Volvo Group sets aside £615m to deal with diesel emissions issue

Volvo Group has set aside £615.8 million to cover costs to address a faulty emissions control component which the degradation of could cause engines to exceed NOx emissions limits.

The company, which manufactures trucks, buses and construction equipment, as well as marine and industrial engines, first reported its concern over the “degrading emission control component issue” in October last year.

The engines in question are equipped with selective catalytic reduction (SCR) after-treatment systems that were designed initially to meet EPA 2010 emissions standards.

A Volvo statement said: “The estimated costs are based on several factors such as testing of vehicles, statistical analysis and dialogue with relevant
authorities.

“The next step will be to define how to implement corrective actions concerning the component in vehicles affected by this issue. This will be done together with the relevant authorities.

“The degradation of the component in question does not pose a product safety issue, nor does it negatively affect vehicle or engine performance in areas other than emissions control.

“The degradation is a result of a materials issue that occurs over time. All engines and vehicles equipped with the component meet emissions limits at
delivery.”

Volvo Group said the money set aside will impact operating include in the fourth quarter of 2018, and a negative cash flow effect will start in 2019 and
gradually ramp up in the coming years.

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The Alliance Automotive Group UK announces new Marketing Director

The Alliance Automotive Group UK (AAUK) is pleased to announce that Dominique Peacock, formerly FPS Digital and Client Services Director, has been promoted to the position of UK Group Marketing Director and will join the UK Executive Committee.

Dominique has worked for FPS for over 16 years and has driven the company’s digital strategy including the F:Drive eCommerce site from concept through to its market leading position today. In her new role, Dominique will work with all of the group’s business units and will focus on enhancing the AAUK customer and stakeholder experience in a rapidly changing market.

In addition, the FPS Digital Development team will have a change in reporting line from FPS Digital & Client Services to the AAUK Group IT structure. It follows that Helen Guilliatt, Digital Development Manager, will now report to John Middleditch, UK Group CIO. This will ensure synergies and sharing of skills and expertise across the group.

These changes will ensure that the digital and marketing capabilities within all AAUK business units, comprising GROUPAUTO UK, UAN, FPS, Apec, Platinum and BTN, are optimised, to allow the business to provide a consistently high standard of customer service and user experience across the range of customer touchpoints.

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Are spreadsheets still useful in business today?

Spreadsheets have become a staple for professionals on a daily basis with an estimated 750 million people using Excel. But despite the success of the spreadsheet, they are fast being phased out by other, more modern solutions.

So it begs the question, should you still be using spreadsheets in your business?

IAAF service member sales-i have produced an eBook which explains some of the pros and cons of using spreadsheets, including:

  • The reasons why you should continue to use spreadsheets in your business
  • The reasons why you should stop using spreadsheets in your business
  • Alternative software options to replace your spreadsheet

To download sales-i’s free eBook below to decide for yourself, click on the link below.

Are-spreadsheets-still-useful-in-business-today

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ECCO Safety Group EMEA appoints Michiel van der Wal as Business Development Manager in Northern Europe

ECCO Safety Group is pleased to announce the appointment of Michiel van der Wal for the position of Business Development Manager who will cover the Northern European region for both ECCO, Safety Solutions Brand and Code 3, Emergency systems.

Michiel joins ECCO Safety Group following a 3-year career at BorgWarner Inc. as OEM Sales Manager where he managed and nurtured relationships with key automotive OEM’s and ensured commercial targets were met.

“We are extremely delighted that Michiel joins us at ECCO Safety Group and we are sure that his experience and knowledge will take ESG into the next level of growth in Northern Europe” – states Olivier Michard, Business Director at ESG EMEA.

“I am excited to join the ESG team and taking on the role and responsibilities of Business Development Manager for Northern Europe. I look forward to building on my existing experience and growing the ESG business in Northern Europe, having previously worked in the automotive industry for several years.” – said Michiel van der Wal.

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Help Ben understand the issues affecting your people

Ben are asking a small favour from IAAF members.

Last month, they launched a survey to help the understand the health & well-being issues faced by both employees and employers within the automotive industry.

As employers in the automotive industry, they would appreciate it if IAAF members could share the following link with employees and encourage them to complete the survey. It should take them no longer than 10 minutes.

Simply copy and paste the link to their survey to share it. https://ben.org.uk/our-publications/individual-survey/

The survey will close on Friday 18th January 2019 so Ben would appreciate it if it could be shared with employees as soon as possible so that they can help ensure that Ben provides the support our automotive people need today, and in the future.

Ben appreciates your support!

Ben is also running a Survey for Employers, so if you haven’t completed this yet, please CLICK HERE.

Through Ben4Business, we partner with companies to help them improve the health and well-being of their workforces. To find out more about how Ben4Business can benefit your company and its employees contact: ben4business@ben.org.uk

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Save the date – IAAF Golf Days 2019

The IAAF has announced the dates and venues for its 2019 four-ball golf events.

The winning team from Elcome, pictured with IAAF Chief Executive Wendy Williamson

Northern Day
Date: Tuesday 9th July 2019
Venue: Worsley Park Golf Course, near Manchester

Midlands Day
Date: Thursday 15th August 2019
Venue: The Abbey Hotel Hotel & Golf Course, Redditch

Further information and a booking form will be released in due course.

If you wish to reserve a place for your team, please contact the IAAF Office.

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New vehicle registrations decline 6.8% in 2018

Figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) have revealed a 6.8% decline in registrations during 2018.

A 5.5% decline in December capped a year of model changes, regulatory upheaval and continued anti-diesel policies, adding to the ongoing decline in consumer and business confidence.

Private, fleet and business registrations all fell in 2018, with the biggest losses felt in the fleet sector (down 7.3%), while private motorists and smaller business operators registered 6.4% and 5.6% fewer new cars respectively.

Demand also fell across all vehicle segments bar the dual purpose category, which grew by 9.1% to take a fifth of the market (21.2%). Despite registrations of superminis and lower medium cars falling by 2.5% and 9.4% respectively, these smaller vehicles remain the most popular – with a combined 58.7% market share.

The biggest volume decline was seen in the diesel sector, down 29.6% in 2018, with the volume loss equivalent to some 180% of the overall market’s decline. Anti-diesel rhetoric and negative fiscal measures took their toll, with December marking the 21st consecutive month of decline for the fuel type – despite new emissions tests showing diesels deliver in the real world. Growth in registrations of petrol (8.7%) and alternatively fuelled vehicles (20.9%) replaced some of the loss but not enough to offset the full shortfall as many diesel owners adopt a ‘wait and see’ approach, keeping hold of their older, more polluting vehicles for longer.

In the AFV sector, petrol electric hybrids remained the most popular choice, up 21.3% to 81,156 units. Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) also recorded a strong uplift (24.9%) over the year, though the figures suggest growth is slowing following the removal of the government’s plug-in car grant for these vehicles in October.

Demand for PHEVs grew almost 30% in the first 10 months, but year on year increases fell to 3.1% and 8.7% in November and December respectively. Pure electric cars, meanwhile, grew 13.8% in the year but, with just 15,474 registered, they still make up only 0.7% of the market. Given the reduction in government incentives, the pace of growth of plug-in cars is now falling significantly behind the EU average.

The figures come as SMMT publishes data showing the UK new car fleet average CO2 rose for a second successive year, by 2.9% to 124.5g/km. This is despite huge investment by manufacturers to deliver ever more efficient cars, with the average new or updated model emitting 8.3% less CO2 than the one it replaced. While part of this fleet average CO2 increase was due to segment shift and the introduction of the new, more onerous WLTP test which produces higher figures, the move away from diesels is having a significant impact.

Diesels are, on average, 15-20% more efficient than petrol equivalents and so have a substantial role to play in addressing climate change. The hard won gains made by the sector since CO2 records began in 1997 (when the new car fleet average was 189.8g/km) are being undermined by the shift away from diesel and disappointing growth in alternatively fuelled vehicles. This only underscores the challenge both industry and government face in meeting ambitious climate change targets.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, ‘A second year of substantial decline is a major concern, as falling consumer confidence, confusing fiscal and policy messages and shortages due to regulatory changes have combined to create a highly turbulent market. The industry is facing ever-tougher environmental targets against a backdrop of political and economic uncertainty that is weakening demand so these figures should act as a wake-up call for policy makers.

‘Supportive, not punitive measures are needed to grow sales, because replacing older cars with new technologies, whether diesel, petrol, hybrid or plug-in, is good for the environment, the consumer, the industry and the exchequer.

‘Despite the overall decline in 2018, demand for new cars in the UK remains solid, with volumes on a par with the preceding 15-year average, and the market still the second biggest in the EU, behind Germany. It is also one of the most diverse, with buyers able to choose from some 350 different models available in fuel types and body styles to suit all driving needs.

‘Meanwhile, more than 80 exciting new generation models – 31 of them plug-in electrics – are set to make their showroom debuts in 2019, and with some compelling deals on offer, the industry is continuing to invest to grow the market despite the headwinds.’

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UK Facing Labour Crisis

Xecutive Search have drawn attention to the fact that UK firms are being squeezed by the biggest labour shortage in 30 years. This is being driven by a combination of record employment, the impending Brexit vote, a weaker pound and the government’s pledge to cut EU immigration after Brexit.

A survey of more than 6,000 employers across the country by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) found that 81% of manufacturers struggled to hire the right staff in the final months of 2018.

With the UK currently experiencing record levels of employment, organisations are facing a shortage of skilled labour just as the effect of Brexit has led to a dramatic drop in the number of qualified workers coming from the EU.

In December, the Home Secretary Sajid Javid drew a sharp rebuke from business leaders after the government’s long-awaited White Paper on post-Brexit immigration pledged to cut those coming from the EU for work by 80%, while extending the minimum salary threshold to £30,000 a year.

At the same time, the weaker pound has also made it less attractive for foreign nationals to work in Britain.

Amid signs that the UK could be facing a full-blown labour crisis, Adam Marshall, the director general of the BCC, said: ‘Business concerns about the government’s recent blueprint for future immigration rules must be taken seriously – and companies must be able to access skills at all levels without heavy costs or bureaucracy.’

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Universal Components latest CV supplier to join IAAF

The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) has welcomed aftermarket wholesaler Universal Components UK Ltd (TVS ASL) to its swelling membership roster, as the latest commercial vehicle supplier to sign up and seize advantage of the raft of opportunities available to them as a member.

One of the leading suppliers of truck and trailer parts, Barnsley-based UC has an extensive aftermarket portfolio covering parts for lighting and electrical, axle, braking and mechanical, as well as consumables.

Originally named Kellett, the company was established in 1908 as manufacturer and repairer of laminated road springs. After recognising the market for non-original truck and trailer spares, the business focused on the distribution of replacement components for this growing sector of the market place. With its management team and dedicated staff, the firm transitioned from a manufacturer into a wholesale distribution company.

Following several acquisitions and changes, the organisation was later renamed Universal Components UK Ltd and became an independent operation, where today it is an active company that includes a thriving export business, selling to over 30 countries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia, supported by a staff of 130.

UC is now the largest distributor of quality aftermarket parts ranging from body to engine, largely underpinned by a dedicated technical sales team both externally and internally supporting the UK’s commercial vehicle independent factors.

UC can now start benefitting from a raft of membership perks including a range of lifestyle protection plans, ADR cover and HR Lite, a new, free service designed to assist employers with legal matters relating to Employment Law, HR, Health & Safety and Data Protection. Alongside this, there is also the chance to attend the IAAF Annual Conference and Awards Dinner plus become actively involved in the many network meetings held across the year.

Dean Arnold, Managing Director of Universal Components UK, said: “Strategic changes in the CV sector requires UC to position itself in a more central, adaptable aftermarket role, and to have an up-to-date understanding of the legislative and regulation improvements, that will sustain a long-term strategy for the aftermarket sector.

“We’re looking forward to embracing our IAAF membership, offering mutual support as we strive forward into 2019 and the fresh challenges this will bring.”

Wendy Williamson, IAAF Chief Executive, said: “It is very encouraging news to see so many CV specialists becoming part of the IAAF and seizing the benefits offered from such a fantastic membership package. With major issues expected to impact the industry as we head into 2019, it is important we have as much representation as possible from this key part of the aftermarket, so that the IAAF not only can offer its support but also hears what they have to say.”

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ZF Services UK: meet the team

In response to an upsurge in market demand, ZF Services UK’s recent expansion has seen its capacity to remanufacture and repair transmissions, axles and gearboxes for coach and bus applications increase.

The company’s Nottingham-based repair centre has been developed to ensure customers further benefit from a complete range of support solutions from repair and remanufacture, to parts and technical support. Included as part of the expansion is a dedicated axle repair and remanufacture work area, with additional technicians recruited to meet the increased demand, all trained to deliver ZF OEM standard transmission and axle workshop repair and reman solutions.

The centre stocks and distributes genuine ZF parts, as well as providing a non-ZF gearbox remanufacture and reverse engineering service. The recent expansion has also led to further recruitment in other areas, building on the existing talent within the team that has been responsible for some of the achievements to date for ZF in the coach and bus sector.

Meet the ZF team

David Wakeling, General Sales Manager UK has been with the company for 17 years working across various departments, giving him a broad understanding of the business and customers’ varying requirements. This has afforded him key insight and the ability to navigate through the global ZF organisation.

Due to its central UK location and impressive workshop facilities, ZF can offer full remanufacturing service for all ZF products, where quality is paramount. Other benefits include field service capabilities, health check services and high voltage support, complemented by an extensive ZF Partner Network throughout the UK and Ireland.

Responsible for managing the CV department in Nottingham and its customer base comprising OEMs, large distributors and end operators, David also looks after the South East Asia and Hong Kong regions on behalf of ZF Services UK’s parent company, supporting OEMs and key customers within those zones.

David explained: “ZF has a new outlook and fresh drive to support the market and is forging closer working relationships with customers, which is providing us with invaluable insight into the bus market and future trends.”

Andy Derz, Key Account Manager has worked for the company for 15 years, during which time it has won key service contracts with major UK operators. Working closely with operators to understand their bespoke needs, he has ensured the delivery of tailored service packages to meet their criteria, further supported by its field health check service to monitor and help maintain fleet performance. Managing ZF’s extensive Partner network in the UK and Ireland, Andy ensures that the company’s partners have the correct level of support to grow as businesses, and that they are service ready for existing and new ZF products, which in turn provides a high level of service to its burgeoning customer base.

Andy said: “Where ZF excels is its proactivity with promotional events, engaging operators and OEMs alike to showcase our existing and new portfolio of products. Our presence at the annual ALBUM conference, a national forum that enables the exchange of best practice among its members and to influence policy in the bus industry, is a prime example of ZF’s objective in bringing its efficient, reliable and safe driveline solutions to the decision makers’ table.”

Nigel Marson, OE Account Manager for Commercial Vehicles has over 30 years’ experience in the automotive industry, over half of which has been with ZF Services UK. Here, he has supported the bus and coach market with a high level of market awareness and product knowledge across the ZF portfolio of transmissions, axles and steering systems. Working closely with OE vehicle manufactures in an engineering, sales and marketing capacity, he has developed product strategies to ensure customers are offered the best products on the market.

Nigel said: “The company’s mantra is ZF Vision Zero, Zero accidents, Zero emissions, offering solutions in safety technology and electromobility, and it’s something we’re all 100% focused on. This commitment has borne fruit through the marked success of ZF AxTrax electric drive axle in the all-electric Optare MetroDecker, of which 31 vehicles are to enter service in 2019 with Metroline London. I’d say that this is the embodiment of progress, and a significant achievement in driveline technology that we should all be extremely proud of at ZF.”

Debbie Fisher, Service Manager joined ZF in March 2017, on the back of 11 years’ industry experience from working with a ZF Service Partner. Coming from a customer-facing background and being aware of their service requirements provided a smooth transition for operators wanting to deal directly with the OE while recognising ZF Nottingham as a quality remanufacturing centre. Major transmission and axle contracts to support the UK fleets in the aftermarket have since been awarded to ZF over the last 18 months, showing evidence that ZF is now back in touch directly with operators and understand what is required to exceed their high expectations of the ZF brand.

Debbie said: “Notwithstanding the achievements ZF has accomplished with new products and innovations to the industry, we are very proud of being able to display the recent expansion of the remanufacturing capabilities here in Nottingham, inviting key personnel and engineering teams to see our facilities and showing evidence of being service-ready for our future products.”

Simon Ackroyd, Product Support Engineer came onboard with ZF in 2017, with 23 years’ industry experience under his belt, 18 years of which was spent at two separate ZF Service Partners in Technical management areas.

Apprentice-trained on automatic transmission systems with a strong background in Bus and Coach, he worked previously for global OEM and Operators.

Simon commented: “Immersion in the day-to-day activities of the UK Passenger industry, complemented with specific technical product knowledge, has afforded me a depth and breadth of knowledge with key customer facing skills at all levels within the industry.

“This ongoing pursuit of technical understanding has driven the technical department within ZF Services UK to become fully conversant with future technologies, as well as help gain traction to better align our position to support partners and customers for tomorrow’s world.”

He continued: “European legislation is really driving forward in the pursuit of innovation and mobility solutions. It’s clear to all that electrically driven vehicles will come out on top if the total cost of ownership becomes competitive. Piece by piece the jigsaw is providing future clarity and opening the possibilities for parts commonality and upcycling solutions, very much in line with ZF’s Vision Zero.”

Tim Jordan, Technical Manager CV joined ZF almost 35 years ago, having previously served an engineering apprenticeship and worked with local bus company Trent Motor Traction (now Trent Barton) for nine years.

He soon discovered that his knowledge of the bus industry and the vehicles that they operated was a valuable commodity to ZF, at a time when it was breaking into the UK market with its Ecomat fully automatic transmission. During this early period of his ZF career, he helped fit this product into 20 brand new Leyland Tiger coaches owned by four different bus companies for them to trial.

This created a demand for the Ecomat for Leyland Bus vehicles and within two years, Leyland Bus, at the time the largest UK bus manufacturer, switched from using its own gearbox to ZF’s Ecomat. This instantly gave the ZF Ecomat a market share of over 60%, which during the 1990s grew at one stage to 85% of all buses and coaches newly registered in the UK.

Tim said: “Looking forward, there is a changing but exciting time ahead with high emphasis now on vehicles which are fully electrically driven, a market which ZF is already lining up several products to compete in.

“I see it as one of my final tasks before I retire in 2019 to ensure that the team is equipped in all aspects to embrace and support these new technologies as they come along.”

Supporting the sales team are ZF Product Support Engineers and Administration backup with a combined experience of more than 80 years in the industry.

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