Archive | March, 2017

FERDINAND BILSTEIN ACQUIRES KM AUTO TECHNIK

FERDINAND BILSTEIN ACQUIRES KM AUTO TECHNIK

Component company Ferdinand Bilstein will take over southern German clutch brand KM Auto Technik (KM), effective April 3, having acquired 100 percent of the firm. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

Company bosses Karsten Schüssler-Bilstein and Jan Siekermann will lead future development and strategy of KM in Durmersheim. The KM brand itself will join febi, SWAG and Blue Print, which are already under the Bilstein Group umbrella. Integration of the newcomer is expected to be complete in 2018.

“KM is an established and successful brand for clutch technology. With its integration into the bilstein group, we will be able to offer our customers an even wider range of spare parts. KM’s partners will benefit in future from our additional services, our international presence and our efficient logistics processes,” said a joint statement from Schüssler-Bilstein and Siekermann.

KM was founded in 1988  by Robert Kary and Albert Mangler.

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MIDWEST MOTOR FACTORS LAUNCH TRADE WEBSITE

Midwest Motor Factors has launched a trade-only website for the supply of crash repair parts.

The site allows users to log in and explore Midwest’s wide range of replacement body parts using number plate lookup.

New customers can apply for a personalised login by simply filling out a short form on the site. A backdated service also enables customers to revisit saved quotes and previous searches.

New-to-range products are promoted throughout the website, ensuring customers keep up to date with the latest arrivals.

All parts are shown alongside product images and  notes while OE numbers and retail prices enable customers to calculate the exact saving in comparison to the main dealer list price.

Paul Yardley, Midwest Area Factor Manager, said: “Our crash repair website offers customers thousands of exclusive, high quality products at affordable prices while on the go. Our online catalogue is mobile and tablet friendly and can be accessed from the palm of your hand.”

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ECP LAUNCH TRADE-ONLY WEBSITE

ECP LAUNCH TRADE-ONLY WEBSITE

Euro Car Parts has opened a trade-only website that will run in addition to the consumer site.

The new property, known as Omnipart, will feature a VIN search as well as the regular registration and make/model searches. The entire ECP catalogue is available including mechanical and collision parts, tools and workshop consumables, with each product identified by a photograph.

 

Another feature allows technicians to see both local and national stock levels, as well as price checks, in real time so that garages can have an indication of how long it will take for a part to be delivered.

Martin Gray, CEO of Euro Car Parts, commented: “We developed Omnipart as a key driver in our commitment to making life even easier for technicians working in the independent sector. With 24/7 access to ordering, instant updates on parts availability and smart search technology, garages can make sure the parts they need are included in the first order of the day. Ordering online also reduces the cost of outbound calls, keeping phones clear for a garage’s own customers.”

Earlier in the month, Midwest Motor Factors also launched a trade-only site for the provision of crash repair parts.

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A/C IN NEW VEHICLE MODELS REQUIRE A GREENER GAS

A/C IN NEW VEHICLE MODELS REQUIRE A GREENER GAS

PROMOTION ARTICLE ON BEHALF OF AUTODATA

R134a is 1,430 times more damaging to the atmosphere than carbon dioxide (CO2). New vehicles are required by law to use a greener refrigerant. Is your workshop prepared?

R134a has been used in the automotive industry for over 20 years. When compared to the progressive development of today’s vehicles and advances in other fluids and lubricants used in the motor industry, change in AC refrigerants is long overdue.

In 2011, the European directive 2006/40/EC came into effect. The new law required all newly designed cars and vans built for use in the EU, and equipped with air conditioning (AC) must use a refrigerant with a global warming potential (GWP) of 150 or lower.

The GWP scale measures how much energy a gas absorbs compared to the same quantity of carbon dioxide (CO2), over 100 years. The higher the number, the bigger the problem! CO2 has a GWP of 1, so the limit set by the European directive for new vehicle refrigerants is 150 times more damaging to the atmosphere than carbon dioxide (CO2).

R134a, the automotive industry’s refrigerant of choice before the new law was introduced, has a GWP of 1,430. With its global warming potential significantly higher than the amount set out by the new law, a new refrigerant had to be sourced to replace R134a.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) was considered due to its extremely low GWP, but test results revealed that it worked poorly in very hot climates and required much higher operating pressures. This raised concerns in the industry about safety and the increase in fuel consumption. A new refrigerant that met the requirements set out by the directive was eventually identified. HFO-1234yf or R1234yf, as it is commonly known, has a GWP of just 4. So, it’s easy to see why this refrigerant was selected to replace R134a.

When R1234yf was first introduced into the automotive industry, there were safety concerns about the new refrigerant’s flammability. However, due to the environmental benefits of a gas with such a low impact on the atmosphere, simple solutions have been adopted to utilise this gas. To ensure that the repair industry is aware of R1234yf’s flammability, refrigerant labels contain a flame and some manufacturers have even included this symbol on the service connector cap.

The service connectors are almost identical to those used on the R134a predecessor, but subtle differences ensure dedicated R1234yf charging systems must be used to prevent cross contamination, as these refrigerants cannot be mixed.

Can you spot the subtle differences between R1234yf (left) and R134a (right) service connectors?

Due to the large number of R134a equipped vehicles, dual charging stations are available to cater for the legacy refrigerant as well as the ‘new kid on the block’, R1234yf. These consist of separate refrigerant tanks and hoses for evacuating and charging the AC circuits.

For those that already own an R134a charging station, specific R1234yf equipment is also available, making it an attractive proposition for workshops looking to delve into the R1234yf market.

However, the cost of the new refrigerant is currently significantly higher than R134a. Workshops offering recharge services should be mindful of this when planning any fixed price offers. For those looking to offer AC charging for the first time, any technician carrying out this work will also need to be F-Gas certified.

Autodata’s dedicated Service Air Conditioning module, provides technicians with all the manufacturer approved technical information required to safely and effectively service AC systems using both types of refrigerants. To find out more and to try Autodata today, visit www.autodata-group.com.

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THE MOTORING COMPLAINTS CULTURE

THE MOTORING COMPLAINTS CULTURE

Steph Savill thinks that garage codes and complaint handling processes don’t make up for the lack of adequate regulation

steph

The image of the motor industry in too many motorists’ minds, fuelled by dubious garage surveys I suspect, is that it’s open for complaints. There’s no one organisation responsible for the industry’s reputation, the industry is largely unregulated, motorists are encouraged to buy cheap garage services despite safety concerns, staff don’t have to be licensed to service/repair or sell us used cars and bad businesses don’t join good trade associations.

COMPLAINTS HOTLINE
When it comes to CTSI schemes however, all make a selling point of their respective complaints handling processes whilst smaller and genuinely independent mediators are priced out of competing here.

Even a new industry service called THE Motor Ombudsman can restrict its CTSI approved services to the good garages and dealers, mostly franchised dealerships, that subscribe to it. Not the bad garages or dealers where an affordable Ombudsman service is needed most.

This means that trusting motorists who are ripped off by unscrupulous garages or car dealers have little support to call on, other than from Citizens Advice, the media or potentially expensive law courts, when things go wrong. There also seems no government awareness or will to remedy this area.

INDUSTRY PROBLEM
Fortunately I am an optimist as well as a realist so my contribution to this debate is to promote ALL measurable signs of garage and dealer quality to as many women as I can, working with the measurably best quality businesses to do this whilst encouraging more (brave) women to enter the industry to change its macho culture from within.motor_complaints_culture

When all else fails and females, in particular, fare badly despite our intervention, hell hath no more fury than this Foxy Lady. After giving the business the opportunity to learn from and address a serious complaint, we will ultimately hand out and promote Red Cards within the Club about ‘couldn’t care less’ bad motor businesses so Club members know to steer clear of them.

One thing is for certain – I’m not giving up in this area because women need to know about the many good guys in this industry who’ve invested in being better than the rest and deserve to thrive ahead of lesser others!

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HELLA ANNOUCE PARTNERSHIP WITH FILTRATION BRAND HENGST

HELLA ANNOUCE PARTNERSHIP WITH FILTRATION BRAND HENGST

HELLA_HENGST_FILTRATION SYSTEM_Logo_2D_4c

A deal has been struck between Hella in the UK and German filter brand Hengst Filtration.

The alliance will see filtration products packaged and sold as Hella Hengst from the beginning of April.

Stock will be distributed from Hella’s 90,000 sq ft warehouse in Oxfordshire and there are four UK product managers and six UK business development managers to support the new alliance. Recent hires include Product Manager Mark Adams, who previously worked at Trico and Universal Automotive.

Apart from new packaging, the cabin air filter range will include a set of intructions incase there are any problems in locating or fitting the filter.

Christopher Heine, CFO at Hengst said: “We have entered into this alliance because it combines the best of two traditional companies”.

Matthew Say, MD of Hella UK commented: “As part of our service concept, we want to deliver best in class logistics. As noted, we have a 90,000 sq ft footprint with a pick-by-voice delivery system and are able to deliver within 24 hours. This means that we become our customers’ second warehouse. What we have from day one is a substantial stock investment allowing us to service the aftermarket”.

 

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PAGID GIVES THE AFTERMARKET THE ‘BIG PICTURE’

PAGID GIVES THE AFTERMARKET THE ‘BIG PICTURE’

tmd2007-pagid-survey-internal-cover

 

PROMOTIONAL ARTICLE ON BEHALF OF PAGID

 

Pagid, the UK’s biggest-selling braking brand, has announced the results of its major review of the automotive aftermarket, after surveying 1,000 mechanics nationwide.

‘The Big Picture’ is Pagid’s mission to understand the challenges facing workshops in the automotive aftermarket in 2017. The extensive survey investigated the perceptions of what technicians look for when choosing brake parts, their opinions on braking brands, the biggest challenges mechanics and workshops faced in 2017, and more.

The results revealed a reassuring result for road safety with product quality featuring as the most important factor when looking for a braking brand. Forty-four per cent of those working in garages agreed with this, thoroughly beating price – with only 16% of respondents placing this as the most important factor.

When questioned on issues and pressures facing the automotive industry, the results showed that costs, finding reliable suppliers, attracting customers and coping with demand were all present in garages’ concerns for 2017.

There was good news for Pagid in the survey, with 94% of those surveyed ranking Pagid as either excellent or good, and of those 61% ranked Pagid as excellent. Meanwhile, 76% of garages said they buy Pagid always or often.

 

Sadie Jonas, Business Development Manager IAM at Pagid, commented:

“The results of our survey into the automotive aftermarket industry provided insights that we can all learn from, so it was important for us to share the results with the industry as a whole. The Big Picture survey helps garages and workshops see what their contemporaries braking brand preferences are, and what industry issues they face in 2017

At Pagid, we are continually developing our products and range for our valued customers, so it’s vital for us to listen to them to understand their issues, discover what they look for in braking, and find out how we can make their workdays more efficient”.

The survey also enabled respondents to add their own comments on the industry and on braking brands, with David Harrison of Walsh Vehicle Repairs in Mansfield stating, “Pagid are fit and forget. I have never had an issue”, and Joe Bird of Gmech Motors in Reading saying “Pagid are probably the best there is, always a perfect fit, and top quality performance on every car.”

The Big Picture review of the automotive aftermarket will now be an annual survey to discover the latest industry challenges and automotive developments for each year.

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EUROPEAN COMMISSION FINES A/C SUPPLIERS CARTEL

EUROPEAN COMMISSION FINES A/C SUPPLIERS CARTEL

The European Commission has fined OE equipment suppliers Behr, Calsonic, Denso, Panasonic, Sanden and Valeo a total of EU €155 million for taking part in one or more of four cartels concerning supplies of air conditioning and engine cooling components to VMs in Europe.

Although the fine has only just been handed out, the offences date back to 2009.

All six suppliers acknowledged their involvement in the cartels and agreed to settle the case. Denso was not fined for three of the cartels as it revealed their existence to the Commission. Panasonic was not fined for one of the cartels as it revealed its existence to the Commission.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy said: “Even though air conditioning and cooling components are not something you see as products, they are very much something you feel. In this case you might also have felt it in your wallet even though temperatures would still be regulated in your car. Today’s decision underlines that we do not accept cartels that affect the European market, wherever and however they may be organised.”

 

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BRIDGESTONE UK ANNOUNCES OLYMPIC PARTNERSHIP

BRIDGESTONE UK ANNOUNCES OLYMPIC PARTNERSHIP

Mears (L), Hull and Thompson share their stories

Mears (L), Hull and Thompson share their stories

Tyre manufacturer Bridgestone UK has launched its Olympic partnership and brand activation campaign ‘Chase Your Dream, No matter What’; aiming to help people of all ages and abilities overcome challenges they may face to achieve their career goals.

The tyre brand will now work closely with the International Olympic Committee and Team GB, promoting a series of international, national and grassroot events later this year. Three key events on the calendar include an athletics-based challenge with track athlete Daley Thompson, a diving programme with a ‘twist’ hosted by gold medal diver Chris Mears and a golfing experience presented by Charley Hull; all of whom have been appointed as ambassadors for the new alliance.

Commenting on the partnership, Bridgestone North European MD Robin Shaw, said: “This is the first time we’ve communicated the partnership to the UK market. There is a superb fit between the Olympic and Bridgestone values”, he continued. “We’ve been dedicated to helping our customers’ journeys for over 80 years by delivering reliability, safety, and performance. Like the Olympic movement, we always understood that the journey is often just as important as the destination so we’re making a long term commitment to the Olympic programme to showcase not only the support for individuals, but to empower people to chase their dreams”.

Tim Ellerton, Team GB Commercial Director, added. “Today is a crucial day for us because bringing on a partner like Bridgestone really allows us to prepare the athletes in the best possible way for when they take the stage, chase their dreams and become trained for the next Tokyo games”. The partnership is expected to run until the 2024 Olympic games.

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VALEO ACQUIRES GERMAN START-UP

VALEO ACQUIRES GERMAN START-UP

acquisition

Automotive parts supplier Valeo has announced the acquisition of Gestigon – a German start-up company specialising in vehicle cabin 3D image processing software. Terms of the deal are yet to be disclosed.

The firm said the joint venture will prove a valuable asset to Valeo’s automated drive strategy, allowing the company to further develop its cabin comfort and driver assistance operations. The parts manufacturer also plans to utilise Gestigon’s software to provide a comprehensive offering of object and occupant detection features for autonomous and connected cars in the future.

“We are delighted to welcome gestigon to the Valeo community,” said Marc Vrecko, head of Valeo’s Comfort and Driving Assistance Systems Business Group. “By combining our skills in a larger team, we will sharpen our edge and reinforce our leadership in autonomous and connected cars.”

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