Consumer demand for sustainable vehicle repairs on the rise

Solera, a global leader in vehicle lifecycle management and claims, has announced the results of a new study surveying 8,080 drivers across Europe which reveals the industry isn’t matching customers’ appetites for green vehicle repair options.

Less than a quarter (23%) of European drivers have heard from their car insurer about sustainable policy options and when their vehicle was repaired, less than a third (32%) were offered the choice between new or used parts. This is despite more than half of drivers (53%) saying they are genuinely concerned about the environmental impact of vehicle repairs and maintenance – rising to 66% of those in Spain and 65% in France.

The research, commissioned by Solera and conducted in Late February by Censuswide, also reveals workshops that can offer sustainable repair options stand to gain customers and retain loyal ones. In fact, 59% of drivers said if they needed a repair, they would be more likely to opt for a garage that offered a sustainable repair option, 58% would return, and the same number would recommend them to friends or family.

Jing Liao, Solera’s chief administration officer, said: “The eco-conscious driver is here to stay, presenting a clear opportunity for businesses in this sector to step up. Implementing real change when it comes to sustainable measures could have a significant global effect, fundamentally transforming the sector and contributing to a healthier world.

“But, this isn’t just about doing the right thing, it’s also about gaining a competitive edge for insurers, garages and bodyshops,” she added. “Drivers across Europe are telling us they prefer dealing with a garage or bodyshop that adopts a more sustainable approach. It’s time for the sector to take sustainability seriously, or risk not only losing loyal or new customers, but also the chance to spearhead a sustainable revolution.”

The study also reveals widespread consumer misconceptions around sustainable repair options. Although including used car parts is one of the best ways to provide more eco-friendly repairs and maintenance, 40% of drivers believe that if they were offered used parts by their garage it would be to allow the garage to save money on the repair, rather than for sustainability reasons.

However, many also expect to pay a premium. Nearly half (45%) of drivers assume green or sustainable vehicle repairs will cost more, rising to 56% in Spain.

Arnaud Agostini, international managing director at Solera, added: “Traditionally, replacing faulty car parts seemed obvious. However, it’s not always the most cost-effective or eco-friendly choice. Repairing common issues like bumpers or windscreens can give items a second life instead of sending them to landfill. Insurers and garages can play a vital role in helping customers understand the green options available, and by doing so, can help themselves attract more business. The latest data and technology are putting this intelligence right at technicians’ fingertips, helping them choose the best repair option for every vehicle, every time.”

“The good news for the insurer is that green parts will help them reduce both the cost of a claim and the carbon emission footprint at the same time,” he added

To meet the challenges insurers and bodyshops have faced, Solera has launched an industry-first product, “Sustainable Estimatics”. This tool enables insurers to measure and use data to offset the carbon emissions (CO2e) tied to their claims process. This is achieved by monitoring and measuring the end-to-end claims journey, offering insurers actionable insights such as recommending car part repairs instead of replacements to reduce CO2 emissions. The tool is being rolled out across 2024 and helping to reduce scope three emissions.