Archive | April, 2012

John Ball to step down as RMI MOT Chairman

John Ball to step down as RMI MOT Chairman

John Ball will step down as MOT Chairman of the RMI in May.

Ball says he has enjoyed his time as Chairman of the federation’s MOT wing, and he is pleased to have played a lead role in defeating the frequency challenge. He says his efforts have been more than justified.

Commenting on his decision Ball said: “Regrettably I don’t have the time to continue the role, but I hope the MOT industry will continue to focus on dealing with the really big issues, the most critical in my view – fixing the MOT fee.

“I will continue to work with the IGA and look forward to working with them on new projects that will strengthen the position of independent garages throughout the UK.”

RMI Chairman Alec Murray said: “I would like to thank John for his hard work and commitment to the MOT division over the past 18 months. John was integral in the fight against the potential MOT frequency change. His tireless efforts ensured that frequency of the MOT remained the same, a win for both road safety and the industry. I wish him well in his future activity.”

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Three companies are taking on the infamous three peaks challenge for BEN in the coming months.

Throughout June and July teams from KYB, Inchcape UK and Porsche will be taking on the tallest peaks in England, Scotland and Wales to raise funds for the automotive industry charity.

Inchcape is facing the challenge in June, and has set itself an impressive target of £10,000 to raise for BEN. Eight teams from the company will be climbing the peaks, which will involve climbing over 40kms.

A team from the Porsche Centre in Wilmslow will also be taking on the challenge, as Dean Robinson, Gavin Bailey and driver Stuart set out to raise vital funds for BEN. The team, calling themselves the ‘Stratstone Porsche Pie-oneers’, has been praised by BEN for going ‘above and beyond’ in their efforts.

Last but by no means least; a team from KYB are also tackling the peaks. Five employees from the suspension components supplier – Business Managers Stevie Moore, Romin Nassiri and Jordan Day, Customer Services Supervisor Vicky Smith and former General Manager Matt Robinson – are gearing up for the challenge.

KYB UK’s Business Manager, Stevie Moore, said “It seemed like a good idea when it was first suggested that we should take part, now all we have to do is get fit! I am sure it will be hard work, but it is in a very good cause and I’m confident that we will complete it and raise much needed funds for BEN.”

The team will be keeping a blog of its experiences here.

All three companies are collecting donations for BEN. To sponsor the KYB team click here, to sponsor the Inchcape team click here and to sponsor the team from the Porsche Centre click here.

We wish them all the best of luck!

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Motor Codes has announced the top 20 garages in the UK.

As part of its Garage of the Year competition Motor Codes asked consumers to vote for their favourite garages. From all over the UK nominations flooded in, leading to the top 100 being announced some weeks ago.

Now the best from each region have been whittled down to leave two businesses in each area, separated into large and small garages.

The full list of regional winners is given below, but there are some notable achievements including an appearance by three time CAT Garage of the Year award winners ABP Motorsport in Crewe.

ABP Manager Chris Meredith was understandably elated: “We are delighted to have made it through to the finals once more. After falling short of the judged final hurdle in the previous two years we are all hoping this year that the result may go our way and we finally get to the winning post first.”

The twenty regional finalists will now have their votes and customer feedback analysed by a panel of motoring experts including The Sun’s Motors editor, Ken Gibson, Emma Butcher, consumer editor at What Car? magazine, John Jackson of Havoline and CAT’s Peter Lawton.

In addition, each regional winner will be independently assessed by the RAC, to monitor quality of service, value for money and overall customer satisfaction.

A winner in both the small and large business categories will then be announced.

Motor Codes Managing Director Chris Mason said: “It’s clear to see from the tremendous level of support for the competition – we received double the number of votes compared to last year – that motorists value simple, good old fashioned customer service.

The car service and repair business is a two-way relationship, with word of mouth important for garages and consumer confidence.  Garage of the Year gives people a formal way of showing their appreciation, at the same time as letting other motorists know where to find the garage good guys.”

Garage of the Year regional winners:

Small business category

Region Garage
East of England Kings of Witcham, Ely
Midlands Church Road Garage, Baschurch
North East Cavendish Motor Company, Ashington
North West ABP Motorsport, Shavington
Northern Ireland The Motor Gym, Bangor
Scotland Firstdrive Cars, Stonehaven
South East MOT City, Winnersh
South West Car Care Tetbury, Tetbury
Wales A1 Motorcare, Cardiff
Yorkshire Lowfield Garage, Malton

Large business category

Region Garage
East of England Roy Tolley Citroen, Colchester
Midlands Independent Automotive, Coventry
North East Sherwoods Vauxhall, Stockton-on-Tees
North West Polar Ford, St Helens
Northern Ireland SERE SEAT, Lisburn
Scotland Helensburgh Toyota, Helensurgh
South East The Test Centre, Deptford
South West Brunel Ford, Weston-Super-Mare
Wales FRF Toyota, Swansea
Yorkshire Reynolds of Selby, Selby

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CAT runs for BEN

Congratulations to all of the CAT team members who ran Sunday’s London Marathon for BEN, the automotive charity, and thanks for all of the generous donations so far.

We had three direct entrants taking part – David Harris, Jonathan Whitehead and Martin Lee – and all finished.

David suffered a hamstring injury at around mile 21, but he soldiered on to finish in 5:48. Jonathan managed 4:48 while Martin recorded our fastest time of 4:46.

Congratulations to all out aftermarket colleagues who took part including the IGA’s Stuart James with a 5:33 and Neil Kennett with a stonking 4:06.

We’re still collecting money on behalf of BEN, so click on this link and dig deep for a great cause.

And here’s a snapshot of the CAT team in action:

Screen shot 2012-04-26 at 14.04.06

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The Complete CAT Council

The Complete CAT Council


Welcome to the CAT Council

We want CAT to remain at the heart of the UK aftermarket, and to help do that we want to hear from YOU.

We’ve gathered a council of some of the most influential people in the aftermarket to discuss the issues facing our industry. We’ve collected opinions from suppliers, factors, garages, retailers and manufacturers to bring you unique discussion and insight.

The question we asked the council this month was:

How much should a garage charge for an MOT? Should discounting be allowed? How should the industry be regulated?

Click the links below to see responses from:

Suppliers A-M

Suppliers M-Z




Trade Associations and others

Come back soon when we’ll be hearing more from the CAT Council

Got something to say? Get in touch with us on 020 8267 5927 or leave a comment below

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ABP celebrates more ATA accreditation

ABP celebrates more ATA accreditation

ATA Awards photo

ABP Motorsport in Crewe is celebrating more of its technicians gaining the prestigious ATA qualification.

The CAT Garage of the Year Award winner previously had just one technician accredited with the ATA. Owner Chris Meredith says it was only a matter of time before he wanted all his technicians to be certified: “Training is expensive for a small business when you consider the cost involved per person. It comes to over £1,000 per technician but I believe the benefits far outweigh the costs.

“From a customer perspective what better way to show them that your technicians are not only fully qualified and able to carry out work on their cars but that they have also been independently assessed and accredited as able to work on the latest vehicles.

“It also shows as a business that we only employ technicians who are able to demonstrate that they are fully able to comply with modern vehicle technology and aren’t just people that passed exams 25 years ago!”

Meredith says more garage owners should consider sending their technicians on the qualification scheme: “Rather that give your men 3 percent at review time send them on an ATA course as it’s a WIN-WIN scenario – they get the accreditation and you get to market it!”

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Euro Car Parts is celebrating the official opening of its 100th branch in the UK.

The Harrow branch has been operating for almost three weeks, however today marked the official opening of the site, and a visit from the borough’s Mayor, Cllr Mrinal Choudhury.

The new site has some 12,000 square foot of warehouse space, stocking around 25,000 products and staffed by 19 workers. ECP has set the new branch ambitious targets, the company aims for the site to be making £20,000 per day within the next few months.

The Mayor was given a tour of the facility by new Branch Manager Mahmood Piprawala.

Piprawala was previously helping to run ECP’s Wembley branch. He said: “Sukhpal gave me a real challenge. He rang up and said he wanted me to help run his 100th branch. I said yes boss!

“It’s been different to what I’ve done previously but there’s a lot of people here from Wembley so it’s the same faces.”

Speaking at the event the Mayor praised Euro Car Parts for bringing new employment opportunities into the Harrow community: “Euro Car Parts has bought a new light into Harrow. This community doesn’t have much industry, this has bought new jobs for this complex. I think it will give the local businesses a nice boost, if the price is competitive.”

ECP founder Sukhpal Singh Ahluwalia was also present, along with new ECP Chief Operating Officer Andy Hamilton.

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Damage caused by the fire was extensive

Damage caused by the fire was extensive

Two years ago things looked bleak for Powerdrive DFIS Ltd.

Its future was far from certain following a fire that had almost destroyed the business. Today however, the garage is going from strength to strength.

Owners Ian Crowley and Stuart Mohamed say that even though the Portsmouth based business was established some 22 years ago, the fire couldn’t have come at a worse time. The duo were in the process of buying the garage from the founder of the business, Glynn Ralls: “The contract was agreed, and all that remained was for Glynn to shake the hands of the staff and say his goodbyes,” they explained.

“The phone call came late on a Thursday night. A car in for repair started the fire, and it didn’t take long for the whole building to go up.”

“At the time it looked as if half of Hampshire’s fire service were on site fighting the flames,” said Stuart. “They later told me that if they’d arrived ten minutes later it’s doubtful there would have been anything left worth saving.”

The pair say that with so much of the business gone, they weren’t sure whether anything could be salvaged. Fortunately an army of friends and family was on hand to help get Powerdrive back on track: “We couldn’t have done it without their help – we were able to partially reopen on the Monday following the fire, and within six weeks we were fully operational.”

The business joined the Bosch Car Service network five years ago. Concept Manager Howard Price says the fact that Powerdrive is doing so well is a testament to its staff and customers: “It’s not that easy for garages at the moment and this is great example of hard work overcoming a disastrous event.”

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CAT is running a marathon

As many of you will by now have heard, several members of the CAT team are running this weekend’s London Marathon.

Publisher David Harris, Ex-CAT Sales Manager Martin Lee and current Sales Manager Jonathan Whitehead will be pounding the streets of London to raise money for the automotive industry charity, BEN.

We’ve already raised lots of money for the charity, but we can always do more. Please head over to our donations page here to help us reach our target. Every pound is very much appreciated!

And if you’re wondering why I personally won’t be running this Sunday, remember that someone has to keep the seats in the pub warm for afterwards while the others are out doing the race. It’s a hard life…

Posted in Blogs, Darren Moss' BlogComments (0)

Valvoline expands into Russia

Valvoline has announced a new supply deal to distribute its products to the growing Russian market.

The Valvoline brand, which is part of Ashland Consumer Markets, has announced a five-year agreement to distribute Valvoline oil product to the Russian passenger car market.

Valvoline will now be distributed in Russia

Valvoline will now be distributed in Russia to the passenger car markets.

While the full worth of the agreement hasn’t been disclosed, it has been confirmed that Russia’s third-largest oil company TNK-BP will be distributing the oil.

Ashland Consumer Markets President Sam Mitchell said: “We are very excited about this distribution relationship with TNK-BP.

“With its passenger car lubricants market being the largest in Europe – and still growing year on year, Russia represents a significant growth opportunity for passenger car motor oils, particularly with the increasing popularity of Western cars.

“By combining Valvoline’s brand leadership and high-quality lubricants with TNK-BP’s extensive retail network and local market insights, we believe we can build a strong foundation for future growth and market share expansion.”

A statement from TNK-BP said the company was looking forward to using the Valvoline products to grow consumer offerings at its 15,000 store locations throughout Russia. Thanks to the breadth of TNK-BP’s presence in the Russian market the Valvoline brand can also expect significant growth in the near future.

Posted in Factor & Supplier News, NewsComments (0)

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