Last chance to sign petition before consultation deadline

IAAF is supporting an official petition to urge government to rethink the proposed changes to current MOT legislation. The petition offers the trade another chance to have its voice heard and highlight its level of concern. This has now been registered and we are urging all members to sign up to this on the following link as soon as possible.

All members are encouraged to support the petition.  The government’s consultation period ends this Sunday, April 16th, so this is the last opportunity to sign up to the petition prior to then.

To sign the petition CLICK HERE.

To respond to the government’s online consultation, CLICK HERE.

The government is promoting the proposed MOT test extension in a positive light, claiming motorists could save up to £100m a year, but the IAAF is arguing that this could lead to an increase in road accidents and fatalities as there will be no formal inspection of a vehicle’s road worthiness for a further 12 months.

By extending the test frequency there will more non-roadworthy vehicles on the road for a further year with no official mileage or emissions recorded until after four years. The federation is working alongside other industry bodies to combat the proposed legislation and protect the safety of all road users and the future of the automotive aftermarket.

Official figures from 2015-2016 reveal that around 17% of cars fail their first MOT on their initial attempt, so extending a car’s first MOT to four years could result in an extra 411,958 unsafe cars on the roads and risk higher accident rates. The current three-year-for-first MOT system ensures vehicle defects are picked up and remedied quickly, to ensure the safety of all road users.

In 2016, technicians identified over 400,000 potentially fatal vehicle defects, including 24,628 suspension failures and 47,138 brake failures. In the same year, 92,938 fewer car accidents were recorded in the UK compared to the same 2005 statistics, a result that has been attributed to improved vehicle safety, a standard that is enforced by the current MOT system.

Furthermore, 85,720 failures on cars taking their first MOT are due to tyres. Tyresafe, in partnership with Highways England, found that millions of motorists only replace tyres when required in order to pass the MOT. If the MOT deadline is extended by an additional year, this could mean 28,573 extra unsafe tyres on UK roads.

Our thanks go to Euro Car Parts Ltd. for its support in pulling this initiative together.

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Updated FIGIEFA video released

FIGIEFA has released the updated version of its Connected Car video.

The video explains how different telematics solutions – Extended Vehicle or the Interoperable Telematics Platform – will affect the aftermarket value chain and other related industries. A broad stakeholder coalition of vehicle dealers, test centres, aftermarket operators, the European insurance industry and motorist representatives worked together on a robust regulatory framework for an Interoperable Telematics Platform to ensure fair competition, innovation, independent entrepreneurship and consumer choice in Europe.

The video can be viewed HERE or via the IAAF website.

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IFA raise funds for Macmillan

The IFA were delighted this week to be visited by Jo-Anne Wilson from Macmillan Cancer Support. Jo-Anne addressed the group for a few minutes to explain about the wonderful work the organisation carries out.

Jo-Anne Wilson receiving the cheque from IFA Chairman, Gary Kennett

A cheque was then presented by the IFA Chairman, Gary Kennett, for £4,565 which had been raised through the generosity of the attendees at the IFA Awards Dinner Dance held at Cameron House Loch Lomond in Scotland last December. The annual event was one of the most glamorous to date, with the IFA being joined by their suppliers from all across the UK Automotive Industry.

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Connected and autonomous vehicles will improve quality of life for people with limited mobility, finds SMMT

Connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) will transform the lives of six out of every 10 people in the UK, according to new research published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Connected and Autonomous Vehicles: Revolutionising Mobility in Society, the first UK-based study of the human impact of CAVs, canvassed the views of more than 3,600 respondents and found that this new technology will offer freedom to some of society’s most disadvantaged, including those with disabilities, older people and the young.

The research, conducted with Strategy&, PwC’s strategy consulting arm, shows CAVs have the potential to significantly reduce social exclusion. Six out of 10 (57%) people surveyed said this new technology would improve their quality of life. For young people, the impact could be even greater, with 71% of those aged 17 to 24 believing their lives would be improved. Consumers are increasingly seeing the benefits of CAVs, with 56% feeling positive about them. Young people were most excited, with almost half (49%) saying they would get into a CAV today if one were available.

Automatic braking and parking and the car’s ability to self-diagnose faults were cited as features most likely to reduce stress – the biggest attraction of owning a CAV among all groups. Freedom to travel spontaneously and socialise with friends and family were also seen as life-changing benefits, with 88% of people who believe CAVs will improve their social life saying a CAV would help them get out of the house more regularly.

Mobility is a challenge for many young people, with more than a quarter (29%) saying the cost of car ownership, particularly high insurance premiums, restricts their freedom. All groups cited the frequency of public transport as a barrier. More than two in five (43%) also cited the high cost and infrequency of public transport (33%) as a restriction. The potential for saving money, therefore, was highlighted as a key benefit of connected and autonomous vehicles.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “The benefits of connected and autonomous vehicles are life-changing, offering more people greater independence, freedom to socialise, work and earn more, and access services more easily. While fully autonomous cars will be a step change for society, this report shows people are already seeing their benefits. The challenge now is to create the conditions that will allow this technology to thrive, given how it will deliver wider societal advantages.”

Although fully connected and autonomous vehicles aren’t expected to become mainstream until 2030, most new cars are now connected via sat nav or Bluetooth, and more than half are available with safety systems such as collision warning or autonomous emergency braking.

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MECHANEX EventCity date announced

The UK’s only dedicated aftermarket regional tradeshow, MECHANEX, kicks off in Manchester for the first of this year’s shows, bringing with it leading industry experts to give you the latest information on market trends, workshop best practice and industry legislation.

MECHANEX EventCity takes place on the 16th & 17th of May and features some fantastic technical and business seminars, as well as on stand demonstrations and product fitment advice from the likes of Sealey Tools, Delphi, Dayco and Continental. This unrivalled opportunity to meet parts and equipment suppliers face-to-face makes MECHANEX a must attend event.

Furthermore, visitors can take advantage of a host of special ‘show only’ offers, discounts and special attractions.

5 Reasons To Attend

  • Fantastic technical seminar programme covering the subjects that matter to you
  • Product fitment advice and demonstrations that will help you save time and money
  • Bag yourself a bargain with a host of exclusive show offers
  • Meet parts and equipment suppliers face-to-face as well as having the opportunity to network with fellow industry professionals
  • Free bacon roll and special edition MECHANEX t-shirt for those that pre-register.

All seminars at MECHANEX are FREE to attend with no need to pre-book and attendees are invited to come along to see and hear all the latest industry developments and techniques.

Registration is FREE and includes a FREE bacon roll for all those who pre-register ahead of the event.

To register online visit or call 01923 237799 to secure your tickets.

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Automechanika Birmingham & Garage Wire partner to launch Garage of the Year

Automechanika Birmingham, 6-8 June 2017, is set to deliver a bigger and better offering for workshops owners and technicians at the UK’s leading exhibition for the automotive aftermarket and supply chain. New for 2017, the organisers, in partnership with Garage Wire, have launched a Garage of the Year competition with a cash prize of £1000.

The organisers are now calling for entries, with a simple application process. Workshops can either submit 150 words or send a one minute video clip explaining why they should be Garage of the Year. Entries should include information about improvements to their garage service such as: new equipment, special customer promotions, and examples of excellent customer service. Garages could also mention ways they have increased profit, staff training or incentives and improvements to the building or facilities.

Automechanika Birmingham 2016

Simon Albert, Event Director said “Workshop owners and technicians are a key visitor group for us to welcome to Automechanika Birmingham 2017 so we have introduced a bigger programme for them. It is the place to look for new garage equipment and tools at special show prices, get free training and advice while keeping up to date with the industry’s changes in MOT and new technologies. The Garage of the Year competition aims to recognise and reward the best!”

Albert and James Onions, Director of Garage Wire make up the judging panel who will present the winner of the Garage of the Year with a cash prize of £1000 during Automechanika Birmingham 2017, NEC Birmingham. As they say, you’ve got to be in it, to win it!

Head to to find out more and get your entry form! All entries MUST be received by 21st April 2017 and completed entry forms should be sent to [email protected].

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Self-driving Uber software behaved like a human before crashing, suggests eye-witness

A self-driving car operated by Uber Technologies was involved in a crash in Arizona – the latest setback for a company reeling from multiple crises.

In a photo posted on Twitter, one of Uber’s Volvo self-driving SUVs was pictured on its side next to another car with dents and smashed windows. An Uber spokeswoman confirmed the incident, and the veracity of the photo, in an email to Bloomberg News.

New details about the recent Arizona car crash involving a self-driving Uber have emerged, and suggest that the vehicle’s software may have made a risky decision seconds before the collision.

According to a police report, the self-driving Volvo had been travelling along a wide boulevard with a 40mph speed limit.  It was in self-driving mode at the time and was carrying two ‘safety’ drivers, who say it was travelling at 38mph.

The traffic lights that the Uber car was approaching turned amber as it entered an intersection, where a Honda on the other side of the road made a left turn.  The two vehicles collided, and the Uber was flipped onto its side.

The police report stated that the driver of the Honda hadn’t seen the oncoming Uber, and one of the people in the Uber, said a blind spot caused by traffic meant there was no time to react.

Police have said that the Uber car was not at fault, but an eye-witness claims otherwise.

“It was the other driver’s fault for trying to beat the light and hitting the gas so hard,” a witness told police in a statement, reports Bloomberg. “The other person just wanted to beat the light and kept going.”

According to a New York Times report from February, Uber’s driverless cars have “failed to recognise” six sets of traffic lights during San Francisco tests.  The company is currently trialling its system in Arizona, Pennsylvania and California.

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Motorists driving to France this Easter urged to order new emissions stickers

The RAC is urging UK motorists driving to Paris, Lyon and Grenoble this Easter to order recently introduced vehicle emissions stickers as soon as possible after it took six weeks for one to reach the UK.

The Crit’Air scheme, which was brought into force in January by the French authorities to tackle pollution, requires all vehicles – cars, lorries, motorbikes and buses – to display a windscreen sticker, or vignette, according to how much they pollute.

Stickers, which cost £3.60 (€4.18) each including postage, come in six categories and cover the very cleanest electric or hydrogen-powered vehicles (Crit’Air green sticker) to the dirtiest (Crit’Air 5 grey sticker). These relate to the six European Union emission standards for cars – dating back to 1992 when Euro 1 was introduced. The penalty for failure to display a sticker is an on-the-spot fine of between €68-135 (£58 to £117).

In order to test the efficiency of the system the RAC ordered a vignette from the official Crit’Air website on February 6 and it arrived six weeks later on March 16, despite the letter being dated March 2. The website states that stickers should be delivered within 30 days.

RAC European breakdown spokesman Simon Williams said: “We ordered an ‘anti-pollution’ sticker as a test shortly after the English-language site went live and worryingly it took a full six weeks to turn up.

“As a result we are now concerned that anyone who orders one now for a trip that will take them into the centre of Paris, Lyon or Grenoble this Easter will not receive it in time and may be at risk of an unwanted encounter with the French authorities.

“We strongly urge people planning to drive to these cities at May half-term to order their stickers now to avoid any issues.

“We would hope the French police would not fine anyone that has ordered a sticker and has email proof of that. However, those motorists who don’t order stickers are in danger of being fined up to £117, although we understand the police will be lenient in the early days, particularly with foreign drivers.

“People concerned about the progress of their stickers can track their orders on the Government’s official Crit’Air website.”

To apply for a sticker online drivers must know their vehicle’s European Emissions Standard. For newer vehicles, covered by Euro 5 and Euro 6 standards, the category may be in section D2 of your DVLA V5C registered keeper form. For older vehicles, motorists will need to find out when their vehicle was manufactured and check it with the emissions bands on the above webpage.

Williams added: “The best advice for motorists ordering their stickers is to make sure they use the French Government website as there are third party operators offering the same service but for significantly more money.

“Another important point to be aware of is around the requirement to upload an image of your vehicle’s V5C registered keeper form as the file size can only be a maximum of 400kb which isn’t very big at all. You may therefore have to change your scanner settings or reduce the file size after you’ve scanned it.”

The new Crit’Air system is used on high pollution days to prevent the worst polluting vehicles from driving in the affected cities. In the future, however, vehicles may be banned from driving in Crit’Air areas on certain days based on which emissions sticker they have.

In addition, some vehicles have not been assigned a category and are therefore unable to drive in Paris between 8am and 8pm, Monday to Friday. Typically, these are older models, such as cars registered before 1997, motorbikes and scooters from before June 2000, and trucks and buses from before 2001. Based on the pre-1997 criteria, the RAC understands that one in 10 (9%) French vehicles are too old to get a sticker.

Prior to the Crit’Air system being introduced on several heavy pollution days in Paris the authorities banned vehicles from driving in the city based on whether their number plates were odd or even. Paris, along with Madrid, Athens and Mexico City also have wider plans to ban all diesel vehicles from the city by 2025.

A total of 22 other towns may decide to do the same by 2020:

Avignon Faucigny, Glières, Bonneville
Arras Lille
Annemasse Le Havre
Bordeaux Montpellier
Cannes Reims
Clermont-Ferrand Rouen
Champlan Saint-Etienne
Côte Basque-Adour Strasbourg
Dunkerque Saint Maur-des-Fossés
Dijon Toulouse
Epernay Vallée de la Marne

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‘Appy’ days from Comma for workshop technicians

Comma has launched a new mobile app, designed to provide workshops with a quick and easy way to look up recommended products for any vehicle.

‘Comma Oil Finder’, compatible with Apple and Android mobile devices, prompts garage technicians to take a photograph of a vehicle’s licence plate. The app then automatically details the most suitable Comma products for that vehicle, as well as available pack sizes.

Should the vehicle’s registration number not be available, the same information can be retrieved by manual make and model look-up.

The ‘Comma Oil Finder’ app also gives access to enhanced information about a vehicle’s MOT and road tax status and can be downloaded from the ‘App store’ and ‘Google Play’.

By using the ‘Comma Oil Finder’ app, Professional Partner Programme (PPP) members will also collect points to redeem against merchandise and gifts for every vehicle look-up they perform. Technicians who are not already enrolled in PPP – which is a password-protected portal exclusively for professional workshop technicians and entirely free to join – can register for immediate acceptance via the Comma Oil app.

“The rapid increase in the use of mobile devices for professional as well as personal and leisure interests shows no sign of abating,” said Sales & Marketing Director, Mike Bewsey. “As the company that pioneered online application data by VRN, we’re always looking to embrace the latest information technology for the benefit and convenience of service technicians.”

Mr Bewsey also noted that the applications landscape for engine oils in particular is now almost entirely engine or vehicle specific, with vehicle manufacturers insisting on use of the correct oil in servicing regimes as a warranty-critical condition. “Technicians can rely on the new ‘Comma Oil Finder’ app with complete confidence in the accuracy and comprehensiveness of its applications data, all of which is backed by a 100% product guarantee of compatibility and quality,” he said.

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