Tag Archive | "Suppliers"

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Around 200 aftermarket suppliers met buyersNexusUK at the Nexus Business Forum held in Montreux, Switzerland in February.

The Nexus organisation was founded a couple of years ago by 14 European car part distributors, including the UK’s Parts Alliance. Describing itself as a ‘value focussed alliance of aftermarket leaders’ it has already achieved a total consolidated turnover of €7.25 billion in 2015 and has plans to extend this to €9 billon by the end of the next accounting period.

With sums of money this large floating about, it is perhaps no wonder that suppliers were only to keen to get a plane to the magnificent Montreux Palace hotel to engage in complex ‘speed-dating’-style sessions with the buyers. The event left plenty of time for less pressured networking and discussions as well.

In addition to the business meetings a plenary session was held to discuss the nature of the aftermarket including threats and opportunities that would likely happen over the coming months.

The event was well attended by many well-known aftermarket faces. We spotted Peter Sephton and Stan West of The Parts Alliance and GSF respectively, while on the supply side we met Laurence Bleasdale of TMD Friction, Nigel Cole from Denso and Andreas Habeck from Hella among many others.

We were particularly interested to note that an Iranian company, Alborz Yadak Trading, were among the companies competing for the attention of the buying groups. Iran has had a large manufacturing base for decades, but has been unable to trade with Western companies for years due to sanctions. Now diplomatic relations are open again, it will be interesting to see how products from the country are received into the aftermarket over the coming years.

There was also a panel discussion on the threats and opportunities that the connected car can bring.

Gael Escribe, Chief Exec at Nexus described how the reach of the organisation was to cover parts trading over the whole world. “Our vision is for one aftermarket and for Nexus to be a leader and not just a challenger” he said, reminding the audience that since foundation the organisation had achieved 59 supplier contracts and that places such as China that have traditionally been thought of as simply places where parts are made are now starting to consume components from around the world for their domestic parc.

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Jonathan Davies discusses the launch of the first CMF factor branch in Gwynedd

Stockroom ProductsIn these times where there seems to be a factor branch in every other industrial unit across the land, it comes as a surprise that that there are still parts of the UK that are undersupplied. However, this was the experience of Jonathan Davies, an entrepreneur from the Welsh village of Bontddu, Gwynedd.

With the closure of the local Unipart Automotive branch, the closest parts factor was 30 miles away. Davies decided enough was enough: “Once Unipart went that was it,” he said. “There was only CES but their prices were expensive. All the local garages and everybody was complaining because there was no competition within a 60-mile radius and that’s what made us go for it. As the old saying goes, if you can’t beat them join them”.

The new Clogau Motor Factor’s (CMF) branch comprises five 20ft-shipping containers along with a 25ft office unit, stacked on top of one another. We were intrigued to find out where the inspiration for this eccentric design came from: “We were waiting for a property to become available but we couldn’t find any in the area” said Davies. “My friend Mike Webb from the Car Buying Group said he knew a guy from Bristol who trades out of shipping containers and is doing very well. That’s how we decided on the layout”. Apart from being a factor CMF is also a retail shop and as Clogau Motors, is also a garage with MOT bay.

Davies needed an extra pair of hands and bought in Paul Merrick as Branch Manager. Merrick is one of Clogau Motor’s experienced MOT Testers, carrying 10 years of service at the garage. “Paul was happy just cleaning and valeting cars at Clogau Motors, but I thought he was too clever for this. After some convincing, he has transitioned over to Branch Manager and is doing well – he’s been really nailing it”, responded Davies.


Merrick and the rest of the staff were required to complete a four-day training programme, learning the new MAM software. Davies explained Products and servicesthat the system has played an important role in organising the stock within the shipping containers while increasing customer accounts: “It took us a while putting all the stock on the system, but it’s good system I have to praise it. We also have an alliance with the Car Buying Group and a website with them. The Click and Collect service with the CBG has slowly built up our private customer accounts and is growing organically”. The system also caters to the general public who want to purchase spare car parts, Davies elaborated: “A lot of people are coming in and buying bulbs and wipers. People are more and more trying to service their cars themselves to save the garage expenses”.

The branch has got off to a good start with the recent purchase of their second van and the opportunity to increase the fleet to as many as six vans later this year. CMF currently hold 46 trade accounts stocking products from brands including ALCO Filters, Varta Batteries, Juratec brake discs and others.

Since the doors opened for business, the branch has secured a great amount of support from local garages and agents along the coastline: “The business is growing more and more every week”, Davies explained: “We’re getting more people not just trade customers but also more private customers now as well. People are having to travel 30 miles away to Aberystwyth to their local car parts place, so we’re getting more and more of them as well”.


Stocked-up Shipping Containers Planning ahead, the factor chain discussed their future business goals: “As Paul says to me, we are growing organically. We’re not like the big
chains, but we’re starting slowly. We don’t get deliveries from FPS everyday whereas a lot of other factors do. If the business grows, what we hope to achieve next year is going from little containers to a purpose-built unit for the place”.

The distributor hopes to expand its delivery radius to 30 miles. However, Davies believes this could be an issue because of changes in the vehicle parc: “You’ve got to remember that we’re very rural. We’re in Snowdonia. The closest drive is half an hour to the supermarket, and an hour drive to your closest McDonalds. We’re being very careful building up our stock to suit the vehicles we’ve got in the area”, he concluded.


Jonathan Davies And Paul Merrick



LOCATION:  Bontddu, Gwynedd

MANAGER:  Paul Merrick (Pictured right with Jonathan Davies)

STAFF:  4    VANS:  2

FASTEST MOVING LINES:  Oil filters, car batteries, braking

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Neil Pattemore – The Spectre of type approval for many more aftermarket parts looms large but is it safety issues or the VMs lobbying politicians that drive this change?

Neil Battemore Business Analyst at XEN Consultancy and FIGEFA representative

Neil Battemore
Business Analyst at XEN Consultancy for the aftermarket

Let’s talk about Europe. Recently the aftermarket’s offer of replacement parts has come under threat from draft European vehicle type approval legislation in Brussels. This draft legislation contains proposals aimed at ensuring that vehicles continue to comply with their original type approval requirements throughout their life, by approving replacement parts to ensure that they function to the same standard as the original parts used when the car was originally manufactured.

You might argue that the MOT test is there to verify that a vehicle and its systems continue to work correctly, that it’s safe and secure, with acceptable emissions levels, but this is not how TA parts and components would be checked.


To be fair, there are some key replacement parts that already need to be type approved. You’ll know most of them: windscreens, tyres, headlamps, catalysts, DPF’s and brake parts. These are all marked with an ‘E’ mark to show that they meet type approved requirements (the number after the ‘E’ denotes the EU Member State where the type approval was conducted – e.g. 11 is the UK). However, the legitimacy of the ‘E’ marking is the responsibility of the workshop that fits the part – who if challenged, needs to be able to show an audit trail from their parts supplier back to the original manufacturer’s certificate to prove that the part is legitimately type approved.

For just about every other part or component of the vehicle, many of which are not so easy to inspect, there is no current requirement for ‘E’ marking or any form of direct assessment. If a part is replaced and the vehicle remains safe, secure and roadworthy, it is perfectly acceptable.

It is not that the aftermarket has stopped offering quality parts and components – in fact it is just the opposite – there is probably more competition and choice of quality parts than ever before, but that simply being able to offer various parts and components is now coming under threat, even when some parts or components are of a higher specification than the vehicle manufacturer’s original parts. OEM parts and components are made to a price, not necessarily the highest possible specification.

The background to this issue is partly coming from the vehicle manufacturers who consider that although they are subject to type approval, aftermarket parts are not and this is deemed unfair. It is also emanating from ‘L-Category’ legislation – which is motorbikes, where there is a wish to control the (unregulated) replacement performance parts but in doing so can also impact the emissions, noise or safety of the bikes.


Meanwhile, VMs conduct ‘whole vehicle type approval’ which includes all parts and components fitted to the original vehicle, for the aftermarket this is much more difficult and expensive – each replacement part would have to be tested for each of its applications, meaning not only finding examples of the actual vehicles, but also the test centres that can conduct the type approval testing.

This creates a real threat to the aftermarket parts suppliers, who at best will have to comply with significant and burdensome type approval test requirements, but there is also a significant cost attached to this process. The result will be fewer and more expensive parts.

Critically, there is a huge question over the ‘proportionality’ of this proposal – there is little evidence that aftermarket replacement parts and components create any significant safety or emission issues. Additionally, if they did not fit and work correctly, then the vehicle would not function or perform correctly and may fail an MOT.


The claim is that by type approving aftermarket replacement parts it creates a level playing field between the vehicle manufacturers and the aftermarket parts and components suppliers, but I don’t see it that way – the European legislators seem to have been swayed by arguments from the VMs that the type approval of replacement parts is necessary – but this seems to ignore the point that the vehicle manufacturers have the most to gain and that it will ultimately be the consumer who suffers through having a reduced choice of more expensive replacement parts.

To enforce this type approval requirement, there is a proposal to conduct ‘market surveillance’ on replacement parts and components, although it is not yet clear exactly how this may be conducted, there have already been ‘dawn raids’ on parts distributors in some European countries.

These proposals in the revised type approval legislation have been vigorously challenged by FIGIEFA (the European association of spare parts distributors), who have claimed that these proposals are both unnecessary and disproportionate. Additionally, they will create unfair competition, rather than resolve it and will raise costs with little proven benefit. At worst, it will increase costs for legitimate European manufacturers, whilst obliging repair workshops to buy original parts from their local dealer – undermining the competitive choice of the aftermarket and increasing consumer costs. Just remind me – who will benefit from all of this?

So supporting one of the aftermarket organisations that help FIGIEFA fight this challenge is more important than ever – your future choices are worth fighting for.

You can find more about Neil’s aftermarket consultancy at: xenconsultancy.com 

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Waste Oil BurnerDirector of the Independent Garage Association (IGA) Stuart James, will be teaming up with the Garage Equipment Association (GEA) Chief Executive Dave Garratt, in an attempt to challenge the changes to the guidance of the Environmental Permitting (England & Wales) Regulations 2010.

Both James and Garratt believe the impact analysis carried out didn’t fit the current economic model of waste oil collection given the recent devaluation of oil prices. Stuart James responded: “The revisions to guidance will make it uneconomical to use a small waste oil burner (SWOB) for the purpose it was intended as it significantly increases the costs for small garages. This will inevitably be passed on to consumers through higher labour rates”.

The legislation will come into effect from April and will effectively eradicate the use of SWOBS. The changes remove the exemption from the Waste Incineration Directive for SWOBS and requires garages to pay a permit of £3,218 on top off annual fees costing £1,384. There will also be further costs for monitoring and reporting requirements under the SWOBS permit.

By March 31st, current operators of SWOBS will either have to apply for a new permit to continue burning waste oil or ‘surrender the permit’ if they intend to use non-waste oil fuels or installing an alternative method of space heating that doesn’t require the burning of waste oil.

Garratt said: “We do not believe that it is appropriate and proportional to treat a 0.05MW SWOB in the same way as a 50MW industrial process. The revised guidance takes no account of the high levels of technology in modern SWOBS, which makes it far better for the environment to burn waste oil on site than to store and transport it by road to an industrial incinerator”.

James and Garratt will be meeting up with Rory Stewart, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Environment and Rural Affairs, in early March to discuss their concerns.

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Peter Sephton

Parts Alliance Group CEO Peter Sephton

Business group The Parts Alliance has swelled its ranks with the acqusition of SAS Autoparts. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

SAS was founded in 1960 and has branches in Harrogate, Otley, Skipton, Bradford, Castleford and Northallerton.

The Parts Alliance’s Chief Executive Peter Sephton said he was excited to be welcoming new colleagues from SAS to the HgCapital-backed group

‘’SAS Autoparts is a great business with outstanding customer and staff loyalty providing local service in the Yorkshire area and adds to our national strength’’ he said.

HgCapital continues to support The Parts Alliance with the acquisition of SAS, which will be a wholly owned business within The Parts Alliance Group but will continue to trade locally under its own brand name and will continue under Managing Director David Brooks and his current management team.

Peter Sephton added: “This is a great acquisition which strengthens our presence in the north while encouraging a common vision and culture, but retaining local brands, entrepreneurial spirit and customer focus.”

David Brooks said: “We are looking forward to working with Peter Sephton and the rest of the management team and developing and growing SAS into an even better business.”



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