Archive | February, 2014



LendingAftermarket small and medium sized businesses could be set to benefit from better funding as Government scrutinises the lending process.

The Parliamentary Treasury Committee is beginning its inquiry today, and will be investigating how easy it is for SMEs to borrow money, the treatment they receive from the banks and how to open the sector up to more competition.

The Committee led by Chairman Andrew Tyrie MP will begin by gathering evidence, with Priyan Patel from the Federation of Small Businesses, Matthew Fell from the Confederation of British Industry and Professor Russel Griggs OBE from the Banking Taskforce Appeals Process all providing witnesses statements today.

Chairman Tyrie said: “SMEs report that they are struggling to secure adequate access to finance, from banks and elsewhere. It is vital to a sustainable economic recovery in the UK that this market be restored to working order.

“Regulatory and other impediments to competition need to be removed, enabling SMEs better to take advantage of new sources of finance. More competition can also drive up standards.”

He also adds that SMEs have been treated badly by banks and mis-selling of interest-rate swaps has caused some businesses to suffer significant losses.

Richard Fossett, Chief Executive Officer of a non-supplier of finance to SME’s, TradeRiver, believes this inquiry is necessary for the economy recovery of the UK, and as there is an inequality with the allocation funding to SMEs, explaining the reason why so many choose alternative funding.

He added: “SMEs are feeling squeezed by the banks, and banks in turn, after years of providing easy credit, often lack the required resources to handpick the SMEs to which they are comfortable to provide financial support. As a result, larger companies tend to be favoured over the smaller companies. Although banks are doing what they can, the change simply can’t happen overnight.

“Today there is also a huge pool of credit which is potentially available to SMEs from the credit re-insurance market. Tapping into this pool more extensively than at present could provide a credit supply solution to SMEs and requires a change of approach both by SMEs and their potential lenders.”

The Treasury Committee is welcoming any written submissions on the issues raised in its scope, and will outline a time line for the inquiry in due course.

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TecDoc aims to smooth the way for suppliers and the aftermarket

TecDoc aims to smooth the way for suppliers and the aftermarket

TecDoc-ScreenshotUsing an online system can increase the business efficiency of suppliers communicating to retailers and factors.

TecDoc has seen a number of recent successes that not only given the independent aftermarket more freedom, but also benefited new suppliers looking to target this sector.

The BRT Group switched its cataloguing system to TecDoc, allowing factors to access its 3300 part numbers available, including timing belt kits and tensioners, building on its bearings success back in 2012 to help it increase its growth.

Charlotte Merrell from BRT said: “In order to support our growing number of customers we needed to develop our online catalogue and it was clear that TecDoc would provide us with a stable and efficient platform we could rely on.”

TecDoc has also developed the its system to allow factors and retailers expand their online offerings, by getting Ebay and Amazon using its cataloguing system, which allows the aftermarket to extend its online sales capabilities. It also allows its users to pick data on an individual supplier basis.

TecDoc’s Shaun Greasley: “For the motor factor, CATALOG will be of particular benefit to their business. It contains more than three million part numbers supported by almost two million illustrations, which covers in excess of 49,000 and 41,000 commercial vehicle applications on a platform that is compatible with all computer systems and software.”

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Time is running out to be part of Top Technician 2014

Time is running out to be part of Top Technician 2014

task5Technicians wishing to prove they are the best have just one week left to apply.

Entrants must register and complete an online assessment for Top Technician 2014 before March 3, to be in with a chance of competing for the £2500 cash prize.

Nicola St. Clair, Project Manager of Top Technician 2014, said: “This year’s winner and runner up will share a prize pot worth over £19,000 including a tax-free £2500 cash award for the winner and £1000 for the runner up.”

The competition is open to all technicians and fault fixers with at least three years worth of experience, and is done in partnership with the Institute of the Motor Industry’s Automotive Technician Accreditation.

Each contestant will be automatically signed up to Top Tech online forum, and entitled to discounted tickets to the conference and awards ceremony on May 30.

To register visit

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Independent garages beating franchises at their own games

Independent garages beating franchises at their own games

GarageIndependent garages are breaking the notion that only franchised dealerships are associated with deliver high standards of customer service and repairs, says Approved Garages.

Network Manager Phil Seymour said that it came as no surprise that the Motor Codes 2014 report showed motorists favouring independent workshops over their franchised counterparts.

Consistency has been key to the independent sector excelling in areas deemed to be franchised dealerships strengths.

Seymour said: “From the 16,613 respondents that used an independent garage, rated the quality of the service and repair at a whopping 98 percent.

“This figure is no exception to the rule however, because it has achieved this rate for the last four years, up from 97 percent in 2009, despite the number of respondents growing substantially every year.

“Moreover, when asked to rate their customer service, independents increased their lead over franchised dealerships with a score of 98 percent, which has remained its benchmark level since the survey began in 2009.”

The figures show over that same period of time that the franchised dealerships scores have fluctuated, with them peaking at 96 percent for service and repair and 95 percent for customer satisfaction, while recording lows of 84 percent and 83 percent respectively, in 2009.

Seymour added it posed a pertinent question to the aftermarket why so many vehicles under warranty continue to be serviced by franchises. He also insisted that independent garages who are members of Motor Codes need to press home their advantage by communicating their high levels of consistency to their customers.

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Valeo’s wipers break the Silencio with new catalogue

Valeo’s wipers break the Silencio with new catalogue

HI-Res-Silencio-cat-cover-2014Valeo has launched a new catalogue outlining all of its Silencio range of wiper blades.

It details the complete range of 221 part numbers consisting of a mix of universal, flat blade, specific-fit, rear and hybrid wipers, covering more than 96 percent of the car parc.

The new catalogue aims to make the user’s life easier by providing as much information as possible, with clarification on range classifications, key packaging features and QR codes that link to the instructional fitting videos.

Valeo says that in conjunction with the launch of the new catalogue it has released 32 new blades fitting 60 vehicle applications. This includes the new Silencio X.Trm front flat wipers sets developed for the third generation Fiat Panda, Peugeot 208, Range Rover Evoque, Renault Clio and the VAG Group’s Seat Leon, Skoda Octavia, and Volkswagen’s Beetle and Mark VII Golf.

It has also introduced a small range of hybrid blades available for the Hyundai i30, Honda Civic and Jazz, Kia C’eed, Lexus GS450, Mitsubishi Outlander and Toyota’s Yaris and Verso.

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2014-CAT-Awards-WinnerDespite the best efforts of the British weather we were delighted to welcome the great and good of the aftermarket to the 2014 CAT Awards.

While the sun was shining as our event kicked off, rain, wind and flooding made for some epic journeys for those making their way to the awards venue at Twickenham Stadium from around the UK and abroad.

A huge thank you, then, to each of our 170 guests who battled on every conceivable mode of transport to arrive in good time for a champagne reception, lunch and, of course, the awards ceremony itself.

You’ll see over the following pages some familiar awards and some new, but they all share one thing in common – to showcase the best that the industry has to offer.

Our new Rising Star and Extra Mile awards aim to highlight the importance of people to our businesses. We can’t make do without good people, whether they’re a new apprentice or a new managing director.

We’re delighted to have these new categories alongside those for Lifetime Achievement, Supplier and workshops and factors both large and small.

As we have for the past few years, we wanted to support the work of our automotive industry charity BEN at the awards.

Chief Operating Office Nigel Rothband talked about how the charity can help workers, past and present, as well as their families and thanks to the generosity which our guests showed more than £2000 was raised to support BEN’s work.

Read what the CAT Award winners said below:

Supplier of the Year: Exol Lubricants

Retailer of the Year: Wilco Motor Spares

Rising Star of the Year: Matthew Say from Mann+Hummel UK

Large Factor of the Year: Livingston Autoparts

Small Factor of the Year: Spartan Motor Factors

Large Garage of the Year: Garej Wyn

Small Garage of the Year: Scotlands Ash Garage

Extra Mile Award: Cat Automotive

Lifetime Achievement Award: Brian Spratt

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Small Garage of the Year: Scotlands Ash Garage

Small Garage of the Year: Scotlands Ash Garage

Scotlands Ash Garage was crowned the 2014 Small Garage of the Year, and in doing so fought off some stiff competition from last year’s winner Anglo Continental Cars and GH Moreton.

Owner Peter Welch said: “I am absolutely amazed that we got into the last three and absolutely amazed that we won it.

“Me and my wife thought wow, to be in the top three, how fantastic is that, so when we won the award my wife let out a loud yelp and a scream, and, well, I am pretty chuffed.

“For us it was nice, as we are a fairly small village garage, and we have put a lot of effort into our business the 22 years we have been here.”

Peter puts the success down to all the hard work his team and he has put in by being straight with their customers and offering them a great service.

“We are not like many other garages,” says Peter. “We do MOTs from 6:30am appointment only, and by doing that you catch people coming off night shifts.

“Plus we have 28 to 29 courtesy vehicles, so people can, and we do have one lady who drives into our place at dead on 6.30am and she is in her office in Bristol at eight in her courtesy car. Nobody is doing this and that makes us unique.”

He added that after picking up the award, he has been inundated with congratulatory messages from customers ringing up or through Facebook.

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Large Garage of the Year: Garej Wyn

Large Garage of the Year: Garej Wyn

The Large Garage of the Year category has been dominated by ABP Motorsport, based in Cheshire, who managed to complete the quadruple last year. This year its monopoly was broken by Welsh workshop Garej Wyn who has scooped the accolade for the first time.

Owner Gareth Mathias was jubilant about picking up the illustrious CAT Award and said: “It’s one of the best things to have ever happened really. No-one around here has ever won anything like this before, so it is brilliant.

“We are extremely happy and very surprised, especially to win Large Garage of the Year. It is quite an achievement when you look at the competition we faced.”

The last two years has seen Gareth and his garage come on leaps and bounds after moving from an old 1950s filling station, into a new purpose- built unit.

“The move to the new premises has meant we are busier,” he adds. “It also means we can do a lot more work, and it is easier to carry out the work we need to. It is designed to be a working garage whereas the old place wasn’t, it has made things a lot quicker and more efficient.”

Gareth says the aim for Garej Wyn is to continue growing its business and customer base over the next 12 months, and of course, to do the double at the 2015 CAT Awards.

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Small Factor of the Year: Spartan Motor Factors

Small Factor of the Year: Spartan Motor Factors

To win anything two years on the trot is impressive, let alone if you have only been trading for two years, but that is exactly what Spartan Motor Factors has done by scooping the Small Factor of the Year Award for the second time.

Lee Gratton last year credited an article in CAT that opened a few doors for the small factor as it endeavoured to establish itself, and was quick to point to the award for opening further doors, as it has signed a deal to be part of the Premier Distribution Partnership buying group as of this month.

Gratton said: “We didn’t expect to win two years running as we have only been open two years, so we have won it every year we have been open as we enter our third year.

“It has been massive for us as it has helped us get noticed by suppliers. We were struggling to get some accounts, but everybody has seen us in CAT magazine which got us lots of accounts and got us recognised.”

The hope is that its new venture with PDP buying group will allow the Welsh factor to expand further and give their customers a more competitive offering. Gratton hopes to win a CAT Award for the third time in a row, not as Small Factor of the Year but in the hotly contested Large Factor of the Year category as it aims to surpass the £1million mark this year.

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Large Factor of the Year: Livingston Autoparts

Large Factor of the Year: Livingston Autoparts

The large factor of the year accolade is one of the most competitive and keenly contested in our awards, and this year the award was heading back to Scotland, as the Large Factor of the Year torch was passed on to Livingston Autoparts.

Sales Director Chris Burnside said: “It was a huge achievement to just be nominated, but to win was a huge shock.

“As a single branch factor we would never have thought it possible to have won. The finalists are always large, very well respected multi branch operations. We put a huge amount of effort into everything we do, and it is fantastic that this has been recognised by both our customers and suppliers who voted for us this year.”

“It is a huge morale boost to everyone involved, and it is just fantastic.”

Livingston Autoparts would like to thank their customers and suppliers who have helped them towards lifting the Large Factor of the Year Award for 2014.

Chris says that Livingston will continue to be proactive and look to continue growing the business in 2014 in a similar vein as the last couple of years that has seen their hard work pay off. We will have to wait and see if Livingston Autoparts complete the double next year.

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