Archive | March, 2011

Andrew Page hits 53 with Express depot launch

AndrewPage web smAndrew Page, the northern-rooted but south seeking factor chain, has opened new branches in Norwich and Loughborough.

The additions take the UK network to 53 branches and a customer base of more than 10,000.

The Loughborough depot is the factor’s first ‘Express’ site – a satellite operation supported by major branches nearby.

“The introduction of Express depots marks a major step forward for the company in ensuring wider access to our services and supplies,” said MD Mark Roberts.

“It means that Andrew Page customers of smaller towns or rural areas can enjoy the same benefits as those living near to larger branches.”

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Devon garage takes Bosch network to 500

A&K Gifford splashes the Bosch brand on its Holsworthy premises

A&K Gifford splashes the Bosch brand on its Holsworthy premises

Devon-based independent A&K Gifford has become the 500th garage to sign up to the Bosch Car Service network.

Anthony Gifford, senior partner and founder of the 40-year-old workshop, said: “I’m surprised and pleased to learn we are the 500th member.

“Bosch is a household name that people recognise and relate to quality, and that is one of the reasons that we wanted to join the network.

“Being part of the Bosch Car Service network will now enable us to take our business to the next level.

“We’ve been around for a long time and have built a strong and successful company, but we wanted to give ourselves access to all the latest training courses and diagnostic equipment that Bosch Car Service offers.”

The BCS milestone has been reached in Bosch’s 125th year of trading.

When the garage scheme was piloted in 2003 it had just six members in the South East, Yorkshire and Scotland. It now has national coverage and is approved by the Office of Fair Trading.

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RMI chief steps down

Rob Foulston has stepped down from the lead role at the Retail Motor Industry Federation.

Rob Foulston has stepped down as RMI chief

Rob Foulston has stepped down as RMI chief

He joined the trade association in 2009 from training company ReMIT, where he also continued as chief executive.

“Having achieved the objective I was given of putting the RMI back into profit, I am now stepping down as chief executive to pursue my other business interests, particularly ReMIT,” he said.

“The RMI 2010 results are excellent: sales are up, membership is up, costs are down and strong foundations have been laid for the future.

“If these foundations continue to be built upon, together with the new initiatives that have been put in place, the Federation will continue to thrive.

“I wish to thank my teams at the RMI and ReMIT for all their hard work and commitment and wish the RMI and all of its associations the best of luck.”

A new management structure and strategy for the Federation is under development.

In the interim, Sue Robinson, head of the franchised division, Stuart James, head of the garage division and finance director Kevin Waterman will take responsibility for running the RMI.

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Dayco rubbishes Universal rumours

CALLUM GOODLAND SM

Goodland will lead Dayco's UK aftermarket subsidiary

Dayco has moved to “rubbish” claims that its relationship with UK distributor Universal Automotive is in jeopardy.

In a statement issued this afternoon, the company called the rumours “uncharitable”. It also confirmed Universal as its primary distributor.

The rumours began circulating after Dayco reorganised its UK operation and formed an autonomous UK subsidiary.

Former Universal man Callum Goodland then left the company to lead Dayco Aftermarket UK.

He is joined by technical manager Andy Walters at Dayco’s HQ in Basildon, Essex. Dayco Europe’s regional sales manager, Gianluigi De Dea, will also provide support.

“Dayco is a leading OE parts manufacturer and should be represented by a leading distributor. Universal Automotive is just such an organisation and we are pleased to quell any rumours that suggest that our longstanding business relationship is under threat,” said Goodland.

“The action to establish the UK office can only add to the level of support that we can provide to Universal Automotive and its customers.”

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RAC drives work through Autocrew garages

Autocrew garages benefit from RAC work

Autocrew garages benefit from RAC work

Bosch and Euro Car Parts have joined forces with the RAC to deliver their new Autocrew Garage network.

The RAC will direct work on vehicles that cannot be repaired by the roadside – which amounts to at least 500,000 vehicles every year – to Autocrew member garages.

RAC equipment manager Mark Johnson said: “We need a network of garages that will produce the same level of service we provide to our customers.

“If the RAC Patrol recommends a garage, as far as the customer is concerned, if anything goes wrong it’s our fault. So we want a network we can have faith in.”

Bosch bought Autocrew from ZF Systems in 2009 and is now in the process of rolling it out across Europe, with the ultimate goal of making it a global presence.

It hopes to sign up 750 independent garages in the UK within three years, depending on the quality of applicants.

“We have a lot to offer and we’ve got a lot of experience in workshop concepts,” said Helen Watkins, Autocrew’s concept manager.

“Ideally, we want more Bosch products to be fitted to consumer cars.”

Garages that sign up to the scheme will agree to buy 30 percent of their parts through Euro Car Parts.

10 percent of their parts spend must also be with Bosch.

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Indies storm Golden Garages top 10

Indy's have stormed this year's awards

Indy's have stormed this year's awards

Seven of the top 10 regional Golden Garages winners are independent repair businesses, according to competition organiser Motor Codes.

The list includes CAT Garage of the Year 2011 ABP Motorsport and Award finalist Anglo Continental Cars in Milton Keynes.

The garages were picked out by motorists prepared to share the secret of where they receive the best service.

Voting has now closed – and the top 10 now face a grilling from an expert judging panel, including CAT’s editor, Emma Butcher.

The RAC will also conduct an independent assessment of the businesses before the overall Golden Garage is announced in April.

Motor Codes boss Chris Mason said: “Fighting back against the negative image often unfairly associated with garages, Golden Garages is there to champion examples of good service.

“It allows motorists to tell fellow drivers about the safe havens – garages that give top customer service.”

The UK’s top 10 garages will each receive £200 of experience vouchers from Unipart, £650 of Snap-On Tools vouchers, a year’s free subscription to Motor Codes and credit to spend on Motor Codes marketing materials.

The Golden Garage will also receive £2250 of Snap-On Tools vouchers, three years’ free subscription to Motor Codes and additional credit to spend in the Motor Codes shop.

*Independent garage finalist

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Uniparts faces recession with £9.5 million profits

01 2009 RallyMatch RS 03

Uniparts is ending 2010 on a high

Unipart Group is back on form after doubling profits in 2010.

Pre-tax earnings grew from £4.9 million in 2009 to £9.5 million from a turnover of £1.13 billion.

During the year the Group’s operations generated £8.9m in cash of which £7.0m was reinvested as capital investment.

The results reflect good performances and growth across most of the Group’s businesses together with some significant new business wins.

Commenting on the results, chief John Neill said The Unipart Way – the company’s people and efficiency philosophy – had played a key part in achieving the growth.

“Like many other companies, the last two years have been particularly challenging for our business but 2010 has seen a return to growth, with excellent performances across our logistics, manufacturing and international business.”

The Group’s markets span a wide range of sectors including automotive, technology, retail, rail, defence, health, utilities, leisure, marine and manufacturing.

Its technology logistics business has enjoyed a particularly successful 12 months, wining a major contract with Virgin Mobile; opening a new dedicated repair centre for BSkyB; and developing its partnership with Vodafone.

Similarly, despite continuing economic pressure in the consumer logistics sector, Homebase has extended its partnership with Unipart Logistics for a ground-breaking 12 years.

In its manufacturing operations, Unipart reports a rapid increase in volumes during 2010, exceeding performance from before the economic recession.

This, it said, was driven in part by VMs returning to production to meet consumer demand and by new model introductions.

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A1MS drives member sales with new website

The new site has consumer appeal

The new site has consumer appeal

A1 Motor Stores has revamped its consumer facing website and created a new members-only intranet portal.

New sections on www.a1motorstores.co.uk include hints and tips from experts as well as DIY guide produced in collaboration with Haynes manuals.

Users can search for their local A1 store, see products on special offer and get gift ideas.

Importantly for A1’s 189 members, sales made online are channeled to their individual ecommerce sites.

The A14U intranet keeps members up-to-date with the latest A1MS news and events and includes member profiles and supplier information

A1 chief Derrick Lawton said the new online offering was the result of heavy investment.

He added: “We are confident that users will find this new website much easier to find the products that they are looking for – therefore driving greater business to our members.”

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Proppa goes global with Amazon partnership

Adam Weaver was just 26 when he launched Proppa four years ago

Adam Weaver was just 26 when he launched Proppa four years ago

Niche online car accessories retailer Proppa has launched a sales arm with internet giant Amazon.

More than 7000 items, from rain and wind deflectors to door handle covers and bumper protectors, are for sale through the website.

Adam Weaver, founder and MD of Proppa, said that while sales at Proppa were already strong, the company’s new status as an Amazon partner would allow it to reach thousands more consumers.

“Amazon is hugely respected both among consumers and retailers alike and Proppa is proud to become a partner,” he said.

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New standard fixes child seat fitting fears

ISO Standard eases installation

ISO Standard eases installation

A new ISO Standard released in February could make the incorrect fitting of child car seats and restraints a thing of the past.

ISO 29061-1:2010 provides child restraint and car makers with a tool to gauge the usability of new and current ISOFIX systems.

It also provides consumers with information on the key features related to the proper use of the systems.

Professor Lotta Jakobsson, who led the team responsible for developing the standard, said: “The usability of a child restraint system – in both correct installation and day-to-day use – is of utmost importance.

“This ensures that a child restraint system is used in accordance with the manufacturer’s intentions, and that it will function properly in a crash situation.”

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