Should you present a vehicle or trailer for a brake test laden or unladen? – Advice from the DVSA

One of the most common questions received by the DVSA is whether a vehicle or trailer should be laden or unladen when brake tested.

The DVSA advice is that vehicles must be laden for testing – ideally to 65% of their total maximum weight.

Their recommendation is that the vehicle should be loaded by the owner/driver wherever possible, otherwise it will be necessary to arrange for someone else to do it.

Some ATFs offer this facility. They can advise in advance if they do and how much it will cost.

Are there any vehicles that this doesn’t apply to?
Yes, there are some vehicles that can’t be presented laden. This could be due to basic design limitations or other restrictions.

You can find more by reading the “Conditions for testing when unladen” section in the DVSA best practice guide for heavy vehicle brake testing.

What about tri axle semi-trailers?
Tri-axle semi-trailers can be tested unladen. This is because it can be difficult to get a load for these trailers.

However, the best way to pass a brake test is to always present a loaded trailer.

For more information read the DVSA heavy vehicle brake test best practice guide.

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The Parts Alliance Group purchased by Uni-Select Inc.

The Parts Alliance Group has been acquired from its private equity owner HgCapital by Uni-Select Inc., a Canadian publicly listed, North American Automotive aftermarket distributor.

New owners Uni-Select operate as a market-leader in the USA and Canada, distributing automotive aftermarket parts, equipment and refinish products through a network of 14 distribution centres, 270 corporate stores and over 1,100 independent wholesalers with 3,000 employees generating sales of $1.2 billion USD per annum.

The Parts Alliance, through a series of 10 acquisitions since 2012 has grown to become a market-leader by investing in people and technology and putting their customers first

“This has been a fantastic journey, building a market leader in just over 4 years through 10 acquisitions and consistently strong organic growth,” said Peter Sephton. “I and our management team would like to thank HgCapital for all their support as our 2,900 colleagues look forward to continuing that journey with Uni-Select, helping build a great international autoparts business together with the Uni-Select leadership team.”

Peter Sephton, CEO, The Parts Alliance

The Parts Alliance emphasise that for customers it’s very much ‘business as usual’ and look forward to working under trade owners with a deep understanding of the automotive aftermarket. The existing management team will continue to operate the business and Peter Sephton, Chief Executive of The Parts Alliance, will join Uni-Select’s executive team while continuing his leadership role in the UK as President and CEO of the European business segment.

Uni-Select’s origins are similar to those of The Parts Alliance; Uni-Select was founded in 1968 by 12 Québec businessmen who joined forces to form a purchasing group for aftermarket parts. The business now trade as a listed company on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: UNS).

“We are excited to establish a third growth pillar in the large UK parts aftermarket that is expected to be immediately accretive in a market with great upside potential from future consolidation opportunities. Parts Alliance is a great organization, with a market leadership position and national scale, a proven growth platform and an experienced management team that has demonstrated its ability to drive profitable growth both organically and through acquisitions,” said Henry Buckley, President and CEO of Uni-Select. “Our two companies are a perfect fit in terms of business profile, customer focus, entrepreneurial culture and commitment to people development.”

Martin Block, Partner, HgCapital, said: “We are delighted with the sale of this very special business to Uni-Select. They will be a fantastic partner for the next phase of Parts Alliance’s continued growth and development. As a buy and build in a fragmented and dynamic sector, our management team were able to create a business of scale and real capability through their drive, professionalism and determination. The Parts Alliance brings together a high-quality group of distinct brands with a common culture and local identity. We wish both the team and the new owners every success for the future”.

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SMMT launches Motor Industry Facts 2017

SMMT has launched its comprehensive guide to all things UK Automotive, Motor Industry Facts 2017.

From vehicle registrations and production, to supply chain, CO2 and Brexit SMMT’s Motor Industry Facts provides all the latest data and background information on the UK automotive industry.

The 34-page guide is a one-stop-shop covering all of the latest statistics relevant to the sector including answers to questions such as:

  • What is the contribution of the sector to the UK economy and jobs?
  • How many cars, vans, trucks and engines are built in the UK and where do we build them?
  • How much have CO2 emissions fallen by since 2000?
  • How will connected and autonomous vehicles improve our society?

For all this information and much more, download SMMT Motor Industry Facts 2017 here.

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‘Connected & Digital Technology Zone’ to highlight industry innovations at Automechanika Birmingham

Automechanika Birmingham will host the Connected & Digital Technology Zone on stand 6B11 with The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) demonstrating the latest cutting-edge automotive technologies throughout the event from 6–8 June 2017.

The area, found in the supply chain zone, will feature the latest products set to enable the design, development and manufacture of future vehicles.
Visitors will have access to the most up-to-date technological information and solutions including virtual and augmented reality, as well as brand new vehicles and robotics.

Automechanika Birmingham 2016

The vast array of interactive elements that can be found in the zone will include the new Range Rover Velar from Jaguar Land Rover, the Kuka robot from REECO andthe Vive virtual reality headset allowing visitors to look at the interior of a virtual car brought along by Optis. Semcon will bring HoloLens augmented reality glasses to present a new solution to deliver service information to the automotive workshop, demonstrated with a Range Rover Evoque.

Warwick Manufacturing Group will have an innovative technology demonstrator on hand from the DELIVER-E project in the form of an electric delivery vehicle prototype based on the body of a Renault Twizy, while Nottingham University will display its facial recognition software whereby the emotions of the driver are captured and shown via a graph on screen.

Meanwhile, both Renishaw and Adient will be showcasing their newest technologies with the former introducing an additively manufactured metal car component on stand, and the latter demonstrating its advanced seating commodities.

Simon Albert, event director of Automechanika Birmingham, said: “With technology developing at a rapid rate and showing no signs of slowing down, the Connected & Digital Technology Zone is one of the most exciting attractions at the event. We are looking forward to showcasing the future of the automotive industry to visitors and the many benefits available as we move forward together.”

Visitors looking for a chance to update their knowledge, network with new and existing contacts and discover the benefits of new automotive technology can register free for the event by CLICKING HERE.

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Autonomous refuse truck begins live trials

A Swedish waste and recycling company has begun trials of a fully autonomous dustbin lorry, which it claims will increase the safety and environmental benefits of weekly waste collections.

The truck, which is being tested in Gothenburg by waste and recycling operator Renova, attains autonomy by first being driven on a refuse collection route manually and then ‘remembering’ the route.

As a result, the truck knows when to start, stop, turn and reverse, allowing operatives to go about the task of waste collection without having to continually jump on and off the truck.

The system, developed by Volvo Trucks in conjunction with Renova, uses similar autonomous systems to those fitted in an autonomous tipper the truck maker developed for the Kristineberg stone mine last November.

The first time the automated refuse truck is used in a new area, it is driven manually while the on-board system constantly monitors and maps the route with the help of sensors and GPS technology. The next time the truck enters the same area, it knows exactly which route to follow and at which bins it has to stop.

At the first stop with the automated system activated, the driver climbs out of the cab, goes to the rear of the truck, brings out the wheelie-bin and empties it in exactly the way the job is done today. When the operation is completed, the truck automatically reverses to the next bin upon receiving the driver’s command. The driver walks the very same route that the truck takes and thus always has full view of what’s happening in the direction of travel.

“By reversing the truck, the driver can constantly remain close to the compactor unit instead of having to repeatedly walk between the rear and the cab every time the truck is on the move,” said Hans Zachrisson, Strategic Development Manager at Renova. “And since the driver doesn’t have to climb in and out of the cab at every start and stop, there’s less risk of work related injuries such as strain on the knees and other joints.”

Reversing is otherwise a fairly risky manoeuvre since the driver may find it difficult to see who or what is moving behind the vehicle – even if it is fitted with a camera. Since sensors monitor the area all around the refuse truck, if the street is blocked by a parked car, the refuse truck can automatically drive around the obstruction provided there is sufficient space alongside. The automated systems also optimise gear changes, steering and speed, meaning fuel consumption and emissions can be reduced.

The project will continue until the end of 2017 and will be followed by an extremely thorough evaluation of functionality, safety and how well the vehicle is accepted by drivers, waste operatives, other road users and local residents.

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World’s largest biogas bus fleet enters service in Nottingham

The biggest fleet of biogas powered buses in the world has gone into service in Nottingham this week.

The £17m fleet of Scania double-deckers will be powered by a biogas produced from sewage and waste, via anaerobic digestion.

Gary Mason, Nottingham City Transport (NCT) Director, said, “We are hugely proud of our new biogas buses. This is the largest order for gas double decks in the world and is the culmination of our extensive research into alternative fuels.”

The move towards biogas vehicles began last July when NCT, working in partnership with Nottingham City Council, successfully bid to receive £4.4m in funding from government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV).

Since then, and with a further investment of £12.4m from NCT itself, the bus operator has worked closely with manufacturers Scania and body maker Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL), together with local companies Roadgas and ZF Transmissions, to create a sustainable biogas infrastructure at the city’s Parliament Street Garage, where the new fleet is based.

NCT’s first 30 bio-gas buses began operating on routes 6, 10, 24, 25 and 44 this week, with a further 23 buses being added to the fleet early next year on routes 36 and 45. The buses all include free WiFi and USB charging points.

The Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association (ADBA)’s Chief Executive, Charlotte Morton, added, “Scania’s new Bio-Gas buses are a great example of the effectiveness of biomethane as a low-carbon, low-cost transport fuel that can help to reduce the levels of air pollution we see in towns and cities across the UK.”

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IAAF provides aftermarket update

The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) hosted its second Industry Briefing of the year at vGroup International in Milton Keynes on Thursday 25 May.

Headed up by Mike Smallbone, membership development manager, the event welcomed a diverse mix of IAAF members who were able to benefit from an informative update on IAAF’s latest activity and the threats affecting the independent aftermarket.

Mike Smallbone presenting to the attendees at VGroup’s headquarters in Milton Keynes

In light of the recent tragic events in Manchester, all guests came together in respect of the families and friends affected and the event was put on hold for a minute’s silence at 11am.

Before this, Smallbone began by discussing the dangers surrounding plans to extend the first MoT test and gave an update on the Right2Choose campaign.

Guest speaker, Quentin Le Hetet (GIPA UK), was in attendance to further 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.

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What’s the true cost of speeding?

Excessive speed is often a major factor in road traffic collisions and Van Excellence have recently published advice to fleet owners and van drivers on precautions to take.  The chance of survival for a pedestrian hit by a car increases from 10% if the vehicle is travelling at 40 mph to 90% if it’s doing 20 mph. But what are the implications for transport operators if their drivers regularly speed or cause an accident while breaking the speed limit?

Cost is one area to explore – travelling at 80 mph can use up to 25% more fuel than driving at 70 mph. Speeding due to the pressure of work causes driving stress and this can lead to employees being off work, either through illness or because of a road accident so effective driver management is important.

Technology can play a big part. Vans can be limited so that exceeding the speed limit is not possible, and telematics can be used to monitor and manage a driver’s performance. And perhaps there’s an argument for vehicles to be limited by default when they come off the production line… After all, what other piece of industrial equipment is sold equipped to break the law?

Financial penalties for speeding have recently increased and drivers could find themselves with big fines relating to their weekly earnings as a consequence. Business owners who turn a blind eye to speeding are also at risk under Health and Safety at Work legislation. New sentencing guidelines put greater emphasis on the culpability of senior managers and owners. Evidence of speed can be gathered from management systems on modern vans, even when no telematics are fitted.

• Kill your speed! If you’re hit by a car at 40 mph there’s a 90% chance you’ll be killed – at 30 mph it’s 50% & 20 mph it’s 10%

• 90% of collisions with pedestrians are in 30 mph zones – kill your speed and save a life

• Speed limits are a maximum not a target – take account of the road and weather conditions

• Speed costs – travelling at 80 mph can use up to 25% more fuel than driving at 70 mph

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AALG unites the Aftermarket to lobby in a post-Brexit Britain

The Automotive Aftermarket Liaison Group (AALG) presented its new lobbying position on European issues that affect the aftermarket in a post-Brexit Britain at a press launch on Tuesday 23rd May at Silverstone race track.

The event began with a speech by the longest standing member of the group, Dave Garratt (GEA), where he announced that: “The automotive aftermarket is often overlooked, but it plays a significant role in the uk’s economy. The AALG’s job is to bring our industries associations, societies and institutes together to work for the interests of all businesses associated with the aftermarket. Furthermore in the event of Brexit, the development of the connected car and the trend towards electric and eventually automatous vehicles we believe there’s never been a more important time to work together”.

Wendy Williamson speaking at the launch

The figureheads of each association within the AALG formed a panel to discuss current European issues affecting the aftermarket and how the group plans to lobby them, then opened the floor to questions.

Dave Garratt, GEA CEO commented: “Garage Equipment Manufacturers need to provide the aftermarket with the tools required to service, inspect and diagnose tomorrow’s vehicles. The introduction of the connected car brings forward a real threat of losing diagnostic connectivity for the independent sector. As I said earlier … there’s never been a more important time for our organisations to work together to protect consumer choice”.

Stuart James speaking at the launch

Stuart James, IGA CEO commented: “One of the biggest issues affecting the independent sector is the ability to access vehicle manufacturers technical information, standing united with other aftermarket associations to lobby in the UK and on a European front will heighten the chances of a robust and time efficient solution”.

Wendy Williamson, IAAF CEO commented: “We are currently striving towards overcoming a number of potential industry threats and have begun to promote the Your Car – Your Choice campaign to a wider audience. Protecting the aftermarket’s rights during the development of the connected car and type approval legislation is of paramount importance to the Federation, with the aim of ensuring the independent aftermarket has a level playing field when it comes to access to technical, parts, repair and maintenance information. The IAAF strongly opposes extending the first MOT test from three years to four for new vehicles and we are playing an active role in AALG to combat this.”

Sandy Burgess, SMTA CEO commented: “As we progress towards the “Brexit date” the landscape for our industry will change no doubt creating any number of situations which will generate the need for significant and potentially costly change. Acting as a strong united body the AALG will be able to use the pooled resource of the members to ensure a clear interpretation of the impacts of these changes and provide clarity of understanding to assist those within the industry to take sensible action to mitigate these impacts”.

Steve Nash, IMI CEO commented: “The AALG is a great example of the Automotive Industry working together for the common good. With such a sophisticated and multi-faceted business as automotive is, it’s not surprising that we have a large a diverse mix of representative bodies, all of which have important roles to play in looking after the interests of their respective members.

“But when there are important issues of mutual interest, such as the proposed changes to the first MOT test, it makes absolute sense to work together to form a larger and more powerful lobbying group with a common goal and a single voice. The Automotive Aftersales Lobbying Group (AALG) was formed to do exactly that.”

Stefan Hay, NTDA CEO commented: “Tyres are a crucial safety component and a major contributor to MoT failure. As a result vast technological advances have been made to improve their performance in recent times, yet many motorists still have a very laissez faire attitude to basic tyre checks, with some still choosing to buy dangerous part worn tyres. We welcome the support of our fellow AALG members in raising consumer awareness of the importance of regular tyre maintenance”.

For more information on the AALG, visit www.AALG.org.uk.

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GTG to host event on apprenticeships

GTG West Midlands have announced that they will be holding an exclusive, free event offering advice to attendees covering everything about the changing world of apprenticeships – Apprenticeships-A new world for employers.

Attendees can find out how the new Apprenticeship reforms can grow your business, and hear from industry experts.

Date: Tuesday 6th June 2017

Time: 2.30pm – 4.30pm

Venue:
GTG Training
Bearing Drive
Wolverhampton WV11 3SZ

Key topics will include:

  • Apprenticeship Levy
  • New apprenticeship standards
  • End point assessment
  • Quality guidance
  • Transfer of funds to suppliers
  • Devolved nations

The event will be hosted by leading training specialist Beej Kaczmarczyk , who brings his many years’ experience as an expert in education policy, management, planning, teaching and learning across a range of sectors.

Beej will be be joined by two guest speakers, each offering advice on how to maximise new opportunities:

Julie Gibson
With over 20 years of experience in a number of key roles as a school, college and industry expert. Offering quality and compliance guidance and the changing role of the employer in this process.

Bob ‘Kaz’ Kaczmarczyk
Managing Director of Colourful Solutions (management consultancy) and formerly senior manager roles in Sainsbury’s, Jessops and Homebase.

Complimentary refreshments will be provided and there will also be a networking opportunity after the event.

Places are limited, so please reserve your space today to avoid disappointment.

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