Ken Knox celebrates 50 years with the CD Group

The CD Group of Mallusk in Co. Antrim is this week celebrating Ken Knox’s 50 years with the group and will be marking this special occasion with a BBQ.

The IAAF would like to pass on our sincere congratulations to Ken on celebrating his 50 years working for the CD Group.

The contribution that Ken (pictured on the left with Terry Knox) has made to the independent automotive aftermarket during this period has been enormous and valued by all who know him. This has contributed hugely to the success of the CD Group as it is today, which is renowned throughout Ireland for its quality of service and valued by customers and staff alike.

His support for the IAAF, and prior to that the ADF is still very much appreciated by the federation today.

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IAAF Annual Dinner – Book now!

This year’s IAAF Annual Conference and Dinner is taking place on Thursday 6th December 2018.  Places are filling up fast and companies are encouraged to book early to avoid disappointment.

The host for the evening will be Tony Hawks, TV and radio comedian, and best-selling author.  Performing as a comedian regularly on television and radio panel shows including I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue, Just a Minute and Have I Got News for You, Tony has forged a career as an incredibly popular TV personality and household name.

The event, which is to be held at Doubletree by Hilton in Milton Keynes overlooking the ArenaMK, home to MK Dons FC, will offer a vast array of promotional, sponsorship and networking opportunities.

Guests will be able to settle comfortably in one location throughout both the conference and awards ceremony, while enjoying a drink overlooking the fantastic views of the MK Dons stadium.

There are still some sponsorship opportunities available for those companies wishing to show their support for the event.

IAAF Reservation Form 2018

Copies of the brochure, booking form and sponsor form can also be found on the IAAF website.

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IAAF lends its voice to IPO counterfeit campaign

The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) has voiced its support for a campaign by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), to raise awareness about the risks posed by counterfeit car parts. This comes as various seizures of counterfeit car parts and accessories have occurred in the UK in the past two years, which is adding to the growing problem worldwide.

The IAAF is urging garage and motor factor businesses to be even more vigilant in light of this surge in reported cases, throwing its weight behind the IPO’s campaign aimed at highlighting the problem and the dangers of using (knowingly and unknowingly) counterfeit car parts.

Counterfeit car parts can affect both OEM and aftermarket businesses alike, as counterfeiters are growing more savvy in making the parts look identical to genuine ones.

IAAF chief executive Wendy Williamson has warned that whilst parts might look the same, they are unlikely to perform to the same standard and in many cases the counterfeits are produced using dangerous and substandard materials, which have not been properly tested.

The campaign also extends to consumers, and the care they should take when buying car parts, particularly the risks associated with parts being bought online to fit themselves or purchasing to then ask garages to fit them.

“We are not saying don’t buy from places such as the internet, but make sure you know who you are buying your parts from. There are many respected distributors in the UK all of whom have the correct processes in place to ensure parts are traceable back to the factory in the event of a recall.”

Williamson continues: “Safety is of paramount importance in our sector; in brakes for example, braking distances can be significantly increased and with lighting, dazzle and glare can be an issue. Counterfeit parts are putting motorists’ lives at risk.

“It is important, now more than ever, that suppliers, distributors and garages are aware of the origin of the parts they are using.”

Top tips are available on the IPO’s website, which gives guidance to consumers to help them make the right choice.

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Important information : Do you sell batteries or other corrosive materials on-line or deliver these products to residential addresses?

It has come to our attention that a new proposed piece of legislation ‘The Offensive Weapons Bill 2018’ could have unforeseen consequences for anyone selling batteries or other corrosive materials on-line or delivering to residential addresses.

The legislation would affect all offensive weapons including firearms, knives as well as corrosive liquids. As it stands the current wording of the bill would mean that any lead acid/sulphuric acid batteries which are sold and delivered to personal home address in the UK would be included in scope. Sections 5-11 in the link below are the relevant ones to read.

Under the proposals you would also be committing an offence if you sell a corrosive liquid i.e. a battery, to anyone under 18 and the seller will need to take steps to ensure they know the age of the individual making the purchase through positive identification. Custodial sentences will apply for those not making these checks.

At present the Offensive Weapons Bill 2018 is still in the Committee stage but Government will be accepting written comments up until mid-September.

Clearly this will be of particular concern to those of you with a significant on-line presence which is why we are bringing it to your attention. I would be grateful if you could feedback any comments, to [email protected] as soon as possible so that we can start preparing our submission.

You are also more than welcome to submit your own comments and this can be done by CLICKING HERE.

We are also seeking views from the BBIF (British Battery Federation) who we also working with on this issue.

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GT Automotive announce new Sales & Business Development Manager

GT Automotive are excited to announce a new addition to their growing team. Simon Baker is now heading the Sales and Business Development of GT Automotive. Simon will be charged with building upon existing relationships with key Aftermarket customers, whilst also pursuing new companies interested in becoming Aftermarket partners with GT Automotive.

Simon Baker has a very strong track record in the Automotive trade, which is why GT Automotive are excited to welcome him on board, as they continue to go from strength to strength in the Aftermarket. From being a Senior technician for Subaru World Rally Team and a Diagnostic technician for Ricardo; to Branch Manager at Euro Car Parts and Allparts Automotive Ltd, Simon has an impressive array of skills to help GT Automotive take the next steps in becoming a renowned Aftermarket Brand.

GT Automotive is an aftermarket brand built on the back of years of OE manufacturing in engine components; this formed the company policy of bringing competitively priced OE quality products to the UK aftermarket; most recently releasing a fantastic range of crankshaft pulleys covering the UK car parc. Simon’s recent Aftermarket experience makes him perfect to lead the sales on this product range.

With our own manufacturing experience and knowledge of producing OE quality parts for the UK market, GT Automotive has also partnered with several key OE manufacturers to expand our range of select, quality products; including Maysan Mando shock absorbers; which will be released in September 2018. One of Simon’s primary objectives will be to marry our current customer base and prospective business partners, with this exciting new product venture for the UK market.

Commercial Director, Oliver Croxson, says “On behalf of GT Automotive I would like to welcome Simon to our unique, dynamic team. Having the opportunity to bring in someone of Simon’s calibre is a great sign that, as an Aftermarket brand, we are moving in the right direction towards achieving our goal of being an established brand in the UK and European Aftermarket. We are excited to get going with Simon and help him to achieve his first goal- making GT Automotive the number 1 brand for Aftermarket Crankshaft Pulleys!”

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MAM welcomes Mahesh Vadukul to its professional services team

MAM Software is pleased to announce that Mahesh Vadukul has joined its professional services team. Mahesh has extensive experience of working with automotive software. Across a 28-year career with Epicor Software, he undertook various roles including hardware installations, system implementation & training, data conversion and support. Mahesh will fulfil a similar role at MAM as a professional services technician.

Commenting on Mahesh’s appointment, MAM Software’s professional services director Matthew Collier said:

“We are delighted to welcome Mahesh to the team at MAM Software. He brings a wealth of knowledge of the marketplace in which we operate, the processes our customers follow, and the requirements of the software to run their businesses.

“His IT experience and deep understanding of the industry will help us deliver on our promise to provide exceptional customer service to all our customers.”

Mahesh added, “I am very pleased to have joined MAM Software. I believe that MAM offers market leading technology and provides a level of service that is not met elsewhere. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the professional services team and contributing to ongoing success of MAM Software.”

Your Comments hires new strategic network operations director

The UK’s biggest online garage and car repair marketplace has hired a new strategic network operations director to accommodate its rapid growth. The new director will move the business forward operationally through its next phase of growth. has hired Lacey Hewison, who joined the team in July 2018 to accommodate the company’s rapid growth and ensure its continued success. Lacey has joined after working at the parent company of ScS Ltd and House of Fraser for two years as head of operational improvement.

Lacey has more than 15 years’ experience at senior management and executive levels and will bring her knowledge and expertise to the role. is an online car garage and repair marketplace connecting more than 11,600 garage and repair centres with drivers around the UK. The site has 1m users and recently processed more than 170,000 quotes through the site in one month.

Ian Griffiths, co-founder of, said, “We hired Lacey, who brings unparalleled operational expertise in the North East, to move the business forward operationally through our next phase of growth.

“As the core marketplace generates ever increasing interaction between driver and garage – over 200k quotes per calendar month – and continues to expand in service plans and supply chain, she was an obvious hire and we look forward to her knowledge and enthusiasm permeating the entire business.”

Lacey Hewison, new strategic network operations director, said, “I was initially drawn to by the potential and scale of both the business and the marketplace, along with the enthusiasm of Al and Ian, the co-founders. The business is entering an exciting period of growth, transformation and diversification and I am delighted to be part of the team.

“My goal is to drive the network and operational side of the business to its full potential whilst ensuring we are managing and optimising the resource and expenditure.

“The business has gone from strength to strength with a smaller team and as part of the growth strategy, my immediate aim is to ensure we are moving forward with optimised processes and an operationally savvy grounding.”

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Ben’s automotive industry mental health fundraiser is back!

Ben is inviting everyone in the automotive industry to join in with its Hats on campaign for the third year – that’s a hat-trick!

Ben, the independent charity and dedicated partner to the automotive industry, providing support for life for its people and their family dependents, has revealed the details of this year’s automotive industry mental health fundraiser!

The campaign looks a little different this year after a design refresh which more clearly shows that Ben is here for the automotive industry, providing support for life to its people. The new name – Hats on 4 Ben – more clearly reflects that the campaign is run by Ben, for Ben, and now takes place on World Mental Health Day. The aim is still exactly the same – to raise money for Ben and help transform mental health support across the automotive industry.

Ben is calling on everyone in the industry to sign their companies up and get their colleagues involved in this fantastic day.

How Hats on 4 Ben works:

SIGN UP – to receive a fundraising pack and everything needed to make Hats on 4 Ben a success in your business. Visit
TELL EVERYONE – use Ben’s tools to promote the event across the business so everyone marks 10th October in their diary
DONATE – everyone taking part donates £2 to Ben through JustGiving or by dropping their donation into a collection box. Bem makes it easy to bank the cash after the event. Visit to find out more.
GET INVOLVED – appoint a couple of Hatters to get everyone wearing a hat on 10th October and donating to the Hats on 4 Ben campaign. Post your hat selfies to social media on the day using #HatsOn4Ben.

Now in its third year, Ben hopes the campaign will be even bigger and better, raising more funds to support its life-changing work helping industry colleagues with issues like anxiety and depression. Every £2 donation will help Ben start the conversation about mental health.

Mental health issues can impact anyone at any time, with 1 in 4 people affected each year. Ben has seen a sharp increase in automotive industry people asking for help with their mental health each year so is focusing on raising awareness and support to help those who are struggling.

Sign up now!

Matt Wigginton, Business Development Director at Ben, said: “Hold on to your hats, it’s back and it’s bigger and better than ever! Each year, we see more and more people in the automotive industry asking us for help with mental health issues like anxiety and depression, so we know there’s more work to be done.

“Together we can transform mental health support across our sector, and that’s where you come in. Please support us by signing your company up today and taking part in Hats on 4 Ben! We’re asking everyone who takes part on World Mental Health Day to donate £2, or as much as you can afford, to help us have much-needed conversations with your colleagues who are struggling.

“Let’s make Hats on 4 Ben 2018 the best yet! Thanks so much for your support.”

Derogation ‘opens up’ large van market to alternative fuels

The new 4.25 tonne van derogation could help to open the large panel van market to alternative fuel commercial vehicles (AFCVs), says Arval.

The UK Government has announced a five-year derogation stating that drivers with a standard Category B licence will be able to drive AFCVs of up to 4.25 tonnes GVW rather than the normal 3.5 tonnes for a petrol or diesel commercial vehicle.

The rule applies most pertinently to electric commercial vehicles including range extender and plug-in hybrid technology but also covers hydrogen fuel cells, compressed natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas.

Eddie Parker, LCV consultant at Arval, said: “This derogation is important because it allows fleet to adopt large AFCVs, most likely panel vans, in the 3.5 tonne sector without it affecting payload.”

Previously, anyone wanting to use a 3.5 tonne AFCV would have had to carry less, because of the weight of batteries and other equipment.

Parker continued: “We believe that this is a progressive step and we very much welcome it. Currently, there are few vehicles that fall into this category but we are hopeful that it will create a new sector into which manufacturers will soon move.

“Certainly, we feel that there is a need to create additional impetus behind AFCVs in the commercial vehicle market.

“While the amount of available models is increasing and we are starting to see some adoption, they very much remain a niche proposition. Having more panel van options would increase their appeal.”

Part of the derogation mandates five hours of officially sanctioned training for drivers of AFCVs, so fleet operators wishing to use the 4.25 tonne AFCVs need to undergo specific training, the details of which will be advised by the Government in due course.

Parker said: “As a company, we are very much in favour of increasing penetration of driver training so, although this move could be criticised as being inconsistent because 3.5 tonne drivers do not have to undergo additional training, we prefer to see it as an exciting opportunity and a valuable way of combining greater environmental focus and vehicle safety.”

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Understanding the new MOT rules: using video to create further transparency

At a time when consumers are demanding transparency, convenience and personalisation, the new MOT rules add an additional layer of confusion for motorists when it comes to car repairs.

A recent RAC survey of 1,866 motorists found that 49% were confused by the ‘Minor’ category, assuming this would mean an automatic fail, when it fact it means the vehicle passes with issues being noted. On the other hand, five per cent of respondents thought a ‘Dangerous’ fault wouldn’t stop the vehicle from passing, with six percent thinking the same of a ‘Major’ fault! Both categories equal a fail with the vehicle needing urgent repairs before they can be driven again.

The RAC have urged motorists to quickly get to grips with the changes and that garages and technicians do a good job of explaining the new fault categories so car owners understand correctly the severity of faults with their vehicles.

Personalised customer videos are a great way of enabling garages and technicians to educate the customer about the new rules, providing transparency around the urgency of work that needs carrying out on the vehicle to ensure it is road worthy and ultimately building enhanced trust with the customer.

For the vehicle technician, they will become much more visible to the consumer as they narrate the video and clearly explain all the issues. It is therefore vital that they fully understand the new regulations and that they clearly and confidently get them across to the consumer on the video.

Ben Smith, Co-Founder and Director of Smart Garage Solutions said: “The new MOT rules provide a great opportunity for testing stations to take the initiative and proactively help customers to understand the new rules, in a way in which they can physically see the fault on their vehicle and appreciate just why it is either a ‘Major’ or ‘Dangerous Fail’. Personalised customer videos enable you to do this and at a time and place that is most convenient for the customer i.e. without them having to physically come into the garage as they can’t quite grasp the severity of the repair over the phone. By seeing the issue first hand and having it explained one-to-one by a qualified technician, the customer feels much more satisfied by the service received and can therefore confidently approve the works there and then.

“Based on the conversations we have had with garages and motorists since the new rules were introduced, most of the discussion has been around the ‘Dangerous Fail’ and that although the garage cannot hold the customers vehicle, it is still illegal for them to drive it on the roads (and may affect their insurance), even if the test is done before their old MOT expires. So, by sending the customer a video to explain why it is a ‘Dangerous Fail’ and hopefully getting the approval to fix it in advance of them coming to collect their vehicle (or enabling them to seek alternative transport until it can be fixed the following day), this saves the customer running the risk of them driving the vehicle illegally and potentially uninsured.”

Mandla Ndhlovu, Head of Training at Autotech Recruit, specialists in MOT Tester jobs and Vehicle Technician jobs, said: “From the customer’s perspective, personalised videos, which allow them to see what is wrong with their vehicle, will instil greater confidence in the garage carrying out the works. As competence breeds confidence, technicians need to be fully proficient in all elements of the new MOT regulations, including how to identify and record defects. Consequently, garages need to ensure their vehicle technicians receive the regular training, and assistance in completing the annual MOT assessment, which is readily available to them.”

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