Thatcham Research has called for vehicle manufacturers to urgently engage with the repair industry to halt spiralling costs.

Peter Shaw, Thatcham Research CEO addressed automotive industry leaders at the recent Thatcham Research Repair Focus event, highlighting the issue of escalating repair costs as Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) technologies become more prevalent in the UK.

Mr Shaw said: “The average repair bill has risen by 32% over the last three years. This has been driven by the reparability of parts such as headlamps, increasing complexity of vehicle materials and technology and the rising cost of spare parts, influenced to some extent by currency fluctuations. Vehicle manufacturers must bring these costs under control.

“The cost for windscreen mounted ADAS calibration spans from £0 to £700 – across car manufacturers and often across similar sensors and technology. This is unacceptable. Unless urgently addressed, these costs will challenge the current model of a no-claims bonus being unaffected by a windscreen repair or replacement.”

The average cost to replace a windscreen increases significantly with the fitment of ADAS technologies such as Autonomous Emergency Braking.

Thomas Hudd, Operations Manager at the Thatcham Research Repair Technology Centre said: “The rising use of a mix of new materials in modern cars is leading to more intrusive repairs. This means that where we were once able to partially replace a panel, we now need to replace it in its entirety. This is especially true of aluminium panels, which are challenging the repair industry as it is stiffer and harder to reshape than steel.”