Archive | December, 2011

The aftermarket needs to up its game in 2012

Franchises are going to have their work cut out in 2012.

We’ve seen over the past few months that the independent aftermarket is taking an ever-larger slice of the repair and servicing pie. The latest Trend Tracker report shows that in 2011 independents have taken 45.7 percent of all servicing and repair work in the UK.

Fair enough, that’s still less than half, but consider this – In 2010 that figure was just 42 percent. This sort of growth has got the franchises worried, as well it should.

Automotive consultancy companies are noticing the trend as well. Specialist analysts at Coachworks Consulting say that franchises are going to have to seriously rethink their approach to after-sales services if they’re going to compete.

Coachworks says that in the past, dealers have been happy to solve their problems by forking out thousands of pounds on IT enquiry systems, rather than focusing on improving customer services. In 2012, that all needs to change.

Coachworks MD Karl Davis said: “In this sort of climate, it’s no longer enough for leaders to invest in enquiry management technology and then wash their hands of the matter thinking they’ve done their bit.”

In the short time I’ve been a part of the independent aftermarket, I’ve seen this industry has an incredible ability to change and adapt to the needs of the consumer. As the stats are starting to show, motorists are getting more faith in going to independents, and that trend looks set to roll on into the New Year.

That doesn’t mean you can rest on your laurels though, the independent aftermarket needs to be more dynamic and more innovative than ever before in 2012. We need to be getting customers through the doors not (necessarily) with basement prices, but with the promise of the best customer service they’ll find anywhere.

Franchises will be spending the Christmas period thinking about how they’re going to claw back a bigger market share in the New Year, you need to be doing the same. If you’ve been on the brink of investing in new technology for the past few months, now is the time to take the plunge.

Likewise, if you’ve been storing up the advice from our monthly Know How pieces in the magazine, now is the time to put it all into action.

2012 will be all about taking care of the customer, and in turn they’ll help you take care of your business. Whatever the franchises do in the New Year, the aftermarket needs to be doing it better. Remember that and you should be able to look forward to a profitable 2012.

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TRW wins valuable CV supply contract

TRW's components can increase safety

TRW's components can increase safety

TRW has won a valuable contract to supply video camera sensors to a major European truck manufacturer.

The components supplier says its unit will be used to support a range of sensory applications, such as lane departure warnings and automatic emergency braking systems.

The EU mandates both systems, with legislation governing installation of such systems coming into place in 2013.

TRW says its system can help to seriously increase the safety applications of commercial vehicles.

Executive Vice Presidents for Sales and Business Development Peter Lake said: “As commercial truck manufacturers move forward in complying with pending legislation, TRW can meet their needs in terms of the camera and radar hardware – and importantly in developing the algorithms that help make high level safety decisions based on the sharing of data between the environmental sensing systems.”

TRW will begin supplying the components in late 2012.

Posted in Factor & Supplier News, NewsComments (0)



Unipart Automotive has bought Rapid Car Parts for an undisclosed sum.

The supplier bought the factor chain this month, giving Unipart better factor coverage in the South East.

Unipart now owns Rapid Car Parts branches in Watford, Norwich, Lowestoft, Cheshunt, and Great Yarmouth. Unipart says that acquisition is part of its continuing strategy to extend its factor coverage in the UK.

Rapid Car Parts was placed into administration earlier in December, with administrators Pricewaterhouse Coopers appointed to seek a buyer. It didn’t take Unipart long to snap up the chain, with the deal being completed just a few days later.

Unipart Automotive’s Managing Director Andrew Jeffrey said: “This acquisition marks Unipart Automotive’s strengthening position and commitment to expanding operations in the UK. While many organisations are looking to rationalise during this challenging economic period, Unipart Automotive continues to thrive. This investment demonstrates our commitment to profitable growth with particular focus on customer service, efficiency and quality.”

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Standard Motor Products Europe (SMPE) has bought Fuel Parts UK for an undisclosed sum.

The deal will see no change in the management structure at Fuel Parts UK, with the new owners confirming they don’t expect any employment losses.

It has also been confirmed that Managing Director Andy West will remain with the business.

SMPE Managing Director Ian Turner said: “Fuel Parts has been a successful supplier of their products for many years with a good reputation for range, service and quality. By combining the SMPE and Fuel Parts ranges and expertise, we will be able to create an extremely attractive offer for all our customers.”

Turner says he won’t be making any drastic changes to Fuel Parts UK in the near future: “It’s early days, and at the moment we’re just trying to understand the business and how it works. SMPE can learn a lot from Fuel Parts, and vice versa.”

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Andrew Page has teamed up with a local customer

Andrew Page has teamed up with a local customer

Andrew Page has teamed up with one of its customers to raise money for charity.

The motor factor is supporting customers David and Sue Connellan from Worcester’s Mobile Mechanic in their fund raising efforts for The Glory Baptist Charity. The charity funds and supports school building projects in The Gambia, and funds raised by Andrew Page will go towards refurbishing the vehicles used to transport building materials.

By January the first vehicle completed with help from Andrew Page will be ready. David and Sue have volunteered to drive the vehicle to The Gambia on completion – a journey which will take them almost two weeks.

The Glory Baptist charity is also hoping to ship two further vehicles to The Gambia over the coming months, along with a container full of building materials and school equipment.

Andrew Page’s Managing Director Mark Roberts said: “We are very happy to support the work of this charity. David and Sue have been tireless in their support for what is a very worthwhile charity, which brings the gift of learning to many children in The Gambia. We are happy to play our part.”

David Connellan added: “We really appreciate the support from Andrew Page, we have always enjoyed a close working relationship with the company.

“The contribution from them has enabled us to refurbish the LDV and Sue and I will undertake the journey to The Gambia which will be an arduous trip but the end result will be a brand new school for the children of the area.”

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Imperial Automotive launches cool website

The site showcases over 13,000 parts

The site showcases over 13,000 parts

Imperial Automotive has launched a new website to promote its cooling range

The website will showcase the new range of over 13,000 cooling parts. It can be found at

The alternative crash parts supplier hopes the website will open up new business opportunities in both the trade and retail sectors. The new cooling range covers replacement parts for over 105,000 different models.

Imperial says its parts are all manufactured to strict quality standards. Marketing Manager Simon Stringer said: “We’re always looking for ways we can improve our range, and with so many cooling parts now available to us, the logical answer was to develop a website dedicated to these specialist parts.

“Trade customers can continue to enjoy next day delivery, no minimum order value and now an easier way to search, shop and order the right cooling part for any vehicle.”

Posted in Factor & Supplier News, NewsComments (0)

HiQ celebrates 100th ATA technician

Matt Robinson accepted the award

HiQ Frome manager Chris Davison accepted the award

HiQ is celebrating after gaining its 100th fully ATA accredited technician.

The fast fit chain congratulated Matt Robinson from HiQ Frome at the national franchise conference. He accepted the award from fast fit manager Stuart Carr.

HiQ started encouraging its technicians to undertake ATA training through its HiQ Academy in 2010, aiming to boost customer confidence at its 150 centres.

Technician Matt Robinson said: “I am really pleased to have passed this qualification and be acknowledged for my skills in the job.

“You don’t realise how much you know until you’re put to the test so it’s great to have the official recognition and be listed on the ATA website.”

Stuart Carr said that HiQ is well on track to have every technician within its network ATA accredited by the end of 2012: “This is a fantastic achievement for HiQ and one that shows our continued investment in training and professional development.

“Through HiQ Academy, our aim has always been to reassure customers that they are receiving the best technical and professional service, whichever centre they visit.”

Posted in Garage News, NewsComments (1)

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