Archive | October, 2010

THE CANDIDATES: GARAGE OF THE YEAR 2011

GARAGE OF THE YEAR: sponsored by Euro Car Parts

ABP MOTORSPORTABP MOTORSPORT, Crewe
Last year’s CAT Garage of the Year, ABP, is back in the running. Established in 1964, the performance and tuning specialist owned by Chris Meredith has a heritage in rallying and circuit racing. ABP is a Motor Codes member and a Cheshire Trading Standards Golden Spanner approved garage, scoring the scheme’s first ever 100% in summer 2010.

ANGLOSANGLO CONTINENTAL CARS, Bletchley, Milton Keynes
Julian and Michelle Glover took over Anglos in 1997. They employ four technicians and offer repair, servicing, tuning and motorsport services. Customers who got in touch with CAT were full of praise. “I’ve modeled my own customer service on theirs,” said one. Another said: “I can totally trust them and they always remember my name!”

barrett2BARRETT-LEE, Sudbury, Suffolk
Simon Barrett’s Barrett-Lee has invested heavily in diagnostics and specialises in BMW, Land Rover and Mercedes vehicles. The family-run business is an OFT-approved Bosch Car Service centre and a member of Motor Codes. It was the first garage in Suffolk to gain the prestigious BSI Kitemark for Garages.

claytons2CLAYTONS MOT & SERVICE CENTRE, Leeds
OFT-approved Bosch Car Service Centre Claytons is a family-run business set up in 1982. Boss James Clayton is deeply committed to training and is an ATA Master Technician. With a strong focus on customer service, the website features an ‘Ask James’ service for free, no-strings advice. Bucking the recession, the garage grew by 10% in the first half of 2010.

CCMCOMPLETE CAR MAINTENANCE, Surrey
CCM has been in business since 1992 and operates 7 ramps at 2 branches in Ewhurst and Ifield, near Crawley. Under the leadership of Stuart White, it has invested in high-end diagnostic kit as well as training for its technicians, including Automotive Technician Accreditation. It is a member of the Trading Standards Buy with Confidence scheme.

twotechs2TWO TECHS, Dartford, Kent
Renault specialist Two Techs was founded by best friends Matthew Butler and Terry Brian in 2008 after the Renault UK dealer they worked for closed. Both are qualified Renault Technical Experts and their commitment to giving value for money service has already paid off with a growing customer base and financial performance exceeding expectations.

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CAT Awards 2011 voting now open

CAT Awards 2011 voting now open

Voting for the 2011 CAT Magazine Industry Awards is now open.

Readers nominated in their droves and now it’s up to you to decide who will be named the aftermarket’s top people and companies.

“We’ve strengthened our server’s capability in preparation for the massive increase in visitors we get to our website at Awards time,” said CAT editor Emma Butcher.

“The CAT Awards are unique in that they are nominated for and voted on by the industry.

“To win one is to win endorsement by your suppliers, customers and peers. It’s a tremendous achievement.”

The nominees for this year’s Awards are…

GARAGE OF THE YEAR

  • ABP Motorsport, Crewe
  • Anglo Continental Cars, Bletchley
  • Barrett-Lee, Sudbury
  • Claytons MOT & Service Centre, Leeds
  • Complete Car Maintenance, Surrey
  • Two Techs, Dartford

FACTOR OF THE YEAR

  • Autoparts, Glasgow
  • East Antrim Motor Factors, Carrickfergus
  • Euro Car Parts, Wembley
  • GMF Motor Factors, Swansea
  • Motor Serv, Milton Keynes

RETAILER OF THE YEAR

  • Euro Car Parts, Wembley
  • Graham Goode Racing, Leicester
  • Jet Wheel Tyre, Essex
  • LK Performance, Cleckheaton

SUPPLIER OF THE YEAR

  • Robert Bosch
  • Denso Aftermarket Sales UK
  • Klarius
  • NGK
  • Saxon

PERSON OF THE YEAR

  • Garay Barak, Chicane Marketing
  • David Main, BEN
  • Brian Newell, TRW
  • Tony Sackett, Unipart and IAAF
  • Mike Webb, CAAR

GREEN INNOVATION OF THE YEAR

  • Piston ring, Federal Mogul
  • Twin Tip spark plug, Denso
  • Waterless car wash, Synionic
  • Winter tyre, Nokian Tyres

Choose your aftermarket heroes now, by VOTING HERE

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THE CANDIDATES: FACTOR OF THE YEAR 2011

FACTOR OF THE YEAR 2011  – sponsored by Motaquip

AUTOPARTSLOGOCMYKAUTOPARTS, Glasgow

Part of the Arnold Clark dealer group, Autoparts’ customers have nominated it in their droves. The motor factor chain has 47 branches and its group buyer, Craig McCracken, is credited with “breaking down the boundaries between industry sectors and highlighting]the emerging opportunities for the  independent aftermarket”.

East Antrim MFEAST ANTRIM MOTOR FACTORS, Carrickfergus

East Antrim Motor Factors is just one of three branches of Norris Brothers, founded more than 40 years ago. And CAT readers clearly agree with the owners’ commitment to “no waffle and no false promises”. “Professional, friendly staff with excellent product knowledge,” said one nomination

EURO CAR PARTSEURO CAR PARTS, Wembley

ECP’s growth has been staggering. Today, the factor giant offers almost national coverage from more than 75 branches. This year, the company has opened a 400,000 sq ft national distribution hub, announced a new garage network with Bosch and reported profits for 2009 of £17m.

GMFGMF MOTOR FACTORS, Swansea

Not content with holding the 2010 Factor of the Year title, GMF’s customers have nominated them again. This family-owned firm now boasts 10 large distribution centres and more than 150 employees. It distributes to a customer base of over 300 accounts using a fleet of 80 vehicles.

MOTORSERVMOTOR SERV, Milton Keynes

Established in 1989, Motor Serv is one of the UK’s largest single-site factors. It serves trade and retail and sells online. Its computerised inventory and online vehicle recognition system help identify the right part first time. “A people-orientated factor, second to none for customer support,” said one nomination.

VOTE NOW

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THE CANDIDATES: SUPPLIER OF THE YEAR 2011

SUPPLIER OF THE YEAR 2011 – sponsored by Corteco

bosch-2 Robert Bosch
CAT readers’ Supplier of the Year in 2008 and 2009, Bosch is keen to reclaim its title. The company supplies more than 2 million parts a year and its OFT-approved Bosch Car Service scheme was recently rated best out of all garage networks investigated by consumer watchdog Which?

Denso-logo-(normal)Denso Aftermarket Sales UK
Over the last 24 months, Denso has grown from predominantly a supplier of ignition parts to become an almost full service offering. It is credited with providing top class aftersales support and training and strives to make expensive OE technology available at aftermarket prices.

Klarius-logo-blackKlarius
Klarius was an aftermarket favourite in the exhaust sector but since taking over aftermarket giant Quinton Hazell in February 2010, has upped its offering exponentially. Just six months after takeover, the company brought QH back to profitability. The company also successfully campaigned for cat type approval in the UK.

NGK-logo
NGK
NGK is the brand favourite in the UK spark and glow plug aftermarkets. Central to its strategy has been a commitment to delivering “the perfect match for every engine”. It is held in high regard not just for its glow plug, spark plug and lambda sensor technology but its levels of service and customer incentive schemes.

saxonSaxon
Brand management company Saxon is a favourite among retailers and is probably best known for its success with Magic Tree. Despite pursuing a partnership strategy with supermarkets, it is deeply committed to its independent customers, offering regular offers, bespoke marketing material and a dedicated field team.

VOTE NOW

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THE CANDIDATES: GREEN INNOVATION OF THE YEAR 2011

GREEN INNOVATION OF THE YEAR 2011 – sponsored by TRW

FM piston ring
PISTON RING, Federal-Mogul

Federal-Mogul’s two-piece LKZ piston ring is claimed to reduce oil consumption by as much as half and decrease friction by up to 15 percent. It improves fuel economy and reduces CO2 emissions, prolonging the life of the engine oil.

Denso TT plug
TWIN TIP SPARK PLUG, Denso

Denso’s Twin Tip spark plug is now available to the UK aftermarket at an affordable price. It improves firing and boosts fuel efficiency by 1.2 percent, torque by 1.1 percent and decreases carbon dioxide emissions by 0.8 percent.




Prolong_Wash_And_Shine
WATERLESS CAR WASH, Synionic

According to uswitch.com, washing with a bucket uses 32 litres of water. Synionic’s new Waterless Wash & Shine promises to wash and shine your car, getting rid of tree sap and bug stains, without using a single drop of water.

Nokian_WR_G2_SUV_3729
WINTER TYRE, Nokian Tyres

Nokian says its WR G2 eco winter tyre with low rolling resistance can cut fuel consumption by half over 100km, if the air pressure is correct. In tests its stopping distance from 100km/h on a wet road was 59m against 81m for a cheaper product.

VOTE NOW

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THE CANDIDATES: RETAILER OF THE YEAR 2011

RETAILER OF THE YEAR 2011 – sponsored by Haynes

EURO CAR PARTS
EURO CAR PARTS, Wembley

Euro Car Parts now has a retail outlet at almost all of its 75+ sites, so it’s no surprise to see the company nominated in the Retailer of the Year category. ECP promises motorists savings of up to 70 percent on parts, tools and accessories.

GGR
GRAHAM GOODE RACING, Leicester

The Graham Goode Performance Centre employs 25 people and boasts a multi-million pound turnover from a stock of some 180,000 product lines. The Aylestone site on Lutterworth road boasts a 6000 sq ft superstore and conversion workshop.

JET
JET WHEEL TYRE, Essex

Jet specialises in tyre servicing, wheels and wheel alignment, batteries and exhausts. It was named Pirelli’s Performance Centre of the year for 2009 and is one of only 14 tyre dealers in the UK to have achieved this top ranking.

Mark-Robertshaw2
LK PERFORMANCE, Cleckheaton

This retailer has grown sales every year since it opened in 2003. It is run by the proactive Mark Robertshaw, who has embraced the web and competes with local supermarkets by stocking premium product in niche categories.

VOTE NOW

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THE CANDIDATES: PERSON OF THE YEAR 2011

PERSON OF THE YEAR 2011


Gary BarakGARY BARAK, Chicane Marketing

Gary co-founded aftermarket PR company Chicane and is a well-known personality in the industry, which he has served for more than 24 years since working for CAT mag in the late ‘80s. His industry work includes setting up the AutoExCel trade show initiative and winning political backing for the BSI Kitemark.

DAVID-MAIN_smDAVID MAIN, BEN

As BEN’s CEO, David strives to widen awareness of the charity to the independent aftermarket, making sure that all workers know they have somewhere to turn in the event of a personal crisis. He successfully steered the charity through the recession and is now spearheading a multi-million pound care home redevelopment.

BRIAN NEWELLBRIAN NEWELL, TRW

An electrical engineer by trade, Brian, TRW’s technical manager, has racked up 20 years in the aftermarket and 34 in the wider auto industry, experience which he now puts to good use through his involvement with the Xponentia initiative, which, in the last year, has delivered training to 3600 mechanics.

TONY-SACKETTsmTONY SACKETT, Unipart and IAAF

Having been in the trade for more than 35 years, Tony is one of the independent aftermarket’s most well known and active personalities. He is not only a director of Unipart but also finds time to lead sector thinking as president and chairman of the Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation.

Mike WebbMIKE WEBB, CAAR

Mike has been chief executive of the CAAR retail buying group for just two years. The former Haynes Publishing UK sales director has been credited by his members for his “dynamism” in putting independent retailers back on the map, and bringing them value for money deals with some of the UK’s largest suppliers.

VOTE NOW

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2011 CAT Awards – Vote Now!

[form 4 “2011]

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Which? report not the aftermarket’s finest hour

CAT’s legendary timing strikes again. Only last month we pre-empted the devastating Which? report with our review of the industry’s sometimes confusing raft of codes of conduct, although I have to admit the timing was more down to luck – well let’s call it intuition – than anything else.

The report, which is about as scathing as you could imagine of the service and repair sector, throws into sharp relief the huge amount of work our industry needs to put in to repairing its bruised and battered reputation.

Even considering the very small sample size of the servicing jobs that Which?’s mystery shoppers tested (62 out of 48 million services carried out in the UK each year, according to the RMI), the fact that all but eight garages tested failed to identify and put right at least one significant vehicle defect is very worrying indeed.

What with the Which? report, counterfeit part seizures in Northern Ireland and the admission of a quarter of the garages that responded to a recent Motaquip survey that they would use white box parts to save money, now is really not the aftermarket’s finest hour. The independent aftermarket is better than this – let’s prove it.

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Mr Lee, international man of mystery, is back… with tales of Worzel Gummidge, dodgy sat nav and the CAT transfer market

I’m back! It’s been quite a few months since I last posted a blog so apologies to everyone who has been in a state of suspense since last November!

Now that the painful wait is finally over, the BIG question on everyone’s lips is: just what has Mr. Lee, international man of mystery, been up to?

 Well I can exclusively reveal that there has rarely been a dull moment, with my fair share of fun road trips visiting CAT’s wonderful clients up and down the UK.

One particular trip sticks in my memory – a trip into the beautiful countryside of Worcestershire to see White Foot Forward. I am a country boy at heart and love a good adventure, but on this occasion things took a slightly sinister twist when my sat nav decided to navigate me through the rolling hills of the deepest Worcestershire wilderness!

I have heard some horror stories about sat navs but nothing quite prepared me for this 1 hour detour… some would say I might have been slightly delirious with tiredness and hunger when I saw Worzel Gummidge and his farmer friends chilling out in the straw field…

To the other extreme, I also paid a visit to the Euro Car Parts Empire in Wembley. In contrast to my earlier adventure, it is a very industrial area nestled beside the imposing Wembley Stadium, which dominates the local Skyline. I was so impressed with ECP, I could see a snapshot to why they are so successful in what they do by just walking around the warehouse.

Back at the office and there has been plenty of activity in the “Haymarket transfer market” between Autosport and CAT magazine.

As most of you will know, we have made a new signing: David Harris (formerly Autosport) has joined the CAT dream team and Jim Foster has gone in the reverse direction to Autosport.

We are sad to lose Jim as he kick-started the new commercial dynamic of CAT and drove our online capabilities. But I’m really pleased to welcome David to the team. He is already bringing lots of fresh and unique ideas to CAT and taking the brand to a whole new level (I don’t think I can forgive him for supporting Cambridge Utd, though!).

So goodbye to Jim, hello to David and now I also have to say a sad goodbye to the legend that is Karen “Lobby” Reilly, who is moving on to a new challenge within Haymarket.

She has been an absolute dream to work alongside and seriously knows her stuff about the aftermarket. I will particularly miss her constant cackling laugh, her make-believe marriage with Valentino Rossi and her lush meatball pasta!

The good news is that there has been a new signing for the CAT All Stars – we’re about to welcome an internal appointment from within Haymarket, someone who is seriously keen to embrace the challenge of the aftermarket!

Our new “Galactico” will be unveiled very soon… watch this space!

So the months really have rattled by, and as we now enter October, it sadly signals the end of the summer for most people. It has definitely been one to remember for me. I have enjoyed an amazing season back home for my club team but also captaining the Haymarket Cricket team to 4th place in our local Twenty20 league!

Having historically never finished above bottom place, this is a MASSIVE achievement and testament to some great team spirit and banter we’ve had throughout the season.

We don’t need any cruel reminders that the British winter is looming large, but it does provide me with an irreplaceable void in my life – and that is cricket. Well, that is until I depart for Australia and the Ashes 3rd Test Match in Perth, where you will catch me dressed as Batman and singing some Barmy Army songs!

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