Free food, Mintex braking advice and 3-D TVs


They’ve just completed their first weeks duties offering advice on braking issue. One visited the Andrew Page branch in Harrogate, 14 local garages and Harrogate College, part of the University of Hull.

Besides coming with an experienced, full-time technical braking expert, each van carries more than 40 different tools, literature on best practice and a 3D television showing videos and demonstrations.

Oh, and free food, of course, with Page’s Pack-up since you obviously need something to grab the attention.

The vans also aim to sign up future technicians as product champion. On the Harrogate run no fewer than 12 technicians signed up to receive on-going technical information and updates about Mintex, discounts on products and training courses and a free t-shirt. Ah, more freebies.

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Motor Codes and TootCompare join forces

Motor Codes and TootCompare join forces

Motor Codes has teamed up with online service and MOT comparison website TootCompare to further extend its reach in the consumer marketplace.

TootCompareTootCompare will award a star to subscriber garages in its seven-star rating system. Franchised dealers automatically get a star, too, while others are provided for workshops having toilets or having accredited technicians. Up to two stars are award depending on the feedback given by site users.

“By partnering with consumer-facing organisations we’re doing two things: exposing more car owners to the security of the Motor Codes garage network and, through the value people place on our huge bank of online reviews, ensuring that we keep as much car servicing spend as possible within the TSI-approved safe-spend community.  And this means more money in the tills of Motor Codes subscribers.

“People will increasingly use online comparison sites like and TootCompare.  Sharing our online reviews through these sites can only be a positive thing for consumers and those business that are committed to transparency and scrutiny.”

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KYB is off on the Dakar rally

KYB-Toyota-DakarAn ex-colleague of mine met Charley Boorman shortly after he had completed his first Dakar and his hands were, well, in need of substantial moisturisation.

So when this Toyota popped into my inbox I had to take a little look. It’s the Toyota Auto Body Team Land Cruiser entry for 2014.

KYB is providing technical support and sponsorship for the vehicle which, you won’t be too surprised to hear, is fitted with customised shocks to cope with the wide variety of terrain it will cover.

The shocks are designed to withstand 10,000km on tough terrain and have strong seals to prevent desert sand working its way in.

You can see a video of the car and components being tested for the 2014 event, which passes through Argentina, Chile and Bolivia, at

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New skills award from the IMI recognises trainers

New skills award from the IMI recognises trainers

training-IMI-UKPA-e1381856593272The new standards were introduced by the IMI as before there was nothing to support and highlight the qualifications, experience and skills of trainers and assessors.

On achieving the new benchmark standard, Donley said, ““It was fantastic to be the first achiever and I am proud that I was able to attain the highest standard available. I would definitely recommend these standards to people in a similar position.

“This is the first programme to come along that specifically recognises individuals who are passing on skills and knowledge to others in the automotive sector. Many people in training related positions hold qualifications, but do not necessarily do anything with them to further their careers or have their own achievements recognised. These standards provide a clear route to do that.”

To be awarded the standard, individuals need to be actively working in the sector and undertake an assessment to prove their capabilities and knowledge. Any who achieve the standard are listed on the IMI’s public-facing Professional Register and will have their added status displayed next to their membership grade. For more information visit

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Independents break through 2000 Motor Codes subscribers

Independents break through 2000 Motor Codes subscribers

Screen shot 2013-10-09 at 14.36.18

Independent garage membership of Motor Codes’ Service and Repair Code has passed the 2000 mark for the first time.

Subscription rates from independents have increased by 45% so far in 2013 and bolstered numbers on the scheme with its garage finder and customer rating website.

While Groupauto’s Approved Garage Scheme, which launched this year and is underwritten by Motor Codes, has helped to boost numbers significantly, it is not the only source of new subscriptions.

Just less than half of the 700 new independents taken on by Motor Codes this year are Groupauto Approved Garages, in fact, although the buying group does have ambitions of 600 on its books by the end of this year and 1000 by the end of 2014. Groupauto is currently touring the country drumming up support for the scheme.

Motor Codes Managing Director says the revenue-generating benefits, and the support offered to both customers and garages, are attracting more independents to the fold.

“When Citizens Advice released its consumer complaints league tables this year, once again we saw independent garage repairs up there in the top three. We put together some figures of our own and showed that, for customers of Motor Codes garages, the risk is hugely reduced.

“We know that people who book through Motor Codes will spend roughly £19 million with garages this year and their survey returns, average a 93% satisfaction rate, demonstrate the safe-spend environment that exists within the network.”

Franchised workshops continue to outnumber independents by nearly three to one on the Service and Repair Code, with 5600 subscribers, but independents are extracting more value from the scheme.

Figures released by Motor Codes earlier this year show that independent garages have generated an extra £3000 in revenue per business through the Service and Repair Code, £500 more than franchised workshops have leveraged. Unipart Car Care Centres have done even better and netted an average of £3500 each.

Other figures from Motor Codes aimed to demonstrate that the conciliation service offered to unhappy customers more often backed garages in disagreements and will have protected them from around £800,000 of claims by the end of the year. Around £350,000 will have been paid out to motorists, on

The website is currently receiving more than 6000 reviews from customers each month and has around 140,000 online today for other motorists to read when deciding on which garage to use.

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Where have all the cars gone?

Just like the ‘find the lady’ card trick where sleight of hand defeats the eye, in the background of my mind there has always been a nagging question about registration statistics. I’ve always considered that bumper vehicle registrations, year on year must expand the service market downstream – but it didn’t appear to happen.

We are all well aware that our service conquest vehicle is a loss to the Dealer sector and therefore our market is dependent on the downstream ageing of new cars into used units that we ultimately service and repair – our bread and butter.

Whilst great play is made by the SMMT and other bodies of the registration volumes achieved in the UK, in the region of two million units per year, and how the motor industry is helping power the country out of recession, less is made of the fact that approximately a quarter of that number, two hundred and fifty thousand used cars are de-registered and exported – research suggests these are undamaged ‘proper’ vehicles including, in the last five years, an average ten thousand current year vehicles.

One shipping line runs 22 ships between Northern Europe and West Africa, each capable of carrying some 2,500 vehicles – this would suggest that about two vessels of this size per week sail from UK alone.

A Freedom of Information request to the Department for Transport shows that the majority of this volume has increased since the inception of the ‘End of Life Vehicle Regulation’ where, in Europe the vehicle manufacturers are responsible for the ultimate dismantling of their vehicles – no such regulation exists in Africa.

The trick is how these vehicles are gathered for export? I visit dealerships and auctions and in both, an entity buying these volumes of vehicles would become immediately apparent but none does. I would suggest, therefore, that the majority form part of guaranteed buy-back schemes in the fleet and lease sector – and their value controlled by ‘dealer’ service.

Now we could discuss various elements of these exports such as the effect on the UK’s balance of payments but the truth may be less altruistic – I’ve been unable to find an average cost for dismantling a vehicle, a cost the vehicle manufacturer would have to bear, but even if it were as little as £50 per unit (the rendered scrap has a value that offsets the total cost) it would be over 12 million per year.

The back-hand of these exports is to strangle the retail used car market by driving cost-of-ownership down by keeping residual values high – and new vehicle purchasers able to afford new cars.

So don’t rub your hands and relish all those new vehicles, soon to be visiting your garage – they’re probably in Africa.

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The sale of retirement homes will ultimately fund the cost of the site’s rejuvenation which is being undertaken by Willmott Dixon.

Providing support for the entire motor industry and its dependants, whether or not they still work in the sector, BEN has a wide remit and says the increasing age of the population and rise in dementia levels mean the project has not come a moment too soon

Over the next 20 years the population over 65 is expected to increase by 51%, while dementia levels are expected to rise by 35% to 2025.

The new Lynwood Care Centre will consequently focus on dementia care, although there will also be support for younger, physically disabled residents and those that need respite care and/or rehabilitation.

BEN Chief Executive David Main said: “This project is part of an overall strategy to totally transform BEN and its services for the industry over the next decade.

“Changes in society will always impact on our automotive community and at BEN we constantly review our services and resources to ensure we are best place to deliver the support needed.”

Besides paying for the new build, Main said the redevelopment of 20-acre site would also provide new funding streams for the charity’s services which would not otherwise have been possible.

The new Car Centre is the first phase of the build and is expected to be completed by October, 2014. BEN’s Director of Care Services, Jenny Brown, said: “Providing continuity of care for our existing residents was a key consideration and we have phased the development to enable us to operate the current Lynwood Care Centre until the new facility becomes available.”

The Lynwood site was bought by BEN in 1948 and extended to provide additional nursing care in 1960. It is one of four residential care sites around the country and has consistently been given excellent rating by the Care Quality Commission.

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CAT’s Inside Line: Ford Fiesta 08-

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That’s the verdict of a new report from the Centre for Retail Research (CRR) which says 316,000 people could also lose their jobs if the decline of high street is left unchecked.

The Retail Futures 2018 report says shop numbers could fall from 281,930 today to 220,00 by 2018.

“The UK is facing a crisis. Radical changes need to be made by retailers, town centres and the government to preserve what is best in retailing.

“Retailing and retailers will either make clear strategic decisions that permit online retail to coexist with other channels or multiple retailers will disappear or be so mortally wounded that a large minority of business categories become dominated by purely online retailers.”

The CRR report identifies 153 town centres, 41% of the total, which are set to experience a rapid decline unless action is taken.

“Retail Futures 2018 recommends that a pump-priming fund of £320 million is required to start redeveloping these problem town centres to turn failing and empty shops into other facilities for which there may be a local demand.”

The report says the online share of UK sales will increase from 12.7% in 2012, already the highest online share of retail in the world, to 21.5% in 2018.

This shift of consumer activity to the internet means the high street share of spend has fallen from 50% in 2000 to a predicted 40.2% in 2014.

It also means retail chains with strong websites now need 70 high street stores to create a national presence, says the CRR, compared with 250 in the mid-2000s.

As a result vacancy rates have increased from 5.4% in December 2008 to 14.1% in March 2013, a 161% rise. Without intervention the CRR says it will rise to 20% and more over the next five years,

While local neighborhood stores are likely to be hardest hit, with a predicted decline of 26.2%, the CRR reckons that 164 major or medium-sized companies will go into administration over the five-year period.

Major retailers like Tesco, Asda and B&Q are also not immune, it says, noting the reduction in the number of large stores being opened and plans to sub-divide others and lease space to other retailers.

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Wilco to roll into new site in Scunthorpe

Wilco to roll into new site in Scunthorpe

IMG-20111110-00364The retail store and fitting centre chain has taken the two empty units, land and car park on Mannaberg Way in Scunthorpe. Both had stood disused for some time, Godfrey’s last using one of the units before the company entered into administration.

Wilco Motosave has been in Scunthorpe for nearly 20 years at its current leased premises on Snowdonia Avenue. The lease expires there in January, so the team plan to move in at the end of June after renovations are completed. The other unit requires more work, but this will be let out when ready.

Richard Shortis, Director of Wilco Motosave: “The new site will require some alterations but we feel its position in the town and its visibility from the roundabout on Mannaberg Way are excellent assets.”

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