£25m BUSINESS INTERRUPTION LOAN FOR HALFORDS

£25m BUSINESS INTERRUPTION LOAN FOR HALFORDS

Halfords has secured a £25m funding package to help the business recover from the crisis.

The money comes from the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme and was granted by the Redditch retailer’s existing consortium of lenders, including HSBC.

READ: HALFORDS LAUNCH EARLY BOOKING MOT CAMPAIGN

Like all businesses, Halfords was hit by the crisis, although as it is a bike shop most of its retail stores were able to remain at least partially open and its Autocentre garage network stayed open offered a contactless vehicle  pick up and delivery service

Loraine Woodhouse, Chief Financial Officer at Halfords, said: “While our market-leading motoring and cycling businesses have strong macro tailwinds, this additional contingency funding gives us even greater confidence in our ability to trade our way successfully through the current uncertain environment. We would like to thank our lenders for their ongoing support.”

READ: NEW €4bn+ BID FOR OSRAM

Akhil Shah, Relationship Director at HSBC UK, added: “Like all retaiHalfordslers, the business has faced unprecedented challenges. As the lockdown restrictions ease and more of its stores open, this additional funding gives Halfords the confidence and the headroom to continue serving its customers effectively.”

 

 

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HALFORDS LAUNCH EARLY BOOKING MOT CAMPAIGN

HALFORDS LAUNCH EARLY BOOKING MOT CAMPAIGN

Halfords Autocentres has predicted MOT bookings will peak at 85 percent over the average in October. The garage network has carried out analysis across the industry which suggests that an additional 1.7m drivers will try to book their MOT in October, on top of the normal demand of about two million vehicles. 

READ: TRADE BODIES WELCOME END TO MOT EXTENSION

Accordingly, the network has launched a campaign to get motorists to book their vehicles in early, regardless of whether they have time left on their MOT extension. The initiative will focus on concerns some motorists may have about their vehicles being roadworthy after a period of idleness. 

READ: HALFORDS INTRODUCE ZERO CONTACT MOBILE SERVICE

Andy Randall Managing Director from Halfords Autocentres said: “We’re urging drivers to beat the rush and book their vehicles in this summer. October and the winter months, are going to be much busier than normal when motorists will be joining millions of others who have held off getting their MOT done. Our research shows that almost half of motorists are worried about the roadworthiness of other cars on the road so those that get theirs done can be much more confident that their cars are properly roadworthy. The MOT test remains the best way to ensure vehicles are safe to drive.”

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CHANCELLOR OFFERS ‘JOB RETENTION’ BONUS

CHANCELLOR OFFERS ‘JOB RETENTION’ BONUS

In his Summer Statement, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has pledged a £1000 bonus for all employers who retain previously furloughed staff beyond the end of January.

The Chancellor has also pledged investment into modern apprenticeships, with a £2,000 grant available in England for employers that take on apprentices under 25 years old, and £1500 for those over 25. Additional measures, such as a reduction of VAT on takeaway food will appeal to businesses such as petrol station forecourts, which have been hit especially hard by the crisis.

However, new car dealers and vehicle manufacturers may be disappointed that there was no mention of a new scrappage scheme in the speech.

We’ll bring you reactions to the Statement from the aftermarket as we get them. 

 

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AUTOPROMOTEC POSTPONED UNTIL 2022

AUTOPROMOTEC POSTPONED UNTIL 2022

The Autopromotec trade exhibition will move to 2022, organisers have confirmed.

Autopromotec entrance

The biennial show, held in Bologna during Frankfurt off years, has now been rescheduled to 25-28 May, 2022 in order for ‘companies to invest their financial resources at a more appropriate moment’.

READ: BREAKING: AUTOMECHANIKA 2020 CANCELLED

“The Covid-19 pandemic continues to register high rates of contagion, and severe limitations to international travels persist”, says Renzo Servadei, Autopromotec CEO. “A proper planning on the part of all the players of the sector is crucial to create a high-level event, but the uncertainty related to the measures to deal with the sanitary crisis makes it difficult to national and international exhibitors and visitors to plan their business travels well in advance.”

READ:  EQUIPAUTO SHOW 2021 CHANGE IN POSITIONING

Other trade shows have also changed schedule out of necessity. Automechanika Frankfurt will now take place in 2021, and Paris-based EquipAuto has indicated that it is considering a change in ‘positioning and format’ of its event.

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TYPE APPROVAL FEEDBACK WELCOMED BY IAAF

TYPE APPROVAL FEEDBACK WELCOMED BY IAAF

The IAAF has welcomed feedback from members on the next tranche of type approval legislation.

The IAAFs Wendy Williamson at a previous conference

This legislation, known as 2018/858 covers areas including connected vehicle telemetry, and among the text that the IAAF is campaigning for is the provision of a standard diagnostic port. Currently, some VMs want to run all updates and diagnostics ‘over the air’, thus shutting out anyone other than them from the vehicle. The IAAF argues that this is bad for competition and anti-consumer choice.

Although Britain has left the EU, it is expected that it will continue to mirror legislation as selling vehicles into the EU – or even driving UK registered vehicles in the Continent would become difficult if a different standard is adopted.

 

 

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LIMITED MOT TESTING TO RESUME IN NORTHERN IRELAND

LIMITED MOT TESTING TO RESUME IN NORTHERN IRELAND

Some MOT testing is to resume in Northern Ireland as the crisis-hit system tries to recover from the effects of lockdown, industrial disputes and widespread technical failure of vehicle ramps.

READ: 12 MONTH MOT EXTENSION ANNOUNCED AS NORTHERN IRELAND MOT CHAOS CONTINUES

However, it will be sometime before the general public will be able to get their own vehicles certified as being safe. Initially, the test will be available only to taxis and busses due a first time test, vehicles not registered in Northern Ireland and vehicles where the MOT expired over a year ago (meaning the vehicle hasn’t been tested for at least two years). Balmoral and Newtownards test centres will not reopen as they are in use as virus testing facilities.

READ: LATEST: NORTHERN IRELAND MOT TEST CRISIS

Testing for all other categories remains suspended and motorists should get a Temporary Exemption Certificate, although DVA phone lines and counter service remain closed.

READ: MOT STRIKE ACTION LIKELY IN NORTHERN IRELAND

Prior to coronavirus, NI’s state-run test centres were already creaking, with reports of motorists booking four months or more in advance, only to have them cancelled at the last minute. 

 

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TRADE BODIES WELCOME END TO MOT EXTENSION

TRADE BODIES WELCOME END TO MOT EXTENSION

The news that the MOT extension will end on August 1st has been welcomed by the main aftermarket trade bodies. 

Stuart James, Chief Executive of the Independent Garage Association (IGA) said: “We thank the Government for listening to our views. The news will give clarity to garages and allow them to plan for the busy period ahead.

“This is a welcome retraction of a policy doubtless designed to provide relief to motorists. However, this additional month will allow at least one million unroadworthy cars to remain on the road for an additional six months, as well as the 1.6 million dangerous vehicles that have already had their MOT extended.

MOT EXTENSION TO END FROM AUGUST FIRST

“With road traffic increasing, people being encouraged to use their cars rather than public transport, and further lockdown measures easing on 4 July, we believe this additional month will leave a number of motorists with an accumulation of faults and repair costs when they are least able to afford them. Even though this scheme has only been in place for four months, it has been detrimental to the roadworthiness of many cars, taken away the bread and butter of the independent garage sector and left a great number of consumers confused.

“We will continue to work with Government departments and support independent garages to ensure that all safety measures are upheld, playing our part to prevent further coronavirus cases across the UK.”

READ: 12 MONTH MOT EXTENSION ANNOUNCED AS NORTHERN IRELAND MOT CHAOS CONTINUES

The IAAF has also welcomed the news, Wendy Williamson, Chief Executive, said: “The entire automotive aftermarket needs this news and it will have a positive effect on many businesses. As people begin to head back to work, the number of cars on the road will inevitably rise, with more people set to avoid public transport and rely instead on personal mobility.”

The IAAF is now urging the industry to encourage drivers who have previously made the decision to extend their MOT to bring their vehicle in as soon as possible.

Williamson added: “We’ve already been hearing from members who have experienced concerning issues first-hand, whereby customers have been driving around in vehicles that are a threat to the safety of the driver and the general public.

“Most importantly, this move will reduce the number of motorists driving unroadworthy vehicles and will benefit the aftermarket as more cars are brought in for essential testing, service and repairs.”

 

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MOT EXTENSION TO END FROM AUGUST FIRST

MOT EXTENSION TO END FROM AUGUST FIRST

Mandatory MOT testing is to be reintroduced from 1 August 2020 as restrictions are slowly lifted, it has been announced by the DfT.

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, drivers were granted a six-month exemption from MOT testing in March to help slow the spread of the virus. However, as restrictions are eased when safe to do so, all drivers whose car, motorcycle or van is due for an MOT test from 1 August will be required to get a test certificate to continue driving their vehicle.

MOT tests are important for road safety and ensure that vehicle parts, including tyres, seat belts, brakes, lights and exhausts, are in proper working order.

Drivers with an MOT due date before 1 August will still receive a six-month exemption from testing. However, all vehicles must continue to be properly maintained and kept in a roadworthy condition, and people are able to voluntarily get their MOT sooner should they wish, even if they are exempt from the legal requirement. Motorists can be prosecuted for driving an unsafe vehicle.

READ: GOVERNMENT CONSULTING ON END OF MOT EXTENSION

Roads Minister Baroness Vere said: “As people return to our roads, it is vital that motorists are able to keep their vehicles safe. That’s why as restrictions are eased, from 1 August MOT testing will again become mandatory.

“Garages across the country are open and I urge drivers who are due for their MOT to book a test as soon they can.”

Only some garages remained open to conduct essential services during the coronavirus outbreak, but now over 90% are open across the country. Testing capacity has already reached 70% of normal levels and is steadily increasing.

READ: 12 MONTH MOT EXTENSION ANNOUNCED AS NORTHERN IRELAND MOT CHAOS CONTINUES

While exemptions are still available for vehicle owners with an MOT due date before 1 August, it is vital that drivers still take their vehicle to be checked if they notice something is wrong in the same way that they usually would.

If drivers are vulnerable or self-isolating they should contact their local garage as many are offering pick-up and drop-off services, so drivers can get their car checked without having to visit a garage.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has also issued guidance to all MOT testers about safely conducting tests in line with the latest Government advice.

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ANDREW PAGE BRANCH CLOSURES: STATEMENT FROM LKQ EURO CAR PARTS

The following statement has been issued by LKQ Euro Car Parts:

“Our branch merger programme started last year, and it has already achieved some very strong results, driving improved customer service in the new, strengthened branches and where possible, the redeployment of colleagues to create stronger, combined teams.

“We have identified a further tranche of 27 Andrew Page branches that currently operate in close proximity to others. Most of these branches were temporarily closed as part of the measures we put in place during the coronavirus lockdown, and now we are not planning to reopen them.

“We have reached out and consulted with colleagues who are impacted by these mergers directly. As such, it would be inappropriate to comment publicly about these branches right now. We’ll be providing guidance and support to any colleagues affected by these changes.”

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BREAKING: 27 ANDREW PAGE BRANCHES PERMANENTLY CLOSED

BREAKING: 27 ANDREW PAGE BRANCHES PERMANENTLY CLOSED

Twenty-seven Andrew Page branches will not reopen after lockdown, it has been announced.

Company owner LKQ Euro Car Parts has issued a statement [which you can read here] confirming the closures, but did not comment on the locations affected, nor the number of redundancies, except to say that the branches

File pic of Andrew Page Birmingham

affected were ones that ‘currently operated in close proximity to others’ and ‘where possible, the redeployment of colleagues to create stronger, combined teams’.

READ: BREAKING: ANDREW PAGE TO REBRAND AS LKQ EURO CAR PARTS

The statement comes a day after LKQ Europe announced that Andrew Page and Euro Car Parts would combine under the trading style LKQ Euro Car Parts and operate under the same systems, spelling the end for the Andrew Page name that has been in use since 1917.

 

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