Tag Archive | "SMMT"

IS BANNING DIESEL BAD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT?

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IS BANNING DIESEL BAD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT?


Scrappage Scheme

Evidence suggests that a rise in petrol registrations is contributing to global warming

Diesel-powered vehicles have been in the news a lot over their environmental performance, or lack thereof. Conversely, industry experts have warned that a clampdown on diesel vehicles could result in the UK actually missing European environmental targets.

Mike Hawes, Chief Executive at SMMT warned that demonising diesel conversley will have an adverse effect on the environment. “Customers are not moving straight from diesel to electric. They’re moving to petrol or staying put in older cars” he said when speaking at the Society’s annual dinner in December. “So we’re seeing a falling market, declining revenues, rising costs, rising CO2. And, yes, this will have an effect on climate change goals. This is not a policy without consequences”.

Data firm CAP HPI has authored a report which concludes that the EU’s 2021 environmental targets could be missed if the percentage of diesel vehicles continues to decline on UK roads.

The report points out that some of the environmental criticism of diesel vehicles is misguided.

All the countries in the report achieved the 2015 CO2 emission target for cars registered in that year. While France and Italy were comfortably below the 130g/km line, the UK is closer, and Germany only cleared the hurdle by 1.4g/km.

UNACHIEVABLE
Matt Freeman, Managing Consultant at CAP HPI and the report’s author, commented that without continuing sales of diesel engine cars, this target reduction is unachievable: “Hitting the 2021 environmental targets for CO2 reduction would be a significant challenge without the likely decline in diesel. Therefore it is imperative that diesels continue to command a substantial share of the new car marketplace.

“If consumers, with no option of transitioning to hybrid or EVs, switch to petrol the environmental impact is clear – their CO2 emissions would likely rise between three percent and 23 percent according to model.”

The report argues consumer education is key as there is an apparent risk that consumers are being led to believe that ‘all diesel is bad’ and that any suggestion that there is a good diesel option is due to the automotive industry seeking to resist change and preserve the status quo. This level of miscommunication needs to be countered if diesel is to have a short- to medium-term future.

SKEWED
However, the media coverage on diesel is, to say the least, skewed against the fuel no matter what the improvements and consumers are confused. At the aforementioned SMMT dinner, Greenpeace crashed the stage to hand VW boss Paul Willis a faux ‘award’ for ‘toxic air’ and coverage in the mainstream press has been hardly less hostile. This has resulted in drop in demand (by about a fifth) in new registrations for diesel powered cars and new registrations for light vehicles as a whole are down 5.7 percent compared with last year. This has lead to several analysts making doom-laden predictions about the future of new car retail through franchises coming to an end entirely. These might be a little wide of the mark, but it does seem that for a private motorist wanting to upgrade to the latest technology, the idea of a conventional powertrain must seem a bit old fashioned.

Most people reading this might wonder why they should care, after all, surely this is a hole that the VMs have dug for themselves? It doesn’t affect the aftermarket… Unfortunately, it does. Tens, if not hundreds of thousands of vehicles won’t go through trade auctions and back into the aftermarket as the VMs are holding their own versions of scrappage schemes. As far as I know, no-one has made a serious attempt to retrofit otherwise efficient Euro- 3 onwards common rail diesel engines with devices to clean up their carcinogenic soot, meaning that they are replaced with petrol vehicles that are only marginally less toxic, but will emit greater quantities of greenhouse gas. Meanwhile, the face of the retail motor industry as a whole is besmirched by the failure of the VMs to get a grip on this situation which is a real pity for all involved.

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SMMT PRESIDENT: ‘CONCRETE PROGRESS’ NEEDED ON BREXIT

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SMMT PRESIDENT: ‘CONCRETE PROGRESS’ NEEDED ON BREXIT


The 101st SMMT dinner was interrupted before it had even started by Greenpeace protesters who managed to get on stage with a ‘Toxic Air award’ for VW. It was clear from the outset that this was going to be a politically charged event.

Mike Hawes, Tony Walker and Jennifer Saunders at SMMT Dinner 2017

Greenpeace invaded SMMT Dinner to present VW with ‘Toxic Air Award’.

Tony Walker delivered speech about the need for ‘concrete progress’ on Brexit

 

Following an introduction by Jennifer Saunders, SMMT Chief Exec, Mike Hawes took to the stage to talk about what he saw as the dangers of ‘demonising’ diesel. “Customers are not moving straight from diesel to electric. They are switching to petrol or are staying put in their older cars” he said, adding that the decision in the budget to increase tax on diesel cars leads to a falling market and a, conversely, rise in CO2 emissions. “This is not a policy without consequences. It has to stop” he said.

Business Minister, Greg Clark made a speech in which he acknowledged that the car industry was of ‘fundamental importance to the British economy’. He added that there was an industrial strategy in place, which ‘in many ways’ had been inspired by the motor industry.  

However, SMMT President Tony Walker warned of the dangers of a no-deal situation and a 10 percent tariff on exports. “Competitiveness comes hard-won. It can be easily lost” he said. “A hard Brexit would undermine all that we have collectively achieved. It is a real threat – a hurdle we cannot ignore.” He acknowledged that it was Government policy ’not to fall over a cliff edge’ but there needed to be evidence of ‘concrete progress – and quickly’.

Walker expanded that falling consumer confidence, uncertainty about Brexit and market confusion over diesel have taken their toll on sales domestically, and that the threat of trade barriers was putting the ‘export-led renaissance’  of the UK’s manufacturing base. “Our supply chains are integrated with Europe and well developed over time” he said. “We cannot disrupt them…We do not need trade barriers to be our next challenge”.

 

 

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ASA RESPONSE COULD IMPACT USED CAR DEALERS

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ASA RESPONSE COULD IMPACT USED CAR DEALERS


Glyn Hopkin dealership

In a move that could have far-reaching consequences on the used car industry, the Advertising Standards Authority has upheld a complaint against two lineage ads for car dealer Glyn Hopkin. The adverts related to two three-year old Alfa Romeo vehicles, and the complaint was that the vehicles were not advertised as being ‘ex-fleet’.

The vehicles in question had been registered directly to Fiat- Chrysler Automobiles (FCA). In response, the dealer said that the vehicles were not for sale directly from the website and that would-be purchasers would be able to see all the documents related to any particular car.

Glyn Hopkin stated that they bought the advertised vehicles directly from FCA and that an ex-fleet did not suggest that it had multiple drivers. Furthermore, the actual previous usage, irrespective of the registered keeper, could not be categorically defined on a used car and they stated that such information had not been given to them by FCA.

SMMT was asked for its input. It said that it believed that the Office of Fair Trading’s (OFT) ‘Guidance for second hand car dealers’ only applied to ex-fleet vehicles that might have had multiple users, and that by describing a vehicle as ex-fleet did not necessarily mean that it had been used by more than one driver.

SMMT also pointed out that the new car market had changed radically in the UK, through the growth in popularity of PCP and lease schemes, where most of the vehicles were owned by fleet management/vehicle leasing companies.

The ASA accepted these points, but still ruled that the advert broke guidelines and that it, and all others like it, must state that if a vehicle had been part of a fleet if had been used for business purposes, even if they had been in the hands of a single user from new, as had been the case with both of the cars in question.

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THE ‘DISRUPTIVE FORCES’ OF THE NEAR FUTURE

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THE ‘DISRUPTIVE FORCES’ OF THE NEAR FUTURE


A senior figure at Delphi explains some of the change to vehicles and how this could affect the aftermarket.

Unless you’ve been living under one of Ned Ludd’s stocking frames for the last decade, you can’t have missed all the brough-ha- ha about the connected car. Trade bodies talk about the issues endlessly and the topics are often brought up in discussions in Europe.

However, the people that discuss the why’s and wherefores are rarely the people who are actually developing the systems. As a result, there are often crucial points that are misunderstood. To counter this, we had a conversation with David Paja, Senior Vice President and President, Electronics & Safety at Delphi, who states that there are are three obstacles (or ‘megatrends’ as he calls them) that need to be addressed before the sort of connectivity that VMs and governments are asking for can be achieved.

BIG DATA
The first huge problem is the sheer volume of data that is captured by next-generation vehicles’ sensors, cameras and radar. “If you think of a vehicle on the road today, the amount of data captured by the vehicle is in the order of several megabytes per second, but as we move towards fully autonomous vehicles, there could be many gigabytes per second that could be generated,” said Paja explaining that a gigabyte is equivalent to 1,024 megabytes.

“Not all of that data is usable, but when we think of the needs of moving it around the vehicle, the needs are first of all one gigabyte per second, moving up to ten gb per second”.

Paja explained that with that amount of data, the ‘current connectivity doesn’t scale’. “We will have to rethink all of the architecture” he said. The key in how to manage all of that information is ‘centralisation,’ – or in other words, upload it to the cloud. Not all of it will have any use or relevance, in fact Delphi says that only around five percent will be stored, although that is still going to be a heck of a lot of data.

This brings Paja to the next point: What to do with all of this info, and who would want it. The answer might surprise you, as the data thrown up by cars turns out to be extremely valuable to those who know what to do with it. “In the future, a lot of value is going to be put on the data,” he said. “A lot of analysts have attempted to size the value data services business. They talk about $750bn of potential value. We’ve been adding capabilities to extract the right data and move into a marketplace where it can be monetized. So we are in a good position to embrace this megatrend.”

There are lots of people who want the data – and not just staticians looking to build electronic road pricing models. All sorts of information that can be useful to marketing experts and insurance companies can be gleaned from the computers by those that know how to cut to the data required. To that end, suppliers are starting to do deals with software firms that offer ‘data solutions’: Delphi for example has acquired Dearborn-based data analytics firm, ControlTec. It has also started work with a ‘data broker’, a firm that buys raw data, structures it and offers it for sale.

Don’t think that all of this computing happens on remote cloud servers though. Indeed, your own vehicle will decide what info needs to go where, so some analytics must be done on board the vehicle. This requires a sharp rise in the size of the computers. “Traditionally a computing power increase tends to follow Moore’s Law, where the capacity doubles over time, but when you think about the computing power increase needed here, it is not a linear curve, but exponential,” explains Paja. “Today, a vehicle can have up to 50 ECUs and modules. With the connected car you could double that… well, that isn’t scalable, there isn’t room on the car for a start. It isn’t practical and would be too expensive so there has to be a significant consolidation.”

The plan from Delphi, and no doubt from other ECU suppliers is to reduce the number of ECUs, including the various body control modules from the current 50 to just three large computers. “Our view is that there only needs to be three, and this will enable savings in mass production,” he said, adding that consolidating the computers and redesigning the network bus accordingly will make affordable, true self- driving cars closer to becoming a real possibility.

SERVICE

So where does this brave new world of scaled data leave the aftermarket? Asked how the aftermarket will connect to the cars, he replied, “That’s a good question, and one I’m not sure I have the answer.” Pressed further, it seems that the OBD port will only be left on the car for as long as legislation actually requires it to be there, because diagnostics data can be streamed wirelessly. This goes back to the question of ‘access to data’. The dealership will be able to communicate with the car, potentially from anywhere as it is connected to the cloud, through a channel, but the connection obviously needs to be encrypted to keep out hackers and would-be car thieves. The problem for us in the aftermarket is to identify who has the ‘right’ to also have access to these secure channels and how this right is enshrined in European law.

However, if you can get on the network then the good news is that electronic fault- finding should be a bit easier, thanks to the huge reduction in the number of controllers and associated wiring, although Paja explains that monitoring live data comes with a caveat: “It certainly does (offer diagnostic advances) across multiple controllers but the amount of incoming data by orders of magnitude… Discriminating data becomes very important when you have such a large amount of it.” The network itself will be different to the CAN that garages have become used to. Some data (firing the injectors, triggering the airbags etc) obviously has priority over other functions, but the wiring won’t be as crude as simply having high – and low – speed network wiring.

MAJOR CHANGE
Whatever happens to vehicle’s wiring looms over the next few years, one thing is clear: It certainly won’t be business as usual, for either the VMs, supply chain OEMs like Delphi, or us in the aftermarket. “I don’t think there has been a situation in automotive history where there have been so many ‘disruptive forces’ happening at the same time,” said Paja. “Electrification will be a disruptive force and autonomy as well as data connectivity. The three things are happening at the same time. There are opportunities as it is pushing companies to adapt and adapt very fast.”

Let’s hope we all manage to adapt, before it’s too late.

DEBATE OVER ACCESS TO DATA
Who will, and who won’t have access to data on the next generation of vehicles is a topic that has been kicked around by the aftermarket and by people speaking on behalf of the VMs for ages, and now the discussion has reached the Commons. Transport Minister Lord Callanan said, “Risks of people hacking into the technology might be low, but we must make sure the public is protected. Whether we’re turning vehicles into wi-fi connected hotspots or equipping them with millions of lines of code to become fully automated, it is important that they are protected against cyber- attacks. That’s why it’s essential all parties involved in the manufacturing and supply chain are provided with a consistent set of guidelines that support this global industry.”

The IMI’s Steve Nash asks who actually has access to this info, which largely falls outside the scope of the new GDPR data protection act, as it relates to the vehicle and not the individual. “With the sector currently unregulated and no national standards in place, it’s not always possible to track the people who may have access to our personal information,” Nash said. “We are working hard to get government to address this area as well as the creation of systems at the manufacturing stage, so that motorists have confidence that they are not at risk.”

Mike Hawes, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Chief Exec commented: “A consistent set of guidelines is an important step towards ensuring the UK can be among the first – and safest – of international markets to grasp the benefits of this exciting new technology.”

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VMs TO ‘DESIGN OUT’ HACKERS

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VMs TO ‘DESIGN OUT’ HACKERS


DfT Minister Lord Callanan

A new set of government guidelines have been announced by Department for Transport Minister Lord Callanan to protect motorists from cyber attacks on the next generation of connected and autonomous vehicles.

With immediate effect, manufacturers and technicians developing smart cars and high tech vehicles must ensure crooks are kept at bay by designing out any cyber security threats preventing would-be hackers from obtaining personal data, stealing cars that use keyless entry and taking control of them with malicious intent through wi-fi.

“Risks of people hacking into the technology might be low, but we must make sure the public is protected” notes Callanan. “Whether we’re turning vehicles into wi-fi connected hotspots or equipping them with millions of lines of code to become fully automated, it is important that they are protected against cyber- attacks. That’s why it’s essential all parties involved in the manufacturing and supply chain are provided with a consistent set of guidelines that support this global industry”.

Although most of the weight rests on VMs’ shoulders, Steve Nash, Chief Executive of the Institute of the Motoring Industry (IMI), says attention must also be brought to independents repairing these models, which is yet to be addressed by government in their latest guidelines.

“Computer diagnostics, vehicle programming and software updates are commonplace in the motor industry today. However, with the sector currently unregulated and no national standards in place it’s not always possible to track the people who may have access to our personal information” Nash said. “We are working hard to get government to address this area as well as the creation of systems at the manufacturing stage, so that motorists have confidence that they are not at risk.”

Mike Hawes, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Chief Exec commented: “A consistent set of guidelines is an important step towards ensuring the UK can be among the first – and safest – of international markets to grasp the benefits of this exciting new technology”.

The new guidance can be viewed on the DfT’s website.

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MOT CHANGE: IS THE TRADE IN AN ECHO CHAMBER?

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MOT CHANGE: IS THE TRADE IN AN ECHO CHAMBER?


Mixed responses for 4-1-1 proposition

A YouGov poll for SMMT indicated that 76 percent of motorists want to keep the interval for vehicles’ first MOT at three years, rather than increasing it to four as proposed by the government.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “The MOT is an essential check on the safety and roadworthiness of vehicles. Extending the first test for cars from three to four years is not what consumers or the industry wants given the serious risk posed to road safety and vehicles’ environmental performance. The latest vehicles are equipped with advanced safety systems but it is still critical that wear and tear items such as tyres and brakes are checked regularly and replaced. We urge government to scrap its plans to change a test system that has played a vital role in making the UK’s roads among the safest in the world.”

However, a story in the Telegraph suggests that the motor industry might be living in its own echo chamber. Under the headline ‘Car industry battles changes that could save drivers £100m a year’, the story mentions the SMMT report and counters it with a similar survey conducted by the AA, which asked the same question but phrased differently. In this survey, only 26 percent wished to keep the current regime, with 44 percent keen to change to four years and the remainder ambivalent. Luke Bodset of the AA press office was quoted as saying: “Cars now have the ability to ‘squawk’ and tell drivers if there is a problem with the tyres or battery as well as more fundamental mechanical maladies” he told the paper.

Neither tyre pressure nor states of battery charge are part of the MOT, but his sentiment seemed to chime with a high number of the readers that responded in the the below-the-line comments. “Ridiculous arguments by the motor servicing industry and a change that is long overdue” wrote reader Richard Bassett. Andrew Blowers concurred, writing: “A healthy dose of self-interest from the motor trade then. Modern cars are so well put together and safe that a four years makes perfect sense!”

Not all readers agreed. “South Africa had roadworthy checks only at change of ownership. I don’t recall any checks during 18 years in Botswana” wrote Charles Guerin. “Makes me appreciate the British MOT. At least I have a statistically reasonable chance that the vehicle coming towards me will be able to avoid me”.

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‘DONT SCREW IT UP!’ SMMT PRESIDENT SENDS BREXIT MESSAGE TO GOVERNMENT

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‘DONT SCREW IT UP!’ SMMT PRESIDENT SENDS BREXIT MESSAGE TO GOVERNMENT


gareth-jones_headshot_smmt-presidentGareth Jones, outgoing President of SMMT sent a clear message to government in a speech. “This Government has, commendably, put Industrial Strategy at the heart of business and the Department of Business.  It does so as it faces its toughest challenge – leaving the EU,”  he told delegates at the organisation’s centenary dinner.

“So, as it considers how to shape our future outside Europe and how to continue to grow the economy, our message is this: The United Kingdom is recognised the world over for its automotive strength. Don’t screw it up! “

Jones also discussed apprenticeships, mentioning that Sir William Lyons, Henry Royce and Henry Ford as well as SMMT founder Frederick Simms had all started their careers as one, and this was also the way that he, Jones, had started in the industry. “We need to capture the imaginations, the hearts, the minds of our young people before they leave school. To show them and their teachers that the business on their doorstep could just be the opportunity of a lifetime” he said.

“So I am clear on this: becoming an apprentice is not a second-class option. It never has been. Apprentices are innovators. And quality apprenticeships are crucial to our industry’s future”.

Jones concluded by welcoming Toyota UK MD, Tony Walker to the two-year Presidency post.

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AUTUMN STATEMENT: AFTERMARKET REACTION

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AUTUMN STATEMENT: AFTERMARKET REACTION


There have been a number of statements issued by trade bodies and businesses across the motor industry, following the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement.

Fuel Price

A freeze in fuel duty was welcomed by most, including Charlie Elphicke MP for Dover and Chair of APPG for the Fair Fuel campaign. He said: “I’m delighted the Chancellor listened to the concerns of drivers up and down the land. He is absolutely right to put more money in the pockets of hard-pressed families and small businesses.”

Brian Madderson, Chair of the RMI’s Petrol Retail Assoc. also broadly welcomed the news. “In 2016 the freeze in duty boosted GDP by 0.57%, generated 112,000 new jobs and put £5.3bn back into hard working Brits consumer spending. It also bolstered tax revenues by 0.2%” he said.

“Trend volume sales in diesel have delivered a tax windfall to the Treasury of £1 billion and we will be looking to persuade the Chancellor to deliver an actual fuel duty cut in the Spring 2017 Budget”.

However, Madderson’s glee was not shared by TV presenter Quentin Willson who said: “I’m disappointed that the Chancellor didn’t instantly put money into everyone’s pockets by cutting duty. There’s an immediate benefit to the economy. I’m surprised too given the CEBR has said cutting duty by 3p wouldn’t change net tax receipts. This is a lost opportunity from a government still afraid of supporting drivers and roads”.

Infrastructure

The Chancellor pledged a significant amount for rebuilding the UK’s crumbling road network. This went down with most people, including contract hire firm LeasePlan’s MD Matt Dyer, who said: ““The vehicle rental and leasing industry contributes £24.9 billion a year to the UK economy and in 2015 the leasing industry accounted for half the number of new cars registered on the road. So this news will be especially pleasing for businesses, whose roads have suffered from poor organisation, congestion and pitted surfaces for decades. These roads are vital for the businesses that will power the country through years of lower-than-expected growth, so it is reassuring that the UK Government now views this as a priority.”

However, Dyer’s enthusiasm for infrastructure was tempered by a complex rule change regarding ‘salary sacrifice’, a mechanism where people can pay into a plan to lease a vehicle for work, a change that obviously affects the leasing sector.

SMMT also welcomed the infrastructure plans, but added a caveat. “SMMT welcomes the government’s commitment to improving infrastructure and investment in R&D, an area in which UK automotive punches above its weight” said Mike Hawes, Chief Exec of the Society. “We are, however, disappointed that the government has not done more on business rate reform. SMMT called for the removal of plant and machinery from business rates valuation, which would have helped encourage further investment at this time of great uncertainty”.

Motor Insurance

Jason Moseley of RMI Bodyshops was glad of plans to reform insurance claims, particularly those for whiplash. “We welcome the chancellor’s announcement to tackle the whiplash epidemic, and plan new reforms will crack down on minor, exaggerated and fraudulent claims” he said.

“The news means that millions of motorists could see their car insurance premiums cut by around £40 a year as a result”.

Whiplash claims have risen by 50% over the last decade, costing insurance companies about £1bn a year.

However, Ian Hughes, chief executive of Consumer Intelligence sounded a note of caution: “The first thing drivers should notice is a reduction in nuisance calls from predatory claims companies.  The need to produce medical evidence means that whiplash claims are no longer an easy and profitable for the “no win, no fee” market” he said.

“Drivers would also be wise to shop around to test whether their insurer is indeed lowering their premium in line with promises. There have been false dawns before. Insurers promised to pass on the savings when the LASPO (Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders) reforms came in three years ago. But when those reforms didn’t deliver the reduction in claims that insurers expected, rates rose again and are up 13.5% in a single year” he concluded.

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MOTOR CODES BECOMES MOTOR OMBUDSMAN

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MOTOR CODES BECOMES MOTOR OMBUDSMAN


Trade body Motor Codes has changed name to Motor Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman continues to provide a service and repair code of practice for the independents, franchises and warranty providers that have signed up.

Apart from the new name, the organisation can now reach a final decision in-house. Previously, if a case reached arbitration, both the consumer and the subscriber had to pay.

Bill Fennel, former MD of Motor Codes, now Chief Ombudsman and MD of the re-branded organisation, said: “Our ultimate aim is to give consumers peace of mind, ease relations between garages and motorists and find the fairest solution for both parties should a dispute arise”. He re-iterated that the service is free for the public to use.

Founded in 2004 by SMMT, Motor Codes has built up a membership in it’s new and used car sales, service and repair and warranty services and is one of the few operations to achive Trading Standards recognition. However, while a majority of franchise dealers have signed up, only a minority of independent garages have done so.

 

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