Archive | May, 2011

NFDA warns against new block exemption rules

The RMI's NFDA is calling for better block exemption laws

The RMI's NFDA is calling for better block exemption laws

The National Franchise Dealer Association (NFDA) is warning dealer councils across the UK against new block exemption rules, and the tactics manufacturers may use to get around them.

In a letter written to all dealer councils, the NFDA urges members to alert their networks to the potential impact of changes to block exemption law, as well as highlighting how they can help dealers.

Sue Robinson, director of RMI NFDA commented: “Manufacturers should appreciate that a dealer council has a duty to its network to represent their interests fully.  Obtaining proper advice helps fulfill that duty.

The European Commission has created an expectation that manufacturers should operate in a transparent manner with their dealers and adhere to minimum standards of behaviour in their commercial relationships, as set out in a published code of conduct. We are urging all dealer councils to lobby manufacturers for such a code that would make the relationship between dealers and manufacturers as fair as possible.

Some dealers may feel they have no choice but to sign a new agreement which does not reference a proper code of conduct to support efficient, fair and transparent commercial relationships.”

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3M announces price increase

Not all products in the range will be affected

Not all products in the range will be affected

3M is announcing a series of price increases across products in its aftermarket range, which will see a prices rise by an average of 5.4 percent. The company says the increases are a response to ever increasing raw materials costs.

However the increases won’t be affecting the entire product range, with best-selling products like Soft Edge Foam Masking Tape and the Scotch-Brite range being held at their current prices.

The company is currently working to update label prices nationwide, ready for the new prices to come into effect from 20th June.

Mark Deakin, general sales and marketing manager for 3M said: “We have had to review our prices across the range as we are being charged significantly increased prices by our own suppliers for materials such as PET and propylene. This in itself is being driven by rises in crude oil prices over the past 12 months and restricted raw material supply.

Deakin says that the price increases will enable 3M to continue its supply operations uninterrupted to its national network of retailers.

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Guns and cars. We like.

Guns and cars. We like.

There comes a point in every person’s life, no matter what age, race, sex, or profession they may be, when you feel the need to get out there and do something adventurous.

For some, rock climbing holds obvious merits. For others, walking, running or cycling presents an avenue to let off aggression. Some have even been known to buy ludicrously expensive sports cars and then, after a mutual discussion with their partners, trade it back in three days later and buy some new curtains instead.

For the modern professional though, paintballing has become a phenomenon. It’s like being in the middle of an intense firefight, except you don’t get hurt. At all. I took part in a paintballing challenge a few years ago, and whilst I did end up looking like most of the Dulux paint catalogue on the outside, it didn’t hurt at all. And that has almost nothing to do with the fact that I spent most of the time cowering inside a shed, trying to think of a happier place.

But what if you’re both an adrenaline junky, and a petrol head? What on earth are you to do when the inevitable mid-life crisis hits?

Well worry no more, because Chevrolet has you covered with their new sport of car-paintball!

Now make no mistake, this is simply a paintball gun bolted to the bonnet of a Chevvy jeep. But beyond the mechanics, this looks like great fun!

And it’s a team sport too! Passengers can maneuver and aim the gun ready to fire, whilst drivers can send paintballs traveling at 20mph hurtling towards the nearest target from a button inside the cabin.

And those targets are harder to hit than in normal paintball. Because whilst they might be a lot bigger than your average human, they’ll also be delivering some pedal to the metal paintballs to your doorstep as well.

Chevvy aren’t yet sure whether they’re going to be making car-paintball into an official sport just yet. But it seems odd to launch the sport with just over a year to go until the Olympics comes our way…

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Autoglym has dads covered this Father’s Day

The new kits are targeted for every budget

The new kits are targeted for every budget

Autoglym wants to get dads washing, waxing and polishing this Father’s Day.

The car care manufacturer has brought out a new range of maintenance kits, specifically targeted to dads who like to take care of their motor. With the 19th June fast approaching, Autoglym is hoping to have the ideal present for every dad.

Starting from £12.99 and rising steadily to around the £75 mark, the kits have something for everyone. The Polished Perfection kit is ideal for the casual motorists looking to get the best sparkle from the weekend wash, while the Concours Collection (the most expensive of the kits) is more suited for the ardent motoring enthusiast, and is guaranteed to leave your car in showroom condition.

All of the kits come presented in their own carry cases, ideal for dads on the move or for taking to shows.

As well as the standard kits, Autoglym has also released a set of specific equipment sets for different motoring needs. For example, the Canine Collection (RRP £19.99) contains everything the dog-loving dad needs to clean away stains and remove poochy-pongs from the car.

Paul Caller, Autoglym’s CEO commented: “Our research indicates that Father’s Day falls at that time of year when dads across the country are most inclined to get the bucket and sponge out to treat their car to some TLC.  We’ve worked hard for forty years to develop a comprehensive range of high quality car care products, and to put our favourites into attractive gift packs for all budgets.

Specifically engineered to provide exceptional performance while being easy to use, and to provide a premium quality finish while offering great value, they’re the perfect choice for those who really want to spoil their dads on Fathers Day with a gift that lasts throughout the year.”

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Motorists are wasting £1 billion per year, warns Continental

Continental says using the right tyre can make all the difference

Continental says using the right tyre can make all the difference

Motorists in the UK are wasting almost £1 billion every year by not using eco driving techniques, new research conducted by Continental Tyres has revealed.

The tyre manufacturer’s research also found that on average, each motorist could save nearly £300 a year by using eco driving techniques, such as ensuring their tyres are at the correct pressure, and getting rid of unnecessary loads.

Over the course of a lifetime motorists could each save a shocking £18,000 in fuel bills.

A survey conducted as part of the research also found that even though 9 in 10 people are concerned about rising fuel prices in the UK, 4 in 10 admitted to having no idea what eco driving was all about.

Continental is spreading the message to motorists, giving them tips on how to maximise fuel economy. With urban driving for example, the company is asking motorists whether they really need to carry a spare tyre, when a compressor with a tyre sealant will save both weight and room.

Tim Bailey, a driving expert at Continental Tyres said: “As fuel costs continue to rise, affordable motoring is a big concern. By making minor alterations to your driving technique and doing regular basic checks such as tyre pressure, motorists can save hundreds of pounds a year.

Our research also discovered that over two thirds of motorists are unaware that tyres are now made that improve fuel efficiency through lower rolling resistance.”

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Back to school for Andrew Page technicians

Technicians are being given the chance to refresh their skills

Technicians are being given the chance to refresh their skills

Proprietors and customers of some of Andrew Page’s Midlands branches have been heading back into the classroom this week, as they took part in a unique workshop presentation highlighting the needs and processes of the modern automotive industry.

The four-stage seminar, lead by members of the Andrew Page senior staff, highlighted the need for top quality training among technicians.

The chain, which operates 55 branches throughout the UK, offers its own Auto Education scheme, which enables technicians to update old skills, and learn new ones along the way.

The 65 year old company has offered customers the opportunity to have their technicians trained as part of the programme, in particular focusing on the ATA accredited Diagnostic Technician certification.

Simon Mullin, Andrew Page’s marketing director said: “Funding customer training has been a fundamental part of the business philosophy and goes back over a number of years, and on that basis we have seen many businesses benefit from the Andrew Page Auto Education training programme. With the recent expansion of the business we are taking this opportunity to introduce new customers to what we have to offer.”

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Saab offers free MOT test to customers

Saab technicians will be on hand for customers

Saab technicians will be on hand for customers

Saab is hoping to entice customers to its registered garages by offering a free MOT service to owners.

In a bid to keep customer satisfaction levels high, Saab is giving owners the chance to join its Saab Service Club, one of the benefits of which is an annual inspection of the vehicle.

Such a move will draw valuable MOT tests away from the aftermarket, at a time when garages are fighting to keep the current system format.

In the ever-more competitive world of manufacturing, companies are trying to keep customers happy by whatever means necessary. Saab is promising that the free MOT service will be carried out by fully trained technicians, and garages have a plentiful supply of Saab parts should they be required.

David Leighton, aftersales business development manager at Saab GB said: “The Saab Service Club offers a cost-effective way to keep Saabs in perfect running condition through their lifetime of ownership and members can now take advantage of the free MOT offer available to them immediately after registering.”

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Motor Codes grows with addition of JLR

Picture 2

Jaguar Land Rover has taken the first steps to sign all of its dealers and repair workshops up to the Motor Codes website.

The 263-strong dealer network has already been signed up to the principles outlined in the OFT-approved New Car Code. Now it has joined the Motor Codes network of some 6500 garages committed to providing a high quality experience for customers. The network aims to improve faith in garages and offers a structured complaints procedure for consumers.

The drive to enhance the customer experience comes after the release of new sales figures for JLR, showing a record number of units sold for the company. The manufacturer says that it’s sales are attributed to a continuing faith shown by consumers for the JLR brand.

The Motor Codes principles are divided into three key areas, making sure that regulations cover new car sales, servicing and repair, and the sale of warranty products.

Chris Mason, managing director at Motor Codes said: “Motor Codes now represents the vast majority of manufacturer networks, with motorists enjoying customer relationships based on quality, trust and reliability, backed by our dedicated customer advice line, should queries arise. I’m sure that Jaguar Land Rover’s involvement further cements its position as a premium service provider in the eyes of its customers.”

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Petrol still the most popular choice for motorists

The survey asked 1700 motorists for their fuel preference

The survey asked 1700 motorists for their fuel preference

With its high economy values, you might think that diesel cars would be taking over from their petrol counterparts in the mind of the modern motorist.

But a new study has shown that when deciding on their next cars, petrol still proves the most popular choice for motorists.

Vehicle hiring website ContractHireAndLeasing asked almost 2000 motorists whether they’d be choosing petrol or diesel for their next cars. 35 percent of those motorists chose to opt for a petrol option, compared to just 25 percent opting for diesel.

The reason for this is believed to be that despite the higher economy values of diesel engines, motorists are unhappy about paying the higher fuel prices that come with it.

The study also revealed that diesel cars are attracting more men than women, with 29 percent of the people opting for diesel fuel being male. A further 4 percent of people in the study said they didn’t care about what fuel their next car took, instead placing other factors like overall cost and looks in higher importance.

Bad news for EV manufacturers too, with just 2 percent of motorists saying they’d be looking to buy an electric vehicle for their next motor.

Richard Lawton, a spokesperson for the website which conducted the research said: “Although diesel took 46.1 per cent of the new car market last year, this figure included registrations from fleet buyers and business car users who favour diesel because of its fuel efficiency over long trips. Private buyers have shown that they still prefer petrol; for its lower pence per litre cost, suitability to smaller cars and the quietness of petrol engines.”

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Indies can be trusted with security data, says garage association

Stuart James has been speaking out for Indy's

Stuart James spoke out for indy garages

Independent garage rep Stuart James has renewed calls for vehicle assemblers to release crucial vehicle security information to independent garages.

James, who heads up the Independent Garage Association, used a recent conference at the International Association of Auto Theft Investigators to bang the drum for independents.

Speaking to an audience of 200 delegates, he played down the risk of a hike in car crime resulting from security data ending up in the wrong hands.

“The process being developed will enable the detection of crimes extremely quickly,” he said.

He explained that the details of technicians who apply to access vehicle assembler security data will be held in a Technicians Database as a logged entry of their actions.

The database will also allow the garage to log in to a special section of VA websites housing security data, logging their actions as they do so.

It is in this way that the IGA hopes to eliminate any risk to VAs posting their security data online.

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