BMW headquarters raided in collusion inquiry

The European Commission has confirmed that its officials, together with Antitrust investigators, conducted a surprise raid on the headquarters of a car manufacturer in Germany as part of an investigation into possible illegal collusion among German vehicle manufacturers.

European antitrust authorities said in July that they were looking into allegations that Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW conspired to hold down prices of crucial technology, possibly including emissions equipment. The raid, which took place on Monday but did not come to light until Friday, is a sign that the investigation — which has not led to any formal charges — may be intensifying.

Following the raid BMW issued a statement seeking to dispel any implication it was embroiled in the emissions scandal that has badly damaged Volkswagen’s reputation and spread to other carmakers.

“The BMW Group wishes to make clear the distinction between potential violations of antitrust law on the one hand and illegal manipulation of exhaust gas treatment on the other hand,” the company said. “The BMW Group has not been accused of the latter.”

In a related development, Daimler said Friday that it had offered to provide evidence about the suspected conspiracy to antitrust investigators in return for lower penalties. Under its so-called leniency policy, the European Commission can reduce the fines imposed on companies if they volunteer information.

European carmakers are trying to cope with a public backlash against diesel engines, until recently the most popular powertrain option in Europe. Research by Germany and other European governments has revealed that almost all diesel cars produce far more harmful nitrogen oxide emissions in everyday use than in official tests.

German carmakers have for years met routinely to discuss technical standards for components. Such discussions might be illegal if, for example, the manufacturers agreed among themselves to limit competition in certain areas, such as the effectiveness of emissions systems.

The European Commission described the raid, which also involved German antitrust officials, as a preliminary step in the investigation related to Commission concerns that several German car manufacturers may have violated EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices (Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union). The Commission officials were accompanied by their counterparts from the German national competition authority.

The Commission has stated that whilst it carries out inspections, this does not mean that the inspected companies are guilty of anti-competitive behaviour, nor does it prejudge the outcome of the investigation itself. The Commission respects the rights of defence, in particular the right of companies to be heard, in antitrust proceedings.

The Commission has no legal deadline to complete inquiries into anti-competitive conduct.

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Hauliers will be hit hardest by toxin tax says RHA

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) is warning that the London economy risks being damaged by the new Toxin Tax and the planned Ultra Low Emission Zone being imposed by mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

With effect from Monday 23 October, all diesel vehicles registered in 2006 or earlier that enter the central Congestion Charge zone, face paying an additional £10 toxin tax on top of the Congestion and Low Emission Zone charges. These vehicles already pay £200 per day for driving into London’s Low Emission zone – so the RHA, which represents Britain’s hauliers, sees it as just another tax on business in the capital; TFL estimates that around 188,000 HGVs enter London each year, and the fines hauliers will face are very high.

Commenting, RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said, ‘We fully appreciate Mayor Khan’s vision for a cleaner, healthier London. It’s a City that is justifiably proud of its position as one of the world’s great business centres and tourist attractions. However, to further penalise the industry that is responsible for keeping the shelves of its stores, restaurants and tourist attractions is not the way to do it. It’s wrong to punish the lorry industry that moves the UK Economy.

‘The road freight industry is responsible for the movement of 98% of all the foods we eat and an overwhelming proportion of everything consumed in the UK – yet once again we are the ones getting penalised for doing a crucial and essential job; keeping the economy – especially the economy of London moving.

‘The T-Charge on lorries is a modest tax, but the coming changes the mayor plans for ULEZ in 2019 will be a massive tax burden. It will impose taxes on those operators of lorries just a few years old who simply cannot afford replace nearly new lorries – we will see jobs lost and hauliers put out of business to achieve very modest air quality improvement. It will mean prices consumers have to pay rising at a time of uncertainty over Brexit that’s a threat to the UK economy.’

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Final few sponsorship opportunities at IAAF Annual Conference and Awards Dinner 2017

There are now just a few sponsorship opportunities left for companies to show their support of the IAAF’s Annual Conference and Awards Dinner which, for the first time, is being held at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Milton Keynes on Thursday 7th December 2017.

Johnny Herbert poses on the red carpet at the BT Sport Industry Awards 2015 in London.  (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images for BT Sport Industry Awards)

Johnny Herbert, world renowned as one of the greatest all-round racing drivers in the history of motorsport and among an exclusive club of British drivers to have enjoyed a successful career in F1, will be hosting the Conference during the day and then the Awards Dinner in the evening.

The Doubletree by Hilton overlooks the ArenaMK, home to MK Dons FC, and it will offer a vast array of new promotional, sponsorship and networking opportunities.

Those interested in sponsorship opportunities available for both the Conference and the Dinner should contact the IAAF Office for more information.

The Brochure and Booking Form for the Conference and the Dinnercan be downloaded from here:

IAAF 2017 Conference Final Brochure
IAAF Reservation Form Rev 2017

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Final call for IAAF Industry Briefing Session in Sheffield

The IAAF has issued a final call for the next event which will be held on Thursday 26th October 2017 at the FPS National Distribution Centre in Sheffield.

Mike Smallbone, membership development manager, will be looking at the impact 4-1-1 MoTs will have on the UK automotive aftermarket, as well as the future of parts distribution in the UK.

FPS’ NDC in Sheffield

Guest speaker, Quentin Le Hetet (GIPA UK), will examine the impact of extending the MOT period to four years on the industry, while also looking at the future of parts distribution in the UK and the global consolidation taking place across the automotive aftermarket.

Smallbone said: “These sessions are an essential and useful way to engage with members and ensure they are up to date on the most recent issues affecting the aftermarket. We strongly encourage members to attend our briefings.”

The regional sessions begin at 10.00 am offering the chance to network over a coffee, then finishing at 1.00 pm with lunch.

The fourth Industry Briefing Session will take place at the FPS National Distribution Centre in Sheffield on Thursday 26th October; the format and timings will be the same as for previous sessions and a tour of the NDC has been arranged following lunch for those interested.

To book places, please email Ann Silvester at the IAAF [email protected].

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Groupauto & UAN Motor Factor Trade Show 2017

Another successful year has been reported for the annual GROUPAUTO & UAN Motor Factor Trade Show. Over 1000 delegates from 200 of the group’s member businesses and 159 supplier exhibitors attended the event at EventCity in Manchester on Friday 6th October 2017.

The 200 member businesses that attended on the day represented the top 80% of group spend and were made up of GROUPAUTO and UAN LV and CV motor factor businesses. In the trade show exhibitors were separated into three zones; CV suppliers, LV suppliers and the FPS Retail Village. This was a new format for the 2017 event with a view to improving the event’s appeal to CV businesses and their requirements.

In the CV Zone, 45 CV suppliers showcased what they have to offer to G-Truck and UAN Truck members; there were some impressive stands, from Racing Trucks to vast tooling displays and a diverse range of products on show. Following the recent opening of the groups’ commercial vehicle distribution centre, the team were also there taking orders on the day and raising awareness of the benefits on offer.

Around the hall it was clear to see that exhibitors had gone to great lengths to offer something more on their stand this year. There were magicians, interactive games, software demos, competitions and giveaways, all designed to attract and engage delegates as they made their way around the hall. Exhibitors were also running special ‘on the day’ deals to encourage sales at the show.

After the trade show over 400 guests attended the Trading Groups’ Gala Dinner and Awards ceremony which was held this year at The Principal hotel in central Manchester. The winners of the 2017 Member and Supplier of Year Awards were:

CV Member of the Year – CMP Ireland
LV Member of the Year (£3m+ approved supplier purchases) – Motorcare Motor Factors
LV Member of the Year (Up to £3m approved supplier purchases) – D&A Factors

CV Member of the Year – Partic Motor Spares Ltd
LV Member of the Year (£3m+ approved supplier purchases) – Fast Parts Wales Ltd
LV Member of the Year (Up to £3m approved supplier purchases) – Autosupplies Chesterfield Ltd

LV Supplier of the Year – Apec Braking
CV Supplier of the Year – Automint

The event ended on a high as guests enjoyed a three-course meal followed by live music from local tribute band Take That 2.

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Increasing weight cap on AFV licences is welcomed

Over the past few years, government has worked with industry to develop ways of reducing emissions from commercial vehicles, one of which is to increase the weight cap on licences for people driving alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs).

Following discussions with the Department for Transport and its members, SMMT believes that the proposed change to allow Category B licence holders to drive vehicles up to 4.25 tonnes, providing that they are AFVs, is both practical and desirable.

SMMT believes this proposal will assist government and industry in reducing carbon emissions, as outlined in the Freight Carbon Review. But the question is, to what extent would any licence derogation encourage users to acquire these vehicles? Would it stimulate the OEMs to expand their product range and encourage the development of a conversion market?

In addition, exceeding the 3.5-tonne threshold may require compliance with operator licensing, tachographs, speed limiters and driver CPCs. For larger operators these are unlikely to be seen as issues, but it could limit the potential market.

Nonetheless, SMMT believes that despite these challenges, the payload benefit will more than offset the compliance costs, provide an incentive to change and make a robust business case.

The government is currently consulting on this proposal and would welcome comments, CLICK HERE to go to the consultation page on the GOV.UK website.

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Preparing for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Part 2

Part 2 of our series on steps all businesses should take in preparation for the GDPR legislation which comes into force in May 2018.

Individuals’ rights

Businesses should check procedures to ensure they cover all the rights individuals have, including how personal data would be deleted or how to provide data electronically and in a commonly used format.

The GDPR includes the following rights for individuals:

  • the right to be informed;
  • the right of access;
  • the right to rectification;
  • the right to erasure;
  • the right to restrict processing;
  • the right to data portability;
  • the right to object; and
  • the right not to be subject to automated decision-making including profiling.

On the whole, the rights individuals will enjoy under the GDPR are the same as those under the DPA but with some significant enhancements. If a business is geared up to give individuals their rights now, then the transition to the GDPR should be relatively easy. This is a good time to check procedures and to work out how to respond if someone asks to have their personal data deleted, for example. Would the company system help to locate and delete the data?  Who will make the decisions about deletion?

The right to data portability is new. It only applies:

  • to personal data an individual has provided to a controller;
  • where the processing is based on the individual’s consent or for the
  • performance of a contract; and
  • when processing is carried out by automated means.

The business should consider whether it is necessary to revise procedures and make any changes.  The business will need to provide the personal data in a structured commonly used and machine readable form and provide the information free of charge.

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PSA collaborates with KBRW

PSA has partnered with KBRW on spare parts distribution as part of its ‘Push to Pass’ plan for profitable growth.

PSA Group’s Business Lab identified KBRW as a company that could contribute the expertise and agility needed for B2B distribution of out-of-stock multi-brand spare parts. With its Distrigo service, PSA now offers over 80,000 spare parts which sees diverse supply chain processes link to a variety of players to more than 130 Distrigo distribution hubs in Europe.

To manage the large number of spare parts not in stock, PSA chose KBRW’s digital Order Management System (OMS), which can integrate a variety of supply chains to optimise logistics management.

The project kicked off in late 2016 with a test phase led by the Business Lab1. After only two months of development, a deployment plan was drawn up on the basis of the conclusive test results. The plan is now being rapidly implemented and will cover all of Europe by mid-2018.

Christophe Musy, executive vice president, PSA Aftermarket, said, ‘After an in-depth review of the solutions available on the market, KBRW emerged as the most suitable partner to help us upgrade our IT systems and then swiftly launch the project for ordering out-of-stock spare parts. We were quickly convinced by the company’s agile, tailor-made and cost-effective approach, as well as by their excellent references. KBRW will help us achieve our objective of offering best-in-class service levels.’

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Marathon Warehouse Distribution northern expansion

To further enhance their current Northern distribution logistical capability, Marathon are adding two new distribution centres to supplement the current operations of their existing Castleford, West Yorkshire warehouse.

Marathon’s new warehouses are well located to serve the North West, (Warrington) and the North East, (Gateshead).

In addition to providing the company’s responsive distribution capability to new customers located in these regions, the two new centres will significantly improve service levels to existing customers throughout the North. The new outlets will importantly provide Marathon’s suppliers with even greater levels of product availability to UK motor factors, via Marathon’s same day delivery service into the UK automotive aftermarket.

The rapidly growing Marathon component product ranges will be fully available. The new expanded Marathon operation will also significantly enhance service levels to EuroFlo customers and stockists throughout the north of the country. EuroFlo is the only emissions manufacture with their own same day logistics platform and this, in addition to their market leading range and quality, helps to deliver the UK’s most powerful emission control programme.

The new sites will be fully supported by Marathon’s Redditch based National Distribution Centre and enhanced by the company’s innovative Empower BTB platform.

The Northern expansion will result in Marathon Warehouse Distribution implementing their frequent same day delivery service to areas accounting for 85% of the UK’s total population. Further expansion of the Marathon Logistics Platform and new product ranges will be announced in 2018.

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Vehicle Safety Recalls: September 2017

These are the vehicles, parts or accessories recalled by manufacturers for a safety reason during July 2017.

You can check for vehicle, part or accessory recalls or find out more about vehicle recalls and faults by CLICKING HERE.

DVSA ref  no Make  & model Issue
R/2017/144 Mitsubishi: iMiEV Vehicle may roll backwards
R/2017/147 Mercedes-Benz: S-Class, C-Class, GLC, E-Class Coupe Left front seat belt pre-tensioner may not meet specification, meaning the seatbelt lock function may not work
R/2017/155 Mercedes-Benz Truck: Unimog Battery line has not been routed correctly, which could produce a short circuit, resulting in engine failure or fire
R/2017/169 Vauxhall: Adam Sunroof glass may detach
R/2017/211 Mercedes-Benz Truck: Actros, Arocs Offside front spring(s) retaining bolts may not be tightened to specification which may affect steering
R/2017/213 Mercedes-Benz Truck: Actros, Antos, Arocs Steering shaft may not be to specification 
R/2017/214 Mercedes-Benz: E-Class & S-Class with AMG Engines Oil leak from turbocharger feed pipe
R/2017/219 Mercedes-Benz Truck: Actros, Antos, Econic Steering shaft may not be to specification 
R/2017/221 Mitsubishi: Fuso Canter Fuel may leak
R/2017/233 Mercedes-Benz: S-Class Some occupant safety systems, such as automatically unlocking doors, may malfunction in the event of a collision
R/2017/234 Toyota: Hilux Wrong driver airbag inflator is fitted
R/2017/244 BMW: Various high-end models Front seat fixing mechanism may be insecure
R/2017/245 Mercedes-Benz: Smart ForTwo, Smart ForFour Front seat fixing mechanism may be insecure
R/2017/254 SsangYong: Rodius, Turismo Front lower ball joint may fail, which could affect steering and cause wheel failure
R/2017/262 Citroen: Spacetourer, Dispatch IV Starter motor supply wiring harness may become damaged 
RCOMP/2017/009 Renthal: Clip-on Handlecars Handlebars may become loose / insecure
RM/2017/026 Honda: CRF450R Gearbox may fail
RM/2017/027 Lexmoto: Hawk, Falcon Brakes may fail
RSPV/2017/011 Polaris: Scrambler 1000 Throttle may stick
RSPV/2017/012 Kawasaki: KVF300CC, KVF300CD, KVF300CF, KVF300CG, KVF300CH Fuel may leak from fuel tap when operated
RSPV/2017/013 Kawasaki: KVF300CF, KVF300CG, KVF300CH Carburettor float may stick causing a fuel leak