Henk Jan Nix, General Secretary at the European Group of Automotive Recycling Associations
(EGARA) tells us of the effects the pandemic has had on the automotive recycling industry in Europe.

It’s probably not a big surprise that this issue is about the Coronavirus. No matter what country we are in, we all experience the results of a worldwide outbreak of this virus. First of all, we hope nobody got sick or worse. Secondly, we hope business is not affected too badly and everybody can go back to work as normal or that they can really soon.

National situations
Generally, we see many differences in countries’ approaches. From long-lasting total lockdowns, smart lockdowns to just an appeal on common sense. What’s best? Nobody knows for the moment but it all will come clear once this crisis is over and we can look back. For now, for companies that go bankrupt, the cure will feel worse than the disease. Even if support is given, we fear some will not survive.

For dismantling specifically, we see many differences in trade as well as in ELV handling instructions. What is the same in almost all countries is a historically low scrap price. This doesn’t make the situation any better. In countries with a total lockdown and high death rate, business stopped completely. We hope in these countries, companies will survive and get the support they need. EGARA informs the EC about this situation. We even heard some countries reporting a remarkable rise in trade. For some reason, this crisis acts in these countries as an incentive to use spare parts.

COVID-19 even affected EGARA. The executive committee have been used to meeting via conference call or skype for many years before it became a necessity during this period but all EC projects and meetings were cancelled. The IARC was cancelled. The Spring meeting was cancelled. It’s not that EGARA didn’t do anything at all, most things just went on, and as a little extra, members made small reports about their national situations. We hope to have a normal Fall meeting in November.

Answer from the industry
In the whole of Europe, we hear the producers asking for scrappage schemes to stimulate sales of new cars. Acea is supported by Clepa and even Cecra. Even if these schemes bring some younger cars to our yards, we feel these cars should be kept in good state with our spare parts and arrive only when it’s their time. EGARA is not really in favour of scrappage schemes as they disturb the market and they only take an advance at the cost of future benefits. This counts for both producers and dismantlers. Aside from that, scrappage schemes are extremely costly and rather ineffective. We learned that from the past.

So far, this is what we have seen during this crisis. We hope it will be over soon and a second wave in the fall will stay away. We will try to get some extra attention to those countries in which car dismantlers suffered most. We wish you all stay in good health and hope your company will survive too.

Stay safe!