paid for by insurance companies.
The investigation is ongoing.