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HELLA RECORDS SHARP SALES DROP IN 2019

HELLA RECORDS SHARP SALES DROP IN 2019

Component firm Hella has released its financial figures for the first half of the financial year, revealing a significant drop in sales and earnings. 

From 1 June to 30 November 2019, Hella recorded a decline of 3.2 percent in currency and portfolio sales, and 6.7 percent in reported consolidated sales – a drop it attributes to the sale of its wholesale arm in 2018.

The sales shortfall resulted in a loss of €39 million (£33 million) year-on-year, with pre-tax earnings posted at €257 million (£220 million). Hella said: “This substantial reduction is largely due to extraordinary income booked in the prior year from the sale of the wholesale business.” 

READ: NEIL GRANT IS NEW MD AT HELLA

Another factor was a global reduction in new vehicle output. Hella sold 1.6 percent less products to vehicle manufacturers compared with the same period in 2019, but notes that it still “managed to outperform the broader market primarily based on strong demand for electronic products, particularly in energy management and sensors, and on strong business in the American market”.

The firm’s aftermarket division also suffered last year, with weakened demand in South West Europe and the Middle East contributing to a €13 million drop in reported sales. Sales to workshops were down as well, although the company considers this a result of especially strong sales in 2018, when a wave of new regulation was introduced.

Profitablity in the aftermarket was, however, improved, with cost optimisation strategies bringing pre-taxearnings up to €29 million from 2018’s €25 million. The operating profit margin was 9 percent, compared to 7.6 percent the year before.

READ: MAHLE AFTERMARKET ACQUIRES BEHR HELLA SERVICE

Commenting on the report, Hella CEO Dr Rolf Breidenbach predicted that recovery will be a long process. “The market environment remains very challenging. A strong, sustained recovery is not likely to emerge in 2020,” he said.

“However, we are still reaffirming our annual targets. We will vigorously capitalize on the current phase of market weakness to improve our competitiveness and continue investing in innovative solutions for the market trends of electrification and autonomous driving.”

 

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40 JOBS LOST AS TRICO CLOSES PONTYPOOL HUB

40 JOBS LOST AS TRICO CLOSES PONTYPOOL HUB

Windscreen wiper firm Trico is to close its Pontypool rework and distribution hub, marking the end of a near-100-year presence in the UK.

The closure leaves around 40 people out of a job, with the firm moving central distribution to Puurs in Belgium. General Manager for Trico Group Europe Eduardo Sanz said: “This was, of course, not an easy decision; however, we have to make strategic plans that are in the best interests of our

Skewfields site is now empty

customers and the future growth and sustainability of our business.”

READ: BREXIT: RHINO PRODUCTS OPENS EUROPEAN DISTRIBUTION CENTRE

He added that moving to Belgium will ‘help to centralise’ distribution, and thanked the firm’s Pontypool workers for ‘their fantastic service’.

The Welsh site opened as a production facility in 1992, but has been used mainly for packing and rework for European products since 2006, when Trico downscaled its Wales operations as part of a cost-cutting initiative.

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LEVEN CARS GROUP CALLS IN THE ADMINISTRATORS

LEVEN CARS GROUP CALLS IN THE ADMINISTRATORS

Edinburgh-based dealership Leven Cars has gone bust following two years of ‘difficult trading conditions’.

Leven Cars endured ‘difficult trading conditions’

Stuart Robb and Michelle Elliot – of Leonard Curtis – were appointed Joint Administrators of Leven Cars Group Limited  on Tuesday 7th January.

The company which was incorporated in January 2014, has multiple car dealerships based in Edinburgh and Selkirk, including Rolls Royce, Aston Martin, Lotus, Kia, Suzuki, Mitsubishi and Caterham.

The Company, which employs 139 staff across its four dealerships, has ceased trading.  At this stage, none of the Company’s employees have been made redundant whilst the Administrators assess the Company’s financial position and explore the possibility of finding a buyer for all or parts of the business.

The Company will continue to maintain a presence at the Company’s dealerships for a short period of time to ensure that any customer queries can be addressed.

Joint Administrator, Stuart Robb commented: “We are currently assessing the Company’s financial position with a view to seeking a buyer for all or parts of the business.  This is a unique opportunity to acquire a business with a strong reputation, excellent customer base, and a highly knowledgeable and loyal workforce.”

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ROMAC ACQUIRED BY SUTTON AUTO FACTORS

ROMAC ACQUIRED BY SUTTON AUTO FACTORS

Romac branches feature traditional shop fronts

Parts distributor Sutton Auto Factors has acquired the four-branch Romac chain. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

The four Romac stores in Heanor, Ripley, Spondon and Mickleover will continue, with no impact to the existing staff or customers, according to the new owner.

“Customers can expect to see the same faces, levels of service and customer care along with added value in choice, availability, quality and affordability”, says Andrew Wells, SAF General Manager. “We are delighted to welcome Romac into Sutton Auto Factors as we aim to achieve our goal of growth through offering the best available parts at the most competitive price.”

 The four Romac branches are traditional customer facing shop fronts. They join the existing network of SAF stores in Ilkeston, Sutton-in-Ashfield, Long Eaton, Bulwell, Colwick, Bingham and Ollerton.

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LKQ CORP. TO SELL TWO MOTOR FACTOR CHAINS

LKQ CORP. TO SELL TWO MOTOR FACTOR CHAINS

Chicago-based LKQ Corporation has announced the decision to sell two Czech wholesale automotive parts distributors to Swiss Automotive Group AG. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

In May 2018, the European Commission cleared LKQ’s acquisition of Stahlgruber GmbH, with the exception of Stahlgruber’s two wholesale businesses in the Czech Republic, which were referred for review to the Czech Competition Authority. Earlier this year, the Czech Competition Authority approved LKQ’s acquisition of the two Czech distributors, subject to certain divestiture conditions. LKQ subsequently decided to sell the entire equity interests of the two businesses. LKQ Europe will continue to operate its existing Auto Kelly a.s. and ELIT s.r.o. businesses in the Czech Republic.

Dominick Zarcone, President and Chief Executive Officer of LKQ, stated, “We appreciate the efforts of local management to build a successful business in the Czech Republic, and we are proud that we have found an outstanding new owner for it.”

LKQ expects to complete the sale in early 2020, subject to required regulatory approvals.

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NEW HOME FOR BEN BALL

The Ben Ball, an annual fundraising event for the motor industry’s charity was held on December 11 at the Roundhouse in Camden.

The new venue was the first time the event has been held anywhere other than the Grovesnor House hotel on Park Lane for over 70 years.

Some 650 guests were hosted by Ben’s Chief Executive, Zara Ross, and Fundraising Director, Matt Wigginton. The evening included spectacular entertainment with Ben’s Greatest Show, a gospel choir, music from the band, Fully Funktional, and much more. The audience enjoyed guest appearances from Mat Watson from CarWow and also Jonny Gould, charity auctioneer and Channel Five presenter.

The evening saw around £87,000 raised for the charity with a number of motor trade bosses pledging to take part in a series of ‘Industry Leader Challenges’ throughout 2020.

Matt Wigginton, Fundraising Director at Ben, said: “Ben Ball 2019 was absolutely extraordinary – a stand-out event! We would like to thank everyone who came along to the Roundhouse to be part of something truly special and inspiring. With your support, we’ve raised an incredible sum of money to help us continue providing life-changing support across the automotive industry. Thank you to everyone for your generous donations, we couldn’t do what we do without you”.

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FIAT / PSA DEAL TO FACE ‘THE MOTHER OF ALL MERGER CONTROL INVESTIGATIONS’

The recently announced plan to merge Fiat Chrysler with PSA Groupe will face ‘the mother of merger control investigations’ according to an an expert in corporate regulation.

Jonathan Branton, Head of Competition at city legal firm DWF Law said: “This is obviously a huge consolidation of the sector that will surely require a considerable effort in securing competition (merger control) across a variety of jurisdictions and especially the European Union”.

“This will take time and will create some uncertainty (although the parties will surely have planned this aspect meticulously). More particularly, this is representative of a general trend towards consolidation and/or cooperation in the sector as it undergoes the transformation that the changeover to electric vehicles is bringing. This is presenting unique challenges that seem set to make this and other projects which bring previously independent players together for different purposes (e.g. R&D) somewhat inevitable.”

The mega deal, announced earlier this week will see the creation of the world’s fourth largest carmaker and will be registered in the Netherlands, a country neutral to all parties.  Unions, including those that represent Vauxhall in the UK, have sought reassurances over job security.

Fiat 500 (2007-2015)

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WILLIAMSON: ‘THREATS NUMEROUS, LEGISLATION SCANT’

WILLIAMSON: ‘THREATS NUMEROUS, LEGISLATION SCANT’

Wendy Williamson, Chief Exec of industry body IAAF has opened the organisation’s annual conference with a warning for the aftermarket.

Addressing challenges relating to cyber security, VM data belligerence, supply challenges in the face of Brexit and a problem raised by car batteries being classified as ‘offensive weapons’ William said: “Today threats are numerous, but legislation scant”.

“But we will find  new ways,  to fit the parts and supply the tools and equipment top service maintain vehicles of tomorrow”. 

The conference continues 

 

 

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BREAKING: KLARIUS CASE THROWN OUT OF COURT

BREAKING: KLARIUS CASE THROWN OUT OF COURT

A significant legal case has been thrown out of court.

Klarius’ Cheadle site

Five directors of Staffordshire-based Klarius had been due to stand trial on charges of fraud at Manchester Crown Court, but it is understood by CAT that the judge did not find information provided admissible, apparently referring to a ‘shambolic failure’ in what was presented and found there was no case to answer.

The charges related to historic claims of ‘knowingly’ selling non type-approved emissions products.

UPDATE: KLARIUS ISSUE STATEMENT

READ: KLARIUS DIRECTORS FACE COURT

READ: BREAKING: STATEMENT ISSUED BY KLARIUS DIRECTORS

 

 

 

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SMPE GETS NEW ISO CERTIFICATE

SMPE GETS NEW ISO CERTIFICATE

Standard Motor Products Europe (SMPE), one of the UK’s largest independently owned  suppliers, has achieved the management system standard ISO14001:2015. 

The standard, which is in addition to the company’s ISO:9001 certification, applies to both its Nottingham and Poland facility. The new standard provides SMPE with an environmental management system framework in order to manage its environmental responsibilities in a systematic manner, contributing to greener sustainability, covering criteria including recycling, lower carbon footprint and waste reduction.

READ: New standard fixes child seat fitting fears

The updated 2015 standard includes the latest requirements relating to the context of the organisation, leadership, strategic environmental management, risk and opportunities, life-cycle perspective, performance evaluation and auditing.

Richard Morley, SMPE Commercial Director, said: “This achievement demonstrates both our professionalism and reliability as a company and signals to new and existing customers that SMPE is a perfect partner to do business with”. 

SMPE UK building

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