Archive | Retailer News

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

Posted in Latest News, News, Retailer NewsComments (1)

ELTA AUTOMOTIVE IN MANAGEMENT BUY-OUT

ELTA AUTOMOTIVE IN MANAGEMENT BUY-OUT

Component supplier and Lucas licence holder, Elta Automotive has been subject to a management buy-out.

Terms of the MBO have not been announced, nut current MD Ian Hallam, who has worked with Elta since the company was incorporated, has become the company’s co-owner, alongside long-term European partner Luxline spol. s r.o – lead by Vladimír Palacka. Ian Hallam and Luxline become equal shareholders of a new holding company, Elta Investments replacing the previous holding company, Claverdon Fields.

The formation of a newco required the existing Lucas licence to be renegotiated. Elta will continue to supply bulbs, wiper blade and switchgear under the Lucas brand in the UK and Continental Europe, but engine management products bearing the name will now be supplied by SMPE.  As a result, Elta’s engine management programme will be supplied under the ‘Pro’ brand, announced last year.

“Our relationship with the iconic Lucas brand remains extremely important and will be a cornerstone of our European offering” remarked Hallam.

Elta HQ in Coleshill

“However, as would be expected, a change of ownership inevitably requires a new licence agreement with the brand owners, which is why we are particularly delighted to be able to announce that this has been secured and on a mutually positive basis for both parties” he said, adding that he was ‘thrilled’ with the prospect of a ‘significantly wider territory’ to sell the Lucas brand into.

 

 

 

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

FPS WITHDRAWS FROM CAMPING AND CARAVANNING SECTOR

FPS WITHDRAWS FROM CAMPING AND CARAVANNING SECTOR

FPS Distribution is to withdraw from the camping and caravanning market. The changes take effect from November 30th and are in response to space pressure across its warehouse network.

Products affected include ‘canvas’ camping products such as tents, awnings and related accessories. Stowage and towing products including Mont Blanc racks, roof boxes and towbars are not affected and will continue to be stocked.

In a press statement, a spokesman said: “Our programme and everyone’s diligent work have provided growth in this sector. However, our market has changed and our core motor components business is growing so fast that we now have capacity challenges”.–

Space pressure on Sheffield DC influenced decision

“By withdrawing from caravan and camping, we will create capacity in our supply chain at both Sheffield, and in our HGV and branch transport fleet. This will allow us to focus on improving and growing our core business” read the statement.

FPS has been part of the Alliance Automotive Group since 2016.

Posted in Factor & Supplier News, Garage News, Latest News, latest news, News, Retailer News, special newsComments (1)

RAPID GROUP FOUNDER SOLD TO GROUPAUTO PARENT

RAPID GROUP FOUNDER SOLD TO GROUPAUTO PARENT

Carlisle-based motor factor chain TMS has been sold to Alliance Automotive Group (AAG), the parent company of the GROUPAUTO and UAN buying groups.

The 24-branch factor is active over Northern England and Southern Scotland. Terms of the deal have not been announced.

TMS Motor Spares Ltd started life as Teviot Motor Factors Ltd in the 1970’s when two of the current Directors bought a factors franchise.  A change of ownership led to TMS Motor Spares being set up in 1996 with a single branch (Annan). The business’ approach to trade factoring was a success and lead to expansion, resulting in the formation of the Rapid buying group in 2005.

AAG also announced the acquisition of three other Scottish single-branch factors that were already existing members. These are Livingston Autoparts Ltd, WD Motor Factors based in Dunfermline and Alloa-based Bridge Motor Factors.

 

 

 

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

MAHLE TO ACQUIRE BEHR HELLA SERVICE

MAHLE TO ACQUIRE BEHR HELLA SERVICE

Mahle’s Telford site

Filter manufacturer Mahle is to acquire Hella’s shares in Behr Hella Service, subject to the usual approvals. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

Currently, the operation is a joint venture between Mahle and Hella, but if the acquisition is successful Mahle intends to manage the spare parts business for thermal management products on its own.

There will be a transitional period, but it is planned that thermal products will be sold under the Mahle brand from the start of 2020.

Noting that Hella plans to concentrate on its core competences of lighting and electronics, coupled with workshop equipment, Dr Andreas Habeck, a BDM from Hella, said: “Together we will make the transition of the business activities as smooth as possible for our customers”.

Olaf Henning, Head of Aftermarket at Mahle said: “Efficient thermal management will play an increasingly important role in future – for all powertrain technologies. This move will allow us to give the best possible support in this promising area and ensure the successful operation of workshops.

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

GOVERNMENT PROBE INTO HAND CAR WASHES

GOVERNMENT PROBE INTO HAND CAR WASHES

Investigation into hand car washes begins

A parliamentary committee is to look into how damaging hand car washes are to the environment.

The Environmental Audit Committee will examine how the impact of hand car washes differs from automatic ones. It will look at how effective regulation is and what steps central government might take to ensure that these businesses are operated sustainably.

Although the focus of the Committee’s inquiry will be on environmental issues, another body, the Independent Anti- Slavery Commission has produced a list of indications of exploitation at hand car washes, which the Committee will also seek answers for.

Mary Creagh MP, Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, said: “Our inquiry will look at the environmental impact of hand car washes and ask how effective the regulations that govern them are. It will also ask the Government how it is meeting its commitments under the UN Sustainable Development Goals to reduce human exploitation.”

Reacting to the news, Brian Madderson, Chairman of the Petrol Retailers Association commented: “The PRA is pleased to see the Committee is holding the Government to account on an industry that is in breach of several regulations.”

“We have been lobbying DEFRA repeatedly over the lack of enforcement regarding the estimated 6,500 cubic metres of chemical trade effluent produced by hand car washes, which pollutes local water courses. We have also met with officials from both the Home Office and the Treasury Select Committee to discuss breaches of the Modern Slavery Act and the millions of pounds lost in tax revenues,” he concluded.

Posted in Factor & Supplier News, Garage News, Latest News, latest news, News, Retailer NewsComments (6)

WRS MOTOR FACTORS JOINS A1 BUYING GROUP

WRS MOTOR FACTORS JOINS A1 BUYING GROUP

Somerset-based WRS Motor Factors Ltd has joined buying group A1.

New brands will arrive at WRS

Weston Recovery Services (WRS) was established in Weston-Super-Mare by Robert and Lynn Hopkins in 1983. Today, it has an around the clock breakdown and recovery service.

WRS Motor Factors Ltd was subsequently incorporated in 2006 after some years trading under the Weston Recovery Services umbrella. Operating out of four branches across the Somerset area; Weston-Super-Mare, Shepton Mallet, Wellington and Bridgwater, it supplies many brands such as NGK, Lucas, Mahle and Britpart, as well as stocking a full range of Motaquip products.

Martin Tier of WRS, said: “It’s very important that we have a voice and aren’t just a number and after speaking with them, we feel A1 offer the right environment for us.

“Communication is a key part of this group,” says Simon Salloway, Head of Operations at A1. “We’re all working together. Everyone’s feedback and input is valued, and our combined knowledge and purchasing power form the foundations of our collective success. By listening to each other and working together, we can get a stronger hold in this increasingly competitive industry.”

The businesses trade as WRS Motaquip and this won’t change as the company will continue to buy hard parts from Motaquip. However, the move will widen the factor’s access to brands.

The A1 Motor Factor Group has added a number of well- known names to its network of suppliers in recent months. These include Hella-Hengst, Federal-Mogul and National Auto Parts.

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

EPIC ACCESSORIES GETS TRICO VAN

EPIC ACCESSORIES GETS TRICO VAN

New sporty van for Epic Accessories

Wiper blade brand Trico has presented Epic Accessories with a Trico liveried Ford Fiesta van, after the latter achieved its target during the former’s three-month promotion last year.

The vehicle was handed over to Epic Accessories owner Samantha Gutteridge at the A1 buying group’s spring trade show, which took place at the Whittlebury Hall in Towcester last month.

Speaking of her firm’s new addition, Gutteridge said: “The new vehicle will help us on both a promotional and practical level in getting the message out to potential customers that we fit wiper blades in our designated fitting bay at the rear of our store, so a huge thanks to Trico.”

Sam Robinson, Product Manager at Trico, added: “The show was a great success for us, in particular our promotional offer on Neoform retro-fit beam blades, which was well received with a number of members who placed orders for a merchandise box on the day. We also agreed plans with various members to help boost their sales, including supply of in-store signage, as well as training days to educate and support their staff on selling and fitting Trico blades.”

Posted in Blogs, Factor & Supplier News, Garage News, News, Retailer News, Uncategorised, WipersComments (0)

MEETING THE BENTLEY BOYS

MEETING THE BENTLEY BOYS

William Medcalf talks us through his preparation business for vintage Bentleys

William Medcalf

Let’s say you are thinking of going on an endurance rally, what car would you take? By endurance, I mean a long, long distance across far-flung and generally inaccessible corners of the world with stretches covering unmade or non-existent roads. You might think about taking a tough four wheel drive that you could get parts for anywhere, a Toyota Land Cruiser perhaps, or a suitably prepared Subaru Impreza.

What you probably wouldn’t consider taking for such long jaunts is a pre-Rolls-Royce era Bentley. Apart from the fact the youngest machine is now 87 years old, you can consider it a given that any roadside factor you might find in the Gobi desert, the jungles of Borneo or the Canadian wilderness won’t have that many parts on the shelf. That’s before we mention that the minimum you can get your name on the logbook for one of these cars is about £300,000 – and this could easily exceed £4m if you were able to persuade one of the owners of the super-rare Blower Bentley to sell it to you.

It’s surprising then that William Medcalf, owner of the eponymous one-make specialist in Sussex says that many of his clients do take their cars on such jaunts. “Around 60 percent of our clientele like to take their cars on rallies,” he tells us as we walk into his workshop, adding that pretty much all of the cars that he looks after are in regular use and not simply museum pieces.

Bentley showroom

RALLIES
Clearly, all of these cars need to be suitably prepared for the epic jaunts they are regularly run on. The balance to be struck is how to make any modifications in keeping with the original car, and reversible if the owner chooses to put it back to entirely standard. To this end, Medcalf employs engineers rather than vehicle technicians and the firm has invested a lot of money in computer design, 3d printing and milling machines. “I’d like to think that if W.O Bentley was here, he’d look at some of our designs and he’d nod in agreement’ Medcalf said, while showing me the internals of a differential that had been made out of a piece of solid billet. “Everyone wants the modifications because you can go and drive the thing around the world. What we are not doing is turning it into something different: It’s all Bentley engineering and Bentley ethos,” he furthered.

There are plenty of other examples of this sensitive approach to making the vehicles more usable. On our visit, an engineer had the drawings for a clutch up on the computer. Previously a clutch failure could mean the car having to be shipped home without completing the rally, but by using the fittings that are already there, Medcalf’s team have developed a clutch that can be replaced far more easily.

All aspects of prep and restoration can be undertaken at the workshop. Apart from mechanical work, bodywork can be restored, welding can be undertake und there’s even a fully-equipped woodworking bench, serving as a reminder that when these cars were new, coachbuilders would have been most familiar in doing exactly that: building horse drawn carriages.

MODERN METHODS
While some of the work might have its roots in the 1800s, the industrial processes in place are not. Despite the one-off nature of working on these cars, every job is coded to a computer- based garage management system, measuring the time and materials each engineer is using on a task. “There are no projects gathering dust in the corner, to be worked on ‘as and when’” explained Medcalf. “Apart from anything else, we simply don’t have the space to clutter up.” The stockroom on the upper mezzanine is a sight to behold. With 15,000 lines, there are a lot of items in the stock drawers that look familiar, but on closer inspection are certainly not. “These screws for instance” says Medcalf, pulling out a bag of machine screws, “Are a size specified by W.O and they aren’t found anywhere else except on a Bentley engine. You can use a different size screw, but there are 136 in an engine and we make them in the original size, and with the right number in the packet – so why use the wrong ones when we have the right ones on the shelf ?”

In-house manufacturing

Other ex-stock parts include beautiful brass water rails and radiators, which are identical to the originals, only with slightly strengthened gussets to prevent blown rads in when running in hot climates. There are fun items like Castrol filler jugs, ranging to the more usual, such as bearing sets. One SKU of note is a copper gasket set, which there are plenty of in the stock location. “You could literally walk in here and buy a gasket set for a ninety year- old car. I’ll bet you couldn’t walk into a BMW dealer and buy a gasket set off the shelf for something built today,” noted Medcalf. They will happily bring engineers and parts to wherever their customers need them as well: Recently one of the team walked through Medcalf’s door on a Friday before a Bank Holiday and walked out with a ticket on the next flight to Tokyo and a differential as a regular client needed repair at the start of a rally stage. A friendly local (in Tokyo) garage was found, the part was fitted, and Medcalf’s employee was back at work in Sussex on the Tuesday. Apparently this is not uncommon.

NEW DESIGNS
New designs for parts are tested on Medcalf ’s own car (which by his own admission is regularly ‘murdered’ on rallies) but there is a plan to take development of parts design a step further. The firm has struck up a partnership with the University of Sussex to produce a ‘Knowledge Transfer Partnership.’ Simply put, the University has assigned a graduate to work with the business, effectively as an employee, for two years, looking at ways, no matter how small, that the understanding and engineering of vintage Bentleys can be honed. The idea is that new skills, and the latest academic thinking can be applied to help the business further streamline and innovate new methods of production. It sounds like an interesting project, and one we’d be interested in learning more about when it concludes.

If you want a vintage Bentley, the business also has a showroom with some cars for sale. Obviously the market is somewhat limited: Out of the estimated 1,600 cars remaining the majority are in the hands of people who neither want or need to sell them. Nonetheless, there are half a dozen cars on sale in the showroom on our visit, ranging from a fabric body doctor’s coupe (complete with cadish accessories in the boot that include a shotgun store, a sink and a fold out bar!) to a concours winning tourer and a blower replica. You’d need to bring some bunce with you though: The cars in the showroom start at £300,000 and range to well over a million.

So if you fancy taking on a new hobby and you have some spare time and a few hundred thousand quid in your back pocket, then you should visit the one-stop-shop for everything Bentley.

Posted in CAT Features, Factor & Supplier News, Garage News, News, Retailer NewsComments (0)

TENNECO ACQUIRES FEDERAL MOGUL

TENNECO ACQUIRES FEDERAL MOGUL

Emission parts firm Tenneco has acquired Federal Mogul from Icahn Enterprises in a deal valued at $5.4B.

Following the acquisition, Tenneco has also announced its intention to separate the combined businesses into two independent, publicly traded companies through a tax-free spin-off to shareholders; establishing,  ‘Aftermarket & Ride Performance Company’ and ‘Powertrain Technology Company’. The agreement is expected to complete in the second half of 2018, subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals with the separation taking place in late 2019.

Brian Kesseler, CEO of Tenneco, said: “Federal-Mogul brings strong brands, products and capabilities that are complementary to Tenneco’s portfolio and in line with our successful growth strategies. Unleashing two new product focused companies with even stronger portfolios will allow them to move faster in executing on their specific growth priorities.”

Carl C. Icahn, Chairman of Icahn Enterprises, added: “Icahn Enterprises acquired majority control of Federal-Mogul in 2008 when we saw an out-of-favor market opportunity for a great company. I am very proud of the business we have built at Federal-Mogul and agree with Tenneco regarding the tremendous value in the business combination and separation into two companies. We expect to be meaningful stockholders of Tenneco going forward and are excited about the prospects for additional value creation,” he concluded.

Posted in Exhausts, Factor & Supplier News, Garage News, Latest News, News, Retailer News, Shock AbsorbersComments (0)

Advertisement
  • New MOT rules and the implications for testers
  • Aftermarket Lives: A regional battery distributor and the Ecco group.
  • EC proposes compulsory ADAS

more info

    • Should hand car washes face further regulation?

      View Results

      Loading ... Loading ...
    • Popular
    • Latest
    • Comments
    • Tags
    • Subscribe