WhoCanFixMyCar.com 2016 Garage Awards

WhoCanFixMyCar.com is proud to present the 2016 Garage Awards, celebrating and recognising the best performing businesses on its platform – from owner-operated mobile technicians to global automotive brands.

17 winners have completed over 6,000 maintenance and repair jobs on WhoCanFixMyCar, delivering outstanding levels of customer service and workmanship to happy drivers all over the UK.

For the first time ever, these garages are being recognised for results based on measurable indicators and validated customer reviews.
Al Preston, Co-founder of WhoCanFixMyCar.com, said;

“We are proud to present our best-in-class operators with the WhoCanFixMyCar.com Garage Awards 2016. There are so many fantastic stories behind the winners and we are delighted to be able to share them with a wider audience.”

The Awards have also attracted a host of household names who are sponsoring the lucky winners, many of whom have been working with WhoCanFixMyCar.com to improve its service to motorists and garages alike.

Shell Lubricants UK is the headline sponsor of the awards, Jon Huggett, UK Sales Team Leader said, “WhoCanFixMyCar.com is a leading online player in the UK and we look forward to sponsoring the first Garage Awards.”

Other sponsors include; Confused.com, Call IT Automotive, First Stop, Motoring.co.uk, Allianz Global Assistance, IAAF, Andrew Page, Hyve, Innovation Group, PistonHeads, AnyVan.com, Parts Alliance (CES) and TRW.

Each winner has been chosen to receive an award for their overall performance on WhoCanFixMyCar.com in 2016, using key metrics such as the number of jobs won and quality of customer feedback generated.

Patrick Patel has been a member of the site for four years and has completed well over 500 jobs through the platform:

“Signing up as a member on WhoCanFixMyCar.com has allowed me to build my entire business from the ground up. I started out fixing people’s cars on the side of the road and now, I run my own garage and employ an entire team of expert technicians.”

The winning businesses and sponsors will be attending the official awards dinner hosted by WhoCanFixMyCar.com early next year.

The event will bring together independent garages, motor factors, car manufacturers, technology businesses and parts manufacturers, in what promises to be a wonderful celebration of some of the best operators in the aftermarket.

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IAAF Awards Ceremony celebrates aftermarket success

The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) Annual Awards & Dinner 2016 once again welcomed key aftermarket professionals to celebrate another successful year of business, growth and innovation.

The distinguished event, held for the third year running at the ICC in the heart of Birmingham and sponsored by Comma Oil & Chemicals Ltd, brought the aftermarket together, presenting professionals with the opportunity to network over a five-course meal set in state-of-the-art surroundings.

Guests were kept entertained throughout the course of the evening by IAAF’s guest speaker and renowned political correspondent, John Sergeant.

The talented duo, Prok & Chloe, were also welcomed back for a second year to entertain the nearly 600 guests in attendance with an after-dinner acoustic set.

The IAAF Annual Awards were also announced and runners up and winners were as follows:

Car Distributor of Excellence
Winner: Pentland Component Parts
Runner Up: Autosupplies Chesterfield

Alex and Richard Small of Pentland Components (centre) receiving their award from Martin Pring of Denso (sponsors of the award) on the left and John Sergeant on the right

Car Supplier of Excellence
Winner: Banner Batteries
Runner Up: WAIglobal

Banner Batteries receiving the Car Supplier award sponsored by Elcome (L:R Stewart Cartman, Elcome, Lee Quinney and Alec Morgan, Banner; John Sergeant)

CV Supplier of Excellence
Winner: Automint
Runner Up: Roadlink International

Graham Boyle of Automint receiving the CV Supplier award from John Sergeant

CV Distributor of Excellence
Winner: TruckStop Hawkes
Runner Up: Transport Supplies (NI)

Truckstop-Hawkes receiving the CV Distributor award sponsored by ZF Services UK (L:R Martyn Houghton, ZF Services; Matt Stiley, Truckstop; John Sergeant; Sam Stiley, Truckstop)

Wendy Williamson, IAAF chief executive, also announced a new venue and date for next year’s event, taking place at Doubletree by Hilton overlooking the magnificent ArenaMK, home to MK Dons FC, on Thursday 7 December 2017 in Milton Keynes.

Williamson said: “We look forward to an even bigger and bolder ceremony in our new location of Milton Keynes next year which gives us the opportunity to expand even more. We’re thoroughly excited for this progressive change which we’re confident will add a touch of vibrancy and diversity to the prestigious event.”

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IAAF announces new vice president and future president

Andy Savva has been appointed the new Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) vice-president supporting president, Lawrence Bleasdale and chief executive, Wendy Williamson, before taking over as president in 2017.

Savva has accumulated a wealth of experience in the automotive aftermarket since entering the industry more than 30 years ago. Owning and successfully managing his own garage since 1994, Savva has gone on to win numerous awards including the prestigious ‘National Independent Garage of the Year Award’ at the Hilton London in 2004.

Andy Savva, new IAAF Vice President

With a keen desire to gain a greater insight into the industry, Savva completed a Diploma in Automotive Retail Management at Loughborough University before being elected Fellow of The Institute of the Motor Industry in 2008.

After also being council and advisory IAAF member for a number of years, Savva feels he is now ready to take on the vice-presidency before taking over as president.

On his new appointment, Savva said: “I have always thoroughly supported the work IAAF carries out to the benefit of the aftermarket and I am really looking forward to my three-year term as president. The aftermarket has many challenges ahead that need to be addressed with belief, commitment and courage by all of the industry’s stakeholders if we wish to overcome them.

“Since announcing my new role I have received wonderful support and comments and I would like to thank everyone for welcoming me in this position. I will serve the IAAF and its members and give no less than 100 percent when helping to set policies and protect the aftermarket.”

Having sold his business in 2015, the new IAAF vice president is now managing director at Savva Automotive, an aftersales consultancy business working with both retail and aftermarket organisations, as well as delivering public speaking presentations and writing for automotive trade publications.

Wendy Williamson, IAAF chief executive said: “It is with pleasure that I welcome Andy to his new role. His experience speaks for itself and I am confident that he will do an excellent job of protecting the rights and needs of the automotive aftermarket. Andy’s passion and in-depth industry knowledge makes him the ideal candidate for the job and I wish him every success as both vice-president and then president.”

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IAAF raises money for BEN at annual event

Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) has raised more than £8500 for automotive charity BEN at its Annual Awards and Dinner Ceremony held at the ICC on 15 December.

Collecting more than £6000 on the night from guests and £2500 during IAAF’s support of BEN’s ‘Hats on for BEN’ campaign and IAAF golf days, IAAF is continuing on its mission to raise awareness to the worthy charity throughout the independent aftermarket.

BEN is a charity exclusively available to those who work, or have worked, in the automotive industry, as well as their family dependents.

IAAF Chief Executive Wendy Williamson presenting the cheque to Nigel Williams of BEN

Founded more than 110 years ago in 1905, the charity has helped millions of industry individuals overcome physical, mental, social and financial burdens.

IAAF has been a keen supporter of the charity over the years helping to raise funds at its annual BEN cricket match in June, while also raising significant funds at its Team Golf Challenge in July and August.

A raffle was also held on the evening with guests raising £3000 for IAAF. As a not-for-profit trade federation, this money will play an incredibly important part of wider fund-raising initiatives to further support the federation’s lobbying activities in what will be a very active post-Brexit environment.

Prizes included a full corporate day for 12 people on Yacht Drum worth £2500 courtesy of Autoparts UK, an iPad courtesy of Schaeffler UK, a Smart Watch courtesy of Midwest Motor Factors and also an M&S hamper to the value of £250 courtesy of NGK.

Wendy Williamson, IAAF chief executive said: “We’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who donated to BEN and also to those who took part in the raffle.

BEN is a hugely relevant and great cause and this money will help industry professionals and their dependents overcome a wide number of difficulties, from financial worries to mental burdens.”

With tables already booked for next year’s conference, IAAF is encouraging members to act fast and secure a spot at the IAAF Annual Awards and Dinner Ceremony 2017 held for the first time ever at Doubletree by Hilton overlooking the magnificent ArenaMK, home to MK Dons FC, on Thursday 7 December 2017 in Milton Keynes.

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IAAF Conference leads discussion on aftermarket threats

Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) successfully hosted its best Annual Conference to date on 15 December with the high turnout of members benefitting from numerous discussions exploring IAAF’s key theme, ‘How to survive and thrive – post Brexit’.

The conference, held at the ICC in Birmingham and sponsored by Autoparts UK, welcomed a vast array of speakers to discuss a number of topical subjects affecting the industry and also offer essential advice to ensure the future of the aftermarket is protected, producing a lively debate for conference guests, while John Sergeant, the well-known BBC television and radio journalist, hosted the event.

IAAF chief executive, Wendy Williamson opened the proceedings summarising the political impact of the past year such as that of Brexit, while reassuring members that the federation is now looking to the future and exploring how it can embrace the changes and continue to thrive.

Wendy Williamson, IAAF Chief Executive

Williamson also provided an update on IAAF’s annual activity including its meeting with West Midlands MEP, Daniel Dalton to demonstrate first-hand the faults of parts identification at a local garage, as well as discussing the dinner IAAF hosted with IMCO to communicate its viewpoint on the implications of Euro 5 and IV to MEPs. Williamson also reflected on the threats affecting the aftermarket including the connected car, insisting that these challenges are not new but the pace of change is accelerating and the aftermarket has to gear up and adapt for what is around the corner.

Niranjan Thiyagarajan from Frost & Sullivan then examined the importance of the aftermarket to the UK economy, presenting the results of a recent report carried out looking at the aftermarket in numbers. Thiyagarajan emphasised the power of convenience revealing that customers prefer ease over cost and although the industry should offer a broad range of parts, he urged the sector to specialise in service.

Alison Martin and Ian Bartlett from DVSA then stepped up to give an overview on the topical matter of vehicle safety defects and the UK’s approach to vehicle recall, explaining key legislation and regulations in detail while also exploring ongoing revisions. Once again, Bartlett highlighted rising customer expectations, insisting that it is no longer just about safety and that the aftermarket should be involved in the entire customer journey to ensure the audit trail can be tracked efficiently.

IAAF membership development manager, Mike Smallbone, gave an in-depth update on the Right2Choose campaign and the launch planned for 2017, emphasisng the need to rejuvenate the market and catch up with the rest of Europe by raising awareness to block exemption legislation and overcoming huge customer ignorance surrounding this topic.

Delegates also learned more about the threats of cybercrime and how to better protect their business with Iain O’Brien from Triple Wood Associates on hand to provide critical advice. The IAAF is now advising the industry to prepare their businesses against these dangers, encouraging its members to manage the potential threat of cybercrime at senior management level by training, briefing and practicing the danger with employees.

After lunch, Julian Lloyd from ProVQ, IAAF’s newest member, took to the stand to discuss the benefits that changing legislation to apprenticeship programmes will offer the aftermarket while providing positive real-life examples.

Neil Pattemore from FIGIEFA was also on hand to discuss the latest emerging threats to the aftermarket and the implications of Brexit, giving an end-of-term report from Brussels and a summary of legislation changes such as revised type approval and the federation’s commitment to highlighting the problems of the revision. Pattemore also explored the threat of the connected car and the complicated proposals that give vehicle manufacturers (VMs) sole access to in-vehicle data.

Alexander Haid from Caruso then issued a direct warning to the aftermarket urging the industry to act now and begin to find a solution to the connected car. Focusing on the Caruso telematics platform, Haid warned that the technology is already available and therefore the aftermarket should capitalise on this opportunity by “moving, investing and exploring” this huge market to find a single platform solution and ensure the future of the aftermarket, warning that if the aftermarket waits long, the VMs will take a bigger share.

Alexander Haid of Caruso

Lawrence Bleasdale brought the proceedings to a close outlining the key messages of the conference and thanking all members for attending, as well as the organisers for successfully arranging the event.

A number of sponsored presentations were also delivered by Nick Chambers from Boswell on insurance, Joel Coombes from LAWGISTICS and Jeanette Breckles from GTG on health and safety offering delegates an informative insight into the many benefits of IAAF membership.

Wendy Williamson, IAAF chief executive said: “Once again the conference was a huge success and we have already received great feedback from attendees. This event is not only a great way for us to communicate with members and offer essential advice on the most relevant topics, but it also enables them to network with other like-minded professionals throughout the day.

“As an industry we still face a number of threats with technological advances continuing to enter the market, as well as facing challenges of the changing economic climate and therefore it is more important than ever that we continue to work alongside FIGIEFA in Europe post Brexit. However, despite this year full of change we are making progress and will face all threats head on while continuing to search for solutions.”

Consumer interests ‘not at centre’ of access to vehicle data discussions

A group of European automotive associations have expressed concerns that consumers’ interest are not being placed at the centre of discussions around the possible technical solutions to access in-vehicle data. In addition to undermining free consumer choice, the solution promoted by some stakeholders would also undermine competition, innovation and independent entrepreneurship.

With European parts suppliers and vehicle manufacturers (VMs) recently presenting a common technical architecture to access in-vehicle data, the coalition comprising Figiefa, which IAAF is a member of, has critiqued the proposal and is now calling upon the European Institutions to create a robust, regulatory framework for a standardised, secure and safe digital in-vehicle telematics platform.

The initial platform intended by the eCall Mandate was promised to ensure true consumer choice, independent entrepreneurship, competition and to maintain innovation for all services ‘around the car’.

However, the option put forward would not allow the automotive aftermarket direct communication with the vehicle and still grants VMs full control to decide how, when and to whom data access will be granted.

In addition to undermining free consumer choice, the coalition’s view is that the solution promoted would also undermine competition, innovation and independent entrepreneurship.

The undersigned coalition consists of powerful and influential aftermarket associations including: European Independent Data Publishers Association (ADPA), European Council for Motor Trades and Repairs (CECRA), European Garage and Test Equipment Association (EGEA), Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), Automotive Aftermarket Distributors (FIGIEFA), European insurance and reinsurance federation (Insurance Europe) and finally European Federation of Leasing Company Associations (Leaseurope).

The coalition has suggested that the platform is based on the existing VMs’ telematics systems using the highest possible security standards as many manufacturers allow chosen partners to operate their own systems and applications in their vehicles, thus proving that safe and secure, direct access is possible without interfering with the vehicle’s functions.

With a firm stance to guarantee safety and security in the deployment of connected vehicles, the coalition believes that an ‘in-vehicle interoperable, standardised, secure and open-access platform’ would ensure the same high level of safety, security, liability and data protection as the VMs’ solution, while safeguarding competition, innovation and consumer choice.

Wendy Williamson, IAAF chief executive, said: “The common technical architecture currently presented by European parts suppliers and VMs does not offer vehicle owners the freedom to choose who they share their data with and for what purpose. It also threatens the future of the independent aftermarket as workshops are not offered the opportunity to access a vehicle’s in-vehicle data in real-time. We will continue to work alongside the coalition to ensure the rights of the consumer and aftermarket are heard and protected against this immediate threat.”

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