Blogs

BMS SUPERFACTORS ACQUIRED BY PARTS ALLIANCE

Business group The Parts Alliance has acquired BMS Superfactors, their Greater Manchester-based associate member. BMS Superfactors has four branches in Bury, Oldham, Rochdale and Dukinfield, collectively employing over 120 staff. Prior to the deal, BMS had been an associate member of the Parts Alliance.

Founded 25 years ago, BMS Superfactors begun as an accessory shop and has grown into a business completing 1,000 trade deliveries per day. Since joining The Parts Alliance in December 2012 it has posted double-digit annual sales growth.

“We’re delighted to be taking what seems a very natural next step with The Parts Alliance,” said Tony Parr, Managing Director of BMS. “Joining the group and gaining access to their OE parts ranges, outstanding AlliCat parts catalogue and overall business support has been central to our success to date.

Peter Sephton, Chief Executive of The Parts Alliance said:  “We welcome BMS Superfactors and all our new colleagues.

“The growth they have achieved bears powerful testament to the skills of the management team led by Tony Parr, Chris Morley and Neil Hardisty as well as the hard work of a loyal staff team. This important acquisition strengthens our group’s position in one of the UK’s prime metropolitan areas.

“Chris and Neil will continue to run the business, whilst Tony will be available to help as necessary.

“We very much look forward to developing the business further under what’s a well regarded local brand by bringing more of our technology, distribution and sourcing capabilities to support Chris and his team wherever we can.”

BMS becomes a wholly-owned business within The Parts Alliance Group  but will continue to trade under its own name. Chris Morley will continue to lead the business and will be joined by Neil Hardisty on The Parts Alliance’s management team.

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FUTURE IS NOW AS AUTOPROMOTEC GETS UNDERWAY

The biennial Autopromotec trade fair is underway in Bologna.

The 2017 edition sees 1,651 exhibitors, of which 42 percent are from countries other than Italy with the UK, Germany and Spain as well as China and Taiwan making up the greatest number of international exhibitors.

Also new for this edition is an entire hall transformed into a ‘Workshop Concept’ with demonstrations of equipment, both current and prototype, that will form the garage of the future.

The show has returned all the usual features, including a busy seminar programme that has presentations and training by experts and legislators from all over Europe.

When asked, Autopromotec Show Manager Emanuele Vicentini admitted that it was ‘a risk’ to have such a number of training based attractions that could potentially take visitors away from the floor. “However, we feel that it is important that garage owners and technicians can touch and see the equipment of the future, as we want to make sure the aftermarket trade is ready for the challenges that await in the coming years” he said.

More information can be found on autopromotec.com

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TRADE BODIES UNITE TO FORM CONSENSUS GROUP

An aftermarket organisation has launched, bringing together a number of trade bodies and groups. The Automotive Aftermarket Liaison Group (AALG) has a stated aim of lobbying on issues that ‘affect the aftermarket in a post-Brexit Britain’.

Launched at an event held at Silverstone, the Group comprises of an alphabet soup of existing groups. These are: IAAF, IGA, GEA NTDA, the IMI and the SMTA. Representatives from all of the bodies explained the need to have a strong and united voice for the aftermarket on issues such as block exemption and guaranteed access to data, both of which are under threat in the so-called ‘Great Repeal Bill’set to take place when the UK leaves the EU.

Sandy Burgess, Chief Exec. of SMTA (Scottish Motor Traders Assoc.) commented: “As we progress towards the ‘Brexit date’, the landscape for our industry will change no doubt creating any number of situations which will generate the need for significant and potentially costly change. Acting as a strong united body the AALG will be able to use the pooled resource of the members to ensure a clear interpretation of the impacts of these changes and provide clarity of understanding to assist those within the industry to take sensible action to mitigate these impacts”.

The AALG has a rotating presidency. Currently, the IGA is at the head, so Stuart James is the point of contact for anyone in the aftermerket

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ARLEIGH INTERNATIONAL ACQUIRES A.S.A.P SUPPLIES

Arleigh International Ltd, a Euro Car Parts company, announced today the acquisition of marine distribution specialist A.S.A.P. Supplies Ltd. Based in Suffolk, A.S.A.P. is one of the UK’s largest stockists of marine equipment and spare parts.

Established in 1989, A.S.A.P. provides a huge breadth of marine products for customers’ maintenance, repair and overhaul projects. A.S.A.P.’s offerings are supported by a highly-skilled customer service team that provide guidance across its vast product mix of more than 70 trusted brands.

Arleigh International was itself acquired by ECP in August last year along with the Nova Leisure and Midland Chandlers brands. The brands are among the largest in the touring and leisure boating sectors.

Martin Gray, CEO of Euro Car Parts, said: “A.S.A.P Supplies is a complementary fit with Arleigh and is a further enhancement of Euro Car Parts’ Specialist Products Division. This agreement further cements Arleigh as the market-leading distributor of products to the UK caravan, leisure and marine markets.

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FEDERATION CALLS FOR BAN ON USED TYRE SALES

AN INVESTIGATION has found that defective second-hand tyres are being sold to motorists, after figures showed 989 deaths or injuries have been a result of these models over the last five years.

Evidence was gathered when trading standard watchdogs posed as customers and bought samples from a number of dealers in County Durham. An Inspector at TyreSafe concluded that six out of seven purchases were deemed faulty while one was classed as ‘legal’ and over 18 years old.

Two were seriously damaged after being under-inflated. Two had damage to the bead, a reinforced rubber section inside the wheel. One contained water, showing it had not been stored properly. Five had no official ‘part worn’ stamp, classing them illegal according to a report in the Sunday Mirror.

Previous data collated from TyreSafe backed up the paper’s sentiment, highlighting that 98 percent of second-hand tyres carry no ‘part worn’ markings while 4.5m are sold to UK motorists year-on-year.

A TyreSafe spokesman, said. “Competence among used tyre retailers is questionable and the majority of used tyres are not properly inspected. A tyre is classed as a waste product until it’s been fully checked”.

The National Tyre’s Distributors Association (NTDA) has expressed its dismay, describing these practices as ‘appalling’ and a ‘ticking-time bomb’. The federation also calls for a ban on used car tyre sales in an attempt to reduce further accidents and deter rogue traders from selling on faulty products.

Posted in CAT Features, Factor & Supplier News, Garage News, General, NewsComments (0)

PAYING ATTENTION TO DETAIL

Pri Chauhan shows us around a recruitment business that has an unusual point of difference.

Pete George and Pri Chauhan (R)

Imagine for a moment that you own a successful recruitment business and you wish to expand, what would the next step be? Perhaps you’d hire more staff and find a larger office? You might want to reach out to more potential clients through social media such as LinkedIn or Google Circles.

PG Automotive, a firm that wanted to expand from a small business suite wished to do all of these, but simply renting a f loor of an office block must have seemed too pedestrian for the management duo of Pete George and Pri Chauhan. Both are huge petrol-heads and the recruitment business that they own is focussed on the aftermarket… So perhaps it wasn’t such a huge leap of logic that they decided to expand into car detailing. The idea for the business was hit on following a meeting with Reep CEO Chris McDonald.

EXPANSION
The industrial unit chosen for the expansion is a lofty building, which PG fitted out with an upstairs area used for the recruitment agency offices. These are what you might expect, but it is the ground f loor that is altogether more interesting. A reception area resembles a boho New York loft, complete with contemporary furniture and lifestyle magazines. This leads through to a number of client rooms, which have floor to ceiling internal windows that look over the detailing bays. These rooms, which are also tastefully furnished can be either used for clients visiting the recruitment consultants, or for people wanting to watch and wait as their vehicle is detailed. “We did a lot of it ourselves” Chauhan recalled. “It cost Pete (George) a bad back and me a double hernia”.

Don’t confuse this operation with the sort of hand car washes you see in closed-down petrol
stations on trunk roads around the country. Reep comprises of some of the highest-end detailing products in the industry including Swissvax UK, Koch Chemie and Gtecniq. Indeed, it does not refer to itself as a distributor of car cleaning materials – the website prefers the term ‘world class surface technology’.

SERVICE
Whatever you want to call the service, the vehicles on the work area f loor on the day of our visit show that PG’s networking skills have resulted in a client base that most independent garages can only dream of. The car nearest the door to us was a mid-1960s Mustang convertible and it was probably the least valuable vehicle in the building. Waiting in the queue were two Ferrari 458s, an Aston and several Porsches and while we were visiting another car, which we think was a Lamborghini Aventador was unloaded from a curtain side trailer.

Ferrari 458 looking shiny

Having the detailing business has worked well for the recruitment firm as Chauhan says it gives the firm a point of differentiation and links it inextricably with the aftermarket. “I’ve enjoyed bringing clients here and they get it straight away. If there is a particular car in that they like we’ll arrange to see them while it is in and they can have a picture with it – though they can’t sit in it!” smiles Chauhan.

The bays themselves are described as F1-themed, though to our mind they more resembled spray booths in a bodyshop. Each one is temperature controlled and evenly lit and none have anywhere for dirt or contamination to build up. Alongside usual detailing facilities, the Gtechniq ceramic protection mentioned by Chauhan has been popular as it is tougher and more durable than traditional paint protection offered by dealerships.

One area where the bosses don’t get their hands dirty is in the detailing itself. As a recruitment company, it wasn’t too hard to find experienced professionals that wanted to work in a place such as this.

Indeed, it hasn’t been much trouble in getting anyone through the door as the team found at a launch event on a cold, wet Sunday in February. A capacity crowd turned up at the industrial estate to see some of the exotic cars that had been brought by customers to the gleaming facility. We’ll be interested to see how this hybrid business develops over the coming months.

Posted in Out and About with CATComments (0)

STEELS THE ANSWER IN MODERN GASKETS

We know what a gasket is, but what does it actually do, and how?

Fibre gaskets now less popular

What is a gasket? It sounds like an obvious question, but in point of fact, it is not the easiest to answer. Some would say it is any flexible material used to mate two surfaces, while others would have a more technical answer that distinguishes a gasket from a seal. Others, particularly those that own anything powered by the Rover K-series, might have another (possibly unprintable) definition of a gasket.

But for the rest of the aftermarket, when someone talks of gaskets they are generally referring to the cylinder head gasket, which as everyone knows is to act as an air, oil and watertight seal between the head and the block. If the gasket blows when the engine overheats then the driver will hopefully notice the sudden increase in temperature and take action before the head warps or the block cracks.

COMPOSITION
Head gaskets generally used to be made from a form of fibre, but these days are more often than not made from steel. The reason for this is that the crush rate is far more predictable, meaning the head can be tightened with a torque wrench without needing to carefully half-tighten each of the bolts in turn.

Another reason for using steel is that with crush gaskets the height of the cylinder head can vary, literally depending on how much the gasket is crushed under the cylinder head. This might seem like an inconsequential amount, but it makes a difference to modern fuel injectors that have a tolerance of only a few microns.

Steel gasket

PROBLEMS
However, steel gaskets have not been without problems. OEMs have battled with creating a gasket that will apply an adequate amount of pressure to stop gasses from escaping. One way of doing this is to add an additional ‘fire ring’ into the steel, although some aftermarket gaskets don’t have this welded ring, instead relying on a ring folded into the metal. Last time we addressed this issue, we spoke to Dominic Moxon, a Senior Product Engineer at FAI Automotive who explained: “The problem is this folded design will not last as it will not be able to cope with the pressures generated in the combustion chamber”.
Clearly, having to do a job twice, particularly an involved and complex task like a head gasket, so it pays to track down a gasket of a similar design to whatever was fitted to the vehicle originally.

WELL I’LL BE BLOWN… GASKET MYTHS DEBUNKED
Paul Grosvenor from Mahle advises that one of the most common misconceptions is that a good plan with a diesel engine is to replace the head gasket with a thicker one.

“It is not best practice to do that” he says. “The difference in the gasket thickness exists primarily because of the tolerance on other parts. It can ultimately affect the emissions levels by using a thick gasket when it should use the thinnest one”.

“Best practice is to fit like for like, because gasket thickness is calculated on the protrusion of the piston from the engine block so if they are only changing the head gasket they should fit the same as was fitted on it originally”.

UNDERLYING ISSUE
Dominic Moxon of FAI Automotive says that if a head gasket has been fitted for some time suddenly goes then technicians need to look for an underlying cause. “There is always a reason for it failing whether that is down to a manufacturing process, installation issues or a running fault”.

REMAN STANDARD
Simply replacing the gaskets and cleaning a used engine does not make it a remanufactured part. In the UK, the Federation of Engine Remanufacturers agreed a set standard for remanned engines 20 years ago and more recently agreed a strict definition with six other trade groups. John Gray, FER President, said: “The remanufacturing industry has lead the acceptance of a range of terms that have UK origins. This international agreement also provides us with further proof that remanufacturing is on the rise, which is extremely positive for the industry.”

Best practice is to fit gaskets like for like

COOLING BLOCK
Pour-in instant head gasket is hardly a professional repair, but claims that it will clog or cause damage to the cooling system appear to be wide of the mark, at least if you are using the Steel Seal product. “It contains no fibrous material to seal your blown head gasket. It relies on a thermo chemical bonding process that is a chemical reaction, to seal the leak in your blown head gasket” reads a statement from the company.

Posted in Accessories, CAT Know-How, Garage News, News, Seals & GasketsComments (0)

LONDON ULEZ TROUBLES SMALL BUSINESSES

London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone will start in 2019 is troubling news for small businesses and specialist hauliers serving London, says the Freight Transport Association (FTA).

“We need to continue the improvement in London’s air quality which is happening anyway, but this regulation taking effect in 2019 will severely disadvantage small businesses working in the capital’s centre,” says Natalie Chapman, FTA’s Head of Policy for London and the South East. “The impact will be especially hard for van users, as by 2019 there will only be two and a half years’ worth of compliant vehicles in the fleet – and no second hand compliant vehicles available for purchase at all.”

It is now planned that the Zone will extend in 2020 to Greater London for HGVs and to Inner London for vans in 2021. Ms Chapman commented, “It is encouraging that this is not happening in 2019 as had been suggested: this shows the Mayor has listened to some of the concerns that had been raised. But the expansions of the Zone will still increase the burden on business exponentially. We are calling for businesses based in the affected area to have access to a sunset clause, such as has been offered to private residents, allowing them greater time to comply with the change required without the need for unnecessary and potentially crippling additional charges for new vehicles.

“Previously, the Mayor has called on the Government to fund a scrappage scheme aimed at owners of older diesel cars and vans: we fully support him in that call and believe it is the place of national Government to help prevent the cost burden to implement these measures falling on local authorities, businesses and residents. If such a scrappage scheme were created, it would give the Mayor the necessary room to introduce more flexibility to the London ULEZ, helping operators to avoid some of this unwieldy and unexpected burden on small businesses.

“At a time when London’s businesses face an increasingly challenging trading environment, the Mayor should be taking every possible step to help the capital’s small businesses, and we will urge through this consultation for more consideration to be given to those affected by the introduction of these new measures” concluded Chapman.

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JOIN PAGID FOR DRINKS AT AUTOMECHNIKA BIRMINGHAM

Pagid, in association with Euro Car Parts, is hosting Proud to Fit LIVE, the biggest show in town, on the 6th and 7th of June 2017, coinciding with Automechanika, Birmingham.

Pagid Proud to Fit LIVE will bring together the very best independent workshops from across the United Kingdom for a truly memorable event.

As well as free welcome drinks, buffet and networking; the event will include a celebration of customer success and excellence, sharing of industry insight and expertise, and a technical presentation on best practice fitment.

Pagid’s Workshop Winners promotion – which will see a winner receiving a workshop upgrade worth £10,000 – will also be launched at the event; as will the Pagid Proud to Fit Awards.

The event takes place on Tuesday 6th and Wednesday 7th June 2017, 5.45pm – 8.45pm at Automechanika, Birmingham NEC in Piazza suites 5 and 6.

Anyone wanting to attend can book their place now at www.pagidlive.com, or speak with their local Euro Car Parts representative.

Posted in Featured Sidebar, Industry InsightComments (0)

ECP – ANDREW PAGE LATEST: COMPETITION AUTHORITY DEADLINE TONIGHT

 

The CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) has said that Euro Car Parts’ buyout of Andrew Page faces an ‘in-depth merger probe’, unless it ‘offers acceptable ways of addressing competition concerns’ by the end of today (Wednesday May 17).

ECP needs to come up with proposals to resolve the competition concerns. If it does not offer anything, or if the CMA is unable to accept undertakings offered, the merger will be referred for a ‘phase two’ investigation that is substantially more in depth and will take 24 weeks.

At the end of this period the CMA must rule whether the merger can go ahead, and if not, what can be done in the interests of a competitive market.

This follows from last year’s takeover of Andrew Page by ECP on the day that the former went into administration.

Posted in Factor & Supplier News, Latest News, News, special newsComments (12)

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