Archive | November, 2010

Autoglym under fire for direct sales move

Autoglym has come under fire from retailers after launching a new web shop to sell direct to consumers.

It will sell the entire Autoglym range of car, motorcycle and gift pack products.

The supplier said the move is a reaction to rogue internet sellers who are undermining the brand by under-pricing and misusing the logo.

In a letter to retailers, MD Paul Caller stressed that the retail network remains Autoglym’s preferred route to market.

“Face-to-face advice and retailer recommendation has been one of the foundations of the Autoglym retail success,” he said.

He added that all products on the new site would be sold at full RRP and that postage and packaging would be charged for.

However, one Autoglym seller told CAT: “They should only have supplied genuine car accessory shops in the first place and woken up earlier to the fact that the internet was not going to go away.”

Retailer representative CAAR said it would continue to monitor the site closely to make sure Autoglym keeps its pricing promise.

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TV ads highlight Ring’s XenonMax

Ring bulb adRetailers are hoping to shift more car lights after Ring Automotive launched a TV advertising campaign to promote its XenonMax bulb.

The ad, which will run through December, uses animation to highlight the potential dangers of night driving and shows how the XenonMax can improve visibility.

Ring claims that the bulb emits 100 percent more light than standard competitors.

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BTCC star Allam opens second HiQ outlet

HiQ franchisee fast fit network is celebrating a major boost in its ambitious expansion plans after an existing franchisee put pen to paper on his second Surrey centre.

Former British Touring Car Championship star Jeff Allam is opening his second HiQ-branded outlet in Leatherhead, Surrey.

The move comes just six months after opening his first outlet in Dorking.

Peter Tye, HiQ retail manager with Allam's operations director, Paul Dobson and Jeff Allams

Peter Tye, HiQ retail manager, with Allam's operations director, Paul Dobson and Jeff Allams

Allam, who used to star in Britain’s premier motor racing series in Vauxhalls and BMWs, is strengthening his partnership with HiQ – the official sponsors of the BTCC’s Team Championship.

He said: “Our first impressions of working with HiQ have been extremely good. They are flexible, supportive and offer a range of support for us, which has been invaluable.

“Leatherhead was always a location that interested us and we are confident of making the business a big success.

“We have increased staff numbers by two, have again invested a good sum of money in the site and are hopeful that motorists will be enticed to our four-bay store.”

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4000 Kent garages to get safety visit

Up to 4000 garages in Kent will be visited by health and safety inspectors officers over the next three months.

The visits are part of a campaign geared to reducing the death and injury toll in the motor vehicle repair sector.

Over the last five years, there have been more than 8000 reportable injuries and 24 deaths in Britain’s MVR industry.

The campaign is spearheaded by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health – the world’s largest health and safety body for professionals.

The inspectors will give advice to garages on how to comply with safety and maintenance standards, to help keep employees safe and healthy at work.

They will focus on the most common causes of accidents, for example poorly maintained lifting equipment, dust and other substances that can lead to breathing problems or dermatitis.

Mike Walters, HSE Principal Inspector for Kent, said: “This is an ideal opportunity for those within the industry to learn how they can comply with current health, safety and fire legislation.

“They all need to play their part in ensuring that standards are improved to help prevent needless deaths and injuries which are happening each year in this sector. “

Darren Harvey, a senior fire protection manager at Kent Fire and Rescue Service, added: “Last year we attended a fire in a car repair garage, the fire safety deficiencies were so poor that we were forced to take action.

“This is something we want to see less of in the future.”

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Maccess invests in new fleet for 2011 growth

Clockwork growth: Maccess' new livery

Clockwork growth: Maccess' new livery

Maccess is chasing growth in 2011 with a £4m plus investment in new parts stock and a revamped fleet of 100 vans.

The vans have been rebranded with Maccess’ new slogan “Clockwork Distribution” and the company hopes the vibrant orange will turn heads on the motorway.

MD Mike Green explained: “With the expansion already witnessed within Maccess and plans to further increase the parts business, we felt it essential to invest and rebrand the new fleet.”

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Andrew Page and GSF branch out

Andrew Page's new Birminghamm depot

Andrew Page's new Birminghamm depot

Andrew Page and GSF Car Parts have both opened two new distribution centres in the last month.

Andrew Page has ventured south for the first time in its 64-year history, with a new branch in Cambridge.

The 50th centre in the expanding network follows hot on the heels of a new branch in Birmingham (pictured).

Not to be outdone, GSF has opened its 59th branch in Leeds.

The factor’s first Regional Distribution Centre will be able to purchase from any UK supplier and will also be open to retail customers.

GSF also recently opened a site in Letchworth.

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Good Garage Scheme to mystery shop

Good Garage Scheme to mystery shop

The Good Garage Scheme will mystery shop the 3000 garages in its network.

The initiative, which comes after a damning report from Which? about GGS garage standards, is designed to “identify areas of training needed”.

GGS said the mystery shopper operation will be run by an independent specialist and will test reception, customer care, telephone call handling and the workshop.

Faults will be introduced to cars and a post-service inspection will check whether the problems have been identified and rectified.

The standard of workmanship and the way other garage staff interact with the customer will also be monitored.

Phil Dugmore, GGS technical manager, said the initiative is “an obvious and necessary development of the Good Garage scheme.”

He added that where problems are uncovered, GGS will provide the garage with appropriate training.

The Good Garage Scheme works with the IMI, Delphi and Skillnet UK Motor Automotive Academy to provide training to its network.

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IAAF restructures after Board walk out

IAAF restructures after Board walk out

The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation is undergoing an internal restructuring less than a year after being spawned from the ADF.

The move has been forced after “a number” of key directors resigned from the Board.

It is unclear exactly what prompted the mass walkout but it came after Brian Spratt, head of the IAAF’s distributor division, handed in his notice over contractual complaints.

He has since resumed his duties at the Federation.

Spratt had been the lead executive at the ADF and had served there for 18 years, first joining when it was called the Motor Factors Association back in 1992.

When the ADF became the IAAF in a bid to attract independent garages into membership, his role changed to that of a divisional director, something he disputes.

In October, the IAAF issued a press release announcing its intention to appoint a chief executive, a position that Spratt had believed was his.

The release read: “The progress at the IAAF, since its launch away from the Automotive Distribution Federation, is such that to execute the next stage of the strategic plan, there is a need for a full-time chief executive to take overall command on behalf of its members of all three IAAF divisions, and lead the organisation in a cohesive and focused direction.”

Following the resignations, Brian Spratt agreed to return to the IAAF, although whether or not this is a long-term move and in what capacity he will serve has not yet been resolved.

David Russell, spokesman for the IAAF and owner of Camberley Auto Factors, confirmed that “a number of” directors had resigned their positions because they “felt they had done all they could for the Federation”.

He said that a Board restructure was now underway and that “a core contingent” of remaining Board members would oversee the running of the Federation until a new team is appointed in January.

“These are challenging times for the independent aftermarket,” he said. “And we’ve got to make sure we are fit to move forward.

“I’m more positive about the future than I was last week and we hope to be in a position to make a further statement in the coming days.”

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RMI goes solo with new garage badge

RMI goes solo with new garage badge

The Retail Motor Industry Federation is launching a new consumer-focused garage scheme called Trust My Garage. It will be backed by a customer guarantee of workmanship.

The scheme will be launched in January and will be free to all members of the Federation, although it is not mandatory for them to participate.

David Moran, head of independent garages at the RMI, said Trust My Garage is the Federation’s answer to an apparent lack of faith among the trade as a whole and consumers in existing standards schemes, including Motor Codes and the BSI Kitemark for Garage Services.

“We support Motor Codes,” he told CAT mag “but it’s not quite right for us. It’s dealer driven, it’s a minimum standard, and it’s not independent.

“When we decided to launch Trust My Garage, we looked at the best bits of all the codes: CSI scoring, customer feedback, etc, and we said, let’s make ours a bit tougher.”

RMI members who sign up to the scheme will have to adhere to a customer charter, which, among other things, involves pledging to charge only for work that has been carried out, sticking to price quotes for work and using matching quality parts.

Garages will be audited via visual checks by RMI field staff – each member will be visited at least once every two months – and via mystery shopping.

The Federation says that a “substantial” budget has been allocated to promote the scheme to consumers.

The new scheme adds to a raft of other codes and standards on the market and some commentators have expressed concern that this could confuse motorists.

Peter Lawton, WhatCar? deputy web editor, told CAT: “We hope [Trust My Garage] helps motorists find garages they can genuinely trust but it would be far simpler for consumers if they only had to look out for one logo.”

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