Launch UK awarded Best Business 2016 by Launch Europe

Launch UK has been awarded the honour of “Best Launch Business 2016” by the brand’s European division.

The UK operation, based in Plymouth, is the only genuine distributor of Launch products in the UK and this accolade highlights the high quality of its customer service from the point of sale through to aftersales support.

Launch UK prides itself on raising awareness to the full potential of the diagnostic products produced and supplied by the prestigious Launch brand.

Dave Richards, Launch UK managing director was delighted with the win, commenting: “This recognition reflects the true quality of our products and also highlights how highly we are regarded in the UK aftermarket. Only Launch UK can provide genuine quality Launch branded diagnostic equipment, backed up with technical support, 24-month warranty and, on our professional range, two years free software updates worth £425.”

“Going forward, we have a number of new exciting products coming to market in 2017, all of which are designed to generate additional revenue for independent garages.”

The X431 PRO range available from Launch UK is renowned for its versatility and ability to diagnose vehicle faults remotely on 90 percent of all European, Asian and American vehicle brands. Using a 7 or 10.1-inch screen on a handy touch-screen tablet, the PRO has been designed to enhance functionality for the user.

Launch UK is set to exhibit at Automechanika Birmingham 2017, promoting and demonstrating the potential of its full range of automotive diagnostic tools on stand 19A81, allowing customers to experience first-hand the value of genuine Launch products.

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Legal Update

Lawgistics have issued reminders to employers about increases to the National Minimum/Living Wage and also on the new legislation which will come into effect on 6 April for those employing more than 250 employees regarding the publication of information on the gender pay gap.

National Mininum Wage

Both the National Minimum wage and the National Living Wage are set to increase from April 2017. All employers need to ensure they are paying the minimum.

The rates from 1 April 2017 will be:

• £7.50 per hour – 25 years old and over
• £7.05 per hour – 21-24 years’ old
• £5.60 per hour – 18-20 years’ old
• £4.05 per hour – 16-17 years’ old
• £3.50 for apprentices under 19 or 19 or over who are in the first year of apprenticeship.

If a company is not paying the minimum wage, HMRC officers have the authority to carry out checks at any time and request to see payment records. They can also investigate employers if a worker complains directly to them. If the HMRC find that the employer is not paying the minimum wage, then they can send a notice for the arrears owed as well as a fine. If this is still refused by the employer, HMRC can issue proceedings on behalf of the employee.

The employee themselves could also file a claim via an employment tribunal or via the County Court. In County court the employee will have up to 6 years to bring a claim from the last date of when they were under paid where’s as employment tribunal has a much shorter time scale of 3 months less one day. If an employer dismisses an employee if they are trying to assert their right to the minimum wage then they would also have a case against the employee for unfair dismissal.

It is the employer’s responsibility to retain records showing the minimum wage is being paid to employees. This can be done via their payroll as evidence and the records must be kept for 3 years.

Gender Pay Gap Information

A new piece of legislation, The Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017 will be implemented from 06 April 2017.

The legislation is applicable to employers with 250 or more employees. They will be required to publish the figures on their company website and produce the evidence of the company’s compliance each year to the Government. A designated website by the Secretary of State will also be available to upload all gender pay reports, which includes the name and job title of the person who signed the accompanying statement.

The companies affected will also be required to calculate and publish the figures for any gender bonus gap, the proportion of men and women that receiving a bonus as well as the proportion of men and women working at each quartile of the company’s pay distribution. This is not the same as equal pay; this is to evaluate the difference in the average pay between men and women over a period of time with no relation to their job role.

Applicable companies will need to publish their first report by April 2018 and will be required to retain the gender pay figures online for three years in an attempt to show progress being made.

Before this is implemented, companies are advised to look at updating any policies to help address any gender pay gaps such as flexible working, people development, enhanced paternity leave and equal shared parental leave entitlement.

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HR Update

Lawgistics, the IAAF’s legal helpline service provider, has issued the following advice to employers on how to deal with an employee request for flexible working:

Every employee who has completed 26 weeks of continuous service has a statutory right to make a request for flexible working. Flexible working request is required to change the working hours or work arrangements. The employee does not need to have childcare or family responsibilities to be able to make this request. The request could be permanent or for a fixed period of time. Most requests are related to childcare, travel time or work life balance. Only one request in any 12 month period is allowed.

The employee needs to put the request in writing, include the date of the request and state whether any previous applications have been made prior. The employer then has 3 months to consider the request and decide. If the request is refused, it must be due to a sound business reason for the rejection. The employees request should outline the change they are seeking and date from when they would like the change to take effect, together with any changes to the working conditions and how this may affect the business.

If an employer receives a request from the employee, a meeting should be arranged to discuss the matter and ideally this should be carried out as soon as possible. This will give an opportunity to discuss the changes that are being sought.

By law, it is required that the request is completed within 3 months, this includes any appeals.

A refusal of a request, must be from one of the below:

• the burden of additional costs
• an inability to reorganise work amongst existing staff
• an inability to recruit additional staff
• a detrimental impact on quality
• a detrimental impact on performance
• detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand
• insufficient work for the periods the employee proposes to work
• planned structural changes to the business.

Employees are able to complain to an employment tribunal if the employer –

• did not handle the request in a reasonable manner
• wrongly treated the employee’s application as withdrawn
• dismissed or treated an employee poorly because of their flexible working request, eg refused a promotion or pay rise
• rejected an application based on incorrect facts.

An employee will need to make the complaint to the tribunal within 3 months of:

• hearing their employer’s decision
• hearing their request was treated as withdrawn
• the date the employer should have responded to their request (but failed to do so).

Employees cannot complain to a tribunal just because their flexible working request was rejected.

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People News

Celsus UK Limited appoints Mike Keenan as Director of Sales

Celsus, distributor of JL Audio, Dynamat, KICKER and Calearo products, has promoted Mike Keenan to the newly-created role of Director of Sales to help accommodate the company’s ambitious expansion plans for 2017 and beyond.

Mike Keenan

Having joined Celsus UK back in July 2007, Mike will soon be celebrating his 10 year anniversary with the automotive and marine audio specialist.

Initially recruited as Sales Account Manager, Mike’s extensive industry experience and product knowledge was soon put to good use, strengthening the company’s long-term relationships with its retail network and helping to deliver positive customer experiences when working with the various product ranges in Celsus’ portfolio.

His promotion to European Sales Manager in 2012 saw Mike act as the main point of contact within the company for its existing European distribution partners for JL Audio and Dynamat, as well as being the touchpoint for all prospective customers. Added responsibility came when Mike was tasked with overseeing the expansion of JL Audio’s territory across Europe in 2014, broadening the reach of its high-performance marine audio range.

Commenting on Mike’s latest promotion to Director of Sales, Managing Director, Paul Baker said: “Mike Keenan is well respected by Celsus’ customer base, and thanks to the relationships he has forged with the retail network he has been instrumental in the growth of the business over the past decade.

“I have complete confidence in Mike’s ability to assist in the continued growth plans we have for the company this year and in the future.”

Moving into this new position, Mike will now take responsibility for overseeing all sales for Celsus, something he sees as expansion of his current duties within the business.

Mike said: “I really value the strong relationships that I’ve developed with our customer base over the years, and going forward I still expect to speak to them directly on a regular basis.”

In addition, he will also manage Celsus’ internal and external sales teams (including recent recruit Anthony Zammit) as well as working closely with director, Mark Baker, on business strategy and consistency in the automotive and marine sectors of the business.

“It will be my responsibility to motivate the sales teams to help us reach our company objectives for 2017 and beyond,” continued Mike. “I already have a head full of ideas and can’t wait to get started.”

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FIGIEFA seeks Technical Advisor

FIGIEFA (International Federation of Wholesalers of Automotive Replacement Parts), is looking for a Technical Advisor (full-time or substantial part time) to support the activities of its office in Brussels.

FIGIEFA is the European federation and political representative in Brussels of the independent wholesalers and retailers of automotive replacement parts. Together with its 19 national European Member State members, it represents the interests of more than 30,000 companies trading with vehicle parts, components and accessories throughout Europe. The aim of FIGIEFA is to safeguard a legislative environment in the EU that provides free and fair competition in the automotive aftermarket. In this context, ensuring continued access to technical information for independent market operators and the availability of spare parts, is of crucial importance for our association in a rapidly changing automotive technology environment.

Job Description
• Manage all technical and IT related (e.g. the ‘connected car’) dossiers and processes in connection with FIGIEFA activities in the area of the automotive aftermarket.
• Advise FIGIEFA in all technical and IT related matters related to e.g. telematics or access to technical information or EC type-approval legislation.
• Participate in meetings (in Brussels or EU) upon request of FIGIEFA (such as e.g. EC Working Groups, telematics working groups, legislative requirements for the access to repair & maintenance information, CEN or UNECE standardisation meetings, FIGIEFA working group meetings) and assume responsibility for the management of the corresponding technical subjects and dossiers.
• Support the FIGIEFA Secretariat in its information activities and meetings.
• Advise and prepare answers on upcoming questions from the EU institutions.
• Liaise with FIGIEFA’s partner alliance AFCAR (Alliance for the Freedom of Car Repair in the EU).
• Communicate with FIGIEFA experts and work out common strategies, statements and positions.

Desired profile
• Experienced automotive technical expert or qualified engineer in computer science – IT architecture or mechanical automotive engineering (preferably with specialisation in vehicle communication, diagnostics and electronic components or contemporary and developing vehicle technologies).
• Good English language skills (oral and written).
• Interpersonal communicational skill to participate in meetings with business partners and counterparts.
• Capable of assessing the business consequences of new legislation, automotive technologies and service procedures.
• Proactive person, capable of working on his/her own, but in close cooperation with the FIGIEFA Secretariat.
• High degree of availability and flexibility required: Capacity and willingness to work on the basis of flexible working hours.
• Availability for frequent trips when necessary to other European countries.

• Full-time or part-time employment contract or freelance contract also possible on the basis of a 3 year assignment. The ideal candidate would preferably be located in, or would be prepared to move to Brussels. In the event of a freelance contract involving commuting to Brussels, a maximum 2 hours travelling distance to Brussels is obligatory.
• We offer you a diverse and challenging position within a multi-national and political environment that tackles a wide range of technical issues.
• Start: immediately.

To submit an application, please contact the FIGIEFA office direct.

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Vehicle recalls: DVSA reaches out to vehicle owners

DVSA is urging drivers to check that their vehicles, parts or accessories aren’t subject to a safety recall.

New figures show that 2.6 million vehicles were affected by a recall between April 2015 to March 2016.

How recalls work
Manufacturers should recall vehicles when they become aware of a safety problem, and repair them free of charge.

Some parts and accessories – such as child car seats and tyres – aren’t registered to drivers like vehicles are, so manufacturers can’t always trace the owner.

The DVSA stresses that it is vital that to check for recalls that affect these items.

Check for vehicle, part or accessory recalls

Reporting serious safety defects
If you find a serious defect that affects the safety of your vehicle, one of its parts, or an accessory, report it to the manufacturer immediately.

Tell DVSA if you’re not happy with how the manufacturer is dealing with your report.

Report a serious defect

In addition, in an effort to engage more with members of the public, DVSA is also starting to use its Facebook and Twitter accounts to issue new recall alerts.

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3D component printing comes to the truck industry

Replacement parts for trucks produced by 3D printing to order at a local dealership are now a reality for operators of older Mercedes-Benz models.

Replacement plastic components such as covers, spacers, ducts and clamps are printed as spare parts by state-of-the-art 3D printers based on the Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) printing process, in a process first developed by the company for producing prototype components.

The dealers are said to benefit by carrying a reduced parts inventory, while customers gain by having otherwise ‘slow-moving’ parts produced while they wait rather than being shipped over from a central warehouse.

Mercedes itself no longer needs to get suppliers to produce small amounts of individual components for vehicles which have long gone out of production: they can instead be printed as required by a local dealer.

As previously featured in the eBulletin, Volvo Group subsidiary Renault Trucks has produced metal additive printed parts for a truck engine, claiming that the technique has enabled an engine weight reduction of 25 per cent.

Renault Trucks ‘virtually designed’ an entire engine DTI 5 four-cylinder engine that could be built using 3D printing, and also trialled 3D-printed rocker arms and camshaft bearing caps in an actual engine which was successfully bench-tested for 600 hours.

3D printing frees engine designers from the constraints of casting and machining which usually apply when a component is shaped, as material is simply added layer-upon-layer.

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New Car CO2 Report 2016

The SMMT has produced its New Car CO2 Report for 2016. The main points contained in this document can be summarised as follows:

2015 New Car CO2 Emissions
In 2015 average new car CO2 emissions in the UK fell to a new low of 121.4g/km, a 26.4% drop on 2007 (pre-recession performance) and a 2.6% reduction on 2014.

UK New Car Emissions Against EU Target
The UK’s 2015 performance was 6.6% below the pan-EU 2015 target of 130g/km. However, progression of 4.8% per annum is necessary to achieve the EU’s 2021 target of 95g/km.

Plug-in Vehicle Uptake Grows, but Needs On-Going Support to Meet Targets
Registrations of pure electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles rose by 94% on 2014 to account for more than 1% of the total market, while the alternatively fuelled vehicle (including hybrids) market share reached a new high of 2.8%. However, there is a signifi cant gap between this and the government’s
ambition of a 60% share of the market for pure and plug-in electric vehicles by 2030.

Importance of Diesels in Meeting the CO2 Targets
Diesel cars can emit up to 20% less CO2 than a petrol car. Therefore any measures that undermine diesel uptake could erode the industry’s ability to meet its 2021 95g/km target.

Total CO2 Emissions from all Cars in Use
CO2 emissions from all cars in use have been reduced by over 15% since 2007. Emissions have been cut despite the rise in vehicle use and the number of vehicles on the roads.

This performance reflects new, lower emitting vehicles entering the market place.

Uptake of New Technologies Key to Greening the Fleet
New cars are, on average, around 20% lower CO2 emitting than the average car in use. Speeding up the rate of renewal in the fleet will help lower emissions from all vehicles in use, as well as delivering ever-safer and lower-polluting vehicles.

To view the whole of the SMMT Report, click on the link below.


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Motorists turn their backs on diesel cars while eco-friendly sales rise

Comparison figures released by the SMMT suggest that motorists are shunning diesel cars, instead opting for vehicles that are much more eco-friendly.

SMMT reported that 78,778 diesel cars were sold in January 2017, a drop of 4.3% on the same month last year.

Over the same period sales of electric cars and other alternatively-fuelled vehicles (AFVs) jumped by 19.9%.

For the first time, AFVs now account for more than 4% of the market.

The figures show that 7,270 AFVs – including hybrids – were sold in January, gaining a 4.2% market share.

Sales of diesel cars have been falling for several months, following publicity about pollution and health issues.

In December 2016, sales of diesel cars were down by 6.8% on the same month a year earlier.

The growth in diesel sales was 0.6%, which hid the fact that the move against diesel had accelerated throughout the year.

The latest figures for January seem to confirm the trend. They show that while a year ago diesel sales were outnumbering those of petrol cars, by January 2017 that situation had reversed.

Moreover, in 2015 the market share of diesel and petrol cars was neck and neck, but by January this year, diesel’s market share had fallen to 45.1% compared to petrol’s 50.7%.

Several big cities around the world have said they want to ban diesel cars within 10 years, because of the pollution they cause.

A group of doctors has called on the Mayor of London to ban them in the capital, while Westminster will hit some diesel drivers with extra parking charges from April, as was reported in Issue 769.

Overall, the SMMT figures show that sales of vehicles in the UK last month were at their highest January level in 12 years. In total 174,564 cars were sold, a rise of 2.9% on January 2016. Motorists who buy electric or hybrid petrol/electric cars still enjoy a grant from the government, worth up to 35% – or £4,500 – of the total value.

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IAAF to run series of Industry Briefing Sessions around the UK

The IAAF will be running a series of 7 Industry Briefing Meetings around the UK during 2017.

These sessions are being headed up by Mike Smallbone, Membership Development Manager, and are designed to keep IAAF members up-to-date on some of the challenges, and opportunities, facing the Independent Automotive Aftermarket. These meetings are free of charge for members and are aimed typically at “middle managers” although they are of course open to any IAAF member employees who might benefit from such a session.

One of the 2016 networking meetings held at Ring

Guest speaker will be Quentin Le Hetet (GIPA UK) Quentin is an aftermarket expert who has managed numerous aftersales market intelligence projects in the UK. He will draw on GiPA’s 30 years international experience in automotive aftersales intelligence to provide insightful analysis of how the industry is moving.

Quentin will be presenting two key topics that are relevant to our industry and its future:

  • What will be the impact of extending the MOT period to four years on the UK automotive aftermarket?
  • What is the future of parts distribution in the UK?

The first of these sessions will be held at Sales–i in Solihull on Thursday 16th March starting at 10.00am and finishing at 1.00pm with lunch. Spaces are limited so booking early is advisable, and can be done by emailing Ann Silvester at the IAAF –

Further meetings will be held throughout the year, with next one being in Milton Keynes on Thursday 25th May.

For more information about this and future meetings, please contact Mike Smallbone directly on 07584 136970 or

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