IAAF seeks nominations for Council

Each year a number of members of the IAAF Council reach the end of their term of office and either have to seek re-election (if eligible) or step down.  This year we have a small number of Independent Factor/Distributor (IFD) seats vacant on the IAAF Council.

Council Member candidates should, preferably, be principals, directors or very senior managers of the companies for whom they work.  Importantly, they should have sufficient authority to commit their companies to specific action agreed by the Council without reference to any other person in their company.

Members may nominate themselves or other candidates for these seats; but, whomever you nominate, please ensure that the person you nominate is willing for their name to go forward.

The closing date for nominations is 13th December 2019.  If you would like to make a nomination, please download the form below.  If you would like to nominate more than one person, please photocopy the form as required.  Nominations should be emailed to the IAAF Office.


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Manifesto calls for action on fair digitalisation opportunities

The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) is co-ordinating UK activity as part of a broader European-wide coalition that urges the European Commission to introduce legislation that ensures fair remote access to in-vehicle data and functional resources.

The coalition of European federations – representing parts distributors, independent garages, insurers, data publishers, component and equipment suppliers, tyre suppliers, emergency breakdown associations, lease companies, oil and lubricants suppliers, consumers and SME representatives – argues that a legislative solution that ensures access will not only enable innovation but would also improve customer choice in the automotive aftermarket. Moreover, access to this vehicle data us essential in allowing for effective competition within the market and enabling the EU to become a front runner in connected and autonomous mobility and related services.

The new manifesto argues that independent operators need four key abilities – subject (where relevant) to the consent of the driver / owner of the vehicle – in order to provide competitive, innovative services and digital solutions to their customers.

These abilities are:

  • Independent and direct real-time access to in-vehicle generated data that is not monitored by vehicle manufacturers, including those which are time critical;
  • Bi-directional communication with the vehicle and its functions, independent from the vehicle manufacturer;
  • Safe, secure and independent remote interaction with the driver, using the in-vehicle human-machine interface functions (e.g. via the dashboard or voice commands);
  • Independent software running directly in the connected vehicle using onboard capabilities to process any dynamically generated data as closely as possible to its source.

However, these would not be possible with the model put forward by vehicle manufacturers, the so-called ‘Extended Vehicle’, which will channel all future communication and data access through the VM’s backend server. As such, this would prevent all other service providers ‘around the car’ from offering competing services to consumers, as only a small part of the vehicle generated data will be shared with independent service providers, compared to the data available to the VM.

In two recent Resolutions, the European Parliament called on the European Commission to take (legislative) action to ensure fair, secure, real time and technology neutral access to in-vehicle data for some third part entries.

From a UK perspective and its withdrawal from the EU, it is still vital that the UK position is taken into consideration and the new manifesto reaffirms the call for a European legislative solution by 2020 to ensure effective remote access to in-vehicle data and functional resources, which will guarantee competition, innovation, and free consumer choice.

Wendy Williamson, IAAF chief executive said: “We call on European and national policymakers to present a robust legislative proposal by 2020. By doing so, EU Member States would ensure a competitive services environment and become the leader in connected and autonomous mobility and related services, while at the same time safeguarding its SME-friendly, social and green market economy and benefits to consumers.

“The ability to unleash the innovative and competitive potential of the automotive servicing industry and mobility providers for their services ‘around the car’, must be allowed to continue in the future. We feel it will be detrimental to motorists if the vehicle manufacturers are able to have a monopoly on access to the vehicle’s data/functions and legislation is needed to ensure a level playing field.”

The IAAF, coordinating UK activity, will continue to play a crucial role in the coming year on discussions around access to in-vehicle data and resources.

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Lawgistics’ HR Manager is nominated for another award

Hot on the heels of Lawgistics victory at the CarDealer Power Awards, they have recently learned that their ground-breaking product, HR Manager, has been nominated by its users for another award, this time at the Used Car Awards 2019.

Lawgistics’ members who are already utilising HR Manager have spoken of the comprehensive nature of the system and also the ease with which it can be used.

They have expressed their sincere thanks to the users who took the time to nominate HR Manager.

As part of the benefits of membership, IAAF members have access to HR Manager Lite, which includes most of the functions of the full version of the program.  If you would like to learn more, please contact the IAAF office or log into the members area of the IAAF website.

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SDC Trailers to cut jobs in Toomebridge and Mansfield

SDC Trailers in Toomebridge, Co Antrim, which is part of the Chinese-owned CIMC Group, is to cut jobs across its plants in Toomebridge and Mansfield, but does not yet know how many workers’ jobs are at risk.  The manufacturer supplies both haulage and logistic sectors in Ireland and the UK and its customers include major supermarkets.

SDC employs 800 people – 650 in plants in Northern Ireland, at Toomebridge, Magherafelt and Antrim, and a further 150 at the Mansfield facility in Nottinghamshire.

In a statement SDC Trailers said uncertainty around Brexit means customers aren’t buying as much equipment.  “In recent months, it is clear that the uncertainty of Brexit and other economic concerns has resulted in a slowing down of capital purchases from retailers, logistics firms and others.

“We have had to respond to this slowdown in demand by entering into a period of consultation with our employees with the unfortunate likely outcome being a number of employees being made redundant.

“We are unable to confirm numbers at this stage as the consultation process is still ongoing with our workforce.”

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End of UK road signs by 2027, says report

A new report entitled UK Connected and Automated Mobility Roadmap to 2030, proposes that improved vehicle connectivity will result in road signs and signals being decommissioned as early as 2027.

The report by Zenzic, an organisation “dedicated to accelerating the self-driving revolution in the UK by uniting industry, government and academia”, states that emerging CAM (connected and automated mobility) technologies will eliminate the need for road signage, with UK drivers seeing “naked highways” by 2027.

It states that from as early as next year, new planning guidance and blueprints for CAM-ready cities, towns, highways and rural roads will look to accommodate CAM services for efficient operations. This it says “will see new highway schemes move away from high cost (£10 million per km of smart motorway) assets in favour of digital infrastructure”.

It continues: “In addition, improved vehicle connectivity will eliminate the need for new road signage. The physical evolution and decommissioning of signs and signals expected from 2027 will be the first visible indication that new road infrastructure has been deployed, followed by the widespread adoption of in-car signalling (using in-car technology to digitally display speed limits, highway exits, and traffic updates for example) in 2028”.

Zenzic says that the transition, development and widespread adoption of digital road infrastructure will be informed by new standards, following agreed models for the digitisation of sign assets, as well as the specification of new safety services. In the next 10 years, this will include “identifying common approaches to safety and design standards” and in the next five years “describe the mapping requirements for digital road infrastructure”.

How the widespread removal of road signs and signals within the timeframe proposed by Zenzic would work if the UK’s vehicle parc is still a combination of connected, autonomous vehicles and non-connected and non- autonomous vehicles, is unclear.  However Zenzic recognises that “having the infrastructure in place to facilitate the development and testing of self-driving technologies and services will be key to unlocking insights that inform these standards and regulations, service design, and technology requirements”.

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Volvo offers fleet car drivers one year’s free electricity

Volvo has announced that drivers and buyers of any new Volvo plug-in hybrid model (PHEV) will benefit from a year’s free electricity to charge their car.

The offer is open to both private and business customers. Volvo says this is because it’s “intention is to encourage drivers to get into the habit of keeping their car’s hybrid battery charged, it’s the company car driver who will receive the refund at the end of the year rather than their employer.”

To qualify, customers must purchase a new Volvo plug-in hybrid between now and 30 June 2020. The electricity costs for charging the car will be calculated from May 2020 and repaid at the end of the 12-month period, “based on a third-party-provided average cost of electricity in the UK”.

The amount of energy each customer uses will be monitored via the Volvo On Call app. This logs how much power the car consumes, and also allows the driver to monitor the charge status of their car’s battery on their phone.

Kristian Elvefors, Volvo Car UK Managing Director, said: “At Volvo, in keeping with our Swedish roots, we’ve always taken a keen interest in looking after the environment. Our recently stated ambition to become a carbon-neutral company by 2040 shows we are serious about addressing climate change.

“It’s crucial that we help our plug-in hybrid customers understand how they can make the most of their car’s electric potential. So, by meeting their electricity charging costs for a year, we can encourage them to develop the good habit of regularly recharging their car’s battery, as well as saving them money at the same time.”

The free electricity initiative is one element in Volvo’s plans to “achieve a substantial reduction in the lifecycle carbon footprint of all its new cars”. The manufacturer recently announced its intention to achieve a cut of 40% between 2018 and 2025, a key step towards its goal of becoming a climate-neutral business by 2040.

Volvo says that by adopting cleaner, electrified powertrains, it will bring down overall tailpipe emissions by 50% by 2025, while also working to significantly reduce the environmental impact of its manufacturing, supply chain, logistics and other operations, targeting a 25% reduction by 2025.

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UK used car market bounces back 0.9% in Q3

The UK’s used car market increased by 0.9% in Q3 after nine straight quarters of decline, according to the latest figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). 2,076,382 transactions took place between July and September, 18,925 more than the same period in 2018.

Demand for diesel models was up 1.4% in the quarter with 858,442 changing hands, while petrol sales were flat with a slight drop of -0.2%. Plug-in electric and hybrid models showed a solid increase of 13.0%, totalling 37,589 units and increasing their share of sales to 1.8% from 1.6% in Q3 2018.

Data source: SMMT

Superminis remained the most popular segment, reflecting the trend in the new car market, with 684,929 changing hands, accounting for 33.0% of transactions. The lower medium and upper medium segments were the next most popular, with 27.0% and 11.7% shares respectively. Meanwhile, the dual purpose segment showed the largest percentage growth (15.2%) with 11.6% market share.

In other trends, black held its position as the number one colour among used car buyers, ahead of silver/aluminium and blue, with 57.1% of used cars sold in the third quarter clad in the top three colours. Orange overtook beige during the period to grab eighth place in the top 10, while bronze was the biggest grower, up 14.7%, albeit representing just 5,132 of the 2.1 million cars sold in the quarter.

The stronger Q3 performance wasn’t quite enough to offset declines in the previous two quarters, with 51,785 fewer transactions in the first nine months of the year and the market down -0.8%. Despite the recent weaker demand, at 6,130,762 units, the market remains at a relatively high level.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “This growth, following a prolonged period of decline, is encouraging and it’s great to see a growing appetite for plug-in and hybrid models as they start to filter down to the used market. However, ongoing economic uncertainty and growing confusion over local clean air zones make it difficult to predict the future.

“To make meaningful environmental gains, we need to get more of the latest, lowest emitting cars on to our roads replacing older ones quickly – and that means delivering the right conditions and policies to give new and used buyers confidence to invest in the vehicles that best suit their driving needs and budgets.”

To download the full datasheet, go to the SMMT website.

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2020 May bank holiday will be moved to mark 75th anniversary of VE Day

The early May bank holiday in 2020 will move from Monday 4 May to Friday 8 May to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day which takes place on 8 May, and enable people to pay tribute to those who served in one of the most significant events in recent UK history.

The occasion will remember the contribution of British, Commonwealth and Allied armed forces personnel; those who contributed to the war effort and safeguarded the Home Front. As well as marking the Allies’ victory in 1945, the bank holiday will serve as an opportunity to pay tribute to those who have served and continue to serve in the UK Armed Forces and their families.

Commemorative events will take place over the 3-day weekend across the country, including:

  • the Nation’s Toast, where over 20,000 pubs will encourage patrons to raise a glass to the Heroes of World War II
  • bagpipers playing the traditional Battle’s O’er at the top of the 4 highest peaks in the UK – Ben Nevis in Scotland, Scafell Pike in England, Mount Snowdon in Wales, and Slieve Donard in Northern Ireland
  • bells in churches and cathedrals across the country joining forces in a special Ringing Out for Peace
  • local street parties and celebrations across the 3-day weekend.

VE Day was first celebrated on 8 May 1945 when Allied Forces formally accepted Germany’s surrender.  The early May bank holiday will move in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, but bank holidays are a devolved issue in Scotland.

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Right To Work checks following Brexit

Our colleagues at Xecutive Search are advising companies to take note of dates for changes to employment law and the right to work in the UK once the UK does leave the EU.

The cut-off date to be living in the UK in order for rights to continue will be 31 December 2020. The deadline to apply under the Settlement Scheme will be 30 June 2021.

For employers concerned about how to differentiate between those who were living in the UK before or after the relevant cut-off date, there is no urgency to act at the present.  There will be no change to how employers must check the right to work of EU nationals until 31 December 2020. Employers should continue to check and copy an EU national’s original passport or national ID card in their presence on or before their first day of work to complete an acceptable right to work check before that date. Importantly, employers must take care not to discriminate against EU nationals and must not require evidence of their status (beyond their passport or national ID card) before 1 January 2021.

However, from 1 January 2021 onwards, the intention is that a new immigration system will apply. Employers will be required to check additional documents for any EU nationals starting employment after that date. For EU nationals who have status under the Settlement Scheme, this will likely be an online check of their status. For those without, it will be checking and copying their passport and a Home Office issued right to work document (visa), in the same way that non-EU national right to work checks are currently made. There will not be a requirement for employers to undertake retrospective checks on existing EU national employees.

So, for the present, the right to work check process has not been affected by Brexit and will not be until the close of 2020. Employers should be mindful, however of the various cut-off dates for their employees to be living in the UK and applying under the Settlement Scheme so that they are able to evidence a right to work in the UK beyond 1st January 2021.

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HELLA sells relay business to Hongfa

HELLA, the lighting and electronics specialist, is aligning its electronics business even more closely along the major market trends of electric mobility and autonomous driving. Against this backdrop, HELLA will sell its existing relay business to the Chinese relay manufacturer, Hongfa. In the last fiscal year, HELLA achieved sales of €43 million in this business field. The subject of the transaction is the corresponding development and production activities of the two HELLA companies located in Xiamen, China. The transaction is expected to be complete by the end of the year, with the price being around €10 million. As a result, approximately 280 employees will transfer to Hongfa.

“In the years to come, we want to concentrate even more strongly on the central future topics of the automotive industry,” explains HELLA CEO Dr. Rolf Breidenbach. “We see these topics being electric mobility and autonomous driving, so we are delighted to have found an experienced partner in Hongfa, who will successfully further develop our relay business.”

Guo Manjin, Chairman of the Hongfa Group, explains: “The acquisition of HELLA’s relay business will enable us to further expand our market position as one of the world’s leading relay manufacturers. The transaction will enable us to secure the established market and product advantages of HELLA in the area of relays and combine these with our distinctive management and technology expertise and more than 35 years of relay expertise.”

Hongfa is one of the world’s largest suppliers of relays. In 2018, the company achieved total sales of around €1.2 billion.

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