Archive | Garage News

PROFITS SLUMP AT HALFORDS FOLLOWING MILD WINTER

PROFITS SLUMP AT HALFORDS FOLLOWING MILD WINTER

Halfords PLC, the company behind the retail chain and auto centres as well as specialist cycle shops Treadz and Cycle Republic, has announced its results for the year ending in March 2019.

Underlying profit before tax was down £12.8m on last year to £58.8m.

Halfords

Profits down at Halfords following a mild winter

Chairman Keith Williams noted a ‘disappointing fall in profit vs expectations’ which he put down to a mix of Brexit uncertainty and a mild winter. CEO Graham Stapleton expanded that the drop was also due to ‘weakened consumer confidence’ in the run up to Christmas, retail cost inflation as well as investment in ‘strategic opportunities’, such as the opening of a Boardman Performance Centre. The report also noted that operating costs both in retail and in the auto centres had increased, further reducing profitability.

However, it wasn’t all bad headlines for the retailer. Like-for-like cycle sales grew modestly, net debt was reduced by £6m to £81.8m and total Autocentres revenues were up £2.6 percent. Battery, bulb and blade fitting services at the retail outlets were also showing positive growth.

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DEALER GROUP COMPLAINS ABOUT ‘AGGRESSIVE PRICING” OF TRADE CLUBS

DEALER GROUP COMPLAINS ABOUT ‘AGGRESSIVE PRICING” OF TRADE CLUBS

A dealer group has noted the ‘aggressive pricing’ of VM parts chains makes it ‘less attractive’ for franchised dealers to sell parts for older models.

In a Group Accounts Statement filed at Companies House by John Grose, Director Ian Twinley noted that: ‘Both Ford and PSA continue to restructure their parts distribution models which is making it less attractive for the franchised dealer and therefore a sector that we will reduce our activity. In the retail sector we are all seeing a huge transformation in small package distribution driven by the digital revolution, which is likely to continue for some while yet and have further impact on OEM parts distribution’.

 

VM initiatives such as PSA’s Euro Repar make spares ‘less attractive’ to franchises

Both Ford and the PSA brands are represented by John Grose, and both have expanded their trade club-style offerings in order to tempt independent garages to buy parts directly from them rather than from the all-makes factor chains. PSA has been particularly aggressive with the roll-out of its Auto Repar offering that includes several different tiers of parts quality. Ford has also tried a number of initiatives, including the Quick Lane soft franchise garage model.

 

The Group Accounts Statement also noted that John Grose has taken a number of actions to prepare for a worst-case no deal Brexit, which included stockpiling common service and repair part numbers as well as securing ‘additional headroom in funding’ to meet any volatility in cash flow.

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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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OSRAM COMPLETES RING AUTOMOTIVE ACQUISITION

OSRAM COMPLETES RING AUTOMOTIVE ACQUISITION

Ring Automotive HQ

Lighting manufacturer Osram has completed on the deal to acquire Ring Automotive, following clearance by the Competition and Markets Authority.

The proposed buyout was announced earlier this year, although details of the transaction have not been disclosed. Ring Automotive was previously owned by industrial investment firm Rubicon Partners.

George Skalski, Managing Director of Ring Automotive said of the deal:  “Being part of the Osram family offers us incredible opportunities for further global expansion. The synergies are enormous and will help us to continue our innovation leadership together. In the future, our customers will benefit from the many years of experience of both companies”.

“In addition to expanding our aftermarket portfolio, the acquisition of Ring will enable us to tap into additional sales potential and further expand our market expertise. The aim is to use the additional market and customer access and create synergies in the product portfolio and distribution channels,” said Hans-Joachim Schwabe, CEO of Osram Automotive.

 

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CTEK EMPLOYEE ARRESTED OVER ALLEGED ‘TRADE SECRETS’ THEFT FROM RIVAL

CTEK EMPLOYEE ARRESTED OVER ALLEGED ‘TRADE SECRETS’ THEFT FROM RIVAL

An employee of battery charger firm CTEK has been arrested by Melbourne police over alleged theft of trade secrets at a recent trade show.

 The incident took place at the Australian Auto Aftermarket Expo held in Melbourne earlier this month. In a lawsuit filed in Ohio by the NOCO company, prosecutors allege that the employee stole a notebook containing sales strategy, contacts and other sensitive information.

 CCTV footage confirmed the theft and the man was detained by exhibition centre security until local police came and made a formal arrest.

“We want to thank on-site security, members of the AAAA, and MelbournePolice for their efforts in arresting the individual,” said Thomas Smith, Director of Public Relations on a press statement. 

Smith described the action as ‘evidence of a possible systematic corporate mandate’ to curtail the U.S firm’s growth, something CTEK denied, describing it as an ‘untrue allegation’.

While it accepts that the theft occurred, it said the actions were taken by a lone individual, no longer employed by the company.

In a statement, Jon Lind, Chief Executive at CTEK said: “There was an incident involving a CTEK employee at the Australian Auto Aftermarket Expo in Melbourne, Australia. That individual acted completely on his own, and in disregard of [our] Code of Conduct and instructions. This was an isolated incident by a person acting at his own behest. This person is no longer employed or otherwise associated with CTEK”.

The statement added that the company has ‘zero tolerance for dishonest conduct against competitors or any other business partners’

 In the lawsuit, NOCO is seeking damages and hopes to obtain ‘injunctive protection against the use or dissemination of its trade secrets’  by CTEK.

 

 

  • Updated April 23 to include response from CTEK

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1,200 JOBS AXED AT MANN+HUMMEL IN GLOBAL RESTRUCTURE

1,200 JOBS AXED AT MANN+HUMMEL IN GLOBAL RESTRUCTURE

Filtration manufacturer Mann+Hummel has announced today (April 11) that the company is planning a worldwide reduction of ‘about 1,200’ jobs with ‘up to’ 300 jobs lost from German locations.

However, the company has said that direct production will not be affected by the downsizing, which was mooted in a global cost restructuring programme announced in Februrary.

“We will continue to invest heavily in our business segments transportation and Life Science & Environment and see the planned staff reductions as part of a global initiative to short the company and to position long-term competitiveness” explained Werner Dear Lord, President and CEO.

Consultations with staff and unions have begun and the company anticipates a ‘timely completion’ of the restructuring programme.

Mann+Hummel US HQ

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SMMT SLAMS ‘UTTERLY UNACCEPTABLE’ BREXIT SITUATION

SMMT SLAMS ‘UTTERLY UNACCEPTABLE’ BREXIT SITUATION

In a strongly worded statement, SMMT Chief Exec Mike Hawes has said that it is ‘utterly unacceptable’ that no clear vision for Brexit has yet emerged.

“While we’ve avoided a ‘no deal’ Brexit on Friday, it is utterly unacceptable that, more than two years since negotiations started, industry still does not know what the UK’s relationship with the EU will be in the coming weeks and months” he wrote.

BREXIT: RHINO PRODUCTS OPENS EUROPEAN DISTRIBUTION CENTRE

“Uncertainty has already caused serious damage – car plants are on enforced shutdown, investment has been cut and jobs lost. This cannot go on. Government and Parliament must use this extension  purposefully to take ‘no deal’ off the table for good, and guarantee a positive long-term resolution that delivers frictionless trade. If they fail, we face yet another devastating ‘no deal’ precipice on 31 October”.

BREXIT: ARNOLD CLARK GROUP FACTORS TO INCREASE STOCKHOLDING

The automotive industry is a vital part of the UK economy accounting for £82 billion turnover and employs, directly and indirectly, over a million people.

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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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PEOPLE NEWS: CROXSON REPLACES SEPHTON AT THE PARTS ALLIANCE

PEOPLE NEWS: CROXSON REPLACES SEPHTON AT THE PARTS ALLIANCE

The Parts Alliance has announced that its Chief Financial Officer, Neil Croxson has been appointed to the position of President and Chief Operating Officer, effective immediately. Croxson succeeds Peter Sephton who will be retiring after a three-month transition period.

READPARTS ALLIANCE TAKEOVER: UNI SELECT DEAL COMPLETED

“I would like to thank all my colleagues in The Parts Alliance, Uni-Select, suppliers and other industry professionals who have helped our journey to build a market leader, and I wish Neil and the team the best of luck in what will be a great onward journey,” said Peter Sephton.

READ: THE PARTS ALLIANCE ACQUIRES BBC SUPERFACTORS

Croxson joined The Parts Alliance as CFO in 2015 and has expanded the network through acquisitions and the opening of 15 company-owned stores. He has worked in close collaboration with Peter Sephton to deliver the group’s financial strategy and increase market coverage in the U.K. and Ireland.

“I am honoured to be taking on this new role,” said Croxson. “We had an excellent performance during our first full-year under the Uni-Select umbrella, and under Peter’s leadership, we implemented strong foundations to enable us to capture future market opportunities. I look forward to building on this momentum.”

Neil Croxston

Peter Sephton

An Interim CFO at The Parts Alliance will be named until the position is filled.   

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PEOPLE NEWS: NEW CEO AT DIGRAPH AS SUKHBIR KAPOOR STEPS DOWN

PEOPLE NEWS: NEW CEO AT DIGRAPH AS SUKHBIR KAPOOR STEPS DOWN

CV factor chain Digraph has announced a change in its leadership, as Sukhbir Kapoor has announced his intention to step down as CEO, citing health considerations.

The Board of Directors have unanimously selected former MD James Rawson as chief executive officer with immediate effect. Kapoor will spend the next two months supporting the business.

READ: SUKHBIR APPOINTED CEO OF DIGRAPH

Kapoor joined Digraph from Euro Car Parts in 2018 and during his tenure the company has undergone rapid growth with the addition of eight new branches and one acquisition joining the original 14 sites.

READ: DIGRAPH ACQUIRES EUROPARTS OLDBURY

Kapoor said: “It has been a privilege to have been working for Digraph during this transformational phase of the company’s development and I’m certain that James will lead the business to even greater heights.”

Rawson said: “It’s great to be back with such a talented team of colleagues old and new. I would like to thank Sukhbir for his stewardship and assistance which will ensure a seamless transition.”

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