Archive | special news

NO ‘BREXIT DIVIDEND’ EXISTS, SAYS SMMT CHIEF

NO ‘BREXIT DIVIDEND’ EXISTS, SAYS SMMT CHIEF

The Chief Executive of SMMT has spoken candidly about the issues facing the motor industry as Britain negotiates its exit from the European Union.

“Leaving is not what we wanted. For us, Brexit is about damage limitation. There is no ‘Brexit dividend’” Mike Hawes told an audience at the Society’s annual dinner on Tuesday night.

Pressing the need for parliament to pass the draft proposal bill, he said: We need a deal – now. And that deal must be ambitious for the future. We need frictionless trade with our most important market. Nothing less will do”.

Pressing home the message, he added. “This industry has always had political support – here and across the EU. Now, more than ever, we need that support. To avoid catastrophe; to give us breathing space, to deliver a competitive future. It’s time to decide”.

Business secretary Greg Clarke also addressed the room, and gave his support for the Prime Minister’s plans. “I remember being on the phone to Mike (Hawes)’s team for data on the way to Chequers and presenting it, and then on the phone to his team again the next morning to discuss what we agreed. It was central to the clear and unflinching objective that we set to secure frictionless trade on which this industry absolutely depends” he said.   

 

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DUTCH TRADE BODY TALK BREXIT WITH IGA

DUTCH TRADE BODY TALK BREXIT WITH IGA

Dutch garage trade group BOVAG (BOnd Van Automobielhandelaren en Garagehouders)  – has completed a nationwide tour of British garages to discuss future working relationships ahead of Brexit.

The BOVAG team joined up with the Independent Garage Association (IGA) during the trip. The visitors gained insight into the management of British independent garage businesses and discussed issues affecting the industry including MOT testing and access to technical information. The groups also discussed Brexit and the implications for their working relationship.

Stuart James, Director of the IGA said: “This co-operation with our European colleagues is a positive step towards maintaining strong partnerships throughout and beyond the Brexit process.”

Meanwhile, Gerard ten Buuren, Chair of BOVAG’s Independent Garage Division, said the team “gained a tremendous amount” from the visit and is “delighted” to continue working alongside the IGA.

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DCS LEATHERHEAD BECOMES LATEST AAG ACQUISITION

DCS LEATHERHEAD BECOMES LATEST AAG ACQUISITION

Leatherhead-based Discount Car Spares has been acquired by AAG, parent company of the GroupAuto buying group.

The factor was established in 1989 and has two branches. John and Gary Syrett and Robert Herman were Directors.

DCS was an existing GroupAuto member and participated in group promotions, such as the AutoCare network. Last year the factor presented customer Shirley Garage with a prize for becoming the 600th member of the scheme.

The news follows last week’s announcement that AAG had acquired nine-branch Lloyds Motor Factors 

 

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LLOYDS MOTOR SPARES SOLD TO AAG

LLOYDS MOTOR SPARES SOLD TO AAG

Alliance Automotive Group has acquired the Wembley-based factor chain Lloyds Motor Spares (LMS). Terms of the deal have not been announced.

LMS can trace its history back to 1946. It has nine branches in West London and counts utility companies and the police among its fleet contracts. The chain currently employs 110 people and up until the acquisition counted John and Rod Hammond and Peter Benson among its Directors. It had previously been a member of the IFA buying group. 

The deal follows on from AAGs acquisition of a number of aftermarket brands over the last few months, including battery distributor Platinum International in October and Abergavenny-based Motorcare Motor Factors in July.

 

 

Discount Car Spares also acquired by AAG

 

Leatherhead-based Discount Car Spares has been acquired by AAG, parent company of the GroupAuto buying group. 

The factor was established in 1989 and has two branches. John and Gary Syrett and Robert Herman were Directors.

DCS was an existing GroupAuto member and participated in group promotions, such as the AutoCare network. Last year the factor presented customer Shirley Garage with a prize for becoming the 600th member of the scheme.

The news follows last week’s announcement that AAG had acquired nine-branch Lloyds Motor Factors

 

 

 

 

 

 

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EVANS SOLD TO SPORTS DIRECT IN PRE-PACK DEAL

EVANS SOLD TO SPORTS DIRECT IN PRE-PACK DEAL

Bike retailer Evans Cycles went into administration, only to be bought straight back out by Sports Direct.

The future of the retailer looked uncertain, as rival Halfords withdrew its bid to take it over, citing a desire to focus on expanding the Cycle Republic chain.

Trading has not been affected at Evans, although gift vouchers are ‘suspended’ and the status of the cycle to work scheme is unclear.

Gatwick-based Evans has a history stretching back to the 1920s, although in recent years the chain has expanded to 62 branches and 1,200 employees through the involvement of private equity. Sports Direct, the firm owned by Mike Ashley holds numerous other companies including department stores Lillywhies and House of Fraser and clothing brands including Firetrap, No Fear and Kangol.

Matt Callaghan, a partner at PwC and one of the administrators, commented:

“We are delighted to have secured a future for the business and employees of Evans. 2018 has been a very difficult trading year for the business, in part due to the impact of the extended winter weather, but also due to a lack of cash to invest in stores and develop the ecommerce platform. A combination of the associated losses, the capex requirements and tightening credit has led to a liquidity crunch”.

“Evans is a long-standing, well known and trusted brand with nearly 100 years of heritage in the cycling market. To have managed to preserve the business and transfer all staff to the purchaser is particularly pleasing.”

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POLICE ‘PAY AT PUMP’ SUGGESTION DRAWS ANGRY RESPONSE FROM PRA

POLICE ‘PAY AT PUMP’ SUGGESTION DRAWS ANGRY RESPONSE FROM PRA

A suggestion from Chief Constable Simon Cole of the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) that petrol stations should take money upfront in order to reduce instances of petrol theft (known as ‘bilking’) has met an angry response from Brian Madderson, Chair of the Petrol Retailers Association.

“Instead of ‘victim blaming’ petrol retailers, the police should be honest that they are struggling to deliver their commitment to reduce crime”, said Madderson,

Chief Constable Cole’s comments were interpreted by the PRA as needing to install card or app based devices that are regarded by the association as  ‘prohibitively expensive’, estimating the cost to retrofit petrol pumps at £20,000. However, it is common in many self-service countries to pay first and then the cashier will turn the pump on.

Mr Madderson went on, “The UK has seen a 40 percent reduction in filling stations over the past 15 years. Those remaining have developed their retail offer to better serve their customers, with many lost amenities from banks and post offices migrating into the store of petrol stations, particularly in rural areas.”

“Rather than lecturing the victims of crime, the government should be empowering responsible businesses to enforce the law where the police are too overstretched to intervene. One solution would be to give petrol retailers electronic access to the DVLA’s Vehicle Keeper database, so they can pursue drive-offs through the civil courts and ease pressure on the police”.

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MAGNETI MARELLI SOLD BY FIAT FOR €6.2bn

MAGNETI MARELLI SOLD BY FIAT FOR €6.2bn

Italian component manufacturer Magneti Marelli has been sold by Fiat-Chrysler (FCA)  for EU 6.2bn to a Japanese holdings company. 

The new owner is CK Holdings, which is a holding company of component supplier  Calsonic Kansei Corporation.

When the deal closes, CK Holdings will be renamed as Magneti Marelli CK Holdings. The companies say that combined businesses of Calsonic Kansei and Magneti Marelli will create the world’s seventh largest global independent automotive components supplier based on total revenues.

FCA has also agreed to a multi-year supply agreement that will further strengthen a ‘mutually beneficial’ relationship for both Magneti Marelli and the Fiat group’s model range.

The combined company will be led by Beda Bolzenius, currently CEO of Calsonic Kansei, based in Japan. Ermanno Ferr

ari, CEO of Magneti Marelli, will join the Magneti Marelli CK Holdings board.

Mike Manley, CEO of FCA, said: “The combined business will continue to be among FCA’s most important business partners and we would like to see that relationship grow even further in the future. The transaction also recognises the full strategic value of Magneti Marelli and is another important step in our relentless focus on value creation.”

Beda Bolzenius, CEO of Calsonic Kansei, said: “Together, we will benefit from complementary geographic footprints and product lines, while our respective customers will benefit from an increased investment in people, processes and innovative new products.”

Describing the events as ‘transformational’ Ermanno Ferrari, CEO of Magneti Marelli, said: “ This is a moment of great opportunity for all our people to be part of a secure, growing and independent company of considerable scale that can look to the future with energy, ambition and confidence.”

The transition is expected to complete in the first quarter of 2019, subject to the usual approvals.

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‘RESPONSIBLE CAR WASH’ SCHEME GOES LIVE

‘RESPONSIBLE CAR WASH’ SCHEME GOES LIVE

An initiative named the ‘Responsible Car Wash Scheme’ has been launched by the House of Lords.

The Scheme aims to tackle modern slavery and a lack of compliance within the industry. It will target labour abuse and lack of adherence to regulations at hand car washes, whilst enabling consumers to identify a compliant car wash.

Operators who are members of the Scheme will be able to be recognised by consumers as ones who: look after their workers, trade legally, adhere to environmental regulations and take care of their customers and their vehicles.

Darryl Dixon from the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority said, “We have seen numerous problems across this industry, from modern day slavery, debt bondage, failure to pay proper wages, through to workers not being provided with any appropriate or personal protective equipment. Whilst enforcement is crucial, education is also essential to both operators, so that they can ensure they operate legally, but also to consumers, so they can make the simple decision of using a legal operator or not. This Scheme is a big step forward in addressing these issues.”

Brian Madderson, Chair of the Car Wash Association gave the scheme a more muted reception: “Whilst this is welcome news and will allow hand car washes to look after their workers, trade legally, adhere to environmental regulations and take care of their customers, it still leaves open the issue of the 20,000 hand car washes in the UK that operate illegally” he said.

“Problems also include environmental damage from mishandling trade effluent, widespread disregard of the National Minimum Wage, modern slavery human trafficking and tax avoidance. Figures suggest that hand car washes are failing to pay taxes, and up to £1.45 billion per year in tax is not being collected by HMRC” concluded Madderson.

The Scheme will provide a resource for operators, providing them with information and guidance so they can operate legally. Once a member of the Scheme, operators will be able to display a Responsible Car Wash Operator logo which will enable consumers to make a clear choice between a fully compliant operator, that has been through the accreditation.

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AVON TYRES PLANS 300 REDUNDANCIES

AVON TYRES PLANS 300 REDUNDANCIES

Tyre manufacturer Cooper-Avon is to axe up to 300 jobs at its Melksham site.

The U.S based Cooper Tire and Rubber Co issued a statement which said it would be ‘consulting on 300 jobs’. The plant currently employs a total of 723 workers.

Under the plan, light vehicle tyre production would be transferred to another of Cooper’s worldwide sites, while motorcycle and motorsport tyre production would remain in Melksham, along with various Head Office functions.

Jaap van Wessum, General Manager – Cooper Tire Europe, said: “Pending consultation, if positions are made redundant, Cooper will remain committed to doing all we can to support those employees who may potentially be affected. We will be consulting with our recognised trade union, Unite, and other employee representatives, and have arranged additional support for affected colleagues, which will be available throughout this process. In addition, we will work closely with Wiltshire Council and the Department for Work and Pensions to provide the best possible support to our colleagues and community”.

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FIRST LINE LTD SECURES £20m FUNDING

FIRST LINE LTD SECURES £20m FUNDING

Banbury-based First Line Ltd has secured £20 million in funding from Santander Corporate & Commercial. The money will help the firm expand its exports and capitalise on growth opportunities in overseas markets.

The firm expects 30% of its annual turnover in 2018 to come from export sales, which has seen ‘robust’ year-on-year growth over the past six years.

Keith Schofield, Finance Director, First Line Ltd, said: “We are delighted with the ongoing success of the business and the opportunities presented by overseas markets are truly exciting. Growth will be achieved via a number of strategies including new products and focussing on new segments such as classic cars. Santander has quickly become a trusted partner, providing the financial support and facilities needed for us to take the company to the next level.”

Steve Bateman, Relationship Director, Santander Corporate & Commercial, said: “First Line is looking to grow its market share globally over the next few years and the facilities offered by Santander will be key for them to achieve these growth ambitions. We are delighted to be supporting such a fantastic, growth focused UK business that will benefit from Santander’s unrivalled expertise in helping SMEs export and trade internationally”.

Founded in 1983, the firm sells parts under the Borg & Beck and Key Parts tables in addition to the First Line brand  is now based from a 170,000 sq ft warehouse clearly visible from the M40. 

 

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