HELLA rally spotlights on the global stage

As Messrs Clarkson, Hammond and May battled it out on screen to take the honours, it was HELLA that took central stage in the first The Grand Tour Christmas special, which this year featured the iconic Beach Buggy as the star vehicle in which the three had to undertake their infamous challenges.

The ex-Top Gear team has been taking the plaudits since their new series launched with so much anticipation on 18th November. Following its first airing, new viewers have been flocking to subscribe to Amazon Prime to catch up with the trio’s latest exploits under The Grand Tour guise and their annual Christmas special, which has now become something of an international institution, was therefore viewed with even greater anticipation.

Richard Hammond’s beach buggy

Looking to optimise the performance of their steeds, it was Hammond, of the three the true off-road enthusiast, who chose to ensure that he could see what was ahead and take the lead during the night running, by fitting his buggy with a full set of rally lights, and where else would he turn, but to HELLA, the lighting specialist with a heritage and reputation like no other, to source exactly what was needed.

It isn’t by accident that over the decades, a host of rally drivers and their teams, including the revolutionary Audi Quattros piloted by World Champions Hannu Mikkola and Stig Blomqvist, have relied on HELLA for their successful campaigns. So Hammond was following in the footsteps of those who really knew what they needed to get the job done.

Although HELLA still leads the way in vehicle lighting, the original equipment (OE) manufacture and systems supplier is actually a major player across a wide range of product groups, with a bias towards electronics, where it is a world leader.

For more information about the OE quality products available from HELLA or for BEHR HELLA SERVICE, please call the sales team on: 01295 662400 or email: [email protected]

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NGK Sales Manager Stuart Bayne completes charity cycle ride through New Zealand

Super cyclist Stuart Bayne has completed his marathon charity ride through New Zealand.

Stuart, who is Sales Manager – North for NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd, had planned a 2100km+ (1304 miles) ride to raise funds for the Down’s Syndrome Association (DSA), but had to alter his route after two recent simultaneous major Earthquakes which struck north of Christchurch forced him to take a more arduous route.

Stuart (53) set off from Bluff at the southern tip of New Zealand on December 4, travelling through the South Island and crossing Cook Strait on a ferry before continuing through the North Island, ending at Cape Reinga, the northern-most part of the country, on December 22.

However, his journey was not without incident as unexpected road closures put him in some hazardous situations.

He said: “My bike and legs are still in surprisingly good shape, but I have had an A+E drama, when swept off my cycle last week by a passing truck on the detour road due to the recent earthquake. Bit of drama and a sore knee otherwise all tickety boo!”

Stuart Bayne during his trip around New Zealand

Stuart last year completed an 1100-kilometre (683-mile) sponsored cycle ride through Europe to raise more than £17,000 for DSA and is confident he has raised even more money this year.

Ignition specialist NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd and NGK Europe – the leading suppliers of original equipment (OE) spark plugs, glow plugs and NTK sensors – were once again main sponsors of his charity ride with a number of NGK customers, colleagues and friends also pledging funds.

Stuart said he is extremely grateful for the level of support that he has received, not only from NGK UK and NGK Europe, but also from many of the company’s customers in all industry sectors, from automotive to horticultural.

Marko Wowczyna, Automotive Director, NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd, said: “On behalf of everyone at NGK and his friends and colleagues from within the industry I would like to congratulate Stuart on his magnificent effort to raise money for this fantastic charity.”

Father-of-three Stuart, who raised funds for the Down’s Syndrome associations of both the UK and New Zealand, is married to a New Zealander, Ruth, and was due to enjoy a well-earned holiday with his family at the end of his epic journey.

Anyone wishing to support Stuart on his marathon ride can email him at [email protected], alternatively copy the link into your browser to donate: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/StuartBayne.

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The Parts Alliance acquires Waterloo Motor Trade

The Parts Alliance has continued its strategic growth with the acquisition of motor factor Waterloo (Motor Trade) Ltd.

Waterloo, which has branches in Hull, Beverley and Bridlington, was founded in 1928 by current Managing Director Jim Munday’s grandfather.

It becomes a wholly-owned business within the HgCapital-owned Parts Alliance Group but will continue to trade under its own name, serving customers in the East Riding of Yorkshire.

Jim Munday said: “As a three-generation family business, building long term relationships and providing quality local service are in our DNA. We look forward to working with Peter Sephton and the rest of the management team to accelerate our growth in what are very exciting times for our trade.”

“I’m delighted Jim Munday has agreed to work with us to facilitate the integration into The Parts Alliance and the transition of leadership to David Brooks, founder of SAS Autoparts, as we seek to extend our branch footprint and optimise our distribution and reach into the region,’’ said Sephton.

“Jim will continue to advise us on development projects and we are delighted to have Jim and his colleagues at Waterloo as part of our Group.”

Peter Sephton went on to say: “As a unified multi-brand operation, it’s important to us when we bring in new businesses that we maintain that local brand and management as they bring their unique local knowledge while we add national strength. It’s a powerful combination.”

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Solera buys Autodata

Solera Holdings, Inc. has agreed to acquire Autodata, a provider of technical information and knowledge solutions for the automotive service, maintenance and repair industry.

“Throughout a car’s life, there are over 54 transactions that occur between motorists and automotive businesses,” said Tony Aquila, Solera’s founder, chairman and CEO. “One of Solera’s missions is to digitize the vehicle ownership ecosystem by developing cognitive applications that not only power connectivity and engagement, but also proliferate awareness and transparency across the entire automotive lifecycle.”

Founded in 1975, UK-based Autodata has evolved from publishing iconic do-it-yourself manuals for car enthusiasts and garages, to delivering fully digital cloud-based diagnostics and repair intelligence for professional mechanics. Powered by data from 136 vehicle manufacturers covering over 40,000 models worldwide, Autodata’s solutions today are deployed by over 90,000 repair shops in over 40 countries for best-in-class coverage, accuracy, reliability, and efficiency. Autodata has been owned by Bowmark Capital and Rothschild & Co’s Five Arrows Principal Investments since 2014.

“Solera’s proprietary Invent & Acquire strategy drives both the innovation and proliferation of our data and software platforms,” continued Aquila. “The acquisition of Autodata will not only complement our expanding/existing suite of digital SMR solutions, such as Identifix and Inpart, but will also accelerate the expansion of Solera’s asset protection and risk management solutions in emerging and maturing markets across the globe.”

“Today’s motorists expect automotive service professionals not only to understand every vehicle make and model, but also to provide a faster and more accurate service at highly competitive prices,” added Rod Williams, CEO of Autodata. “Joining the Solera family will not only amplify Autodata’s ability to meet the growing needs of the industry, but will also provide our customers and partners with access to Solera’s highly innovative mindset and forward-thinking solutions.”

Founded and continuously led by inventor and entrepreneur Tony Aquila, Solera is reportedly a global leader in digital technologies that manage cars, homes and identities. Since its inception in 2005 as a garage-based startup, Solera has grown aggressively with over 40 acquisitions across its Risk Management Solutions, Service Maintenance & Repair, and Customer Retention Management platforms. The company’s current product solutions include Audatex, AutoPoint, CAP/HPI, Digidentity, Enservio, Explore Data, Hollander, Identifix, Inpart, LYNX and TitleTec, as well as the company’s flagship Digital Garage application.

Solera went public on the NYSE in 2007 under the stock symbol “SLH”, joined the S&P 400 in 2009, and went private in 2016 in a $6.5 billion transaction backed by leading investors that include Vista Equity Partners, Koch Industries and Goldman Sachs.

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Euro Car Parts opens first branch in the Republic of Ireland

Euro Car Parts has opened its first Republic of Ireland branch in Dublin.

Open to trade customers only, the branch was originally branded Hella Ireland until it was acquired by Euro Car Parts in August 2016.

Euro Car Parts has not just rebranded the branch but has invested heavily to grow the services on offer. This includes:

• Tripling the size of the fleet to include 12 vans and two motorbikes for quicker local delivery during peak traffic times. 3PL Logistics, a supply chain management software, means that the branch delivers best-in-class order fulfilment services.

• More than doubling warehouse space from 40,000 square feet to 90,000 square feet so more stock can be held on site.

• Holding the stock in a modern racking system that increases shelf space and using a new trading system to speed up invoicing, helping to manage stock flow to secure excellent product availability.

• Recruiting additional staff. After beginning with 31 employees, Euro Car Parts will recruit a further 13 staff members to support the branch’s increased operations to reach a total of 48 in early 2017.

• Local delivery times will be vastly improved with customers receiving products within 30 minutes, extending to 45 minutes for those in the northern area of Dublin. Remaining workshops will receive multiple deliveries throughout the day.

• With double the stock range, the new branch will have 65,000 product lines in store and will offer the entire Euro Car Parts range for next day delivery if an order is received before 18:00.

Martin Gray, CEO of Euro Car Parts, said: “The business has been operating in Dublin since 1979 and has very experienced staff, some of whom have been working in the industry for over 30 years.

“We’re retaining this expertise and adding Euro Car Parts’ full product range to deliver service that goes the extra mile and continues to support existing customers. We’re expanding what is on offer by investing in additional infrastructure and resources.”

“We successfully partner with tens of thousands of independent garages in the UK and we are thrilled and delighted to extend that support to the Republic of Ireland.”

The branch is based in Santry, Dublin. Those interested in getting in touch with the branch should visit www.eurocarparts.com/dublin.html.

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WhoCanFixMyCar.com 2016 Garage Awards

WhoCanFixMyCar.com is proud to present the 2016 Garage Awards, celebrating and recognising the best performing businesses on its platform – from owner-operated mobile technicians to global automotive brands.

17 winners have completed over 6,000 maintenance and repair jobs on WhoCanFixMyCar, delivering outstanding levels of customer service and workmanship to happy drivers all over the UK.

For the first time ever, these garages are being recognised for results based on measurable indicators and validated customer reviews.
Al Preston, Co-founder of WhoCanFixMyCar.com, said;

“We are proud to present our best-in-class operators with the WhoCanFixMyCar.com Garage Awards 2016. There are so many fantastic stories behind the winners and we are delighted to be able to share them with a wider audience.”

The Awards have also attracted a host of household names who are sponsoring the lucky winners, many of whom have been working with WhoCanFixMyCar.com to improve its service to motorists and garages alike.

Shell Lubricants UK is the headline sponsor of the awards, Jon Huggett, UK Sales Team Leader said, “WhoCanFixMyCar.com is a leading online player in the UK and we look forward to sponsoring the first Garage Awards.”

Other sponsors include; Confused.com, Call IT Automotive, First Stop, Motoring.co.uk, Allianz Global Assistance, IAAF, Andrew Page, Hyve, Innovation Group, PistonHeads, AnyVan.com, Parts Alliance (CES) and TRW.

Each winner has been chosen to receive an award for their overall performance on WhoCanFixMyCar.com in 2016, using key metrics such as the number of jobs won and quality of customer feedback generated.

Patrick Patel has been a member of the site for four years and has completed well over 500 jobs through the platform:

“Signing up as a member on WhoCanFixMyCar.com has allowed me to build my entire business from the ground up. I started out fixing people’s cars on the side of the road and now, I run my own garage and employ an entire team of expert technicians.”

The winning businesses and sponsors will be attending the official awards dinner hosted by WhoCanFixMyCar.com early next year.

The event will bring together independent garages, motor factors, car manufacturers, technology businesses and parts manufacturers, in what promises to be a wonderful celebration of some of the best operators in the aftermarket.

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IAAF Awards Ceremony celebrates aftermarket success

The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) Annual Awards & Dinner 2016 once again welcomed key aftermarket professionals to celebrate another successful year of business, growth and innovation.

The distinguished event, held for the third year running at the ICC in the heart of Birmingham and sponsored by Comma Oil & Chemicals Ltd, brought the aftermarket together, presenting professionals with the opportunity to network over a five-course meal set in state-of-the-art surroundings.

Guests were kept entertained throughout the course of the evening by IAAF’s guest speaker and renowned political correspondent, John Sergeant.

The talented duo, Prok & Chloe, were also welcomed back for a second year to entertain the nearly 600 guests in attendance with an after-dinner acoustic set.

The IAAF Annual Awards were also announced and runners up and winners were as follows:

Car Distributor of Excellence
Winner: Pentland Component Parts
Runner Up: Autosupplies Chesterfield

Alex and Richard Small of Pentland Components (centre) receiving their award from Martin Pring of Denso (sponsors of the award) on the left and John Sergeant on the right

Car Supplier of Excellence
Winner: Banner Batteries
Runner Up: WAIglobal

Banner Batteries receiving the Car Supplier award sponsored by Elcome (L:R Stewart Cartman, Elcome, Lee Quinney and Alec Morgan, Banner; John Sergeant)

CV Supplier of Excellence
Winner: Automint
Runner Up: Roadlink International

Graham Boyle of Automint receiving the CV Supplier award from John Sergeant

CV Distributor of Excellence
Winner: TruckStop Hawkes
Runner Up: Transport Supplies (NI)

Truckstop-Hawkes receiving the CV Distributor award sponsored by ZF Services UK (L:R Martyn Houghton, ZF Services; Matt Stiley, Truckstop; John Sergeant; Sam Stiley, Truckstop)

Wendy Williamson, IAAF chief executive, also announced a new venue and date for next year’s event, taking place at Doubletree by Hilton overlooking the magnificent ArenaMK, home to MK Dons FC, on Thursday 7 December 2017 in Milton Keynes.

Williamson said: “We look forward to an even bigger and bolder ceremony in our new location of Milton Keynes next year which gives us the opportunity to expand even more. We’re thoroughly excited for this progressive change which we’re confident will add a touch of vibrancy and diversity to the prestigious event.”

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IAAF announces new vice president and future president

Andy Savva has been appointed the new Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) vice-president supporting president, Lawrence Bleasdale and chief executive, Wendy Williamson, before taking over as president in 2017.

Savva has accumulated a wealth of experience in the automotive aftermarket since entering the industry more than 30 years ago. Owning and successfully managing his own garage since 1994, Savva has gone on to win numerous awards including the prestigious ‘National Independent Garage of the Year Award’ at the Hilton London in 2004.

Andy Savva, new IAAF Vice President

With a keen desire to gain a greater insight into the industry, Savva completed a Diploma in Automotive Retail Management at Loughborough University before being elected Fellow of The Institute of the Motor Industry in 2008.

After also being council and advisory IAAF member for a number of years, Savva feels he is now ready to take on the vice-presidency before taking over as president.

On his new appointment, Savva said: “I have always thoroughly supported the work IAAF carries out to the benefit of the aftermarket and I am really looking forward to my three-year term as president. The aftermarket has many challenges ahead that need to be addressed with belief, commitment and courage by all of the industry’s stakeholders if we wish to overcome them.

“Since announcing my new role I have received wonderful support and comments and I would like to thank everyone for welcoming me in this position. I will serve the IAAF and its members and give no less than 100 percent when helping to set policies and protect the aftermarket.”

Having sold his business in 2015, the new IAAF vice president is now managing director at Savva Automotive, an aftersales consultancy business working with both retail and aftermarket organisations, as well as delivering public speaking presentations and writing for automotive trade publications.

Wendy Williamson, IAAF chief executive said: “It is with pleasure that I welcome Andy to his new role. His experience speaks for itself and I am confident that he will do an excellent job of protecting the rights and needs of the automotive aftermarket. Andy’s passion and in-depth industry knowledge makes him the ideal candidate for the job and I wish him every success as both vice-president and then president.”

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