Cumbrian motor factor reaches 50 year milestone

K&S McKenzie first opened its doors in 1968 in the Cumbrian city of Carlisle. At the time there was a shortage of parts suppliers to the commercial vehicle market in the area and it was this opportunity that Keith McKenzie knew was too good to let pass him by. 50 years on and that business is now one of the most well-respected motor factors in the North West.

The new HQ in 1972

Keith always had an eye for business and could spot a good opportunity a mile away. In 1972 he was on the lookout for some new premises and came across a newly developing industrial estate on the outskirts of the city. This location had excellent road links and was the perfect site for him to build K&S McKenzie’s new head office. They were one of just 10 businesses to move into the area that year, an area that today forms the largest industrial estate in Carlisle, home to the likes of Eddie Stobart, Travis Perkins, and ParcelForce Worldwide, to name but a few.

The HQ today

Keith owned the business with his wife Sara. They were the perfect team; Keith worked directly with the customers, and Sara took care of the day-to-day running of the office. Their dedication and team-work saw the business continue to thrive and before the decade was out they would further expand their warehouse and office.

The 1980s saw the next generation start to work in the business with Keith and Sara’s sons Stuart and Alastair taking active roles. This was also a period that saw K&S McKenzie meet a huge challenge – the decline of Keith’s health. This was an illness that was to stay with him for 11 years until his death in 1996. Keith’s sons spent this decade working alongside their father, soaking up the knowledge he held and learning about the things that really matter in business… good, honest service. It was the knowledge and passion Keith held that remained with Stuart and Alistair following his passing and still remains with them to this day.

Sara continued to manage the business, aided by her sons who over the years, and following in their father’s footsteps, were always on the lookout for new opportunities that would further elevate the service offering of K&S McKenzie. This saw the addition of lifting products to their portfolio, something which is today a major product in their range, as well as the launch of their website via which they sell thousands of products.

2006 brought with it the introduction of AdBlue to the market place which lead to another opportunity for the business and saw K&S McKenzie become one of the first companies to store and sell AdBlue. Today they are a major supplier of the product across the whole of the UK. They also provide an expert chain testing and calibration service, are a BOC Gas agent, and offer a wide-ranging variety of products and services unique to this motor factor.

The business operates all over the UK from its base in Carlisle and provides services to small businesses as well as delivering major contracts for large organisations stretching from the very northern tip of Scotland, down to the south coast of England.

When speaking about the factors that have helped the business reach this 50-year milestone Stuart McKenzie, Sales Director, says; “I learnt from my father the value of seizing opportunity, having a fantastic supply and distribution chain, and importantly on never swaying from the values and focus on service that formed the foundation of this business all those years ago. It is this that drives us forward, builds our customer base, and makes us more than just a motor factor”.

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CV Show 2018

The CV Show 2018 opens its doors next week. The Show will run from 24th to 26th April, running from 8.30 a.m. until 5.30 p.m. each day.

The CV Show is the best attended, largest and the most comprehensive road transport and commercial vehicle event held in Britain. It attracts close to 21,000 business visitors and its central location at the NEC Birmingham, ensures a truly nationwide attendance.

Innovation
Exhibitors at the CV Show lead the way in developing technology and solutions to address the changing needs of those operating commercial vehicles. The diversity of of innovation on display in the show halls confirms the importance and relevance of the the CV Show in promoting the very best that this vital industry has to offer. For almost twenty years the Show has been a chosen platform for new product launches, vehicle unveilings and global debuts.

Workshop and Cool
These are two dedicated zones within the CV Show purposely designed to make it easy for visitors to find sector suppliers. WORKSHOP is an all-encompassing shop window displaying hundreds of exhibitors spanning the whole automotive aftermarket and CV maintenance sector. COOL satisfies the special requirements of the temperature controlled operator with a vast display of refrigerated transport and cold chain equipment to choose from.

To register for a ticket, CLICK HERE.

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KYB opens new technical centre in Germany

KYB Corporation have announced the opening of a new European technical centre based in Munich, Germany.

The technical centre is tasked at enhancing KYB’s product development capabilities for both OEM and aftermarket automotive components, as well as improving customer technical support.

KYB Europe vice president Mike Howarth explained: “I am delighted that this new technical centre has opened, strengthening our customer support and new product development, furthering our commitment to be the number one supplier for our OEM and aftermarket customers in Europe”.

The new technical centre opened on 3 April 2018 and will function as a branch of KYB Europe GmbH, adding to the nine branches and five factories on the continent.

The centre will work to further KYB’s reputation for pioneering technology in the suspension market, as demonstrated recently with the joint development of progressive hydraulic cushions with PSA, used on the new Citroen C5 Aircross, currently receiving rave reviews.

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CV parts supplier Robert Carter joins IAAF

Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) has announced its latest member to join its ever-expanding network, commercial vehicle parts supplier Robert Carter (MF) Ltd.

The Birmingham-based distributor of CV spares and accessories for HGVs, plant and agricultural vehicles will now be able to take full advantage of its IAAF membership, giving them access to all the latest industry information and networking opportunities.

The business, established in 1935 by William Carter, was started with the purpose of providing reliable, quality parts to the motor trade. Today, it is run by his grandson Robert and Robert’s two sons James and William, who have grown the business to cover more truck and trailer applications and stock a wider range of products, as well as service a wider area reaching beyond the Midlands. To further develop the business, Robert Carters has since grown its online presence to further increase its customer base.

Joining the federation also means the company will start receiving other benefits such as merchandise and promotional workwear, lifestyle protection plans, alternative dispute resolution cover and fleet management solutions.

James Carter, Robert Carters general manager, said: “In an ever-changing industry we feel information is key; becoming a member of the IAAF enables us to join like-minded businesses, particularly from the CV sector, determined to protect and develop what we do. The networking opportunities the membership presents are also incredibly appealing.”

Wendy Williamson, IAAF chief executive, said: “It is great to welcome Robert Carter as the latest member to join our ranks. The CV market is a fast-growing sector and is forecast to experience further significant growth over the next few years; with the opportunities that IAAF membership offers, this could not come at a more opportune time for them.”

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Garage of the Year deadline closing in!

This year’s event, sponsored by the Independent Garage Association, Elta, EDT, AA Garage Guide, Autologic and The Parts Alliance, is shaping up to be bigger and better than ever.

The competition, hosted by Automechanika Birmingham in celebration of the “unsung heroes” of the aftermarket, has introduced six new categories in order to ensure that all corners of the industry are catered to and in receipt of fair recognition.

Winners are to be announced at a pre-Automechanika Birmingham event hosted by Garage Wire on 5 June from 7PM.

Thanks to the sponsors, shortlisted nominees will receive a drinks reception and sit-down meal at the newly refurbished Aston Villa FC director’s lounge free of charge.

Attendees of the evening will also be in for a chance to meet Car SOS’s TV presenter Fuzz Townshend, who recently confirmed that he will be speaking at the event.

Garages can boost their chances of winning by nominating themselves in more than one category and explaining why they deserve to win.

The overall “Garage of the Year”, to be announced during Automechanika Birmingham, will be chosen from one of the six winners at the pre-event and will subsequently walk away with the £1,000 prize.

For further information on the competition, or to submit an entry, click here.

Entries to the competition must be submitted before the 30 April 2018 in order to be considered.

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Vauxhall terminates all dealer contracts in network refresh

Vauxhall has terminated all its franchise contracts as the company begins a complete refranchising programme.

The brand’s managing director and chairman Stephen Norman (pictured) told our sister title Automotive Management (AM) that its dealer network will be reshaped ready for 2020.

He would not detail what the shape of the future network would be like, and denied that a third of sales points would go, as reported at the end of March.

Norman told the magazine that the plan entails issuing new, identical contracts to a restructured Vauxhall and Opel dealer network across Europe “for reasons of equality”.

He and two fellow directors phoned every Vauxhall dealer to inform them that their franchise contract’s two-year notice of cancellation will begin on April 30 and end on April 30 2020.

“Then we would propose new dealer contracts with those partners with whom we saw, for them, a stable economic future beyond that,” he said.

“In the vast majority of cases, these contracts that are being cancelled will be followed by new contracts that will take effect in 2020.”

It’s much more mandated by the ability of a retail dealer, whatever its size and location, to be profitable and to satisfy customers, than it is somebody with a map deciding Vauxhall needs dealers in particular spots, he added.

Norman insisted a large reduction in the network “is pure speculation”. Volkswagen, which also has around 8% UK market share, operates a network of less than 200 dealerships, however he does not expect such a large rapid shrinkage from the current 324 car sales points.

“There will be a reduction. But today we are the second biggest brand in the UK after Ford with the second biggest network after Ford. After this rationalisation, we will still be the second biggest brand with the second biggest network. Obviously, we’ll move closer to the number three (Volkswagen) than we are today, but we will still have more retail dealers than the third biggest,” he said.

The re-franchising does have to take into account the digital channels consumers now use to choose their cars, he agreed.

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Jaguar Land Rover to cut 1,000 jobs amid falling demand, reports have claimed

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) plans to cut 1,000 manufacturing contractor jobs as a result of falling demand amid anti-diesel sentiment and the pressures of Brexit, it has been claimed.

Output at the company’s Solihull and Castle Bromwich plants will be cut, and staff were formally informed of the changes during a meeting earlier in the week.

In a recent statement, JLR said: “As is standard business practice, Jaguar Land Rover regularly reviews its production schedules to ensure market demand is balanced globally.

“On Monday we will be cascading our 18/19 production plans for the next fiscal year to our workforce.

“In light of the continuing headwinds impacting the car industry, we are making some adjustments to our production schedules and the level of agency staff.

ITV News and Reuters were among the media outlets that reported the total number of affected jobs would total around 1,000.

The news comes two months after the brand said it would temporarily reduce production at its Halewood plant later this year in response to weakening demand due to Brexit and tax hikes on diesel cars.

Diesel sales account for around 90% of the brand’s overall sales in the UK.

JLR added that it is continuing to recruit large numbers of highly skilled engineers, graduates and apprentices as it continues to invest in new products and technologies.

Jaguar sales were down 26% to the end of March while Land Rover demand dropped 20% during the same period.

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Autonomous handover to human driver

AXA has released a report to answer the question of where does the vehicle end and driver begin, when it comes to autonomous driving.

Burges Salmon and AXA have accumulated the data from the VENTURER project to understand the implications when an autonomous vehicle must ‘handover’ to a human driver.

The findings show that on average, a human being will need between two and three seconds to take control of a vehicle once informed it’s being handed over to them. However, the speed of which the vehicle is travelling affects this handover time.

The research also shows following handover, participants driving styles were slower and had a marked delay in achieving normal performance when retaking control at speeds ranging from 20-50mph.

‘The exciting part about Connected Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs) is that they open up a world of opportunity and mobility for those who may have previously struggled. At the same time, it also raises questions regarding practicalities, liability and, most importantly, safety. The latest VENTURER report investigates just one aspect of the driverless experience – the handover stage – and calls for greater understanding of how motorists will adapt to this new process.’ David Williams, technical director at AXA UK.

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Tenneco to create two independent public companies with acquisition of Federal-Mogul

Tenneco, one of the world’s leading designers, manufacturers and distributors of Ride Performance and Clean Air products and technology solutions for diversified markets, has announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Federal-Mogul, a leading global supplier to original equipment manufacturers and the aftermarket. Federal-Mogul is being acquired from Icahn Enterprises L.P. for a total consideration of $5.4 billion to be funded through cash, Tenneco equity and assumption of debt.

Tenneco also announced its intention to separate the combined businesses into two independent, publicly traded companies through a tax-free spin-off to shareholders that will establish an aftermarket & ride performance company and a powertrain technology company.

The acquisition is expected to close in the second half of 2018, subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals and other customary closing conditions, with the separation occurring in the second half of 2019.

“This is a landmark day for Tenneco with an acquisition that will transform the company by creating two strong leading global companies, each in an excellent position to capture opportunities unique to their respective markets,” said Brian Kesseler, CEO, Tenneco. “Federal-Mogul brings strong brands, products and capabilities that are complementary to Tenneco’s portfolio and in line with our successful growth strategies. Unleashing two new product focused companies with even stronger portfolios will allow them to move faster in executing on their specific growth priorities.”

Carl C. Icahn, Chairman of Icahn Enterprises, stated: “Icahn Enterprises acquired majority control of Federal-Mogul in 2008 when we saw an out-of-favor market opportunity for a great company. During that time, we have built one of the leading global suppliers of automotive products. I am very proud of the business we have built at Federal-Mogul and agree with Tenneco regarding the tremendous value in the business combination and separation into two companies. We expect to be meaningful stockholders of Tenneco going forward and are excited about the prospects for additional value creation.”

For the full story CLICK HERE.

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IMI calls for Apprenticeship Levy reform

The IMI has backed calls for the government to reform its Apprenticeship Levy as apprentice numbers continue to decline since it was introduced.

The IMI believes the new system is too complicated and has put many business owners off from going down the apprenticeship route.

Steve Nash, chief executive for IMI, said, ‘With new apprentice numbers still showing a significant decline the government must accept that some of the processes surrounding the levy are too complex, restrictive and inflexible, which is just what the CBI have been saying.

Steve Nash

‘Whilst the apprentice numbers in automotive are not down as much as in other sectors, they are still much lower than they should be and don’t reflect the real demand that exists for new, young talent. A number of our large employers have told us directly that their apprentice recruitment has fallen short of their true business needs, simply because they haven’t found the new processes to be easy to understand and negotiate.

“Overall a more pragmatic approach from the Institute for Apprenticeships (IFA) – which is the body that governs the new apprenticeships – would help to achieve greater employer engagement across all sectors of business. Too many employers have struggled to get the training they actually want and need for their businesses approved for re-claim against their levy payments.

‘This is why many are simply regarding it as a tax and have disengaged. That’s a great shame because the introduction of the levy should potentially have resulted in new apprenticeships being offered in a great many sectors and occupations where they haven’t previously existed.’

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