Archive | January, 2011

CES drives service obsession with new workshop site

Some nurses get Autocessive at the NEC

Some nurses get Autocessive at the NEC

CES (UK) Ltd has launched a workshop consumables and tools website.

Called Autosessive, the site, says CES, demonstrates its “obsessive” approach to customer service and parts quality.

It was launched at the recent Footman James Classic Motor Show, its appeal helped by some ‘naughty nurses’ (pictured).

“Although the website is only a fraction of our range, it represents who we are,” said marketing manager Simon Moore.

“Our chairmen, Howard Warren and Charles Colton, are autosessive. It’s why CES was founded and it’s what drives us deliver our service and parts all over the UK.”

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West Yorkshire shop gets teeth into own-brand brakes

panther_logoCleckheaton-based retailer LK Performance has launched its own brand of car parts.

The brand is called Panther in a nod to the motorcycles that were once made in LK’s hometown.

The move is intended to minimise the shop’s exposure to competition and allow it to stay in control of pricing.

The brand is pitched at the premium end of the market and the first Panther products to hit the shelves are brake kits, with prices varying from £79.99 to £1000 a pair.

A range of 2000 clutch kits is also in the pipeline and that will be followed by fuel hoses, suspension, seats, seatbelts and harnesses.

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Group Auto bags Massey for Xpert tech training

Group Auto has developed a training programme with diagnostics expert Frank Massey for garage technicians.

The new Passport to Xpert programme brings together 10 structured modules in a two-day foundation course.

The modules lead technicians through Bronze and Silver awards until, at their completion, they are awarded their Gold Passport to Xpert certificate.

The buying group delivered 1200 training days for technicians in independent garages in 2010.

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Retailer reports record online sales growth

Online retailer has reported record sales growth for 2010.

Director and CEO Rob Mobberley said revenues increased by an impressive 28% in the third quarter.

Order volume was up by 19% and the average order value grew by more than 7%.

“The focus for us is maintaining a high level of customer service,” he said.

“We have used social media, including Twitter and Facebook, to engage with our customers and we give advice on our products.

“We have also introduced customer reviews so website visitors can make more informed purchases.”

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Trading standards chief to monitor Motor Codes in new role

Ron GAINSFORD smGarages participating in the Motor Codes scheme will get a familiar face as their new policeman this month.

Ron Gainsford OBE, Trading Standards chief, has been named chair of the Code’s Independent Compliance Assessment Panel.

He takes over from retiring industry stalwart Alec Murray.

“With Ron’s Trading Standards expertise, we will bring about even greater peace of mind for motorists,” said Motor Codes director Chris Mason.

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Valeo to sell wiper blades in Halfords stores

Valeo is venturing onto the high street for the first time with its wiper blades.

The OEM has signed a deal with Halfords to sell its Compact Revolution blade to motorists.

Previously only available from independent garages, the blades are available in a range of sizes, from 14” to 26” in Halfords stores nationwide.

Prices will start at £7.99.

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BBC Superfactors opens 5th site in Lancashire

Growth factor: BBC's 4th depot in Burnley

Growth factor: BBC's 4th depot in Burnley

BBC Superfactors, formerly Blackburn Brakes, opened a new branch in Rawtenstall, Lancashire on January 4.

The new outlet takes the number of depots in the network to five and the factor’s staff to 65.

The Rawtenstall branch will cover the Rossendale Valley and further branch openings are planned in 2011.

In other news, BBC boss Gary Shulman has taken a seat on the IFA Board.

He will be responsible for the buying group’s marketing.

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Exide doubles Manchester battery stock to 150k units

Andy Bevington

Andy Bevington

Exide Batteries has completed a six-figure refurbishment of its distribution centre in Manchester.

The move has almost doubled the company’s stockholding to 150,000 units.

With a warehouse footprint increased by 24% to 23,000 sq ft, the facility now has 3500 locations.

“This new facility is a further example of how Exide continues to invest in growth,” said sales and marketing director Andy Bevington.

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Pirate parts: The battle has begun

Did you have a giggle at the daft spellings on the fake goods that littered the press in the pre-Christmas buying frenzy? I did.

The internet, too, is a goldmine of hilariously hopeless rip-offs. My favourite find was one audacious Chinese pirate’s ad for a fake Apple MacBook Air laptop, using a fake Steve Jobs to sell it.

You might admire their nerve if you didn’t know that this kind of activity routinely funds organised crime: drugs, people trafficking, terrorism.

Counterfeiting is big business and, although some deny its prevalence, it is a very serious threat to the aftermarket.

Right now, according to the experts, one in every 10 replacement parts circulating in the UK is a fake. And we’re not just talking ‘harmless’ accessories such as wing mirrors or fluffy dice.

The evidence suggests that the majority of counterfeit parts are now safety-critical: brake pads, steering linkages. The quality of some of the parts that CAT has seen is so shoddy that it’s surprising no one has died yet.

But yet is the operative word.

Counterfeiting is a growing trend in this industry and as consumers continue to cut their spending, demand for cheap parts will inevitably increase.

It’s up to the trade to resist this and to insist only on fitting quality parts from qualified and trusted suppliers.

That’s why CAT is making this our major campaigning issue for 2011. The aftermarket can’t afford the public backlash that will come in the event that a dodgy part does cause a fatal accident.

If you think this summer’s Which? report was hard to take, a death would make that seem like a walk in the park.

We know that CAT readers would be horrified at the thought of fitting a fake and potentially lethal part to their customers’ cars – and that’s why if you do come across a part that you suspect to be counterfeit, we want you to let us know.

Evidence will be key in the fight against fakes. Let’s fight this one together.

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RMI plans techie database for VM security data access

RMI plans techie database for VM security data access

The Retail Motor Industry Federation says it will launch the first garage certification body in a bid to secure access to vehicle security data for its members.

Last year, the European Commission ruled that under the Euro5 emissions regulations, VMs must provide independents with direct access to their vehicle security codes.

The codes are used to reprogram electric keys, ECUs and, increasingly, ‘traditional’ components such as batteries.

But there is a catch: to qualify for access, individuals have to prove they are trustworthy, i.e., that they will not sell on the data to car thieves or misuse the data.

RMI Standards and Certifications is the RMI’s solution. Stuart James, head of the division, said: “To turn off an engine management light for potentially just a battery, wiper blade or even a tyre change, security access will be required.

“Subject to meeting relevant criteria, we will be certifying garages so they can gain access to this vital information.”

The Federation said it has the backing of the police.

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