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ARLEIGH INTERNATIONAL ACQUIRES A.S.A.P SUPPLIES

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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LONDON ULEZ TROUBLES SMALL BUSINESSES

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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EURO REPAR PLANS 600 UK WORKSHOPS

EURO REPAR PLANS 600 UK WORKSHOPS

The PSA Groupe’s Euro Repar garage network is to expand across the UK.

Colin Start, Head of Marketing for Parts & Service for the PSA Groupe told CAT that there were bullish plans to open 600 centres over the coming years. The first of these will be in spare bays of existing Peugeot/Citroen franchises but the plan is to extend the network on a ‘soft franchise’ basis across independent garages.

“Ours is a proposition unlike any other in the UK, with a partnership approach that has deliberately kept the cost and complexity of entry very low: garages are not even required to change their name” Start said.

Requirements for membership are minimal with two manned ramps and a separate reception are the main points, although there will be a minimum spend amount on PSA’s new line of aftermarket parts which are set for introduction later in 2017. These will be supplied through 28 parts distributors that have signed as partners. These Distributors are all located within easy reach of the new network the company is looking to enrol.

Smart adds: “Euro Repar Car Service has built a reputation on consistent standards, transparent pricing, local convenience and especially, trust. We are seeking to work with forward-looking owners who not only share these values, but who are prepared to take the next step and benefit from the huge experience and support we can offer – being part of a growing network with national and international, business and marketing support.”

The first outlets are set to open later in the year and Start’s team are looking to meet perspective garage owners at the upcoming Automechanika Birmingham exhibition.

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UFI OPENS REDDITCH WAREHOUSE

UFI OPENS REDDITCH WAREHOUSE

Luca Betti

Following last month’s news that Hella had signed a distribution deal with filter brand Hengst in the UK, UFI Filters has announced that it will be investing in its own distribution network in what it described as an ‘aggressive market offensive in the UK’.

Stating a three-year goal of achieving 10 percent UK market share over the next three years, the firm has obtained a new 10,700 sq ft distribution centre in Redditch that will hold stock of over 200,000 parts, with 2,600 SKUs covering 96% of the UK car parc.

The new warehouse will be serviced by logistics company Transmec and will allow for a 5pm ‘last order’ cut-off and morning delivery for orders with a minimum value of £350.

Commenting on the new initiative UFI’s Aftermarket Europe Sales Manager, Francesco Tomasoni said: “The new warehouse and service standards will fully satisfy our existing and potential customers needs. We are confident that our offering will be well received, as a result, across the market. While the UK aftermarket is dominated by a few larger suppliers, it is also highly fragmented and there is great scope for a highly focused and innovative company such as ours to deliver something that is truly new.”

Director, Luca Betti, added: “Our filters are original equipment on eight out of 10 of the UK’s top selling cars last year, with 24 different OE filters covering the many different versions of these cars. At a press conference, CAT asked who UFI wished to take market share from in order to hit the ambitious growth targets, to which new Aftermarket Sales Manager, Karl Ridings replied without hesitation ‘Sogefi’.

For its part, Sogefi were unconcerned. “I admire their aspirations, but I’m not terribly worried about it” said Sales Director Nigel Duffield, adding that his company has a ‘clear strategy’ for distribution that it will talk more about soon.

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ELECTRIC TAXI FACTORY HAILED IN COVENTRY

ELECTRIC TAXI FACTORY HAILED IN COVENTRY

The London Taxi Company (LTC) has opened a new vehicle plant in Ansty, Coventry to construct purpose-built, mass-market electric taxicabs.

LTC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Chinese VM Geely, has invested more than £300m in the new site in order that the TX5 will be produced at the plant and exported around the world. The investment and expansion of LTC has created 1,000 new jobs, including 200 engineers and 30 apprenticeships.

The site has the capacity to build more than 20,000 vehicles per year and the new vehicle is using the Volvo electric powertrain and platform, although the design of the outer body looks similar to previous taxis.

Deliveries of the new vehicle are expected to start in Q4 of 2017.

Chris Gubbey, Chief Executive of the London Taxi Company, said: “[The opening] marks the rebirth of the London Taxi Company. A company with a singular vision; to design and build dedicated urban commercial vehicles that can operate without emissions in cities around the world and bring down running costs for drivers.”

The London Taxi Company briefly went into administration in 2012 after parent company Manganese Bronze failed to secure funding, having failed to make a profit for five years. Geely, which already owned 20 percent of the taxi firm’s stock, bought the remainder of the company from the administrator in early 2013 to save it.

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NAMA REPORT INCREASE IN CONVERSION RATES

NAMA REPORT INCREASE IN CONVERSION RATES

The National Association of Motor Auctions (NAMA) has published its most recent car auction data report covering the month of February 2017.

The report shows that overall in February that average selling value decreased -4.8% from £5,296 to £5,041 while average mileage went up by 2.3% to 66,811 and the first time premium was £74.

Louise Wallis, Head of NAMA commented, “Wholesale activity in February was buoyant. It was clear that the excess volumes experienced in January had largely washed through auction centres. “Whilst there was no shortage of stock, demand led to an increase in conversion rates” she added.

“The following weeks will see large numbers of part exchange vehicles enter the market following the plate change in March. The car demand should allow these vehicles to be absorbed by the market as they are brought to supply dealer forecourts to fulfill consumer demand. We look forward to seeing what the rest of the first quarter of 2017 brings.”

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RMI UNVEILS NEW VOICE FOR BODYSHOP SECTOR

RMI UNVEILS NEW VOICE FOR BODYSHOP SECTOR

The National Association of Bodyshops and Vehicle Builders and Repairers Association have merged brands to become a ‘single voice’ for the UK’s independent crash repair sector.

Formerly known as RMI Bodyshops (NAB & VBRA), the National Body Repair Association (NBRA), enters the sector with a new rebrand and focus to tackle an agglomeration of issues expected to affect its members in coming years.

Jason Moseley, Executive Director at RMIF, will head up the new division. “The RMI Bodyshop Division for the first time ever has one voice representing the bodyshop repair industry”, he said. “One thing that we hear in the market is consolidation. My view and the view of the NBRA is quite possibly that over the next 10 years, two thirds of revenues from repair could come from four big consolidated bodyshop groups and potentially in the end we could see those groups performing virtually all the insurer paid repairs. Acquisition is all part of this consolidated picture and that’s exactly why the NBRA has reflected on what we need to do and the services we need to provide that is changing”.

The partnership also seeks to challenge ongoing problems with data protection, the Connected Car as well as enticing younger generation technicians into the industry to tackle these models.

Roger Collins, Chairman of the NBRA, concluded. “It’s vital as part of our change we are the centre of change, discussions and negotiations because it’s undoubtedly going to change the market”.

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NFDA JOINS CALLS FOR ROAD IMPROVEMENTS

NFDA JOINS CALLS FOR ROAD IMPROVEMENTS

Potholes are concerning says NFDA

Potholes are ‘concerning’ warns NFDA

The National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) has urged the Government for substantial investments in UK roads focussing particularly on the increasingly worrying problem of potholes, expansion and development of motorways and improvement of road connectivity. A recent study commissioned by FairFuelUK and published by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) has confirmed that the condition of UK roads is ‘highly concerning’.

The need for the Government to invest in road maintenance, development and connectivity, was one of the main points outlined in the NFDA’s Budget submission to the HM Treasury. We are pleased to see that recent figures* confirm the importance of the issue”, said Sue Robinson, Director of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA).

Robinson continued, “Figures from a recent study have highlighted the issue of UK roads and it is vital that the Government takes this evidence into account.

“Congestion is one of the most serious problems related to the state of roads in Britain and traffic levels are expected to increase. In order to allow the automotive industry and the whole UK economy to continue to flourish, the UK needs a faster and safer transport network.

“Positively, the Department for Transport has recently acknowledged the issue and announced further investments, but additional well targeted measures should be put in place.”

Despite the establishment of a ‘pothole fund’, most garages report that they are changing more springs than ever before.

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COMMA EXTENDS PLANT WITH NEW LAB FACILITY

COMMA EXTENDS PLANT WITH NEW LAB FACILITY

comma

New lab space for Comma

Oil brand Comma has opened a new laboratory facility for product development and testing, situated near its blending plant in Gravesend, Kent.

The extension comes as part of a multi-million pound investment programme from parent company Moove, in an attempt to maintain Comma’s competitiveness for automotive lubricant, coolant and brake fluid testing. “There is no let-up in the pace at which vehicle manufacturers are introducing new specifications for the engine and gear oils for their latest models, and in many cases, upgrading existing specifications”, said Mike Bewsey, Sales and Marketing Director at the firm.

“These investments are designed to ensure that we’re using the latest manufacturing techniques so that the quality of our products can be maintained in a scalable and efficient way, as we enter a new phase in our growth strategy”, Bewsey continued. “The investments that have taken place are on our existing blending plant here in the UK – although our product portfolio continues to be developed and expand”.

Bewsey said that Comma will begin training staff up with its latest test and quality control equipment so they can utilise the laboratory at its full capacity. He said. “As we invest in new equipment for the laboratory, we’re also investing heavily in the development of our people there, so they are equipped to use it to its full potential”.

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BODYSHOP DATA THEFT: ICO RAID HOUSE

BODYSHOP DATA THEFT: ICO RAID HOUSE

Theft of personal data is still common

Theft of personal data is still common

The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) has searched a house in Palmers Green, North London after the Nationwide Accident Repairs Services (NARS) reported illegal activity into its customer database.

NARS told investigators that its computer system had been hacked in order to obtain customer car repair estimates containing personal data.

The ICO believes that the stolen information may have been sold onto crooks that
call people who have had car crashes. “Our experience shows that unscrupulous people access personal data about car accidents to sell it on to marketing firms, who use the details to make nuisance calls”, said Enforcement Manager Mike Shaw. “We searched this house to gather more evidence as we have reason to believe that a person living at this address has illegally accessed personal information”.

NARS has confirmed the illegal activity is not emitted from a person working at the company.

Responding to the investigation, Jason Moseley, Director of RMI Bodyshops, said: “We are delighted that further actions are being taken against this criminal activity. Our trade association stands firmly in support of NARS and others for their work with the ICO”.

Theft of personal data is increasingly common as criminals find the risks are significantly reduced compared with other types of crime.

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