A BLUE PRINT FOR ALL MAKES BRAKING

PROMOTIONAL ARTICLE ON BEHALF OF FERDINAND BILSTEIN

 

The aftermarket specialist Blue Print has launched an All-Makes program for braking. Blue Print offers a comprehensive, complete range of more than 3,400 brake friction components for Asian and European vehicle applications. In regard to brake pads and brake discs, Blue Print has a coverage of over 98% of all popular passenger vehicles and LCVs on European roads launched from the year 2000 onwards.   

Blue Print keeps pace with every new vehicle released into the market in accordance to the “Fast to Market” philosophy and utilizes Official Manufacturer Electronic Parts Catalogues to ensure ultimate levels of accuracy.

Additionally, going beyond the full selection of dry braking components for All-Makes, Blue Print, as a specialist for parts for Asian vehicles, also has the complete solution for the remainder of the braking range for Asian applications. This includes more than 3,200 parts covering over 70,000 applications. This provides an unrivalled breadth and depth of coverage for Asian vehicles.

Furthermore, Blue Print recognises the constant evolution of both automotive technology and environmental awareness. As a result, Blue Print offers an extensive range of brake pads and disc for hybrid and electric vehicles.

All components are developed and manufactured to meet OE specifications and are designed to serve as direct replacement parts. Rigorous and systematic quality checks are conducted to make sure that a continuous supply of quality products are being produced. This guarantees an excellent level of comfort and performance, all while ensuring for a safe journey.

Background:

Ferdinand Bilstein combines the well-known product brands febi, SWAG and Blue Print under the bilstein group umbrella. Together, the bilstein group offers more than 60,000 different technical spare parts for professional vehicle repairs. The internationally operating group of companies supplies its products to over 170 countries. For more information, please visit: www.bilsteingroup.com

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CORONAVIRUS: BOSCH DEVELOPS RAPID TEST MACHINE FOR COVID-19

CORONAVIRUS: BOSCH DEVELOPS RAPID TEST MACHINE FOR COVID-19

The healthcare division of Bosch in Germany has developed a rapid test for Covid-19.

The rapid molecular diagnostic test runs on the Vivalytic analysis device from Bosch Healthcare Solutions. The test just needs a swab taken from  each patient and has an accuracy level over 95 percent. Results take just two hours, rather than the two day wait of traditional testing methods.  “We want the Bosch rapid COVID-19 test to play a part in containing the coronavirus pandemic as quickly as possible. It will speed up the identification and isolation of infected patients,” says Dr. Volkmar Denner, chairman of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH.

“Bosch’s rapid COVID-19 test will help contain the spread of the pandemic and break the chain of transmission more quickly“

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PARTS ALLIANCE UPDATES ON BUSINESS OPERATIONS

PARTS ALLIANCE UPDATES ON BUSINESS OPERATIONS

The following statement on continued trading has been issued by the Parts Alliance:

 

The coronavirus situation presents people and businesses across the world with unprecedented challenges every day and a need to make decisions in both personal and professional lives that would have seemed unfathomable just a matter of weeks ago.

The Parts Alliance’s priority is delivering both on their social responsibilities of helping to prevent the spread of this virus and in performing their role as a vital service keeping the vehicles moving that in turn provide essential workers, emergency services and critical supply chains with the transport they need.

The fast-moving developments of recent days saw the Government confirm that garages can remain open1. The group’s branch network therefore will continue to offer trade deliveries.

DVSA has provided clarification that MOT testing can be completed ‘behind closed doors’ and without issuing paper documents1 to customers where an MOT is due before 30th March before yesterday (25th March) confirming that MOTs due after 30th March would be automatically extended by six months2 to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Motorists still have a responsibility to ‘keep their vehicle in a roadworthy condition’ and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has recognised garages provide ‘vital services’, adding they can ‘remain open for essential repair work’.

“We feel it’s our social responsibility to continue supporting garages across the UK at this crucial time, operating in a way that keeps our people and our customers as safe as possible,” said Neil Croxson, Chief Executive Officer of The Parts Alliance. “Our motor factor branches provide the vital link between suppliers and garages that need quality products to keep cars moving safely.

“The decision on whether garages remain open will be taken by them individually with mind to the risks involved and the needs of their communities, but the fact is many people are reliant on cars, either as key workers travelling to jobs, or to buy food and medicines.”

The Parts Alliance also supplies national accounts operating breakdown recovery, emergency service and transport delivery vehicles.

Garages are advised that service levels may be reduced to improve the safety of staff and the group has implemented a wide range of safety measures, including increased cleaning of vehicles and premises with latex gloves used on delivery routes.

Online orders can still be delivered to home addresses. The popular ‘Click and Collect’ service has been suspended to reduce branch contact, but will be reinstated shortly for essential trade and key workers only.

“There’s clearly a difficult balance to strike,” said Neil Croxson. “Safety of staff and compliance with government guidance are our top priorities, but we will maintain parts supply where possible.”

The Parts Alliance emphasises that despite speculation, there are no significant shortages of products emerging within the supply chain currently.

The Parts Alliance has further information available at www.thepartsalliance.com/covid-19 and this page will be reviewed and updated as required.

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BREAKING: LIGHT VEHICLE MOT EXTENDED BY SIX MONTHS

BREAKING: LIGHT VEHICLE MOT EXTENDED BY SIX MONTHS

Car van and motorcycle MOTs are to be extended by six months from March 30th.

According to DVSA, vehicle owners will be granted a six-month exemption from MOT testing, enabling them to continue to travel to work where this absolutely cannot be done from home, or shop for necessities.

All cars, vans and motorcycles which usually would require an MOT test will be exempted from needing a test from 30 March. Vehicles must be kept in a roadworthy condition, and garages will remain open for essential repair work. Drivers can be prosecuted if driving unsafe vehicles.

READ: CORONAVIRUS: FACTORS TO REMAIN OPEN

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We must ensure those on the frontline of helping the nation combat COVID19 are able to do so.

“Allowing this temporary exemption from vehicle testing will enable vital services such as deliveries to continue, frontline workers to get to work, and people get essential food and medicine.

“Safety is key, which is why garages will remain open for essential repair work.”

Legislation will be introduced on March 30 and will come into immediate effect for 12 months, following a short consultation with key organisations. Drivers will still need to get their vehicle tested until the new regulations come into place, if they need to use it.

If you can’t get an MoT that’s due because you’re in self-isolation, the Department for Transport is working with insurers and the police to ensure people aren’t unfairly penalised for things out of their control.

Practical driving tests and annual testing for lorries, buses and coaches have been suspended for up to three months.

 

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CORONAVIRUS: FACTORS TO REMAIN OPEN

CORONAVIRUS: FACTORS TO REMAIN OPEN

Two of the major parts supply chains have confirmed that they are to remain open, albeit with some restrictions. 

The Parts Alliance has set up a web page in order to keep clients updated, while ECP’s CEO Andy Hamilton is sending regular emails to customers to keep them aware of the developments. 

Neither chain has reported any significant supply chain issues as of yet. 

READ: CORONAVIRUS AND THE AFTERMARKET

Motor Factors remaining open follows Government advice that garages are ‘essential services’ and most will remain open in order to keep key workers mobile. Heavy vehicles and trailers are to get a three month MOT extension in light of the current crisis. 

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HOW THE DVSA DECIDES WHAT STAYS ON THE MARKET

HOW THE DVSA DECIDES WHAT STAYS ON THE MARKET

CAT spoke to Neil Barlow, Head of Enforcement at the DVSA’s new Market Surveillance Unit, about the outcome of the recent Klarius case, and how the department plans to ensure type approval standards are observed.

Why is there a need for the Market Surveillance Unit? Surely checking type approval comes under the VCA’s remit?

The Market Surveillance Unit checks that products – vehicles and components – available on the UK market meet legal requirements, in particular with regard to safety and the environment. It makes sense for this function to sit with the DVSA because of our enforcement, legal and engineering expertise, and resources – and also to provide a degree of separation from the delivery of approvals. The unit was set up in DVSA nearly four years ago, and it’s produced some interesting work in checking vehicles and components for standards compliance. A lot of this work has been around emissions, but it’s not limited to this by any means. We do work closely with the VCA, but it is run by DVSA and funded by DfT.

Why did the Klarius case collapse? Can you tell us what went wrong?

We’re very limited on what we can say on the recent Klarius case, it was technical issues with how information, held across different Government bodies, was organised for disclosure that caused the problems. DVSA and DfT were disappointed that the evidence we had was not heard.

In the last 3 years we have successfully prosecuted more than 1100 fraud cases, losing only six and no others have been dismissed by the courts in this way. We are proud of this success, but we’d rather not have to use that power. We’d rather manufacturers, importers, wholesalers and retailers were compliant with the law. With that in mind, education and awareness raising is also an important part of what we do. However, we will take enforcement action where we need to and have already had successful cases with the MSU. I expect there will be more to come.

Is there a danger that the MSU could be manipulated by companies that have ‘sour grapes’ with a competitor (emission product supply is a particularly fraught sector)? What steps have been taken to prevent this?

No, I don’t think so. This isn’t a new environment for DVSA to be in. For many years we have conducted enforcement in the road transport and MOT sectors and are alert to the risks of what competitors say about one another. However, those in the market can be a useful source of intelligence – the key is that DVSA is open to receiving intelligence from anyone.

We triage all intelligence received. Where it is of sufficient quality we will undertake our own investigations and come to a judgement on whether there is a case for prosecution or another type of enforcement action. We must be able to satisfy the question of whether prosecution is in the public interest.

How large is the team working on Market Surveillance?

We have six full time staff in the MSU, but we also have access to other resources in DVSA. That includes our Intelligence team, our Counter Fraud and Investigations team along with a full time Prosecution and Legal Services team. We are an organisation rich in mechanical and engineering skill, we therefore have around 350 vehicles examiners to call on should they be needed.

Do you have any other aftermarket parts categories in your sights for investigation? (brake pads etc?)

Our priorities are based on risks that we are aware of – one of the drivers being intelligence – but also information from other countries and other enforcement bodies. We wouldn’t be limited by component type. The MSU could investigate any vehicle or component issue where we have a concern that the relevant legal standards may not being followed correctly. So – we will continue with our emissions testing programme of new vehicles, but also include working across the aftermarket.

At the moment, we have work ongoing in the space of vehicle modifications (to emissions systems), tyres, aftermarket components as well as specialist trailers. In all cases, we are checking for compliance with legal standards – making sure businesses and the public are protected from buying something that is dangerous, harmful to the environment and unlawful.

Our key message to the industry – be that manufacturers, distributors, importers or retailers – is to make sure you understand the relevant rules and are compliant. We will be out and about checking what is out there – and we will take robust enforcement action where needed.

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CORONAVIRUS AND THE AFTERMARKET

CORONAVIRUS AND THE AFTERMARKET

Note: This article was written in mid February 2020, when the world was a very different place… – Editor

 

You will have heard all about it: the virus that migrated from species to species in China before spreading around the world. Thousands of column inches have been written, mostly about the human cost and how it has affected the way that people meet and travel, but how will it affect the parts supply chain, and more specifically the aftermarket?

Here’s what we know for sure: factories in China closed as usual for the Chinese New Year celebrations, but didn’t reopen for weeks afterwards. When they eventually did start up again, there were reports of many of them having a fraction of the usual number of staff, due in no small part to many being in isolation, be it voluntarily or at the behest of the state.

Then of course the virus spread, with huge tracts of Asia, including South Korea and Japan, implementing an array of preventative measures to control the outbreak. Closer to home, Italy was accused of under-reporting known cases and parts-producing towns in the country’s ‘motor valley’ have been belatedly shut down.

READ: BREMBO SHUTS ITALIAN SITES AMID CORONAVIRUS CRISIS

SHY RESPONSE

Yet when we asked companies who must surely be exposed to supplier shortages, the answers we got were surprisingly coy. Halfords, for example, wouldn’t answer our list of questions, but did respond with the statement: “We are monitoring the Coronavirus situation carefully. To date, the virus has not had a material impact on stock availability but we are continuing to work closely with our partners across the Far East.”

Similarly, Euro Car Parts answered our request with the simple sentence: “To date, we’ve not experienced any issues with stock availability because of the Coronavirus outbreak. We’re aware of the risk of disruption it still poses, and our supply chain team is working on contingency plans and is in regular dialogue with our suppliers to ensure we’re prepared to mitigate against any potential impact.”

Some other companies simply declined to discuss the issue at all. However, the fact that parts and accessory supply chains have, at the very least, been interrupted is not in dispute.

READ: IAAF BOSS: GOVT. MUST HELP THE AFTERMARKET

TYRE SHORTAGE

Tyres are known to be in short supply at the moment, especially budget products which are typically produced in China or Malaysia. The problem has become such a concern that TyreSafe, a body set up by wholesale distributors and tyre dealers, has issued a release advising motorists to fork out a bit of extra cash for mid-range or premium tyres, and not to buy part-worns, of which the organisation has a low opinion, as it has repeatedly voiced.

Stuart Jackson, Chair of TyreSafe, said: “The vast majority of [budget tyres] are imported into the country from China and across South East Asia where the outbreak of Coronavirus has led to governments closing facilities such as schools and factories to limit the spread. As a consequence, the level of supply the UK has become accustomed to for many products has been reduced.

PHOTOGRAPH BY Feature China / Barcroft Media

“Our advice is to seek a good deal on a mid-priced tyre and carry out regular checks to get the best out of that tyre over its full potential lifespan.”

National Tyre Dealer Association Chair Stefan Hay said that most members had a good stock of mid-range tyres, but added: “There can be no doubt that we could see a potential shortage of budget tyres if quarantine and export restrictions are maintained.

“This will affect all manufacturers with an interest in China and other South East Asian countries. For example, I’m aware that production at two of Pirelli’s three factories in China remains suspended in response to the spread of coronavirus. Pirelli has also reported that its entire expat workforce has left the country along with their families. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. ‘temporarily’ closed its headquarters and factory in China and the beginning of February and it is uncertain as to how temporary that is.”

Hay added that restrictions in supply can soon bounce back, citing a shortage of tyres a few years ago due to a trade dispute between the EU and China, which was swiftly resolved.

SHUTDOWN

It isn’t just tyres that are affected. The widest range of factory closures is in southern China, which is the heartland for manufacturing electronics, as well as the site of numerous foundries for making hard parts. Murray Silverman, Director of Streetwize Accessories in Manchester, is candid about the impact that factory shutdowns will have on UK business. “ALL businesses will be affected,” he emphasised. “Some might not realise it yet.”

“All suppliers that we have spoken to have advised at least a three week delay as it stands today,” Silverman told us when we spoke in mid February, adding that the date was ‘moveable daily’ and that at the time of speaking, his company could not even contact many of the factories that had not yet returned to work.

A big question mark hanging over the whole situation concerned just how long these delays might become. “Nobody knows how long these delays could go on for,” said Silverman. “We contacted all our customers to advise them that there will be shortages that will escalate during the summer months or earlier and advise them to order whilst we have stocks available. Some customers have reacted but unfortunately there will be those who will realise too late despite warnings.”

One company reacting to the situation is battery charger manufacturer Ctek. “Our suppliers have restarted their production and supply following Chinese New Year,” company spokesperson Stig Mathisen told us. “We are mindful however, that there is a risk that the outbreak could worsen and will continue to monitor the situation closely, introducing contingency plans if there is a requirement to do so.”

Sourcing products from elsewhere is not an option for many, particularly given that northern Italy, a major European production centre of parts, is arguably in a worse state than China at the time of writing. In any case, for the majority of companies it isn’t simply a case of switching production – new suppliers need to be tested, pricing and quantities have to be agreed and then go through any relevant type approval. “Sourcing product elsewhere is not an option, even if we could find the resource and the pricing was acceptable, it takes time to go through our QC and graphics teams,” explained Murray Silverman, adding that in any case a lot of UK and European-made products would also be in short supply, due to the amount of raw material and components that come from the Far East.

A situation that no-one two months ago could have foreseen is the possibility that UK companies might have to let employees work from home if the number of infections in the UK continues to rise. Quite how this could work for a parts distributor or a service and repair garage is anyone’s guess, but if the outbreak spreads further and there are more fatalities, who knows what might happen in the future?

Inevitably, the world will return to normal, and when this happens a new set of challenges may arise. “Even when factories do return, there are likely to be transport issues from the factory to the port and a lack of vessels to cope,” commented Silverman, adding that: “Another eventuality that may occur is that shipping companies and freight forwarders raise their rates to try to pull back the enormous amount of business they have lost.

“There will be further impact in the future,” he concluded.

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IAAF BOSS: GOVT. MUST HELP THE AFTERMARKET

IAAF BOSS: GOVT. MUST HELP THE AFTERMARKET

The IAAF has called on Government to implement a number of measures that support both individuals and businesses of ‘all sizes’ in the aftermarket.

After the recent announcement that positive measures will be put in place to support independent SMEs, IAAF has issued letters to a number of government departments, including the Chancellor of the Exchequer, urging for more help for the entire automotive aftermarket supply chain.

The federation has also urged that the thousands of delivery drivers, who are vital during this difficult time, should be categorised as ‘key workers’ to enable their children to have access to day care, where available.

Chief Exec Wendy Williamson outlined the scale and size of the automotive aftermarket and how the crisis affected all within the supply chain including parts suppliers, distributors, garages, service centres and workshops.

As a sector the independent automotive aftermarket is worth £21.6 billion, supporting nearly 350.000 jobs representing 42,000 outlets across the UK.

Wendy Williamson has written to the Chancellor

Concerned about how the issues will affect the automotive aftermarket, Williamson,  said in the letter: “I want to stress that we have many companies and individuals who are facing significant challenges and there is more need than ever to keep drivers on the road so that infrastructure can remain as stable as possible.”

IAAF has urged the government to introduce a range of measures for both individuals and businesses including support for those working reduced hours; temporarily not working due to falling demand; support for temporary lay-offs; statutory sick pay relief; extending business rate relief to all businesses; extending the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to any business, irrespective of size; and offer scope to include delaying payment for VAT, National Insurance Contributions and PAYE.

Williamson continued: “Whilst the health and welfare of our members and their employees is always of paramount importance, we need to work together to protect the industry. The time to act is now, as we need to have the procedures in place to ensure the industry can continue to survive during the current crisis.”

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BREAKING: CV SHOW CANCELLED

BREAKING: CV SHOW CANCELLED

The following statement has been released by the organisers of the CV Show:

It is with great regret that we announce that the Commercial Vehicle Show 2020 has been cancelled.

In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic together with guidance issued by the government on Monday evening (16 March) that all mass gatherings are to be avoided, it is clear that the only realistic options for this year’s Show were cancellation or postponing to a later date.

The option of postponing was given careful consideration given the importance of the Show to the road transport sector; however, it was felt there were too many unknown variables to make this option possible. As ever, our priority is to ensure the health and safety of all those involved with the Show.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our exhibitors, registered visitors, Show team and other stakeholders for their continued support during this most challenging and unprecedented of times.

The CV Show had been due to take place during the second week in April.

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SHUTTERS DOWN ON MORE ANDREW PAGE BRANCHES

SHUTTERS DOWN ON MORE ANDREW PAGE BRANCHES

More Andrew Page branches have closed for business since our last report. 

Branches affected include Norwich, Nottingham, Coventry and Oldbury. The Nottingham and Coventry branches started trading in 2009 and were among the last to open when the firm was still an independent company. 

READ: SHUTTERS DOWN ON THREE ANDREW PAGE BRANCHES

CAT understands that the accounts and many of the staff have been transferred to nearby branches of Euro Car Parts. 

Euro Car Parts have been contacted for comment.

Andrew Page Nottingham seen in 2010

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