GiPA Irish market data now available

GiPA’s Republic of Ireland driver survey results are now available, providing an in-depth analysis of the car market of the Emerald Isle.GiPA’s Republic of Ireland driver survey results are now available, providing an in-depth analysis of the car market of the Emerald Isle.

Having studied the Irish car parc and its characteristics, driver behaviour, workshop entries, and local player market shares, GiPA can now support you and your activities in Ireland.

As part of the package, clients will receive:

  • Driver survey (1,000 drivers) report
  • Marketing cards: Air conditioning, battery, brake parts, filters, lighting, oil change, plugs, tyres, and more….
  • Addons: Lubricant & tyre market brand awareness

For more information about the GiPA Irish drivers survey, available now, please download the report summary from the GiPA website, or contact them directly via email ([email protected]) or by phone (020 361 72180).

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SMPE makes new managerial appointments

Ross Toomey becomes MD and Richard Morley joins as Commercial Director

Standard Motor Products Europe (SMPE) has made a series of managerial changes with Ross Toomey becoming Managing Director and Richard Morley (below) returning to the company as Commercial Director. Previous Managing Director Ian Turner has become Chairman.

Toomey has been with the business for more than seven years, having previously occupied the role of Sales Director.

Morley has been in the automotive industry for more than 30 years having previously enjoyed sales and marketing roles at Hella, Klarius and Ring Automotive. It will be his second stint with SMPE having worked for the company from 1991 to 2003.

Managing Director, Ross Toomey, said: “Richard’s experience and expertise in the automotive industry will prove vital as we embark on an exciting period of growth and development for the business, both in the UK and through our thriving export business.”

Commenting on his new appointment, Commercial Director Richard Morley said: “SMPE is very much an “unsung hero” in the automotive aftermarket but, throughout its 50 years in business, has grown to become the largest supplier of engine management programmes available.

“The company’s commitment to product development and engineering is unrivalled and it is my aim to ensure customers reap the benefits of what it has to offer.”

Just recently, SMPE secured the rights to supply its engine management programme under the iconic Lucas brand. SMPE will export the Lucas brand programme to develop and grow sales in Europe, outside of UK and Eire.

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UK motor industry issues warning shot on CO2 targets as anti diesel backlash means UK could miss environmental goals

The UK automotive industry is calling for realistic policies from government to support the transition to a low carbon future, with a warning that the anti-diesel agenda and slow take-up of electric vehicles could mean industry misses its next round of CO2 targets in 2021, with negative consequences for the UK’s own climate change goals

The move came as a new report published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) confirmed that the fleet average CO2 of newly registered cars rose for the first time on record in 2017 – despite vehicles becoming ever more efficient.

The SMMT New Car CO2 Report 2018: Driving the transition to a low carbon future reveals that carbon tailpipe emissions rose for the first time in two decades last year, by 0.8% to 121.0g/km. This despite cars being ever more efficient, with new and updated models in 2017 emitting, on average, -12.6% less CO2 than those they replaced.

However, this was not enough to offset a -17.1% decline in new diesel registrations as confusion over government policy caused buyers to hold back. Because diesel cars typically consume less fuel than petrol equivalents they emit, on average, 15-20% less CO2, and about half last year’s overall CO2 rise was attributable to this decline in diesel demand. Meanwhile, a substantial fall in registrations of smaller cars also had a significant effect, as falling consumer confidence hit the lower end of the market.

The increase in the fleet average new car CO2 figure follows 19 years of reductions thanks to massive investment in new, advanced engine, fuel and battery technology, as well as the use of lightweight materials such as aluminium and composites. These ongoing improvements mean average CO2 is still a third (-33.1%) lower than in 2000.

The light commercial vehicle sector, 96% of which is powered by diesel, has also shown impressive progress – with new vans last year reducing CO2 by -4.8% – to a new low of 165.4g/km.

The report highlights the importance of internal combustion engines in the UK’s journey to a low carbon future, with 99.5% of the UK’s 2.5 million strong new car market still powered, wholly or in part, by petrol or diesel.

Alongside advances in petrol and diesel vehicle technology, which deliver lower CO2, vastly reduced NOx and almost zero particulates, industry is investing heavily in alternative technologies. More than a fifth of new car models now available are zero emission capable, yet they make up just 5% of sales. For pure battery-powered vehicles, take up is even lower (0.5%).

Incentives have been scaled back and new tax measures imposed on hybrid and plug-in hybrid cars are undermining consumer and industry ambition for these technologies. Given hybrid vehicles outsell battery electric vehicles by a factor of 2.5 to 1, they will be an important part of the transition to the zero emission roads of the future.

The SMMT UK New Car CO2 2018 report charts the UK automotive industry’s progress on new vehicle CO2 reduction over two decades, and sets out its vision for the transition to low carbon motoring. It outlines the technology advances and electrification strategies of car manufacturers selling in the UK, with many committing to offer electric models across their entire product ranges by at least 2025.

The report also calls for collective action from all stakeholders, including industry, government, fuel and energy companies, to overcome fears around range anxiety, accessible charging and affordability.

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First autonomous vehicle trial on UK roads to take place in Oxfordshire

The first use of fully connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV) on public roads is set to take place in Oxfordshire, the Government has announced.

Innovate UK has awarded funding of £2.5 million to trial self-driving vehicles in and around Milton Park, the business and science hub near Didcot.

The vehicles will travel between private roads at Milton Park and the public roads that link the site with nearby transport services.

The 30-month MultiCAV project is led by UK transport operator FirstGroup and will be undertaken by a consortium of organisations with different sector backgrounds who are investing in the development of autonomous vehicles.

Commuters to the site will be able to connect with the self-driving pods from local transport services, while booking and paying for their trip in one easy process.

It is hoped that by the end of the trial, up to 50% of private vehicle journeys within the business park will switch to using the shared, electric-powered pods.

Richard Harrington, BEIS Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Minister for Business and Energy, said: “Through these competitions, we are offering innovative businesses support to take their projects to the next level and help them achieve commercial success.”

Innovate UK Chief Executive Ruth McKernan said: “The quality and commercial potential of these successful projects demonstrate how UK businesses are developing pioneering connected and autonomous vehicle technologies. The impact will benefit our thriving automotive industry and the economy as a whole.”

Yvonne Constance, Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet member for Environment and Economy, added: “Oxfordshire was the first council to consider autonomous vehicles within its transport policy and has been a supporter of the technology since it’s infancy in the UK.”

The Oxfordshire project was one of 22 connected and autonomous vehicle (CAVs) R&D projects which will share funding following the recent announcement from Innovate.


The UK Government is now supporting 73 connected and autonomous vehicle R&D projects; a portfolio worth around £180 million.

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David Taylor of FPS passes away suddenly

FPS recently released the sad news that David Taylor, their Business Development Manager – Engine, passed away on Monday after a short illness.

His funeral will be taking place at 1.15 p.m. on 13th March 2018 at Dewsbury Moor Crematorium, to be followed by a reception at the Lakeside Restaurant, Ponderosa Rural Therapeutic Centre.  There are family flowers only, but any donations on the day will go to Kirkwood Hospice.

We are sure everyone will wish for their condolences to be passed on to David’s family and friends.

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Ben news hub – Supporting employees in uncertain times

Ben’s latest blog looks at how the current period of uncertainty, both politically and, in some parts of the industry, economically too might impact employees. Whatever the reasons, a feeling of uncertainty is unpleasant and worrying for anyone experiencing it. Employees worried about their future are likely to be stressed, which will affect their overall wellbeing and their ability to stay focused and productive at work.

How can a business help its employees cope during periods of uncertainty?

Take care of you
They say that you have to be OK in yourself before you can be OK for others. So, make sure you take care of yourself. Try to distance yourself from your emotions by first labelling them and seeing them for what they are. Seek the support you need from other management peers in the organisation and your own leader. You may find our article on managing stress useful, not only for yourself but you can share it with your employees too.

Be there
Keep your door open for employees who want to talk to you about their worries and listen to them. Acknowledge their feelings and reassure them as much as is possible to do, but, on the flip side, be careful not to make promises you can’t keep. Say you will keep them informed as and when is appropriate to do so. Ask them if there’s anything they need from you and then respond as needed.

Acknowledge uncertainty
It’s normal for people to feel stressed about uncertainty, so acknowledge this and be understanding. By putting yourself in the shoes of your employees, you’ll understand more where they’re coming from and be better able to support them.

Keep communicating
Keep people informed as much as possible on any changes occurring in your organisation – and communicate about how this will affect them. Be open, transparent and clear in your communication. If you need to, seek specialist advice from HR and legal experts.

Don’t let gossip rule
Counteract hearsay and rumours directly by confirming what’s true and what isn’t so that there are no grey areas. Untrue rumours can be damaging, so quash them whenever possible. If there are a lot of rumours flying around, you could hold a group or ‘all hands’ meeting, addressing everyone at once directly. If appropriate, think about providing some FAQs to help people fully understand the situation.

Don’t over-share
As a leader, your people look to you to be strong, decisive and confident in tricky situations. It’s a good idea not to divulge your own worries to your employees, as it could unsettle them further. This said, as per my first point, make sure you have your own support network so you can offload to them and get advice. No-one is an island and everyone needs help through challenging times!

Empowering people in their work
Feeling out of control isn’t pleasant so it’s a good idea to let employees be in control of the things that they can be. For example, you could let them have more control over their actions and work schedule so they feel more empowered.

Set clear goals
If you can, set clear future goals to put people at ease and keep them focused on what they need to achieve. By keeping them focused on what they need to achieve, they are less likely to focus on anything negative. Have regular meetings to discuss their tasks, goals and achievements.

Encourage more team work
Whenever possible, encourage your people to work together collaboratively on projects and tasks. Group colleagues together who you know get on well and work well together. Sharing is caring and people get strength from each other! Building a sense of community and support is just what you need in uncertain times.

Model and encourage self-care
Openly show that you are taking care of yourself, by exercising, taking time out and not putting in too many long hours. Encourage your employees to do the same. If people seem overloaded, advise them to take some time out.

Ben are there for you
Ben partners exclusively with the automotive industry to provide support for life to its people and their families. Ben partners with businesses to help them improve the health and wellbeing of their workforces, adding value to support greater employee satisfaction, productivity and retention.

Ben also offers tailored HR support including helping companies deal with critical incidents that may affect their people. For more information, visit or contact [email protected].

Ben are there for your people too, so if they need Ben’s help, they can get in touch:

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MAN Trucks begins platooning trials

MAN Truck & Bus is to begin platooning trials with German logistics firm DB Schenker, following the official handover of test vehicles.

The joint project, with involvement from Hochschule Fresenius University of Applied Sciences, was set up in May 2017, with test truck convoys to operate as a part of DB Schenker’s scheduled operations on the A9 between Munich and Nuremberg. The forthcoming tests will also see MAN test drivers replaced by professional truck drivers employed by DB Schenker for the first time, with initial trials taking place with empty trailers. Later in 2018 the platoons will operate up to three times per day with actual cargo, with support from Hochschule Fresenius in documenting, evaluating and assessing the outcomes of the trials.

Dr. Frederik Zohm, Member of the Management Board for Research and Development MAN Truck & Bus AG, said, “We have already proved that platooning technology works in various predecessor projects, such as the European Truck Platooning Challenge in 2016. Adapting this technology to the real every day conditions of the logistics sector is the challenge we are now tackling.”

Ewald Kaiser, Chief Operating Officer at DB Schenker said, “Autonomous and networked driving will fundamentally change road haulage. This project will focus on testing platooning for the first time in daily logistics operations. So we’re excited that we can now integrate the vehicles into the operational test runs.”

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