CAT Awards 2018 – The results

The sky cleared and the sun shone for the 2018 CAT Awards held at the Lowry Hotel in Manchester on 9 February and was this year sponsored by Automechaniak Birmingham. The Car & Accessory Trader Awards rewards the most successful businesses in the industry, as voted for by members of the public and those within the independent automotive aftermarket.

Over 120 aftermarket professionals gathered to enjoy the networking lunch and to find out who scooped the trophies.

The winners are as follows:

Large Garage of the Year (sponsored by Haynes Pro): Motoserv UK
Independent Garage of the Year (sponsored by Euro Repar): AAK auto Services
Retailer of the Year (sponsored by Haynes): Wrexham Motoring Supplies
Factor Team of the Year (sponsored by Breck): Bridgend Motor Factor
Factor Chain of the Year (sponsored by Boswell Insurance): AutoParts UK
Supplier of the Year (sponsored by PG Automotive): NGK Spark Plugs (UK)
Outstanding Achievement (sponsored by Noco): Terry Wainwright

Craig McCracken (L) of Autoparts UK receiving his award from Joe Howard of Boswells 

Autoparts UK, as one of the fastest growing car parts distributors, with 12 branches across Scotland and the North of England, views this accolade as a reflection of its continued business investment, including its 70,000 sqft distribution warehouse. Craig McCracken, group factor manager said: “We are delighted to win this highly sought-after award – this is a huge win for us and highlights the exceptional service the entire team delivers throughout the year. We would like to thank everyone who took the time to vote for us and it’s humbling that our hard work has been acknowledged in this way.”

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New IAAF video goes live

Following the successful IAAF Conference held in Milton Keynes in December 2017, the IAAF has produced a new video for the federation’s website.

The new video features clips from attendees at the annual conference and offers a direct insight into the activities IAAF is involved in, alongside its many member benefits and the specialist advice it offers.

To view the video and gain a greater understanding of IAAF’s work and role within the independent automotive aftermarket, CLICK HERE.

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Euro Car Parts announces first-to-market ADAS training course

Euro Car Parts has announced a first-to-market ADAS training course as part of its Euro Academy offering.

Working in partnership with diagnostics specialist Hella, the one-day course aims to help repairers understand how to service and calibrate camera and radar-based Advanced Driver Assist Systems. The intermediate course is the only one of its kind to be accredited by the IMI Quality Assurance Programme.

ADAS systems have been fitted to vehicles since the early 1990s. Since 2016, new vehicles require a minimum of two ADAS systems installed to qualify for a five-star NCAP Safety Rating. These consist of Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) and Lane Departure Warning, both of which are covered by the Euro Academy course.

Bill Stimson, technical sales director at Euro Car Parts, commented: “ADAS has significant implications for independent repairers and it is essential that technicians are equipped to service these systems safely. By offering this one-day course, accredited by the IMI, we are delivering on our pledge to help independent repairers work on every type of vehicle.”

Euro Car Parts has also announced a new two-day course on the operation, maintenance, repair and adjustment of six and seven speed DSG dual clutch gearboxes. The course aims to help repairers gain an understanding of the practices required to successfully carry out diagnosis, maintenance and repair of DSG gearboxes and associated controls.

For more information on the Euro Academy CLICK HERE.

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IAAF Awards 2017 follow-up

IAAF Membership Development Manager Mike Smallbone paid a visit to D B Wilson Jnr & Co Ltd premises in Glasgow to belatedly present them with their runners-up trophy in the CV Distributor category.

David Wilson Jnr. was extremely pleased to receive the award and said it would sit in pride of place next to the winners award the company received in 2012.

David Wilson Jnr (R) receiving his runners-up trophy from Mike Smallbone

The company is one of the UK’s leading suppliers of commercial vehicle equipment parts and batteries, with over 70 years’ experience in the trade. Their industry and product knowledge is unchallenged throughout Glasgow and the surrounding area, and also throughout the UK. DB Wilson is a long-standing member of Groupauto and strong supporters of the work of the IAAF.

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Government releases guidance on MOT exemption for forty-year-old classics

The Department for Transport has published definitions covering the 40-year exemption for vehicles of historic interest and what modifications are acceptable.

Vehicles over forty-years-old will be MOT exempt from May 20, 2018 on a rolling basis.

However, vehicles that have been substantially changed within the previous 30 years will still require an MOT.

In its official guidance, the Department for Transport said: “A vehicle will be considered substantially changed if the technical characteristics of the main components have changed in the previous 30 years, unless the changes fall into specific categories.”

The main components have been identified as the chassis or monocoque bodyshell including any sub-frames, engine, axles and running gear.

Chassis replacements of the same pattern as the original, alternative cubic capacities of the same basic engine and alternative OE engines are not considered a substantial change.

Any modifications made to preserve a vehicle when original parts are no longer available and, in respect of running gear, improve efficiency or safety are acceptable.

MOT change means forty-year-old classic vehicles to be given exemption
Exemption from MOT for vehicles of historic interest will be administered through the vehicle tax renewal process.

It will be the responsibility of owners to declare whether their vehicle meets the requirements.

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DAF Trucks dominate market share for 2017 despite drop

Figures released by the SMMT have confirmed that DAF Trucks topped the UK CV market with 29.5% market share.

The SMMT release confirmed 13,301 registrations and saw DAF Trucks end 2017 with a 29.5% share of the market – almost twice that of its nearest competitor.

DAF Trucks’ performance is set against a slight drop of 2.6% in overall market registrations in 2017 – from 46,231 in 2016 to 45,045.

The DAF Dealer network, spread over 136 locations, returned an overall 96.7% MoT first-time-pass-rate, after submitting 33,543 vehicles for MoT in 2017.

DAF Trucks’ managing director Robin Easton (pictured) said: “Another year, and another record-breaking performance from DAF Trucks and our DAF Dealer network.

“Our dominant position in the UK market is the result of two key factors – a fantastic product range, which was completely updated last year, and which is already delivering productivity benefits for customers, and industry-leading services and support from our Dealer network.

“Outstanding product quality was rubber-stamped by the 2018 International Truck of the Year award for the New CF and New XF.

“With a strong order book for our updated product range, which is delivering significant fuel savings for our customers, I expect us to consolidate, if not further strengthen, our position in 2018.

“The up-to 7% fuel economy improvement of the New CF and New XF can mean over £3000 per truck, per year off operators’ fuel bills.”

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Automechanika Birmingham – Sponsorship Opportunities

Automechanika Birmingham has released its Sponsorship Opportunities brochure for the 2018 event which will be taking place from 5-5 June this year.

The show organisers have stressed that the opportunities are offered strictly on first-come-first-served basis.

Any company activating a sponsorship worth more than £7.5k will automatically become an Event Partner, which unlocks additional promotional opportunity pre-show and onsite at the UKs leading automotive industry trade show.

In addition, there will be an Exhibitor Day on 1st March. This will be an exclusive networking event including lunch, pre-show contractor discounts, press and media coverage, exhibitor training and there will be a special exhibitor competition announcement.

For full details of both the sponsorship opportunities and the Exhibitor Day, visit the Automechanika website by CLICKING HERE.

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Stadium Garage in Doncaster have been named Best Garage in the Trax FM Radio Award

Stadium Garage in Doncaster, a Groupauto Approved Garage, have been named Best Garage in the Trax FM Radio Awards. Trax FM 107.1 & 107.9 is the local radio station for Doncaster & Bassetlaw. The Trax Awards are designed to celebrate all that’s good in Doncaster, offering local people the chance to vote for their favourite local services.

Stadium Garage was nominated for best garage alongside Stoneacre Motor Group and were thrilled to win the award against tough competition.

Congratulations to Mark and the team at Stadium Garage. To watch Mark receiving his award CLICK HERE.

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Launch UK awarded Best Business 2017 by Launch Europe

Launch UK has been awarded the “Best Launch Business 2017” accolade by the brand’s European division.

As the only genuine distributor of Launch products in the UK, the award for the Plymouth-based operation is in recognition of the high quality of its customer service and its commitment to supporting customers in all areas of business.

Launch offers an array of diagnostics solutions for automotive enthusiasts, professionals and businesses alike, including the acclaimed X-431 range of OE level diagnostic equipment. The full potential of its range has increasingly gathered momentum across the aftermarket in the past few years, thanks to Launch UK’s focus on promoting connectivity and diagnosis to a wider vehicle parc.

Dave Richards, Launch UK managing director said: “We’re thrilled to add this accolade to our collection and it is a reflection of our leading position in the UK aftermarket. The diagnostic market is complex but we are the only genuine source of Launch products in the UK, backed up with extensive technical support and 24-month warranty.

Dave Richards

“To be named best business is a testament to the hard work and commitment the UK team puts in to developing the brand and supporting customers.”

The X431 PRO range available from Launch UK is renowned for its versatility and ability to diagnose vehicle faults remotely on 90 percent of all European, Asian and American vehicle brands. Using a 7 or 10.1-inch screen on a handy touch-screen tablet, the PRO has been designed to enhance functionality for the user.

The recent addition to the range, the X-431 Euro Tab, comes with a two-year warranty, two years subscription and FREE printer, to offer one of the most up-to-date, comprehensive diagnostics packages available on the market today.

Due to be launched at the end of February is the new Euro Tab 4, promising more features and benefits for technicians and offering the best in Launch technology.

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ASA finds Servicing Stop advert ‘misleading’

The ASA received two complaints over claims made on repair aggregator Servicing Stop’s website.

One complainant, who believed that Servicing Stop continuously charged the ‘sale’ price for their services and that the savings were therefore not genuine, challenged whether the savings claims quoted within the ads were misleading and could be substantiated, while the other complaint challenged whether the prices were misleading because their vehicle required a specific oil with VM approval that incurred an extra charge.

On the first complaint, the ASA looked at a series of complex savings offered on the website that were promoted as being ‘up to 60 percent off’. In response, Servicing Stop stated that at certain points throughout the year, they ran sales during quiet periods. It provided the ASA with dated and undated invoices showing the price history of the Kia Sedona vehicle servicing. It said that the period of time for which the new lower discounted price was available was not longer than the period of time that the item was listed for at the previous higher price.

It provided a spreadsheet of the sale dates for the servicing of the Kia Sedona and Honda CRV vehicle models over a six-month period from April 2017 to October 2017. There were variations between the ‘previous’ prices stated over this period. Its data showed that the Honda CRV services were on sale for a total of 37 days over a six-month period and the Kia Sedona had a sale period of 41 days over the same six-month period. It explained that there were fluctuations between the previous prices due to the many variants in price between the number of makes multiplied by the number of postcodes.

The ASA disagreed, noting that the ‘previous’ price varied when the discounted price remained the same. It told Servicing Stop to ‘ensure savings claims are genuine’. However, on the price of VM specific oil, the ASA noted that the aggregator put a disclaimer in saying that the price of such oil can vary. As a result, it was not in breach on this complaint.

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