2016: Brexit, Trump - are there any reman surprises left for 2017?
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2016: Brexit, Trump - are there any reman surprises left for 2017?

Monday, 19 December 2016

This has been the year when anything could - and did! – happen. As 2016 ends, we look back at the last 12 months through the pages of ReMaTecNews and ask what is likely to make the headlines next year.

It’s been quite a year. In fact, if 2016 has taught us anything, it is that 2017 is likely to be very difficult to predict. If you had asked in January whether, by December, the UK would be on its way out of the European Union and the new US president would be Donald Trump, you may have received some odd looks. Yet both these things have happened – and both of these may prove to have a significant impact on the global remanufacturing industry. Time will tell. One thing that business does not like is uncertainty: these are difficult economic times, as the cover story ‘Preparing SMEs for a tougher future’ reflects.

This may not have been the most cheery headline imaginable, but it is at least honest. We can expect similar stories in 2017. Another which is set to rumble on also surfaced early in the year: ‘VW sees further decline’. VW was found to have programmed turbocharged direct injection diesel engines to meet emissions tests in a laboratory but not in the real world. The scandal actually broke in the autumn of 2015 (as ReMaTecNews succinctly put it then: ‘Volkswagen: the star that fell from the sky’) but the aftershocks from such a ground-shattering story have continued.

On a happier note, ‘Industry voices appreciation for editor in chief’ was a fitting tribute to long-serving ReMaTecNews mainstay William Schwark. He has left very big shoes to fill and the words of praise for him from some of the biggest figures in reman were heartfelt and well-deserved. The Brexit debate received full coverage in ReMaTecNews. The third edition of the year carried two pages of opinion from reman in ‘Brexit – to leave or not to leave’.

In the magazine, the ‘remain’ side carried the day but it was a close run thing and even those who wanted to stay were equivocal about doing so. In retrospect, perhaps the signs were there: after the referendum on June 23, of course, the ‘leave’ side was triumphant – although hardly by a large margin and still with a significant amount of head-scratching even from many of those who voted to go.

By the next edition of the magazine, the industry was digesting the – for many – shock news (‘The automotive aftermarket reacts to Brexit vote’) and responding with a mixture of pragmatic calm and appeals for stability. But the truth is that no-one knows what is going to happen. Late in the year, the news that leading reman associations had agreed common definitions of what reman means provided a welcome ray of sunshine.

Reman has plenty to offer but it makes it so much easier to convince other people of this if everyone understands exactly what they are talking about. Perhaps that is a positive note of agreement on which to look forward to 2017.


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