Archive | July, 2017

BREAKING: AAG TO ACQUIRE CONTROLLING SHARE OF GROUPAUTO POLAND

BREAKING: AAG TO ACQUIRE CONTROLLING SHARE OF GROUPAUTO POLAND

The following statement has just been issued by the Alliance Automotive Group:

 

“GROUPAUTO Polska (GAP) and Alliance Automotive Group (AAG) are pleased to announce that AAG has entered into an agreement to acquire a 51.3% controlling shareholding in GAP. The agreement is subject to the approval of the Polish Competition Authority.  It is expected that this approval will be received within the next two months.”

“Jean-Jacques Lafont, the CEO of AAG said: “We are delighted to open this new page in the development of our Group.  This is the first step in our entry into the large and growing Polish market with exciting opportunities to replicate what we have done in our existing markets in the United Kingdom, Germany and France.  We are particularly happy to be partnering with the historical shareholders of GAP as well as their talented management team led by Mariusz Dankowski and Luiza Kaminska.” “

“Mariusz Dankowski said: “The shareholders and management of GAP are extremely pleased to bring AAG into our Group. This is a natural progression of a relationship that GAP and AAG have developed over many years within the Groupauto International family and we see many opportunities to benefit from AAG’s size and dynamic growth to develop and strengthen our position in the Polish market.””

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GERMAN VMs IN CARTEL ALLEGATIONS

GERMAN VMs IN CARTEL ALLEGATIONS

The European Commission is to investigate several German VMs including BMW, Porsche, Daimler and VAG group over claims that the brands formed a ‘cartel’ to fix the price of a number of components from suppliers – including parts relating to the emissions systems.

An interesting detail is the allegation that the VMs colluded to deliberately make AdBlue tanks to be small in size, although it is not yet clear if there could be any competitive advantage in this detail as the effectiveness of the system is not affected by the size of the tank.

VW has confirmed that it has held a board meeting about the issue, but has declined to give any further details.
The OE parts industry has been hit with a number of cartel fines in recent years, with some bearing and A/C hardware manufacturers admitting their part.

Business magazine, Forbes has speculated that the latest scandal could turn into a ‘rat out race’ between VMs, as each might want to become a whistle-blower in order to escape the largest fine. This is backed up by cartel meeting minutes, apparently seen by Germany’s Der Spiegel newspaper which suggested that Daimler may have been cooperating with the authorities since 2014.

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INDUSTRY REACTS TO ‘END OF INTERNAL COMBUSTION ENGINE’ ANNOUNCEMENT

INDUSTRY REACTS TO ‘END OF INTERNAL COMBUSTION ENGINE’ ANNOUNCEMENT

IMI Chief Exec Steve Nash

The government has announced that it won’t permit the registration of petrol and diesel light vehicles from 2040, effectively ending the age of the internal combustion engine.

Existing vehicles will continue to be re-licenced for an unspecified period, but there is no doubt that the writing is finally on the wall for both cars and the way of business as we know it.

Pressure group Fair Fuel UK were one of the first to react. “So by 2040 no fuel stations, no garage repairs, no car parts suppliers and 15m diesels scrapped. The cost will be trillions” said Quentin Wilson, who is acting as lead spokesman for the group. Group Founder Howard Cox echoed the sentiment by saying: ““We have practical proven ways to reduce emissions available now. Why has Michael Gove ignored these in favour of a draconian policy that will hit small businesses and low-income families the hardest. The energy supply infrastructure and the National Grid will disintegrate in a breakneck move to nascent electric technology which will guarantee to cripple the economy.”

Engineering consultancy firm Ricardo chose the day of the announcement to launch its Global Automotive Group, which it says has a focus only on electric and autonomous powertrains. Mike Garrett, COO at the firm will head up the new division. He said: “We are ready both to help our customers with the most exacting challenges they face today, as well as helping them prepare for the cleaner, more electrified, technology-rich future”.

Perhaps understandably, a lot of talk was generated about scrappage schemes, even though Environment Secretary Michael Gove all but ruled out the idea for any such scheme on Radio Four’s Today programme.

“Whilst we are waiting for the details of the diesel scrappage scheme, we understand that it will have a 10 year limit”, explained Steve Nash, CEO of the IMI. “This means it will basically cover mainly Euro three emission standard and older. However, Euro four for diesel was introduced in January 2006 and remained in force up to January 2011. There will be a huge number of Euro four and five cars on the road as those standards ran though the peak registration years, especially Euro five which covered the period from January 2011 to September 2015. None of these cars have the Adblue (Urea) treatment introduced with Euro six which significantly reduces the NOx emissions which are now the main cause of concern regarding air quality”.

Nash also noted that a study conducted by his organisation found that insurance for alternative fuel vehicles can be 50 percent higher than for petrol or diesel equivalents and warns these won’t become more competitive until more people are qualified to work on them.

Currently only one percent of all technicians have been trained to work safely on the high-voltage technology, of which almost all of them work exclusively for manufacturers franchised dealers.

“The IMI is continuing its campaign for the introduction of a licensing scheme for those working on the high voltage vehicles, and we’ve asked the government to contribute £30m to support the uptake of the necessary training”, added Steve Nash. “In order to facilitate this and help clarify the competencies required for working on these vehicles, the IMI has launched a new Electric & Hybrid Vehicle qualification along with the appropriate support materials” he said.

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BEN LAUNCHES ‘GET FIT FOR WORK AND FOR LIFE’

BEN LAUNCHES ‘GET FIT FOR WORK AND FOR LIFE’

BEN, the not-for-profit organisation, has launched its new project that aims to improve and spotlight the importance of physical health to individuals working in the automotive sector.

The ‘Get fit for work and for life’ initiative will be conducted through a number of activities throughout this year including a series of articles to improve health and wellbeing, some of which have been published on the BEN online News Hub. In addition to this, the foundation will also launch a new health programme that will be available later this year. The inventory will include checks for blood pressure test, body mass index (BMI) as well as body fat percentage and resting heart rate test based on National Health guidelines.

Speaking about the latest campaign, Zara Ross, Chief Executive at BEN said. “By focusing on preventative measures and offering advice on subjects such as healthy eating and exercise, we can help people maintain a good level of health and fitness. As part of this, we’re really excited to be launching our physical health checks later this year to support businesses in helping their employees get fit and stay fit for work and for life”.

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TESTING TIMES: DVSA REPORT

TESTING TIMES: DVSA REPORT

The Driving Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has published its 2017 annual review, which highlights changes to the MOT testing service and the association’s actions on tackling claims relating to MOT fraud.

According to the report, 511 garages and 483 testers were investigated by the organisation from last year while 45 garages and 111 testers have been stopped testing altogether. A statement from the review said: “With some of these cases there were administrative errors, the more serious cases involved testers who’d issued MOT certificates without actually testing the vehicle. In the most severe cases we took the testers to court, and some received prison sentences”.

In addition, the report outlines 25 new improvements for the MOT testing service with the integration of technical information made readily available for vehicles so testers can carry out the mandatory procedures correctly while being able to identify and remove any defects before retesting.

The agency will continue clamping down on illegal MOT activities within the trade and is in the process of developing an MOT Reminder service for motorists; encouraging them to get their vehicles serviced on time. The statement concluded. “We’re going to look at using new technology to provide streamlined processes for our commercial vehicle testing service. We want to improve our testers’ access to vehicle information at the time of testing, and capture and produce test results digitally. We also aim to improve the service to our customers by simplifying the current payment process, making it easier for them to make payments and view their account in real time”.

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AUTOMECHANIKA BIRMINGHAM HIGHLIGHTS 2017

AUTOMECHANIKA BIRMINGHAM HIGHLIGHTS 2017

This year’s Automechanika Birmingham show attracted over 800 exhibitors and 12,000 visitors including garages, motor factors and parts retailers.

With the extra hall space and longer opening hours meant aftermarket professionals had more opportunities to discover new technology, learn new skills and network with other industry experts.

For those who missed out  can watch show highlights in the video below and get a sneak peak into the third edition taking place next year.

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MILLENNIAL MILESTONE FOR PAGID ‘PROUD TO FIT’

Pagid has given its seal of approval to the 1,000th garage in its Proud to Fit concept, which celebrates brake installers and mechanics across the United Kingdom.

Merityre Andover was the millennial member to join the scheme, and will now benefit from the branding, kudos and superior training that comes with the title and being part of Pagid Proud to Fit.

Once strict quality criteria are met, and the extensive Pagid and IMI Accredited training is complete – to ensure all mechanics within the workshop are fully-compliant when fitting OE-quality Pagid brake parts, in the recommended fashion – a Proud to Fit garage will graduate to become a Pagid Professional garage.

With both Proud to Fit and Pagid Professional, garages benefit from customer confidence, branding and continued training.

Sylvie Layec, Sales Director, IAM at TMD Friction, commented:

“Pagid Proud to Fit has proven to be a hugely successful concept, with the UK’s best garages gaining the badge of honour, and Merityre Andover is precisely the type of workshop we created the programme for.

“With 24 locations under the brand, Andover may be the 1,000th garage to become a Proud to Fit, but 23 other Merityre locations have also joined the concept. The benefits to their customers are vast; with far higher-calibre brake installation taking place.”

Dene Arnold, Director at Merityre, commented: 

“We’ve been using Pagid for a few years now, with 90% of our brake work using Pagid parts. We’re focused on giving our customers a quality service with quality products, so Pagid has always been the obvious choice. After speaking to Pagid about our training needs, we decided to sign up to Proud to Fit.

“One person from each of our 24 garages is taking part in the training, and the results have been superb; not just for our mechanics, but for our company-wide expertise and ability to expand into more brake work and increase vehicle servicing scope as a company.

“We look forward to completing the training to earn the Pagid Professional status.”

Pagid will continue to collaborate with Merityre’s 24 locations, and the 976 other workshops nationwide in the Proud to Fit concept; to keep training and servicing as high quality as the OE parts themselves, and to help more garages graduate to Pagid Professional status.

Independent garage owners in the UK can find out more about Pagid Proud to Fit and Pagid Professional, and apply to join, by visiting pagid.com/pagid-pro/proud-to-fit.

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GARAGE CUSTOMER £70K FINE FOR FALSE CLAIM

GARAGE CUSTOMER £70K FINE FOR FALSE CLAIM

A JUDGE has ordered a woman to pay £70,000 in costs and damages following the ‘implausible’ claim that an independent garage deliberately tripped her up.

In a story that first appeared in the Mail Online, Yvette Thomas had lodged a £200,000 compensation claim against the workshop, saying that an alleged fall had left her injured and unable to work.

She also claimed she had been forced to cancel an overseas holiday, quit dancing lessons and could no longer go to the gym.

Southwick Service Centre in Trowbridge, Wiltshire denied that she tripped and said a hosepipe in a valeting bay had only brushed against her leg.

Hospital records show that Thomas had been examined at A&E by medical staff but X-rays showed no signs of trauma.

District Judge Francis Goddard told Bath County Court: “In my judgment the case that Mrs Thomas puts forward simply does not add up.

“I do not find her story in any way believable notwithstanding that she may well have by now convinced herself that what she said happened did happen.

“Something happened on that day that caused Mrs Thomas to come up with a version of events that, on a hearing of the evidence, is quite implausible.

“It was not a pre-thought out plan.

“The story put to the court germinated on that day and was elaborated upon over the months and years that followed.”

Thomas had said the alleged incident took place when she dropped her daughter’s Mini Cooper at the garage for an MOT, saying that a someone cleaning a car had deliberately tripped her up with an industrial pressure washer hose.

Car valeter, Edward Slow said: “I was rather angry when I heard what she was saying. “I remember her coming in.

“She was walking around and she said the hosepipe rubbed against her leg and that it was an accident waiting to happen.

“Then suddenly it became this whole story that I had deliberately tripped her up – something I would never do.”

Solicitor Tim Marshal of DFE Law who acted on behalf of the garage told the Mail: “Mrs Thomas painted a picture of being a very disabled woman as a result of this. She said she couldn’t leave the house without a walking stick, drink a cup of tea or clean her teeth”.

“But a surveillance firm hired to follow her found that she was walking fine and there was no sign of any physical impairment – no walking stick, nothing”.

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A POINT OF GARAGE DIFFERENCE

A POINT OF GARAGE DIFFERENCE

Sometimes it’s good to take a bit of time out to think through why a customer should choose you, as opposed to any other garage in the area.

Thinking about your business from your customers’ perspective is an exercise worth taking. After all, we can be so immersed in what we do that we lose track and take things for granted.

Personally, I think I can safely vouch for your typical customer and tell you that most find it very difficult to differentiate between one garage and another. Many independent garages unfortunately do appear the same. They all say they do brakes, clutches, servicing; some offer air conditioning services and other’s MOTs, but there never seems to be a lot of difference between them.

This makes it very difficult for customers to make informed decisions on which garage to use. They have very little to go by. They may have driven past your premises, seen your signage, again reiterating that you do what everyone else does.

Some premises will be big and others small; in these cases, price will probably go through the customer’s mind, big = expensive (but perhaps they have more capabilities); small = cheaper (but can they work on new cars?).

LOYALTY
This could be a reason why some customers don’t stay loyal and change garages from year to year. Or, worse still, you lose out on a major repair because the customer wasn’t aware that you could do it and went elsewhere.

Very often customers are left to read the ‘signals’ that independent garages put out and to decipher for themselves who to use.

But this means for those who do reach out to their customers, who are prepared to communicate and engage with them, there are great opportunities to win them over. Customers do need more information to help them with their decisions. It’s not all about price and where you are.

To the majority, the mechanics of cars are a mystery. Most never lift their bonnet from year-to-year and as technology rapidly advances, people understand less and less. This only increases their difficulty with decisions. Who is really up to the job – can that small garage down the road really handle my particular car?

DIFFERENCE
So how can you make yourself more appealing to customers? You need to differentiate yourself from the crowd. You need to help customers with their decision making so they gravitate to you.

In an industry where this is rarely done (outside of the dealerships), there are opportunities for those prepared to put in the effort. And this is what marketing is about – it’s not necessarily about hard-sell offers and saying how great you are. It’s about helping customers, informing them and going that extra mile. It does take time and effort but it can pay off.

If you take a leaf out of other industries it might help you understand what I mean by ‘differentiation’. Take the airlines; you’ve got Easyjet, Virgin and British Airways, all fly planes and take passengers fromAtoB–butallare distinctly different and spend a lot of money communicating how different they are and evolving services to back this up. Customers know pretty much what to expect.

Then there’s the supermarkets, who do you choose Waitrose or Lidl? Extreme cases I know, but with one you know the products have been chosen with a more discerning approach, plus you can pick up a nice lifestyle magazine with hints, tips and interesting stories. Whereas the other has a more, no frills, pile ‘em high, sell ‘em cheap approach – both are clearly different.

It has been said that those that are too ‘middle-ground’ or too general are the businesses that are struggling. You’ve only got to look at some big high street names that have gone to the wall. In most cases, it was because they lost their way and,
in the eyes of the customer, weren’t different enough.

So how can you differentiate your garage? As I’ve already said, in most towns there are great opportunities for those who are just bothered to communicate; to actually do something like sending out regular mailings. This is because most don’t do anything.

But the key here is ‘communicating’, after all, it’s no good being good at something, or offering something different if you don’t tell anyone.

For those bookish types out there, I recommend reading any book by Jack Trout the author of ‘Repositioning’ (an updated version of his earlier book ‘Positioning: The battle for your mind’, or ‘Differentiate or Die’. These books will give you greater insight into differentiation techniques.

MAKING A DIFFERENCE

  • Becoming the local expert
  • Offering guarantees
  • Providing a unique approach to serving customers
  • Specialising in types of vehicles
  • Providing more customer endorsements
  • Providing additional products and services that others don’t n Doing charitable work
  • A long track record or unique story

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MICHELIN: EASY WAY TO INCREASE YOUR CUSTOMERS’ SAFETY

MICHELIN: EASY WAY TO INCREASE YOUR CUSTOMERS’ SAFETY

PROMOTIONAL ARTICLE ON BEHALF OF MICHELIN

 

MICHELIN OFFERS AN EASY WAY TO INCREASE YOUR CUSTOMERS’ DRIVING SAFETY

Few factors impact driver and passenger safety more than driver visibility, and the best way to ensure safe driving is to have a clear and unobstructed view through the windscreen.

Studies show that the majority of motorists’ driving decisions are based on how well they can see the road, and driving in poor weather conditions, such as rain, sleet, hail or snow, significantly increases the risk of collision.

That’s where the innovative MICHELIN Stealth Hybrid wiper blade can make the difference between clear and safe – or unclear and unsafe.

Design that drives excellence
MICHELIN Stealth Hybrid wiper blades are durable, high-performing and quiet, bringing together the best performance components of traditional and frameless blades.

They combine the latest in wiper blade technology with MICHELIN’s unique ‘Smart Flex’ technology, to create a blade that adapts to the windscreen’s shape for superior contact and clear vision.

MICHELIN Stealth Hybrid wiper blades incorporate five key design features to deliver superior performance, time after time:
1. Riveted smart hinge delivers optimum wipe performance by holding down each end of the wiper on the windscreen.
2. Smart Flex secondary system ensures better windscreen contact across the entire length of the wiper blade.
3. Spring-loaded technology provides enhanced responsiveness across the windscreen.
4. A durable cover protects the blade from ice, snow and road debris, helping to extend blade life.
5. EZ-LOK connector system means blades are quick and simple to install in minutes – so driver safety is never compromised.

Improve sales – and satisfaction
Specifying MICHELIN Stealth Hybrid wiper blades is a powerful opportunity for garages to maximise both sales and customer satisfaction.

As more and more OEMs move to hybrid blades, MICHELIN is the brand that consumers know and trust to deliver superior performance and quality. The sleek, modern styling of the Stealth Hybrid wiper blade appeals to consumers, making it a smart choice for customers and a more profitable opportunity for garages.

 

For more information call: 01206 808158

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