Archive | March, 2010

OFT calls for European Commission view on Sara Lee acquisition

Proctor & Gamble's proposed take over is causing monopoly worries

The proposed takeover is causing monopoly worries

Proctor & Gamble’s proposed acquisition of Sara Lee’s air care business has led the OFT to recommend a European Commission investigation of its UK aspects.

It said the acquisition qualifies for an investigation by a significant number of EU Member States, in response to competition concerns as a result of the merger.

Proctor & Gamble owns the air-freshener brand Febreeze, while Sara Lee owns the Ambi Pur air care range.

The OFT is pushing for single European Commission investigations for the UK and those members wishing to transfer jurisdiction to it.

Details of the non-confidential version of the OFT’s request will be posted on its website.

Posted in Retailer NewsComments (0)

New garage websites could be the key to better sales

Tim Ferris believes his website is the reason for increasing revenues

Tim Ferris believes his website is the reason for increasing revenues

Members of the Unipart Workshop Partnership Programme and Unipart Car Care Centre (UCCC) network are being urged to consider a new website design scheme.

Unipart said its service, which includes both design and marketing of the website, is available for a reduced fee of £450 + VAT until June 2010.

Pilot customer and chairman of the UCCC, Tim Ferris, who owns Ferris Garage in Truro, Cornwall, said: “We’ve had a noticeable increase in enquiries leading to a rise in jobs that we wouldn’t normally get.

“The increase in work is significant and we’re attaining several new customers each week. I’m delighted with the website in every respect.”

More than 270 garages have taken advantage of the new scheme, which attracts motorists through Google, Yahoo, Touch Local and Thompson Local.

Included for free are value-added modules focusing on car sales, vehicle rental and vehicle leasing services if required.

Posted in Garage NewsComments (0)

OFT survey results place emphasis on good customer relations

"That'll cost ya." Look out for the OFT logo and avoid being ripped off

"That'll cost ya." Look out for the OFT logo and avoid being ripped off, the government agency tells consumers

Research carried out on behalf of the Office of Fair Trading underlines the importance of good customer service, according to the government agency.

82% of the 2568 people quizzed by pollsters Opinion Matters said they would tell friends and family never to use a business from which they had received shoddy service.

And almost a third would write a negative review on a company website.

Meanwhile, the rise of social media means some consumers would even ‘Tweet’ or use Facebook to publish their complaints.

Conversely, 85% said they would recommend a business providing good customer service to their friends and family.

The OFT is asking consumers to look out for its ‘Approved Codes’ logo, which it says confirms a company’s commitment to providing an easily accessible and robust complaints procedure.

Charles Wallace, OFT head of codes said: “OFT Code approved businesses operate to a higher standard of service.

“If a consumer needs to make a complaint, then they can be assured that it will be dealt with swiftly and effectively.”

Ex Watchdog presenter Lynn Faulds Wood was also drafted in to add: “Savvy consumers need to do their research before buying goods.

“Using an OFT Code approved [business] means they will receive a standard of service higher than that required by law.”

Posted in Garage NewsComments (0)

CES’ McCann and Harrison get on their bikes for Sport Relief

The pair raised over £7000 for Sport Relief

The pair raised over £7000 for Sport Relief

Steve McCann and Matthew Harrision of CES (UK) have completed a grueling 5-day, 413-mile bike ride in aid of Sport Relief, raising more than £7000.

The tour saw the pair visit 16 branches throughout the North West, Midlands and North Wales as well as complete a final Sport Relief mile run in Chester.

Steve McCann, trading director, said: “Cycling was hardest as we travelled over the hills in Wales towards Porthmadog and onwards to Anglesey.

“At times, the ride was tiring but the welcome at each branch gave us both a lift and prepared us for the next leg. Although next time, I’ll take the car!”

Many of the company’s suppliers made donations and colleagues could follow their progress via GPS trackers.

The CES Facebook page was regularly updated with pictures and comments over the five days.

“We’re delighted by the support that the staff and suppliers have shown”, said marketing director Melanie Warburton.

“All branches joined in by providing refreshments. Most importantly we raised money for a fantastic cause.”

Posted in Factor & Supplier NewsComments (0)

10 new members per day for ATA technician scheme

ATA accredited technicians have proven their abilities

The ATA scheme now boasts 20k accredited technicians

The Automotive Technician Accreditation (ATA) scheme has announced its 20,000th accredited technician, news which it hopes will help boost consumer confidence.

Badly repaired cars are a leading cause of traffic accidents, according to the IMI, which administers the ATA scheme.

The organisation cites survey results that suggests that over 80% of the population does not know how to tell a good technician from a bad one.

Sarah Sillars OBE, the IMI’s executive chair,  said: “The ATA scheme only started five years ago.

“To reach 20,000 accredited technicians in such a short amount of time – a rate of ten new members a day – is an incredible achievement.”

The ATA scheme is voluntary, allowing technicians to prove their skills and ensure they work to relevant codes of conduct.

Kwik-Fit technician Doug Creed, based in Bromley, Kent, was the 20,000th person to be approved.

“The accreditation is great because it means I’m always up to speed with changes in this fast-moving industry,” he said.

Technicians interested in accreditation can find information on the ATA website.

Posted in Garage NewsComments (0)

Managerial change to help MAM push tyre offering

Steve Page brings with him 18 years of experience

Steve Page brings with him 18 years of experience

Steve Page has been named national sales manager of MAM Software, as the company forges ahead with its tyre market expansion plans.

Replacing Graham Dunford, Page takes over the role to continue his 18-year career at the company.

Sales director Nigel Clemmett said: “Steve has considerable product knowledge, which will prove invaluable as we continue our progress within the tyre market.

“We are very thankful to Graham,” Clemmett added, “who has helped us establish a very strong foundation on which we can build.”

Posted in Factor & Supplier News, NewsComments (0)

DENSO delivers second Millionaire Club workout prize

DENSO girl Cassie and technical trainer Alan Povey with Andy Campbell

DENSO girl Cassie and technical trainer Alan Povey with Andy Campbell (left)

South West motor factor Kevin Cooper is the second business to “win a workout” with DENSO in a month that also saw it open a new branch.

With 17 sites now operating – the latest in Brixham – Kevin Cooper’s Devon branch was paid a visit by DENSO’s technical training manager, Alan Povey and DENSO girl Cassie in March.

Andy Campbell, Kevin Cooper’s company buyer, said: “We’ve done many workouts over the years but this was by far the best.

“The entire team was really pleased to see Cassie and Alan was a fountain of knowledge, able to answer all our technical questions with ease.”

DENSO spark and glow plugs make up the factor’s entire spark plug sales.

“The products continually meet the demands of our customers,” continued Povey. “We’ll be continuing to stock DENSO’s OE-quality ranges with the potential to expand.”

The Millionaire’s Club was launched by DENSO in January. Factors signing up until the end of March to place orders get a chance to win a range of prizes.

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Spring promotions make VECO units more attractive proposition

Spring has arrived with VECO's fresh set of offers

Spring has arrived with VECO's fresh set of offers

Universal Automotive has added 70 references to its VECO line-up under a new rotating electrics programme.

The starter motors and alternators are brand new units, allowing buyers to avoid exchange surcharges.

And in further news, Universal is offering discounts on Ford Transit 2.0 and 2.4 TD starter motors and on its no-risk starter motor and alternator stock packs.

The Transit starter motor, also compatible with Mondeo 2.0 TDCi and LDV Convoy 2.4 Di models, sees a reduction of just over 10%, now priced at £65.50 + VAT.

If customers take advantage of the additional spring promotion by buying three or more units, the price drops another 10% to £58.95 + VAT.

Alternatively, the VECO ‘stock pack’ offers 5 fast moving units, 3 alternators for Honda, Rover and Vauxhall applications and two starters covering Ford, Fiat, LDV and Peugeot/Citroen.

Under the spring promotion, the pack is initially £308.15 + VAT but if after three months the customer is unhappy, unsold units can be returned and the costs reclaimed.

Posted in Factor & Supplier News, NewsComments (0)

CAT’s tame senior sales exec heads off in search of lions and baboons

CAT's tame senior sales exec is a big pussy cat really

Our tame senior sales exec is a big pussy cat, really

Hello everyone, sorry it has been a while since my last blog but a lot has gone on!

To start with, our Awards in January were spectacular and I am so proud to be part of CAT Mag. I also got to sit next to the wonderful Jonathan Allen of Federal Mogul!

Wow what an event – Jim and Emma were wicked hosts and the venue was stunning! Also a big thank you to those of you who came to the Anglers pub afterwards – you were wonderful company.

So it was a great start to the year but I have to admit that, right now, I am a little stressed because thanks to the terrible weather, I have not been able to get out on the motorcycle. Maybe I should invest in a dirt bike!

And on the subject of biking, I want to say a massive well done to Leon Haslam for his world Superbikes performance – a Brit on the podium!!!

But the most exciting aftermarket news of the moment is …drum roll… that this afternoon, I am off on my hols to Kenya to chase baboons and lions!

This is going to be a trip of a lifetime and I am soooo excited! As many of you will know, I am a huge animal lover and cannot wait to see some sanctuaries.

I want to say a huge thank you to Tony Bhogal of Autoelectro for giving me some pens to take out to an orphanage. I feel this is going to be a real eye opener and I will see first-hand just how lucky us Brits are.

I promise to come back armed with photos for my next blog, and I am sure there will be a lot of happiness for those of you I bug all day when you see me being eaten by a lion!

I will be returning to work on 14th April (as long as I manage to avoid the crocs, that is!). While I’m gone, please contact Martin Lee on 020 8267 5839 or email him at

Take care everyone xxx

Posted in Karen Reilly's BlogComments (1)

This week I was mostly impressed by cabin filters and Steve Jarnet’s lime-green barnet

Wembley Hill's Calvin, ECP's Donna West and lime-green lovelies Satbinder and Steve from Corteco

Wembley Hill's Calvin, ECP's Donna West and lime-green lovelies Satbinder and Steve from Corteco

It was great to see the supply chain working together to spread the aftermarket word this week.

I popped along to the Brent Park Tesco superstore to see Corteco, ECP and Wembley Hill Garage in action as they helped charity Asthma UK rattle their fundraising buckets.

(Well keep them quite still, actually, because apparently rattling is strictly off limits these days!).

Now you might wonder what Asthma has to do with the aftermarket.

Well, Corteco has teamed up with the charity to help raise awareness about the health benefits of regular cabin air filter replacement.

  • Apparently, without a properly functioning filter the air inside the vehicle cabin can be up to 6 times more polluting than outside
  • And according to Asthma UK, 66% of people with asthma say that traffic fumes trigger their symptoms

So how did our friendly chuggers get on?

Well the shoppers of Wembley are clearly a generous and health conscious lot because a surprising number of them not only made a donation, but were really interested to find out how a cabin filter can help keep respiratory conditions under control.

Many of them had never even considered that their vehicle had a cabin filter before.

Or were they just hypnotised by Steve Jarnet’s new barnet?

Taking the Putting Asthma in the Limelight campaign tag quite literally, the normally impeccably dressed UK sales manager for Corteco ditched his sartorial pride for the day to don a lime green wig – and very fetching he looked too!

But back to the serious matter of filters, one lady, Mrs Jackie Togher from Collingdale, told me that she had just been to visit her friend’s daughter, who is recovering from an asthma attack, in hospital.

“It’s really scary,” she said. “I hadn’t heard about these filters before. I’m really interested in anything that can help.”

She took away two filters, one for herself and her small son, and the other for her friend, and headed off round the corner to Wembley Hill Garage to get her free fitting.

Educating motorists

Calvin, Wembley Hill’s main man, said he was looking forward to seeing more educated motorists in his workshop.

Unsurprisingly, he said that motorists never ask for their cabin air filter to be changed without prompting.

“Most of them don’t know what it is but it’s so important, especially when you’re driving bumper to bumper and can smell the exhaust fumes of the car in front.

“We always recommend charcoal filters.”

The Wembley charity event was the first in a nationwide tour for Corteco. It is working together with various distribution partners and local garages in its month-long campaign.

Apparently, there’s still time to get involved – and that means there’s still time to see the lesser-spotted Mr Jarnet in all his lime-green glory. Coming soon to a Tesco near you…

Posted in Emma Butcher's BlogComments (0)

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