Archive | August, 2009

Manbat bought by lead giant

manbat management

Ltor: Roger Pemberton, Steve Sheppard and Myles Pemberton

Manbat has been sold to lead giant Eco-Bat Technologies, CAT has learned.

The family-owned Varta distributor and owner of the Numax battery brand was acquired by the Matlock-based company in August for an undisclosed sum.

Eco-Bat is thought to produce a quarter of Europe’s recycled lead.

The decision to sell the majority stake in Manbat comes after the company embarked on an ambitious £20 million growth plan earlier this year.

The move will allow these long-term business goals to be accelerated to the short to medium term, a spokesman told CAT.

It will also see executive chairman Roger Pemberton taking a step back from the company to pursue retirement plans, although he retains a seat on the Board.

Manbat’s existing management team, led by managing director Steve Sheppard, will remain in place.

Since January, Manbat has signed an official supply deal with Johnson Controls for Varta, expanded its presence in the leisure battery market, secured the exclusive rights to the Lucas battery name and moved its Sunderland depot to larger premises.

More detail and analysis coming soon…

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ContiTech in Chinese fake drive belt victory

contitech drivebelt2ContiTech has achieved a major victory in the fight against product forgeries.

The company managed to prove that a large Chinese manufacturer had produced fake ContiTech drive belts.

The company, Taizhou Fuju Rubber Belt Manufacture Co. Ltd, based south of Shanghai, has been fined.

ContiTech acted on a tip-off from a customer. And when local authorities searched the company’s headquarters, they found large numbers of fake multiple V-ribbed belts and packaging with ContiTech labelling.

Further pirated drive belts with the designation of a leading Japanese carmaker were also confiscated.

“This is a major step in the prosecution of illicit reproduction cases, since it was the first time that we were able to determine the manufacturer directly,” said Helmut Engel, head of ContiTech Power Transmission’s aftermarket division.

“Often, only the dealers and importers are held to account, and the producers of the copies remain unknown.”

He added: “In the future, we will work more closely with our customers in the fight against product piracy.”

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Camberley Auto Factors supports auto apprentices

The young apprentices show off their awards

The young apprentices show off their awards

Camberley Auto Factors has announced the winners of year’s Basingstoke College of Technology Automotive Young Apprenticeship awards.

The annual awards ceremony took place at a Basingstoke Volkswagen Salesroom.

As the main sponsor for this year’s event, Camberley supplied all of the seven prizes awarded on the night.

The accolades included:

  • Best Practical Student
  • Most Improved Student
  • Best Theory Student

The most coveted award, ‘Student of the Year Young Apprentice in Automotive Skills’, was won by Dominic Duell, a Year 11 student from Testbourne Community College.

Judges said his performance had been “outstanding” over the two years of the Young Apprentice programme.

Robert Gibbs, Camberley Auto Factors’ head of marketing, said: “Our Basingstoke branch allows our teams to work closely with the students of the future.”

Gibbs said that in addition to sponsoring the college’s automotive awards, the motor factor also offers tuition and on-site experience.

He added: “We hope to be a long-term relationship with [students] whilst they are still at school, so they are prepared and know the contacts they require when they graduate and begin their trade within the trade.”

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Good Garage Scheme to star in ITV ad campaign

Good Garage Scheme to star in ITV ad campaign

Forté Lubricants’ Good Garage Scheme will hit the small screen this September.

The company is launching its first national TV advertising campaign targeting motorists across the UK.

With the catchphrase ‘It’s like having a friend in the know’, the scheme’s two-week campaign on ITV1 and ITV2 will debut on September 28.

The advert aims to promote the Good Garage Scheme as a network of high-quality and trustworthy garages and workshops.

The TV activity follows four previous radio campaigns, the most recent airing in March this year.

Each of these radio ad runs boosted visitors to the scheme’s website by around 17 percent.

The Scheme boasts 2756 independent garage members and marketing director Rachel Greasby told CAT magazine this spring that Forté wants to increase this to 3000 by the end of 2009.

The Good Garage Scheme will go head to head with Bosch, which kicked off a year-long consumer promotion for its Bosch Car Service garage network on 50 Tesco lorry sides in August.

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Maxxis scores top flight football sponsorship deal

Maxxis scores top flight football sponsorship deal

Tyre giant Maxxis has kicked off the football season with three Barclays Premier League signings.

It has extended its sponsorship of Liverpool FC, renewed its deal with Aston Villa FC and scored a new contract with Sunderland AFC to help build its presence in the North East.

The Liverpool FC deal includes pitchside LED advertising at home games, ads in the This is Anfield matchday programme and LFC Magazine, on Liverpool FC’s own TV channel and on

As an Official Partner of the football club, Maxxis is also planning promotional spin-offs using Liverpool FC’s logo and imagery on items such as pens and T-shirts.

The Aston Villa agreement involves perimeter advertising and a VIP Executive hospitality box at Villa Park, while the new Black Cats deal includes LED adverts along the main touchline at the Stadium of Light.

The company hopes the deals will boost interest from the tyre buying public in the brand and drive business to its Grouptyre distributors in these key regions.

It will also benefit from TV coverage of Premier League fixtures by the BBC, Sky and ESPN, estimated to attract a combined annual audience of over three billion people.

The sponsorships align with the tyre company’s global marketing strategy, which includes baseball sponsorship with the New York Yankees, Chicago White Sox and LA Dodgers.

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Bosch drives service centre trade with Tesco lorries

Bosch teams up with Tesco in consumer campaign

Bosch teams up with Tesco in consumer campaign

The Bosch Car Service independent garage network has launched a year-long consumer promotion on 50 Tesco lorry covers.

The lorries operate seven days a week delivering fresh food to almost 2000 Tesco stores across the UK.

The activity forms part of Bosch’s national consumer campaign to encourage UK car owners to use their local Bosch Car Service garage.

Bosch has also been promoting the 450-strong network on local, regional and national radio, at Pit-stop events at local supermarkets and shopping centres.

It is also targeting internet users with an online ‘How To’ video hosted by former UK racing driver and Fifth Gear television presenter Tiff Needell.

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Best brand awards for Bilstein

Bilstein’s tophy cabinet must BestBrand09be bulging after being voted best brand by performance fans in Germany for the fourth time in a row.

Readers of the German magazine, Sport Auto, named Bilstein their top brand for shock absorbers and sports suspension.

Commenting on yet another win, Thorsten Schwippert, Bilstein’s aftermarket MD, said: “We are extremely pleased. This vote of confidence by our customers is the most important award of all.”

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ACDelco display stand shifts parts for AutoWorld

Mohammed Ahmed is selling more batteries, lubes and oils

Mohammed Ahmed is selling more batteries, lubes and oils

ACDelco’s retail POS display system is proving a big hit with its growing rank of car parts and accessories retailers.

Take CAAR buying group member, AutoWorld Styling and Performance, for example. Owner Mohammed Ahmed claims he has enjoyed a “marked” increase in business since installing the systems.

He is using the free-standing display in his Bolton-based store to help boost sales of ACDelco batteries, oils and lubricants.

“The POS product display system definitely helps make the ACDelco brand and product stand out from the crowd,” said Ahmed.

“It is very professional looking, functional and we’ve already received many favourable comments from our customers.”

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Havoline oil sales to get boost with text service

Motorists are sent Havoline oil selection in seconds

Motorists are sent Havoline oil selection in seconds

Motorists can now use SMS texts to find out which Havoline top-up oil to buy for their car while they browse their local accessory store.

Chevron Global Lubricants, which owns the Havoline brand, has found that motorists are confused about which oil to use.

Its research shows that:

  • 66% of motorists either don’t check their oil at all, or only at infrequent intervals
  • 60% of people who don’t take action are unaware that using the wrong type of lubricant can cause excessive wear under the bonnet

Chevron now hopes to address this problem with its new SMS text service.

Customers can text their registration number to a special number located next to Havoline displays and the correct VM-recommended Havoline oil grade is texted back to them on the spot.

They will also be sent a “get me home” choice of oil, for emergency use should they be caught short.

The SMS service is now available in forecourts across Texaco’s retail network and at selected retail outlets.

The service covers 95% of UK car models, including those with cherished plates and will cost 50p per text plus the standard network charge.

Brian Hayes, marketing manager for Chevron Global Lubricants UK, said it isn’t surprising that motorists are confused.

“With ever more complex engine technology, manufacturers like Chevron have had to develop a much increased range of engine oils.

“10 years ago, the 3 oils from the Havoline range would have met the requirements for 95% of the cars on UK roads, today the range encompasses 13 different engine oils.”

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Bosch becomes an approved ATA assessor

The ATA scheme sets a benchmark for technical competence

The ATA scheme sets a benchmark for technical competence

Bosch is the latest organisation to become an Approved Assessment Centre for the delivery of Automotive Technician Accreditation (ATA).

Bosch will now offer in-house‚ ATA assessments in accordance with IMI guidelines for Bosch training customers only.

The ATA disciplines that will be made available are:

  • Diagnostic Technician Light Vehicle
  • Master Technician Light Vehicle
  • Air Conditioning Refrigerant Handler

The ATA scheme was launched by the Institute of the Motor Industry in 2005.

It tests the technical competence of individuals working in the retail motor industry and a special code of conduct to ensure professional responsibility is included.

Grant Taylor-Smith, training manager at Bosch, said: “Since its launch, the ATA scheme has made huge strides in raising the standard of technical competence in the industry.

“Public confidence in our sector due to ATA has also improved.”

Robert Bosch began providing technical training for UK garages in 1956.

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