SMMT statement in response to government announcement on future customs arrangements

SMMT has issued a statement in response to government’s announcement on future customs arrangements.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “It is encouraging that government recognises the need for interim arrangements which must be in place until the new relationship with our biggest trading partner is implemented. The automotive industry needs certainty to attract investment and make planning decisions so such a move – if agreed by the EU – would take some time pressure off these difficult negotiations.

Mike Hawes

“It is also reassuring to see the Government recognise the particular importance of customs arrangements to sectors such as automotive which are subject to Rules of Origin requirements and operate ‘just in time’ processes. However, to maintain frictionless trade and ensure business only has to adjust to one change, interim arrangements must retain membership of a customs union with the EU and full participation in the single market. Any other arrangement risks additional administration, delays and costs, undermining the competitiveness of UK exporters and increasing the costs of imports. We will continue to work with government to try and avoid such an outcome.”

To read more about UK Automotive’s position on Brexit CLICK HERE and to read SMMT issues papers on customs and interim arrangements CLICK HERE.

Consultation on regulations for alternatively fuelled vans

On 26 July 2017, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), along with the Department for Transport (DfT), announced its plan to help reduce roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations.

The plan includes a consultation asking for views on proposed changes to regulations for vans and light commercial vehicles.

As part of the proposed changes, van drivers will be able to operate heavier electric or gas powered vehicles without having to apply for a new licence. The changes also include whether the MOT exemption for electric vans should be removed.

To find out more about how the proposed changes will work and give your views by 18 October 2017 CLICK HERE.

Your Comments

‘First ever metal 3D printed parts’

Just a year after announcing it would produce certain plastic components using 3D printing techniques, Mercedes-Benz has introduced the first ever metal 3D printed parts for trucks.

By improving the parts printing process that it pioneered with thermoplastics, the German company has adapted the technology to use aluminium.

The first ever 3D printed metal part to go into series production is a thermostat housing cover for the Unimog truck, tested to be compliant with all of the company’s stringent quality assurance processes.

A major benefit of the technology is that it allows manufacturers to continue to support older vehicles with obsolete parts, as well as those that are very rarely required and are, therefore, not held in dealer stock.

The company’s head of marketing and operations for parts, Andreas Deuschle said, ‘The availability of spare parts during a workshop visit is essential for our customers no matter how old the truck is, or where it is located. The particular added value of 3D printing technology is that it considerably increases speed and flexibility, especially when producing spare and special parts. This gives us completely new possibilities for offering our customers spare parts rapidly and at attractive prices, even long after series production has ceased.’

The system is unique in that it means parts can be produced to order instantly, at any time and in any quantity.

Your Comments

Jason Moseley resigns from NBRA

The National Body Repair Association (NBRA) – a federated association of the Retail Motor Industry Federation – has announced the resignation of its director, Jason Moseley.

Since Jason joined the then NAB/VBRA organisations, he has led the successful strategic transition of the organisation to provide a unified and strengthened collision repair trade association. Jason will continue to support and lead the operation until he leaves in mid-October 2017.

Jason Moseley

The process to appoint a new director has commenced and is being led by the NBRA executive committee.

Roger Collings, NBRA chairman said, ‘Jason has been instrumental in raising the reputation and profile of the NBRA as the true voice of collision repairers. I wish him well for his next challenge. The NBRA Executive will now work diligently to appoint a successor and we will make a further announcement in due course.’

Your Comments

Continued success for HELLA!

HELLA, the  original equipment manufacturer and system supplier and well-established player in the aftermarket, with an impressive product portfolio and excellent customer support, has had another extremely successful financial year – June 2016 to June 2017 – with new business alliances made, staff growth and a continually strong presence in the industry.

Matthew Say

HELLA continues its trend of year-on-year growth, boosted in no small part by the recent introduction of HELLA Hengst filtration and the continued development of Sonne, the company’s refinishing paint range. In addition, the financial success is due to a growing awareness across the industry of the necessity to recalibrate the advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) following service or repair work to a vehicle’s steering geometry, in which its brand, Hella Gutmann Solutions, is the aftermarket leader. Along with Behr Hella Service, the respected thermal management experts and HELLA, with its renowned electrical knowledge, the company provides a comprehensive solution for the entire independent sector.

At the success of the UK operation, Managing Director, Matthew Say said: “It’s been a phenomenal year for us at HELLA and I put that down to the hard working team, who put 100% in everyday, just as much as the great products we supply.

“We’ve significantly grown our operation and with it, we’ve entered a new dimension in terms of our product offering and service solutions, which is a clear benefit to our customers and ultimately, the workshop.

“However, this is not to say that we’ve reached our peak – there are more exciting times ahead at HELLA, but for now, I’m extremely pleased with our success, it has been a truly incredible year!”

Your Comments

Volkswagen Group to give two-year warranty on emissions recall work

Volkswagen Group has introduced a two-year warranty on vehicles that undergo the emissions update – and it applies to owners who have already had the work carried out.

Volkswagen Group – which is comprised of Volkswagen, Audi, SEAT and Skoda – has put into place a a 24-month warranty for customers who have the emission update carried out.

News of the two-year warranty – called the ‘Trust Building Measure’ – will be of interest to owners who have found that their car has been negatively affected by the technical fix.

The warranty applies if a customer makes a complaint to an authorised repairer or to the Volkswagen Group and the issue is found to have resulted from the emissions fix.

The warranty was announced in June 2017 and extends to owners whose vehicles have already received the emissions recall. It will cover the car from the date the work was carried out – provided that all other requirements for the ‘Trust Building Measure’ are met.

It covers vehicles for repairs to 11 components within the exhaust gas recirculation, fuel injection and emissions after treatment systems, within 24-months from the date of the emissions update. However, it only applies to vehicles with a mileage of under 160,000.

The Volkswagen emissions scandal began in September 2015 and affected a total of 1.2 million vehicles in the UK. Volkswagen Group has maintained that the technical measures have no adverse impact on the performance of the vehicles or the durability of the engine and its components.

It says that the Trust Building Measure instead serves to strengthen customer confidence and encourage more customers to have their vehicles updated.

In March 2017, Volkswagen engineers explained to us that out of 480,000 vehicles that had the fix applied, there had only been 3600 complaints. Of these 3600, 60 per cent were noise related and 35 per cent were complaints about poorer fuel economy and EGR problems.

Your Comments

Uni-Select completes acquisition of The Parts Alliance

Uni-Select Inc. is pleased to announce that it has completed the acquisition of 100% of the shares of PA Topco Limited doing business as The Parts Alliance (“Parts Alliance”), the second largest nationwide independent distributor of automotive aftermarket parts in the United Kingdom.

As previously announced, the transaction in the amount of £205.0 million was fully funded with debt from available credit facilities.

“We could not be more pleased to be adding The Parts Alliance to the Uni-Select family. This is an exciting new growth pillar for Uni-Select in the large and fragmented UK marketplace. The Parts Alliance is the UK’s second largest automotive aftermarket parts distributor with 161 locations and growing plus affiliated members, all serving local and national customers across the UK,” said Henry Buckley, President and Chief Executive Officer of Uni-Select. “We welcome all our new team members, customers and suppliers. The cultural fit is exceptional and the growth prospects are significant,’’ added Mr. Buckley.

“The Parts Alliance is very thrilled to now be part of Uni-Select. All of my colleagues in our organization, our suppliers, members and all other stakeholders see the opportunity for long term financial growth and stability, as well as personal growth as we join a team of like-minded individuals,” said Peter Sephton, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Parts Alliance.

The Corporation is also delighted to welcome Mr. Peter Sephton who is today joining Uni Select’s Executive Team as President and Chief Executive Officer of the European Automotive Group.

The transaction provides Uni-Select with an attractive point of entry into a new geographic market currently in consolidation with high growth and accretion potential and a third growth pillar to complement its segments, Canadian Automotive Group and FinishMaster US. With the addition of The Parts Alliance, Uni-Select now has a strong team of over 6,000 dedicated team members, spread across a network of 16 distribution centres and over 430 corporate stores located in North America, United Kingdom and Ireland.

Your Comments

Manufacturers urged to combat threat to connected cars from hackers

Connected cars will have to be better protected from hackers, under new Government guidelines issued by the Department for Transport (DfT).

It is feared would-be hackers could target them to access personal data, steal cars that use keyless entry, or even take control of technology for malicious reasons.

Now new Government guidance aims to ensure engineers developing smart vehicles will have to toughen up cyber protections and help design out hacking.

The Government is also looking at a broader programme of work announced in this year’s Queen’s speech under the Autonomous and Electric Vehicles Bill that aims to create a new framework for self-driving vehicle insurance.

The legislation will put Britain at the centre of the new technological developments in smart and autonomous vehicles – while ensuring safety and consumer protection remain at the heart of the emerging industry, says the DfT.

Transport minister Lord Callanan said: “Our cars are becoming smarter and self-driving technology will revolutionise the way in which we travel.

“Risks of people hacking into the technology might be low, but we must make sure the public is protected. Whether we’re turning vehicles into wifi connected hotspots or equipping them with millions of lines of code to become fully automated, it is important that they are protected against cyber-attacks.

“That’s why it’s essential all parties involved in the manufacturing and supply chain are provided with a consistent set of guidelines that support this global industry.

“Our key principles give advice on what organisations should do, from the board level down, as well as technical design and development considerations.”

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), said: “We’re pleased that government is taking action now to ensure a seamless transition to fully connected and autonomous cars in the future and, given this shift will take place globally, that it is championing cyber security and shared best practice at an international level. These vehicles will transform our roads and society, dramatically reducing accidents and saving thousands of lives.

“A consistent set of guidelines is an important step towards ensuring the UK can be among the first – and safest – of international markets to grasp the benefits of this exciting new technology.”

Your Comments

IAAF Announcement – Andy Savva to step down as vice-president

The IAAF has issued the following statement from CEO Wendy Williamson.

“It is with much regret that I have to announce that Andy Savva has stepped down as vice-president of the IAAF.

Andy Savva

“Following the sale of his garage business last year, Andy has started a new career as an automotive consultant and has since been inundated with work and new business opportunities.

“This has resulted in Andy feeling that he could not dedicate the time needed towards his forthcoming role as President of the IAAF, to be undertaken from 2018 onwards.

“While I am naturally disappointed, I’m also delighted that his new career has taken off so quickly and wish him all the very best for the future. We will look to appoint a successor over the coming weeks and notify members accordingly.”

Your Comments

IAAF welcomes Johnson Controls Batteries

Global battery supplier, Johnson Controls Batteries, has joined the Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF).

As a leading multi-industrial supplier of private label and branded lead-acid batteries for cars, light trucks, commercial and utility vehicles to aftermarket battery retailers, Johnson Controls provides a global portfolio of batteries offering world-class performance to customers in more than 150 countries.

Jeremy Tollman, Johnson Controls business development manager, said: “We are very pleased to have joined IAAF and recognise the important role that the association plays in supporting the key elements of the UK automotive aftermarket. We are now very much looking forward to working together with IAAF and utilising the benefits available such as taking advantage of networking possibilities with fellow members and organisations.”

Regular, weekly e-bulletins from IAAF will provide the battery supplier with the latest aftermarket news and updates, while Johnson Controls will now also be eligible to attend IAAF’s many industry briefings throughout the year, as well as its annual conference set to take place on Thursday 7 December 2017 at DoubleTree by Hilton in Milton Keynes.

Wendy Williamson, IAAF chief executive, said: “We are delighted to welcome Johnson Controls to our ever-growing membership. We are continuing to see leading aftermarket businesses come on board and support the critical work we carry out for the sector. As our annual conference draws ever closer, we will share our latest activity with members to ensure they remain updated on industry threats and the future of their businesses is protected.”

Your Comments