Proppa goes global with Amazon partnership

Adam Weaver was just 26 when he launched Proppa four years ago

Adam Weaver was just 26 when he launched Proppa four years ago

Niche online car accessories retailer Proppa has launched a sales arm with internet giant Amazon.

More than 7000 items, from rain and wind deflectors to door handle covers and bumper protectors, are for sale through the website.

Adam Weaver, founder and MD of Proppa, said that while sales at Proppa were already strong, the company’s new status as an Amazon partner would allow it to reach thousands more consumers.

“Amazon is hugely respected both among consumers and retailers alike and Proppa is proud to become a partner,” he said.

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New standard fixes child seat fitting fears

ISO Standard eases installation

ISO Standard eases installation

A new ISO Standard released in February could make the incorrect fitting of child car seats and restraints a thing of the past.

ISO 29061-1:2010 provides child restraint and car makers with a tool to gauge the usability of new and current ISOFIX systems.

It also provides consumers with information on the key features related to the proper use of the systems.

Professor Lotta Jakobsson, who led the team responsible for developing the standard, said: “The usability of a child restraint system – in both correct installation and day-to-day use – is of utmost importance.

“This ensures that a child restraint system is used in accordance with the manufacturer’s intentions, and that it will function properly in a crash situation.”

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Quarter of UK’s bodyshops fly Kitemark

Around a quarter of the UK’s bodyshops are Kitemark holders, the British Standards Institution has announced.

Four years after the accreditation was launched, it is mandated by many VMs and insurance companies and is considered a ‘must-have’ for repairers that want to attract fleet work.

There are now more than 800 certified bodyshops in the UK and East Bilney Coachworks was one of the first to get the badge in 2007.

Mark Baldwin, a partner in the business, said: “Four years ago, we had one site. We now operate from three sites with further expansion plans underway. Kitemark had a large part to play in this.”

Thatcham’s director of commercial development, Lesley Upham, added: “Thatcham recognises the challenges our insurer members and their repair networks face from new vehicle design.

“The Kitemark scheme enables bodyshops to promote their businesses as demonstrating the highest standards of safe, quality repair.

“The UK repair sector is to be congratulated for showing they are serious about safety.”

In other news, Kitemark has made it into the top 200 of the UK’s Superbrands for 2011.

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Woolwich garage is first step back to employment

Nick Raynsford MP and Carolyn Morgan in the Boston-equipped workshop

Nick Raynsford MP and Carolyn Morgan in the Boston-equipped workshop

A garage in Woolwich, South East London, is in the news for the right reasons after local MP Nick Raynsford paid it a visit.

SMaRT Garage Services is one of three new state-of-the-art workshops and MOT stations set up by First Step Trust, a charity that helps people with mental health problems and other disadvantages to get back to work.

The first beneficiary of the scheme was Carolyn Morgan, who joined FST to regain her self-confidence and build up her skills before applying for a job.

She fell ill and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder after leaving work to have a baby eight years ago.

“When I heard FST was developing a garage in Woolwich, I was really excited and put my name down for a place,” she said.

“Within a few weeks they helped me get onto an NVQ in motor mechanics at Greenwich Community College.”

In recognition of her achievements, Nick Raynsford presented her with her first professional 150-piece tool set, donated by Halfords in Charlton.

He said: “I am sure that SMaRT Garage Services will prove a great success and will provide a really useful local facility.”

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Wade wins CES UK parts advisor recognition

Steve McCann, CES MD (left), congratulates Jamie

Steve McCann, CES MD (left), congratulates Jamie

Jamie Wade is celebrating becoming Parts Advisor of the Year for employer CES (UK) Ltd.

Jamie, who joined the company in May 2009, beat 37 colleagues to claim the top prize and was rewarded with a bottle of champagne.

Candidates in the competition took part in a ‘mystery shop’ phone call to test their technical expertise and completed a questionnaire before facing an interview panel of directors.

Jamie, who has recently been promoted to business development representative, said: “To be honest, I was surprised that I’d won, as all I did was use the knowledge I’ve learned over the past year from being at CES.

“I feel it shows just how much you learn from the training opportunities CES gives its employees.”

CES currently has more than 120 ATA-accredited parts advisors and uses the annual inter-company award to help maintain the standards of the qualification.

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Motorcare branches out after quarter century

Motorcare was named GAU member of the year in 2010

Motorcare was named GAU member of the year in 2010

South Wales-based Motorcare Motor Factors has kicked off its 26th year of business with an expansion drive.

In March, it will open its third branch in Coldicot, near the Severn Bridge in Wales.

The Coldicot outlet joins the factor’s HQ in Abergavenny as the second branch in Hereford and gives Motorcare an 80-mile geographical coverage of the region.

“We took a long time to get going,” laughed Justin Bailey who runs the family business with his brother, Simon (pictured right), “but we’re on the move now.

“There will be many more new branches to follow this one.”

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EU goes for growth with Lowestoft opening

Kevin Yallop

Kevin Yallop

EU Ltd, part of the Shortis Group, has opened a new branch in Lowestoft, giving the group a total of 75 trading sites.

“We’re really pleased to be opening a branch in Lowestoft. We’ve been waiting for some time to find a suitable property to purchase,” said MD Richard Shortis.

Kevin Yallop, who has been with the group for over 15 years, will manage the new branch alongside the Yarmouth outlet.

“Initial response has been fantastic,” he said. “The branch officially opened on January 4 – unfortunately I missed the first few days because I had flu, but I’ve been told we were very busy.”

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Autodata in £2m Maidenhead revamp

Autodata's shiny new reception

Autodata's shiny new reception

Autodata has completed a £2 million expansion and refurbishment of its Maidenhead HQ.

The company has doubled its space, allowing it to relocate its warehouse, and has added a gym for employees.

“We are making an important commitment with our expansion in the UK,” said MD Tony Swiatek.

“In addition to enhancing our ability to respond to the market and create products which improve the profit potential for our customers, we have been able to enhance the working conditions and experience for our 150 staff members at Maidenhead.”

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First Line’s online makeover more than just a looker

first line siteFirst Line has relaunched its website to provide users with “an easy to use multifunction platform”.

Two new additions are a toolbox, containing technical information and marketing material and a webcat, with technical drawings to aid parts identification.

Marketing coordinator James Hall said: “We believe the site is a significant step forward in aftermarket communication.

“It manages to combine content with usability, which means that a huge information resource is hosted on a site that is easy to access and exceptionally well laid out.”

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New head for independent garages as Moran leaves RMI

Moran will join Skillnet

Moran will join Skillnet

Stuart James has been appointed head of Independent Garages at the Retail Motor Industry Federation after predecessor David Moran resigned in February.

Moran, who joined the RMI 11 months ago, will officially take up the role of business development director at Skillnet on March 8, 2011.

“I’m delighted to be joining such a progressive young company and I’m looking forward to working with all independent garages to develop their apprenticeships,” he told CAT.

The RMI did not comment on Moran’s departure but chief Rob Foulston said: “Stuart, through his success in integrating the MVRA into RMI Bodyshop, has proven both his managerial and technical competence.

“Stepping up to head RMI Independent Garages is the logical next step both for Stuart and the RMI.”

James has worked for the RMI and its training company, ReMIT, for three years.

Before that, he spent seven years at Carter & Carter in consultancy roles, finishing his tenure as head of technical training.

He began his life in the industry as an apprentice in 1979 and has also run his own business repairing automotive and marine across southern Europe.

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