Tag Archive | "VMs"

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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GERMAN VMs IN CARTEL ALLEGATIONS

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GERMAN VMs IN CARTEL ALLEGATIONS


The European Commission is to investigate several German VMs including BMW, Porsche, Daimler and VAG group over claims that the brands formed a ‘cartel’ to fix the price of a number of components from suppliers – including parts relating to the emissions systems.

An interesting detail is the allegation that the VMs colluded to deliberately make AdBlue tanks to be small in size, although it is not yet clear if there could be any competitive advantage in this detail as the effectiveness of the system is not affected by the size of the tank.

VW has confirmed that it has held a board meeting about the issue, but has declined to give any further details.
The OE parts industry has been hit with a number of cartel fines in recent years, with some bearing and A/C hardware manufacturers admitting their part.

Business magazine, Forbes has speculated that the latest scandal could turn into a ‘rat out race’ between VMs, as each might want to become a whistle-blower in order to escape the largest fine. This is backed up by cartel meeting minutes, apparently seen by Germany’s Der Spiegel newspaper which suggested that Daimler may have been cooperating with the authorities since 2014.

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‘DAMNING’ REPORT INTO ZAFIRA FIRES PUBLISHED

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‘DAMNING’ REPORT INTO ZAFIRA FIRES PUBLISHED


The Transport Select Committee has published its long-awaited report on the spate of Zafira car fires and Vauxhall’s reaction to it.

The report follows last year’s hearing, in which a panel of MPs grilled GM bosses on the issue. In it, the committee is damning of the VMs original claim that the fires were caused by ‘improper repairs’ carried out by the aftermarket. “A fire cannot occur in a Zafira’s heating and ventilation system solely because the resistor controlling the speed of the blower motor has been improperly repaired; another fault, such as corrosion of the blower motor due to water ingress, would also need to be present” read the opening paragraph of the report’s summary.

The document is particularly critical of Vauxhall’s apparent reluctance to accept the part that corrosion in blower motors in the affected models has played in causing the fires, noting that Vauxhall’s initial investigation did not identify all the failings that could cause a fire.

An executive summary adds: “Vauxhall does not appear to have grasped the seriousness of the issue, placing the blame on third parties and addressing the problem, in the first instance, through a non-coded action rather than a recall”.

The report explains that while Vauxhall blamed the problem on ‘third party repairs’ the car-maker made no effort to find out where such ‘dangerous practices’ were carried out. However, the strongest words in the report were reserved for Vauxhall’s decision to let people to continue to use their cars after the first recall turned out to be infective ineffective amounted to ‘a reckless disregard for safety’. “This is particularly damning given its admission that it should have notified customers earlier”.

You can read the summary, recommendations and the full report here

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WHO BENEFITS FROM SCRAPPAGE?

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WHO BENEFITS FROM SCRAPPAGE?


As before, the VMs stand to gain from a scheme, but is the aftermarket organised enough to mount a challenge?

Mike Owen

The jungle drums are beating and the environmental lobby, whilst not yet in full howl, is becoming vociferous about the state of the air pollution in our cities – they are not wrong! However, as usual, the first choice of action is to rain hell-fire and damnation in the shape of increased congestion charges and additional parking costs for anybody who has the temerity to drive a diesel vehicle and the second, to throw money at
the problem.

Once again the ‘scrappage’ word is being bandied about as the way of removing these vehicles from our roads but, the question must be asked, will this not reward the perpetrators of the crime? Some of the vehicle manufacturers by producing ‘non-compliant’ vehicles could be said to have added to the problem; will those named-and- shamed be excluded from the list of ‘acceptable’ vehicles to benefit from any such scheme? – I feel that I can answer this conundrum, No!

POLITICS

Those of us who can remember the hedonistic days of Tony Blair, his sidekick Gordon Brown and the ‘New Labour’ movement will remember that during their reign they were actively promoting diesel, due to its economy. As with so many things from that era, the genaral public are once again left holding the baby.

Have we learnt nothing from the last scrappage scheme? The ‘dirty’ old vehicles are not the ones that will be replaced – the owners of these old ‘nodders’ don’t do so from choice, they own them because they can’t afford to replace them so a new scheme benefits the VM’s and the new vehicle owners.

Scrappage starves the used market by frustrating the cascade of vehicles down to the cheap seats. If a scrappage scheme is introduced the VM’s will squander it in the name of increased vehicle sales and it will not benefit our sector one jot.

CONVERSION RATE

If the diesel devil is the problem why not champion a ‘conversion’ programme; convert diesel vehicles to petrol or other propulsion methods? “Can’t be done!” I hear various commentators shout; as my old apprentice master used to say ‘you can do anything you want but first you have to want to do anything’ – of course it can be done but are the cost, benefits and the rewards big enough?

I admit the problem will be the infernal electrics but nothing is insurmountable. If we look outside our own sector of the industry ‘transplants’ are common; those who can remember the original Leyland National bus will remember, probably with scars to remind them, that the original ‘headless’ engine was a god- awful contraption and were almost entirely substituted by Cummings or MAN engines; look at the boat industry and you will see the same happening across the globe – it can be done.

MAGIC OPPORTUNITY

There is no magic bullet, there will be several years of transition if the problem is to be sorted but we need to be looking at how we can turn weaknesses into opportunities and avoid strengths being threatened. With the ‘dirty old dogs’ could we, the Independent sector, not champion a need for maintenance? We know that vehicles which are not serviced are a large part of the problem – within the aftermarket there are a myriad of cleaning products; injector cleaners, fuel system cleaners, oil additives etc. which all help; the EDT engine cleaning system, I can attest, gives startling results both in economy and emissions. But we need to be careful that we are not seen to be peddling snake-oil, we need measurable, certified results and strong representation. Is the time not right (again) for us to promote the legislative need for vehicles to be maintained?

The Government though will once again be lobbied by those with the loudest voice, the VM’s who will offer a quick fix and an offer to tick the box to appease the need rather than cure the problem.
So why does the aftermarket never look at to providing the answer? Is it because we are fragmented with little enclaves each doing their ‘bit’ but no joined up thinking or holistic solution seeking? (By which I mean one firm sells parts, but  another fits them; with each player being prepared to prey on the other rather than forming an alliance– hardly an environment for solution seeking nor likely to inspire confidence in others at the table looking for a solution).

Fuel can open a can of worms

Fuel can open a can of worms

INDEPENDENCE

Once again our sector finds itself marred by its ‘independence’ – who will really represent our sector? The only voices heard around the corridors of power are the SMMT, the VM’s by any other name, and the NFDA representing the dealers but the Independent sector – either garages or factors – name your champion, when did you last hear their voice? So when the tide of opinion once again turns in favour of the VM’s, as it will, the independence from each other, the lack of unity, will have denied you a voice.

Those of you who have tested yourselves using the now slightly outmoded SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) will have realised that there is no black and white only shades of grey (I’m not referring to ‘that’ book) – an opportunity could have been as the result of a weakness and not to address it is now a threat but you could turn it into a strength so into which category do you put it? Now ask yourself the same thing about the Diesel fiasco, the problem is that it gets put into the ‘too difficult tray’ and the VMs become, by default, the only show in town.

If, as we expect, this Scrappage MkII is going to get off the ground can we, the independent sector, try not to get caught napping; can we get our backsides into gear and organise ourselves? The old adage ‘are we failing to plan or planning to fail’ springs to mind – there is one racing certainty and that is if you’ve got nothing to say, don’t be surprised if nobody is prepared to listen.

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