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PROMO: HELLA HENGST CABIN FILTER PROGRAMME

Blue.care product group

 

PROMOTIONAL ARTICLE ON BEHALF OF HELLA HENGST

Keeping customers in the best of health

HELLA Hengst’s filter programme provides independent workshops with a superb original equipment (OE) option that sets them apart from their competitors. Within the range, which naturally encompasses all filter types, is a cabin filter range that is in a class of its own and features market leading fitting instructions, including where the filter is located in the vehicle.

Hengst, a global leader in filtration and fluid management, is an OE supplier to many of the world’s vehicle manufacturers and its cabin filters are particularly favoured due to their combination of design innovation and special features. As a result, its aftermarket range with HELLA provides technicians with a comprehensive replacement cabin filter solution, available in non-carbon, active carbon, and anti-bacterial (Blue.care®) configurations.

Informing customers

As incomprehensible as it sounds, 540,000 litres of air can enter the cockpit of a vehicle for every hour it is driven and, according to multiple studies, this air typically contains up to five times more contamination from exhaust gases, pollutants and allergens, than the air at the roadside.

Bearing in mind the harmful effects this contamination has on the occupants of the vehicle, which include the driver’s ability to concentrate, there is a direct safety correlation to the quality of the air within the vehicle. Therefore, members have both a positive healthcare message to give their customers in terms of the importance of regular cabin filter replacement, as well as a legitimate profit making opportunity.

Catering for demand

In addition to protecting the vehicle’s air conditioning system and filtering out fine dust and pollen, which is common to all new cabin filters, HELLA Hengst active carbon cabin filters not only collect even smaller dust particles, but also remove bad-smelling odours and hazardous gases such as ozone, smog and exhaust.

However, to provide drivers with the ultimate protection from contaminants, HELLA Hengst has developed the Blue.care anti-bacterial range. Its five element construction adds a fifth level of protection over the active carbon series, in the form of defence against the threat of bacterial build-up in the system and therefore, within the vehicle itself.

Blue.care at a glance

The elements within the Blue.care range comprise an electrostatic media with a pre-filter function to keep out course particles, followed by a filter fleece, which increases its dust retention capacity.

This is followed by the active carbon layer to separate out vapours, odours and harmful gases such as ozone, nitric oxide and sulphur dioxide, plus meltdown medium, which filters out fine dust and micro particles down to incredibly small diameters.

Finally, the pièce de résistance, is the bio-functional layer, which contains nonosilver and provides the filter’s unique anti-microbial, anti-bacterial effect, which make the Blue.care range the ultimate solution for in-car air quality and subsequently increases safety for the driver, their passengers and the wider community.

For more information about the OE quality products available from HELLA Hengst, please call customer services on: 01295 662400 or email hella.sales@hella.com

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NEW MOT EQUIPMENT STANDARDS SET FOR 2019

Many will recall the MOT changes that came into effect in May last year. Introduced at a time of scrutiny surrounding diesel engines, the changes featured DPF checks and also set new categories for vehicle defects. Here in 2019, there’s a new focus: connection. It’s a buzzword that has been pretty much unavoidable in the automotive industry recently, and now MOT centers may have to consider preparing for new standards ushered in as connectivity increases.

Some changes are already planned. As of 1st of July 2019, the DVSA will only approve new roller brake testers that are able to connect to the DVSA’s database and share MOT test information, and from August 1st this requirement will be extended to other types of kit as well. What’s more, come October or November, the DVSA anticipates that those who are planning on opening a new MOT center will have to operate this new ‘connected’ equipment in order to be approved.

Speaking at Automechanika Birmingham, the DVSA’s head of MOT policy Neil Barlow said that future MOTs will be more about ‘connecting to the vehicle’. “Those garages that start to invest in this stuff early, start to build up experience in doing these things early, will be one step ahead of those garages which don’t do that,” he said. “Because at some point the MOT will need to change more radically than it did last May.”

In a bid to reassure garage owners over issues of cost, Barlow also noted that this new ‘connected’ equipment would be ‘the same kit that we use now,’ but with ‘very slightly different software’.

Meanwhile, Stuart James, Director of the IGA, seemed unconcerned about the changes, noting that implications for the industry would be ‘very, very minimal’ and said it was ‘definitely not the case’ that existing kit would have to be switched over to the new standard. “Don’t fear that there will be some kind of mandating of stations having to buy equipment because of a change in legislation. I’m absolutely sure that is not the case,” he said. “The DVSA are not going to impose additional costs on the garage. So this is if you needed a new roller brake tester, then you would have to buy, after this date, a new piece of equipment that is compliant or capable of the upload capability.”

Opinions

Despite the new standards, the DVSA’s ability to monitor MOT activity is nothing new. According to James, the agency can already tell quite a lot about what’s happening in an MOT ‘in live time’. “So they can walk in the door and expect to see that car on the ramp,” he said. “So if there’s a perception of ‘Big Brother’, it’s already there.

“So this extra piece of communications information, I suppose it will be useful for the DVSA to be able to understand how many vehicles are carried out on brake testing, but they know a lot of this. So I’m not totally sure what benefit it will be to the DVSA because they already have all the information they need.”

Barry Babister, MD at CCM Garages and MOT Juice, praised the plans. “A large problem for the MOT industry is fraud,” he said. “The addition of connected equipment could go a long way to stopping this, and to protecting the image of the MOT scheme and the people who operate MOT bays, which can only be good for business.” Regarding potential costs of new brake testers, Babister said: “you won’t have to upgrade until you actually want to so it’s a capital investment usually easily financed.

“What the industry needs is an increase [in] MOT prices to help us cover the ever-increasing compliance and equipment costs,” he concluded.

John Tullett, founder of Autocar Repairs in West Dulwich echoed similar sentiments (though he acknowledged that Autocar Repairs is not an MOT test centre). “There is still a degree of abuse within the current MOT test system in the UK and the proposed development would certainly reduce that. On that basis alone, I am in favour,” he said, also noting that ‘other countries use government controlled test centres will others still are much more strictly controlled than ours.’

Suppliers

While no equipment suppliers provided a comment to CAT on how the changes would affect them, Clive Richardson, Marketing Director at garage tool supplier Draper Tools said that ‘where there are industry standards, those are absolutely met.’

Meanwhile, away from the MOT, the garage equipment market is moving in new directions itself. Fran Weeks, PR consultant at Draper Tools, claims that the demand for electric vehicles is creating a ‘missed opportunity’ for specialised tooling. “So we’ve got a wide range of stock which includes VDE insulated sockets and other hand tools that are suitable to work on these hybrid and electric vehicles,” she said.
Richardson noted that the market for Draper Tools is moving towards larger workshop equipment as opposed to hand tools. “We’re seeing more of a demand now … with what we’d call workshop equipment – the tablet, the four wheel aligner, specialist lifts etc. There’s a lot more demand for that.”

There were certainly plenty of these products on show at Automechanika Birmingham.

 

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IS THE AFTERMARKET EMISSIONS COMPLIANT?

By Greg Whitaker

At this year’s What Car? Awards the coveted ‘Car of the Year’ gong was picked up by Kia for its e-Niro EV. This marked the first time that a car maker from the Pacific Rim had picked up such an accolade, but crucially it was the first time that an electric car could be considered practical enough for the magazine to recommend one to its readers as being better than, rather than just a compromised alternative to, a conventional petrol or diesel-powered car.

Electrification is one of three major areas (or to use industry jargon ‘megatrends’) where the motor industry is changing and fast, with the other two being ‘connected car’ and autonomy. This is good news for the health of all concerned, but does it mean that car manufacturers are done with conventional power trains?

The answer is no, at least if you read some of the press releases about emissions-reducing technology that is being developed in reaction to emissions. Delphi Technologies for example produces a GDI (gasoline direct injection) system that runs at 350 bar – tech that the manufacturer itself immodestly describes as ‘state of the art’. However even this has now been supplanted by a new system that runs at an intense 500+ bar, or around 7,500 psi.

Under pressure

Such pressure means the fuel vapour mix is so fine it will explode at an atomic level, meaning even very small particulates are reduced by half. However, running engines so hard is not without problems.

“The industry has long recognized that increasing injection pressure to 500+ bar could substantially cut engine-out particulates while improving CO2 emissions and fuel economy,” explained Walter Piock, Chief Engineer, Gasoline Systems, Delphi Technologies.

The challenge has been to achieve such pressures without increasing the drive loads from the pump. As most engines power the GDI pump through the camshaft drive, a conventional approach would usually require a costly redesign and strengthening of the camshaft mechanism.

“By designing an innovative new internal sealing system for our GFP3 500+ bar pump, in some applications, we have designed a downsized plunger diameter which prevents increasing the loads in the drive mechanism,” said Piock.

Descriptions of the Multec 16 injectors and ‘forged rail’ make no reference to the parts being serviceable, and it is likely that components under that significant amount of pressure will be sealed for life.

Time will tell how reliable a pump that operates under such a load will be, but there can be no denying that the increase in combustion efficiency will allow the petrol engine to be a viable proposition to both the buying public and to politicians for a while yet.

Of course, the aftermarket has to follow OE so there is little in the way of innovation in this field, although products such as ‘universal’ lambda sensors could well make the emissions from a vehicle worse as they are not calibrated to the specific values needed for the application. Fortunately there a plenty of OE-spec parts available, such as the recently launched wide band (also known as five-wire) sensor range under NGK’s NTK sensors brand.

“We have had a very positive response from our customers to the launch of our new NTK five-wire sensors. NTK has more than 40 years’ experience in the sensor business and this is a fantastic addition to our portfolio” said Mark Hallam, Marketing Manager at NGK UK.

Slippery issue

It is also no secret that lubricants are getting thinner in a bid to increase engine efficiency. “Car and lubricants manufacturers try to improve the fuel economy of cars by reducing the viscosity of engine and transmission oils. A thinner oil flows more easily and requires less energy for it to be pumped into the engine,” said Bob Wood, a Technical Engineer at Total Lubricants. “To be compliant with ACEA specifications, synthetic oils or severely hydrocracked base oils are used in combination with the dedicated additives, to not only meet the minimum requirements, but to exceed them”. Wood added that the pace of development of thin synthetic oils for modern and hybrid engines is fast, and that innovations in the additive pack, such as the firm’s patented ‘age resistant’ technology would continue.

Standards question

Buying aftermarket products that directly relate to the emissions that a vehicle produces can be complex. Equipment such as DPFs and catalysts vary wildly in price and this is due in part to different methods of producing them. One of the main areas of debate over the last few years is how effective these components are. David Carpenter of Cats and Pipes explained to us the last time we spoke that: “When buying a product of this technical complexity, in order to guarantee the product complies, it is important to purchase a product that meets Euro classification and comes with all the relevant and up to date test data and quality approval marks”.

Crucially, and in reference to a row that the aftermarket had seen in recent years, he added: “It is also important to question the data and information received to ensure it applies to the actual product you are purchasing. Also, very simply, if the aftermarket version you are buying is totally different in appearance and size to the manufacturer fitted version, there has to be a difference in performance”.

“This is particularly relevant with DPFs and CATs that are supposed to meet the Euro classification to be retailed in the UK. If they are physically only half the size of the original factory fitted part, they cannot possibly meet the standards to which they are supposed to comply. This is a challenge for the aftermarket and small companies which often do not have the time or resources to check all this information and are often buying purely on price and good faith however visual checks are a good place to start,” he furthered, concluding that apart from the environmental issue, products that don’t meet the spec result in returns and unhappy customers.

It seems that the battle of price vs quality is not over yet.

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DOES THE AFTERMARKET HAVE A PROBLEM WITH OVERTIME?

By Tina Chander – partner and head of the Employment team at leading Midlands law firm Wright Hassall

The issue of working late can be a sensitive one within many businesses, as the line between flexibility and unhealthy overtime becomes increasingly blurred.

Most people don’t mind staying late occasionally if there’s a vital piece of deadline-dependent work that still needs to be completed, and this is commonplace for organisations across a range of sectors.

However, when unpaid overtime is pushed to unreasonable lengths and negatively impacts personal time and sociable hours, it can have significant implications on employees’ work-life balance.

In 2017/2018 over 600 employers were ‘named and shamed’ as having failed to make payments in accordance with the National Minimum Wage (NMW).

On the clock

Usually, the term overtime means staying behind past contracted hours.

However, this isn’t always the case, as employees who work through their lunchbreak or get to work much earlier than their colleagues are also classed as working overtime.

One of the biggest reasons for salaried staff working later hours is workplace culture, where people fear criticism if they leave on time.

It is important for employers to ensure their contracts give all staff clear guidance on what is expected with regards their working hours – clear parameters will prevent any grey areas becoming more complicated issues later down the line.

Understandably, senior staff, who are on higher salaries, should expect some additional hours just to get the job done.

The bigger issue comes when more junior members of staff are working late, as there is a risk they could end up working below the minimum wage.

Under the working time directive, UK workers cannot work more than an average of 48 hours a week unless they sign an opt-out, and most workers are entitled to a rest break of at least 20 minutes if they work longer than six hours per day.

While employers do not have to pay for overtime, an employee’s average pay for the total hours worked must not fall below the National Minimum Wage.

Possible penalties

If an employee is continually working over their contractual hours and their average pay falls below the National Minimum Wage, the employer can face both civil and criminal penalties.

Under civil penalties, the employer will be issued with a Notice of Underpayment and they will be required to pay a penalty to the Secretary of State within 28 days. Alternatively they may be ordered to ‘self-correct’.

The current financial penalty is 200 percent of the total underpayment up to a maximum of £20,000 (reduced by 50% if it is complied with within 14 days of service).

Employers who fail to pay in accordance with NMW can be named by HMRC, which can negatively impact operations and relationships.

Where an employer refuses to engage with the civil enforcement procedures, criminal penalties can be applied, which could include the conviction of a summary offence and the fine in respect of this can be unlimited.

Comprehensive contracts

It is important that employment contracts address overtime.

Your contract may explain that staff can claim time off in lieu (TOIL) for some overtime, but it’s up to businesses to ensure employment contracts are legal and reflect their own needs and expectations.

Most businesses will accept busier periods require staying later, but if overtime consumes entire evenings or limits time with friends and family it can become much more serious.

It is crucial that policies and contracts are routinely reviewed to allow for overtime and make clear distinctions between what additional time will be covered and what won’t be.

If you are unsure whether your business has the appropriate measures in place, contact our legal team.

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ALL PEACHY AT APPLETON’S

By Greg Whitaker

There’s a queue as we walk in to the reception of B.L Appleton, mainly because the customer at the front, an older gent, is questioning every aspect of the service on his Vauxhall, which is par for the course for any service and repair garage.

Looking out through the window on to the forecourt, I can see that this customer is not the only one to come in a motor with the Griffin badge. The business was a Vauxhall franchise in the past.

“The amount of people that come here and say: Are you still a Vauxhall dealer? You used to be one. Well, yes, but that finished in 1990,” said Phil Evans, General Manager. “We have a good number of customers that have been coming for over thirty years”.

Indeed, the business has served the community of Heald Green, near Manchester Airport, for a great deal longer than thirty years. Founded by Basil Appleton some 80 years ago the garage has remained in the same family and on the same spot ever since. Originally based from an old barn, the outbreak of WW2 put Appleton’s fledgling business on hiatus, though the army requisitioned the premises to charge the lead-acid batteries used in field wireless equipment.

After the war, the garage served the expanding suburb and its growing number of private cars as well as servicing land vehicles used by the nearby Manchester Airport.

In time, the old barn was demolished and replaced with a complex of buildings. Basil married Mabel and had two children, one of which, Gerrard, runs the business to this day.

Back to our visit, current owner Gerrard Appleton has popped in to say hello, but has to go out again shortly after, leaving us with Phil Evans to show us around.

Mixture

While we were there, there was a mixture of private cars and fleet work receiving ramp time – the garage takes on fleet work from fleet managers and through a lease management company. Other than the Vauxhalls, there is a Jeep and an A4 in for service as well as some vans used airside at Manchester Airport with clogged DPFs. Spark ignition vehicles aren’t used due to risk of an explosion, meaning that diesel vehicles chug around at no more than 20mph, with inevitable consequences. “They clog up very regularly,” said Evans, “And when you do need to do a regen, let’s just say it gets very smokey”.

As mentioned, the garage long ago was a Vauxhall franchise, but today it is a proud member of the Bosch Car Service network and has been for the past ten years.

The garage is proud to support the local community, and one of the reasons for inviting us up was to tell us about a plan to raise money for St Ann’s, a nearby hospice. Among other initiatives, the garage will donate a fee for each MOT to the charity. “It’s the third time we’ve done this, the last being three years ago, but as it is our 80th anniversary and the hospice needs money we thought we’d do this for them again and advertise it on social media.

Looking ahead, Evans is keen to stress the garage needs to invest in training and tooling to look after the next generation of electric and connected vehicles. “I’ve been a technician since 2003, but in the last five years it has just gone mad,” he said, referring to the pace of change of technology. ADAS calibration equipment is also being considered. We look forward to a return visit – we won’t leave it 80 years next time.

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OSRAM IN €4bn TAKEOVER BID

Private investment firms Bain Capital and The Carlyle Group have teamed up to make a bid for lighting technology firm Osram at an offer price of €35 Euros per share.

The voluntary public takeover offer – meaning that the two buyers will acquire all shares in Osram – follows several months of discussions and values Osram at around €4 billion in enterprise value. The Bain and Carlyle share price offer is around 21 percent above the closing price of Osram’s shares before the offer was announced on July 3rd. 

Osram management are understood to be supporting the offer, and are expected to recommend that shareholders accept it. Olaf Berlien, CEO of Osram, said: “Bain and Carlyle are the right partners for Osram at the right time.” 

Private Equity bid recommended for Osram

According to an Osram statement, Bain and Carlyle ‘are making extensive commitments with regard to employees and locations,’ and confirmed existing labor agreements and existing pension plans ‘will remain unchanged’. Osram also expects to retain its patents and corporate headquarters in Munich. The firm is also expected to continue operating under its current name after the takeover.

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MOT STRIKE ACTION LIKELY IN NORTHERN IRELAND

Test centres are larger, but far fewer in NI

The Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance (NIPSA) confirmed strike action for civil servants including MoT workers across Northern Ireland for July 26th. 

In Northern Ireland, tests are administered by government employees at approved centres. Testers have seen their workload and a backlog of tests increase after an increase of around 15,000 MOT bookings in the first quarter of 2019 alone. Drivers can expect a wait of up to 47 days to have their vehicle tested according to a report in the Belfast Telegraph. This shortage of testers and testing facilities is exacerbated by  2,300 motorists failing to present vehicles on time, or in some cases turn up for tests at all.

NIPSA confirmed the strike early in July as part of wider civil service action over pay and terms and conditions, demanding that civil service workers receive pay increases in line with that of Health Service, Local Government and Audit Office employees. The alliance also claimed that there have been attempts to ‘undermine civil servants’ terms and conditions of employment.’ In addition to strike action, NIPSA also called for ‘Action Short of Strike Action’ on the 29th. In a statement, NIPSA claimed that 68.5 percent of nearly 6,000 ballot respondents voted ‘Yes’ for strike action. 

“It is clear that members have sent a strong message that they are not prepared to accept a below inflation pay increase for 2018/19 and demand that the pay negotiations are reopened to ensure that civil servants receive an above inflation increase,” read a NIPSA statement. 

The Northern Ireland Assembly has not sat since January 2017, meaning decisions on matters, such as increasing the number of MOT centres to meet demand, have not been taken.

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AUTOSUPPLIES GROUP TO ACQUIRE LEISUREWAYS UK

Chesterfield-based factor group Autosupplies has entered into an agreement to acquire Rotherham-based retailer Leisureways UK Ltd.

Leisureways Ltd is a long established family business, serving customers in Rotherham for more than 60 years.

Work has already begun to integrate Leisureways into the Autosupplies Group of Companies, with the deal expected to complete at the start of October.

Autosupplies Group MD, David Clarke, said: “The acquisition of Leisureways fits strategically into our ongoing expansion plans and work has already begun with staff, customers and suppliers to ensure a seamless integration into the group. Leisureways is a business with a proud history – mirroring that of Autosupplies and Butlers – and we look forward to continuing its tradition of exceptional customer service as part of the Autosupplies Group.

Retailer to change hands after 60 years

 

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BCA AGREES DEAL WITH INTERNET START-UP

Online used car start-up Cazoo has announced that it has signed a long-term agreement with auction house BCA for a dedicated vehicle

Alex Chesterman, Cazoo

preparation site in Corby, Northamptonshire.

The Corby site will be extensively refurbished and upgraded later this year to create a market-leading preparation, processing and imaging facility with the capacity to refurbish upwards of 50,000 cars per year and store over 6,000 cars.

This agreement follows Cazoo signing a commercial partnership with BCA last month covering logistics and refurbishment. Cazoo secured £30 million of funding at the end of last year, making it one of Europe’s best-funded start-ups.

Alex Chesterman, Founder of Cazoo said: “BCA are the leading provider of remarketing and automotive services in the UK and we look forward to working closely with them as we develop our business. Having a dedicated preparation site will allow us to achieve the highest standards and deliver the UK’s best used car buying experience.”

Avril Palmer-Baunack, Executive Chairman, BCA commented, “We are delighted to have entered a long-term agreement with Cazoo to develop a state-of-the-art preparation centre in Corby. We look forward to working with this exciting and innovative automotive start-up and supporting their business needs with our expertise.”

 

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SCHAEFFLER TO SELL PLANT IN MBO

Management at Shaeffler’s Hamm plant have signed an agreement with the company to take over the facility, which mainly produces friction linings for dry clutch plates.

Negotiations completed on Friday, and the newco is effective as of this morning (Monday July 1)

The deal, for which terms have not been disclosed and is not subject to regulatory approval, will safeguard 110 jobs at the plant. The resulting new company will be called Inno Friction GmbH.

READ: NEW DIVISION AND DATA FIRM FOR SCHAEFFLER

The manager of the Hamm plant and future managing director of the new company, Dr. Christian Spandern, commented: “My fellow directors – Dr. Vera Rührup, Frank Steinhauer and Stefan Löhr – and I are pleased at this opportunity to lead the company in Hamm into a new phase of development that will serve our employees, customers and suppliers well. The new company will continue its business relationships unchanged and will continue to work closely with the Schaeffler Group. At the same time, we see further potential to grow the Hamm location, particularly its industrial business.”

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