Alliance Automotive UK acquires ASMF

Alliance Automotive UK, the parent company of GroupAuto and UAN buying groups has acquired the seven-branch Autostores Motor Factors chain (ASMF). Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

Originally known as Sureparts and Panels & Paints, ASMF was a member of the PDP Group and PDP Chairman Alistair Whatmore was Managing Director.

ASMF is Alliance Automotive UK’s 12th acquisition of 2019, although it is the first this year to have been obtained from outside of the firm’s own buying groups. Another recent aquisition was that of All Vehicle Parts Ltd., an existing member of GROUPAUTO.

AVP is a four branch LV business based in Market Harborough, Corby, Leicester, and Oakham with sales of c£4.2m and 50 employees.

These deals brings the total number of branches to be added to AAUK’s portfolio this year to 26, with a combined annual turnover in the region of £40m.

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MPs call for ban of hands-free mobile phone use behind the wheel

A group of MPs is calling for drivers to be banned from using hands-free mobile phones in England and Wales.

While it has been illegal to use a handheld phone at the wheel since 2003, using a hands-free device creates “the same risks of collision”, the Commons Transport Select Committee has warned.

An expert told the committee that taking a hands-free phone call caused “essentially the same” amount of distraction as being at the legal limit for alcohol blood level in England and Wales.

There were 773 casualties on Britain’s roads in 2017, including 43 deaths and 135 serious injuries, in crashes where a driver using any kind of mobile was a contributory factor, the committee said in a report.

While the number of people killed or seriously injured in such incidents has increased since 2011, the rate of enforcement regarding phone use has fallen by more than two-thirds over the same period, the report added.

Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: “IAM RoadSmart strongly welcomed the House of Commons Transport Committee report as it fully confirms what we have known for some time – multi tasking is a myth and any form of smartphone use at the wheel is distracting.

“Clarifying the law so that any use of a phone that involves holding it or placing in the driver’s lap is made illegal should be a top government priority.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s for music selection or social media updates, it all increases risk behind the wheel particularly for new drivers.

“New laws and tougher penalties are welcome but will only work if the fear of being caught is increased.

“This can be done through more high-profile policing but could also given an immediate boost by issuing clear guidelines for the use of mobile speed cameras to prosecute any driver they spot with a phone to their ear.

A Department for Transport spokeswoman said: “While mobile phones are a vital part of modern life and business, drivers must always use them safely and responsibly.

“Being distracted by a mobile phone while driving is dangerous and puts people’s lives at risk.

“The law is clear that anyone driving dangerously is committing a criminal offence.”

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End of Life Vehicles Regulations 2003

These Regulations were introduced to protect the environment by restricting the use of hazardous materials and introducing measures to promote recycling.

The Office of Product Safety and Standards is responsible for enforcing parts 3 and 4 of the End of Life Vehicles Regulations 2003 and is currently trying to raise awareness about their office and the parts of the regulations they are responsible for.

The responsibility for the requirements of parts III and IV of these regulations lies with car and component producers, some of whom will be members of the IAAF.

The Office of Product Safety and Standards has created a leaflet underlining the main responsibilities required by the ELV Regulations and a copy can be downloaded here.

ELV Leaflet

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Government doubles funding for on-street electric car charging

The government has announced an additional £2.5 million to fund the installation of over 1,000 new chargepoints.

The funding will support the on-street residential chargepoint scheme, launched in 2017, which helps people access charging infrastructure near their homes when they don’t have off-street parking.

It will go towards helping local authorities to install these chargepoints, which can be built into existing structures like lamp-posts.

The scheme aims to encourage more people to choose an electric vehicle by making it easier to charge their cars near home, following a 158 per cent increase in battery electric vehicle sales compared to July last year.

The scheme has already seen 16 local authorities prepared to install 1,200 chargepoints this year.

The Transport Secretary is now doubling funding for the popular scheme to meet demand and accelerate the take-up of electric vehicles as the UK moves towards net zero emissions by 2050 and further improve air quality.

Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps said: “It’s vital that electric vehicle drivers feel confident about the availability of chargepoints near their homes, and that charging an electric car is seen as easy as plugging in a smartphone.

“That’s why we are now doubling the funding available for local authorities to continue building the infrastructure we need to super-charge the zero emission revolution – right across the country.”

The allocation of funding for on-street residential chargepoints is part of the £1.5 billion investment underpinned by the Road to Zero Strategy.

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OEM or OEE glass ‘does not affect’ ADAS

The Original Equipment Equivalent (OEE) glass used by Autoglass is as good as an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) windscreen, and does not affect ADAS.

This is according to new research by Autoglass, which commissioned independent research to investigate how different windscreen types affected ADAS.

The research, conducted by TRL, the Transport Research Laboratory, undertook independent tests to compare the performance of ADAS systems calibrated after the installation of OEM and OEE screens. The performance of emergency braking and lane departure warning were tested under controlled conditions on a test track.

After each windscreen change, the ADAS camera was calibrated by Autoglass to the manufacturer’s specification. The tests concluded that the ADAS technology on a vehicle functions correctly when either OEM or the Autoglass aftermarket replacement windscreens (OEE) are used in the repair work.

This research does not apply for all aftermarket equivalents, but only the OEE glass used by Autoglass.

Dr Chris Davies, head of technical superiority at Autoglass said, ‘The use of OEM or OEE glass makes no difference to ADAS functionality. This independent research refutes the claim by some manufacturers that their windscreens must be used to ensure the safety technology continues to work properly. This is purely a case of the manufacturers trying to push their own branded products.

‘Glass used on vehicles is changing and every year we see more complexity, requiring immaculate quality to house the evolving technology which sits on the windscreen. It is important that the industry is able to adapt and be flexible and our use of OEE glass allows us to offer the best possible service to the customer without any compromise on quality or safety.’

He continued, ‘Not all glass is made to the same quality standard, and whilst this new research proves that OEE glass, as used by Autoglass, offers the same level of safety for ADAS calibration as OEM glass, we also know that many VGRRs use inferior glass that doesn’t meet the same rigorous safety standards, and that’s a genuine risk.

‘This risk will only increase as the number of cars in the car parc with ADAS technology increases. It is expected that 22% of cars will feature some form of ADAS technology by 2021], so it’s an imperative for the entire industry to ensure that glass used is of the necessary high quality and is not putting drivers at risk.

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Autotech Recruit announces online training portal

Autotech Recruit has teamed up with to launch an exclusive online training portal for its growing pool of temporary vehicle technicians and MOT testers.

The move will not only enable Autotech Recruit’s pool of over 600 contractors to increase their skill set to work across a broader range of vehicles, including electric and hybrid cars, but enable the company to efficiently meet the recruitment needs of the UK’s independent garages, workshops and automotive aftermarket companies.

Through the portal, Autotech Recruit’s network of vehicle technicians and MOT testers will gain access to over 130, discounted, online training courses enabling them to up-skill and evaluate which new areas of automotive systems they need training on.

On accessing Our Virtual Academy’s exclusive Autotech Recruit platform, contractors will also complete a skills analysis which will enable the company’s recruitment consultants to correctly match vehicle technicians and MOT testers to the right position, quickly.

Mandla Ndhlovu, head of Autotech Recruit’s apprentice and training divisions, said, ‘Every contractor who joins Autotech Recruit is taken through a robust screening process, but as vehicle technology and systems are evolving at such a rapid pace, the use of ‘Our Virtual Academy’ will enable us to thoroughly review skills. It will also increase the employability and pay prospects of our contractors.

‘On a daily basis we receive requests from garages and dealerships for temporary technicians – and the skills needed are increasingly diverse, from knowledge on hybrid cars to diesel diagnostics.’

The launch of the platform is part of an exclusive agreement with Our Virtual Academy. Launched in October 2016 by Ben Stockton who, following research which revealed that the average technician only remembers 20% of traditional training, created the on-line resource which would provide a more cost effective and efficient training experience.

Ben said, ‘Through our strong industry ties, our team of professional writers are continuously updating the training content. There are synergies between our company and Autotech Recruit, as both companies recognise the need to up-skill the current automotive workforce as vehicle systems continue to rapidly progress.’

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MAM to launch electronic job card and technician tracking solution

MAM Software has announced the forthcoming launch of TeamView, a new paperless job card and technicians’ activity tracking add-on for its popular Autowork Online garage management software.

Designed to benefit garages of all sizes, TeamView provides real-time communication between work that is being undertaken and scheduled jobs.

The solution features a mobile/paperless job card for technicians that can be used on a phone, tablet or PC.

There is also a workshop manager screen for office use, which incorporates drag and drop work assignment and real-time status updates.

If a technician is waiting for a part, or for work to be authorised, a manager can see what is happening before quickly and simply reallocating work.

TeamView’s reporting suite allows users to analyse historical performance and identify areas for improvement.

At-a-glance assessment of utilisation, productivity and efficiency
By accurately tracking the time technicians spend working, waiting or idle, the software provides an at-a-glance assessment of utilisation, productivity and efficiency.

The software can also be used to calculate a workshop’s – and an individual technician’s – labour recovery rates.

Electronic job cards within TeamView enable workshop managers to specify exactly what work needs to be carried out on a vehicle, and technicians can record notes on jobs they are working on.

Nathan Fothergill, sales manager at MAM Software, said: “The combination of tools offered by TeamView gives users the ability to act on the here and now, while making efficiency improvements for the future.

“TeamView enables workshop managers to overcome bottlenecks and ensure jobs flow smoothly.

“The software provides them with the information they need to tweak their workflow accordingly, which will ultimately improve a garage’s bottom line.”

TeamView is an optional module for Autowork Online that will initially be released to a group of customers who have helped MAM develop the solution in September.

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Customers the centre of attention: LKQ Europe’s first leadership conference is a great success

LKQ Europe, the European market leader in automotive aftermarket parts for cars, commercial vans and industrial vehicles, gathered 250 of its top managers for a visionary leadership conference in Wembley, London on July 1st and July 2nd. The primary objective was developing common strategies on how to ensure the success of its customers in the changing independent aftermarket environment. LKQ Europe looks back on an inspiring and successful event.

With more than 27,000 employees in 21 European countries, LKQ Europe regularly serves 700,000 customers through its network of 1,100 branches. In 2018, it achieved revenue of approximately €4.6 billion. On a combined basis, this subsidiary of the US-based LKQ Corporation, is the leading distributor of automotive aftermarket parts in Europe. It is represented by the renowned regional groups Euro Car Parts, Sator Group, Rhiag Group, Elit, AutoKelly, and STAHLGRUBER Group, as well as a recycling specialist Atracco. LKQ also holds a minority interest in publicly traded Mekonomen which is headquartered in Sweden.

Team spirit and championship
For its first European leadership conference, LKQ Europe invited 250 of its executives to Wembley. The location not only stands for team spirit and championship, but is also the place where the European LKQ success story began in 2011.

LKQ Corporation’s current Chairman and first CEO, Joe Holsten, and current President and CEO, Nick Zarcone, joined the event as special guests, providing motivating insights. Important business partners of LKQ Europe such as Schaeffler, Hella, Mahle, Varta and several others showed their support by sponsoring the conference.

Identifying trends
The event was dedicated to welcoming change and being prepared for developments in the market, always in accordance with Darwin’s recognition that it isn’t the strongest, biggest or most intelligent of a species that survives, but the one most responsive to change.

The meeting addressed some of the more important long-term trends and focused on ways to use them to enhance LKQ’s customer offering. In LKQ’s view, key developments include market consolidation, vehicle manufacturers’ strategies, new internet focused distributors, an increasing shortage of qualified mechanics, vehicle data processing and the influence of new technologies, ranging from autonomous driving to electric vehicles.

John Quinn, CEO of LKQ Europe, underlined the need for embracing changes: “It is clear we can’t assume the coming years will resemble the past because things are changing faster than ever before. We need to anticipate these opportunities and act. We all need to recognise the critical need to adapt and change as there is a massive opportunity for LKQ to actively shape the independent aftermarket for the benefit of our customers, employees and shareholders.”

Seeing opportunities, not threats
The conference attendees agreed that the key to continued success is putting customers first through helping the customers understand and navigate the changing environment.

Arnd Franz, COO LKQ Europe, pointed out: “We need to offer our garage customers everything they need for a successful business – service, support, equipment and training on new issues arising from the technology shift. We have to grow LKQ in order to gain the scale effects required to provide our customers with solutions that will allow them to remain competitive. We need to support them with logistic networks that give them flexibility and speed for their customers. We need to equip them with brands and concepts upon which end-customers can rely.”

It’s all about the people
Special guest Nick Zarcone, CEO LKQ Corporation, focused the executives’ attention on the fact that taking care of the employees will be as crucial as catering to the customers in the future: “We need to attract the best in class talent that embody our values. And we need to help our employees embrace the upcoming change while simultaneously keeping the customer the centre of attention”, he stated.

Joe Holsten, co-founder and Chairman of the LKQ Corporation, used the opportunity to emphasise the importance of trust in relationships. Joe’s message was particularly on point as LKQ brings together the best companies in the industry, each with its own culture, to take LKQ Europe to the next level as ‘One LKQ’. “Trust is key to business leadership – trust in ourselves, suppliers, in the senior management, and our customers’ trust in us. And we have to earn this trust every single day.”

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All roads lead to Russia – Comline to exhibit at MIMS Automechanika Moscow

British parts supplier Comline is set to impress in Moscow at Russia’s largest automotive expo, MIMS Automechanika Russia when doors open on August 26th – 29th. Exhibiting alongside their valued distribution partner Monlibon, the brand will demonstrate why its expansive range of high-quality value-for-money product is trusted by customers in 50 countries worldwide.

“The Russian market holds masses of potential for the Comline brand,” commented Harvinder Handa, Comline Export General Manager. “In conjunction with our partners at Monlibon, we are aggressively pursuing growth in this region, and it is therefore vital that our exhibits go hand-in-hand at this important expo.

“Our showcase has been designed to portray the calibre of our products and will provide visitors with an opportunity to ‘touch and feel’ the quality of the materials used throughout the range. Coupled with expert brand representation, our dynamic product display will be both eye-catching and informative.”

Comline’s multi-line product portfolio, which includes core ranges in filtration, braking and steering and suspension, caters for over 95% of the European Japanese and Korean vehicle parc. Offered in Russia and Belarus via Monlibon, a leading wholesale parts distributor with over 20-years’ experience, Comline’s quality range delivers guaranteed performance, absolute reliability and inherent value for money.

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Melett to unveil turbocharger capabilities at Equip Auto

Turbocharger specialist Melett is showcasing its growing offering in France, at Equip Auto 2019 from 15 to 19 October, while also promoting the benefits of using Melett precision engineered turbochargers and parts.

In what is a growing market for Melett, this year’s 25th edition of the international trade show at Paris Expo Porte de Versailles will provide an ideal platform to raise awareness of the brand alongside Melett’s parts and complete turbocharger range.

Promoting its capabilities on its custom-built stand, Melett is looking to meet with some of the 95,000 decision makers, repairers, distributors, manufacturers, investors and professionals working in automotive markets who will flock to the show, to unveil its latest turbo offering to ensure businesses keep at the leading-edge of the European turbocharger aftermarket.

As the global market leader in precision engineered turbochargers and parts, Melett uses the latest machinery and technology, including casting tooling, welding machines and the latest Japanese CNC controlled equipment with onboard CMM to produce the highest quality turbocharger parts.

With a wealth of experience in component production and quality control, and a thorough understanding of the full manufacturing process – accredited to ISO9001:2015 Quality Management System – the Melett approach is based on trust, reliability and availability.

Claude Entressengle, Melett’s sales manager for France, said: “We are keen to promote the Melett brand, parts and complete turbocharger range to the automotive industry in France and highlight our position as a market leader.”

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