Diesel decline sees CO2 emissions rise

Average CO2 emissions have climbed almost three per cent to 124.5g/km, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has warned.

The rise has been blamed on a diesel sales slump and experts say if CO2 emissions continue to rise it could have detrimental effects on the environment and also see countries miss their targets for slashing emissions.

Just over 750,000 new UK diesel cars were registered in 2018 compared to 1.06 million in 2017.

The overall market percentage of diesel cars also slumped from 42 per cent to under 32 per cent over the space of 12 months.

December marked the 21st consecutive month of decline for the fuel type – despite new emissions tests showing diesels deliver in the real world.

The SMMT states that diesels are on average, 15-20 per cent more efficient than petrol equivalents.

Over the course of last year, petrol car registrations increased by 100,000, with the fuel type now occupying a 62.3 per cent market share.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, “A second year of substantial decline is a major concern, as falling consumer confidence, confusing fiscal and policy messages and shortages due to regulatory changes have combined to create a highly turbulent market.

“The industry is facing ever-tougher environmental targets against a backdrop of political and economic uncertainty that is weakening demand so these figures should act as a wake-up call for policy makers.

“Supportive, not punitive measures are needed to grow sales, because replacing older cars with new technologies, whether diesel, petrol, hybrid or plug-in, is good for the environment, the consumer, the industry and the exchequer.”

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Glovebox Direct to sell OEM parts

Ecommerce start-up Glovebox Direct has now announced it will be selling official, manufacturer branded parts.

It will initially sell parts on behalf of seven marques: Toyota, Nissan, Lexus, Suzuki, Peugeot, Citroen and Renault, with more scheduled to join throughout the year.

Glovebox Direct co-founder Joe Tarragano said, ‘Online retail has exploded for many categories but not automotive parts because until now e-commerce hasn’t offered the range, the ease of use or the guarantee of genuine authentic quality. Our partnerships and disruptive technology unlocks online and empowers consumers to buy what they want.

‘Existing online solutions do not partner with the vehicle manufacturers and so cause two big problems for consumers: they don’t offer the full range of parts a consumer needs, and they can’t use manufacturers own technical databases. So if a driver has their wing mirror knocked off, they struggle to replace it. Which model, year and paint code is it? Was it heated, tinted, electric, and with or without indicators? Manufacturers like Mercedes even embed a GPS antenna in some of their mirrors. By combining our technology with the car manufacturer’s data, we enable consumers to get it 100% right.

‘Online retail giants such as Amazon are transforming how we shop and continually increasing customer expectations across a range of products. However, the automotive category has lagged far behind. The technical difficulties in finding the right part, compounded by consumers’ fears about buying fakes or poor quality alternatives have been a brake on parts e-commerce.

‘The industry has relied on consumers contacting a dealership’s parts department, where a parts manager with encyclopedic knowledge, handed down over generations, figures it out for the consumer. But that doesn’t work for modern consumers. Making it work online is all about data and technology coming together and enabling consumers to self-serve.

‘E-commerce giants fulfil orders quickly from huge warehouses that stock the most popular products. But automotive is very different, because a warehouse would need to store millions of slow-moving parts across multiple manufacturers, models, ages and specifications. So only by partnering with manufacturers can you access their full range, as the part you want may not even be in the country. With these partnerships and leveraging modern technology, Glovebox Direct has solved this issue and makes finding and buying parts as simple as buying a book.’

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Ford and VW to co-develop vans and pickups

Ford and Volkswagen have announced an alliance to develop and build commercial vehicles.

The two companies plan to develop vans and pickups for global markets, beginning in 2022.

In addition, Volkswagen and Ford have signed a memorandum of understanding to investigate collaboration on autonomous vehicles, mobility services and electric vehicles. Both companies also said they were open to considering additional vehicle programs in the future.

“Over time, this alliance will help both companies create value and meet the needs of our customers and society,” said Jim Hackett, Ford’s CEO. “It will not only drive significant efficiencies and help both companies improve their fitness, but also gives us the opportunity to collaborate on shaping the next era of mobility.”

The announcement comes just days after Ford announced significant job cuts across Europe.

Volkswagen CEO Dr. Herbert Diess said: “Volkswagen and Ford will harness our collective resources, innovation capabilities and complementary market positions to even better serve millions of customers around the world. At the same time, the alliance will be a cornerstone for our drive to improve competitiveness.”

Ford will engineer and build medium-sized pickups for both companies. For both parties, Ford intends to engineer and build larger commercial vans for European customers, and Volkswagen intends to develop and build a city van.

The alliance, which does not entail cross-ownership between the two companies, will be governed by a joint committee. This committee will be led by Hackett and Diess and will include senior executives from both companies.

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No public charge points for electric or hydrogen trucks, says ACEA

A lack of recharging and refuelling infrastructure suitable for electric and other alternatively-powered trucks across the EU threatens CO2 targets.

That’s according to a the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA), which has published new data on public charge points ahead of a meeting on Europe’s first-ever CO2 targets for trucks, and have produced a chart to demonstrate the fact.

The meeting takes place next week between representatives of the European Parliament, the 28 national governments and the European Commission as part of the ‘trilogue’ negotiations.

Reaching the ambitious CO2 standards proposed by the EU will only be possible with a rapid and massive market uptake of zero- and low-emission trucks, said the ACEA.

While the aim is to conclude a deal on the new CO2 targets within the next few weeks, the required infrastructure is almost completely absent today and there is no clear EU action plan for its future roll-out, it continued.

According to ACEA estimations, at least 6,000 high-power charging points for electric trucks (DC >500 kW) would be needed along EU motorways by 2025/2030.

In addition, another 20,000 ‘regular’ charging points suitable for trucks are required – bringing the total to 26,000.

“The shocking fact is that there is not one single public charging point for long-haul trucks available today,” stated ACEA secretary general Erik Jonnaert. “What is more, a standard for the required high-power plugs doesn’t exist yet.”

Although high-power charging points are being rolled out for electric cars along motorways, heavy-duty trucks cannot use this infrastructure because of their much higher power and energy demand, as well as the many parking spots they would need for charging along all major routes in Europe.

Similarly, hydrogen filling stations for cars are not suitable for trucks, given that the pressure storage is too small to meet truck demand.

Some 1,000 truck-specific hydrogen stations are needed by 2025/2030, but less than 10 are available across the entire EU today – none of which are suitable for long-haul trucks.

Truck-specific public filling stations for compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) are currently present in some EU member states, but their distribution is still very patchy across Europe and the number of stations remains low.

“Policy makers must be aware of this alarming situation when agreeing future CO2 targets for trucks, as these are dependent on a massive ramp-up in sales of alternatively-powered trucks,” continued Jonnaert.

“The targets should be set accordingly – and must be accompanied by an action plan to roll out truck-specific infrastructure across the EU.

“Customers cannot be expected to invest in alternatively-powered trucks if they do not have the possibility to recharge or refuel them.

“ACEA fully supports an agreement on the new truck CO2 standards, but we urge decision makers to ensure that the targets are achievable in practice.”

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ECCO Safety Group EMEA restructures the Product Management department

ECCO Safety Group is pleased to announce that in line with the ESG strategy to become more market and customer driven, Ian Roberts and Hynek Jakubicek have joined the leadership team and will lead two critical segments, Emergency Systems and Safety Solutions respectively.

Hynek Jakubicek recently joined ECCO Safety Group from AAG UK and will now assume the role of Segment Director for Safety Solutions with responsibility for managing the ECCO brand portfolio of products and a primary focus on Aftermarket. “I am delighted to be given this opportunity and I hope that my experience will help the ESG family to grow in this challenging time.” said Hynek about his appointment.

 

Ian Roberts who joined us from the LED Division of Eaton Corporation will now assume the role of Segment Director for Emergency Systems with responsibility for managing the Code 3 brand portfolio of products and a primary focus on OEM customised solutions. Ian states “I am thrilled about my new challenge and look forward to working with our highly skilled leadership team and contribute to the success of the company.”

Enrico Vassallo, Managing Director for ESG EMEA states “We are delighted to welcome Ian and Hynek in the leadership team. Their vision, strategy and execution track record are exactly what ECCO Safety Group needs in the EMEA region as we enter our next chapter.”

Both roles are responsible for leading EMEA-wide segment/product/brand/channel strategy and execution and will be working closely with Engineering, Supply Chain, Sales, Marketing Communications and their global counterparts.

Schaeffler welcomes Thomas Willis as Head of Category and Technical

Schaeffler (UK) Ltd has announced the appointment of Thomas Willis, who has joined as Head of Category and Technical for the original equipment manufacturer’s aftermarket division.

In his role, Thomas will be tasked with range development planning and analysis of its LuK, INA, FAG and Ruville brands, as well as managing and growing REPXPERT training and support to technicians working in the automotive aftermarket.

Thomas said: “It’s an honour and a great challenge to be joining Schaeffler, a company that boasts renowned and leading brands. It feels like joining a family, and I am fortunate to head-up a brilliant part of it.

“I have received tremendous support from my predecessor, Malcolm Short, and the whole Schaeffler team, so I am confident that I will hit the ground running. I want to bring a renewed focus to the product range and technical data so that we continue to deliver the very best service to the automotive aftermarket.

“I will ensure our REPXPERTs and I continue to provide the necessary training and technical support, in preparation for the advances in powertrain and telematic developments coming to the UK and the global automotive industry.”

Before taking the post at Schaeffler, Thomas enjoyed a spell at Delphi Automotive as Senior Global Product Manager (Braking and Thermal), where he was in-charge of handling the divestiture of Delphi Thermal to MAHLE in the aftermarket and managing a significant tender for aftermarket data services.

He also held positions within Jaguar Land Rover’s global product marketing and aftersales departments, where he was responsible for introducing the electronic vehicle health check and menu pricing to its global dealer network.

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Autoinform LIVE comes to Ireland

This year, for the first time ever, Autoinform Live will be coming to Ireland from 27-28 April 2019, making its industry-leading, hands-on training sessions accessible to garage owners and technicians in even more locations.

Held at the J&S Training Centre in Co. Cork, the event will replicate the same well-received format implemented at the Wolverhampton and Edinburgh shows, dividing the timetable into three modules which provide a mix of practical and theoretical sessions to suit all skill levels.

The weekend-long training event offers modules covering topics such as high voltage safety, hybrid / electric vehicles, DPF cleaning and turbochargers. Delegates will also receive essential advice on how to improve their business, whilst also learning new techniques and networking with some of the best garages from across Ireland.

Tickets for the full weekend event start at the discounted rate of 200 Euros for full AutoInform LIVE attendance, plus admittance to the evening dinner, which this year takes place at the Rochestown Park Hotel in Douglas, Co. Cork and features the comic talents of local comedian, Chris Kent.

Single day tickets are also available, costing just 120 Euros.

To view the full range of seminars, please visit the website.

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Delphi Technologies collaborates with TomTom on intelligent driving

Delphi Technologies has announced a collaboration with TomTom, a leader in navigation, traffic and map products.

The two companies will collaborate on electronic and software applications designed to further optimise vehicle fuel efficiency and emissions through the use of real-time mapping data.

Delphi’s intelligent driving controls will use real-time mapping data to predict changing driving conditions, such as route infrastructure and topography, traffic congestion and weather, which will improve fuel efficiency, reduce emissions, and shorten commute times.

Mary Gustanski, chief technology officer, Delphi Technologies said: “Smart propulsion solutions are the next logical step in transportation.

“Our collaboration with TomTom will help us to find new opportunities to integrate more information about a driver’s route, in order to enhance our proprietary Intelligent Driving controls and allow vehicles to drive better, cleaner and further.”

Delphi Technologies’ portfolio of new intelligent connected solutions brings vehicles to life.

Data enabled by automated and connected technologies improves propulsion efficiency, safety and range of all vehicles to create a future of smarter vehicles.

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Making Redundancies – A How to Guide For Employers from Xecutive Search

Nobody goes into business to make employees redundant. However, it is a task that many businesses will need to undertake at some point. Redundancy is a potentially fair reason to dismiss an employee, however it is vital to get this process right, as failure to do so could result in an expensive unfair dismissal claim at an employment tribunal.

The need for redundancies may arise due to reorganisation, through acquisition, or a downturn in revenue requiring a reduction in costs. Redundancy is defined as: when work of a particular kind has ceased or diminished, or is reasonably expected to cease or diminish.
So, here’s a step by step guide to the redundancy process, and how to negotiate it safely.

Redundancy procedure – good practice
It is good practice to have a redundancy procedure in place, even before a redundancy situation arises. If there is a procedure it may be appropriate to include it in the employee handbook, as this way employees will be aware of the process. A redundancy procedure should include the following steps:

  • Planning – only start the process having thought it through carefully and/or having taken some expert HR advice;
  • Identify – those posts that make up the pool of selection;
  • Invite – volunteers for redundancy;
  • Consultation – must be individual and collective;
  • Apply – a fair selection criteria;
  • Notify – the individual(s) to be made redundant using a fair process; dealing with any appeals if necessary;
  • Calculate – statutory redundancy and notice payments carefully and in accordance with contracts and/or prevailing legislation.

Note that these requirements will depend on whether the redundancies are small scale or large scale. Small scale redundancies are those which propose fewer than 20 posts at one establishment to be made redundant in a period of 90 days or less. Large scale redundancies involve making 20 or more employees redundant within 90 days.

Small scale i.e. fewer than 20 redundancies
In situations where fewer than 20 redundancies are proposed, a consultation exercise must be carried out with the affected employees – group consultation first, followed by individual meetings with those identified to be made redundant.

There is no specific requirement length for consultation in these smaller scale redundancies, however there is a requirement that the consultation is ‘meaningful’.

The topics of discussion during the consultation process will be the same as with a larger scale redundancy, and a failure to carry out a proper consultation exercise can mean that the employees involved could claim unfair dismissal.

This can be the case even though the end result of the exercise is inevitable i.e. if the workplace is closing down completely.

Large scale i.e. more than 20 redundancies
If an employer proposes to make 20 or more employees redundant, then they are under a statutory obligation to conduct a collective consultation.

The collective consultation period must begin at least 30 days before the first dismissal takes effect if 20 to 99 employees are at risk; or at least 45 days in advance if 100 or more employees are to be affected.

During the consultation period, employers must allow all employees in the pool of selection, and recognised trade unions (if applicable) to take part in order to conduct a meaningful consultation. It must focus on ways to avoid or reduce the dismissals (such as placing staff of lay off or short time working) and on mitigating any effects.

The consultation can only legally end: (a) if the minimum period required has been completed and (b) if there has been meaningful consultation where the employer has considered and responded to the views and suggestions raised.

Following the consultation period
Once the pool of selection has been identified, the next step is to use a selection criteria to identify which positions should be made redundant.

This is most effectively done by carrying out a scoring exercise to see which employees are the most valuable to the organisation.

The selection criteria for this scoring exercise must be objective and applied fairly to reduce the risk of possible discrimination claims. Employees must be able to see their scores.

Any employees that are selected for redundancy are entitled to receive adequate notice and redundancy pay. Notice periods will usually be the same as if you are terminating the contract of employment, unless there is an alternative agreement.

Redundancies in a business takeover
Redundancies are common in takeovers, the chance to strip out duplicated costs is the biggest motivating factor. However, there are potential pitfalls that employers can fall into, and steps they should take to avoid them.

Under TUPE – all employment contracts transfer to the new employer, and they are responsible for all the terms and conditions they entail. In these circumstances’ redundancies must be made based on an ‘ETO’ test. This is to establish that there are sound ‘economic, technical or organisational reasons’ to make changes to the workforce.

Above all else make sure that all redundancies are fair and legal. Employees with over two years’ service made redundant solely as a result of a takeover would be regarded as unfair dismissal.

Calculating statutory redundancy payments
Along with notice pay, all employees with at least 2 years’ continuous employment must receive a statutory redundancy payment. The amount of this payment depends on the employee’s age, length of service and their weekly pay. If there is no enhanced contractual entitlement, the redundancy payment can be calculated by following this link: .GOV Redundancy Calculator

Employers should be aware that if an employee does not receive redundancy pay or if they disagree with the amount, they can bring a claim at an employment tribunal within 6 months of the underpayment.

Additionally, employers must notify the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) of the situation if they are undertaking a large number of redundancies. This must be done at least 30 days in advance where the number of proposed redundancies is between 20 and 99, and at least 45 days in advance if 100 or more redundancies.

Calculating notice payments
Once any redundancy consultations have been conducted and a final decision has been reached, employers will need to give affected employees sufficient notice and agree a leaving date.

Employers must adhere to at least the minimum statutory notice period i.e. one week for every complete years’ service up to a maximum of 12 weeks, or their contractual entitlement (whichever is the greatest) – or more preferred. You can allow employees to leave sooner than the statutory period, but only if you pay them in lieu of their notice period.

Always remember that ‘benefits in kind’ are part of the employee’s remuneration and so employers must include overtime, bonus, pension and benefits in kind e.g. company car, health care etc in their final payment calculations.

Note: This information does not constitute legal advice and is provided for general information purposes only; no warranty, whether express or implied is given in relation to this material. We shall not be liable for any technical, editorial, typographical or other errors or omissions within the information provided here, nor shall we be responsible for the content of any links contained herein.

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Volvo Group sets aside £615m to deal with diesel emissions issue

Volvo Group has set aside £615.8 million to cover costs to address a faulty emissions control component which the degradation of could cause engines to exceed NOx emissions limits.

The company, which manufactures trucks, buses and construction equipment, as well as marine and industrial engines, first reported its concern over the “degrading emission control component issue” in October last year.

The engines in question are equipped with selective catalytic reduction (SCR) after-treatment systems that were designed initially to meet EPA 2010 emissions standards.

A Volvo statement said: “The estimated costs are based on several factors such as testing of vehicles, statistical analysis and dialogue with relevant
authorities.

“The next step will be to define how to implement corrective actions concerning the component in vehicles affected by this issue. This will be done together with the relevant authorities.

“The degradation of the component in question does not pose a product safety issue, nor does it negatively affect vehicle or engine performance in areas other than emissions control.

“The degradation is a result of a materials issue that occurs over time. All engines and vehicles equipped with the component meet emissions limits at
delivery.”

Volvo Group said the money set aside will impact operating include in the fourth quarter of 2018, and a negative cash flow effect will start in 2019 and
gradually ramp up in the coming years.

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