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FPS OPENS LAUNCESTON HUB

Alliance Automotive-owned wholesaler FPS Distribution has opened an new regional distribution centre in Launceston, Cornwall. Todd Hollyoake has been appointed Branch Manager. Hollyoake worked for the Birmingham branch for many years so is well versed in company standards.

He will be joined by Iain Lockett who has been appointed Assistant Branch Manager. Locket brings over 15 years of experience in the motor trade and an array of skills to help in the daily running of the branch and dealing with customer enquiries.

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PEOPLE NEWS: THREE NEW HIRES AT ELTA AUTOMOTIVE

Midlands-based supplier Elta Automotive has started the New Year with the hire of three reps.

Incoming UK Sales Director Craig O’Neil joins from rival Ring Automotive where he worked for over a decade, variously as an Area Sales Manager. Business Development Manager and latterly, Key Accounts Manager.

Meanwhile, Stuart Poole rejoins Elta as Commercial Manager. Previously he had been Pricing Manager at the firm for nine years, but left in 2017 for a stint at ATS Euromaster.

READ: ANDY HAMILTON APPOINTED CEO OF EURO CAR PARTS

Also rejoining, Michael Ballinger is now Director of Sales (Europe). He also worked for Elta in a similar role for the best part of a decade, but left in 2016 and has been employed by Trico, Sogefi and Ring Automotive since.

In October 2018 a Management buy-out of Elta was orchestrated by MD Ian Hallam with business partner Vladimír Palacka. This led to a ‘rejuvenation of spirit that had been part of [the firm’s] original success’ according to Michael Ballinger.

Stuart Poole

Craig O’Neil

Michael Ballinger

 

 

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NEWS: AUTOQUIP MIDLANDS TAKEN OVER BY AAUK

Branch at Atherton Service Station

Atherton-based Autoquip Midlands has been bought by Alliance Automotive UK.

The factor, which had previously been a member of GroupAuto, can trace its roots back to 1989 although its modern form dates to 2000 when Sandra and Roy Blundell as well as Mark Leason became listed as Directors.

READ: ALLIANCE ACQUIRES PLATINUM INTERNATIONAL

The single branch joins the growing number that are under the direct ownership of the parent company of the GroupAuto and UAN buying groups.

READ: JIM MAZZA JOINS THE PDP

 

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BREAKING: LKQ CONFIRM SUKHPAL RESIGNATION

LKQ Corp, the owner of Euro Car Parts has confirmed that it has accepted the resignation of Executive Chairman Sukhpal Singh Ahluwalia.

The founder of ECP, known simply by his first name to all in the business, sold the company to the US-based parts giant in 2011, remaining as an Executive Director.

The conformation follows reports that Sukhpal, Martin Gray, Steve Horne and other senior management walked out of ECP last week over the subject of proposed cuts by LKQ.

READ: ANDY HAMILTON SUCCEEDS MARTIN GRAY AS EURO CAR PARTS’ CEO 

Sukhpal commented, “ECP has been my life’s work and there will always be a bit of the company in me. I have enjoyed my relationship with LKQ but the time has come for a change so I can devote my full abilities to building the property business with my sons. I am confident in the strategy LKQ has for its European segment and for the next level of growth and operational excellence at ECP.”

Dominick Zarcone, President and Chief Executive Officer of LKQ Corporation, stated, “Sukhpal has been a key partner with LKQ over the past seven years as we have quadrupled the size of our business in the U.K., and he has served as a valued LKQ board member. While we will miss his insights, we respect his desire to spend all his time focused on the family property business and wish him nothing but the best in those endeavours.”

READ: BOARD WALKOUT AT EURO CAR PARTS

Sukhpal has resigned from the company he founded in 1979

This is not the first time that Sukhpal has left ECP while under LKQ ownership. However, he left in 2014 amid rumours that he had fallen out with the parent company and was planning to start a new factor chain to be called APX. These rumours took on substance when a recruitment advert appeared in CAT. Shortly after Sukhpal and several dozen other former Euro Car Parts’ employees agreed to return to ECP under new terms.

 

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BREAKING: ANDY HAMILTON APPOINTED NEW CEO OF EURO CAR PARTS

Andy Hamilton is new CEO of Euro Car Parts

BREAKING: The following statement has been released by Euro Car Parts:

“Euro Car Parts announced today that Andy Hamilton has been appointed CEO of the ECP Group, effective immediately, replacing Martin Gray who has decided to leave the company to pursue other interests. Hamilton joined Euro Car Parts in 2010 and held several different roles within the company, the last of which was Chief Operating Officer. 

READ: LKQ CONFIRM SUKHPAL’S RESIGNATION

“During that period ECP saw unprecedented growth as the branch network increased from 89 to over 220 locations. In 2016, Andy was asked to assume a position with LKQ Europe and most recently held the title Chief Commercial Officer, where he was responsible for several key pan-European projects related to digital strategy, revenue optimization, category and product management, data analytics, pricing and garage customer concepts. Prior to ECP, Andy held a variety of management roles for Halfords Group, the UK’s leading automotive and leisure retailer with over 500 locations. 

READ: BOARD WALKOUT AT EURO CAR PARTS

“Commenting on the changes John Quinn, CEO for LKQ’s European operations said “I am delighted to have someone with Andy’s customer focus and experience leading Euro Car Parts. With the completion of our new National Warehouse in Dublin to service the ROI and with our Tamworth distribution facility now fully operational, we are poised to continue our growth track.“ 

“2018 saw Euro Car Parts complete a number of important projects. After gaining clearance from the CMA they were able to integrate the Andrew Page logistics and purchasing functions. The company relocated out of several warehouses around the country into its Tamworth operations, including its highly automated T2 warehouse. It also completed a new distribution warehouse in Dublin to better service the ROI market. “With the efforts these projects required now behind us, we can return our energy to growing our business and providing the outstanding service and value to our customers that we have been long known for. It is an exciting time to be leading Euro Car Parts” said Hamilton, 

“I look forward to re-joining my colleagues as we take Euro Car Parts to the next level of operational excellence.”

As always, CAT will bring you the news as it breaks. 

 

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BREAKING: WALKOUT AT EURO CAR PARTS

Sukhpal Singh Ahluwalia and Martin Gray have reportedly quit Euro Car Parts amid concerns that parent company LKQ is planning to axe hundreds of jobs. CFO Steve Horne has also reportedly left his post.

Sources close to CAT suggested that 400 jobs are to be axed. The news comes just days after LKQ announced the appointment of Ard Franz as COO of LKQ Europe.

In October we spoke to Mr. Ahluwalia and Mr. Gray about the future of the business, particularly now its main competitors are no longer local independent factor groups, but are other similar stock-market listed businesses with North American parent companies.

NASDAQ-listed LKQ’s share prices have dropped significantly compared with the previous period.

Gray, Ahluwalia and LKQ have been contacted for comment.

More on this breaking story as it develops

ECP’s 75th branch

 

 

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BREAKING: FMS SCUNTHORPE ACQUIRED BY AAG

Scunthorpe-based FMS Autoparts is the latest company to join AAG UK as a wholly-owned subsidiary.

The single-branch factor can trace its roots back to 1987 when the company was founded as Frodingham Motor Spares.  A pivotal moment occurred in 2000 when the company moved to its present 10,000 sq ft site, which includes a large modern factor warehouse and a good size public accessory shop.

The company in its most recent form was incorporated in 2011 and owned and run by the Lally family.

As reported last month, the Alliance Automotive Group has made a number of significant acquisitions throughout 2018 including Motorcare Motor Factors, Lloyds Motor Spares and battery distributor Platinum International.

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IS AMMONIA THE NEXT DIESELGATE?

Mark Blinston, commercial director of BM Catalysts, examines the potentially harmful effects created by the use of SCR technology in modern day diesels

Talk of emissions is never far away as of late and it seems that the problem isn’t set to go away any time soon. From CO2, particulate matter and the infamous NOx, there is another potential emissions problem looming on the horizon in the form of ammonia pollution.

Whilst Euro emissions standards continue to tighten in response to the ongoing emissions crisis, with the current Euro 6 legislation being the strictest set to date, it is apparent that not everything is quite as it seems.

With tighter emissions requirements comes the need for new vehicles to incorporate technologies designed to combat these emissions. Technologies such as Selective Catalyst Reduction (SCR) are just one method used today on modern diesel vehicles that aim to help eliminate the harmful NOx gases they emit. However it seems that everything comes with its consequences. Despite the use of SCR technology being hailed as one of the greatest and most effective feats to date in helping to tackle the NOx crisis, it doesn’t come without flaws of its own.

SCR systems work by a process of a Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) being injected into the exhaust system. As exhaust gases travel between the Diesel Particulate Filter and the SCR, the DEF (most commonly ‘AdBlue’) that has been added to the mix works by reacting with the base metal coating of the catalyst, converting harmful NOx gases into less harmful by-products, nitrogen and oxygen. The DEF used in this process is comprised of urea and deionised water, otherwise known as a less concentrated form of ammonia. Whilst DEF is a non-hazardous liquid, its gases, under the wrong circumstances, can be extremely harmful.

The function of SCR technology can only be fully utilised under appropriate conditions, such as the optimal operating temperature of around 350-450°C being achieved, by which it can help reduce NOx emissions by as much as 95%. However when placed in conditions such as built-up urban areas comprised of low speeds and heavy traffic, this isn’t always possible, which can lead to further complications aside from NOx pollution. It is possible that under such circumstances of low efficiency, the ammonia which is continually injected into the system may not be used entirely leading to what is known as ‘ammonia slip’. This is where excess ammonia exits the system and is expelled into the atmosphere, thus further adding to pollutant levels.

The rise of ammonia in the atmosphere has already seen an increase of 3.2 per cent between 2015 and 2016 according to UK Government figures, which also coincides with the implementation of the Euro 6 emissions standards. This indicates that, whilst the fight against NOx rages on, the increased use of the technologies required to help combat them, in this case SCR, may be posing further emissions concerns. As SCR technology continues to become the go-to choice in new diesel vehicles for its proven NOx reducing capabilities, it begs the question of what impact the rise in ammonia pollution is going to have on both us and the environment. It is clear that whilst positive changes such as the steadily declining atmospheric NOx levels are taking shape, there are other factors that also need to be taken into consideration before it’s too late.

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