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BREAKING: AUTOMECHANIKA 2020 CANCELLED

BREAKING: AUTOMECHANIKA 2020 CANCELLED

Automechanika Frankfurt will not happen in 2020 it has been announced.  The event will instead be held in 2021 and in odd years thereafter.

 

In a statement, the organisers said: “As you might have already expected: This is to inform you that Automechanika Frankfurt, the international industry gathering for the automotive aftermarket, is being postponed until 14 to 18 September 2021 in response to local and global measures implemented to stop the spread of COVID 19. From then on it will take place in the odd years”.

Detlef Braun, Member of the Executive Board of Messe Frankfurt, explained:

 “Our top priority is ensuring the health and safety of everyone – exhibitors and visitors alike – taking part in the event. With waves of the pandemic moving around the globe and many countries not expecting it to peak until the summer, I am certain that the decision to postpone Automechanika until September 2021 is the right one. Over the past two weeks in particular, we have been engaged in intensive discussions with our customers, partners and supporting associations, and they sent us a clear signal. By holding the event in 2021, we are responding to our customers’ wishes.”.

Automechanika Birmingham will happen in the same year as planned, due to ‘pent up demand’ in the UK aftermarket.

 

We’ll bring you more on this breaking story as we get it.

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LKQ BOSS: INVESTMENTS UNDER REVIEW ‘TO SECURE LIQUIDITY’

LKQ BOSS: INVESTMENTS UNDER REVIEW ‘TO SECURE LIQUIDITY’

Arnd Franz, CEO of LKQ Europe has spoken in an interview about the direction of the group as the region emerges from lockdown. 

Speaking to German weekly, Automobilwoche, Franz explained that investments planned by the company needed to be under close review ‘not only to adjust capacity, but also to secure liquidity’.

READ:  WALKOUT AT EURO CAR PARTS

However, Franz was keen to point out that any review did not affect the large distribution centre, currently under construction in the Netherlands.

“We are providing a medium double-digit million-euro amount for this. Our plan is to complete this project by the end of the year. This will not change at all” he said.

READ: LKQ CONFERENCE FOCUSSES ON CHANGE MANAGEMENT

Also in the interview, Franz explained that independent garages might see some business return soon, though 2020 will understandably be down on 2019. ‘Perhaps we will have a chance of recovery towards the end of the second quarter, but perhaps not until the third quarter’ he said.

Last month he explained in another interview that an ‘integration’ of the systems and processes used by the firm’s many brands over Europe was required.

 

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TM FACTORS SUPPORTS LOCAL COMMUNITY WORKERS

TM FACTORS SUPPORTS LOCAL COMMUNITY WORKERS

Independent parts distributor TM Factors Hereford is helping its local community by carrying out a number of goodwill gestures for individuals and local charities supporting vulnerable people.

READ: SUPERCHIPS IN ADMINISTRATION FOLLOWING COVID-19 CLOSURE

The business also organised a collaborative effort to help a front line nurse at Hereford City hospital, whose car had broken down and needed a new clutch, tyres, pads and discs.  Enlisting the support of Eurocars Autocare Garage to provide the repairs, TMD Friction to supply the pads and discs, Chrispins Paint and Bodyshop the gearbox, Valeo the clutch and John Wood Tyres to provide the new tyres, this incredible effort successfully got the nurse’s car back on the road, ready for her night shift.

READ: CORONAVIRUS: FACTORS TO REMAIN OPEN

Director Melissa Portman-Lewis said: “I have been overwhelmed by the kindness shown by local people and the motor trade and I want to continue this combined effort to go further and offer more support to those that need it most. The motor trade is making a real positive impact to people’s lives, using its expertise, logistics and generosity to provide a solution for people during this extremely difficult time.”

The local NHS is also benefiting from the use of the firm’s vans, with voluntary drivers delivering prescriptions where needed.

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IGA CALLS FOR ‘FLEXIBLE FURLOUGH’ SCHEME

IGA CALLS FOR ‘FLEXIBLE FURLOUGH’ SCHEME

The Independent Garage Association (IGA) has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, requesting an enhancement to the furlough scheme so that employees can partially return to work as the country prepares for the next phase of lockdown restrictions.

Stuart James

Stuart James, IGA Chief Executive stated: “As businesses ready themselves for the next stage of lockdown, we are asking the Chancellor for a level of flexibility within the furlough scheme so businesses can be supported throughout their reopening.

READ: CORONAVIRUS: MORE THAN 60 PERCENT OF GARAGES HAVE SHUT

“Garages have been classified as an essential service throughout this crisis, however it has been very difficult for many of them to remain open in the current climate. It is common for garages to have staff dedicated to the role of MOT testing who do not repair cars. Due to the drop off in work volumes caused by the MOT extension and lockdown restrictions, garage owners have been left with no choice but to furlough these dedicated staff and, in many cases, close their business.

READ: INDEPENDENT PETROL STATIONS ‘MUST FIGHT FOR SURVIVAL’

“Most MOT tests are booked in advance, so if testers were able to return to work part-time with the help of a enhanced furlough scheme it would reduce the costs to the government, help garage businesses reopen in a phased, progressive manner, and help the economy work its way back to normality.

“We urge the Chancellor to consider a system similar to the French furlough system that gives businesses the flexibility to bring in employees as and when they are needed, while claiming back a percentage of their salary for any hours not worked.”

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INDEPENDENT PETROL STATIONS ‘MUST FIGHT FOR SURVIVAL’

INDEPENDENT PETROL STATIONS ‘MUST FIGHT FOR SURVIVAL’

The nation’s independent petrol stations must fight just to survive the next few months, according to a trade body. 

Across the UK thousands of small, often family owned, rural petrol stations are desperately trying to stay open to provide fuel to all their regular, essential frontline customers working as nurses, doctors, midwives, carers and many more key jobs.

“These petrol stations have been hit very hard by the biggest, fastest drop in demand that any of us has ever witnessed” said Brian Madderson, Chairman of the Petrol Retailers Association (PRA).

READ: CAR WASHES: A HOT BED OF MODERN SLAVERY

“For some of our members, this drop has been as much as 85% of normal volume leading to a huge cash flow crisis. The sector is unique, with over 70% of income taken by the Government through fuel duty and VAT. There is a Cash Grant of £25,000 available to small and medium size petrol stations, but this is swallowed by the next delivery, with a tanker needing over £26,000 just to pay the tax.”

It is no wonder that up to 100 petrol stations, mainly in rural areas, have already had to close their doors and those remaining have had to reduce their opening hours during the pandemic, with staff lost to Covid-19 symptoms or having to self-isolate with their families.

READ: OPEN OR CLOSED? BUSINESSES REACT TO LOCKDOWN

Madderson continues, “There is speculation from some motoring organisations and lobby groups that UK fuel prices will tumble fast as a result of the historic event in North America yesterday, when the value of oil moved into negative territory.”

“However, with such low demand for road fuel, most petrol stations would risk their financial viability if they had to reduce prices still further. Instead of 100 closures, we could see 1000 – severely disadvantaging so many of the essential frontline workers.

“The target remains to keep open and provide continuity of service.”

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NEWS: TOYOTA PARTS SUPPLY SITUATION IMPROVES

Toyota UK has been working behind the scenes to support a gradual restart of ‘normal’ Aftersales operations.

“Our priority has been the safety of our employees, with many countermeasures now implemented to ensure workplace distancing can be fully respected, as our parts and logistics operations return to an increased level of activity”, a spokesman said.

READ: LKQ PLOTS GROWTH AFTER CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

“Following last week’s parts update, a number of partners have confirmed that they have reassessed their staffing levels and business operations, now deciding to lift some of the aftersales restrictions they had implemented”.

The spokesman added that while it was recognised that the current ‘restrictive ordering process needs to be eased’, it was possible that as lockdown measures relax across Europe the demand for parts ‘may be greater than supply currently allows’.

 

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EXTENDED MOT WILL HAVE ‘CATASTROPHIC’ EFFECT SAY TRADE BODIES

EXTENDED MOT WILL HAVE ‘CATASTROPHIC’ EFFECT SAY TRADE BODIES

Two trade bodies have issued warnings about the likely impact that the MOT extension will have on independent garages and parts distributors. 

Both The IGA and the IAAF have written to the government to explain how they believe the extension will impact our trade. 

In its letter, the IGA included a suggestion that proposing to government that they start with an initial six-week MOT extension period, which could then then be reviewed on a weekly basis, rather than a blanket six-month extension. 

READ: IAAF BOSS: GOVT. MUST HELP THE AFTERMARKET

In a statement, the trade body said: ‘The government needs to consider that many MOT operations, being small businesses, will have their cashflow seriously impacted once this situation is over. Next year will bring about a significant reduction of tests in March, April and May and with some businesses in this sector only conducting MOT tests, in these instances, the crisis will extend for many years ahead’.

READ: CORONAVIRUS: MORE THAN 60 PERCENT OF GARAGES HAVE SHUT

Stuart James, IGA Chief Executive states: “We really need the government to take this on board. We understand that measures need to be put in place to fight the virus, and support these measures, however we do not agree with the six months extension of MOTs. We urge the government to show a degree of flexibility, as the repercussions for the independent sector will be severe.”

“Better guidance also needs to be given to the public regarding the extension to ensure that vehicles remain roadworthy.”

Meanwhile, The IAAF has said the decision to extend MOTs causes “huge challenges” for the sector, arguing that the industry needs to ensure ‘vehicles continue to be kept safe in these challenging times’. 

 

After receiving feedback from its membership of suppliers and distributors, the IAAF found that many motor factors fear that without MOT business, some garages will no longer be viable.

 

Another concern expressed by members is that the majority of consumers do not realise that they are expected to ensure their vehicle is roadworthy and if not, they could face large fines and penalty points. Failure to meet the Government’s “roadworthy” condition specification means that some vehicles will be driven in a dangerous condition, and in turn would allow the insurance companies to refuse to honour the insurance as they’d be able to demonstrate that the car or van was in an un-roadworthy condition. 

 

Wendy Williamson, IAAF chief executive, said: “The extension is having a ‘catastrophic’ knock on effect on the parts supply chain who are struggling to keep open. Business is down at least 50 percent and some outlets have already closed. We absolutely need to keep essential logistics, blue light services and key workers on the move but these groups could struggle to find anyone open for either parts or repair.”

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BRIDGESTONE TO RESUME EUROPEAN TYRE PRODUCTION

BRIDGESTONE TO RESUME EUROPEAN TYRE PRODUCTION

Bridgestone EMIA is today resuming production at its European manufacturing plants in Bari (Italy) and Lanklaar (Belgium). The Béthune (France) plant will reopen tomorrow, 21 April 2020.

READ: AVON TYRES PLANS 300 REDUNDANCIES

This move comes following an announcement on 14 April that production in all Bridgestone plants located in Spain (Burgos, Bilbao and Puente San Miguel) and Russia (Ulyanovsk) had recommenced.  The Indian and South African plants remain closed for the time being.

READ: CORONAVIRUS: MORE THAN 60 PERCENT OF GARAGES HAVE SHUT

Bridgestone plants were originally closed in reaction to the widespread drop in demand for tyre products, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, with the need for tyres now beginning to rise again, the business has made the decision to resume production in order to ensure adequate supply.

The Japanese brand has, however, suspended operations at eight tyre factories in Japan in light of lower-than-usual global demand. The plants will be closed from 29 April until 8 May, in an extension of a previously planned three-day closure for Japan’s Golden Week national holiday.

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SUPERCHIPS IN ADMINISTRATION FOLLOWING COVID-19 CLOSURE

SUPERCHIPS IN ADMINISTRATION FOLLOWING COVID-19 CLOSURE

Buckingham-based tuning firm Superchips has voluntarily entered liquidation, citing the ongoing coronavirus pandemic as a driving factor.

An official statement from the ECU remapping specialist, which has been in operation since 1977, confirms that it has instructed business advisory servive Quantuma to assist with the administration process.

READ: CORONAVIRUS: MORE THAN 60 PERCENT OF GARAGES HAVE SHUT

The company thanked customers for their loyal service over the years, and said it is working to “assess whether we can sell the business and its assets as we are eager for there to be continuity”, inviting interested parties to get in touch for details.

Included in the sale will be the Superchips branding and associated domain names, a library comprising 3700 remap files and 80 worldwide garages trained to carry out Superchip services.

The company’s Buckinghamshire offices and workshops are available as part of separate negotiations.

On 23 March, a statement from Managing Director Ian Sandford advised that, following the government’s imposition of a lockdown, the company had taken the decision to temporarily close from 25 March.

READ: LKQ PLOTS GROWTH AFTER CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

It had been planned that normal operations would resume in due course, but any continued Superchips activity will now be carried out by a new owner when the lockdown ends.

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CORONAVIRUS: MORE THAN 60 PERCENT OF GARAGES HAVE SHUT

CORONAVIRUS: MORE THAN 60 PERCENT OF GARAGES HAVE SHUT

More than 60 percent of garages in the UK have closed their doors during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a poll.

The survey of suppliers, motor factors and garages was conducted to highlight the current state of the automotive aftermarket, as it continues to respond to the pandemic.

While 60 percent of garages in the UK have closed, many that have temporarily closed are still offering emergency work to customers and keyworkers.

READ: CORONAVIRUS: FACTORS TO REMAIN OPEN

The survey, carried out by marketing and PR agency Impression, found the main reasons for garages closing were a significant drop in business caused by social distancing measures and the decision to extend the MOT from 30 March by six months. Other respondents noted practical reasons such as childcare and the inability to source parts as motor factors had also closed.

On the question of what business support they were aware of during this time, 88 percent of garages had heard of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furloughing).

When asked what type of online training they would like to take part in, 73 percent of garages were interested in electric and hybrid training. This was followed by an interest in product training.

READ: CORONAVIRUS AND THE AFTERMARKET

The number of motor factors closing was smaller, currently 25 percent. Whether open or partially open, motor factors were running at 50 percent and below capacity. Interestingly, the motor factors that had initially closed had done so because of pressure from the public.

On to suppliers and manufacturer businesses, 67 percent were fully open, eight percent closed and 25 percent partially open.

Demand for product had reduced dramatically, in some cases by up to 85 percent. Business support, product and sales training were key for suppliers during this time, the survey of around 500 businesses revealed.

Mark Field, Impression director, said: “It’s important to see where we are as an industry and it’s clear that the MOT extension has had severe repercussions throughout the supply chain. Close communication is key as the market is changing on an almost daily basis with businesses reopening and garages receiving much needed support in the way of grants. We also seeing many acts of inspiration, innovation and overall kindness, which will define our industry for generations to come.”

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