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Has the health of Spanish ATFs overcome COVID-19?

Rafael Gómez, Second Vice President of the Andalusian Association of Dismantlers (AAD) and owner of Provaluta España Reciclaje de Metales, SL, a vehicle recycling centre based in Córdoba-Andalucia, Spain, provides Auto Recycling World with his view on the current situation concerning the vehicle recycling industry in his country, how the market compares to pre-COVID and since our last interview, what involvement has the AAD had to make changes to the industry.

 

Has the health of the Spanish ATFs overcome COVID-19? p
Rafael Gómez at the I Provincial Conference on the Promotion of Electric and Eco Mobility held on the 16, 17 and 18th September’

Rafael, what is the current situation in Spain concerning vehicle recycling, and what are the current trends?

Spain is the 15th country (out of 137 countries) in ranking countries by number of vehicle registrations. In August, vehicle registrations in Spain grew by 9.37% compared to August 2021. In total, 62,257 cars were registered in August, and 944,894 new vehicles have been sold in the last twelve months, 14.84% less than the previous year.

Breaking down vehicle purpose, 10,350 commercial vehicles were sold in August 2022, which was 10.36% more than in August 2021. And 51,907 passenger vehicles were sold in the same month, a 9.09% increase compared to August last year.

Have things returned to normal after the COVID crisis, or are chain supply issues resonating and affecting the market?

No, at the moment, we can not say that there is a post-COVID normality; in Spain, manufacturers explain that “the slow entry of vehicles into the points of sale, caused by the microchip crisis, and a demand increasingly conditioned by economic uncertainty is hindering the recovery”. Dealers also point to the lack of sufficient stock. “It’s not the best context to buy a vehicle, and families delay their visit to dealerships.”

As Ganvam points out: “we did not see a month of April with a volume of similar registrations since the last decade, so we return to records of the economic crisis of that time. More cars over the age of 15 are already being sold than new vehicles.”

ATFs are noticing a lack of ELVs entering their yards due to the drop in new vehicle purchases and the sale of vehicles over 15 years old. In the past, for each new vehicle sold, it was almost always associated with the delivery or removal of another older vehicle, damaged or broken in an ATF. Now there is a new market for vehicles that, regardless of age and condition, are sold on the second-hand market. The age of vehicles in circulation in Spain grows up to 20 years of age.

The microchip crisis is the main cause is the lack of new vehicles in stock. It joins the slow economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic, accentuated since February by the uncertainty derived from Russia’s war against Ukraine; these are the key factors that explain this evolution of the demand for new vehicles and the decrease in the entry of ELVs into ATFs.

ATFs have added that there has been a substantial fall in metals (aluminum, iron and steel) value. And in recent months, ELVs are fewer, more expensive, and their profitability lower.’

 Over the years, you have been in contact with the government to highlight the importance of vehicle recycling. Could you update us on how this is progressing?

AAD has always had contact with the different ministries related to the management of ELVs, industry, environment, consumption and interior at a national and regional level. In 2016, the Minister of Environment and Territorial Planning of Andalusia, José Fiscal, and the president of (AAD) Andalusian Association of Scrapping, Rafael Azor, signed the voluntary agreement for the creation of the Sectoral Committee for the Minimization of Hazardous Waste. The objective of this document was to establish the action protocols to reduce waste production in the ATF sector as much as possible.

Meeting with the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge or MITECO (Ministry of the Environment)

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From left to right – Mr Manuel Farré, Environmental Technician of AAD; M Miriam Espinar, Lawyer of AAD; Mrs Margarita Ruiz Saiz-Haja, Deputy Director of the General Directorate of Waste of the Ministry for the Ecological Transition; Mr Rafael Gómez, Second Vice President of AAD and Mr Juan José Caro, Technical Director of AAD

The Sectoral Committee has worked on developing planning, action and management strategies with the aim of causing the minimum possible impact on our environment and drafting a manual of good practices for ATFs.

AAD actively collaborates with the Civil Guard (SEPRONA) Police in charge of ensuring the environment. We have periodically reported illegal activities on platforms and the marketplace so that they can visualize our problems.

Meeting with the Directorate of the Civil Guard of the Nature Protection Service (SEPRONA)

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From left to right: Mr José Antonio Garcia, AAD Lawyer; Mr Ángel del Corral, Member of the Board of Directors of AAD; Mr Rafael Azor, President of AAD; Lieutenant of the Operations and Services Area; Mr Rafael Gómez, Second Vice President of AAD and Mr Juan José Caro, Technical Director of AAD

Thanks to the meetings held with the General Directorate of Traffic (DGT), environment and Civil Guard to which, we present reports with statistical data on the use of Temporary Deregistration by many individuals, workshops and companies to dismantle vehicles without them being in an ATF, the administration was able to visualize the problem of vehicles missing in Spain, due to this the DGT, has established a maximum limit of one year for temporary deregistration. From AAD and the National Association of Dismantlers, we have also been raising the problem of Missing vehicles to the Ministry of Environment and DGT in Spain; these vehicles are called ‘Zombie Vehicles’.

Meeting at the General Directorate of Traffic

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From left to right – Mr Manuel Farré, Environmental Technician of AAD; Ms Susana Gómez, Deputy Director of Vehicles; Mr Jorge Ordás Alonso, Deputy Director of Management and Mobility; Mr Juan José Caro, Technical Director of AAD and Mr Rafael Gómez, Second Vice President of AAD.

How have you been able to relate to the various government agencies and changed your orientation towards the vehicle recycling industry?

The effort is very great. It requires patience and many meetings and provides specific documentation that helps to visualize the problem and identify the formula for solving it. In politics, everything is very slow. We have presented an important sum of work with statistical data drawn from the national institutions themselves. We have contributed to the visualization of the problems of our sector, and we have valued the effort and professionality of the work carried out by the ATFs. In the end, we are finding the results with good legislation.

Has it been about overcoming stereotypes and educating?

At AAD, we are always in favor of doing pedagogy. It is the best way to make the public and government institutions understand the importance of recycling and reusing. The automobile is a great example of the proper functioning of the circular economy. ATFs are an essential part of this chain, and the circular economy can not be left alone in words. It has to become a fact, and we all have to help.

Meeting with the Directorate of Environmental Quality of the Ministry responsible for the Environment of the Junta de Andalucía

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From left to right – Mr Antonio Baena, Secretary of AAD; Mr Rafael Gómez, Second Vice President of AAD; Ms María López Sanchís, General Director of Environmental Quality and Climate Change; Mr Juan José Caro, Technical Director of AAD and Mr Manuel Farré, Environmental Technician of AAD.

Now that the government has recognized the professionalism and value of vehicle recycling, what has been the result?

The result is the approval of the last approved Royal Decree (RD), 265/2021, of April 13, on vehicles at the end of their useful life and amending the General Vehicle Regulations, approved by Royal Decree 2822/1998, of April 23.

This RD is very mature and incorporates part of the new modifications of the ELV Regulation that the EC is elaborating.

Are they more aware of vehicle recyclers’ challenges, and are they helping you overcome them, and if so, in what way?

Aid from the government almost always comes in the form of legislation, we have been working in this direction for a long time, and we are actively collaborating in a permanent forum to visualize the problems of the sector and find the appropriate solutions.

Meeting with the Department of Waste and Soil Quality of the Ministry responsible for the Environment of Andalucía

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From left to right – Mr Joaquín Caballero, Head of the Department of Waste and Soil Quality for the Ministry responsible for the Environment of the Junta de Andalucia and Mr Antonio Baena, Secretary of AAD.

Most members of the public are unaware of the processes surrounding recycling a vehicle. They may also not be aware that they may not be dealing with an illegal operator by disposing of their vehicle. How are you helping to raise awareness about this? Also, how important do you think it is to educate the public about vehicle disposal in a legal and environmentally responsible manner?

AAD is a very proactive association with a clear project to improve the sector. We organize training courses for our associates and participate in forums and presentations with other agents in the sector, such as consultants, repair shops, insurers etc. We publish articles in the press, on the radio, on TV, on our website, and on social networks.

At AAD, we understand that it is the best way to teach the public the importance of recycling and reusing correctly and why this is important for everyone.

At the I provincial conference on the promotion of electric and eco-mobility held on the 16th, 17th and 18th of September

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From left to right: Mr. Víctor Manuel Montoro Caba, President of the Provincial Energy Agency, 5th Vice President of the Córdoba Provincial Council and delegate for European Programs and Electronic Administration, Mr. Rafael Gómez, Second Vice President of AAD (Andalusian Association of Dismantlers) Mr. Francisco Molina, President of the Provincial Association of Workshops and Automotive of Córdoba and President of the Federation of Entrepreneurs of the Metal of the Metal of Córdoba.

The AAD participated in a conference on electric mobility where I made a presentation on the recycling of hybrid and electric vehicles. All this is part of our participation together with the different national and regional administrations to carry out an exercise of dissemination and pedagogy about the importance of recycling ELVs in ATFs.

To find out more about the Andalusian Association of Dismantlers (AAD), visit asociacionandaluzadedesguaces.es/en

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