Archive | December, 2013




The business had at one time been part of the Unipart Group but was sold two years ago.

Unipart still owns commercial vehicle parts supplier Truck and Trailer Components (TTC) which had continued to work with Intertruck.

It said in a statement: “TTC has been aware for some time that the Intertruck business has been experiencing difficulties.

“It is regrettable that the Intertruck business has closed, however we are confident that we will manage any impact this announcement might have on TTC.”

There are no details from Intertruck on whether a buyer for the business might be found through the administration process, or how many jobs are at risk if it is wound up.

The business recently trumpeted investment of around £1 million to improve its sales infrastructure and said 20 new staff had been taken on to work more closely with customers.

Posted in Factor & Supplier News, Garage News, NewsComments (0)

ECP teams up with MANN+HUMMEL

ECP teams up with MANN+HUMMEL

mannhummelEuro Car Parts and MANN+HUMMEL have entered into a new agreement which will see the filter company join the factor’s product offer from early in 2014.

The full range of MANN+HUMMEL’s car and light commercial vehicle filters will be available through the entire 140+ ECP branch network.

Martin Gray, Chief Executive Officer of Euro Car Parts, said: “I am delighted that the UK’s Number one parts distributor has partnered with the UK’s market-leading filter brand.

“Our objective is to provide the fastest-possible delivery service on the full range of MANN+HUMMEL products to our many thousands of garage and fleet customers throughout the UK.”

Existing filters offered by ECP include the Crosland brand, bought by ECP from Sogefi, Guttmann and Hengst.

Posted in Factor & Supplier News, Garage News, NewsComments (0)

ATA DAB qualification made easier with mobile assessment

ATA DAB qualification made easier with mobile assessment

DABThe Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) has built a new partnership to give technicians the opportunity to gain their ATA DAB accreditation.

The joint venture with the Federation Communication Services (FCS) and Mobile Electronic Security Federation (MESF) will be offering the test through mobile assessment centres.

It will allow technicians to obtain their DAB qualification in under one day, meaning less time out of the workshop.

This addition opens up the installer qualification to more technicians, in-car entertainment businesses and retailers.

The aim is to open a network of mobile assessment centres nationwide, with the first located in Cambridge at in-car specialist, Select-CBS.

Steve Scofield, Head of Accreditation at the IMI, said “There is a considerable amount of technical work involved when it comes to installing a DAB unit into a vehicle; with ATA DAB as part of the Digital Radio Installer Scheme, this will provide customers with the reassurance that their installer is working to the high standards required to use the Digital Radio Certification Mark.

“The digital switchover could affect in excess of 26 million vehicles, so we’re pleased to be supporting Digital Radio UK, by making ATA DAB as a widely available as possible to help the industry make the most of the opportunity.”

Posted in Factor & Supplier News, Garage News, News, Retailer NewsComments (0)

VMs continue to fail independent aftermarket despite legislation

VMs continue to fail independent aftermarket despite legislation

SkodaVehicle manufacturers are not supporting the independent aftermarket adequately says the Independent Garage Association (IGA).

The statement comes after its European counterparts BOVAG released its study into accessing technical data. It cited that only six of the 13 websites it researched allowed it to establish a connection between the manufacturers site and the vehicle.

Stuart James, Director at the IGA said it is a concerning trend that availability to technical information from VMs is still limited for independent garages.

He added: “The report proves that vehicle manufacturers are still restricting independent garages access to technical information, we believe this is a clear breach of the legal requirements that the European Commission has set for them.”

In 2010, it was made a legal requirement that manufacturers had to make all their technical information available to the independent sector. There was also an obligation to provide service bulletins, recall information, online diagnosis and software updates for Euro V vehicles.

James added: “Technical information is the life blood for independent garages to be able to repair cars in the future. Therefore it is imperative that the European Commission acts now to ensure that vehicle manufacturers are meeting the requirements set for them.”

Posted in Garage News, NewsComments (0)



Vauxhall-Insignia_300pxCarrying on the Inside Line series, we move on from looking at the Volkswagen Polo and turn our attention to the Vauxhall Insignia. Now in its second generation this car remains a firm favourite with fleet drivers. In this issue we are focusing on the first generation Insignia.

This was Vauxhall’s attempt to claw back some of the mid-range saloon market from the Ford Mondeo, and the fresh, desirable-looking Insignia was a significant upgrade on the inside and out of its predecessor the Vauxhall Vectra.

Unveiled in 2008 as the beginning of Vauxhall’s latest refreshed and grown up look, the new Insignia managed to claim European Car of the Year in 2009.

The Insignia was launched with a good range of powerplants. Motorists were spoilt with the 1.8-, 2.0- and 2.8-litre V6 petrol engines and a couple of 2.0-litre diesel options. The 2009 Insignia saw the introduction of stop-start technology, which has provided technicians with additional challenges.

Remember, too, that the information here is extracted from generous submissions from the market.

Next month we’ll be looking at the BMW 1 Series, so if you have expertise, knowledge and insight to share, we would be delighted to hear from you. To get your advice included contact or

Click below to see technical contributions on the Vauxhall Insignia from:

Autoelectro – explains issues with rotating electrics on the Insignia

Cambiare – covers a number of issues with the Insignia

Castrol – recapping why oil plays such an important part in the Vauxhall’s engine

CES – covers a number of issues with the Insignia

Comma – discusses the foibles of fluids and the importance of oil

Corteco – explains the seal issues on an Insignia

Dayco – looks at the belt system on the Insignia

First Line – analyse faults with braking and friction on the Vauxhall

FPS – comments on a whole host of common issues with Insignias

Manbat – advises on start-stop battery

Meyle – common issues on the Vauxhall Insignia solved

RMI – outlines a menagerie of Insignia problems

Suplex – explains the variety of springs on a Vauxhall Insignia

TecRMI – give us an insight into a few technical problems with the Insignia

ZF Services – advice on changing the steering system on an Insignia

Posted in CAT Features, Garage News, NewsComments (0)

Denso and MPD to arm students with technical info

Denso and MPD to arm students with technical info

DENSO---Fitting-AC-compressorDenso and Motor Parts Direct have joined forces to inspire the next generation of technicians at a special event host by South Devon College.

The day will mark the recent relocation of MPD to nearby the college by hosting two technical sessions for students of the Light Vehicle Maintenance and Repair course.

The event on 11 December will focus on technical aspects of vehicle emission control processes, including discussions about engine management systems, fuel systems, lambda sensors and spark plugs.

Kevin Blazey, Marketing Manager for Motor Parts Direct, said: “ The event is all about investing in the future of our industry by inspiring and educating the next generation of engineers. This is the first event of this kind that we’ve held, and we sincerely thank Denso for their help and agreeing to share their expertise.

Martin Pring, Manager at Denso Aftermarket Sales UK, added: “It is vital that we arm them with the most relevant and interesting information that we can, to ensure that they remain invested. This technical presentation to South Devon College is the perfect way to do this, plus it enables us to build stronger working relationships with Motor Parts Direct – something we intend to build on going forwards.”

Posted in Factor & Supplier News, Garage News, NewsComments (0)



The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation’s theme for its annual conference and dinner today was of the ‘next generation’ for the sector.

The event was somewhat controversially sponsored by the OESAA OE suppliers campaign which IAAF Chief Executive Brian Spratt has previously said risks ‘unravelling’ the market.

He once again touched on how the market needs to stand together behind the issue of quality if it is to have a future.

“I can understand that to some people here the appearance of that [OESAA] logo on stage is a red rag to a bull,” he told the conference, while acknowledging it is too easy for some suppliers to talk up the quality of their products.

“We can’t smother the fact that some parts for sale in our market are hiding behind the convenient cloak of self certification.”

Spratt also aimed to strike a balance between the two sides in the debate.

“Some part suppliers rightly pointed out that not being an OE supplier does not necessarily bring the products they sell into question.

“Of course, and recognised by OESAA’s own constitution, not all of the parts sold by OESAA members are parts that are sold as OE.

“The line of logos in the group’s advertising only serves to confuse potential purchasers.”

Failing to put quality at the heart of what the aftermarket does risks the entire future of the sector, he said.

“It’s about responsibility. It’s the other side of the coin from what we demanded as our right. We demanded our Right to Repair and we won it.

“We have a responsibility to supply parts that are appropriate in quality, appropriate in application, appropriate in fitting and appropriate for commissioning into service. That’s not just the metal and plastic of the part, it’s the hand that fits it as well.

“Only by accepting these responsibilities can we demonstrate that we all take it seriously and have any hope of convincing legislators and customers that we are professional enough to be rewarded with their trust and their business.

“I ask you to take the truths that we all recognise – your views, your services and your ethical standing – take it out to the market as a whole and say ‘look, this is what we need to ensure our future’.

“Our future is not in selling crap parts and turning a blind eye.

“We all need to make sure the next generation of the aftermarket behaves in appropriate manner.

“If we don’t then the market will turn against us and disappear. The legislators will legislate us out of existence – they’re being encouraged to do that as I speak. Where will the next generation be then?”

Spratt’s question mark over the self-certification of quality, and call on purchasers to demand suppliers show how they ensure it, chimes well with the work the IAAF is currently doing with Suplex to try and developed independently-verified standards for components across a wide range of categories.

Posted in Factor & Supplier News, Garage News, NewsComments (4)

Making money means managing measurements

Mike Owen

Just like John Genge, Mike Owen tackles your questions on running a garage and gets the ball rolling with sound business management advice.

Eleanor Roosevelt is quoted as saying: “The harder I work the luckier I become.”

It does not hold in the motor industry, where the harder you work the more profitable you should become. To ensure it, independent garages need to focus on business management.

You might say you already do – banking, wages, suppliers, VAT and so on – but business management is a whole lot more.

You can’t manage what you can’t measure, so it must be the intention of every business owner to understand the fundamental of the measurements you intend to manage and take the steps towards delivering that profit.

Our industry consumes money, almost creating a black-hole for profit (and more), but a fundamental of business management is to consider profit and return on that investment not to be a ‘nice to have’, but an imperative to the future of the business and a debt to be paid to the investors.

Once you have established the magnitude of the return to be made, it should be added to all of the other costs and bills to be paid – all of these then have to be paid during the financial period from the sale of labour, parts and anything else you sell.

Accepting these charges set the parameters of a business. A plan looks at how the intention becomes a reality. All aspects of what you do – and in the quantities that you do it – must be considered. Believe me, using fictitious figures or guess-work, make planning meaningless and will have you visiting your accountant to learn if, during your last financial period, you made any profit.

Business management looks daily, weekly, monthly and year-to-date on your progress toward your goals. This is not the job of your accountant, book-keeper or wife/partner (if they’re not the same person), all of their functions are after the fact – after the work is done. If the basic product, labour, is not controlled and used efficiently all they can count is chaos.

Your labour rate, another function of business management, gives consideration of how many units you are capable of selling – please note I did not say buy or use! Sold hours divided by cost; it is as simple as that. The key to achieving target must, therefore, start from turning this intention into a reality – and measuring it every day.

Consultants, like me, crack on about Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s), when all they do is give you a heads-up on a particular subject, just like a headline in a newspaper. It’s only if there is a point of interest that you read down into the text and KPI’s are used in exactly the same way, either over or under expectation, that you look deeper into the content.

KPI’s are not all financial, far from it. They measure time, loan-car use, consumables and parts profits, indeed anything that is a point of interest and requires management – all to give management control to turn intention into a reality.

While working with a client in the Midlands, a member of staff said to me: “You’re anal about these figures.” I replied: “I am anal about achieving targets, the figures just let me know that I’m on target.”

As business owners we become too close to the wood to see the trees. Often in among the day-to-day activity we accept and even condone slips from best practice with comments such as ‘We did our best’, ‘it was out of our hands’ or ‘ if the parts supplier…’. Business management is a game of averages not individual circumstances. If your KPI identifies a problem, look at the problem at that level then cascade the solution down to work level activities. Understanding and embracing business management gives you an added dimension to be objective about the work and reflective about the results.

Having taken business management into my own businesses and used it to develop our own performance levels I am, of course, a campaigner for the merits thereof – but others are coming on board. Increasingly I see others offering various training courses on the subject – I salute them. Far from being ‘dog-in-the-manger’ about this I see the spreading of business management within the Independent Garage Sector as an effective tool in finding the route out of Bedlam, post-recession.

While KPIs are not always financial neither is good business management training focused on KPIs but will extend into reception training, workshop loading and newer soft skills such as closing techniques, controlling situations, Customer Satisfaction Indexes (CSI) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) One attendee at a business management course commented: “I send technicians on courses to learn about the last five percent without realising that there was another 85 percent to my own job.”

So let me take you back to another of those annoying sayings: “A dream is just a dream – a goal is a dream with a plan and a timescale” so, tell me, are you going to dream away 2014?

Posted in CAT Know-HowComments (0)

IGA freezes membership fees and expands training offering for 2014

IGA freezes membership fees and expands training offering for 2014

RMI-trainingThe Independent Garage Association has delivered an early Christmas present for all its members by freezing prices for a third year.

The decision to keep the membership costs the same was made after the IGA had managed to streamline its business and pass the savings on to its members.

Stuart James, Director at the IGA, said: “Through listening to our members we are able to offer them a package that fits their needs perfectly.

“The current membership fee will allow even more businesses to join and benefit from all that the IGA has to offer. We will continue to engage with our members to ensure the association evolves with the needs of the industry.”

This announcement comes on the back of the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMI) receiving the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) Approved Centre status.

This means the IGA will benefit by being able to accredit the IMI’s qualifications to its training programme, with the view to expand into new vehicle diagnostic sessions for 2014.

James added: “The IGA dedicates itself to providing quality training therefore this added qualification reinforces our commitment to raising standards in the industry.

“Our training scheme and IMI qualifications are yet another advantage of IGA membership. We are committed to ensuring all our members benefit from their membership and see real value for money.”

Posted in Factor & Supplier News, Garage News, NewsComments (0)

Groupauto chooses TIC to host its AutoCare tradeshow

Groupauto chooses TIC to host its AutoCare tradeshow

AutoCare-showGroupauto has already set its sights on 2014 and its AutoCare conference.

Next year’s event for its independent garage members will not only see it brought forward two months to April, but also a move to a new venue.

The switch from Stoneleigh, Warwickshire to the Telford International Centre, Shropshire is being made on the back of the successful motor factor conference earlier this year.

Jim Mazza, Managing Director at Groupauto, said: “The move from Stoneleigh came as a result of the positive feedback from members and suppliers to the motor factor tradeshow at TIC in October and the opportunity the venue gives us to bring all daytime elements of the event together into a single building.

“Irrespective of how successful our previous members events have been received, and this year they were widely regarded as our best ever. It is our desire to develop them to improve the experience for our members and our suppliers.”

The format of the AutoCare tradeshow will be in similar vein to the motor factor event with an exhibition, which already has more than 80 approved suppliers signed up. There will also be a conference for independent garage members to keep abreast of developments in the industry, concluded by a gala dinner where the garage of the year is announced.

Posted in Garage News, NewsComments (0)

  • FRANCHISING: The perils of buying into an unproven chain
  • EAT MY (BRAKE) DUST: Should we take brake pad emissions more seriously?
  • PRODUCTIVITY PUZZLE: Is the aftermarket as productive as it should be? .

more info

    • Should hand car washes face further regulation?

      View Results

      Loading ... Loading ...
    • Popular
    • Latest
    • Comments
    • Tags
    • Subscribe