Exol announces racing sponsorship

Exol has announced it is sponsoring racing driver Dave Buky during the current series of The Civic Cup Championship.

As one of the most renowned and well patronised clubman racing championships in the UK, the Civic Cup season is already underway, with the first race being held at Silverstone in March.

Buky, competing with 35 fellow drivers, has made steady progress so far, having finished fourth place at Oulton Park on 16 June, clocking his best finish to date this season. He currently sits 11 in the overall standings, with the next race meeting taking place at Snetterton’s 300 circuit on 8 July, ending with the season’s finale at Donington Park on the 13/14 October.

The Exol brand is growing at a rapid pace, and the company is eager to promote its offering within the motorsport community to gain even greater media coverage.

Dave Buky said: “I am delighted that Exol has chosen to support me throughout the current season and I’m really looking forward to building our relationship together. The start of the season has been tricky, nursing a few car issues, which has had a negative impact on the championship standings so far. After finally getting to the bottom of the issues, Oulton Park proved to me that we can be running at the front of the grid again in one of the most competitive one make championships in the UK and I am excited about the rest of the year ahead.”

Steve Dunn, Exol sales director, said: “Our partnership with Dave will not only increase our brand exposure but it reflects our commitment to supporting motorsport, particularly talented individuals such as him. We wish Dave all the very best for the rest of the season and will be keeping a close eye on his progress.”

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GDPR and your company car tracking policy – Advice from Lawgistics

Company vehicles are usually fitted with tracking devices using GPS (Global Positioning System). This can be an insurance requirement and brings down insurance costs, but tracker devices offer other benefits to companies in terms of operational efficiencies and safety and security benefits.

The information from a vehicle tracking device is personal data as defined by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) meaning any information relating to an identifiable person who can be directly or indirectly identified. Location data is included in the definition.

This means that although there is a legitimate interest in collecting the data, its use is strictly confined to stated organisational purposes only and, a clear workplace vehicle tracking policy is essential.

In addition, employees often consider tracking devices to be highly intrusive and an infringement on their right to privacy; poor communication with employees about the use of vehicle tracking can have a negative impact and cause resentment, suspicion and insecurity within the workforce if clarity is lacking in the way the company is using information derived from its tracking devices.

If a company vehicle is provided for both private and business use, a privacy button ought to be available to enable monitoring to be disabled. Otherwise, the express consent of the employee must be obtained for continuous monitoring.

A workplace policy should set out the details of the nature and extent of monitoring and each employee should consent in writing to the presence of the device. in the vehicle. The policy should clarify what private use can be made of vehicles provided by, or on behalf of, the employer and any conditions attached to use.

It is important that workers using the vehicles are aware of the policy. It should be completely transparent, and all employees should be aware of the presence of tracking devices in the vehicles they use. The purpose of the devices should be clearly explained and the rules on their use, including what data the system can provide and how the data gathered will be used by managers, supervisors, the Transport Unit, and even clients and the general public where applicable.

Failure to ensure there is clarity around the use of tracking information could result in a breach of data protection regulations, or human rights and employment rights legislation, so a well written company policy is essential.

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The first ever AAUK golf event is a big hit!

The first annual Alliance Automotive UK Golf Event was a fantastic spectacle enjoyed by over 90 GROUPAUTO & UAN members, staff and supplier sponsors. The event was held at the Belfry Hotel & Resort at the end of June; starting on the afternoon of Thursday 28th June, with all delegates arriving at the premium location to check-in to the hotel and join us that evening for the England vs. Belgium World Cup game live on a huge outdoor screen. The evening of drinks, food and mini golf was sponsored by approved supplier Platinum International, and it was an excellent start to the whole event.

The next morning players made the most of the impressive driving range and hotel facilities before registering their teams and collecting a Denso sponsored golf pack ready for the competition on the Belfry PGA National Course. A fleet of FPS branded golf buggies looked extremely impressive as players made their way out to their designated starting hole.

Each 4-Ball team started at a different hole around the course at the same time. They used an electronic scoring device to record their individual scores and monitor how they were performing against other teams in a league table. The scores from the last three holes were hidden keeping players in suspense as to which team and individual player had won the competition. After the golf competition on Friday evening everyone gathered for drinks and a BBQ set in the grounds of the Belfry on a beautifully warm evening. The awards were announced before a fun ‘Nearest the Pin’ challenge, where all delegates took it in turns to step up in front of all the evening delegates to attempt to hit a 150-yard shot over a water hazard, into the 10th hole of the Brabazon course.

The winners of each of the competitions were:

The Winning 4-Ball Team sponsored by Apec Braking
Peter Hill, Andy Millard, Andy Bastable and Sean Greig of Alliance Automotive picked up their awards and each won £200 in Shopping Vouchers sponsored by Apec Braking.

The Winning Player sponsored by NGK
Niall Carroll, Business Development Manager from GROUPAUTO, picked up the coveted Winning Player award and a Trek Mountain Bike sponsored by NGK.

Longest Drive sponsored by Remy
Steve Shorto from Bosch hit the Longest Drive and collected the trophy, a Jam Bluetooth Speaker & Dolce Gusto Coffee Machine sponsored by Remy.

Nearest the Pin sponsored by FAI AutoParts
Philip Carter from ECC Motor Factors was the winner of the Nearest the Pin challenge picking up £100 in Shopping Vouchers and an Amazon Echo Dot sponsored by FAI AutoParts.

Evening Pin Challenge sponsored by Bilstein Group
Roy Blundell from Autoquip (Midlands) Ltd kept his composure in front of the crowd of members and suppliers to land 3-feet from the pin and win the nearest the pin evening challenge collecting a Nintendo Switch with Mario Kart sponsored by Bilstein Group.

Following the whole event, we have received overwhelmingly positive feedback and thanks from members and suppliers alike.

Alliance Automotive UK  would like to thank all their sponsoring suppliers for their support, as they helped to make this a truly memorable event for all involved. Plans are now underway for next year’s golf event.

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Team NGK’s epic fundraising effort

Two NGK employees are about to set off on a near 425-mile cycling marathon to raise funds for charity.

Marko Wowczyna and Stuart Bayne are undertaking the challenge to raise money for the National Autistic Society and the Downs Syndrome Association respectively.

Setting off on Wednesday, July 25 they aim to cycle from south London to Dover, cross the Channel and then cycle into Paris down the Champs Elysee on Saturday, July 28 – the day before the Tour De France arrives in the French capital.

After a quick celebration under the Eiffel Tower, they then plan to hot foot it across Paris to catch the Eurostar to return to London in time to compete in the London Ride 100 on Sunday, July 29, a combined distance of just under 425 miles.

Marko Wowczyna, Director – Automotive, NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd, said: “It will be a tough challenge but is one that Stuart and I will be doing our level best to complete. The distance is a bit daunting in the timeframe we have set ourselves, but we will encourage each other as we undertake each stage.”

Earlier this year, Stuart, who is Sales Manager – North for NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd, took part in the London Marathon, his fourth charity money-making endeavour for the DSA, having previously raised funds by taking part in last year’s London 100 Cycle ride as well as completing sponsored rides in Europe and New Zealand.

If you would like to sponsor Marko or Stuart, please use the link @virginmoneygiving.com where any kind donations will be split between the two charities.

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SMPE honours employees with Long Service Awards

Standard Motor Products Europe (SMPE), one of the UK’s largest independently owned automotive parts manufacturers and suppliers, has awarded four of its longest-serving employees in recognition of their many years’ service at the company.

Art Wieckowski, Steve Capewell, Jackie Foster and Maggie Syme were each presented with their award by Managing Director Ross Toomey, as their long-standing commitment and service to the supplier was formally acknowledged in front of SMPE’s Nottingham-based workforce.

Wieckowski was acknowledged for 25 years’ service as Warehouse Operative, while both Foster and Capwell were honoured for their 25 years’ service working in the packing department. Meanwhile, Syme celebrated her retirement, after spending the past 35 years working in BlueStreak despatch, packing and despatching remanufactured ECUs, one of SMPE’s core product areas.

Ross Toomey, Managing Director of SMPE said: “We’re incredibly proud of our long-standing members of the team and can’t thank them enough for their invaluable contribution in helping make the company what it is today. We’re delighted to recognise their years of commitment and hard work, and we wish Maggie all the best for a happy retirement.”

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ECCO Safety Group EMEA appointed Graham Darby as Area Sales Manager

ECCO Safety Group is pleased to announce the appointment of Graham Darby for the position of Area Sales Manager who will cover the North of England and Scotland.

Graham joins ECCO Safety Group with over 30 years of experience in the auto-electrical industry. He has previously held several sales manager positions but has many years’ experience as an auto-electrician. Whilst at Ribblesdale Auto Electrics, he was involved in field sales throughout the North West. Lately he has been developing the OE & aftermarket business for Peterson Europe in the North of the UK, as well as Ireland.

“We are extremely pleased that Graham joins us at ECCO Safety Group and are sure that his vast experience and knowledge will take ECCO into the next level of growth in the Northern area” – states Roy McClarty, General Manager for UK & Ireland at ESG EMEA.

“I believe the experience I have gained gives me a wealth of knowledge, in terms of both products and current legislation when looking at vehicle requirements for current road use. Whether it is a trailer that needs type approval, or a highway vehicle that needs safety lighting, I can advise on all levels of practices currently required. I look forward to my new challenge at ECCO Safety Group.” – said Graham Darby.

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Bosch opens training centre in Doncaster

Bosch has opened a £1.5m training centre in Doncaster for the delivery of automotive apprenticeship programmes and technical training.

The 36,846 square foot facility includes eight workshop areas and 12 classrooms providing training to around 300 apprentices throughout 2018, for Bosch’ partners Renault, Nissan and Suzuki.

It is expected that each year over 100 automotive apprentices will qualify through the centre. In addition, the centre will host technical training courses and programmes for qualified technicians on the latest technologies, as well as hold specialised sales and commercial training.

Dr Steffen Hoffmann, president, Bosch UK said: “The automotive industry is currently undergoing a major technological transition, requiring additional skills.

“This new training centre will support the UK’s automotive sector to continue its role as a global industry powerhouse.

“I look forward to seeing a new generation of world class technical experts graduating, whilst already qualified technicians will be kept up to date with the latest technologies reinforcing the region’s global credentials as a centre of automotive excellence.”

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Norman Lamb MP Visits PSS Steering & Hydraulics

Norman Lamb MP was given a warm welcome as he recently toured the facilities of steering and hydraulics experts PSS.

The member for North Norfolk visited the North Walsham factory to discover first-hand how they return used steering components to original or better condition.

The Liberal Democrat MP was given a guided tour of PSS’s operations, including their new clean room. Opened in September 2017 at a cost of over £100,000, it is used to assemble both new and remanufactured components in the same clean environment. This sets a new standard for automotive remanufacturing in the UK.

“It’s great to see a local company playing such a leading role in the circular economy” said Norman Lamb. “It’s vital we find ways to get the most from our resources and PSS have put themselves at the forefront of remanufacturing. The fact they’re also a significant exporter of new components is another great example of the ingenuity and enterprise we deliver in our region.”

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Ring invests £294k to reinforce quality and support future sustainability

Ring, one of the UK’s leading lighting and automotive aftermarket suppliers, has invested £60,000 on specialist equipment that will be used in its Quality Assurance (QA) facility, while a further £234,000 has supported the launch of a new Future Technologies Unit (FTU) at its head office in Leeds.

As one of few organisations in the country that has its own dedicated on-site ISO:9001-accredited QA facility, Ring has updated its testing equipment, which includes a new IC-PMI8 Imaging Colorimeter camera from US-based specialists Radiant Vision Systems, which measures up to 1m individual pixels of light, giving superior accuracy when testing or calibrating light sources.

Product development and innovation has always been a priority for Ring, but the company has taken its commitment one step further with the launch of a dedicated FTU, which allows the company to focus on emerging and new innovations that will ensure the business remains relevant to a changing marketplace.

Ongoing funds of more than £145,000 have also be attributed to the unit to allow the business to continue to benchmark against competitors and complete checks to ensure the endurance and effectiveness of its range in various weather and lighting conditions.

The company has also invested in a team of specialists to support this work, making three strategic appointments; Bhavesh Mistry and Paul Shaw as New Product Development Managers and Charles Maltby as Technical and NPD Director.

Charles Maltby, Technical and NPD Director, from Ring, comments: “Research has suggested that the pace of change in the automotive industry will be greater over the next decade than it has been in the past 100 years. This means that these updates to the Quality Assurance facility and Future Technologies Unit are essential if we are to continue to offer the best quality products to our customers.

“This investment is also about reinforcing our commitment to quality. We could simply rely on third party testing, but with the facilities that we have on site, we are able to go one step further and carry out our own comparisons to give us unique insights into the durability of our range.”

Trusted by technicians and garage mechanics, along with some of the largest retailers across Europe, the business has extended its workforce, launched new offices and put in place new equipment. This will allow it to continue to focus on the development of new and improved products that are compatible with European standards and will remain compliant post-Brexit.

With Europe identified as a key market, Ring is working hard to build its brand presence and establish its reputation as a leading automotive aftermarket supplier beyond the UK.

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DVSA gives carmakers 10 days to issue safety recalls

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) will now give manufacturers a 10-day deadline before it legally forces them to recall vehicles or face prosecution.

The clarification on the DVSA’s powers has followed in the wake of investigations into Vauxhall’s Zafira model B fires and BMW’s recall of 312,000 vehicles due to an electrical fault caused by a B+ battery connector.

The DVSA now has a different process when approaching manufacturer safety-critical recalls driven by clarity over what powers it has.

DVSA chief executive Gareth Llewellyn told a Transport Select Committee meeting on June 26 the process needed to change as “there have been occasions like with Vauxhall and BMW, where the flow of information wasn’t the same as it was with other cases”.

He said: “We now send a letter to a manufacturer to say the DVSA will be legally forcing a recall within 10 days, which will be made public unless the manufacturer can prove why the recall isn’t necessary.

“It then triggers the potential for the DVSA to prosecute the manufacturer if it doesn’t issue a recall and fails to respond adequately within the 10 days.

“The DVSA can also write to all of the affected customers to tell them about the fault and to say that it has asked the manufacturer to recall affected vehicles, but it has failed to do so.”

Furthermore, the DVSA wants more influence and involvement with manufacturers’ initial risk assessment of a fault to determine whether a technical or safety critical recall is necessary.

However, Llewellyn said there are hundreds of recalls a year in the UK, the majority of which are not safety-critical.

He said: “With most manufacturers, the vast majority of recalls work really well.

“But we want to be very clear that there’s reputational damage if I, as a regulator, force you to undertake a safety recall on what can be a large fleet.”

Fleet recall protocol
Once a safety recall is issued, data is released by the DVSA so any vehicle can be checked on its website. For fleet owners, operators and businesses that provide fleet services, a vehicle with an outstanding recall would see insurance voided.

Failure to check a car for an outstanding safety recall could also lead to a fine of up to £20,000 and up to three months in prison.

Recalls can sometimes be missed when the vehicle is defleeted and sold into the used market.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has launched its own Vehicle Safety Recall Service which allows fleets and leasing companies to monitor outstanding recalls. Results are usually returned within an hour but there is a charge for the service.

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