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ZAFIRA LATEST: 47,000 FURTHER CARS RECALLED

ZAFIRA LATEST: 47,000 FURTHER CARS RECALLED

Vauxhall has recalled a further 47,000 Zafira B models after a fault leading to sudden fires was discovered.

The fault relates to the thermistor ‘thermal fuse’ can overheat on cars fitted with automatic climate control.

In 2015, Vauxhall recalled 235,000 cars with manual heating controls. That recall was for a similar fault, although the initial ‘repair’ was unsuccessful, leading the VM to issue a further recall. At the time it was assumed that climate control models were not affected.

Initially the VM blamed the aftermarket for the fires, citing ‘improper repairs’ as the cause, going as far as to produce what it said were examples of re-soldered thermistors.

As scores more blazes followed it became apparent that the cause was a design error and Vauxhall bosses had to face a barrage of questions from a House of Commons Select Committee on why it took so long for the vehicles to be recalled.

Vauxhall will be working with the DVLA to notify registered keepers of all affected vehicles.

 

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PARTS ALLIANCE OPENS NEW BRANCHES

The Parts Alliance has been enhancing its UK coverage with a number of branch openings.

Weston-super-Mare under The Parts Alliance brand and GSF branches in the Essex towns of Colchester and Woodford have opened for business.

BBC Superfactors opened an extra Blackpool branch in June, while branches in Middlesbrough, Croydon, Leeds, Newcastle, Indian Queens and Durham have all been added since January.

“It’s been hectic,” said Tony Shearer, Operational Development Director at The Parts Alliance. “Despite a glorious summer and the holiday season, we don’t seem to have seen any kind of dent in our trading at Blackpool, instead it’s been growing steadily thanks to a good branch team.”

GSF Colchester has a 5,500 square feet facility utilising four vans and two motorcycles for trade customers.

“It’s great to get the doors open,” said Emma Tiernan, Divisional Director at GSF Car Parts. “From day one, we’ve had trade accounts open and deliveries going out so it’s been a really positive start.”

Steve Gray, Divisional Director of The Parts Alliance has overseen the opening of the largest site. The Parts Alliance Weston-super-Mare has just opened with extensive stock holding over 6,500 square feet premises.

“We’re working with four delivery vehicles initially,” said Gray. “Weston-super-Mare is a key location, we’ll be supporting trade to independent garage customers and national accounts in the surrounding area too.”

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SMPE TO GROW ENGINEERING TEAM

Standard Motor Products Europe (SMPE) has announced that it is developing a new ‘rapid prototyping facility’ at its Nottingham centre. The development forms part of a host of additional investments by the company into the centre, including doubling its engineering team and purchasing new testing equipment. SMPE said in a statement that the aim is for the site to become its engineering hub for product development, with the new facility enabling the company to ‘fast track’ new products and supply them to the UK aftermarket quickly. Richard Morley, Commercial Director for SMPE, said: “Through our investment in Nottingham, we have a specific focus on future technologies ensuring we continue to lead the market with the strongest OE-quality engine management programmes available. SMPE Nottingham is the hub of this development and we are growing our engineering expertise for the benefit of customers throughout the UK, continental Europe and further afield.” SMPE is also expected to increase development of the Intermotor and Lemark brands.

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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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AAG ACQUIRES PLATINUM INTERNATIONAL

AAG ACQUIRES PLATINUM INTERNATIONAL

The Alliance Automotive Group (AAG) has acquired battery distributor Platinum International. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

Previously known as UK Batteries, Platinum International was formed in 2002 by Chris Taylor following the sale of a previous battery venture. Speaking about the acquisition, he said: ““I am delighted to see Platinum become part of AAG, especially with its reputation as a leader in the UK market. Platinum has been built over a long period of time and I would like to thank my team for their hard work and contribution to making the business a success. The development of Platinum is also a testament to how much support and loyalty we receive from our customers and suppliers and I am convinced that, together with AAG, Platinum will continue to achieve great things. I am confident that I’ve found the best long-term home for the business.”

AAG, which is owned by the U.S based Genuine Parts Company, has made a number of acquisitions in the UK over the year to date, most of which have been all-makes motor factors. Platinum joins Apec Braking and BTN Turbo as AAG’s specialist distributors.

Steve Richardson, Managing Director of AAG UK stated, “We are excited to welcome Platinum into our UK business and to strengthen our position in the UK battery market. We have tremendous respect for Platinum as a long standing supplier to our Group and are confident the integration of the company into AAG will add value for all our customer and lead to long term, sustainable, growth. Platinum has a strong and talented management team and is an excellent strategic fit for our group”.

 

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EVANS CYCLES TO BE SOLD BY PRIVATE EQUITY OWNERS

EVANS CYCLES TO BE SOLD BY PRIVATE EQUITY OWNERS

Evans Cycles is to be sold by its private equity owner ECI Partners.

The cycle chain has been making a loss over the past two years, although ECI has perused a strategy of expansion.

At the time of writing bids have been invited for the firm, with Halfords being reported by Sky News as being among the front runners.

Halfords itself set up the Cycle Republic chain as a rival to Evans Cycles in 2014. Halfords has previously stated an aim for Cycle Republic is to double the number of branches.

In general terms, cycle retail on the High Street has been under pressure as there has been a willingness by consumers to buy mid to high-end bikes from non-traditional outlets, such as Go Outdoors or from sports shops such as Triathlon. Low-end family bikes have been under pressure from online retailers such as Wiggle, which one retail survey put as the UK’s second largest cycle retailer in August

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HONEYWELL GARRETT APPOINTS TURBOACTIVE AS ‘MASTER DISTRIBUTOR’

HONEYWELL GARRETT APPOINTS TURBOACTIVE AS ‘MASTER DISTRIBUTOR’

Honeywell turbochargers have new distribution.

Turbocharger manufacturer Honeywell Garrett has appointed Teeside-based Turboactive as a ‘master distributor’ for the UK and Northern Ireland. Rival distributor BTN Turbo is also a master distributor for the brand, and will continue to be so.

”We are very excited  about being appointed a Garrett Master Distributor as it marks a significant change in customer choice, it enables our customers to choose from a huge range of turbos for all sectors-both new and remanufactured” said MD Steve Bush.

Mr. Bush said that the move would give the company access to new markets, allowing it to expand yet further into commercial vehicles and industrial applications in addition to enhancing the light vehicle offering.  He added, ” We are thrilled to have been selected as only one of just two distributors of Honeywell Garret products in the UK market!”

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