Blogs

SEARCH ENGINES REFUSE TO REMOVE FAKE AIRBAGS: REPORT

Search engines are putting drivers at risk by refusing to remove links to websites selling fake airbags in their search results according to a new report.

The white paper, by brand protection provider Incopro lays the blame squarely at the search engine giants, including Google, that apparently refuse to delist websites selling counterfeit goods.

Photo: Jani Pewter

The report found that the spurious products would often feature in the top three results, depending on search term used.

In an example, a website found to be selling counterfeit air bags on the first results page for the term “airbag sale” on Russian search engine Yandex generated 61.24% of its traffic from organic search – demonstrating how necessary search traffic is to counterfeiters.

READ: Incopro ‘Fakes’ white paper findings infographic

Simon Baggs, CEO  of Incopro, commented: “In the automotive industry, it is rights holders and their agents who are best placed to verify the authenticity of their branded car parts. However, there are currently no actions available to rights holders to notify search engines and have infringing URLs removed from search”.

READ: MAN ARRESTED IN FAKE SPARK PLUGS RAID

“In many cases, a mechanic will also be asked to source the air bag for the customer, and in the ever-competitive motor trade, it is conceivable that auto-repair garages will source cheap parts from various suppliers online.

“Whilst it is likely that the mechanic sourcing the air bag will have a greater degree of skill and knowledge than the average user, there is still a risk of buying sub-standard or counterfeit parts. If these are bought in larger quantities, as might be the case with an auto-repair business, this has widespread and dangerous implications for drivers.”

 

 

Posted in Factor & Supplier News, Garage News, Latest News, NewsComments (0)

INSURANCE FOR YOUNG DRIVERS

Looking to get your young workers out on the road? Here’s how to make it affordable.

The aftermarket supports youth employment. It’s great for the industry and even better for the people being given their opportunity in a thriving work environment. If you run a business that employs young people, and require them to drive for business, you will need to consider what ramifications that has for your insurance programme.

In times of financial uncertainty, sourcing competitive rates from your suppliers is paramount. Unfortunately, adding young drivers to your motor trade or fleet insurance policy makes you less attractive to insurers. After all, it’s no secret the insurance industry doesn’t have a favourable view of covering young drivers, which can lead to eye-watering premiums for you, and even a refusal to cover those drivers at all.

However, this doesn’t have to be the case. In fact, with a bit of planning and tweaking to the way you manage your vehicles and drivers, it’s possible to manage your premiums and still give your young employees the opportunity to build their careers in a driving role.

Restrict vehicle usage

Allowing your drivers to take vehicles home can help mitigate the risks involved with having all your vehicles stored in one place and act as a significant employee benefit. But it also increases the risk of incident in the eyes of insurance companies, especially if social use is permitted. Consider restricting this access to older and more experienced drivers only and exclude social use if you can.

With night driving considered another risk factor you could restrict your younger drivers from using your vehicles during the hours of darkness.

Consider your excess

Most insurers will insist on a higher excess if a driver has held their license for less than 12 months, though some specialist policies will negate this. Increased excesses can also apply to drivers under 25.

However, you can also voluntarily increase your policy’s standard excess, which may lower your premiums. This works particularly well if you generally don’t claim for minor damage. Some companies also make employees liable for any excess charges that might occur, to offset the potentially increased costs of repairs.

Monitor with telemetry

Driver training courses can give younger, less experienced drivers a better understanding of safe and responsible motoring, and can count in your favour when it comes to calculating premiums.

Fitting cameras and telematics can also help reduce insurance costs. In fact, the simple presence of a camera has been proven to improve people’s driving style. Telematic data can even be used to form a league table for your drivers, and create a bonus structure that rewards good driving.

Disciplinary process

Do you have a robust disciplinary process for your drivers? One where they can be taken off the road whilst a situation or concern is resolved? If not, we’d recommend one is implemented. Being able to demonstrate you have policies like this in place demonstrates to insurers you are taking the necessary steps to mitigate risk, a key factor when looking to reduce premiums.

Article by Joe Howard, Associate Director at Norwich-based insurance firm Hugh J Boswell

Posted in CAT FeaturesComments (0)

PROMO: BM CATALYSTS ENGINEERING EXCELLENCE STILL A BIG HIT IN EUROPE

PROMOTED CONTENT ON BEHALF OF BM CATALYSTS

BM Catalysts has just completed exhibiting across the Channel at the 25th Equip Auto trade show at Paris Expo Porte de Versailles. The leading manufacturer’s sales and marketing teams were stationed at Stand 1 M 011, where the team were ready to discuss and offer reassurance as to how the company is prepared for a number of possible outcomes surrounding Brexit. They also offered insight into how BM Catalysts will help customers make the most of any changes, not least by offering access to Europe’s widest range of high-quality catalytic converters, DPFs, front pipes and long-term partnership solutions.

With the continuing ability of Equip Auto to bring together senior industry decision makers from across France and beyond, the event was also a perfect avenue for BM Catalysts to promote the quality of its products and the increasing expansion of its already market-leading range. Since the last Equip Auto exhibition which took place in 2017, BM Catalysts has released over 300 new parts, including many Euro 6 references. This year alone, the company has already added in excess of 100 new part numbers to its ever-expanding range, with over 30% being Euro 6 references which meet the strictest emissions standards set to date.

BM Catalysts Commercial Director Mark Blinston

Mark Blinston, Commercial Director at BM Catalysts stated, on the first day of the show: “We’re very pleasantly surprised with the number of visitors coming in to attend the show. We’re delighted with the high footfall at our stand and the positive engagement we’re receiving from our French partners so far. France is now our second biggest export market so we’re very excited to be here showcasing the quality of, not only the physical products we have to offer, but also the level of the support and knowledge we can provide to our partners, all with the aim of exceeding expectations of the aftermarket.”

Posted in Featured Sidebar, Industry InsightComments (0)

PSA BOSS: ‘STILL WORK TO BE DONE’ WITH EUROREPAR UK

Delphine Lafon Degrange

Vehicle Manufacturer PSA held a press conference at Equip Auto to explain its plans for expansion in the independent aftermarket, but has been candid about the performance of its garage network in the UK so far. 

When asked by CAT if she was satisfied with the results from Eurorepar in the UK to date, Delphine Lafon Degrange, VP of the IAM Business Unit said: “Can I be honest? No! …We have started the brand from scratch, but there is still work to be done”.  

Lafon Degrange explained that a number of issues had hampered the chain in the two years since its founding, including logistical issues that caused problems with supply and availability as well as the challenge of launching an operation of its type in a market that doesn’t have the same tradition of franchise-based independent workshops as the continent. 

However, Lafon Degrange remained optimistic about the future of the network in the UK. Announcing that ‘Distrigo’, PSAs new multi-brand range, will also cover Vauxhall and Opel parts, she also announced that the firm will launch a new range of used body panels through Distrigo under the Renew brand. UK distribution is to be confirmed, but the offensive will be serviced from 130 hubs across Europe, plus eight in Turkey. 

Plans to develop what Eurorepar can offer includes a glazing service, a new customer-facing booking and quote website and a special ‘B2B label for professional customers’.  

Lafon Degrange also announced the deployment of an online catalogue called ‘Service Box Multi-Brand’ and explains plans to develop consumer parts website Mister Auto in the UK, while acknowledging that the site had ‘strong competition online’ in the UK.

 

Posted in Factor & Supplier News, Garage News, Latest News, NewsComments (2)

JURATEK IN SECOND MBO

Braking components manufacturer Juratek has announced a management buyout, with three of its directors taking full control of the company. The buyout is the company’s second in three years, as Chairman Allan Hooks is stepping down from the role.

The Doncaster-based firm will now be run by Managing Director Matt Robinson, Sales and Marketing Director Toby Whewell, and Operations Director Mark Clegg. The change comes following the trio’s acquisition of the remaining shareholding from  Hooks. 

READ: 2016 – JURATEK IN MANAGEMENT BUYOUT

Hooks, who is retiring after nearly two decades at the helm of the firm, said: “I have seen Juratek grow and develop into a well-respected aftermarket company both in the UK and Europe. Its commitment to quality in all areas of its business remain paramount to its trading ethos. 

Juratek in new MBO

“After 20 years with the company I believe it is time for me to hand over the reins to the management team led by Matt Robinson, in whom I have full confidence.”

Hooks joined in 2001, having served as Managing Director at electrical components firm Veco for over six years, and Leeds-based parts store Vegem for three. 

READ: 2016 GROUPAUTO TRADE SHOW AWARDS WINNERS

Matt Robinson, who heads up the new management team, has been at Juratek since October 2014, when he was made General Sales Director. Toby Whewell and Mark Clegg join him in the boardroom, having spent a collective six years at the firm. 

Robinson said: “We are delighted to have completed the acquisition of Juratek Ltd and have exciting plans to continue the growth of the company both in the UK and overseas markets.

“The company has seen a sustained period of growth and transition in the past 5 years and we are well placed to take advantage of the opportunities open to us.

“I was keen for Mark and Toby to join me in the management buyout, between us we have over 70 years’ experience in the Automotive Aftermarket, yet we also retain the energy and passion needed to drive the company to even greater success.”

Juratek’s 50-plus staff are not affected by the change in management structure.  

 

Posted in Factor & Supplier News, Latest News, News, UncategorisedComments (0)

BREXIT DEAL ‘VITAL’ WARNS RMI BOSS

RMI Chairman Peter Johnson has branded the current situation over Brexit as ‘unacceptable’ in a speech.

Speaking at the RMI’s Annual Dinner held on October 10, Johnson said: “Last year I stood here and said: ‘Get a deal done and do it quickly before the current uncertainty causes even more damage to inward investment’. That I am standing here with the same message this year is unacceptable, for both our industry and for the country”.

READ: SMMT SLAMS ‘UTTERLY UNACCEPTABLE’ BREXIT SITUATION

“It is vital that the government agrees a Brexit deal with the EU. If it cannot, then prices will rise as a result of the import tariffs that will be paid on vehicles and parts. It is in everyone’s interests that a future trade deal between the UK and EU removes these tariffs” he said. 

Johnson also spoke about the trend towards electrification and took a swipe at those in power guilty of ‘trashing the reputation and capability of diesel cars’ and called on the new Transport Secretary ‘to help us present to the public the facts in making the right choices, not just for our needs, but also for the needs of the environment’.

 

Posted in Factor & Supplier News, Latest News, NewsComments (0)

AUTOSUPPLIES COMPLETES LEISUREWAYS ACQUISITION

Chesterfield-based Autosupplies Group has successfully completed the purchase of Leisureways (The Happy Motorist) of Rotherham.

Leisureways is a long-established family business and until the acquisition, was a member of the A1 Motor Stores buying group.

Trevor Hinchliffe and David Clarke shake on the deal

READ: GSF, BBC SUPERFACTORS AND A1 ADD LOCATIONS

Autosupplies’ MD David Clarke thanked the previous owners for a smooth transition and said: “We are placing considerable investment into the business including the recruitment of new staff, increased stock availability, infrastructure and logistics. Leisureways is widely known for its retail business and so we are looking to replicate this success in the trade with exceptional customer service to independent garages throughout Rotherham.”

READ: AUTOSUPPLIES ACQUIRES BUTLERS AUTOMOTIVE

Autosupplies Chesterfield is one of the single largest motor factor sites in the UK with over 100 staff and 70 vans. In October 2017, the firm purchased Butlers Automotive of Barnsley.

Posted in Latest News, NewsComments (0)

THE HIDDEN COST OF POOR MENTAL HEALTH IN OUR TRADE

By Rebecca Watt – Technician at Avia Sports Cars

According to research carried out by the World Health Organisation, one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. Only one in eight of those with a mental health problem are receiving help or treatment. Maybe that’s because they do not know what help is out there, or maybe they think it is not important or serious enough. There are many reasons why someone with an issue such as anxiety or depression may not get the help they need.

The truth is, everyone is affected by mental health at least once in their lives. Although women are more likely to be affected, men are three times as likely to take their own lives. There are about 6,000 suicides in the UK and Republic of Ireland each year and men make up about three quarters of this figure.

Now you’re probably thinking: what has this got to do with the Motor Industry? In fact, the garage trade is particularly affected by instances of poor mental health. Years of heavy lifting, chasing bills and complaining customers can take their toll, but there are many other reasons why an individual who has previously been fine can change to being ‘not okay’ in a short time.

Stress

Stress can build up and affect things like productivity, quality of work and physical health. Consider a lean management system, like any used in production factories and distributor’s warehouses. If any issue, no matter how slight is detected, the problem will be flagged and managers will work to resolve the issue as efficiently as possible. If a problem with a machine or industrial system is fixed so quickly, why then has a government report found that 300,000 people with mental health problems lose their jobs each year? It makes no sense.

From a business point of view, it is important to ensure employees are aware of the help available to them. People spend most of their time in the workplace, so giving employees the basic need of connection and being cared for will have a greater impact on their lives and will only then benefit the company. Employees will respond to this and work to their full potential. Studies have shown that 12.7 percent of all sickness absence days in the UK can be linked to mental health conditions. The government report showed that better mental health support in the workplace could save UK business up to £8 billion PA.

Flexible working

So what can be done in the workplace to improve mental health? A good start is if employers can embrace flexible working. Allowing staff to work flexible hours or schedules to suit them would give them the self-care time that they require to continue working to the best of their abilities. It is equally critical to allow employees to have their entitled time off, or holiday days away from the work environment so they can return bright eyed and bushy tailed.

People suffering with mental health problems are urged to see their GP, plus there are lots of charities that can help – Samaritans and their excellent confidential helpline for example. Specifically for our industry, there is the charity BEN which also offers a confidential support line and will work with individuals. They also offer a range of workplace awareness and engagement initiatives, training programmes and digital assets to help promote its services within companies. If you look after your employees, they will look after your company. Mental health should never be ignored.

Posted in Blogs, UncategorisedComments (0)

NTDA BOSS: ‘TOTAL BAN ONLY WAY’ FOR PART WORN TYRES

Stefan Hay, the Chief Executive of the National Tyre Distributors Assoc. has opened the annual conference by calling for a total ban on all part worn tyres, following a failure to enforce standards.

Stephan Hay calls for total ban on part-worn tyres

“Over the last two years I have been criticised on two counts” he said. “Firstly, by online trolls who call me some outrageous things. These trolls are actually fans of part worn tyres. Secondly, I’ve been criticised by scrap merchants who make a profit out of selling part-worn tyres”.

READ: FEDERATION CALLS FOR BAN ON USED TYRE SALES

“These people have said that I’m only calling for a ban because I want to sell more tyres. Well, to the critics I say ‘you’re damn right’. Our members don’t sell part worn tyres, so of course we want to sell safe, legal tyres and I don’t make any apology for that. Our members have been campaigning for greater tyre safety since 1930, so why would I change position now?”

Hay continued: “In the past I have been criticised by non-NTDA members for  calling for a ban on illegal or non-compliant tyres, but not all part-worn tyres… Well, that’s a bit of a play on words. Of course our members want a ban on all part worn tyres, because at the moment lack of enforcement, and therefore compliance, meant that a shocking 99 percent of retailers inspected during Tyre Safety Month were not compliant with the regulations, and 75 percent of tyres inspected were dangerous. So, if we weren’t to ban all part worn tyres, what exactly would be left?”

The conference also included speakers from roadside recovery and vehicle lighting, and topics included safety, fraud and counterfeit protection as well as tax liability.

 

Posted in Factor & Supplier News, Garage News, Latest News, latest news, News, Retailer News, special newsComments (0)

CAT AWARDS 2020 CATEGORIES

The categories for the upcoming CAT Awards 2020 are as follows:

  Retailer of the Year

The UK’s top accessory vendor.

  Factor Chain of the Year

(In association with UFI Filters)

The best multi-site factor.

  Factor Branch Team of the Year

(In association with Boswell Aftermarket)

We celebrate the achievements of an individual branch team.

  Supplier of the Year

(In association with Automechanika)

This highly-contested Award recognises the UK’s best supplier.

  Achievement Award

Recognising an outstanding contribution to the aftermarket.

  Rising Star

New talent in our industry.

Independent Garage of the Year

(In association with Toyota First)

The finest garage in the UK.

Garage Concept Award

Open to all garage schemes, fast-fits and autocentres.

  Industry Partner Award

A special Award, voted on by CAT readers to celebrate the best customer, supplier or service provider from anywhere in the industry.

This year, our winners will be picked by a team of independent judges. We still want your suggestions for who should be on the shortlist though, so don’t hesitate to email cat.awards@haymarket.com right away.

 

Posted in Factor & Supplier News, NewsComments (0)

Advertisement
  • KEEP IT NICHE: Does specialising help, or limit the reach of your business?
  • IN A SPIN:  TurboActive talks about a turn in events
  • USE THE FORCE, LuK: 40 years of Schaeffler brands in the UK

more info

    • Should hand car washes face further regulation?

      View Results

      Loading ... Loading ...
    • Popular
    • Latest
    • Comments
    • Tags
    • Subscribe