IAAF inspires members with latest aftermarket update

The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) held its third Industry Briefing Session as Autumn approaches, which took place on 18 October at the ECCO Safety Group (ESG) in Leeds.

Members were welcomed by Marium Ali, Director of Marketing and Product Management EMEA, before proceedings got underway by Head of Membership Development Mike Smallbone, who brought delegates up to date with a review of IAAF’s recent lobbying activity including Type Approval and the long-awaited Third EU Mobility package, plus the latest developments on Autonomous Vehicles and the ‘Your Car Your Choice’ campaign.

Main guest speaker Julian Lloyd from industry training providers ProVQ then kick-started the main thrust of the day’s itinerary, demonstrating the power of its latest Virtual Classroom technology with a live ‘augmented reality’ training session that linked up to the company’s Shrewsbury HQ. The cutting-edge training technology, developed by ProVQ, enables live course integration, bringing trainers into trainees’ homes or places of work via computer or tablet.

Joel Combes of Lawgistics then shared with attendees the new IAAF membership benefit HR Manager Lite, a free service available to members, designed to assist employers with legal matters relating to Employment Law, HR, Health & Safety and Data Protection.

Smallbone wrapped up the morning’s proceedings with an overview of aftermarket threats, opportunities and what the future holds for the industry.

Following the session’s close at 1.00 pm, there was the opportunity for members to network over lunch, before embarking on a tour of ESG’s facilities. Here, they were given insight into its products which are manufactured and tested to meet the “The ECCO Standard”, as well as its safety solutions for the aftermarket, including a range of products under the Code 3 brand for Emergency systems.

Smallbone said: “We’d like to thank ESG for hosting our latest Industry Briefing Session; it was great to see such a high number of our members attend. These sessions are proving to be an invaluable source of exclusive news and technical information from across the aftermarket. They are clearly inspiring our members with some informed thinking, which is aimed at challenging perceptions and equipping them with the right know-how to successfully tackle the issues faced by the aftermarket. It really is great stuff.”

The next briefing will take place on 15 November, where members will be given a taste of the premier league when the venue will be Watford FC. Jointly organised by IAAF and Johnson Controls Batteries Limited, the agenda will include the latest IAAF news as well as an update from Train 4 Auto Consultancy’s Steve Carter on Hybrid, PHEV and Hydrogen Fuel Celled vehicles.

As limited spaces are available, IAAF is advising members to book their space as soon as possible by emailing Ann Silvester at anns@iaaf.co.uk.

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BVRLA urges take up of EVs

The BVRLA has urged the chancellor to energise the take up of plug-in electric vehicles and support the role played by the company car.

In September, the Prime Minister used the inaugural Zero Emission Vehicle Summit in Birmingham to launch her bid for the UK to become a global centre of excellence for electric vehicles.

Responsible for more nearly 50% of annual car, van and truck registrations, BVRLA members are adopting plug-in vehicles, with more than 50,000 on fleet. The government risks losing this zero-emission momentum unless it can deliver a fairer and well-signposted Company Car Tax (CCT) regime.

Its current plans would see the CCT benefit-in-kind (BIK) rate for electric company cars increase to 16% in April 2019 before dropping to two per cent the year after.

By bringing forward the two per cent CCT rate for zero emission vehicles, the government could provide a much-needed stimulus to the electric vehicle market, claims the BVRLA.

Plug-in vehicles are not yet appropriate for all trips and the BVRLA is also calling for the treasury to support the use of low-emission petrol and diesel company cars.

The association has asked the government to address the introduction of the new WLTP (Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure) emission standard, which could see some CCT BIK rates increase by as much as 30%.

‘Large numbers of people that used to get a company car as a perk or employee benefit are now opting out because of the rising tax cost. They are taking cash instead and the evidence suggests that they are spending this on older and more polluting vehicles,’ said BVRLA chief executive, Gerry Keaney.

‘It is vitally important that the chancellor seizes this tremendous opportunity to support the future of the company car by using this month’s budget to rein in these unhelpful tax hikes.’

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The UK trading groups’ annual trade show becomes one of the biggest events in the automotive industry

This year the Alliance Automotive Group UK brought the entire group together to stage one of the industry’s biggest automotive events. On Thursday 4th & Friday 5th October, over 2000 delegates from the GROUPAUTO & UAN trading groups and the AutoCare, United Garage Services and Top Truck garage networks attended the two-day event at the Exhibition Centre Liverpool.

The Motor Factor Trade Show opened its doors to LV and CV member businesses from GROUPAUTO & UAN trading groups. Throughout the day, over 150 of the groups’ approved suppliers were exhibiting, running offers and competitions. There were also some exciting announcements made on the day; UAN member Thomson’s Motor Factors Ltd in Stirling won the Exopro Van Giveaway and GROUPAUTO member Millfield Autoparts won the runner-up prize of £100 BigDug vouchers. The winners of the Bosch Grand Giveaways Florida Fly-drive were also announced; Saj Jessa from Millfield Autoparts and Dave Clarke from Autosupplies (Chesterfield) were the lucky winners. The winners were drawn on the day and announced on the Bosch stand.

As usual exhibitors had gone to great lengths to showcase their brand in elaborate and engaging ways; from magicians and interactive games to software demos and competitions. This year the Stand of the Year award was presented to BM Catalysts for the impressive use of their stand space. In the CV Zone, 47 commercial vehicle suppliers showcased what they have to offer to G-Truck and UAN Truck members.

As the Motor Factor Trade Show closed, members made their way to the conference session whilst exhibitors made the necessary changes to their stand ready for the Garage Trade Show the following day. Over 1200 delegates attended on Friday 5th October and the buzz around the hall was fantastic all day. This was the first year that all three garage networks – AutoCare, United Garage Services and Top Truck – came together to experience the annual garage event. After the garage show, delegates made their way to the garage networks’ conference sessions where the regional garage awards were announced.

Over 730 guests attended the Gala Dinner and Awards ceremony which was held at the ACC Liverpool. It was a glittering ceremony rounding off a spectacular event; after the 3-course dinner the annual awards were announced.

Overall the event was a big success and feedback following the event has been very positive. GROUPAUTO would like to thank everybody who attended the event and helped make it the biggest and best yet.

The 2018 award winners were:

Supplier Awards

Member Awards
• UAN TRUCK MEMBER OF THE YEAR – Partic Motor Spares Ltd
• UAN LV MEMBER OF THE YEAR (£3M+ PURCHASES) – Autosupplies (Chesterfield) Ltd

Garage Networks Awards
• UNITED GARAGE SERVICES CO-ORDINATOR OF THE YEAR – Mark Bedford – Yorkshire Exhaust Specialists (YES)
• UNITED GARAGE SERVICES CO-ORDINATOR OF THE YEAR RUNNER UP – Howard Loftus – Autosupplies (Chesterfield) Ltd
• AUTOCARE GARAGE OF THE YEAR – M.H. Vehicle Services Ltd
• AUTOCARE CO-ORDINATOR OF THE YEAR RUNNER UP – Mike Seers – Auto Battery Services
• TOP TRUCK WORKSHOP OF THE YEAR – Egertons Fleet Service Ltd

AUTOCARE Regional Garage Winners
Station View GarageSouth East
M.H. Vehicle Services LtdMidlands
JA Services (Ripon) LtdNorth East
Sprint Auto Centre LtdNorthern Ireland
Joe’s Repair ShopSouth
My Garage Emerson GreenSouth West
Rent-A-Tech ServicesWales
Paradise GarageEast Anglia
Whitecroft Garage LtdNorth West
Paul Bowers Motors LtdScotland
Black Brook Garage LtdYorkshire

Banbury-based First Line Ltd secures £20m in funding from Santander to support global export growth

Banbury-headquartered First Line Ltd, one of the UK’s leading suppliers of premium quality automotive components to the vehicle aftermarket, has secured £20 million in funding from Santander Corporate & Commercial. The funding will help the firm expand its exports and capitalise on growth opportunities in overseas markets.

Founded in 1983, First Line has become an established world-wide supplier to the vehicle aftermarket via three brands: First Line, Borg & Beck and Key Parts. Its Oxfordshire base now has 170,000 sq ft of warehouse space, supported by a 15,000 sq ft distribution centre in Belfast and subsidiary operations in Spain, Germany and the United Arab Emirates. In total, the company employs over 200 staff globally.

The company already supplies warehouse distributors and wholesalers in over 70 countries, predominantly via the 100 year old Borg & Beck brand, which is world-renowned for the pedigree of its car parts. Across its three brands, First Line offers a range of over 37,000 parts for all makes of vehicle.

The £20 million in funding from Santander, spread across a suite of solutions including asset finance, foreign exchange and invoice finance products, will help First Line build on the strong exporting momentum the firm has developed. The business expects 30% of its annual turnover in 2018 to come from export sales, which has seen robust year-on-year growth over the past six years.

Keith Schofield, Finance Director, First Line Ltd, said: “We are delighted with the ongoing success of the business and the opportunities presented by overseas markets are truly exciting. Growth will be achieved via a number of strategies including new products and focussing on new segments such as classic cars. Santander has quickly become a trusted partner, providing the financial support and facilities needed for us to take the company to the next level.”

Steve Bateman, Relationship Director, Santander Corporate & Commercial, said: “First Line is looking to grow its market share globally over the next few years and the facilities offered by Santander will be key for them to achieve these growth ambitions. We are delighted to be supporting such a fantastic, growth focused UK business that will benefit from Santander’s unrivalled expertise in helping SMEs export and trade internationally.”

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Frost & Sullivan Names ZF European Automotive Aftermarket Company of the Year 2018

ZF has been named as Frost & Sullivan’s European Automotive Aftermarket ‘Company of the Year’ 2018. Independently measured against a list of criteria under the headings ‘Visionary Innovation & Performance’ and ‘Customer Impact’, ZF Aftermarket beat off stiff competition to take the title. The award was presented at Frost & Sullivan’s Excellence in Best Practices Awards Banquet on October 4th, 2018 at the Royal Garden Hotel in London.

“Against a competitive and challenging market backdrop, ZF Aftermarket’s industry leader and partnership skills in the field of advancing mobility make it a true and worthy winner of the title ‘European Automotive Aftermarket Company of the Year’,” explains Benson Augustine, Senior Research Analyst Frost & Sullivan.

“With proven examples of being first to market with new solutions, we believe the business expertly combines delivery of best practice; in terms of growth, innovation and leadership – maximizing customer value and experience – with the art and science of future-proofing its offer.”

Excellent Standard of Competition
ZF Aftermarket beat off stiff competition from across Europe to take the title. Frost & Sullivan analysts independently evaluated two key factors: Visionary Innovation & Performance and Customer Impact. These were measured against a list of criteria which included: addressing unmet needs; visionary scenarios through Mega Trends; best practice implementation, financial performance, price & performance value, customer and service experience and brand equity.

Across the board ZF Aftermarket achieved a point score of 9 out of 10; the next best scores of other companies in the running being 8 and 7 respectively.

A detailed report prepared by Frost & Sullivan paid particular attention to a number of key areas in which it believes ZF Aftermarket excels. In a competitive and crowded market place, the businesses forward thinking ethos was praised. Of particular note, how it leverages value-added customer benefits from the ZF Group, and properly aligns its associated distributor partners in the aftermarket value chain to adapt to changing market trends.

Furthermore, the commentary explains how ZF Aftermarket has embraced a growing appreciation for, and acceptance of: shared mobility concepts, urban mobility platforms, rising hybrid technology, e-mobility and autonomous driving. It states how ZF Aftermarket clearly understands rising hybrid technology and the quantum of impact electric vehicles (EVs) and autonomous cars will have on the general aftermarket, and how it has aligned its goals to prepare for the impact.

The article commends the solutions and component expertise under the brand portfolio: Lemförder, Sachs, TRW, and Boge. Furthermore it applauds the company’s exposure to different industries such as wind technology, rail with respect to urban mobility, and construction, and how this helps it share and leverage technology borrowed from different avenues for downstream business as well as implement best practices across verticals. Frost & Sullivan appreciates that these far-reaching tactics make the company stand out as a key supplier in the European aftermarket by offering niche capabilities and investing in future technologies by strategically channeling its wide business portfolio.

Upon receiving the award, Ben Smart, Director Global Marketing & Communication ZF Aftermarket commented: “We are extremely proud of this award. It recognizes the hard work, vision and dedication of our global aftermarket team.

“We also applaud our customers, whose daily choices to support the organization contribute in a meaningful way to its future.”

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Tax increase for company cars is slowing uptake of ULEVs

If the Government is to stand a chance of achieving its Road to Zero pledge of half of all new cars being ultra-low emission by 2030, it must bring forward planned reductions in company car tax rates and provide guarantees it will stay low, the fleet industry has warned.

Company car drivers considering a pure electric or hybrid car face a three-percentage point increase in benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax rates from next April, before rates fall the following year.

The tax cut, from 16% to 2%, from April 2020 for pure electric vehicles (EVs) will save company car drivers hundreds of pounds a year. For a Nissan Leaf, for example, a 20% taxpayer would see their annual BIK bill fall from £1,051 to £131.

BIK rates for hybrid cars will also fall, bringing savings to thousands more company car drivers and incentivising uptake further.

On a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, for example, the annual tax bill will be cut by £150 thanks to its electric-only range of 28 miles (WLTP) putting it into a 14% BIK bracket.

The new regime, announced in November 2017, was designed to incentivise the cleanest cars, but now stands accused of holding back take-up.

By bringing forward the 2020 BIK reductions, the fleet industry argues the plug-in market could get a much-needed boost.

“At a time when the Government is desperate to encourage plug-in take-up among all drivers, but particularly fleets as they are the largest purchaser of new cars, then it is essential that a tax regime is in place that encourages that demand,” said John Pryor, the chairman of ACFO, the fleet representative body.

So far this year, 8,980 pure EVs have been registered, compared with 9,030 in the first eight months of 2018 – a fall of 0.6%.

However, when taken together with other ULEVs, Government figures show that 33,792 cars qualified for the plug-in-car grant during the same period, a 32.6% year-on-year increase.

Last year, 53,203 new ULEVs were registered in the UK, up 27% from 41,837 units in 2016. However, they accounted for just 1.7% of all new vehicle registrations – up from 1.2% one year previously and 0.9% two years before.

To achieve the Government’s ambition for at least half of new cars to be ULEVs (sub-50g/km CO2) by 2030, registrations would have to rise 30% year-on-year for the next 12 years.

The BVRLA said the planned three-percentage-point increase in April for ULEVs is “actively disincentivising” the take-up of EVs as company cars and contradicting the ambitions set out in the Road to Zero strategy.

The BVRLA launched its Plug-in Pledge earlier this year, which called upon the Government to support greater uptake in electric and hybrid vehicles through measures such as bringing forward the plug-in company car tax incentives.

The pledge aims to see members’ combined plug-in vehicle fleet size go from 50,000 today to 720,000 by 2025. By that time, vehicle rental and leasing companies will be buying 300,000 plug-in vehicles a year, representing an increase in the industry’s share of annual new plug-in hybrid and pure EV registrations from 36% to 60%.

Mike Hawes, the chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT), said: “Industry supports a consistent, long-term approach to vehicle taxation policy to avoid market distortion and confusion.

“The automotive sector is firmly committed to a zero-emission future and is investing billions in technologies to get there, but this must be matched by government measures including technology-neutral incentives, investment into infrastructure and fiscal and other policy support to encourage uptake of alternative fuel vehicles.”

The Government has committed to maintaining a plug-in vehicle grant in some form until 2020, but it is expected to announce changes to the scheme this month.

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Lumag 30th anniversary – a year of investment

2018 has been a big year of investment for Lumag. Not only has the company celebrated its 30th anniversary but it also saw the company dig deep and place significant investment into its services, manufacturing capabilities and resulting products.

The year began with a €5million investment in a Bruderer Shim Stamping machine that was installed at Lumag’s Budzyn, Poland, manufacturing facility. This allows the company to manufacture its own rubber shims for its leading passenger car friction range – BRECK. Located between the brake pads and the rotors, shims correct small imperfections that cause brake noise.

The latter part of 2018 saw Lumag make one of its biggest investments since the formation of its manufacturing facilities. Representative of a €10 million investment, the new Feintool Technologie AG Fine Blanking Machine will enable Lumag to manufacture its own back plates from rolled steel. This machine will not only improve efficiencies but will earmark a period of significant growth for the business. Initially Lumag will be utilising this machinery to manufacture backplates for its CV ranges, but also to sell externally to our requirements. This project will move into passenger vehicles within the next 12/18 months.

Finally, Lumag has also invested heavily in setting new market standards, most notable with its new Green Coat technology – a high friction coefficient coating production line on all CV pads. This new production line – part of a €180,000 investment into Green Coat technology – will apply a high friction coefficient layer to the outside of the commercial vehicle brake pads. This allows a much quicker bedding in of the pad in relation to the disc, shortening the braking distance from 50 to 0 kph during breaking-in of newly installed pads by up to 3 metres.

Colin Smit, Lumag MD, said: “In order to stay relevant and at the forefront of our industry it is vital that we continue to invest in systems and manufacturing processes that not only improve efficiencies but also provide products that meet the exacting needs of modern vehicles. These latest investments are demonstrative of our commitment to delivering the best possible services and market-leading friction products. We also feel we have a responsibility to bring to market products that provide cost effective solutions without compromising on quality or performance. In a market that is flooded with sub-standard quality and counterfeit parts, these latest investments will enable us to create products and accessories that counter the urge to buy ‘cheap’.”

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Philips RacingVision is awarded Best Buy 2018 by Auto Express

Philips RacingVision headlight bulbs, developed by Lumileds, have been named Auto Express Best Buy 2018.

Auto Express is the UK’s best-selling weekly motoring magazine and the only publication in the UK to regularly test automotive upgrade products and accessories.

Philips bulbs have won Headlamp Bulb of the Year eight times, in addition to also being awarded overall best Car Accessory of the Year in previous years.

The Auto Express Mega-Test lines up ten pairs of the top performance bulbs on the market and subjects them to a number of different tests, in terms of quality of light, length of beam, brightness of beam and accuracy of beam pattern. The magazine produces an overall Figure of Merit, according to the overall performance of both of the pair of bulbs and it has recently included additional testing criteria, to make the analysis even more accurate and comprehensive.

Auto Express reported: “Even in our revised test, the RacingVision is still the class of the field and, as in 2016, by a clear margin. It topped all but one test, and would have finished further ahead solely on our old Figure of Merit ratings, scoring 198 with the next best on 163. It looked good in the tunnel, too, with a bright hot spot close to the dipped-beam cut-off and the hard-to-hit 75-metre measurement. Top performance.”

Philips RacingVision headlight bulbs provide up to 150% brighter light*, for better visibility and greater contrast. They are probably the strongest legal halogen lamp ever manufactured.

Drivers regularly find themselves in challenging conditions—from driving at night to winter conditions to poorly lit country roads. Faced with unexpected danger, reaction time is everything.

Even split seconds can make a crucial difference to drivers’ safety. The superior beam performance of the Philips RacingVision headlamp helps drivers identify dangerous situations faster and stay in control of their vehicle – whatever road conditions they are facing.

The specific color temperature (up to 3,500 Kelvin) of Philips RacingVision also help drivers’ eyes focus better. They therefore have greater control and confidence, and can relax into a safer and more enjoyable journey.

“We are delighted to be awarded Best Buy 2018 for our RacingVision headlamps which are engineered for performance and safety through visibility, two characteristics that are important to drivers who are passionate about their car and taking it on the road,” said Lumileds’ UK Business Development Manager, Richard Armstrong. “They are looking for the highest quality so that they can maximize safety and the comfort of the performance driving experience, for themselves as much as for their passengers and other road users.”

Like all Philips products, RacingVision bulbs are among the brightest, thanks to their optimised high precision filament geometry, up to thirteen bars of high pressure gas filled, high quality anti-UV-quartz-glass with chrome coating. They set a new standard in automotive lighting.

Philips automotive products are considered best-in-class in the Original Equipment Manufacturer market and the aftermarket. The entire product range is thoroughly tested, controlled and certified (ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and QSO 9000) to the highest ECE requirements, and designed to maximize the safety and comfort for customers’ driving experience.

*Compared to the minimum legal standard.

John Lewis Partnership to phase out all diesel heavy trucks by 2028

The John Lewis Partnership will switch from diesel-powered heavy trucks to 100% renewable biomethane-powered versions by 2028, cutting its HGV emissions by more than 80%.

Once converted, the fleet of 500 Waitrose & Partners and John Lewis & Partners delivery truck will save more than 49,000 tonnes of CO2 every year – equivalent to the carbon footprint of just over 6,000 UK households.

The announcement comes during the Government’s Green GB Week and, said the John Lewis Partnership, represents “a significant commitment to reducing HGV emissions”, which account for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions for road transport in the UK, and around 70% of the John Lewis Partnership’s transport emissions.

The Partnership has been trialling biomethane trucks since 2015 as a low-carbon alternative to diesel, with 61 biomethane trucks already in operation, or about to be delivered, and the biomethane fuel supplied by CNG Fuels.

Six Waitrose & Partners delivery trucks are also currently trialling zero-emission refrigeration units as part of the Low Emissions Freight and Logistics Trial.

The biomethane used in all of John Lewis Partnership’s trucks is renewable and produced solely from food waste and waste materials.

Each new biomethane truck can run up to 500 miles and as biomethane is cheaper than conventional diesel, the biomethane trucks have lower operating costs than their diesel equivalents.

Justin Laney, partner and general manager of central transport, John Lewis Partnership, said: “We have been pioneering the adoption of long-distance biomethane trucks in the UK and scaling this up to our entire heavy truck fleet will deliver significant environmental and operational benefits.

“Five biomethane trucks produce the same emissions as one diesel lorry and they are also much quieter, helping reduce not only greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution but also noise pollution in our cities.”

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Berlin to introduce diesel bans

Berlin has been ordered to restrict the movement of diesel cars within the city, to reduce air pollution.

The German capital is expected to introduce exclusion zones, like those in Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Hamburg.

A ban on diesel vehicles up to and including the Euro 5 standard must be active in Berlin by the end of March 2019, according the court ruling.

At least 11 road sections are likely to be included in the plans, with around 200,000 cars affected.

The case was brought by German environment and consumer protection organisation Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH).

DUH CEO Jürgen Resch said: “The judge has delivered an unambiguous ruling, confirming that diesel bans are necessary in Germany’s capital. The court has also condemned the government’s diesel deal as ineffective. It should have included all 115 German towns and cities affected by illegal levels of air pollution, and required hardware retrofits for all Euro 5 and Euro 6a-c vehicles.

ClientEarth clean air lawyer Ugo Taddei added: “We expect to see several more German courts order bans before the year is out.

Recent data submitted by the German government to the European Commission showed that pollution across Germany remains far above legal limits.

According to lawyer Peter Kremer, who represented DUH in the proceedings, the judge confirmed that beyond just meeting a regional average, the air in every part of a town must be safe to breathe. The court also said that if Berlin failed to implement street-by-street bans, a citywide ban would become unavoidable.

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