COMPANY
:
Polestar Wheatons Printers
CONTACT
:
Richard Hinchliffe
TEL
:
01392 420222
TEL 2
:
07867 550015
WEBSITE
:
EMAIL
:

Polestar Wheatons offers expertise in producing aftermarket catalogues quickly through our flexible production ethos. Heat-set 48p A4 web and four colour presses are complemented by our digital printing and finishing facilities. Our printing is supported by our on-site bindery, capable of producing PUR bound catalogues.  We can provide advance copies for presentations to buying groups and product launches when catalogues have to be there and tomorrow is too late.

COMPANY
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VECO
CATALOGUE
:
VECO Products
CONTACT
:
John Goodland
TEL
:
01562 512512
WEBSITE
:
EMAIL
:

The VECO range of matching OE quality replacement parts is the perfect brand for factors and garage workshops looking for quality and value. The product groups that the VECO brand supports include braking, clutch kits, drive belts, exhaust fittings, hydraulics, steering and suspension, water pumps and wheel bearing kits. Each product group is supported by a user-friendly catalogue, which is comprehensive in its content and provides users with clear replacement part identification and accurate vehicle application references.

COMPANY
:
Comline Auto Parts Ltd
CATALOGUE
:
Tecdoc Online Catalogue
CONTACT
:
M Rosher
TEL
:
07515 985215
WEBSITE
:
EMAIL
:

The complete Comline range of replacement parts, including Filters; Brake pads; Brake discs; Clutch kits; Water pumps and CV joint kits is now listed on Tecdoc. Tecdoc is the number one online catalogue, covering matching OE quality parts, throughout the European aftermarket. This move represents the growing use of online searching for car parts, and reflects the growth of the Comline brand in Europe.

COMPANY
:
Delphi Diesel
CATALOGUE
:
Direct Evolution Lite: CD and online
TEL
:
01926 472900
WEBSITE
:
EMAIL
:

Delphi recognises the need to provide aftermarket customers with vehicle application data and enable the identification of required diesel products to service & repair the latest diesel fuel injection systems. This DVD version of Direct Evolution Lite contains parts list for all Delphi diesel technologies, from traditional mechanical products to the latest Common Rail & Electronic Unit Injectors. It also includes ‘exploded view’ diagrams, vehicle application data and cross-referencing information.  The annual licence includes regular updates which guarantee the data covers the very latest vehicle releases.

COMPANY
:
AutoElectro
CATALOGUE
:
AutoElectro Online Catalogue
TEL
:
01274 656101
WEBSITE
:
EMAIL
:

Autoelectro, one the oldest established and largest independent remanufacturers of quality rotating electrics, has the industry leading website with full cataloguing and sales support including animated pictures of the products to aid identification. The company boasts probably the best range and availability in the UK with first to market on many applications. Several thousand applications are listed supported by comprehensive cross referencing and applications data. Visit the autoelectro website and see why it has had fantastic reviews!

COMPANY
:
Gates Online Catalogue
CATALOGUE
:
Gates Web Catalogue, online only
TEL
:
01387 242032
WEBSITE
:

Finding the appropriate Gates product for the correct application has never been easier. All the information is available online at www.gatesautocat.com. GatesAutocat includes the most comprehensive Gates product listing available for main drive systems, accessory drive systems, cooling systems, fuel systems (including fuel caps, hoses and connectors) and tools for vehicles from passenger cars to heavy trucks. Fully illustrated, and best of all, fully updated as new parts become available, www.gatesautocat.com makes product identification and selection as simple as click, click, click.

COMPANY
:
FEDERATION CALLS FOR BAN ON USED TYRE SALES

AN INVESTIGATION has found that defective second-hand tyres are being sold to motorists, after figures showed 989 deaths or injuries have been a result of these models over the last five years.

Evidence was gathered when trading standard watchdogs posed as customers and bought samples from a number of dealers in County Durham. An Inspector at TyreSafe concluded that six out of seven purchases were deemed faulty while one was classed as ‘legal’ and over 18 years old.

Two were seriously damaged after being under-inflated. Two had damage to the bead, a reinforced rubber section inside the wheel. One contained water, showing it had not been stored properly. Five had no official ‘part worn’ stamp, classing them illegal according to a report in the Sunday Mirror.

Previous data collated from TyreSafe backed up the paper’s sentiment, highlighting that 98 percent of second-hand tyres carry no ‘part worn’ markings while 4.5m are sold to UK motorists year-on-year.

A TyreSafe spokesman, said. “Competence among used tyre retailers is questionable and the majority of used tyres are not properly inspected. A tyre is classed as a waste product until it’s been fully checked”.

The National Tyre’s Distributors Association (NTDA) has expressed its dismay, describing these practices as ‘appalling’ and a ‘ticking-time bomb’. The federation also calls for a ban on used car tyre sales in an attempt to reduce further accidents and deter rogue traders from selling on faulty products.

COMPANY
:
AUTOMECHANIKA IN REVIEW

For us at the magazine, it is funny to think that 2017 was only the second time Automechanika has taken place at the NEC, such is the amount that we have written and speculated about it. Nonetheless, this is only the second time the show has happened here, and it seems much of the aftermarket holds an opinion about it.

For me, the proceedings started the day before the event as SMMT had invited a handful of journalists to dinner at a nearby country pile to talk about the show, the aftermarket and the motor industry in general. One interesting stat that Chief Exec Mike Hawes raised was that the British public now spend more online on car accessories than they do on cosmetics. I haven’t been able to verify this yet, and I suspect it includes replacement tyres and servicing booked online, but even so it goes to show that the new generation of motorists are less willing to do things the old way. A point to ponder perhaps.

After the show was opened, complete with ribbon cutting and the traditional comedy big scissors (I wonder where they come from?) the show got underway and we grab show organiser Simon Albert for a few words. As the show had only just opened, he didn’t have much to tell us that we didn’t already know, such as the longer opening hours, increase in aisle space etc. However, he did confirm his hit list of companies that he’d like to see attending in the future and, of most significance to us, confirmed that the show would return next year.

On the Valeo stand

This surprised me a little, as I’d assumed that the show would become biennial in the years that the Frankfurt show was not held. However, I was keen to get going as my appointment book was full and I was running late before I had even started.

The first visit took me across Hall 19 and into Hall 20 where I could have a quick look at some of the stands as I scurried past. Liqui Moly and Auto Repar had particularly amazing looking stands. Schaeffler had used a space right next to the main entrance to build a gleaming white stage where cutaway versions of various products had been mounted on plinths for the reps to demonstrate. Valeo meanwhile, had approached the concept of having a stand in a different way, as it had simply brought a huge truck and trailer kitted out with demonstration models of various things into the hall.

MEANDERING
I won’t trouble you with the details of every meeting I had or what everyone said, except that on the first day a number of stands reported that footfall seemed a little low, which could be down to appalling weather that day as well as a crash blocking one of the motorways near the NEC that may have put some off attending. I should add that if the attendance was low on the first day, I didn’t notice it. From my point of view, Hall 19, where I spent the bulk of the time, seemed annoyingly busy with meandering people with a tendency to stop in front of me filling the aisles.

It was pleasing to see that many exhibitors had brought in things other than their products to keep people amused. Sales-i brought an Out Run arcade machine for example (a game that I spent too much time on in my youth). Denso brought a VR racing car simulator, which I quite fancied trying out, but decided not to as the racing driver Rebecca Jackson was looking on, and I had no wish to humiliate myself. Other stands brought various cars and bikes from series that they sponsor as well as the usual show novelties.

Holding an event after the show is always a risk, because while there will be a ready supply of people in the industry who are in the same place, there is no telling that they will be in the mood to go somewhere else after spending a day at the show. Even if they do, there is every chance that someone else has invited them first. With this in mind, I was curious to see how many people went to an event held by Motaquip at Warwick Castle on the first night. The answer as it turned out was a lot of people as the event was full. It was one of the more fun events that we’ve been to, with two apparently empty suits of armour jumping off the wall and alarming diners by staging a battle between the tables.

STAGES
Back at the show the following day I would have liked to have had more time to attend some of the industry and technical seminars that were taking place on a number of stages across the halls. Big names from the world of diagnostics including Frank Massey and James Dillon had been brought in as a lure to get technicians to the show (which by all accounts worked) while the heads of the garage associations talked about the various threats and opportunities du jour in the aftermarket. I did manage to get over to hear the winner of the Garage of the Year announced, which turned out to be Motorserv UK, which readers who have been paying close attention might recall we visited this time last year.

One notable absence from the show was TMD Friction (who are on record saying that they have ‘no plans’ to exhibit). However, the company did rent a plaza suite just outside of the main halls to hold a Pagid Live event in association with Euro Car Parts where a number of garage owners and technicians (the majority of whom had been brought down for the event) who, after a day at the show spend a couple of hours enjoying presentations on the benefits of the Pagid Expert programme and on ECPs garage scheme (see Hot Story).

If your reason for visiting the show was to find new products, you wouldn’t have been disappointed. Delphi brought a new bit of diagnostic kit for high- pressure injectors, European Exhaust and Catalyst introduced a 6-in-1 fuel system cleaner at the show and in a similar vein, Forté launched a 4-in-1 cleaning machine. Essentra Components launched something called a ‘High Tech Fluid Absorption Plug’ and I’m sure there were many other things never before seen at the event.

Throughout the show, I spent most of my time in the three aftermarket halls, but on the final day I had a meeting with Stericycle (a company that manages recalls for the VMs) and so I spent a while exploring the area dedicated to the automotive supply chain. It was markedly quieter than the aftermarket halls, although it should be noted that while the supply chain market as a whole is huge and worth big money, the number of buyers within it is relatively small, and stands dealing with VM services were of little interest to technicians, so it might be unfair to judge its success on the amount of feet in the room alone.

‘Billy’ character on Bosch stand

However, the highlight of the show for me came late in the afternoon on the final day when Helen Watkins from Bosch, who was manning the Extra stand, was accosted by a strange small man who kept offering her some of his special ‘home made’ sweets, much to the amusement of onlookers – apparently he’d been coming on the stand and doing this at various points throughout the show. However, just when Helen couldn’t stand the embarrassment anymore, the fellow took off what turned out to be a wig and false teeth to reveal himself as a well known customer of the firm. Apparently, his alter-ego ‘Billy No-Mates’ is a character that he regularly performs for some of his unsuspecting suppliers, and it was much to the amusement of the crowd that had built up.

It was almost time for us to leave in order to high-tail it back to London while there was still time to vote (remember that?) One point that is inescapable is the topic of the show frequency. As a conservative guess, I reckon I spoke to 40 company bosses during the show and the overwhelming majority said that they thought the show should run once every two years, preferably during the non- Frankfurt years in order to keep costs reasonable and keep the momentum of the show. From the point of view of the whole CAT team, we could have happily stayed there for a month if we could – there were so many people to see. However, I’m always curious to know the experience of our readers. Did you go? Were you exhibiting? What were the highlights, and what would you have liked to have seen? Give me a shout at greg.whitaker@haymarket.com.

COMPANY
:
A POINT OF DIFFERENCE

David Williams takes us on tour around Michelin Licensee Future Developments.

Stoke-on-Trent is known as the Potteries for its heritage in throwing all kinds of clay, from fine bone china to toilet pans. However, in recent years the city has become a logistics hub housing many distribution centres. A major player here is Future Developments – a manufacturer supplying car care products and aerosols to large retailers up and down the country.

18 months ago, the firm inked a deal with Michelin where it became an official licensee for the UK and Ireland. Dave Williams, Sales Director of the firm, explained: “We manufacture specifically for niche markets. We never had a brand before and Michelin came to mind because it was in local [Michelin has a niche tyre production facility in nearby Shelton] and they were keen to do it”. He continued. “We’re looking to create a brand over the next two to three years by bringing in and making products with a difference”.

With 700 products to manufacture, a large space and the essential amenities are required. While touring the site, Future Developments seems to have all the facilities to hand with a 7,000 sq ft site containing three shipping containers for raw materials and bottles, an aerosol storage plant and a production warehouse where over 10,000 Michelin-branded products are produced each day, before they’re tried and tested on site. Once approved and set to the required standards, products are boxed up and packaged for distribution.

PRODUCTS AND PROMOTIONS
Another well-used area is the mock-shop showroom, which has a plethora of retail products sporting the Michelin brand. Wheel trims, inspection lamps and breakdown kits were displayed on shelves next to the firm’s other wares such as insect repellents and stain removers for the household domestics market as well as graffiti removal – a regular purchase among city councils across the UK. Ray Bowles, Managing Director of Future Developments, said. “We distribute all the Michelin wiper blades as well as snow brushes, ice scrapers, snow shovels and wheel trims”, adding that the firm has expanded its wiper blade distribution overseas.

Williams mentions that retail customers can benefit from some handy upsell opportunities such as Michelin point of sale (POS) display stands. He adds. “Customers can purchase our promotion stands to upsell their products in store. Another example is our screenwash, which we’ve designed so it can interlock with other bottles for stacking in shops. From a retailer’s point of view, it looks presentable, doesn’t crush and is easier for stacking”. In addition, the team provide fitting videos and aftercare support to retailers and end users.

POINT OF DIFFERENCE
While designing things like formulas and bottles is an element of the business, it is not the only one. Williams highlights that the multicoloured triggers within the car care range are ‘unique’ selling points in themselves, whereby, each bottle has its own mechanism, designed to make application simpler for customers. He says. “We don’t just develop the product, we also develop the trigger. For example, we have developed a pre-compressed trigger which allows easier application and restricts any leaks onto fingers and hands during use”.

A similar example Bowles and Williams demonstrated was their AdBlue container. Although this formula can’t be altered, this didn’t stop the team from creating another application solution. “We can’t make AdBlue different from anybody else because it’s a standard product according to regulations”, said Williams. “However, we can differentiate the way it’s delivered. We have done this by creating a siphoned nozzle with 360° action, which can be used in different positions to fill into the car”.

PARTNERSHIP
Recently, a number of factor chains have expressed interest in the firm’s products. Williams expands. “We recently signed a deal with Euro Car Parts who are taking on the Michelin brand. They requested a couple of products including our new Screen Wash sachets and they’re also stocking Michelin’s Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS)”, adding that the firm’s wiper blades have also sparked interest. Bowles and Williams have also been in meetings with battery suppliers, factor buying groups and accessory store chains, any of whom could become potential supply partners in the near future.

The firm is now planning to extend its fleet of vans and silver range of glass, leather and wheel cleaners (to name a few) launched at Automechanika Birmingham this year. Whatever market they’re supplying, the team will continue bringing out products that will not only make sales for retailers, but more importantly, ‘make life easier’ and simpler for the end-user.

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