A tribute to Alec Morgan

Colleagues, friends and associates are paying tribute to the life and career of one of the UK aftermarket’s most colourful characters, Alec Morgan, following his recent untimely death.

In a career spanning some four decades, Alec will be best remembered for the invaluable and outstanding contribution he made to the industry, and for the enthusiasm he showed across the senior positions he occupied, most recently as Key Account Manager at Banner Batteries (GB) Limited.

Indeed it was Alec’s association with the battery sector, and Banner in particular that he is most widely recognised for. Alec initially became involved with automotive batteries when he worked as Sales Director at his father’s business – Alan A.Morgan Ltd – that distributed brands such as LUK, Banner and SWF. Following the sale of the business in 1995, and having worked for the new operation for the first six months, Alec took the bold step to set up his own business as an agent.

Banner Batteries receiving the 2016 Car Supplier  (Alec Morgan, is second from right)

He continued to develop in this role until April 1997 when Alec was recruited to head-up Banner Batteries in the UK following the Austrian manufacturer’s decision to set up its own IAM operation. It was a position that he occupied until 2013, when he took the decision to take a step back and assume the role of Key Account Manager.

During his 17-year stewardship at Banner, Alec was successful in building a business that today stands as one of the most significant within the IAM sector. Alec was very passionate about the automotive industry and played an active role serving on the IAAF Council, the SMMT Aftermarket Council and was also on the Executive Board of the SMMT.

As Lee Quinney, Banner Batteries Country Manager states: “It is difficult to put into words how much Alec meant to not only me, but to the rest of his colleagues here at Banner Batteries and the UK motor industry per se. He really was one of a kind, and his loss will reverberate around the industry for a very long time.

“Alec was without doubt one the most genuine people I’ve ever met and certainly had the pleasure of working alongside. Our relationship over the last three years at Banner has not only been thoroughly enjoyable but deeply rewarding. His business acumen, fun loving spirit and full-on positivity were matched by a sense of humour that proved to be a winning cocktail.

“He was a larger than life character who was instantly liked by all who met him and he will be remembered with great affection for his professional integrity and the resounding and successful career he enjoyed in the industry over many years.

“Whilst his loss will undoubtedly leave a big hole in the lives of all those who knew him, I shall always remember Alec with great affection, in particular for being a truly great friend. My condolences go to his family at such a sad time,” he concluded.

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MPs demand Government bans sale of conventional petrol and diesel cars earlier than planned

MPs on four Parliamentary committees have published a joint report on improving air quality calling on the Government to impose tougher restrictions and sooner.

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Environmental Audit, Health and Social Care, and Transport Committees launched their joint inquiry amid concerns over the inadequacy of the Government’s plan to improve air quality in the UK.

It wants the Government to introduce a new Clean Air Act, a clean air fund financed by the transport industry, a national air quality support programme for councils, and to require manufacturers to end the sale of conventional petrol and diesel cars earlier than the current 2040 target.

Lilian Greenwood, chair of the Transport Select Committee, said: “Transport is the key to improving air quality, but it requires real political leadership and co-ordinated action from the Government and local authorities.

“The solution isn’t just about reducing the pollution each vehicle produces, we also need policies that will reduce our reliance on cars. This requires more urgency, imagination and innovation than is being demonstrated by the Government, local councils or transport service providers.”

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) says an outright ban risks undermining the current market for new cars and the automotive sector which supports more than 800,000 jobs across the UK.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT, said: “The industry instead wants a positive approach which gives consumers incentives to purchase these cars. We could undermine the UK’s successful automotive sector if we don’t allow enough time for the industry to adjust.”

Despite a series of court cases, the report says the Government has still not produced a plan that adequately addresses the scale of the challenge. Nor has it demonstrated the national leadership needed to bring about a step change in how the problem of air quality is tackled.

The Government’s approach, it says, is more concerned with box-ticking and demonstrating compliance than taking bold, affirmative action.

Neil Parish, chair of the Environment Food and Rural Affairs Committee, said: “We are concerned that the Government is treating air quality as a box-ticking exercise. Real change will require bold, meaningful action.

“We are calling on Government to develop a properly resourced support scheme available to all councils struggling with air quality, and to require manufacturers of polluting vehicles to pay their fair share by contributing to an industry-financed clean air fund.”

The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA), whose members own and operate nearly five million cars, vans and trucks in the UK, has welcomed the publication of todays Joint Select Committee report into Air Quality.

The Government says it will publish its plan later in the year. To read the full report click here.

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RAC urges more EV support

Commenting on the recent joint select committee report which examines the Government’s air quality plans, RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said:

“The Government’s longer term ambition to end the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles should be matched by a shorter term one which does more to incentivise drivers to choose cleaner alternatives.

“With the latest figures showing a drop in the number of electric cars being sold in the UK at the start of this year compared to 2017, now is the time to ask whether incentives such as the plug-in grant scheme are doing enough to change drivers’ buying habits. The Government may need to be far more radical by looking at VAT on sales of zero-emission vehicles.

“There is also a lot of work to be done to demonstrate that the country is ready for a new era of cleaner vehicles. While manufacturers have committed to selling many more hybrid and pure electric models which will help bring the price of these down, this needs to be backed by the right infrastructure – such as the availability of more high-speed charging infrastructure which can help allay drivers’ range anxiety. It should also look at key areas such as on-street charging for residents, and at destination points such as car parks where drivers are likely to leave their vehicles for longer periods. A combination of competitive up-front vehicle costs and confidence in the charging infrastructure should provide the tipping point for a transition to zero-emission vehicles.”

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Dayco Makes A New Appointment

Dayco, a leading engine products and drive systems supplier for the automotive, industrial and aftermarket industries, has recruited Ann-Marie Dean to the UK aftermarket team as its sales manager for the South-west of the country.

Although many in the industry may claim to have a wide variety of trade experience, Ann-Marie is unusual in so much as she has truly seen life from one end to the other, having worked under the bonnet in a workshop installing replacement parts, moved through to the service department of the local dealer and on through to corporate sales for a leading vehicle manufacturer.

“The industry’s in my blood,” Ann-Marie explained, “so my original plan was to qualify as a technician and ply my trade servicing and repairing cars in the workshop. However, my plans changed when I saw an opening to become a customer service advisor for Saab and Chevrolet after undertaking a Retail Motor Industry NVQ in parts and operations. Having then transitioned from the parts side to a couple of dealer support roles, I took the opportunity to move into business to business sales with Vauxhall for both its cars and commercial vehicles.

“Despite enjoying the job, I missed the interaction and down to earth conversations you have over the parts counter, which is why I jumped at the opportunity to represent Dayco in the side of the industry where my career began.”

Commenting on the appointment, Country Manager, Steve Carolan said: “It was clear from the beginning that Ann-Marie had an obvious enthusiasm for the industry and that’s a great attribute to have when you also have an understanding of the challenges technicians face and the solutions that Dayco has to offer. I know that she will work well alongside our existing sales team and am confident that she will be an important part of the company’s continuing aftermarket growth.”

The final word goes to Ann-Marie, who added: “I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in, to support the team and help grow the business, as well as work with factors and go back to my roots to increase awareness of the Dayco brand to workshops and technicians.”

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HELLA Sonne recruits John Walters

John Walters has joined the HELLA Sonne refinish paint team, in the role of senior technical representative to enhance the service and support offered to its distribution partners and bodyshop network.

The introduction of John comes as the brand approaches its two-year UK anniversary, during which it has undergone significant growth. “John has vast knowledge, skills and experience in the refinish industry and we are truly privileged to have him in our team,” said Director of Refinish, Paul Tredgold.

“In the twenty-two months since we launched at Automechanika Birmingham, initial interest has transitioned in to a solid business and Sonne now has a firmly established position in the UK refinish market.

“Our technical team are the real stars in the refinish division as their commitment, dedication and professionalism in supporting the launch into an overcrowded market has made the near impossible, possible.”

The Sonne range comprises high quality refinish paint products and ancillaries, that offers an ideal alternative for refinish distributors and repairers focusing on performance, productivity and efficiency. The Sonne Hidrosonne Evo range of water based paint consists of Solid, Metallic, Pearl and Xirallic toners, offering a palette in excess of 70,000 colours, with easy usage, high opacity and excellent, fast drying properties.

The extensive colour database is regularly updated as new colours from the vehicle manufacturers become available to the market. The outstanding colour platform is fully supported by a range of Sonne ancillary products, including VOC compliant primers and clear coats.

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TMD Friction appoints new UK key accounts manager for Pagid brand

Brake specialist TMD Friction has appointed Phil Woodcock as UK key accounts manager for Pagid.

Having spent 35 years in sales and marketing, with 25 of those in key positions in the automotive industry, Phil has extensive experience providing international marketing and operational solutions within the friction sector.

In his new position, Phil will be responsible for managing and promoting the Pagid brand in the UK market.

This will include driving sales through Euro Car Parts and further-cementing Pagid’s position as the leading OE-brand in the UK market.

Sylvie Layec, TMD Friction sales director Western Europe and Pan-European accounts said: “We welcome Phil as TMD Friction UK key accounts manager and we have every confidence that he will grow the Pagid brand further.

“He certainly comes with plenty of excellent experience, and has the standards of quality and attention to detail that is synonymous with TMD Friction.”

Phil said: “Having been involved in the automotive braking market for many years, it’s wonderful to be joining a highly regarded brand that is part of the global leader in brake friction technology.

“TMD Friction’s manufacturing and research and development facilities are second to none, and the quality that the workforce produces is why the Pagid brand has such loyalty.

“I’m very much looking forward to taking Pagid to the next level in terms of sales and customer service”.

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MOT rule changes: 20 May 2018

The way that the MOT test works in England, Scotland and Wales will change from Sunday 20 May 2018.

The MOT test works differently in Northern Ireland.

The changes will affect cars, vans, motorcycles and other light passenger vehicles.

There are 5 main changes:

1. Defects will be categorised differently

Defects found during the MOT will be categorised as either:

  • dangerous
  • major
  • minor

The category the MOT tester gives each item will depend on the type of problem and how serious it is.

MOT testers will still give advice about items to be monitored. These are known as ‘advisories’.

2. Stricter rules for diesel car emissions

There will be stricter limits for emissions from diesel cars with a diesel particulate filter (DPF).

A DPF captures and stores exhaust soot to reduce emissions from diesel cars.

The car’s handbook should be checked to confirm if the vehicle has a DPF.

The vehicle will get a major fault if the MOT tester:

  • can see smoke of any colour coming from the exhaust
  • finds evidence that the DPF has been tampered with

3. Some new things will be included in the MOT

Daytime running lights will be checked on vehicles first used from 1 March 2018.

Some new items will be tested during the MOT.

They include checking:

  • if tyres are obviously underinflated
  • if the brake fluid has been contaminated
  • for fluid leaks posing an environmental risk
  • reversing lights on all vehicles
  • brake pad warning lights and if brake pads or discs are missing
  • headlight washers on vehicles first used from 1 September 2009 (if they have them)
  • daytime running lights on vehicles first used from 1 March 2018 (most of these vehicles will have their first MOT in 2021 when they’re 3 years old)

    There will be other smaller changes to how some items are checked. Your MOT centre will be able to tell you about these.

4. The MOT certificate will change

The current MOT test certificate will change to a new style to list the new types of defects.

It will list any defects under the new categories, so they’re clear and easy to understand.

The service to check the MOT history of a vehicle will be updated to reflect the changes.

5. Some vehicles over 40 years old won’t need an MOT

Cars, vans, motorcycles and other light passenger vehicles won’t need to have an MOT if they’re over 40 years old and have not been substantially changed.

At the moment, only vehicles first built before 1960 are exempt from needing an MOT.

When the rules change on 20 May 2018, vehicles won’t need an MOT from the 40th anniversary of when they were registered. It is possible to check the date the vehicle was registered online.

If a car was first registered on 31 May 1978, it won’t need an MOT from 31 May 2018.

It will not be necessary to apply to stop getting an MOT for a vehicle.

However, each time an historic vehicle is taxed (even if no fee is payable), a declaration stating that it meets the rules for not needing an MOT will have to be made.

More information

The maximum fees MOT centres can charge won’t change.

In January 2018, the government decided to keep the age a vehicle needs its first MOT at 3 years, rather than extend it to 4 years.

It is possible to receive a free MOT reminder by text message or email a month before the MOT is due.

There is a fine of up to £1,000 for driving a vehicle without a valid MOT.

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Automechanika Birminmgham – Garage of the Year 2018 now open for entries

Independent garages from across the UK are being urged to enter Automechanika Birmingham’s renowned ‘Garage of the Year’ awards which is now open for entries, celebrating the unsung heroes of the aftermarket.

Sponsored by the Independent Garage Association and run in partnership with Garage Wire, the competition is open to all garage businesses up and down the country.

Entrants may enter more than one category, explaining why their garage deserves to win the much-coveted prize, with the chance to walk away with £1000.
The six categories are:

  • Best Small Garage
  • Best Large Garage
  • Best Community Initiative award
  • ‘Auto-mechanik’ of the Year
  • Technology Innovation Award
  • Business Innovation Award

Garages can enter by visiting: http://garagewire.co.uk/garage-year-2018/, but must do so before the deadline of 30 April.

Winners from each category will be announced at a special evening dinner to be held in the Director’s Lounge, Aston Villa Football Club on 5 June. All garages shortlisted will receive two free tickets to attend the dinner, sponsored by Elta, EDT, AA Garage Guide, Autologic and The Parts Alliance, with its braking brand Bendix sponsoring drinks.

Finalists will get to find out who has been crowned overall Garage of the Year winner at the event itself on 6 June.

Simon Albert, Managing Director of Automechanika Birmingham, said: “These awards present garages from all over the UK with the unique opportunity of recognising the hard work and contribution they give to the automotive industry. They are often the unsung heroes, and it’s a fantastic way to celebrate and champion the diversity of UK garage businesses.

“We strongly encourage all garages to get involved to be in with the chance of picking up £1000 at the event.”

The competition forms part of a larger offering for garages at the 2018 exhibition. The organisers have introduced a dedicated Garage Quarter featuring suppliers of tools and workshop equipment, services and innovative products as well as a Garage Social area.

Garage visitors will also benefit from limited free parking at the NEC and free breakfast upon arrival, based on first come first served. Visitors looking to sign up can register for their free ticket here: https://www.automechanika birmingham.com/welcome/get-your-free-ticket

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IAAF members urged to ‘brace themselves for change’ at latest industry briefing

The latest Industry Briefing, hosted by the Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF), took place at Phocas Business Intelligence Software, Middlemarch Business Park, Coventry on Thursday 15 March, with ‘sweeping change’ very much at the heart of its agenda.

Members were brought up to speed with all the latest industry developments by IAAF Membership Development Manager Mike Smallbone, who updated attendees on recent lobbying successes regarding the scrapped MOT proposals and Type Approval legislation, highlighting IAAF’s influence in both outcomes.

He also touched upon recent developments across the UK and Europe, where pressure continues to mount on the European Commission to begin work on legislation that introduces an interoperable, standardised, secure and safe, in-vehicle open telematics platform (OTP).

There was also mention of the YourCarYouChoice campaign, urging delegates to give support and raise awareness to Block Exemption regulations, providing consumers with the freedom to choose where to service their vehicle.

Smallbone then welcomed guest speakers Nona Bowkis from Lawgistics discussing General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into effect on 25 May, and Steve Carter from Train4auto Consultancy, addressing how hybrid electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel-cell technology will revolutionise the future.

Bowkis explained the basic principles of GDPR and some of the consequences that business owners could face if they failed to be GDPR compliant, affirming that although the topic of GDPR was vast and complicated, a fundamental grasp of the process could assist businesses in avoiding falling foul of the law.

This was followed by Carter’s compelling talk on hybrid electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel-cell technology, signaling that the adoption of EVs is closer than most are anticipating, supported by some weighty statistics that powerfully conveyed the monumental changes around the corner for both the aftermarket and motorists alike.

Smallbone said: “The briefing was extremely well-received and we anticipated the presentation topics would prove incredibly popular, reflected in the fact that all the spaces had been booked up weeks in advance of the event. It was clear our members hugely benefitted from learning more about GDPR and electric vehicle technology, and the impact both will have on them personally and as part of the aftermarket.

“These briefings are gathering more momentum as we go on; they’re providing real value to members in terms of industry insight. We are expecting another highly engaging session and large turnout at the next briefing.”

The session then finished at 1.30 pm with lunch, where delegates had the opportunity to network with fellow members.

The next meeting will be hosted by The Turbo Guy in Glasgow on Thursday 17 May.

As limited spaces are available, IAAF is advising members to book early to avoid disappointment by emailing Ann Silvester at anns@iaaf.co.uk.

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Exhibitor day highlights potential for ‘best show experience yet’

Automechanika Birmingham hosted its Exhibitor Day at Birmingham NEC on 1 March, showcasing to exhibiting companies the raft of opportunities available to get the most out of their return on investment.

The day, which drew a high number of exhibitors from across the aftermarket, independent garage and vehicle production sectors also provided the opportunity to highlight the many exciting initiatives planned for 2018, including the new layout, the ‘Garage Quarter’ and the ‘Stand Awards’.

Event Director Simon Albert kick-started proceedings with an event overview, encouraged exhibitors to use tips on how to make the most of pre-show marketing with the help of the organising team, be operationally prepared and make best use of the networking facilities available.

Key speakers were also invited to impart their expertise to the audience, including Peter Lawton, Senior Section Manager of SMMT, with an Industry Update, featuring an overview from 2017, an insight into market trends and future challenges faced by the industry including Brexit, air quality and capitalising on technology.

Exhibitors also gained exclusive insight from a case study from regular exhibitor TR Fastenings, presented by Glenda Roberts, the company’s Global Sales Director. Roberts shared best practice and encouraged exhibitors to prepare a full marketing campaign in order to bring their existing and new customers to their stand at the exhibition.

There were also a number of event suppliers in attendance offering discounts to exhibitors on furniture packages, stand designs, catering and scanners to capture visitor data.

Exhibitors also took the chance to benefit from some fantastic networking opportunities over lunch.

Albert said: “The day was a resounding thumbs-up, with advice from a host of industry experts, enabling our exhibitors to leave armed with plenty of information to help make their show offering a huge success.

We want to ensure that we provide exhibitors with the best possible support before, during and after the event, and the insight they’ve gained from the Exhibitor Day will no doubt help set them up for a great event.”

The leading exhibition for the UK’s automotive industry returns to the NEC, Birmingham, 5-7 June 2018. Visitors can register to attend for free by CLICKING HERE.

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