Tag Archive | "Motor factors"

EPIC ACCESSORIES GETS TRICO VAN

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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.”

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DIGRAPH TO OPEN 16 NEW SITES

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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.

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PREMIER MOTOR FACTORS GOES INTO ADMINISTRATION


Walsall-based parts supplier Premier Motor Factors has gone into administration.

 Timothy Frank Corfield has been appointed as the official administrator, and an auction of the firm’s assets and stock will be held from February 26 through auctioneer Deeley Matthews..  

Stephen Doyle started the company (officially called Direct Wholesale Europe) in August 2008, right at the start of the recession. The company had a strong online presence, with eBay being a particular strength. However, recent feedback suggests that it struggled to fill orders in the past few weeks, and the administrator was called in just before Christmas.

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REMAINING LOYAL AS AN INDEPENDENT

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REMAINING LOYAL AS AN INDEPENDENT


Dunlop family’s new accessory shop in Rutherglen, South Lanarkshire.

Smiles all around at new branch

Located in the town of Shettleston near Glasgow is Dunlops Auto Shop, a family-run retailer that has served garages in and around the local area for over 40 years.

In fact, the parts business goes right back to the 1960s when charismatic owner Fred Dunlop first established it, which was a one-windowed shop selling tuning parts for Minis, Big Bore exhausts and leather steering wheels at the time. “I first left school at 15 to go and work with my father”, said Fred, “My dad used to run motor factors when I was young so I have been in the motoring trade most of my life”.

14 years into service, the opportunity came up to move to a larger and more mdern shop on 1218 Shettleston Road where the branch continued bulking out its wares and delivery services to workshops for a number of years. The business eventually moved up the road to 1250 in 2003, where Fred bought the building outright and extended through to next door – which was demolished and rebuilt to expand the firm’s footprint. In more recent times, Fred is still involved, but son Stewart handles the day-to- day business.

BUSINESS EXPANSION
The search for a new and extra branch brought them to the town of Rutherglen, South Lanarkshire, proving a fitting spot logistically for business, as Stewart explains. “The main reason for opening the branch in Rutherglen was to service another area of Glasgow and Lanarkshire, where we thought was wide open and only covered by other factors’ delivery vans”, he continued. “In Glasgow, we have every factor covering all areas with van deliveries, but with our service and expertise, we have little competition in the area for having a branch there”.

Shop gondolas

Fred and Stewart officially opened the Rutherglen branch four months ago, housing five staff and six delivery vans as they make their daily runs to nearby towns; ensuring garages receive their parts on time. “We stick to the local area where there are many small workshops”, Stewart notes. “We also deliver to Eastkilbride and Hamilton. We are getting busier there but we always make sure we stick to an approximate 10 mile radius”. Aside from its efficient delivery services, Dunlops offers free wiper blade fittings and alternator battery tests for customers at both sites.

SHOP REVAMP
Prior to opening, the Rutherglen premises was previously a branch of another factor and in need of some TLC. This is when Fred and Stewart worked effortlessly to spruce up the shop before its grand reveal. Their hard work paid off with a new and modern retail operation sporting its blue, red and white livery across the shop floor and its fleet of vans. “The days of a dirty store or accessory shop is finished. Customers like being served in a nice environment”, Stewart replied. “As I have said often to friends I have known in the trade for years, the trade is not dying, in fact, it is far from it”.

Stewart notes that despite only being open a few months, business has taken off well after inking deals with various suppliers, including TMD Friction’s Mintex, FAI Automotive and retail stock from FPS, the latter helped with the store display and fit-out.

The new site is also home to a large trade counter with Bosch wiper blades and Laser Tools products hanging along the left wall while a range of oils and lubricants from Lucas and other well known brands occupy the right. Shelves are stacked in an orderly fashion with an eclectic range of car care products to choose from. Meanwhile, a number of cycles and alloy wheels are displayed in the shop window as a handy upsell to garages and DIY enthusiasts. “Any name you can think of in the component industry we’ve got it”, Fred remarked. “We’ve been with the GAU for over 10 years and they have been marvellous and very helpful with all the major suppliers supplying us. The rebates are really good too!”.

For now, the Dunlop family are taking some breathing space before commencing with their next project in the New Year. This will involve an additional extension on the Rutherglen site to bulk out its competitive offerings of braking, steering and suspension parts that are currently located in its Parts Department behind the tills. In addition, Stewart is on the lookout for a third branch. We can’t wait to see it.

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AUTOSUPPLIES ACQUIRES BUTLERS AUTOMOTIVE

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AUTOSUPPLIES ACQUIRES BUTLERS AUTOMOTIVE


Autosupplies Chesterfield Ltd has acquired Barnsley based motor factor Butlers Automotive with immediate effect.

The acquisition is the first of its kind for Autosupplies, having grown its head office and Bolsover branch to be one of the largest single branch motor factors in the UK, occupying a 40,000sqft site and employing more than 90 members of staff and managing a fleet of more than 50 delivery vehicles.

Butlers Automotive has been trading in Barnsley for more than 40 years, but in the past year has suffered setbacks with the tragic loss of both its owners Philip and Nicollette Parkin.

Tony Porter, Butlers Automotive Director, said: “To ensure the business continues to move forward, it needs to be under the stewardship of a vibrant business that understands the values of Butlers Automotive and that of its customers. We are delighted that family run business Autosupplies Chesterfield Ltd will be taking the business forward.”

David Clarke, Autosupplies Managing Director, said: “Firstly, I would like to pay tribute to Tony and the staff at Butlers Automotive for their professionalism and courage during a very difficult period.

“We are delighted to have secured Butlers Automotive’s future and can’t wait to get started. The name Butlers Automotive is highly regarded in Barnsley for its customer service and it is a name and brand that we are determined to grow. The business is founded on traditional values and this, coupled with the backing of the UK’s largest single branch motor factor in Autosupplies, means an exciting future ahead.”

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LDS ACQUIRED BY GROUPAUTO PARENT

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LDS ACQUIRED BY GROUPAUTO PARENT


LDS website

South Wales-based motor factor LDS appears to have been acquired by Alliance Automotive Group, parent of Groupauto.

Neither party has issued a statement as of yet (AAG usually issues quaterly round- ups of its activities) however, Companies House Lyndon Smith, Louise Smith and Wayne Thomas were terminated as Directors in July, while John Coombes, the Finance Director at Alliance Automotive Group was appointed Director on the same day. Additionally, the registered office details have been changed to AAG’s Birmingham HQ.

LDS was formed in 1990 and the first branch was in Barry. Over the years the company grew to three branches, the largest of which was a new site in Barry measuring 19,000sq ft. A merger in 2014 with factor Normag led to the creation of a branch called LDS Normag. At the time of writing, the chain consists of 30 vans and 60 staff. It has enjoyed a good relationship with Groupauto, winning the coveted ‘Member of the Year’ award in 2014.

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GSF, BBC SUPERFACTORS AND A1 ADD LOCATIONS

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GSF, BBC SUPERFACTORS AND A1 ADD LOCATIONS


New A1 store in Leicester

Three chains have added to their network. GSF has opened a new branch to the north of Bristol, which will be its third outlet in that city. The new location is located in the Aztec business part, near a junction of the M5.

The drive to encourage trade customers to try the new branch has been headed by GSF’s Business Development Manager Leighton Phillips, who has been visiting local independent garages in the weeks running up the opening. The company says that the whole project, from inception to opening day, was completed in just eight weeks.

“We’ve got an experienced team in place who know Bristol well,” said Simon McMullen, Regional Director at GSF Car Parts. “We’re sure there’s even more potential for us around the area and we’ve been excited by the enthusiastic response already.”
Parts Alliance-owned BBC Superfactors has moved premises, just a year after first opening in Preston.

The new building boasts double the footprint at 10,000 square feet and has a full mezzanine too, boosting storage capacity to around “We needed space for tyres,”
explained Managing Director Gary Shulman. “We’re importing containers of tyres and the new unit has the facility to handle these bulk deliveries.”

Meanwhile, A1 Motor Stores has welcomed a new branch opened by a member. Mohammed Y Suleman with the help of various family members has opened an accessory shop in Leicester, which is the second branch owned by Suleman. A factoring service to the trade has led the team to buy their first parts van. Speaking of his decision to join A1, Suleman said: “The branding attracted me. The shop looks more professional with the A1 Motor Stores signage outside, and shows you are part of a bigger thing”.

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BMS SUPERFACTORS ACQUIRED BY PARTS ALLIANCE

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BMS SUPERFACTORS ACQUIRED BY PARTS ALLIANCE


Business group The Parts Alliance has acquired BMS Superfactors, their Greater Manchester-based associate member. BMS Superfactors has four branches in Bury, Oldham, Rochdale and Dukinfield, collectively employing over 120 staff. Prior to the deal, BMS had been an associate member of the Parts Alliance.

Founded 25 years ago, BMS Superfactors begun as an accessory shop and has grown into a business completing 1,000 trade deliveries per day. Since joining The Parts Alliance in December 2012 it has posted double-digit annual sales growth.

“We’re delighted to be taking what seems a very natural next step with The Parts Alliance,” said Tony Parr, Managing Director of BMS. “Joining the group and gaining access to their OE parts ranges, outstanding AlliCat parts catalogue and overall business support has been central to our success to date.

Peter Sephton, Chief Executive of The Parts Alliance said:  “We welcome BMS Superfactors and all our new colleagues.

“The growth they have achieved bears powerful testament to the skills of the management team led by Tony Parr, Chris Morley and Neil Hardisty as well as the hard work of a loyal staff team. This important acquisition strengthens our group’s position in one of the UK’s prime metropolitan areas.

“Chris and Neil will continue to run the business, whilst Tony will be available to help as necessary.

“We very much look forward to developing the business further under what’s a well regarded local brand by bringing more of our technology, distribution and sourcing capabilities to support Chris and his team wherever we can.”

BMS becomes a wholly-owned business within The Parts Alliance Group  but will continue to trade under its own name. Chris Morley will continue to lead the business and will be joined by Neil Hardisty on The Parts Alliance’s management team.

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TOTAL LUBRICANTS CO-BRAND GROUPAUTO MEMBER’S VANS

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TOTAL LUBRICANTS CO-BRAND GROUPAUTO MEMBER’S VANS


Leicestershire based multi-site factor All Vehicle Parts received delivery of a new dual branded Peugeot Partner at the Auto Care Show in Cardiff last Friday.

The van contains the graphics of Total Lubricants, a brand recently taken up by GroupAuto and a new key supplier All Vehicle Parts. A new strategy across the buying group’s members is to have a single brand take up 50 percent of panel space on the vehicle, with the remainder used for the factor and GAU’s logos.

Lee Dunkley, Sales & Operations Manager explained: “Previously, most factors, including us, would have vans branded in our own scheme with a few supplier logos on them. However the logos seem to get lost in the layout and did not add any benefit, so we felt we needed to change this and not to let our biggest advertising asset go to waste”.

Explaining the switch to Total, Dunkley said: “We had been a Millers Oils distributor for a considerable amount of time with great success, so when Millers decided that they did not want to be a GroupAuto approved supplier it caused a great deal of anxiety initially.”

“We were approached by numerous oil suppliers and we had to make a decision on who would be our supplier for the considerable future, as the days are gone of stocking a dozen different oil brands”

“Some suppliers also quoted that an oil is approved but couldn’t provide any proof of that being the case, whereas with Total if an oil is approved, a signed, dated certificate from the vehicle manufacturer which also contains an expiry date is available for us to give to our customers for further piece of mind.”

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MAINTAINING CUSTOMER RETENTION AT ALL TIMES

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MAINTAINING CUSTOMER RETENTION AT ALL TIMES


Vince Blackmore shows CAT around LVW’s Rollings branch in Wrexham

Vince (L) and Harold

Vince (L) and Harold

While in Wales, we visited Wrexham Rollings, a long- established distributor and part of the LVW Group.

Since its acquisition in 2008 and subsequent relocation across town, the branch has gone from strength-to-strength, according to Regional Manager Vince Blackmore, who’s been a long-serving employee and witnessed the firm’s growth first hand during his 32 years of service. “I joined Rollings in 1985 when we were situated in the middle of Wrexham at the old Brooke Street building”, he said. “The LVW Group saw the sales results in the business and took advantage of this opportunity by acquiring the store from previous owner David Evans nine years ago”.

Now based from a 10,000 sq ft facility, Blackmore is responsible for overseeing the performance of the Wrexham store as well as LVW’s Flint and Oswestry sites. However, those are just to name a few in
the distributor’s portfolio as Blackmore explains. “In 2011, LVW bought the Rollings branch in Oswestry and acquired parts distributor Moparts in Liverpool”, adding that the firm also possesses its LVW Automotive outlets in Birkenhead and Ellesmere Port, bringing the group’s network to six sites.

Wrexham Rollings houses 30 staff and 15 vans, a few of which on our visit were lined up symmetrically while they loaded for a run. “Our vans deliver locally within a three to four mile radius and we have timed runs for the mountainous regions reaching as far as 30 miles”, replied Blackmore, who also informed us that plans to extend its fleet is currently a ‘work in progress’.

An army of exhaust silencers

WAREHOUSE TOUR
After a bit of background history, Blackmore took us around the warehouse to go through the day-to-day running of the operation. From the ground floor up to the mezzanine, we were impressed with how organised each aisle was as product groups were stacked tidily along the shelves with no signs of overstock. “Coil springs, steering and suspension and brake pads are just a few of our fastest selling lines” explained Blackmore. “We are also a member of the IFA buying group which gives us buying  power to order stock at affordable rates than if we just went directly to the supplier as a non-member”. Even ‘ugly’ exhaust silencers looked good glimmering as they hung up side-by-side in the large warehouse awaiting an order.

CUSTOMER RAPPORT
As we continued our tour, Blackmore explained that the store has accumulated over 450 customer accounts and counting with 80 to 90 percent of the base comprising garages and workshops. However, like nearby Wrexham Motoring Supplies, Rollings has kept both existing and new customers at the core of the operation. “Our customers are not just an account number, they are personal and have been with us for 30+ years because staff have built up a great relationship with them” Blackmore replied.

“For example, if there’s something wrong on a customer’s 2009 Insignia, the customer will ring and we will get the parts right and delivered to them quickly first time around. It’s all about customer service and building that relationship”, adding that the branch uses Autocat to track down the necessary components for the vehicle model in question. Surprisingly, the store has even built up a strong rapport with its next-door neighbour ‘Volkswagen Wrexham’ (which despite the name has no connection with LVW). “There is no friction at all”, said Blackmore. “The guys from Volkswagen just come in and collect their parts. There is no competition between us”.

Counter stocks many aftermarket brands

TECHNICAL TRAINING
Vince told CAT that the branch holds a range of technical evenings, presentations and training courses on site for garage customers to keep them abreast of the latest developments. Past courses have covered an array of topics including hybrid systems; oil along with supplier training and ongoing technical talks from companies such as Gates. Blackmore elaborated: “We have constant supplier courses such as common oil training, clutches and we hold technical and presentation evenings for customers in our warehouse space”. We were intrigued to find out what Blackmore had pencilled in for the coming  months. He said: “We recently had a Gates Fan Belt and Tensioner Training course, but the next one will be the timing belt side of it which will take place in the Spring time”.

Before wrapping up proceedings, Blackmore discussed the firm’s upcoming plans, which involves increasing customer retention and organising its ongoing training programmes for the rest of 2017.

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