PSA to recruit 600 UK garages for independent car servicing network

PSA Groupe has launched Euro Repar Car Service, its continental all-makes garage repair network, in the UK.

The carmaker aims to sign up over 600 garages in the UK to add to the 2,500 strong network it operates across France, Spain, Italy, Germany and The Netherlands.

Participating garages will offer all-makes MoT, service and repair work for retail and fleet customers. The minimum requirements to join are two manned ramps, a separate reception and a specified level of purchases. PSA said the first UK sites are due to go live immediately.

“Worth around £9bn every year, the UK’s aftermarket revenue opportunity is one of the largest in Europe, with 3% year on year growth over the last five years,” said Colin Start, head of marketing for parts and service for the PSA Groupe.

“Based on an established and highly successful business model, Euro Repar Car Service offers a unique opportunity for independent garages, which account for 61% of the UK’s channel to achieve their potential growth by joining a centralised, recognisable network.”

“Euro Repar Car Services does not believe in a one size fits all formula – in fact it has found that that mutual success relies on garages retaining their individual personality and reputation in the local area. The approach is designed to suit either dealers who have additional unused space, or independent garages looking to be part of a supported network.”

PSA will have dedicated business managers tasked with working with garage owners to produce tailored business plans, including a facility assessment and financial forecasting. They will also provide ongoing support covering facility planning, tools, marketing and stock profiling.

Euro Repar Car Service will operate as a subsidiary of Peugeot Motor Company plc and is based at its head office in Coventry.

Last year PSA acquired a controlling interest in Autobutler, the online repair price comparison website for workshops, for an undisclosed sum. The Danish-based business was launched in 2010 and hosts 178 UK independent and franchised workshops on its website.

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Government considering diesel scrappage scheme

The government could pay drivers to scrap their older diesel cars, as part of its fight against urban pollution.

Reports suggest the scheme, which could be announced this week, could offer to pay drivers up to £2,000 towards a newer, cleaner car, although it will only be to certain drivers. Those who could take advantage might include drivers in areas where pollution is highest, or those on lower incomes.

Diesel cars emit nitrogen oxides. The UK had almost 12,000 premature deaths linked to nitrogen dioxide in 2013, according to the European Environment Agency. That was the second-highest total in Europe after Italy.

There are about 11.2 million diesel cars on UK roads, 17% of which are more than 12 years old.

Neil Parish, chair of the Commons environment committee, is expected to raise the issue during a parliamentary debate, suggesting that government funding of £500m would take nearly 10% of the five million dirtiest diesels off the road. It’s expected that half the funding will come from government with the other half from car manufacturers.

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Countdown to the largest automotive show in the UK

The Commercial Vehicle Show 2017 starts next Tuesday, 25th April at the NEC Birmingham for three days.

The CV Show is the largest automotive event in the UK: 10% bigger than last year, exhibition space sold out some time ago and visitor pre-registration numbers are also up on 2016.

The show is a merger of four other events; although the CV Show was first formed in 2000, it can trace its history back much further.

The IAAF stand at the 2016 CV Show

The CV Show is taking place in Halls 3, 3a, 4 and 5 and the doors open to visitors at 8.30 a.m. and close at 5.30 p.m. each day. The IAAF can be found on Stand 4D02 in Hall 4 and members are welcome to come along. The stand will be featuring 3D printing and its potential significance for the future of vehicle parts.

To pre-register for the show CLICK HERE, or to see a full list of exhibitors CLICK HERE.

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Industry expert Smythe joins Autoparts UK

Autoparts UK has appointed industry expert Mike Smythe as its new Group Aftermarket Parts Buyer.

Smythe has more than 30 years’ experience in the automotive aftermarket having worked previously as a buyer at Solid Auto and Andrew Page.

Mike Smythe

In his new role at Autoparts UK, he will be responsible for working with the motor factor’s supply base, ensuring the 17-branch network of Autoparts UK, Midwest Motor Factors and Monmore Auto Parts continues to receive the best possible service and support.

Craig McCracken, Autoparts UK Group Factor Manager, said: “I’m delighted to have Mike join the Autoparts UK team. His experience will prove vital in maximising our partnerships with a wide range of suppliers for the benefit of customers.”

Commenting on his new role Smythe added: “I have watched the growth of Autoparts UK in the past 20 years and I’m delighted to have an opportunity play a part in its future. The motor factor is not in the habit of switching suppliers readily but instead delivers growth to all companies through a long-term partnership. With our exciting plans, I look forward to working very closely with suppliers and leading industry brands to deliver accelerated growth.”

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Stay safe with Spring vehicle checks

Snow, cold weather and road grit – the winter months take their toll on cars. In a bid to increase awareness, experts at ZF Aftermarket examine the damage that winter roads can do to vehicles and highlight the importance of checking safety critical automotive parts during the Spring.

In 1980, the Highways Act was amended to state: “A highway authority is under a duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that safe passage along a highway is not endangered by snow or ice.”

This means the various highway authorities throughout the UK are responsible for gritting nearly 90 percent of all the roads; mainly motorways, main roads and trunk roads. In all, they collectively cover some 225,000 miles of roads; spreading approximately 2 million tons at a cost in excess of £150 million per year.

As necessary as this is to keep vehicles from slipping on icy roads, unfortunately it can do a great deal of damage when it comes into contact with important chassis components. In line with this, ZF Aftermarket experts believe that a professional check of the braking & chassis systems is absolutely essential after the winter months. This should include an expert inspection of the brake hoses and calipers to test the functionality, durability and impermeability.

Defective shock absorbers are a severe safety risk
A defective shock absorber can be detrimental to braking performance; increasing braking distance and reducing traction on corners which increases the risk of aquaplaning. In addition, the effectiveness of common electronic assistance systems – such as Antilock Braking Systems (ABS) can be severely compromised. In line with this, experts strongly recommend that shock absorbers and all complementary components be initially inspected after 50,000 miles at the latest, and thereafter every 12,000 miles.

Focusing on suspension components
Although it is generally called road grit, what is used on the roads to clear snow and ice is actually rock salt.  Rock salt lowers the physical freezing point of the moisture on the road surface, which stops ice forming and causes existing ice or snow to melt, sometimes surprisingly rapidly. When this rock salt comes into contact with a vehicle’s sensitive suspension components, it can cause rubber parts to perish and metal to eventually erode.

Leak testing of the rubber bellows at the ball joints should be part of the Spring check, as well as a professional inspection of the tie rod, tie rod end and axial joint. Furthermore, the specialists at ZF Aftermarket recommend inspecting the steering rack gaiter and spring lock rings. Wear on these parts occurs gradually, however, weak parts will have a significant impact on driving behavior in critical situations.

Proficient information about possible safety risks instils confidence which can not only boost customer loyalty, but generate additional sales in the workshop. The importance of vehicle maintenance and overall component safety including a Spring check, cannot be rated highly enough. It is also essential for the value retention of the car.

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Millions of drivers ignore vehicle recall notices

More than half of all recall notices have not been followed up on by vehicle owners, with just 47.7 per cent of cars returning back to the dealership for repair.

The findings were revealed in an Auto Express investigation.

One of the biggest issues that has affected vehicles since 2012 was caused by the Takata airbag scandal, which affected millions of models including those made by BMW, Honda and Toyota.

The Toyota Yaris, Corolla, Avensis, the BMW 3 series, the Honda Civic, Jazz Accord and CR-V were all diagnosed with airbag problems and recalled but not all have been fixed.

In the past five years, the DVSA has overseen 1,484 individual recall cases involving more than nine million vehicles.

Auto Express said: “The figures uncovered during this investigation are staggering, and highlight how much of a problem the industry has in getting drivers to have recalls done.

“The Takata airbag recall was a huge scandal at the time, and cars that aren’t repaired are a massive danger – not just for the owner of the vehicle, but also those other drivers who could be following a car that has a failure.”

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FPS supports Marathon des Sables fundraising

Described as ‘the toughest footrace on earth’, the Marathon Des Sables saw Caitlin Davis tackle 6 marathons across the Sahara Desert in just 6 days, 240km in all, including the notorious ‘double marathon’ on the 4th day. If that wasn’t challenging enough, Caitlin also needed to carry her food and kit, weighing approximately 7kg.

This was all in the name of charity, with Caitlin raising money for Bloodwise – a UK charity dedicated to funding valuable research into all blood cancers, including leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma.

Caitlin, who was a strong 800m runner in her youth, had never raced further than 10km before entering the race, but spent the best part of a year training and preparing for this challenge.

She commented, “I now understand how the race got its name. On Tuesday afternoon, during the third marathon, temperatures reached 56°C in the dunes and 46°C in the shade. After a night of sleep interrupted by sandstorms, the 86km fourth day was equally tough, the last 70km being running through soft sand, and I was pleased to finish in 16 ½ hours”.

Overall, Caitlin finished 313th out of around 1200 competitors. Of those, 235 were female and Caitlin was the 30th female home, coming 12th in her age group category (veteran females 39-49 years old) and 8th out of all the UK women runners.

Caitlin is a long-term fundraising partner of FPS, and has supported the company’s wellbeing initiative, Action Pact, by taking part in Leaderboard Triathlons in Blenheim and Eton Dorney.

As part of Action Pact, many FPS employees will be taking on personal challenges of their own, with the company sponsoring their entry. Furthermore, they’ll have the opportunity to compete in a team triathlon challenge and company-wide golf tournament later in the year.

If you would like to sponsor Caitlin for Bloodwise, then you can do so by CLICKING HERE.

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Sponsor Link: Autotech Recruit

Short staffed?

Need cover for absent MOT Testers or a Vehicle Technician to help handle peaks in business?

Autotech Recruit operates a large national network of experienced, vetted and reliable temporary Vehicle Technicians and MOT Testers for contracts lasting from one day to a few months at a time.



Autotech Recruit provide a realistic solution to the frustration and expense associated with skill shortages.

Give your garage the flexibility of utilising someone to stand in to:

• cover for absent staff
• handle particular projects current staff don’t have time for
• handle peaks in business
• provide short term cover between appointments

We are unique in the automotive recruitment market. We operate the largest network of pre-screened, highly skilled contractors, who can fill assignments lasting as short or as long as you require.

Autotech Recruit’s contractors can provide various services, including:

• MOT testing
• vehicle repairs and service
• pre-delivery inspections
• sales/used vehicle preparation

How using temporary staff can benefit your garage:

• maintained/improved recovery rates
• improved utilisation, efficiency and productivity
• lead time reduction
• improved customer satisfaction
• manufacturers’ standards compliance

We offer temporary, contract and permanent placements.
Call us today 01234 432983 or for more information, please visit:

Last chance to sign petition before MoT 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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IAAF to hold second Industry Briefing in Milton Keynes

Following on from the success of the first IAAF Industry Briefing held at Sales–i in Solihull on Thursday 16th March, the IAAF has announced that the second event will be held on Thursday 25th May 2017 at VGroup International in Milton Keynes.

Mike Smallbone, membership development manager, will be looking at the impact 4-1-1 MoTs will have on the UK automotive aftermarket, as well as the future of parts distribution in the UK.

Quentin Le Hetet speaking at the first Industry Briefing

Guest speaker, Quentin Le Hetet (GIPA UK), will examine the impact of extending the MOT period to four years on the industry, while also looking at the future of parts distribution in the UK and the global consolidation taking place across the automotive aftermarket.

Smallbone said: “These sessions are an essential and useful way to engage with members and ensure they are up to date on the most recent issues affecting the aftermarket. We strongly encourage members to attend our other briefings as the year continues.”

The regional sessions begin at 10.00 am offering the chance to network over a coffee, before finishing at 1.00 pm with lunch.

Further meetings will be held and announced throughout the year. with the following meeting taking place at VGroup International in Milton Keynes on Thursday 25th May.

Places are limited and therefore IAAF is advising members to book early to avoid disappointment by emailing Ann Silvester at the IAAF.

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