Archive | Latest News

DIESEL VEHICLES TO BE BANNED IN GERMAN CITIES

DIESEL VEHICLES TO BE BANNED IN GERMAN CITIES

German cities will be allowed to ban older diesels from entering, following a court ruling. Dusseldorf and the car-building city of Stuttgart can now force pre-Euro IV vehicles off the road in a case brought by environmental pressure group Deutche Umwelthilfe (DUH).

The Federal Government has opposed the move, leading commentators to criticise how close it is to the domestic car industry. The decision from the Federal Administrative Court comes after a legal challenge to the case was mounted by German states.

Presiding Judge Andreas Korbmacher wanted to deliberate the issue ‘very thoroughly’ and delayed reaching a verdict for several days.

Analysts believe that the ruling will set a precedent across other cities in Europe, though many French cities already have ‘CritAir’ that restrict pre-Euro IV vehicles and the UK has various Low Emission zones, which vary in size and restriction, but have a similar aim to the French system.

Posted in Factor & Supplier News, Garage News, Latest News, NewsComments (0)

DIGRAPH TO OPEN 16 NEW SITES

DIGRAPH TO OPEN 16 NEW SITES

CV factor Digraph is set to open 16 new branches in the next six months as part of a growth strategy described as ‘aggressive’. This will be in addition to several acquisitions of similar businesses and expansion of existing branches.

The move follows significant investment in the company by Euro Car Parts as well as Sukhpal Singh Ahluwalia and James Rawson. The expansion could create and create 164 jobs.

The new outlets are in various locations across the UK, stretching from Glasgow to Crawley. At this point it is unconfirmed if the new locations will be from LKQ’s existing portfolio, newly acquired sites, or a mix of the two.

The strategy doesn’t seem to phase the management team.  Sukhpal Singh Ahluwalia commented: “Locations, stock and logistics are relatively straightforward – indeed we once opened 12 Euro Car Parts branches in a single day. Our challenge is to find the right people and partners to join us in delivering our vision of market-leading customer service … nationwide. We are building our new branches around the best team players”.

“We are shaking up the industry in other ways too, with major investment in stock ranges, accelerated delivery speeds and added-value programmes, as we continue to build the UK’s most powerful team.”

Branch expansions and upgrades are happening in Gloucester, Northampton, Nuneaton and Stoke. The Northwich branch is relocating to larger premises in Ellesmere Port which will greatly increase stock holding and give improved deliveries to the customer base.

Posted in Factor & Supplier News, Garage News, Latest News, News, special newsComments (3)

GKN FIGHTS ‘OPPORTUNISTIC’ HOSTILE TAKEOVER BID

GKN FIGHTS ‘OPPORTUNISTIC’ HOSTILE TAKEOVER BID

UK engineering company GKN is under threat from a hostile takeover from investment house Melrose Industries.  

Melrose  has made an unsolicited offer to shareholders to  acquire the entire issued share capital of GKN for 1.49 new Melrose shares and 81 pence in cash per share.

Melrose is known for turning engineering companies around and under the strapline ‘buy, sell, improve, sell’ it attempts to add value to the brands it acquires before selling them on, in a similar vein to a private equity. It’s website states it “finances acquisitions using a low level of leverage, improves the businesses by a mixture of investment and changed management focus, sells them and returns the proceeds to shareholders”.

However, the management of GKN do not want to sell to Melrose. In a letter to shareholders GKN Chairman Mike Turner blasts the approach as ‘entirely opportunistic’ and ‘low price and high risk’ before barbing: “Your board believes that Melrose is more focused on financial engineering than real engineering”.

“GKN is six times the size of Melrose’s largest acquisition and your Board believes that Melrose’s management team lacks relevant experience at Board level in several critical areas” wrote Turner, adding that he doen’t believe that Melrose has the necessary relationships with VMs and aircraft makers to make a success of the business. “Cars and aircraft are researched, designed, produced and serviced over several decades – your Board believes that a short term, private equity-style strategy is not the right way to provide sustained shareholder value in our sectors” he said.

GKN said in an earlier letter to shareholders that it would sell non-core assets and return £2.5bn to shareholders in response to the offer. 

Posted in Latest News, News, special newsComments (0)

CAT AWARDS HELD IN MANCHESTER

CAT AWARDS HELD IN MANCHESTER

The sky cleared and the sun shone for the 2018 CAT Awards, sponsored by Automechanika Birmingham, held in the Lowry Hotel in Manchester for the second year.

Over 120 aftermarket professionals gathered to enjoy the networking lunch and to find out who scooped a trophy.

The winners are as follows:

Large Garage of the Year (sponsored by Haynes Pro): Motoserv UK

Independent Garage of the Year (sponsored by Euro Repar Car Service): AAK auto Services

Retailer of the Year (sponsored by Haynes): Wrexham Motoring Supplies

Factor Team of the Year (sponsored by Breck): Bridgend Motor Factor

Factor Chain of the Year (sponsored by Boswell Insurance): AutoParts UK

Supplier of the Year (sponsored by PG Automotive): NGK

Outstanding Achievement (sponsored by Noco): Terry Wainwright

 

Full coverage of the event will be included in the March issue of CAT.

CAT Awards Winners 2018

 

 

 

Posted in Factor & Supplier News, Garage News, Latest News, News, special newsComments (0)

BREAKING: ECP MANAGEMENT ISSUE STATEMENT ON ANDREW PAGE CLOSURES

BREAKING: ECP MANAGEMENT ISSUE STATEMENT ON ANDREW PAGE CLOSURES

LATEST: Regarding yesterday’s CAT story on a number of Andrew Page branches that were suddenly closed, the following written statement has been issued by a Euro Car Parts spokesman:

“We can confirm that we have closed 10 Andrew Page branches, following the completion of a recent business operational review by the Andrew Page Management team.  There are no plans to close any further Andrew Page branches. We are currently working with employees at affected branches to look for alternative options within the ECP or Andrew Page network, and working closely with customers of these affected branches.”

Andrew Page is the nation’s oldest factor brand, having celebrated its centenary in 2017. The company briefly went into administration in 2016 before being bought by Euro Car Parts in 2016. 

Posted in Factor & Supplier News, Garage News, Latest News, News, special news, UncategorisedComments (1)

BREAKING: ANDREW PAGE BRANCH CLOSURES

BREAKING: ANDREW PAGE BRANCH CLOSURES

Ten branches of Andrew Page have been closed.

 

Carlisle and Ellesmere port closed last week. Cardiff, Peterborough, Kettering, Shrewsbury,Chesterfield and three others closed on Monday. Calls we made to affected branches diverted to a nearby Euro Car PArts.  Meanwhile, managers from other branches took part in conference call on Tuesday.  

 

In a written statement, a spokesman for ECP said: “We can confirm that we have closed 10 Andrew Page branches, following the completion of a recent business operational review by the Andrew Page Management team.  There are no plans to close any further Andrew Page branches. We are currently working with employees at affected branches to look for alternative options within the ECP or Andrew Page network, and working closely with customers of these affected branches.”

 

Andrew Page was bought by the parent company of rival Euro Car Parts in 2016 immediately after the former went into administration. Following a lengthy investigation by the  Competition and Markets Authority, nine depots were proscribed to be closed in the interest of not ‘significantly reducing competition’

 

Interestingly, none of the branches closed over the past week were on the CMA list. Liphook, Scunthourpe, Wakefield and York were on the list, but remain on the company’s depot finder.

Note: This story has been updated to include the statement from ECP

 

 

 

Andrew Page closes branches

Posted in Factor & Supplier News, Latest News, Mag Info, News, special newsComments (14)

INDUSTRY REACTS AS 4-1-1 MOT IS SCRAPPED

INDUSTRY REACTS AS 4-1-1 MOT IS SCRAPPED

Following the news that a proposal to change the frequency of the first MOT test to four years instead of three has been scrapped by the government, the industry has reacted with delight.

The IAAFs Wendy Williamson said: “It is an understatement to say that we are delighted that these plans have now been scrapped, which comes as a result of all the hard efforts of IAAF as well as the whole of the industry. From the outset, we’ve vigorously fought these proposals, which threatened not just the aftermarket but more crucially, motorists’ safety.

“To ensure as safe and cost-effective motoring as possible, motorists must have their vehicle inspected and serviced regularly. Given that figures suggest one in five vehicles fail their MOT in the first three years, moving to an extended testing period would have potentially caused more accidents and fatalities due to defective vehicles on UK roads.”

The federation has worked relentlessly alongside other industry bodies to fight the unwelcome legislation and is part of the ProMOTe campaign being run by the AALG (Automotive Aftermarket Liaison Group) to protect the safety of all road users.

The VMs dealer networks have also welcomed the proposal. Sue Robinson, Director of the RMI’s National Franchised Dealer Assoc. commented: “The NFDA had previously highlighted the potentially devastating road safety implications which extending the date of the first MoT from three to four years might have had. It is extremely positive to see that the government has acknowledged this.”

Also welcoming the news are factor groups. ECP’s CEO Martin Gray said: “We applaud the Minister’s decision to put road safety first. As we highlighted in our consultation to the government around 17% of cars fail their first MoT on their initial attempt, so extending a car’s first MoT to four years could have resulted in an extra 410,000 unsafe cars on the roads and risk higher accident rates. The three-year-for-first MoT system ensures vehicle defects are picked up and remedied quickly, to ensure the safety of all road users”.

“We’d like to thank all those in the industry petitioned the government. It is our belief, and that of the wider sector, that road users’ safety will be maintained as a result of this decision.”

However, not everyone is delighted with the decision. A poster on the Daily Express website set the tone for the majority of reader comments by saying: “Again rip off UK. In Spain first MOT at four years and then every two years until the vehicle is ten years old then every year. Garages must have done a lot of lobbying”.

Mixed responses for 4-1-1 proposition

 

 

Posted in Factor & Supplier News, Garage News, Latest News, latest news, NewsComments (0)

TRADE CONNECTIONS KEEP OBD PORT OPEN

TRADE CONNECTIONS KEEP OBD PORT OPEN

The latest rumblings from Europe are that the OBD port will remain to be fitted to vehicles, even in the age of ‘over the air’ diagnostics and software updates.

Lobbying from various trade groups, both in the UK and on the Continent have persuaded the EU council’s main preparatory body has agreed that the socket should remain.

All is not plain sailing however. There is still the possibility of the legislation being vetoed as it has to be voted on by both the EU Parliament and the EU Council, plus the ruling states that the port only has to work ‘when the vehicle is in motion’, meaning VMs could still get around key-on-engine-off diagnostics.

The IAAF was one of the trade bodies involved in the negotiations. Chief Executive Wendy Williamson said: “This is fantastic news, and although not the end game it’s a significant step towards keeping the OBD port alive.

“The missing OBD connector would impact not just on garages but the entire spare parts supply chain including manufacturers, distributors, producers of diagnostic equipment and dedicated software for the OBD connector, as well as millions of consumers who would no longer have a competitive choice in vehicle servicing and repair.”

The agreement will now need to be approved by the EP IMCO Committee before it is submitted for approval. If approved by the European Parliament, the new regulation will come into play from 1 September 2020.

 

Posted in Garage News, Latest News, News, special newsComments (0)

100 REDUNDANCIES PLANNED AS AA RESTRUCTURES

100 REDUNDANCIES PLANNED AS AA RESTRUCTURES

A hundred management, admin and support roles are to go at the AA, plus the closure of the National Training Centre at Melton Mobray, according to documents seen today by CAT. Roadside patrols will not be affected.

In a memo to staff dated January 10 2018, the AA said: “We are today announcing a series of proposals involving restructuring of management and administration in a number of functions across the AA, with the exception of our frontline delivery teams in roadside operations and contact centres”. The memo added that the proposals are aimed at ‘reorganising and focusing accountability on our emerging strategic priorities’, as well as reducing ‘layers of management’ in order to reduce cost to fund frontline services.

Formed in Edwardian times, the AA has been struggling with the level of debt for years. In 2007 private equity group Acromas bought the company, but sold it in 2014 in a complex ‘accelerated float’ management buy-in, with £1bn of backing from 10 investors. The company was publically listed, but saddled with £2.7bn of debt. Share value dropped in August 2017 following the firing of Chief Executive Bob Mackenzie for gross misconduct.

Paul Grafton, Regional Organiser for the GMB Union said; “The closure of national training centre will reduce structured training and in our view impact on quality of service delivered by the patrol force”.

“All these cuts are a direct result of the unsustainable levels of debt left by the previous private equity owners” he said, adding: “It looks as if the latest activity is to squeeze the last drop out of the business before franchising”.

Figures show that the costs of financing the debts are £185m per annum in the last published accounts. Servicing the debt took up 66 percent of the Operating Profit of £284m for the year ending 31st January 2017.

In addition, the union says that the AA’s pension deficit is £622m, which in pound note terms is nearly double the £345m deficit that brought the demise of BHS.

Posted in Factor & Supplier News, Garage News, Latest News, News, special newsComments (0)

LIQUI MOLY ACQUIRED BY WÜRTH GROUP

LIQUI MOLY ACQUIRED BY WÜRTH GROUP

A deal has been struck by German lube producer Würth Group to acquire Liqui Moly.

Würth Group has owned shares in the Ulm-based company for some years. Now, Managing Partner Ernst Prost has agreed to sell his controlling share in the company, effective January 1s subject to the usual regulatory approvals.  

Following the sale, Würth has said that Liqui Moly will continue to operate as an autonomous company with an independent brand in the Group. Prost will remain with Liqui Moly as joint MD, sharing the role with the firm’s long-standing Head of Sales, Günter Hiermaier.

Liqui Moly has sponsored Team Engstler for years

Peter Zürn, Deputy Chairman of the Central Managing Board of the Würth Group said: “We are proud that this successful and established brand, which is known for its outstanding reputation and great dynamics, will enrich the portfolio of the Würth Group. Our objective is the sustained successful development of Liqui Moly in the future. This is why we will continue to put our faith in the entrepreneurial expertise of Ernst Prost, just as we have done in the past 20 years as a silent partner at Liqui Moly”.

From Prost’s perspective it will be business as usual: “Those who know me know that my employees are my focus,” he said. “After all, it would be foolish to change anything about the road to success over the past few years. Everything will continue just as before – just under a bigger roof that offers greater protection.

In fiscal year 2016, Liqui Moly generated sales of approximately EUR 500 million with 800 employees.

Posted in Factor & Supplier News, Garage News, Latest News, latest news, News, Retailer News, special newsComments (0)

Advertisement
  • It has been the grimmest month for the High Street, so what can accessory retailers do?
  • Bentley Lifestyle: A specialist talks tips of the trade
  • Keep it rolling: New challenges in the S&S sector

more info

    • Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.
    • Popular
    • Latest
    • Comments
    • Tags
    • Subscribe