Comline Auto Parts to showcase largest stand ever at Automechanika Frankfurt

Comline Auto Parts (Comline) is all set for an exciting week at this year’s Automechanika event in Frankfurt as it showcases its biggest stand to date.

Taking place from Tuesday, September 11 to Saturday, September 15, the biennial trade fair is celebrating its 25th anniversary and Comline is ready to celebrate such an occasion with a stand that doubles the size of its 2016 presentation, Retaining its position within the SMMT Pavilion, Comline will once again occupy stand D98 in hall 5.1 but this year will increase its footprint from 39m2to 78m2.

As one of the fastest growing brands in Europe, Comline has continued to demonstrate sustained growth since exhibiting at Frankfurt back in 2016, emphasised by various awards and accolades, most recently a hat-trick listing in The Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200 for 2018. Heading to Automechanika Frankfurt 2018 the brand is aiming to underline this ongoing success and its growing stature within the European aftermarket with a stand that is, in the words of Marketing & Communications Manager, Leigh Davies, “bigger and better than ever before”.

Comline’s ethos centres around product quality and this will be underlined by a dedicated product showcase allowing visitors to the Comline stand to explore the full range of products on offer. Leigh Davies provides more detail:

“Due to space limitations at previous exhibitions it has often been challenging to create a truly engaging showcase of Comline product but this year in Frankfurt we have the footprint to make it happen. This showcase will enable Comline to really emphasise the depth, quality and diversity of our product range.”

The ability to meet its existing clients and connect with potential new customers is also central to Comline’s presence at Automechanika Frankfurt 2018. Its stand design will therefore incorporate both an informal lounge area and more formal meeting rooms where Comline’s representatives can engage with clients throughout the duration of the event.

With a stand that is ‘bigger and better’ and its proven track record for export success, Comline is rightly anticipating significant interest and an influx of visitors at this year’s Automechanika Frankfurt.

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Training night tackles turbochargers and oil quality

Midwest Motor Factors & Monmore Auto Parts have hosted another packed training night at the GTG Academy in Wolverhampton, this time assisting garages with their understanding of turbochargers and lubricants quality and selection.

With presentations from BTN Turbo and Ultratec Oils, garages were taken through how oil contamination plays a major part in damaging turbos, with technicians encouraged to identify the reason for turbo failure before replacement.

According to BTN, turbochargers are very reliable and less than one percent of turbo failure is due to a manufacturing fault with the turbo itself. More than 95% of turbo failures are because of problems with oil starvation, oil contamination or foreign object damage.

A presentation from Ultratec, one of newest brands at Midwest and Monmore, went through the many difficult challenges garages face in choosing the correct vehicle oil. These include the expanding vehicle parc but also the numerous different grades available for oils such as 5W-30.

With OEMs developing oils deigned to reduce emissions and improve cleanliness, Ultratec said it was “critical for a quality oil to be used” by garages. Other areas of concern for garages raised by the Ultratec presentation included oil warranties and the danger of making the wrong choice to save pennies.

All Ultratec oils are manufactured to meet or exceed the OE specifications and all will maintain the OE or replacement part warranty. A market leading technical support program for garages and POS literature has also been put in place.

Jeremy Turner, Macrome Garage, said: “I found the information on the turbo chargers very useful and informative. The Ultratec presentation was interesting, and I will now sell the brand with greater confidence. These incredibly well organised events are important for small garages to help keep us up to date in these challenging times.”

Craig McCracken, Group Factor Manager, said: “It’s reassuring to see high quality brands – Ultratec and BTN – tackle some of the major issues garages face. Oil has become an increasingly complex area for garages and so they can be confident we have a range that meets their requirements, but perhaps more importantly, supports them thoroughly should any issues arise.”

All Ultratec oils are manufactured to meet or exceed the OE specifications and all will maintain the OE or replacement part warranty. The range offers a number of benefits including: Excellent cold starting properties, Enhanced engine protection and increased fuel efficiency.

A market leading technical support program for garages and POS literature has also been put in place.

A raffle was held on the evening for a brand new mountain bike with Ken Price & Son being the lucky winner.

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DVSA’s Annual Review – plans for the future

DVSA’s Annual Review, which has just been published, contains some of DVSA’s aims and objectives for the future. These are:

Looking ahead: helping you through a lifetime of safe driving 

On 4 June 2018 the law changed to allow learner drivers on motorways for the first time. They have to be accompanied by an approved driving instructor (ADI) in a car with dual-controls. They also have to be at a place in their learning where they’re skilful and confident enough to handle motorway driving.

A public consultation agreed that allowing learners to start practising motorway driving before they took their test would be a good thing for road safety. Over the coming year, we’ll be giving guidance to ADIs and their pupils, and helping other road users understand how to behave in sharing the motorways with learner drivers.

DVSA is also developing video clips which could replace some of the theory test questions. The new clips will mean less text for candidates to read, making the test more accessible. The video clips show road situations from different perspectives (like the driver’s point of view and from outside the car) potentially allowing us to ask different types of question. DVSA believes that using video will help to protect the test from the possibility of cheating or fraud.

Looking ahead: helping you keep your vehicle safe to drive

In May 2018 DVSA changed how they test cars, vans, motorcycles and light passenger vehicles. The main change was the introduction of three new defect categories – dangerous, major and minor. And we introduced stricter rules for diesel car emissions, redesigned the MOT certificate and changed the rules around some vehicles over 40 years not needing an MOT.

Over the coming year they are also going to widen their ‘Get an MOT reminder’ service to include heavy goods vehicles (HGV). So vehicle operators will also get an email or text reminder to take their vehicle to test, making sure it continues to be safe on the road.

Carrying out daily walkaround checks of large vehicles is a vital part of a making sure vehicles are safe to drive.

Drivers need to be able to identify and report any defects or signs of defects that could affect their vehicle’s safety.

DVSA will improve guidance for drivers on how to carry out these important safety checks. They will create new videos that show what to do, and publish better guidance on GOV.UK on what should be reported.

DVSA will be using social media to regularly remind drivers about the walkaround checks they need to do, highlighting the guidance that’s available to them.

Looking ahead: protecting you from unsafe drivers and vehicles

DVSA will be investing in behavioural research to look into why some large vehicle drivers take the risk of driving over their hours.

In 2016, driving while tired was a factor in 61 accidents involving lorries and buses. And almost a quarter of injuries caused by accidents involving lorries are fatal or serious (compared to 1 in 8 for crashes in general).

Despite the risks and the penalties, they are still finding large numbers of drivers who are willing to drive more hours than they legally should. When the reasons why drivers do this are understood, DVSA will plan a campaign to promote the importance of taking breaks.

DVSA use ANPR to identify, stop and check drivers and vehicles which may not be as safe as they should be. And, over the coming year, they will be working to improve the way ANPR is used to give access to a much bigger network.

DVSA will be combining resources with Highways England, the Home Office and the National Police Chiefs’ Council to develop the ANPR infrastructure. Together, they will enforce vehicle safety and environmental standards, making drivers safer on Britain’s roads.

To read the full Annual Review, CLICK HERE.

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Exol announces racing sponsorship

Exol has announced it is sponsoring racing driver Dave Buky during the current series of The Civic Cup Championship.

As one of the most renowned and well patronised clubman racing championships in the UK, the Civic Cup season is already underway, with the first race being held at Silverstone in March.

Buky, competing with 35 fellow drivers, has made steady progress so far, having finished fourth place at Oulton Park on 16 June, clocking his best finish to date this season. He currently sits 11 in the overall standings, with the next race meeting taking place at Snetterton’s 300 circuit on 8 July, ending with the season’s finale at Donington Park on the 13/14 October.

The Exol brand is growing at a rapid pace, and the company is eager to promote its offering within the motorsport community to gain even greater media coverage.

Dave Buky said: “I am delighted that Exol has chosen to support me throughout the current season and I’m really looking forward to building our relationship together. The start of the season has been tricky, nursing a few car issues, which has had a negative impact on the championship standings so far. After finally getting to the bottom of the issues, Oulton Park proved to me that we can be running at the front of the grid again in one of the most competitive one make championships in the UK and I am excited about the rest of the year ahead.”

Steve Dunn, Exol sales director, said: “Our partnership with Dave will not only increase our brand exposure but it reflects our commitment to supporting motorsport, particularly talented individuals such as him. We wish Dave all the very best for the rest of the season and will be keeping a close eye on his progress.”

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GDPR and your company car tracking policy – Advice from Lawgistics

Company vehicles are usually fitted with tracking devices using GPS (Global Positioning System). This can be an insurance requirement and brings down insurance costs, but tracker devices offer other benefits to companies in terms of operational efficiencies and safety and security benefits.

The information from a vehicle tracking device is personal data as defined by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) meaning any information relating to an identifiable person who can be directly or indirectly identified. Location data is included in the definition.

This means that although there is a legitimate interest in collecting the data, its use is strictly confined to stated organisational purposes only and, a clear workplace vehicle tracking policy is essential.

In addition, employees often consider tracking devices to be highly intrusive and an infringement on their right to privacy; poor communication with employees about the use of vehicle tracking can have a negative impact and cause resentment, suspicion and insecurity within the workforce if clarity is lacking in the way the company is using information derived from its tracking devices.

If a company vehicle is provided for both private and business use, a privacy button ought to be available to enable monitoring to be disabled. Otherwise, the express consent of the employee must be obtained for continuous monitoring.

A workplace policy should set out the details of the nature and extent of monitoring and each employee should consent in writing to the presence of the device. in the vehicle. The policy should clarify what private use can be made of vehicles provided by, or on behalf of, the employer and any conditions attached to use.

It is important that workers using the vehicles are aware of the policy. It should be completely transparent, and all employees should be aware of the presence of tracking devices in the vehicles they use. The purpose of the devices should be clearly explained and the rules on their use, including what data the system can provide and how the data gathered will be used by managers, supervisors, the Transport Unit, and even clients and the general public where applicable.

Failure to ensure there is clarity around the use of tracking information could result in a breach of data protection regulations, or human rights and employment rights legislation, so a well written company policy is essential.

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The first ever AAUK golf event is a big hit!

The first annual Alliance Automotive UK Golf Event was a fantastic spectacle enjoyed by over 90 GROUPAUTO & UAN members, staff and supplier sponsors. The event was held at the Belfry Hotel & Resort at the end of June; starting on the afternoon of Thursday 28th June, with all delegates arriving at the premium location to check-in to the hotel and join us that evening for the England vs. Belgium World Cup game live on a huge outdoor screen. The evening of drinks, food and mini golf was sponsored by approved supplier Platinum International, and it was an excellent start to the whole event.

The next morning players made the most of the impressive driving range and hotel facilities before registering their teams and collecting a Denso sponsored golf pack ready for the competition on the Belfry PGA National Course. A fleet of FPS branded golf buggies looked extremely impressive as players made their way out to their designated starting hole.

Each 4-Ball team started at a different hole around the course at the same time. They used an electronic scoring device to record their individual scores and monitor how they were performing against other teams in a league table. The scores from the last three holes were hidden keeping players in suspense as to which team and individual player had won the competition. After the golf competition on Friday evening everyone gathered for drinks and a BBQ set in the grounds of the Belfry on a beautifully warm evening. The awards were announced before a fun ‘Nearest the Pin’ challenge, where all delegates took it in turns to step up in front of all the evening delegates to attempt to hit a 150-yard shot over a water hazard, into the 10th hole of the Brabazon course.

The winners of each of the competitions were:

The Winning 4-Ball Team sponsored by Apec Braking
Peter Hill, Andy Millard, Andy Bastable and Sean Greig of Alliance Automotive picked up their awards and each won £200 in Shopping Vouchers sponsored by Apec Braking.

The Winning Player sponsored by NGK
Niall Carroll, Business Development Manager from GROUPAUTO, picked up the coveted Winning Player award and a Trek Mountain Bike sponsored by NGK.

Longest Drive sponsored by Remy
Steve Shorto from Bosch hit the Longest Drive and collected the trophy, a Jam Bluetooth Speaker & Dolce Gusto Coffee Machine sponsored by Remy.

Nearest the Pin sponsored by FAI AutoParts
Philip Carter from ECC Motor Factors was the winner of the Nearest the Pin challenge picking up £100 in Shopping Vouchers and an Amazon Echo Dot sponsored by FAI AutoParts.

Evening Pin Challenge sponsored by Bilstein Group
Roy Blundell from Autoquip (Midlands) Ltd kept his composure in front of the crowd of members and suppliers to land 3-feet from the pin and win the nearest the pin evening challenge collecting a Nintendo Switch with Mario Kart sponsored by Bilstein Group.

Following the whole event, we have received overwhelmingly positive feedback and thanks from members and suppliers alike.

Alliance Automotive UK  would like to thank all their sponsoring suppliers for their support, as they helped to make this a truly memorable event for all involved. Plans are now underway for next year’s golf event.

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Team NGK’s epic fundraising effort

Two NGK employees are about to set off on a near 425-mile cycling marathon to raise funds for charity.

Marko Wowczyna and Stuart Bayne are undertaking the challenge to raise money for the National Autistic Society and the Downs Syndrome Association respectively.

Setting off on Wednesday, July 25 they aim to cycle from south London to Dover, cross the Channel and then cycle into Paris down the Champs Elysee on Saturday, July 28 – the day before the Tour De France arrives in the French capital.

After a quick celebration under the Eiffel Tower, they then plan to hot foot it across Paris to catch the Eurostar to return to London in time to compete in the London Ride 100 on Sunday, July 29, a combined distance of just under 425 miles.

Marko Wowczyna, Director – Automotive, NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd, said: “It will be a tough challenge but is one that Stuart and I will be doing our level best to complete. The distance is a bit daunting in the timeframe we have set ourselves, but we will encourage each other as we undertake each stage.”

Earlier this year, Stuart, who is Sales Manager – North for NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd, took part in the London Marathon, his fourth charity money-making endeavour for the DSA, having previously raised funds by taking part in last year’s London 100 Cycle ride as well as completing sponsored rides in Europe and New Zealand.

If you would like to sponsor Marko or Stuart, please use the link where any kind donations will be split between the two charities.

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SMPE honours employees with Long Service Awards

Standard Motor Products Europe (SMPE), one of the UK’s largest independently owned automotive parts manufacturers and suppliers, has awarded four of its longest-serving employees in recognition of their many years’ service at the company.

Art Wieckowski, Steve Capewell, Jackie Foster and Maggie Syme were each presented with their award by Managing Director Ross Toomey, as their long-standing commitment and service to the supplier was formally acknowledged in front of SMPE’s Nottingham-based workforce.

Wieckowski was acknowledged for 25 years’ service as Warehouse Operative, while both Foster and Capwell were honoured for their 25 years’ service working in the packing department. Meanwhile, Syme celebrated her retirement, after spending the past 35 years working in BlueStreak despatch, packing and despatching remanufactured ECUs, one of SMPE’s core product areas.

Ross Toomey, Managing Director of SMPE said: “We’re incredibly proud of our long-standing members of the team and can’t thank them enough for their invaluable contribution in helping make the company what it is today. We’re delighted to recognise their years of commitment and hard work, and we wish Maggie all the best for a happy retirement.”

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ECCO Safety Group EMEA appointed Graham Darby as Area Sales Manager

ECCO Safety Group is pleased to announce the appointment of Graham Darby for the position of Area Sales Manager who will cover the North of England and Scotland.

Graham joins ECCO Safety Group with over 30 years of experience in the auto-electrical industry. He has previously held several sales manager positions but has many years’ experience as an auto-electrician. Whilst at Ribblesdale Auto Electrics, he was involved in field sales throughout the North West. Lately he has been developing the OE & aftermarket business for Peterson Europe in the North of the UK, as well as Ireland.

“We are extremely pleased that Graham joins us at ECCO Safety Group and are sure that his vast experience and knowledge will take ECCO into the next level of growth in the Northern area” – states Roy McClarty, General Manager for UK & Ireland at ESG EMEA.

“I believe the experience I have gained gives me a wealth of knowledge, in terms of both products and current legislation when looking at vehicle requirements for current road use. Whether it is a trailer that needs type approval, or a highway vehicle that needs safety lighting, I can advise on all levels of practices currently required. I look forward to my new challenge at ECCO Safety Group.” – said Graham Darby.

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Bosch opens training centre in Doncaster

Bosch has opened a £1.5m training centre in Doncaster for the delivery of automotive apprenticeship programmes and technical training.

The 36,846 square foot facility includes eight workshop areas and 12 classrooms providing training to around 300 apprentices throughout 2018, for Bosch’ partners Renault, Nissan and Suzuki.

It is expected that each year over 100 automotive apprentices will qualify through the centre. In addition, the centre will host technical training courses and programmes for qualified technicians on the latest technologies, as well as hold specialised sales and commercial training.

Dr Steffen Hoffmann, president, Bosch UK said: “The automotive industry is currently undergoing a major technological transition, requiring additional skills.

“This new training centre will support the UK’s automotive sector to continue its role as a global industry powerhouse.

“I look forward to seeing a new generation of world class technical experts graduating, whilst already qualified technicians will be kept up to date with the latest technologies reinforcing the region’s global credentials as a centre of automotive excellence.”

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