ZF Services UK appoints new product support engineer

ZF Services UK has appointed a new product support engineer responsible for driving forward its technical support and mentoring.

Simon Ackroyd has been appointed to the role, and will oversee training for its customer base and partners in the UK. Simon has worked with the ZF family since 2002, First with Hindle group as a workshop engineer before later progressing into a technical manager role with powertrain products Ltd. Altogether, he has more than 15 years’ automotive industry experience working with ZF.

Bob Glazebrook (L) with Simon Ackroyd (R)

Speaking about the challenges facing the automotive industry moving forward, Ackroyd commented: “All driveline engineers need to be ready for the hybrid and electric vehicle era, which is already among us. As production in these areas ramps up, we are likely to see an end to traditional diesel vehicles, so I will be making sure the ZF technical team is well-placed to support our customers with these technologies, in particular through remote diagnostics and our Openmatics platform.”

As Simon joined the ZF team, its previous product support engineer announced his retirement, following 39 years of service with the company. Bob Glazebrook first joined ZF back in 1978 and has held a number of technical roles with the business, looking after various products in the ZF range, as well as assuming responsibility for warranties and customer care.

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Tesla electric truck to be unveiled in October

Tesla is set to launch its first autonomous electric lorry next month as the company attempts to break into the commercial vehicle market.

The Tesla Semi truck is scheduled to be unveiled on October 26 and is expected to have a working range of only 200 to 300 miles, making it more suitable for inner-city transport than long-distance motorway haulage.

Tesla, which is known for its pure electric plug-in Model S, X and 3 cars, has had its sights set on producing a commercial vehicle for a number of years.

CEO Elon Musk said, “In addition to consumer vehicles, there are two other types of electric vehicle needed: heavy-duty trucks and high passenger-density urban transport.”

He added, “We believe the Tesla Semi will deliver a substantial reduction in the cost of cargo transport, while increasing safety and making it really fun to operate.”

The Semi truck will be a battery-powered vehicle offering the benefits of reduced emissions but in terms of its range it is eclipsed by conventional diesels can that travel up to 1,000 miles on a single tank of fuel. Critics have also pointed to the use of battery technology that, potentially, takes up payload volume and adds weight.

Tesla has reportedly shown prototypes to early fleet customers, while the Semi vehicle itself is expected to reach production in 18 to 24 months’ time.

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Every Jaguar and Land Rover model range launched from 2020 will offer electrified option

Jaguar Land Rover has made a commitment that from 2020 all its new vehicle ranges will be available with electrified powertrains.

The company made the announcement at its inaugural Tech Fest, which is open to the public between September 8 and September 10 at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London

New electric models from Jaguar’s past, present and future are on display, highlighting the brand’s electric intentions.

Dr Ralf Speth, Jaguar Land Rover chief executive officer, said: “Every new Jaguar Land Rover model line will be electrified from 2020, giving our customers even more choice. We will introduce a portfolio of electrified products across our model range, embracing fully electric, plug-in hybrid and mild hybrid vehicles. Our first fully electric performance SUV, the Jaguar I-Pace, goes on sale next year.”

At the event is the debut of the Jaguar Future-Type, a vision for the car of 2040 and beyond. The fully autonomous virtual concept explores mobility for the connected world of tomorrow, where vehicles could be shared not owned.

Jaguar Land Rover says with Future Type’s interface you can separately access your different digital orbits of work, family or play, dialling up what you do need, and dialling down what you don’t.

At its heart is Sayer – a voice activated steering wheel that will be able to carry out hundreds of tasks. The advanced speech recognition software will allow it to answer questions, connect to the news, organise travel and select entertainment.

According to the manufacturer it is not just the ‘key’ to your car, it’s your membership card for an on-demand service club which offers either sole ownership or the option of sharing the car with others in your community.

Also on display is the electric Jaguar E-type Zero. Acclaimed by Enzo Ferrari as “the most beautiful car in the world”, the E-type now features electric power for the first time.

E-type Zero is based on a 1968 Series 1.5 Roadster and features a cutting-edge electric powertrain for 0-60mph in just 5.5sec. It was engineered by Jaguar Classic at the company’s new Classic Works in Warwickshire, UK.

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Orio launches life initiative

Orio has launched the ‘Parts for Life’ initiative offering a lifetime warranty on original Saab parts as well as helping to raise money to protect endangered wildlife species.

Orio, the exclusive supplier of Saab original parts, has invested more than ever before to launch a special initiative offering a lifetime warranty on original parts, to help preserve the remaining Saab vehicles on the road.

When a Saab car has been repaired with original parts, the owner can activate the lifetime warranty at www.partsforlife.com. The aim of the campaign is to show the status of Saab as an iconic car brand around the world, whilst also creating an opportunity to educate and encourage the usage of genuine original spare parts.

The initiative will also see Orio work with Nordens Ark to make a yearly contribution towards its work to protect endangered species.

Jonas Tegström, CEO Orio AB, said, ‘With the Parts for Life initiative and our work together with Nordens Ark, we want to educate about the importance of conservation, preservation, and diversity; not only of cars but also of all things we share on this planet.’

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UK new car market reports slower August as more buyers await new 67-plate

The UK new car market reported its fifth consecutive month of decline in August, according to figures published by SMMT. Registrations fell -6.4%, after a record August in 2016.

However, with more than 76,000 new cars registered, the performance still represents the third biggest August in 10 years. Year to date, the market remained broadly in line with expectations, down -2.4%, with 1,640,241 new cars joining British roads in the first eight months.

Superminis and small family cars remained the most popular types in August, accounting for more than half (58.3%) of registrations. However, SUVs, larger family cars and executives were the only segments to grow, up 7.9%, 2.2% and 1.1% respectively.

Meanwhile, more people chose to get behind the wheel of an alternatively fuelled vehicle (AFV) than ever before in the month, accounting for a 5.2% share of the market.2 Demand for petrol hybrid and pure electric battery powered cars increased substantially, up 74.9% and 62.5%, while plug-in hybrid registrations rose 38.5%. Conventional petrols grew 3.8% and diesels fell -21.3%.

Mike Hawes

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “August is typically a quiet month for the new car market as consumers and businesses delay purchases until the arrival of the new number plate in September. With the new 67-plate now available and a range of new models in showrooms, we anticipate the continuation of what are historically high levels of demand.”

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First online warranty-service plan hybrid launched for used car buyers

The Warranty Group is claiming it has launched the first online warranty-service plan hybrid product for used car buyers.

The new Service Plus offering is designed to provide a complete aftersales product with a simple pricing scheme based on engine size.

The Warranty Group said the cover is designed to be paid for through equal monthly payments which it said would make it easier for dealers to add to their online car sales processes on a single web page.

“A growing number of used car sales are happening online and this trend looks set to continue but it is not easy to integrate added-value products like extended warranties and service plans into those processes without adding quite a lot of complication. Before you know it, you are adding a web page to cover each different product, which is too much,” said Rich Green, CEO, UK and Europe.

“However, not offering added-value products has a twofold impact. The customer is not given access to warranties and service plans that may be useful to them and which they want or need, and the dealer misses out on an important customer retention and profit tool.

“This is why we see Service Plus as something that is potentially highly innovative in this area and can solve the online added value product issue. It provides a single payment option for customers to include as part of their online car purchase, probably following their finance choice.”

The product was trialled by dealers last year with The Warranty Group saying it has also had interest for the service from outside the car retailing sector.

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Ben Blog – Supporting a loved one with dementia

Finding out that a friend, partner or relative has dementia is likely to be frightening and upsetting. It can bring changes to your relationship and challenges to overcome – particularly as those with dementia rely increasingly on support. However, there is plenty of help and advice available from Ben to help you through this difficult time.

What can you do if someone you know has dementia?
Download the Ben Physical health leaflet


For all life’s twists and turns, get in touch with Ben for help with any aspect of your health and well-being. Their free and confidential helpline/online chat is available from 8am-8pm every week day.

Tel:  08081 311 333

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Mobile phones – changes to VAT charging

IAAF Service Member, Xecutive Search, has drawn attention to the fact that HMRC has published a policy paper explaining a change to the VAT treatment of mobile phone usage. What do you need to know from November 2017?

Current. VAT is charged when you use your mobile phone within the EU, but not when you use it outside. This is due to the “use and enjoyment” rule. Outside the EU, usage is treated as taking place where the service is consumed, not where the customer lives (as is the case for EU usage).

Example. Sian lives in Basingstoke. She goes on holiday to Brisbane, Australia. As the service is consumed in Australia, i.e. outside the EU, VAT is not charged.

Inconsistent. This approach was adopted before the EU decided to follow the current place of supply rules for telecommunication services. These apply VAT in the country where the user of the phone lives. There is therefore a discrepancy between UK and EU treatment.

Change. The UK will adopt the EU approach from 1 November 2017 when it will be irrelevant where the user is physically located – UK tax will be charged on all mobile phone usage. The reason HMRC gives for the change is that the current rules are capable of being exploited to avoid tax on UK usage by some businesses.

Impact. The obvious impact is increased costs for outside-EU usage. If you pay for mobile phones for business use by employees who travel internationally, you are likely to notice this. The good news is that if you are a VAT-registered business, the rules currently allow you to reclaim all input tax suffered – even if there is private use of the phone.

Tip. If you recharge your employees for private calls, you can still recover the VAT in full, but remember to account for the output tax on the amount you charge them.

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IAAF Conference aims to tackle ‘real’ aftermarket issues

The 2017 IAAF Conference, sponsored by Autoparts UK, will focus on the real issues facing the automotive aftermarket in a post Brexit world.

Taking place in The Players’ suite, at the DoubleTree by Hilton, Milton Keynes, on Thursday 7th December 2017, the conference will look at the complexities of the Brexit negotiations and explore how the Brexit decision will affect the UK automotive aftermarket.

Will this be the key influencer in the marketplace over the next few years or do developments in the connected car and extended vehicle pose a real game changer? Will the government’s decision to ban diesel and petrol cars from 2040 provide a risk or opportunity for us?

Wendy Williamson addressing the 2016 conference

With speakers signed up from across the industry, the conference will also examine other key industry topics such as: The future of the sector, how motor sport influences the aftermarket and, challenges in running a garage in 2017, technological threats facing the sector and, the latest activity from within the EU.

Conference delegates will also be given exclusive access into the aftermarket’s contribution to the UK economy; how the distribution structure is consolidating and its prospects for the future and how trends in car ownership are changing.

Speakers include: Dr. Julia Saini (Frost & Sullivan), Quentin Le Hetet (GIPA), Alistair Preston (whocanfixmycar), Caroline Lake (Caroline’s Cars), Olaf Henning (MAHLE), Steve Nash (IMI) and Neil Pattemore (FIGIEFA).

Wendy Williamson, IAAF chief executive, said: “The expertise, experience and insight provided by our speakers will, I believe, feature in the future strategic planning of all those that attend. We’re looking at the future, but we also recognise the pressures faced by our members today and will aim to provide some clarity and insight into these challenges.”

The Conference will be facilitated by Johnny Herbert, widely recognised as one of the greatest all-round racing drivers in the history of motorsport.

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Roadworthiness testing for vehicles of historical interest

The outcome from the ‘Roadworthiness testing for vehicles of historic interest’ consultation was released on 14 September 2017.

The decision reached was that most vehicles over 40 years old (on a rolling basis) will now be exempt from MOT testing.

Those that have been ‘substantially changed’ will still require yearly testing. Draft guidance has been prepared as to what constitutes “substantial change” in the context of old vehicles. It is planned that the guidance will be finalised during November 2017. If you have any questions or feedback about it please contact roadworthinesstesting@dft.gsi.gov.uk.

The consultation received 2,217 responses, including from:

  • owners
  • car clubs
  • trade bodies
  • businesses
  • public bodies

Legislation is now being introduced in Parliament to bring the proposed changes into effect.

To see the full outcome and the supporting documentation from the Consultation, CLICK HERE.