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ACCESSORY SHOPS DEBATE GREEN EV PLATES

ACCESSORY SHOPS DEBATE GREEN EV PLATES

Proposals for electric cars to wear green number plates could bring additional revenue for plate makers, but are unlikely to ever come into effect, according to several accessory shop representatives. The Department for Transport has begun consulting on plans to make electric cars ‘even greener’ with the introduction of legally mandated coloured number plates. It claims that such a move would ‘raise awareness of the increasing number of zero tailpipe emission vehicles on UK roads, help their drivers to benefit more easily from local incentives like free or cheaper parking and encourage greater uptake of new vehicle technology’. 

But how prepared are accessory shops and plate makers to produce the literally green units? Those CAT spoke to expressed surprise upon hearing the government’s plans. 

Jon Rogers at Wrexham Motoring Supplies said he couldn’t see a good reason for such a scheme to be introduced. “Every electric car owner will need to buy new number plates,” he said, suggesting the plans could be a ‘DVLA money-making scheme’. Further confusing things, he argued, is the fact that most bus lane and car park cameras operate using ANPR technology, negating the need for any sort of different-coloured plate. 

 

As regards the plan’s potential impact on number plate vendors, Rogers said: “The colouring method would dictate cost. If it’s just one section of the plate that needs changing, it wouldn’t cost too much.” WMS’s method of plate production means that a different colour could be relatively easily added, but shops using other means of production could see their overheads significantly increased. However, he noted that customary delays to relatively radical transportation reform means he ‘wouldn’t worry about this for another year’.

READ: Posh plate sales steady as new car demand slumps

Dean Bayley at Leicester’s Epic Accessories was similarly confused. “I don’t know what the benefit is,” he said, asking: “will EVs being able to drive in bus lanes help traffic flow?” He also drew attention to the potential for increased cost, on both the consumer and supplier sides, and suggested that drivers of non-electric vehicles could resent any special treatment afforded to EV drivers. 

Bayley also noted that new number plate laws, first announced in April 2018, are still yet to be implemented. The BS AU 145e standards are set to be introduced as a means of improving the legibility, durability and conformity of all British number plates, but have faced numerous setbacks, prompting Bayley to argue that the DfT is ‘not prioritising what it should have done a year and a half ago’. He added: “There’s that much up in the air – we don’t know if we’re coming or going.” 

READ: GOV. ANNOUNCES INCREASE IN FUNDING FOR EV CHARGING

So first impressions of the radical proposals are, at least from the aftermarket, skeptical. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the green plates ‘are a really positive and exciting way to help everyone recognise the increasing number of electric vehicles on our roads,’ and it seems that mere differentiation is the prevailing motive. Any concerns regarding cost or feasibility appears, at least for now, to come second to disbelief that such a scheme could even be implemented. 

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SEARCH ENGINES REFUSE TO REMOVE FAKE AIRBAGS: REPORT

SEARCH ENGINES REFUSE TO REMOVE FAKE AIRBAGS: REPORT

Search engines are putting drivers at risk by refusing to remove links to websites selling fake airbags in their search results according to a new report.

The white paper, by brand protection provider Incopro lays the blame squarely at the search engine giants, including Google, that apparently refuse to delist websites selling counterfeit goods.

Photo: Jani Pewter

The report found that the spurious products would often feature in the top three results, depending on search term used.

In an example, a website found to be selling counterfeit air bags on the first results page for the term “airbag sale” on Russian search engine Yandex generated 61.24% of its traffic from organic search – demonstrating how necessary search traffic is to counterfeiters.

READ: Incopro ‘Fakes’ white paper findings infographic

Simon Baggs, CEO  of Incopro, commented: “In the automotive industry, it is rights holders and their agents who are best placed to verify the authenticity of their branded car parts. However, there are currently no actions available to rights holders to notify search engines and have infringing URLs removed from search”.

READ: MAN ARRESTED IN FAKE SPARK PLUGS RAID

“In many cases, a mechanic will also be asked to source the air bag for the customer, and in the ever-competitive motor trade, it is conceivable that auto-repair garages will source cheap parts from various suppliers online.

“Whilst it is likely that the mechanic sourcing the air bag will have a greater degree of skill and knowledge than the average user, there is still a risk of buying sub-standard or counterfeit parts. If these are bought in larger quantities, as might be the case with an auto-repair business, this has widespread and dangerous implications for drivers.”

 

 

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PSA BOSS: ‘STILL WORK TO BE DONE’ WITH EUROREPAR UK

PSA BOSS: ‘STILL WORK TO BE DONE’ WITH EUROREPAR UK

Delphine Lafon Degrange

Vehicle Manufacturer PSA held a press conference at Equip Auto to explain its plans for expansion in the independent aftermarket, but has been candid about the performance of its garage network in the UK so far. 

When asked by CAT if she was satisfied with the results from Eurorepar in the UK to date, Delphine Lafon Degrange, VP of the IAM Business Unit said: “Can I be honest? No! …We have started the brand from scratch, but there is still work to be done”.  

Lafon Degrange explained that a number of issues had hampered the chain in the two years since its founding, including logistical issues that caused problems with supply and availability as well as the challenge of launching an operation of its type in a market that doesn’t have the same tradition of franchise-based independent workshops as the continent. 

However, Lafon Degrange remained optimistic about the future of the network in the UK. Announcing that ‘Distrigo’, PSAs new multi-brand range, will also cover Vauxhall and Opel parts, she also announced that the firm will launch a new range of used body panels through Distrigo under the Renew brand. UK distribution is to be confirmed, but the offensive will be serviced from 130 hubs across Europe, plus eight in Turkey. 

Plans to develop what Eurorepar can offer includes a glazing service, a new customer-facing booking and quote website and a special ‘B2B label for professional customers’.  

Lafon Degrange also announced the deployment of an online catalogue called ‘Service Box Multi-Brand’ and explains plans to develop consumer parts website Mister Auto in the UK, while acknowledging that the site had ‘strong competition online’ in the UK.

 

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JURATEK IN SECOND MBO

JURATEK IN SECOND MBO

Braking components manufacturer Juratek has announced a management buyout, with three of its directors taking full control of the company. The buyout is the company’s second in three years, as Chairman Allan Hooks is stepping down from the role.

The Doncaster-based firm will now be run by Managing Director Matt Robinson, Sales and Marketing Director Toby Whewell, and Operations Director Mark Clegg. The change comes following the trio’s acquisition of the remaining shareholding from  Hooks. 

READ: 2016 – JURATEK IN MANAGEMENT BUYOUT

Hooks, who is retiring after nearly two decades at the helm of the firm, said: “I have seen Juratek grow and develop into a well-respected aftermarket company both in the UK and Europe. Its commitment to quality in all areas of its business remain paramount to its trading ethos. 

Juratek in new MBO

“After 20 years with the company I believe it is time for me to hand over the reins to the management team led by Matt Robinson, in whom I have full confidence.”

Hooks joined in 2001, having served as Managing Director at electrical components firm Veco for over six years, and Leeds-based parts store Vegem for three. 

READ: 2016 GROUPAUTO TRADE SHOW AWARDS WINNERS

Matt Robinson, who heads up the new management team, has been at Juratek since October 2014, when he was made General Sales Director. Toby Whewell and Mark Clegg join him in the boardroom, having spent a collective six years at the firm. 

Robinson said: “We are delighted to have completed the acquisition of Juratek Ltd and have exciting plans to continue the growth of the company both in the UK and overseas markets.

“The company has seen a sustained period of growth and transition in the past 5 years and we are well placed to take advantage of the opportunities open to us.

“I was keen for Mark and Toby to join me in the management buyout, between us we have over 70 years’ experience in the Automotive Aftermarket, yet we also retain the energy and passion needed to drive the company to even greater success.”

Juratek’s 50-plus staff are not affected by the change in management structure.  

 

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BREXIT DEAL ‘VITAL’ WARNS RMI BOSS

BREXIT DEAL ‘VITAL’ WARNS RMI BOSS

RMI Chairman Peter Johnson has branded the current situation over Brexit as ‘unacceptable’ in a speech.

Speaking at the RMI’s Annual Dinner held on October 10, Johnson said: “Last year I stood here and said: ‘Get a deal done and do it quickly before the current uncertainty causes even more damage to inward investment’. That I am standing here with the same message this year is unacceptable, for both our industry and for the country”.

READ: SMMT SLAMS ‘UTTERLY UNACCEPTABLE’ BREXIT SITUATION

“It is vital that the government agrees a Brexit deal with the EU. If it cannot, then prices will rise as a result of the import tariffs that will be paid on vehicles and parts. It is in everyone’s interests that a future trade deal between the UK and EU removes these tariffs” he said. 

Johnson also spoke about the trend towards electrification and took a swipe at those in power guilty of ‘trashing the reputation and capability of diesel cars’ and called on the new Transport Secretary ‘to help us present to the public the facts in making the right choices, not just for our needs, but also for the needs of the environment’.

 

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AUTOSUPPLIES COMPLETES LEISUREWAYS ACQUISITION

AUTOSUPPLIES COMPLETES LEISUREWAYS ACQUISITION

Chesterfield-based Autosupplies Group has successfully completed the purchase of Leisureways (The Happy Motorist) of Rotherham.

Leisureways is a long-established family business and until the acquisition, was a member of the A1 Motor Stores buying group.

Trevor Hinchliffe and David Clarke shake on the deal

READ: GSF, BBC SUPERFACTORS AND A1 ADD LOCATIONS

Autosupplies’ MD David Clarke thanked the previous owners for a smooth transition and said: “We are placing considerable investment into the business including the recruitment of new staff, increased stock availability, infrastructure and logistics. Leisureways is widely known for its retail business and so we are looking to replicate this success in the trade with exceptional customer service to independent garages throughout Rotherham.”

READ: AUTOSUPPLIES ACQUIRES BUTLERS AUTOMOTIVE

Autosupplies Chesterfield is one of the single largest motor factor sites in the UK with over 100 staff and 70 vans. In October 2017, the firm purchased Butlers Automotive of Barnsley.

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NTDA BOSS: ‘TOTAL BAN ONLY WAY’ FOR PART WORN TYRES

NTDA BOSS: ‘TOTAL BAN ONLY WAY’ FOR PART WORN TYRES

Stefan Hay, the Chief Executive of the National Tyre Distributors Assoc. has opened the annual conference by calling for a total ban on all part worn tyres, following a failure to enforce standards.

Stephan Hay calls for total ban on part-worn tyres

“Over the last two years I have been criticised on two counts” he said. “Firstly, by online trolls who call me some outrageous things. These trolls are actually fans of part worn tyres. Secondly, I’ve been criticised by scrap merchants who make a profit out of selling part-worn tyres”.

READ: FEDERATION CALLS FOR BAN ON USED TYRE SALES

“These people have said that I’m only calling for a ban because I want to sell more tyres. Well, to the critics I say ‘you’re damn right’. Our members don’t sell part worn tyres, so of course we want to sell safe, legal tyres and I don’t make any apology for that. Our members have been campaigning for greater tyre safety since 1930, so why would I change position now?”

Hay continued: “In the past I have been criticised by non-NTDA members for  calling for a ban on illegal or non-compliant tyres, but not all part-worn tyres… Well, that’s a bit of a play on words. Of course our members want a ban on all part worn tyres, because at the moment lack of enforcement, and therefore compliance, meant that a shocking 99 percent of retailers inspected during Tyre Safety Month were not compliant with the regulations, and 75 percent of tyres inspected were dangerous. So, if we weren’t to ban all part worn tyres, what exactly would be left?”

The conference also included speakers from roadside recovery and vehicle lighting, and topics included safety, fraud and counterfeit protection as well as tax liability.

 

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DVSA ‘CONNECTED MOT’ RULES GO LIVE

DVSA ‘CONNECTED MOT’ RULES GO LIVE

As of 1 October, anyone buying a roller brake tester will need to make sure it’s a model that can connect to the MOT testing service. This includes buying replacement equipment, and as part of the process of getting authorisation to carry out MOTs at a test station.

Equipment must connect to centre

DVSA has worked with the Garage Equipment Association and with roller brake tester manufacturers to develop software that will allow their products to connect to the MOT testing service. The idea is that connected equipment will save time, reduce the risk of error in entering MOT results and help to reduce the risk of fraud.

READ: DVSA BOSS: WHAT WE LEARNT FROM MOT CHANGES

Chris Price, DVSA Head of MOT Policy said: “We’ve brought connected equipment in to modernise testing in MOT garages and reduce the potential for mistakes. It will make testing quicker, more accurate and give motorists greater confidence in the quality of testing. Garages already using this equipment have seen benefits to their business.”

READ: GEA AGREES TO APPROVE ONLY CONNECTED MOT EQUIPMENT

The Authority is also working with manufacturers to develop diesel smoke meters, exhaust gas analysers and decelerometers that connect to the MOT testing service. There are plans to make connectable models of these kinds of equipment mandatory for replacement equipment and new garages too.

 

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SNAP-ON HALVES FRANCHISE JOINING FEE

SNAP-ON HALVES FRANCHISE JOINING FEE

Toolmaker Snap-on has halved the start-up fee for people wishing to join its mobile sales franchise for a limited time.

Alex McNellan took advantage of the cut-price offer

The package is available across the UK, and the only condition applied to the new offering is that new recruits must be able to train and be out on the road by 30th March 2020. The same offer had been trialled in across a limited area in 2018.

“I’d been a Snap-on customer for years and had always been interested in the starting up with my own van, but it was the promotional price that encouraged me to finally decide to just go for it,” says Alex McNellan, who launched his business during the 2018 promotion. “I think it’s an incredible opportunity for people like me, who might be on the fence about investing in their own business”.  

 

 

 

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JAMES BRIGGS LTD ACQUIRED BY TETROSYL

JAMES BRIGGS LTD ACQUIRED BY TETROSYL

James Briggs Ltd, manufacturer of the Hycote paint brand has been acquired from a private equity firm by Rochdale-based Tetrosyl. Details of the transaction have not been disclosed.

James Briggs was acquired by private equity firm Endless in 2013,  During P.E ownership the firm signed a distribution deal with Tetrosyl. The firm, which can trace its roots over two centuries, employs around 300 people over two sites in Oldham.

Peter Schofield, Tetrosyl Group Chairman, said: “We are delighted to welcome the James Briggs business and the James Briggs team to the Tetrosyl family and are sure the combined business will have great success in the future”.

 

 

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