Tag Archive | "Vehicle Manufacturers"

VW SCANDAL: BOSCH AGREES $327.5m PAYOUT

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VW SCANDAL: BOSCH AGREES $327.5m PAYOUT


bosch_logoOE parts maker Bosch has agreed to compensate U.S VAG Group diesel car owners and used car dealers in the fallout of the emissions scandal. The agreement follows a class action from a number of people affected.

The company has agreed to pay out on 2.0l engines fitted to VW and Audi vehicles and 3.0l engines, which were also fitted in some Porsches. The total of the settlement comes to US $327.5m.

In a statement, the company stresses that it doesn’t acknowledge the facts as alleged by the plaintiffs, nor does it admit liability.

“Upon careful consideration of all relevant aspects, we have in this case decided to enter into a settlement agreement. Bosch is currently undergoing the biggest transformation process in its company history. We wish to devote our attention and our resources to the transition in mobility and in other areas of activity”, said Dr. Volkmar Denner, Chairman of the Management Board of Robert Bosch.

The settlement requires approval by a judge in the U.S. Once a hearing has gone ahead, those involved will be informed of their rights and options. It is proposed that the Court considers final approval of the settlement agreement in early May.

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COLD COMFORT FOR EURO 5 DIESELS


Euro 5 diesels could be operating with ‘pollution controls partly turned off’

Scrappage SchemePollution from many popular diesel vehicles gets much worse in cold weather, according to a report.

Information compiled by test data firm Emissions Analytics suggests that Euro 5 vehicles are the most affected.

Tests were done on 213 models across 31 manufacturers and the findings indicate that vehicles could be operating for much of the time with their pollution controls partly turned off. There is a suggestion on the BBC website that VMs are taking advantage of the rule to switch things off, even in mild weather, because it improves the consumption of the car.

“I would say from the Euro 5 generation of cars, it’s very widespread, from our data. Below that 18 degrees [Celsius], many have higher emissions… the suspicion is, to give the car better fuel economy”; Emissions Analytics CEO Nick Molden told the BBC.

“If we were talking about higher emissions below zero, that would be more understandable and there are reasons why the engine needs to be protected. But what we’ve got is this odd situation where the [temperature] threshold has been set far too high, and that is a surprise”.

The firm also recently tested a number of current Euro 6 engines and found in real-world applications all of the four-cylinder engines on test produced more NOx than the largest V12 petrol motors fitted to super-luxury cars.

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TOTAL RENEWS FIVE-YEAR KIA DEAL

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TOTAL RENEWS FIVE-YEAR KIA DEAL


Total Lubricants has renewed its strategic partnership agreement with vehicle manufacturer Kia.

For the next five years, Total will remain the Korean VM’s preferred aftermarket lube supplier for its vehicles. Total branded oils will continue to be available in Kia dealerships in 180 countries, which includes the UK.

Kia and Total will also develop joint marketing service programs aimed at increasing Kia dealers’ profitability, customer retention and customer satisfaction.

 

The deal was signed between Steven Yoon, Vice President, Overseas Service Division at Kia Motors Corp. (left) and Pierre Duhot, General Manager, Automotive Division at Total

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FIAT DUCATO AND VARIANTS (2007-on)


Fiat Ducato

Fiat Ducato

Way back in 1978 a joint venture between several European VMs lead to an enormous factory being constructed in Atessa, Italy. The factory covered some 3.7m sq ft and was dedicated to producing just one product – an LCV. The product was available in a variety of configurations and weights, but what was curious was the amount of badge engineering that went on. The original model was available as the Fiat Ducato, Peugeot J5, Citroen C25 and even as an Alfa Romeo. However in the UK the range is best remembered as the Talbot Express – the last model to bear the Talbot name and the basis for thousands of motorhomes, many of which are still running.

Fast forward to 2007 and the ‘Sevel’ (an acronym in French that translates as ‘European light vehicle company’) joint venture is still operational with the third generation model entering production. Available in the UK as Peugeot Boxer and Citroen Relay and Fiat Ducato the range still produced, having undergone a facelift in 2014. This guide is applicable to all of this range, though we have focussed on the 2.2 and 2.3 Multijet Fiat models.

REAR LIGHTS
Brake light switches for these models are a popular part say Cambiare. Apparently the routing of the loom around the pedal box causes the problem, so chaffed or broken wires could be the root cause.

The reversing light occasionally goes wrong, which curiously is caused by water entering the gearbox via an incorrectly routed drain pipe at the base of the windscreen. Another symptom of this condition is the corrosion of the gear change linkage, say Cambiare leading to stiff operation. This will require draining and refilling of the gearbox to prevent a recurrence of this and other related problems.

REAR SUSPENSION
There was a manufacturer recall to check and tighten incorrectly torqued rear leaf spring “U” bolts that secured the leaf spring to the rear axle. Motaquip recommends that damaged bolts should be replaced as a matter of course and should be tightened to the recommended torque levels.

STEERING AND SUSPENSION
The high centre of gravity coupled with the use a van gets can cause premature wear of the ball joint according to Meyle. The firm produces a replacement stabiliser link with an over-engineered ball pin diameter to counter this. A lack of lubrication between the steering rack and pinion during manufacture can be diagnosed through increasingly difficult steering operation say Motaquip. The lack of lubrication and excessive levels of strain can lead to premature damage to the steering rack. Top strut mounting and bearings can fail regularly causing the steering to become tight, which can cause poor handling, as well as intermittent squeaking noises. First Line recommended that when replacing the shock absorbers or coil springs that the top mounts are replaced at the same time.

COOLING SYSTEM
Generally, the cooling system on this range is reliable, provided it has been filled with the correct grade of coolant. However, a number of garages have taken in vehicles reading strange temperature levels. The cause is not the temperature sensor (as is often thought) but dry solder joints on the instrument cluster. Another fault on the 2.3 Multijet that leads the driver to think their van is loosing its cool is down to a corroded part of the loom. This manifests as P0482 and should be an easy fix, say RMI.

ENGINE MANAGEMENT
Cambiare mentions that the JTD engine in Ducatos can be susceptible to the failure of the crankshaft sensor after approx. 50,000 miles. The engine cutting out intermittently after it has reached the operating temperature and failing to restart until it has cooled down again often accompanies this. Failure to start from cold may also be the result of a faulty crankshaft sensor, generally indicated by the fault code P0335. Engine hesitation, failure to start and irregular idle speeds can be attributed to a faulty EGR Valve. Motaquip recommends the replacement of the EGR Valve rather than the temporary solution of cleaning the faulty item.

CLUTCH AND GEARBOX
When changing the clutch on these vehicles it is vitally important to check for any signs of oil contamination from inside the gearbox say LuK. Any leaks should then be rectified before the new clutch is fitted. Failure to rectify these leaks could lead to the new clutch slipping. When the old clutch components are removed from the gearbox carry out a visual comparison of the old clutch and Concentric Slave Cylinder (CSC) against the new. Don’t be tempted to ignore the CSC replacement when changing the clutch; remember it’s a bearing and the last thing you and your customer wants is to be removing the gearbox again.

BELTS AND PULLEYS
On the Ducato 2.0D, 2.2D and 3.0D, check the Over Running Alternator Pulley (OAP), if excessive Front End Auxiliary Drive (FEAD) tensioner movement, or belt squeal is evident. The 2.3D has a TVD, and this should be checked regularly according to INA.

ENGINE HARDWARE
There’s nothing particularly odd about the lubricants for this range, though Comma point out that long service intervals and multi-drop driving can lead to engine oil needing a couple of top-ups between services – a fact the user might need reminding of. Long-life servicing often appears on these pages as the basis of faults. These vehicles often appear at garages with the oil pressure light on – a fault that must be rectified immediately. Cambiare note that garages will often reach for a new pressure switch, but the problem is often that the structure of the oil has collapsed. This can be checked with an external gauge. Forté recommends an engine flush with one of its products if the oil has been allowed to deteriorate this far. This range doesn’t just lose oil by burning it. Cambiare advise that oil leaks could be the result of a leaking oil pressure switch. However, technicians tracing leaks should also bear in mind that Ducato-based motorhomes in particular can experience corroded or porous sumps due to long periods of non-use.

INSIDE CAB
Sticky windows are a problem common among infrequently used motorhomes. If there is a rotating, clanking or crunching sound when the switch is operated or the window is sticking and requires a knock or push to start moving, then the regulator mechanism is likely to be at fault say Lucas Electrical supplier Elta Automotive. Corrosion causes the sticking and explains why a knock can send the window on its way. If left like this, cables may break and the mechanism will fail completely. No noise or movement when the switch is operated can point to motor failure but always check the fuses and switches before replacement. Motors usually fail due to excessive strain caused by corrosion in the mechanism or trying to lower frozen windows. If the central locking fails it is probably due to the module under the facia say RMI, while Motaquip points out that rapid an unexplained battery drain is often due to an alarm module under the seat shorting out due to water ingress. Rust is less of an issue on these vans compared with their predecessors, but silver paint (as used on the Ducato) has an odd tendency to peel off.

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LEGISLATION LOOMS FOR SUPPLIERS


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.

TYPE APPROVAL

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.

REAL THREAT

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.

TILTED FIELD

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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DENSO ESCAPE FINE IN CARTEL SCANDAL

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DENSO ESCAPE FINE IN CARTEL SCANDAL


DensoThe European Commission has imposed fines of € 137 789 000 on Melco (Mitsubishi Electric) and
Hitachi for participating in a cartel for alternators and starters in breach of European antitrust rules.

Denso was also involved in the cartel, but not fined as it revealed the existence of the price fixing to the Commission. All companies acknowledged their involvement and agreed to settle the case.

For more than five years, the three Japanese car parts manufacturers coordinated prices and allocated customers or projects with regards to OE alternators and starters. Although contacts associated with forming and running the cartel took place outside the European Economic Area (EEA), it affected VMs in the UK and mainland Europe who brought directly from the companies.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager in charge of competition policy said: “Breaking cartels remains a top priority for the Commission, in particular when they affect important consumer goods, such as cars. Today’s decision sanctions three car part producers whose collusion affected component costs for a number of car manufacturers selling cars in Europe, and ultimately European consumers buying them. If European consumers are affected by a cartel, the Commission will investigate it even if the cartel meetings took place outside Europe.”

The investigation revealed that between September 2004 and February 2010 the companies met at each other’s offices and in restaurants, and were in contact over the phone on a regular basis, in order to limit competition between them. In particular the three companies:

  • Coordinated their responses to certain calls for tenders issued by car manufacturers, in particular with respect to determining the price at which they would tender and who should win the specific business;
  • Shared out certain vehicle manufacturers and projects between themselves in terms of which of the three would supply alternators and starters;
  • Exchanged commercially sensitive information such as price elements and market strategies.

This is not the first time that the Commission has ruled on a cartel inside the automotive industry. In 2014 NTN, Schaeffler, NSK and JTEKT were found to be fixing the price of wheel bearings earning the companies a record fine. Prior to this, another group of companies were found to be fixing the price of wiring harnesses while a further cartel was exposed in among suppliers of seat materials.

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The 16-pin port & the puppet masters


New tech means that VMs will pull the strings, so how can the aftermarket break free? Neil Pattemore

Neil Battemore Business Analyst at XEN Consultancy and FIGEFA representative

Neil Battemore
Business Analyst at XEN Consultancy and FIGEFA representative

One of the burdens of managing your own business is that it is difficult to find the time to investigate what is ‘coming over the hill’ to assess what may impact your future business. Equally, if the business is doing well today, why should that not continue into tomorrow and beyond?

We are entering into a period of change that is more threatening than the aftermarket has seen for many years, if not ever. These changes are driven primarily by the increasing technology of the vehicles, which have yet to be seen by most independent garages and indeed, have yet to be recognised and addressed by the European legislators.

So what are these changes to the vehicle and what is driving them? In reality it is a mixture of things, which taken independently are issues, but together create real challenges in order that the vehicle can be kept on the road safely and still comply with type approval requirements.

This can include the increasing requirement to re-code or re-flash parts and components when conducting repairs, which is achieved by using a connection to the vehicle manufacturer’s website and ‘pass through’ programming. In itself, not a big issue, but in connecting to the vehicle manufacturer’s website, one of your main competitors is now able to monitor what you are doing to one of ‘their’ vehicles and can use this data to support their main dealers to market competitive service and repair offers to your local customer base.

Wheeled PC

However, the key issues revolve around the changes to the in-vehicle architecture that are turning the vehicle into not just a ‘PC on wheels’, but now more of a ‘server on wheels’ due to the increased IT functions and external communication via telematics.

This creates not only a much more IT based architecture, but allows much higher levels of access security, especially when there is remote wireless connection to the vehicle.

To address these security challenges, some vehicle manufacturers have already isolated the in-vehicle buses from any external communication via firewalls and security gateways. This not only impacts the telematics communication, but is already restricting the standardised 16 pin connector to emissions related data only.

Even if you can connect through the 16 pin connector, there is no direct connection to the vehicles ECUs, but data is controlled via the gateway. This may lead to each diagnostic tool having to be verified and registered with the vehicle manufacturer and to be authorised via the vehicle’s telematics system with the vehicle manufacturer’s server to authorise the vehicle to ‘open’ the communication. This then becomes a chargeable ‘service’ from the vehicle manufacturer, as well as being another method of monitoring and controlling the business of independent workshops.

Smoke without fire

You would be forgiven for thinking that current European legislation protects your right to access data via the 16 pin connector, but this is not the case. Legally, it needs to support emissions data only. The vehicle manufacturers is legally obliged to provide access to repair and maintenance information via their website, but this may also now include the in-vehicle data accessed via the vehicle’s telematics system.

Using the vehicle manufacturer’s website will restrict what data is accessible, as well as being another chargeable ‘service’ controlled under a B2B contract, but will also allow the monitoring and control of the independent workshops business models.

Naturally, aftermarket sector associations are fighting hard against these developments, but from the legislator’s position the legal basis of the legislation needs to change to reflect the anti-competitive issues and this legislation tends to be reactive, rather than pro-active. Equally, at the same time, the vehicle manufacturers are claiming that only they can be trusted to securely handle communication to and from ‘their’ vehicles.

If this were to become the case, then the VMs would be in direct and complete control of the diagnostic, repair and maintenance process, imposing their own diagnostic and service methods. Independent operators would become puppets of the VMs and the whole aftermarket chain (data publishers, spare parts distributors, test equipment manufacturers etc.) would struggle to survive. Independent workshops would have increased costs, would be forced to follow the vehicle manufacturer’s processes and would be competing much more directly with the main dealers.

So how can you fight this? Quite simply, as individual businesses, it would be very difficult to influence this problem, but united we stand and I strongly suggest that you consider joining one of the aftermarket trade associations who are focused on supporting their European colleagues in Brussels to work with the legislators to maintain independent access to the vehicle and its data, both via the 16 pin connector and in the longer term, via telematics.

For certain, this is a ‘game changing’ threat to the aftermarket and we haven’t even got to the subject of autonomous vehicles yet…

Find information about Neil’s consultancy business at xenconsultancy.com

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IAAF: WILLIAMSON’S STARK WARNING

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IAAF: WILLIAMSON’S STARK WARNING


IMG_20151217_103228IAAF chair Wendy Williamson has opened the Federation’s annual conference with a stark warning.

Under the theme of ‘survive and thrive’ Williamson spoke about the challenges presented to the independent sector by new cloud-based technology that is being introduced by the vehicle manufacturers.

“The threats from the VMs have now grown to unprecedented levels. Last year we talked about the connected car, but this year. We are facing a potential lock out from all the VMs. I genuinely believe that this is a greater threat than we faced ten years ago with block exemption regulations.”

“Technology seems to be outpacing regulations. To give you one example, Volvo have deleted functionality from the 16-pin socket apart from emissions data. The next step is that the garages will have to have pre-verified diagnostic tools and will have to pay the VM on a case-by-case basis to access the information they need.”

Williamson also thanked the industry for the work it had done in the past year. “I believe we are on the right track and I hope we are not just surviving, but thriving as well and I hope you enjoy what will be an interesting and stimulating day”.

 

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