Archive | March, 2012

VMS IN EUROPEAN COMMISSIONER’S SIGHTS

VMS IN EUROPEAN COMMISSIONER’S SIGHTS

A key figure in the fight to guarantee access to technical information has committed to action after a demonstration of the difficulties garages can face getting data.

Philippe Jean, Head of the Automotive Industry Unit of the Enterprise and Industry Directorate General of the European Commission, visited a garage in Holland for the demonstration along with Colin Parlett from the Independent Garage Association.

Jean was shown the hurdles which garages face when connecting with vehicle manufacturers’ websites.

In an interview you can see below, Jean said: “You know the problems. Now I am looking at he difficulties which could be faced by independent operators in order to access the data. It makes the problem more real for me.”

Jean said there was an obligation for the European Commission to monitor the access which independents are entitled to, and ensure action taken was effective in improving the situation.

Colin Parlett of the IGA said: “The Commission has seen the difficulty that my colleagues are having in obtaining information. We need the Commission to look at the situation to make sure manufacturers comply with the regulation, both in spirit and in practice.”

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VMs in European Commission’s sights

A key figure in the fight to guarantee access to technical information has committed to action after a demonstration of the difficulties garages can face getting data.

Philippe Jean, Head of the Automotive Industry Unit of the Enterprise and Industry Directorate General of the European Commission, visited a garage in Holland for the demonstration along with Colin Parlett from the Independent Garage Association.

Jean was shown the hurdles which garages face when connecting with vehicle manufacturers’ websites.

In an interview you can see below, Jean said: “You know the problems. Now I am looking at he difficulties which could be faced by independent operators in order to access the data. It makes the problem more real for me.”

Jean said there was an obligation for the European Commission to monitor the access which independents are entitled to, and ensure action taken was effective in improving the situation.

Colin Parlett of the IGA said: “The Commission has seen the difficulty that my colleagues are having in obtaining information. We need the Commission to look at the situation to make sure manufacturers comply with the regulation, both in spirit and in practice.”

Posted in Garage News, NewsComments (0)

Groupauto opts to join the SMMT

Groupauto opts to join the SMMT

Groupauto has become the first factor buying group to join the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

The 110-year-old SMMT represents the interests of the UK automotive industry, lobbying parliament and the media and also incorporates the Motor Code for Service and Repair.

Groupauto Managing Director Jim Mazza sais: “We will retain our involvement and support of the IAAF which represents motor factors, parts manufacturer, parts distributors and garages in the independent sector of our industry, but would like a wider involvement in an organization which is representative of the whole industry.

“Our intention is not to be a passive member of the SMMT, but to be involved, to listen and learn and in doing so have the opportunity to influence.”

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Groupauto joins SMMT

Groupauto has become the first factor buying group to join the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

The 110-year-old SMMT represents the interests of the UK automotive industry, lobbying parliament and the media and also incorporates the Motor Code for Service and Repair.

Groupauto Managing Director Jim Mazza sais: “We will retain our involvement and support of the IAAF which represents motor factors, parts manufacturer, parts distributors and garages in the independent sector of our industry, but would like a wider involvement in an organization which is representative of the whole industry.

“Our intention is not to be a passive member of the SMMT, but to be involved, to listen and learn and in doing so have the opportunity to influence.”

Posted in Factor & Supplier News, NewsComments (0)

IGA now with added independence

I caught up with Stuart James, Director of the Independent Garage Association, today.

The IGA is part of the Retail Motor Industry Federation, of course, but the RMI has re-written its articles of incorporation and just voted them into effect.

It means the IGA is now more independent within the RMI, taking all of the money its members pay to do with as it sees fit. Previously IGA member money went into a central pot which many have been used by the RMI’s National Franchise Dealer Association to fight their corner instead – a little odd.

One of the things that Stuart is spending the cash on is free garage training for his members. Part of the training on hybrids, electric vehicles and tyre pressure monitoring systems is done ahead of a visit from the IGA’s newly-appointed training guru Lee Simonds.

Lee will then turn up at your workshop and complete the ATA-accredited course on your own turf. No travel expenses, hotel bills, greatly limited spanner-down time and new skills.

Seems to me it’s far too good an offer to turn down – brilliant.

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Fuel can sales soar 160%

Is it time to stock up?

Is it time to stock up?

Motorists panic-buying fuel after comments made by Cabinet Minister Francis Maude have helped sales of fuel cans soar by up to 160% at Wilco Motor Spares stores.

Wilco Motor Spares’ Director Richard Shortis said: “Our stores have seen a dramatic rise in the number of fuel cans being sold. We are rushing extra stock into our stores to cope with the increased demand.”

Despite being told not to panic, it seems motorists are doing just that after Francis Maude said: “When it makes sense, a bit of extra fuel in a jerry can in the garage is a sensible precaution to take.”

Shortis points out that motorists are limited to five litres in a plastic can, or ten in a metal design, while a jerry can carries 20 litres.

Blockades 13 years ago closed 3000 fuel forecourts across the country and left many stranded. Unions threatening action this year have not even yet named a date for when they may strike.

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ECP launches new collision repair range

ECP launches new collision repair range

ECP to start doing collision repair parts

ECP to start doing collision repair parts

Euro Car Parts has launched into the collision repair market with a new range of  body panels, bumpers, lighting units and air con and radiator parts.

ECP announced the new Platinum Plus range of crash repair parts at the Crashworth Keynote Event in London. All come with a lifetime warranty, ‘no quibble’ returns policy and a ‘Certificate of Matching Quality’ to show they meet PAS125 standards.

The company’s entrance into the collision repair market has been guaranteed since its sale to American firm LKQ last year. LKQ made its name in the collision repair market in the US, and has been instrumental in transforming the US market from sourcing 80 percent of  collision parts from VM sources to 80 percent from alternative sources.

Founder of ECP Sukhpal Singh Ahluwalia said: “Today has been a great success. We have raised awareness of this exciting new proposition among the most appropriate people in the UK crash repair industry. LKQ is the world’s largest distributor of aftermarket collision parts and in the US it has transformed the market. Euro Car Parts can do the same thing in the UK.

ECP isn’t taking the new venture lightly either – the company says it plans to have a bodyshop expert at each of its branches to liase with local garages. As well as an investment in personnel ECP will also be bringing new fleet vans on board, specially designed to carry the fragile body panels.

New Head of Collision Repair Richard Taylor said: “In addition to over 100,000 mechanical parts, we now offer a wide range of accredited body panels, lighting units, air con and radiator products.

“Our exciting new Platinum Plus range is the first programme in the UK to cover body panels and bumpers under one brand.”

ECP says it hopes to be able to offer same-day delivery services to around 40 percent of UK bodyshops. The company will shortly be publishing a Collision Repair Guide with more details.

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Sovereign’s on the move in Bognor Regis

Sovereign is moving to a new location in Bognor Regis.

The rotating electrics manufacturer is moving to a new facility across the road from its current location, which will mean moving stock and personnel to the new warehouse on the Durban Road.

Sovereign says that during the move, planned for the 13th April, there will be some minor disruptions including limited phone capacity.

However, the company says that orders can still be accepted by fax or Ebis and that the warehouse will continue to ship parcels as usual.

The move may form part of Sovereign’s long-term growth plans, following the company’s sale of a 30 percent stake to US firm WAIGlobal in September last year.

At the time Soveriegn said WAIglobal wanted to enter the UK market and needed a partner so that it could offer a complete range with remanufacturer items.

Sovereign’s new address is:

Unit 1 & 2 Durban Park

Durban Road

Bognor Regis

PO22 9RJ

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Drat and damn

I was hoping that the Kia dealership I took a Picanto to for its first service yesterday (not my choice, don’t blame me) would drop a ball somewhere, but it didn’t.

In fact I think it was pretty much a model for how a garage needs to take care of its customers.

Everything was clean and tidy, there were lots of comfortable seats and access to computers, current magazines (not two-year-old jobs), coffee, tea, water, biscuits, toys (for kids, not me), a television, fresh flowers and wifi access.

The toilet was spotless, the staff were friendly and the work took half an hour less than suggested and cost £10 less than promised. It’s easy to under-promise and over-deliver in this way, but it still leaves customers with a tiny little extra spring in their step. My car was also valeted.

I watched a procession of satisfied customers come in and out during my hour-and-a-bit wait, so it seems Lovekyn Kia in Ewell is doing well out of all of this attention to detail and making tidy money on servicing and repairs.

Lots of you out there have facilities like these – I know because I’ve been there – but I also know there are more who could quite easily up their game considerably by adding in a few missing pieces.

It’s not reinventing the wheel, it’s just making the customer feel comfortable and valued.

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Garage of the Year draws record attention

Garage of the Year draws record attention

The Motor Codes Garage of the Year competition

The Motor Codes Garage of the Year competition

The Motor Codes Garage of the Year competition is drawing record attention from consumers.

Website statistics for the competition reveal that over 5000 votes have already been recorded in the first month of the competition. Motor Codes also says there has been a 130 percent year on year increase in garage profile views – proof that more consumers than ever before are considering taking their cars into the independent aftermarket.

Those garages already signed up to the competition are also enjoying record levels of web traffic, with the first round of competition voting closing on 1st April.

Shortlisted garages will then be entered into the second round of the competition, with the overall winner being announced in May.

Motor Codes says the competition is designed to find the very best garages in the UK, judged both through online voting and by customer comments.

Managing Director of Motor Codes Chris Mason says: “The competition has seen thousands of motorists go online to vote but the real impact is much greater. The website is getting record volumes of web traffic as thousands more visit the profile pages to find their next garage. The competition is providing a significant marketing boost for the Motor Codes network.”

“The garages that take advantage of this competition realise the marketing potential of getting satisfied customers to rate the standard of service received. Things might have moved online but there’s still no more powerful form of marketing than word of mouth.”

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