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MAN ARRESTED IN FAKE SPARK PLUGS RAID

MAN ARRESTED IN FAKE SPARK PLUGS RAID

Trading Standards in East Sussex has uncovered a haul of fake spark plugs, valued at nearly £40,000

Istvan Lorincz of Hailsham was found to be in possession of bags of the engine components, along with sophisticated label making equipment and cartons. He had been passing off the fakes as authentic parts on internet auction sites.

Fake plugs found in raid (Photo: East Sussex Trading Standards)

Hove Crown Court found him guilty of 25 breaches of the trademarks act and handed down a four-month prison sentence, suspended for eighteen months.  

Cllr Bill Bentley, East Sussex County Council told local paper, The Eastbourne Herald: “This unscrupulous individual was caught with counterfeit motor parts with a very high value”.

“He was knowingly selling these items online to unsuspecting consumers and businesses around the country, to the detriment not just of the buyers, but of the manufacturers whose products he claimed to be offering and to genuine traders trying to make an honest living”

Rumours of fake spark plugs in the market have been floating about for a while.

 

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‘EXTENDED VEHICLE’ CONCEPT CAUSING AFTERMARKET CONCERN

‘EXTENDED VEHICLE’ CONCEPT CAUSING AFTERMARKET CONCERN

By Greg Whitaker

A new concept in the evolution of connected cars has been proposed by VMs, but many in the aftermarket are not happy.

Backers say that the idea of the ‘Extended Vehicle’ concept will lead to greater protection from hacking and fewer risks from on-vehicle software updates etc. as data will be stored on centralised servers and any access to data will be via these computers, rather than on the car itself.

A website to promote the concept, cardatafacts.eu, has been set up by ACEA, the body that represents VMs in Europe. The site argues that while the servers will be run by the VMs, third parties such as diagnostic tool companies are welcome to establish ‘neutral’ data centres, not operated or funded directly by the manufacturers. However, detractors of the concept say that it amounts to a ‘major threat to aftermarket competition’ as all of the data generated by a vehicle will be in the hands of the VMs at least to begin with, and the third party servers may be a bit like the ‘pass-through’ diagnostics from a few years ago, which used data pulled directly from VMs servers on third party diagnostic tools. Technicians complained that the data available was either late or incomplete compared with the dealer tool.

A recent study showed that the potential for financial loss for independent repairers, and extra costs for the motorist, could be huge if the Extended Vehicle concept is enacted in Europe and the UK. Both the VMs and independents, via the medium of trade bodies, are going head-to-head over the issue, and a test server is being set up to illustrate to the European Commision of the sort of problems that are likely to arise from it.

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INDUSTRY CRACKDOWN ON ILLEGAL REFRIGERANT

INDUSTRY CRACKDOWN ON ILLEGAL REFRIGERANT

By Greg Whitaker

Illegal and potentially hazardous air conditioning gas has been entering the UK and European aftermarket, partly as a result of a reduced supply of legitimate R134a refrigerant, according to a director of Honeywell.

As the EU has been pursuing its climate change policy, the amount of harmful fluorocarbon gasses (known as F-gas) allowed to be sold has reduced significantly in the last few years. The first big cut was in 2018 when the amount of gas allowed in the market was reduced by 37 percent.

Tim Vink, Director of Regulatory Affairs at Honeywell International Inc, explained: “The problem comes when people think ‘I can make a bob out of this’, so they get offers from suppliers, essentially from South-East Asia, and possibly unwittingly started importing gas without having an adequate quota. They’d then offer these products [to the market].”

The problem is apparently so widespread in some places that genuine suppliers face what Vink describes as an ‘existential problem’ for their businesses.

Banned containers

Product that has no business being in the market is obviously harmful to legitimate refrigerant suppliers, but the issue has wider implications: “The problem is, you can’t be sure what is on the packaging label is actually in the container and that could cause serious issues with the functioning of the system. It could have a completely different vapour pressure which could blow up the compressor,” warned Vink. “If you are not using the right lubricant and the compressor runs dry, you get a burn out and all that sort of stuff, so you have to be very careful with the material you put into an air-conditioning system”.

Another concern is the container. Vink said that many of the products taken off the market so far have been in non-certified and non-refillable gas bottles, of a type that has not been legal in Europe since 2006. Honeywell and other F-Gas producers have formed a trade body, known as the European Fluorocarbon Technical Committee, or EFCTC, with the aim of informing the market and pursuing culprits through legal channels.

“The members of EFCTC have taken the initiative to take an integrity line where people can report anonymously if they receive anything suspicious in the market and that information can be used to build a picture of where those products are coming from in the market,” explained Vink. The ‘action line’ and legal action against perpetrators is taken by an independent third party, because as Vink explained: “We are not experts in prosecution and providing the right sort of evidence”.

Action line

The initiative has already seen some success. “Material has been seized in the Netherlands, Spain and Poland,” said Vink. “We as an industry are spending a considerable sum with a third party investigation unit that will go to prosecutors in the countries where material is found”.

Vink believes that the spurious product is being sold both online and by cold callers to aftermarket businesses, offering discount gas. Ultimately, the problem will be relieved by an adequate supply of legitimate gas back in the market and Vink assures us that a low-GWP drop-in replacement for R134a is being worked on at the moment, with a launch slated for early 2020.

Get more information about the EFCTC campaign at fluorocarbons.org

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ZF ACQUIRES WABCO FOR $7 BILLION

ZF ACQUIRES WABCO FOR $7 BILLION

Technology giant ZF has announced that it has
acquired commercial vehicle safety
technology specialist Wabco at $136.50 per share, or approximately $7 billion.

ZF say that the acquisition is part of its ‘Next Generation Mobility’ strategy, and has highlighted an interest in developing automated driving functions in commercial vehicles such as trucks and trailers. It is the first time that ZF has expanded into commercial vehicle braking systems.

Wolf-Henning Scheider, CEO of ZF, said: “For ZF the acquisition of a specialist and leader for commercial vehicle braking systems means adding a stable and growing business segment and enables our existing commercial vehicles division to expand its expertise in vehicle dynamics control.”

Meanwhile, Jacques Esculier, Chairman and CEO of Wabco, said: “Joining forces with high respected ZF will create a leading global technology company well positioned to capitalise on future demand for autonomous, efficient and connected commercial vehicles.”

Wabco products and services include braking systems, stability control, aerodynamics, telematics and more. The company generated revenues of €3.3 billion in 2018 and employs around 16,000 employees in 40 countries. ZF expects to close the transaction of Wabco by the start of 2020.  

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COMPULSORY ADAS PROVISIONALLY AGREED

COMPULSORY ADAS PROVISIONALLY AGREED

New regulations on vehicle safety standards in the EU, due to come into force in 2022, were provisionally agreed in Strasbourg on March 25th. 

Under a wide-ranging set of rules known as the Third Mobility Package, the European Commission described a vision of connected vehicles and digitised roads, where automatic data logs, particularly on CVs ‘will cut red tape and facilitate digital information flows for logistic operations’.

However, it is a description of the Commission’s desire to improve road safety that will be of most interest to anyone who sells or repairs light vehicles. 

Among the odder proposals on the list are mandatory alcohol interlocks (which are essentially breathalysers that allow you to start your car). Light vehicles will also need to be designed to be kinder to pedestrians and cyclists if they are being run over, with improved front crash areas and a safer type of safety glass.

Mandatory ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance) systems under the proposal read like a dealer option list. Drowsiness detection, Autonomous Emergency Braking and Intelligent Speed Assist (where the vehicle’s equipment ‘reads’ the prevailing road speed and adjusts the built-in limiter accordingly) are all being considered, and it is this last feature that garnered the most attention from the national press. Curiously, built-in dashboard cameras are not on the list. 

Antonio Avenoso, Executive Director of the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC), compared the agreement on the new regulations with the introduction of the seat belt and EU minimum crash safety standards. “If last night’s agreement is given the formal green light, it will represent another of those moments, preventing 25,000 deaths within 15 years of coming into force,” he said. 

ADAS has provided both the dealer service market and the aftermarket with a new opportunity, due to the number of sensors that need precisely calibrating on a regular basis. Systems for calibration, such as the kit pictured have been in high demand. 

Absolute Alignment

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AAUK ACQUIRES WHITEHAVEN FACTOR

AAUK ACQUIRES WHITEHAVEN FACTOR

The British arm of Alliance Automotive Group, AAUK, has resumed it’s buying spree with the acquisition of Whitehaven-based A&B Autoparts Ltd.

The single-branch light vehicle factor was an existing member of GroupAuto and had been run by the Farragher family since 2002.

Terms of the deal have not yet been disclosed.

READ: AAG MAKES MAJOR ACQUISITION OF 150 BRANCH DISTRIBUTOR

READ: AUTOQUIP MIDLANDS TAKEN OVER BY AAUK

A&B Autoparts now owned by AAUK

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BREXIT: ARNOLD CLARK GROUP FACTORS TO INCREASE STOCKHOLDING

BREXIT: ARNOLD CLARK GROUP FACTORS TO INCREASE STOCKHOLDING

Arnold Clark factors Midwest and Autoparts UK have confirmed that they are to increase stockholding by a quarter ahead of Brexit.

In Glasgow, Autoparts’ central distribution hub has installed a new mezzanine floor and all branches throughout Scotland and Northern England are increasing stock levels.

Additional stock is also being put into Midwest Motor Factors and Monmore Auto Parts branches.

Craig McCracken, Autoparts UK Group Factor Manager, said: “Whatever the outcome, we’re making sure independent garages continue to enjoy an uninterrupted supply of products. This latest development sends out a clear message to the industry – and our customers – that Autoparts UK, Midwest and Monmore are proactively taking every step to ensure product availability remains at their highest levels possible”.

Stockholding to increase by 25 percent at main DC

 

READ:  OBITUARY: ARNOLD CLARK

READ: ARNOLD CLARK ACQUIRES MIDWEST MOTOR FACTORS

READ: AFTERMARKET LIVES: AUTOPARTS UK

 

 

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NO ‘BREXIT DIVIDEND’ EXISTS, SAYS SMMT CHIEF

NO ‘BREXIT DIVIDEND’ EXISTS, SAYS SMMT CHIEF

The Chief Executive of SMMT has spoken candidly about the issues facing the motor industry as Britain negotiates its exit from the European Union.

“Leaving is not what we wanted. For us, Brexit is about damage limitation. There is no ‘Brexit dividend’” Mike Hawes told an audience at the Society’s annual dinner on Tuesday night.

Pressing the need for parliament to pass the draft proposal bill, he said: We need a deal – now. And that deal must be ambitious for the future. We need frictionless trade with our most important market. Nothing less will do”.

Pressing home the message, he added. “This industry has always had political support – here and across the EU. Now, more than ever, we need that support. To avoid catastrophe; to give us breathing space, to deliver a competitive future. It’s time to decide”.

Business secretary Greg Clarke also addressed the room, and gave his support for the Prime Minister’s plans. “I remember being on the phone to Mike (Hawes)’s team for data on the way to Chequers and presenting it, and then on the phone to his team again the next morning to discuss what we agreed. It was central to the clear and unflinching objective that we set to secure frictionless trade on which this industry absolutely depends” he said.   

 

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IRELAND’S J&S AUTOMOTIVE ACQUIRES ORIGO AUTOPARTS

IRELAND’S J&S AUTOMOTIVE ACQUIRES ORIGO AUTOPARTS

Ken Tannam, Origo and Alan Gaynor, J&S shake on the deal

Ireland-based parts supplier J&S Automotive has acquired at the autoparts division of tool supplier Origo.

Origo is part of the SISK group of companies and is known as a key supplier of Bosch branded product throughout Ireland.

Terms of the deal have not been announced, but the deal is described by J&S as an ‘important strategic step’.

J&S Automotive MD Alan Gaynor said: “By adding Origo Automotive to J&S Automotive,  we look forward to delivering an even better range of automotive parts and services.

 

 

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DUTCH TRADE BODY TALK BREXIT WITH IGA

DUTCH TRADE BODY TALK BREXIT WITH IGA

Dutch garage trade group BOVAG (BOnd Van Automobielhandelaren en Garagehouders)  – has completed a nationwide tour of British garages to discuss future working relationships ahead of Brexit.

The BOVAG team joined up with the Independent Garage Association (IGA) during the trip. The visitors gained insight into the management of British independent garage businesses and discussed issues affecting the industry including MOT testing and access to technical information. The groups also discussed Brexit and the implications for their working relationship.

Stuart James, Director of the IGA said: “This co-operation with our European colleagues is a positive step towards maintaining strong partnerships throughout and beyond the Brexit process.”

Meanwhile, Gerard ten Buuren, Chair of BOVAG’s Independent Garage Division, said the team “gained a tremendous amount” from the visit and is “delighted” to continue working alongside the IGA.

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