Falling capacity in the refurbishment sector is affecting the remarketing industry, creating substantial bottlenecks in preparing vehicles for sale, according to the Vehicle Remarketing Association (VRA).

The industry body said the issue was being examined by its industry trends committee, which had identified several contributing factors, said to including consolidation of refurbishment providers, skills shortages, parts availability, and limited resources suitable for EVs.

Committee chair Marcus Blakemore said: “We’re hearing increasingly from VRA members about problems with refurbishment, something that has a direct impact on the speed with which vehicles can be turned around, and tying up money in assets that are simply waiting to be made ready for sale.

“This means that vehicles carrying damage or faults are becoming worth less because dealers know they are going to take longer to process, sometimes taking not just weeks but months longer than expected to reach retail sales channels.”

Blakemore said that the issue was difficult to resolve because there were multiple factors involved.

He said: “The biggest single cause is that there are fewer refurbishment facilities available to the general remarketing sector, a situation exacerbated by some recent consolidations and sales of businesses.

“On top of that, there is undoubtedly a shortfall of skilled people, something that can only be resolved with a renewed commitment across the sector to training, and which will unavoidably take time.

“Parts shortages are also having a real impact. This is an area that has seen improvements since the pandemic but remains a problem. Vehicles are sometimes hanging around for months waiting for the parts needed to make them saleable.”

Blakemore added that the issue was especially acute with regard to EVs.

He said: “The industry has not yet really geared up to meet the volume of EVs that will soon start reaching the market. For example, only something like one in three bodyshops are able to handle repairs to electric cars and vans.”