IAAF Award Ceremony applauds aftermarket champions

The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) Annual Awards & Dinner 2017 welcomed industry professionals with a ‘fresh new look’, as it celebrated the hard work carried out by the independent aftermarket over the past year.

The prestigious event, held for the first time at the DoubleTree by Hilton, Milton Keynes, was larger than in previous years with close to 600 guests in
attendance. Sponsored by Automotive Alliance Group, it again united the aftermarket for its distinguished annual gathering, presenting professionals with the opportunity to network over a four-course meal set in state-of-the-art surroundings.

IAAF President, Lawrence Bleasdale, addressing guests at the 2017 IAAF Dinner

Guests were kept entertained throughout the course of the evening by IAAF’s guest speaker and world renowned F1 driver Johnny Herbert, one of the greatest all-round racing drivers in the history of motorsport, as he shared highlights of his illustrious career with the audience.

Talented duo Limerence performed for the nearly 600 guests in attendance with a live after-dinner acoustic set.

The IAAF Annual Awards were also announced and runners up and winners were as follows:

Car Distributor of Excellence
Winner: Autosupplies (Chesterfield)
Runner Up: Fast Parts Wales

Autosupplies (Chesterfield) receiving their award from Martin Pring (L) from Award Sponsor Denso and Johnny Herbert (2nd from right)

Car Supplier of Excellence
Winner: MAHLE Aftermarket Ltd
Runner Up: Apec Braking

MAHLE Aftermarket receiving their award from Award Sponsor Elcome and Johnny Herbert

CV Supplier of Excellence
Winner: Roadlink International
Runner Up: Exol Lubricants

Roadlink International receiving their award from Johnny Herbert and IAAF President Lawrence Bleasdale

CV Distributor of Excellence
Winner: David Huggett Motor Factors
Runner Up: DB Wilson & Co.

David Huggett MF receiving their award from Award Sponsor Boswell Aftermarket and Johnny Herbert

All guests were able to make a charitable donation to the automotive industry charity, BEN, which, when combined with the two IAAF golf days, successfully raised nearly £10,000.

IAAF chief executive, Wendy Williamson, said: “We’re thrilled with another successful awards dinner and what a fantastic new location to hold it in. It is
great to welcome even more guests this year and see a whole host of new members enjoying a superb evening. We’re already looking forward to doing it all again next year!”

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Double-digit decline for new van market in November

The SMMT has released figures s howing that new light commercial vehicle (LCV) registrations experienced a double-digit decline in November. The market fell -11.1%, with 26,486 new vans and pick-ups registered – the third consecutive monthly fall.

SMMT figures for UK van registrations YTD November 2017

All segments experienced declines, with demand for smaller vans falling the most, down -21.7%. Pick-ups were next, down -14.4%, followed by 4x4s, larger vans, and vans weighing 2.0T-2.5T, which dropped -10.0%, -9.4%, and -8.9% respectively. Year-to-date, the LCV market has fallen -4.1% with 334,133 new vans joining UK roads, broadly in line with expectations.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “While the market decline is worrying, it remains at an historically high level. Nevertheless, economic and political uncertainty continues to affect business confidence and with it new van purchasing patterns which is damaging, both for the market and for efforts to improve air quality. Getting more of the latest, Euro 6 LCVs onto our roads is the fastest way to reduce emissions so, to avoid a prolonged downturn, it is vital that government works to restore the conditions that give operators confidence to invest in their fleets.”

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£80M set aside for EV battery development

The government has allocated £80m for the development of a national centre in Coventry which will develop batteries for electric cars.

The National Battery Manufacturing Development Facility (NBMDF) could create upward of 10,000 jobs.

According to the Coventry Telegraph, the NBMDF will see the development of the next generation of battery systems across battery chemistry, electrodes, cell design, module and pack level and will see a partnership between academia and industry.

Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, made the announcement following a bid by WMG at the University of Warwick, Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership and Coventry City Council.

Professor Lord Bhattacharyya, chairman of WMG said, ‘We are delighted to have been successful in the bid to create this new national battery facility here in the Midlands. Working with industry and the supply chain we will develop and expand battery R&D which will see the creation of skilled jobs and developments within the automotive sector.

‘Coventry and the sub region has a significant contribution to make in the delivery of the UK’s national industrial strategy, being in a strong position to lead the advancement of battery development, and vehicle electrification and autonomous vehicles. It will be at the heart of the drive to make the city a smart motor city.’

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said, ‘Battery technology is one of the most game-changing forms of energy innovation and it is one of the cornerstones of our ambition, through the Industrial Strategy and the Faraday Challenge, to ensure that the UK leads the world, and reaps the economic benefits, in the global transition to a low carbon economy.

‘The new facility, based in Coventry and Warwickshire, will propel the UK forward in this thriving area, bringing experts from academia and industry together to deliver innovation and R&D that will further enhance the West Midlands’ international reputation as a cluster of automotive excellence.’

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Preparing for the General Data Protection Regulation (Part 4)

Every business should start to consider whether it is necessary for them to put systems in place to verify individuals’ ages and to obtain parental or guardian consent for any data processing activity.

For the first time, the GDPR will bring in special protection for children’s personal data, particularly in the context of commercial internet services such as social networking. If your business offers online services (‘information society services’) to children and relies on consent to collect information about them, then a parent or guardian’s consent may be necessary in order to process their personal data lawfully. The GDPR sets the age when a child can give their own consent to this processing at 16 (although this may be lowered to a minimum of 13 in the UK). If a child is younger then consent must be sought from a person holding ‘parental responsibility’.

This could have significant implications if an organisation offers online services to children and collects their personal data. Remember that consent has to be verifiable and that when collecting children’s data the privacy notice must be written in language that children will understand.

Data breaches
It is necessary to ensure that the correct procedures are in place to detect, report and investigate a personal data breach.

Some businesses are already required to notify the ICO (and possibly some other bodies) when they suffer a personal data breach. The GDPR introduces a duty on all organisations to report certain types of data breach to the ICO, and in some cases, to individuals. It is only necessary to notify the ICO of a breach where it is likely to result in a risk to the rights and freedoms of individuals – if, for example, it could result in discrimination, damage to reputation, financial loss, loss of confidentiality or any other significant economic or social disadvantage.

Where a breach is likely to result in a high risk to the rights and freedoms of individuals, it will also be necessary to notify those concerned directly in most cases.

Procedures should be put in place to effectively detect, report and investigate a personal data breach. It may be desirable to assess the types of personal data held and document where it would be necessary to notify the ICO or affected individuals if a breach occurs. Larger organisations will need to develop policies and procedures for managing data breaches. Failure to report a breach when required to do so could result in a fine, as well as a fine for the breach itself.

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Taxation of Termination Payments – an update from Xecutive Search

Changes to the tax and National Insurance Contributions (NICs) treatment of termination payments are due to come into effect from 6 April 2018.Changes to the tax and National Insurance Contributions (NICs) treatment of termination payments are due to come into effect from 6 April 2018.

In summary the key changes are that all payments directly or indirectly covering notice pay will be fully subject to tax and NICs, whilst all termination payments over £30,000 will attract employers’ NICs.
However, since the process for putting these changes into legislation began, HMRC has announced two further changes.

The main change is one which has only recently been announced. The income tax and NIC changes were all meant to come into effect at the same time (ie 6 April 2018). However, the NICs changes will now come into effect on two different dates:

  1. All income tax changes and all but one of the NIC changes will take effect on 6 April 2018, but
  2. Termination payments above £30,000 will only become subject to employers’ NICs from 6 April 2019.

This will therefore give all employers an extra year in which to make payments above £30,000 free of employers’ NICs.

The second change will affect fewer employers as it only affects employees who have overseas employment as part of their employment history.

HMRC have said that foreign service relief (FSR) will after all be retained for non-UK resident employees but not for employees who are UK resident (with an exception for UK resident seafarers).

Human Resources departments should carefully consider the impact of the changes to the termination payments regime coming into effect over the next few years. There could be substantially different after-tax and NIC treatments depending when payments are made.

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Obstruction of Fire Exits Leads to a £60K Fine for Employer

The period leading up to Christmas is always a busy time for businesses, especially those taking frequent deliveries of product into their premises to meet the additional demands of their customer base. This must not be done at the risk to the safety of occupants within the business and its customers.

Recently, sportswear retailer JD Sports was fined £60,000 after firefighters found that piles of stock ordered for the Christmas rush had blocked emergency exits at one of its stores. West Midlands Fire Service found that escape routes at the JD Sports shop in the Merry Hill shopping centre in Brierley Hill was lined with crates and stock, reducing the width of one corridor to just 30cm. The employer was fined £60,000 after Fire Inspectors found that piles of stock ordered for the Christmas rush had blocked emergency exits.

Wolverhampton Magistrates Court heard that Fire Inspectors visited the store in December 2015 as part of routine pre-Christmas programme of visits. They found that too much stock had been ordered, causing an overstock problem with clothes rails blocking the store’s fire escapes.

Inspectors for the fire service left staff at the shop with instructions to clear the exit routes, but when the Inspectors returned two weeks later they found that their advice had been ignored.

A Fire Risk Assessment carried out by the firm (18 months before the visit by the West Midlands Fire Service) had identified problems with escape routes being blocked by packaging waste. This Fire Risk Assessment had recommended that the waste be removed and that a Store Manager should check fire escape routes every day.

In court JD Sports Fashion admitted six offences. District Judge Michael Wheeler fined the store £10,000 for each charge and also ordered the Employer to pay £7464 in costs. In summing up the District Judge said; said: “The problems that existed seem to have arisen, at least in part, because of stock management problems. It is worrying to me that the problems had been identified in its own risk assessment some 18 months beforehand.”

A Fire Inspection Officer at West Midlands Fire Service, said: “It beggars belief that the company compromised the safety of their staff and Christmas shoppers in this way. He went on to say; “In spite of our warning that we would be revisiting, breaches were again identified when we returned two weeks later.” He added; “We do everything we can to advise businesses on fire safety, but we will not hesitate to prosecute if our advice is ignored.” He concluded by saying; “Retailers must realise they can’t put profit before people’s safety by over-stocking, reducing the width of escape routes and blocking fire exit routes.”

Recommended Action:

  1. Check that all designated fire escape routes and fire exits are clear (unobstructed) and adequately sign-posted.
  2. Review the site-specific Fire Risk Assessment – if needed, add to the assessment the requirement that a nominated person is to check (every day) that fire escape routes and fire exits are clear.
  3. A nominated person for the site should carry out random checks to ensure that fire escape routes and fire exits are clear.
  4. Employees should be reminded that they must not obstruct fire exits; for example by parking cars in very close proximity to designated fire doors etc.
  5. Consider having a Fire Evacuation Drill to test the response of all persons on site over the next 2 weeks.Your Comments

Volkswagen manager gets seven-year sentence for dieselgate role

A US based Volkswagen AG executive, Oliver Schmidt, who pleaded guilty for his role in the Volkswagen emission scandal, has been sentenced to seven years in prison by a Michigan federal court.

Schmidt, a German national responsible for Volkswagen’s environmental and engineering office in Michigan, pleaded guilty earlier this year to one count of defrauding the US and another for violating the Clean air Act.

“It is my opinion that you are a key conspirator in this scheme to defraud the United States. You saw this as your opportunity to shine and climb the corporate ladder at VW,” said federal judge Sean Cox who handed down the seven year sentence.

Schmidt first learned about the company’s emissions-testing evasion scheme in the summer of 2015.

In August, VW engineer James Liang was sentenced to 40 months in prison for his role in helping the German carmaker cheat US emissions tests.

Liang and Schmidt are among eight VW executives criminally charged for their alleged roles in the scheme.

The charges followed VW’s admission in September 2015 that about 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide were outfitted with so-called defeat devices that helped them pass emissions testing.

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Car industry faces £4.5bn bill with a no-deal Brexit

SMMT President Tony Walker, in his address at the recent SMMT annual dinner, urged government not to undermine the industry’s hard-won competitiveness and called for quicker progress on agreeing a transition period following Brexit.

He stated that the lack of progress over Brexit was already having an impact on the automotive sector: “We have huge challenges. Consumer confidence has fallen leading to a downturn in sales. Uncertainty about Brexit – and market confusion over diesel – are taking their toll.”

He spoke as SMMT released new figures illustrating the high stakes of a no deal Brexit for the sector. The risk comes not just from costly WTO tariffs – which would add at least £4.5 billion to the industry’s annual overheads – but also from the imposition of customs checks, red tape and fees on goods that currently move friction free across borders.

Every day, more than 1,100 trucks for UK car plants cross into the UK from the continent – the vast majority without being checked at customs – to deliver some £35 million worth of components to UK vehicle and engine plants. And every day, these components help build 6,600 cars and 9,800 engines – the bulk of which are then shipped back to EU customers and assembly plants.

The automotive sector has been keen to highlight that the latest Euro 6 vehicles bring significant benefits in terms of low emissions and meeting our climate change targets, and these newer, cleaner vehicles should not be unfairly penalised in government plans.

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Islington Council to introduce £2 parking surcharge for all diesel vehicles

Islington Council has gone a step further than the Mayor of London by proposing to impose on all diesel vehicles – including Euro 6 diesels and diesel hybrids – a £2 per hour visitor parking surcharge from early next year.

Unlike central London’s T-charge, which permits Euro 4 diesel vehicles, and the forthcoming ultra-low emission zone, which will allow Euro 6 diesel vehicles, the council is targeting all diesel vehicles with its surcharge.

It has reiterated its call for the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to ban all diesel vehicles from Greater London by 2025.

The council already has a diesel surcharge in place for resident parking permits and believes the short-stay visitor parking charge will help to discourage the use of diesel vehicles and reduce harmful emissions in the borough.

It estimates that between 25-30% of the 1.59 million short-stay visitor parking sessions are made by diesel and heavy oil vehicles

The report recommending the surcharge was considered by the council executive on 23 November, and will be available on the council website.

A growing number of councils including Camden, Hackney, Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster have all introduced similar parking policies in recent years.

Westminster Council introduced its parking surcharge for pre-2015 diesel vehicles in June this year, following a trial.

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