Archive | February, 2011

New head for independent garages as Moran leaves RMI

Moran will join Skillnet

Moran will join Skillnet

Stuart James has been appointed head of Independent Garages at the Retail Motor Industry Federation after predecessor David Moran resigned in February.

Moran, who joined the RMI 11 months ago, will officially take up the role of business development director at Skillnet on March 8, 2011.

“I’m delighted to be joining such a progressive young company and I’m looking forward to working with all independent garages to develop their apprenticeships,” he told CAT.

The RMI did not comment on Moran’s departure but chief Rob Foulston said: “Stuart, through his success in integrating the MVRA into RMI Bodyshop, has proven both his managerial and technical competence.

“Stepping up to head RMI Independent Garages is the logical next step both for Stuart and the RMI.”

James has worked for the RMI and its training company, ReMIT, for three years.

Before that, he spent seven years at Carter & Carter in consultancy roles, finishing his tenure as head of technical training.

He began his life in the industry as an apprentice in 1979 and has also run his own business repairing automotive and marine across southern Europe.

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Tesco quadruples Clubcard points on tyres

Mike Welch used to stack shelves at Tesco

Mike Welch used to stack shelves at Tesco

Tesco’s 13 million customers will be able to quadruple their Clubcard points on a single purchase after the supermarket joined forces with tyre retailer

The link up sees the launch of, which is understood to be the UK’s largest motoring venture of the last ten years.

Based on the purchase of two Pirelli PZero Rosso 285/45 R19 107W tyres fully fitted at £288.59 each, customers could earn over 2300 Clubcar points.

Quadruple points are also being offered on Yokohama and Hankook tyres while double points are available on all other brands. claims to offer full fitment from Blackcircles’ 1200 independent garage partners at up to 40 percent less than high street prices.

Mike Welch, co-founder of and a former teenage shelf stacker at Tesco in Liverpool, said: “We are delighted to be breaking new ground for customers.

“With the cost of living increasing, we are helping customers to make savings on not just tyres but, through Clubcard points, pass along savings on a whole variety of goods and services.”

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ASA upholds “misleading” merc parts ad complaint

Kevin Shipton, founder of the APA

Kevin Shipton, founder of the APA

The Advertising Standards Authority has upheld a complaint by a member of the newly formed Aftermarket Parts Association about an advert produced by Mercedes-Benz promoting OE replacement parts.

Adjudication by the ASA found the Mercedes-Benz ad was misleading‚ on two counts and must not appear in its current form again.

APA founding member Imperial Automotive Ltd objected to the implicit suggestion in the ad that body panels – for example, a vehicle’s front wings – fulfill a safety function in the event of an accident.

Imperial argued that research refutes this, including the Autopolis Report, which judged many vehicle panels to be purely cosmetic.

Imperial also complained that the ad’s assertion that fitting any part other than a genuine‚ Mercedes-Benz part could be a specific breach of legislation.

The APA was formed by Imperial (former name SEL-Imperial) in February.

APA chairman and Imperial boss Kevin Shipton, said: “The advert by Mercedes-Benz epitomizes how vehicle manufacturers have been trying to persuade repairers not to buy non-safety critical replica crash repair panels.

“As far as we are aware, there is no independent evidence to even suggest aftermarket replica parts such as front wings are different in quality to genuine‚ equivalents.

“Aftermarket crash repair panels represent good value for repairers and consumers, and we stand by the claim made by our members‚ suppliers‚ that they match those supplied by OE manufacturers.”

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CAT Awards 2011 at Twickenham: I know, ‘cos I was there


How to try and match the success of the 2010 CAT Awards? A pretty tough act to follow but our guests at the 2011 bash tell us they had just as good a time.

The venue – Twickenham Stadium – was fantastic. The Live Room provided a great backdrop for lunch and the awards ceremony and the Members Bar overlooking the pitch was the perfect setting for the after-event celebration.

It was particularly entertaining to see so many guests sneaking down the steps for a pitch close-up and wandering into the tunnel for a sneak around the changing rooms.

And, being a CAT event, it of course ended with Twickenham security politely asking a group of aftermarket heavy-hitters to please vacate the England changing room.

Former publisher Jim Foster has gone on record pointing the finger of blame elsewhere and insisting he was merely following others and was in no way whatsoever, at all the ring-leader in the mischief-making.

Jim did a great job last year as compere, and that was one area I knew he would be too tough an act to follow so I was happy to delegate that task to a professional. Star of Radio Le Mans and Goodwood, Henry Hope-Frost did the honours on stage and conducted a highly entertaining interview with our Lifetime Achievement Award winner, John Haynes OBE.

I took it as a thumbs-up for our choice of winner as guests sat captivated by his account of how the Haynes Publishing empire was founded and the growth it has seen over the last 50 years. Haynes also generously donated copies of their book commemorating the company’s first half century – and a great many of our guests took the opportunity to get their copy signed by the man himself.

At this point, I need to say a big thank you to the guys from Haynes, not just for providing the books as a gift to our guests but also for managing to persuade John to attend under the pretext of being interviewed on stage in lieu of a speaker.

None of the award winners knew beforehand that they would be successful, and that’s the way it should be. I’m also really grateful to the number of finalists who travelled long distances and in some instances, had to close their business for the day in order to attend.

CAT is also indebted to the Awards sponsors: Castrol, Corteco, Denso, Euro Car Parts, Haynes, Motaquip and TRW. Without their support and backing we wouldn’t be able to make the day a fraction of the event it has become.

A big thank you also goes to Silverstone Circuits for generously donating a Silverstone Experience track day as the raffle prize, won by Wyn Jones of GMF (he had quite a successful day!) which helped us to raise £770 for BEN.

All the feedback we’ve had from the day was tremendously positive and we look forward to making the CAT Awards 2012 even bigger and better.

You can read about all the winners in the forthcoming Awards issue of CAT Mag, and also here

Posted in David Harris' BlogComments (0)

Cat award winners unveiled

CAT awards winners 2011

CAT awards winners 2011

The independent aftermarket’s heavy hitters turned out in force to see the CAT Award winners collect their trophies.

More than 120 of the industry’s biggest names attended the 2011 Awards ceremony, held for the first time at the world famous Twickenham Stadium.

The 2011 Awards were the biggest in modern day CAT history. We were inundated with nominations and the extremely high calibre of the candidates who made it to the final shortlist demonstrates the prestige of these accolades.

To win an award carries great kudos. As our Garage of the Year winner for the second year running discovered last year.

After winning the 2010 title, Chris Meredith, owner of ABP Motorsport, reported “a massive influx of new customers”. Just two months after the ceremony, his team had welcomed more than 60 new customers.

Wyn Jones of GMF Motor Factors, another second time CAT Awards winner, also told us that winning in 2010 opened new doors and helped to foster new supplier and customer relationships.


  • Person of the Year: Gary Barak, Chicane
  • Factor of the Year: GMF Motor Factors
  • Retailer of the Year: Graham Goode Racing
  • Garage of the Year: ABP Motorsport
  • Technician of the Year: Tanya Spreadbury, Tanbury Ltd
  • Green Innovation of the Year: Synionic’s Waterless Wash & Shine
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: John Haynes OBE

To find out more about your winners, click here

Posted in Factor & Supplier News, Garage News, News, Retailer NewsComments (1)

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