IAAF hails early success on type approval revisions

The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) has welcomed many of the amendments approved by the European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection committee (IMCO), as part of the forthcoming type approval legislation.

These relate to the diagnostics, repair and maintenance of vehicles and are an important step towards improving the legislative framework for independent operators. Over 184 amendments were approved and importantly for the aftermarket included a number of key revisions, the most important of which is keeping the OBD port to the vehicle open and accessible.

IAAF has led the fight in the UK against the initial proposals, arguing that a level playing field should be provided to ensure consumer freedom of choice when repairing and maintaining vehicles. The changes come as a direct result of the ‘Dalton Report’ issued by West Midlands’ MEP Daniel Dalton. Over the last 12 months, the IAAF, in conjunction with FIGIEFA and other trade bodies, has held meetings with Dan Dalton, MEP for the West Midlands and the IMCO committee to put forward the aftermarket perspective as part of this process.

The following key amendments were approved:

• Keeping the OBD port to the vehicle open and accessible, as this connector is the lifeline for the communication with the vehicle;
• Improving the format of the information given to independent operators which should be in “electronically processable format”;
• Improving the unequivocal spare parts identification;
• Improving the clear vehicle identification;
• Improving the definition of RMI and updating the non-discrimination principle;
• Ensuring that independent multi-brand diagnostic and testing tools are able to accurately communicate with the vehicle using standardised communication protocols.

Wendy Williamson, IAAF chief executive said: “Our ultimate aim is to improve the legal framework conditions for competitive RMI throughout the life of a vehicle. We have played an active role in achieving these amendments and have written to and met with UK MEPs to request support on a number of key changes.
“Whilst there is a still a long way to go, this is a great result for the independent automotive aftermarket and we are grateful for the massive political support we have received on this issue, particularly from Daniel Dalton.”

The European Parliament is provisionally expected to discuss and vote on the IMCO Committee Report during a plenary session in April 2017.

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IAAF Golf dates announced for 2017

The IAAF is pleased to announce the return of its popular Golf Team Challenge for 2017.

This year’s dates are:

  • Worsley Park, Manchester – 5th July
  • Forest of Arden – 10th August
The winners from Robert Bosch Ltd. at The Forest of Arden who also won the overall trophy for 2016

Further details and a booking form will be issued in due course, but if you would like to add your team’s name to the list ahead of this, please contact the IAAF Office.

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BEN Cricket Match date announced

“We are delighted to announce that the BEN Cricket Match will again be taking place this year. The date is set for Thursday 22nd June 2017 at Dorridge Cricket Club near Solihull. The event is being organised by Elliott Seal of Autoparts & Diagnostics and Emma at SJ Events, who have both donated their time free of charge to raise valuable funds for BEN. And of course, as previously the IAAF will be heartily backing the event to maximise its support across the industry.

Team Seal – winners of the 2016 event

If you are interested in supporting this event, be it as a player, umpire, spectator or sponsor – please feel free to contact [email protected] for further details!”

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Automechanika Birmingham 2017 – Update

The very best of the automotive industry meets at the NEC 6-8 June 2017

Automechanika Birmingham is your chance to see the very best of the industry at the UK’s biggest automotive trade event.

• Over 800 exhibitors now confirmed
• 70% bigger than in 2016
• Now in five halls

Who’s there?
Major players from the aftermarket
Parts and components: Schaeffler (UK) Ltd, ZF Aftermarket UK, Valeo Service, Delphi, Denso Sales UK, NGK Spark Plugs, HELLA Ltd, MAHLE Aftermarket Ltd, TEXA UK LTD, OSRAM, bilstein group, MANN + HUMMEL (UK) Ltd, and more see the full list here.

Garage equipment: GEMCO Sales & Service
Tools: Draper Tools Limited, Milwaukee Tools, Omega, Sealey Direct
Tyres and accessories: Rema Tip Top, Tyre Bay Direct, Sigmavision Ltd, Tyresure Ltd
Oils and lubricants: Total UK, Certas Energy, LIQUI MOLY GmbH, JX Nippon
Distributors: The Parts Alliance, GROUPAUTO, National Autoparts Ltd

New faces!
Amongst the 250 exhibitors who are NEW in 2017 are Bosch UK, GS Yuasa Battery Sales UK Ltd, DeVilbiss Automotive Refinishing, JX Nippon, Hofmann Megaplan, Crypton and Comline Autoparts and more see the full list here.

To register free now and receive updates, CLICK HERE.

Talks, training and networking
NEW for workshops & MOT centres:
Workshop Training Zone – featuring Technical Talks and an Interactive Workshop
Expert speakers, new technologies, networking opportunities: update and enhance your knowledge at the packed seminar programme!

And another thing…
Need a reminder of the fantastic 2016 event? See the video here.

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Mercedes-Benz eTruck trials begin

The world’s first all-electric heavy duty truck is set to go into limited production later this year, with trials taking place in the German market before being rolled out to cities across Europe.

The Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck was first shown at the IAA Commercial Vehicle Show in Hannover last September, and the brand’s parent company, Daimler, has committed to putting it into small scale production, with a build number initially in double figures.

The Urban eTruck has a gross vehicle weight (GVW) of 25 tonnes and is claimed to have a range of up to 200 miles depending on load and operational conditions.

Stefan Buchner, Head of Mercedes-Benz Trucks worldwide, said, “Following the world premiere in September 2016 at the International Commercial Vehicle Show the customer reaction was outstanding. We are currently talking to around 20 potential customers from the waste, foodstuffs and logistics sectors. With [this] small series, we are now rapidly taking the next step towards production. By 2020 we want to be on the market with the series generation.”

With a payload of 12.8 tonnes, the Urban eTrucks will be deployed in real-life transport situations, with Daimler aiming to get customer feedback and measure how the eTruck performs in a true working environment. Charging times, battery life, range and system configurations will all be closely managed and observed.

The demo trucks will be equipped with refrigerated, box and platform bodies. Together with a special charger which takes into account the increased demands on a truck, the vehicles will be handed over to the customers to use for a period of 12 months, during which they will be supported by Mercedes-Benz Trucks’ road testing department.

Stefan Buchner added, “When it comes to future technological issues, 2017 will be our year of implementation: step by step we are developing the vehicles and systems to achieve market maturity.”

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UK truck market remains strong as demand grows in 2016

Registrations of new heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) rose 5.3% to 46,231 units in 2016, according to figures released by SMMT, marking the sector’s third consecutive year of growth. The year ended on a positive note, with 13,555 new HGVs registered in Q4 – a 2.3% improvement on the same period in 2015.

UK HGV Registrations

% Change
Rigids  6.0-16t
Rigids < 16t
All Rigids
2-axle artics
3+-axle artics
% Change
Rigids  6.0-16t
Rigids < 16t
All Artics

Rigid vehicles continued to fuel the market throughout 2016, with both the 6-16T and >16T segments experiencing double-digit growth – up 21.6% and 14.5% respectively. The artics segment, meanwhile, ended the year down by -7.5%, but in the fourth quarter bucked the downward trend set earlier in the year, rising by 0.7% as an uplift in demand for 3+ axle artics compensated for a decline in 2 axle vehicles.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “Another year of growth for the HGV market in 2016 is a positive sign for the sector, particularly as it follows such an exceptionally strong 2015. HGVs are essential for transporting vital goods around the country and their demand provides a barometer for the UK economy, so these results are certainly welcome. Looking ahead, we must ensure business uncertainty is minimised so that this success continues.”

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People News

Quentin Le Hetet appointed General Manager of GiPA UK

As of the 1st January 2017, Quentin Le Hetet has been appointed General Manager of GiPA UK.

Quentin began working for the GiPA Group in Paris in 2013, having previously worked for KPMG Consulting. In 2014 he relocated to GiPA UK and has been living and working in London ever since. In his time there Quentin has gained a strong understanding of the UK automotive aftermarket, working with some of the UK’s leading vehicle manufacturers; parts manufacturers and distributers; and lubricant and tyre companies.

Quentin Le Hetet of GiPA UK

Prior to his latest appointment, Quentin was in charge of international business development in several countries, including Algeria, Morocco, South Africa, Turkey, and Ukraine.

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Ben Impact update now available

The latest Ben Impact update is out now, which shows that Ben saw mental health concerns double during October-December last year. There was a 50% rise in people asking Ben for help with their mental health – this has gone from 10% in July-Sept to 20% in Oct-Dec.

During the quarter, mental health was also the second biggest reason why people contacted Ben for help, compared with the previous quarter when concerns about physical health featured most prominently. We believe this has been driven by the increase in awareness raised during Ben’s mental health campaign period, from October to December 2016, which culminated in the organisation’s first ever national industry fundraising event, Hats on 4 Mental Health Day. So Ben would like to thank everyone for their support in helping them to spread the word and taking part in this important campaign which raised over £11,000.

The report also shows that over half (52%) of requests for help were from people concerned about their finances, an increase on last quarter’s figure of 49%. You can find some advice about finances and how to deal with debt by CLICKING HERE.

During the quarter, Ben’s payroll giving team visited 148 dealerships, delivered 748 presentations to 2,761 employees in the industry, resulting in a total of £26,000 new payroll pledges. Ben’s thanks go to all those who are supporting the organisation’s work in this way.

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Legal Update

More advice from the IAAF’s legal advice partner, Lawgistics.

Calling time – full or part

Both part time and full time workers who are doing the same or similar work need to be treated the same. As an employer you cannot treat one less favourably than the other.

Part time workers have the right to be treated no differently than colleagues who are full time in a comparable job role. This includes:

  • Same rates of pay
  • Same opportunities to training (don’t exclude part time staff because they simply work part time)
  • Same holiday entitlement based pro rata
  • Treated no different if workers are selected from redundancy
  • Have the same opportunities which are open to full time staff such as career break schemes

As an employer, you will need to provide an objective reason that justifies treating part time staff differently and the reason meets a genuine business need.

If a part time member of staff thinks they are being treated less favourably, and if there is no satisfactory discussion with their supervisor/line manager, they can then ask for a written statement with an explanation of the unfavourable treatment. The response should be within 21 days and if the member of staff is not happy with the reason then they could potentially bring a claim against you in an employment tribunal.
Closing a site and redundancy

When a company has multiple sites and is closing one of them, is it a redundancy situation for the workforce deployed at this site? The established law so far appeared to confirm the simple answer: yes, it is a redundancy situation, unless the employees have a mobility clause in their employment contracts, on which the employer can rely and instruct relocation.

A recent Employment Tribunal case Kellogg Brown & Root (UK) Ltd v Fitton and Ewer the courts added another refinement: it would be open for the courts to look into whether the instruction to relocate issued under the mobility clause was fair. In this case, Mr Fitton and Mr Ewer worked at the site of Kellog in Greenford, Middlesex. The company then closed its site in Greenford and instructed both employees to relocate to its site in Leatherhead, Surrey in pursuance of the mobility clause. Both employees refused and were summarily dismissed for gross misconduct in refusing to obey a lawful instruction.

The Employment Tribunal found, confirmed on appeal, that the instruction to relocate from Greenford to Leatherhead, some 30 miles away, was unreasonable and the dismissal was therefore unfair. The case was decided on its specific facts and the outcome would have been apparently different if both sites had been nearer or in the same locality.
The benefits of benefits

In tough economic times SME’s may seek to find ways in which to cut costs but avoid redundancies. Removal of staff benefits may be seen as a potential money saver; increased pension allowance or private healthcare for example, but is their removal really a good idea, how easy is it to do and what might be the consequences?

From a legal standpoint, the first port of call is the employment contract. If the benefit is included as a contractual term and your employees do not agree to a change, you will have to explore a variation of contract without employee consent which when to the employee’s detriment is likely to invoke a legal challenge and could also be the case in a situation where a benefit is contractual but where the contract includes a “general right to vary” clause as this difficult to rely on when seeking to remove benefits.

If the benefit is not a contractual term you would need to consider whether the benefit has become an implied part of the contract by way of ‘custom and practice’ for example and this means it must be; “reasonable, notorious and certain”.

The fact that a benefit has been granted by an employer for a number of years will not necessarily mean it has become a binding entitlement. Firstly, this is because the term must be known to the workforce so that employees have a reasonable expectation of receiving the benefit. For example, if details of the benefit are published in an easily accessible document such as a staff handbook this might point towards an implied term. However, if information about the benefit is set out in a restricted policy document available only to a small group of management or HR, this would point away from the benefit having become an implied term. Secondly, the employer must have behaved in such a way which suggests it felt a sense of legal obligation to provide the benefit.

From an HR and management standpoint it is important to consider why you offer the benefit and the likely effect of its removal. One aim of reward and pay is to attract, retain and motivate staff and what you lose in staff motivation, loyalty and trust may not be worth the cost of withdrawing the benefit. It is vital to carry out a firm analysis of the potential legal implications and on the impact to business before making any decisions.

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New penalties from next month

Motorists are warned that new penalties for using their mobile phones behind the wheel come into force on 1 March.

From next month, guilty drivers will receive six penalty points and a £200 fine.

There is serious risk in the physical distraction of holding a phone while driving, but there is also the risk of the mental distraction every driver faces when trying to do something else other than drive and therefore compromising not only their own safety but that of other road users.

New drivers could have their licences revoked through just one mobile phone offence under the new rules. Neil said, Anyone whose licence is revoked in the first two years of driving means they will have to spend more than £100 to reapply for a provisional licence and take new theory and practical tests. Added to the £200 fine and this could be a very costly process.

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