Clarios launches as a world leader in advanced energy storage solutions

Clarios, formerly Johnson Controls Power Solutions, has just launched as a new entity and world leader in advanced energy storage solutions. Clarios was acquired by Brookfield Business Partners and operates as a global energy storage business generating $8 billion in revenues with more than 16,000 employees, 56 facilities worldwide and 130 years of expertise. Clarios will build on its leading position in vehicle battery technologies – producing one-third of the automotive industry’s total output per year – while more aggressively exploring ways to meet the fast-growing energy storage needs of tomorrow.

“At Clarios our vision is to power progress by creating the world’s smartest energy storage solutions that benefit people, business, and the planet,” said Joe Walicki, president, Clarios. “As a global leader with a product used in virtually every vehicle from conventional to fully electric, we are well positioned to capitalize on market trends, including a move toward more electrified and autonomous vehicles which are elevating the critical role of the battery and accelerating the need for more advanced batteries. Under Brookfield’s ownership, we can better capitalize on these growing trends and operate with more focus and efficiency.”

Clarios will continue to provide the highest quality products and service to the world’s leading companies and brands. These customers rely on Clarios to deliver smart battery technologies that leverage the company’s unique mix of insights, applied engineering and superior product design. Battery technology has become increasingly important because today’s vehicles house more than a hundred electrified devices to comply with growing industry regulations and to support consumer demands for safety, fuel economy, comfort and sustainability. In addition, with the growing shift toward more autonomous vehicles, advanced safety features will become even more critical, requiring a proven, reliable energy storage solution. Clarios will be investing in the people, process and technologies to help meet these growing demands and power even greater mobility and connectivity in the future.

Clarios will build on decades of leadership in the circular economy where it designs, builds, recovers and recycles batteries to help create a more efficient and sustainable approach to energy storage. Clarios batteries are designed and made so up to 99% of the materials can be recovered and reused in the new batteries it makes. Through innovative collaboration with the company’s customers and partners, Clarios has pioneered a closed-loop collection system that is a model for the circular economy that it continues to share across the globe.

The company will maintain its current global manufacturing and operations footprint, including its corporate headquarters in Glendale, Wisconsin.

Your Comments

IAAF to warn aftermarket to “Be primed for digital revolution” at Automechanika

Wendy Williamson, chief executive of the Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) will be addressing challenges faced by the aftermarket in the digital era, when she delivers a speech to delegates at Automechanika Birmingham next month.

Held in the Aftermarket Seminar Theatre on 5 June from 11:15-11:45am, Williamson will look at the opportunities, technology and legislation available to support a competitive, free to access automotive industry in the digital age.

Nowadays almost every new vehicle has telematics capabilities, with digital connectivity set to play an increasingly key role in the future. Williamson will be spearheading her talk on how this will affect the automotive aftermarket and some of the challenges being faced by independent garages, motor factors and suppliers as the digital revolution strengthens its grip.

Williamson will look at the legislation required to ensure that the aftermarket can adapt and thrive against a changing digital landscape, as it continues to strongly argue that a level playing field must be provided to ensure consumer freedom of choice when repairing and maintaining vehicles.

Williamson will also examine other influencers on the sector as technology continues to drive changes to the wider topic of intelligent mobility. Changing lifestyle trends are also affecting the marketplace as motorists are demanding more flexible options such as rental and subscription services as opposed to outright vehicle ownership. And of course, with the current focus on reducing emissions the rise of electric vehicles and how that will impact on the aftermarket.

There will also be an update on IAAF activity including the progress of its prominent Your Car, Your Choice campaign, which recently launched its pilot project in Chesterfield.

Wendy Williamson, IAAF chief executive, said: “This year’s event will again provide us with an exciting opportunity to communicate how to tackle current and potential threats the aftermarket continues to face.

“The exponential development of data and connectivity is moving the aftermarket towards a new era, generating opportunities through technological advancements of tools and processes. During my address at Automechanika, my aim is to underline the importance for the aftermarket to seize the benefits of the so-called ‘digital revolution’ as well as beware of the challenges it poses, to ensure we are as prepared as possible to fully embrace it.”

IAAF will be exhibiting on stand S131 next to the entrance of Hall 19 at the three-day show, taking place at the NEC on 4 – 6 June.

Your Comments

IAAF looking forward to ‘Your Car – Your Choice’ pilot project

The IAAF is now looking forward to its ground-breaking project in respect of the Your Car – Your Choice campaign which will be taking place in Chesterfield on 16th May at the premises of the Bilstein Group in Markham Vale.

As previously mentioned, the aim of the project is to raise awareness of the fact that motorists have the right to have their cars serviced at any garage of their choice, from new.

The campaign, organised by the IAAF, is targetting independent garages and motor factors with an awareness day in the Chesterfield area. Garages will be able to quiz experts from around the trade and find out where they can go for support in challenging some of the misconceptions on garage repair and servicing within the warranty period and beyond.

The campaign has received a boost with major automotive companies signing up to support the pilot project. These include: Automechanika Birmingham, Bilstein Group, Comline, Comma, First Line, Hella, Impression Communications, MAHLE Aftermarket UK, National Auto Parts, SMPE, TMD Friction, Johnson Controls (Varta), WAIglobal UK and ZF Aftermarket.

All participating companies will feature in the pilot project’s social media campaign to garages and motorists throughout Chesterfield and surrounding areas. IAAF motor factor members Autosupplies (Chesterfield) and Road & Rally are playing an active role in bringing garages to the awareness day and highlighting the campaign across their own social media platforms and through their teams.

IAAF Head of Membership Development, Mike Smallbone, said: “We’re very pleased and enormously grateful for the support we’ve received from companies in the automotive aftermarket. The awareness day on Thursday 16 May aims to equip garages with all the information they need to promote the campaign onwards to motorists.”

More information on Your Car – Your Choice can be found here: or on

Your Comments

Lord Coe to speak at the Aftermarket Power Network at Automechanika Birmingham 2019

Industry leaders from the UK Aftermarket will come together at an exclusive event, the Aftermarket Power Network, premiering at Automechanika Birmingham on Tuesday 4th June, in Hall 20, NEC.

Organisers have announced that Lord Sebastian Coe will join the launch event to address and network with this very important group. Throughout his career, Lord Coe has found success by leading from the front to make a vision a reality. Lord Coe brings energy, passion and innovation to all his work, qualities which we can learn from in tackling the challenges the industry faces.

200 leading personnel from the UK automotive aftermarket will be at the invite-only event, hosted in the keynote area of the show and sponsored by ZF, SMMT and IAAF.

This new initiative is designed to bring together the most influential leaders across the full breadth of the UK automotive aftermarket.

By attending, senior peers from suppliers, customers and industry associations will be given an exclusive opportunity to network, whilst discussing the present state and future of the market.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “The aftermarket is a vital component of the UK’s automotive sector, contributing £12 billion to the economy and supporting 345,600 jobs. The Aftermarket Power Network is an excellent initiative which will help foster new relationships and create business opportunities.

“Moreover, with a speaker in Lord Coe who has proven himself successful in so many different fields, the event will inspire the leadership and competitive ethos necessary to enable the sector to meet the multiple challenges it faces. The timing of this new event couldn’t be better.”

Wendy Williamson, IAAF Chief Executive, said: “The industry faces a variety of challenges that threaten to shake up the entire automotive aftermarket, so it is extremely encouraging that such an important initiative has been launched which will bring together some of the biggest players across the industry to share their insight and knowledge for a secure, thriving future.”

Martyn Houghton, Senior Manager IAM at ZF Aftermarket, said: “We are delighted to be sponsoring the Aftermarket Power Network at Automechanika Birmingham 2019. The networking event mirrors our own objectives, which is to bring people in the automotive industry together and learn more about how ZF’s extensive products and services can help grow and develop businesses up and down the supply chain.”

Your Comments

Mark Peacock retains NGK Salesman of the Year title

Mark Peacock has been named ignition specialist NGK’s Salesman of the Year for the second successive year.

The original equipment (OE) supplier of spark plugs, glow plugs, NTK Lambda and other engine management sensors, presented him with the 2019 award at its recent end of year conference held in Palma, Majorca.

Mark (49) said: “I am really pleased to have received the award for a second time. It was an ambition of mine to win it when I first joined the company in 2011 and to win it again is fantastic.”

He took the honour in a closely run race from colleagues Paul Gair and John Catterson, who came second and third respectively.

Mark added: “We are a close-knit team at NGK, and I would have been just as pleased if Paul had won the award. I think I can attribute the award to introducing our new products, especially MAP and MAF sensors, to my customers while also achieving good spark plug sales.”

Mark Hallam, Marketing Manager, NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd, said: “It is a great achievement by Mark to once again be named Salesman of the Year. He thoroughly deserved retaining the award for his efforts over the past 12 months.

“NGK never stands still, and Mark is part of a very experienced and conscientious sales team who have been instrumental to the successful launch of a number of new products we have introduced to our customers over recent months.”

Prior to joining NGK, the two-time winner, whose sales area covers the English counties of Shropshire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, plus south Wales, worked as a Sales Representative for automotive distributor FPS in Nottingham and Sheffield.

Mark – who is married to Gayle and has two sons, Sam (20) and Josh (15) – is a keen sports fan who supports Birmingham City FC and is a music enthusiast who regularly attends concerts.

Your Comments

GS Yuasa to launch online training academy at Automechanika, Birmingham

GS Yuasa, UK market leader for automotive, motorcycle and industrial batteries, will launch and preview a host of new products at this year’s Automechanika, Birmingham. The manufacturer will also bring exciting motorsport action, live seminar training and a competition opportunity to the NEC event on 4 to 6 June.

GS Yuasa will officially launch the much-anticipated GS Yuasa Academy – the industry’s first online battery training platform – as well as preview the YBX Super Heavy Duty battery range for commercial vehicles, which launches in July. Showcasing cutting-edge technology from Yuasa and GS brands, they will also offer motorsport action in the form of BTCC and rally driver meet and greets, and the official 2019 Halfords Yuasa Racing BTCC car will be on display.

The exciting, interactive GS Yuasa exhibition stand will promote a wide range of award-winning products and services. With a heavy focus for automotive workshop technicians and distributors, visitors can expect to find:

GS Yuasa Academy E-Learning
The new GS Yuasa Academy comprehensive E-Learning system will revolutionise battery training. Aimed at improving customer service, reducing warranty returns and maximising battery business potential, it provides over 20 certified courses tailored to different job roles.

To mark the launch, the Academy’s presenters will be on hand in the Workshop Training Hub and will deliver a training seminar at the Technical Seminar Theatre on Tuesday 4th at 14:45pm for technicians and distributors to get a feel for the manufacturer’s new training offer. Meanwhile, visitors to the main GS Yuasa stand will be able to try the site for themselves and can undertake various training modules delivered in a dynamic video format.

Visitors attending the training hub and seminar will also have the chance to win £250 worth of Love2Shop vouchers.

GS Yuasa are a key partner of Automechanika which is now in its fourth year. Jon Pritchard, General Manager – Sales and Marketing at GS Yuasa Battery Sales UK Ltd, said: “We are excited to be at this year’s Automechanika. It is going to be a busy show with the launch of GS Yuasa Academy, preview of our new Commercial Vehicle ranges, plus a visit each day from the racing drivers we sponsor.

GS Yuasa can be found near the entrance to Hall 19 at stand Q151.

Your Comments

Standard Motor Products Europe (SMPE) has become the official UK & Ireland licensee for the Lucas brand of engine management

From 1 May, customers will benefit from the considerable resources invested by SMPE in range re-profiling, packaging and cataloguing. As a result, SMPE has added a further 1500 parts to the Lucas engine management programme, resulting in a 65 percent increase in vehicle parc coverage.

SMPE, which has recently announced additional investment in its Nottingham Centre of Engineering Excellence, is also the license holder for the Lucas brand of engine management in Europe.

The SMPE managed Lucas engine management programme includes: Ignition coils, cam/crank sensors, air mass meters, EGR valves, lead sets, coolant temp sensors and oil pressure switches.

SMPE recently announced that the Lucas brand is now proud sponsor of Team GB for the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.

Richard Morley, SMPE Commercial Director, said: “UK customers will immediately benefit from the investment we have made in the Lucas engine management programme. Following a period of transition, our plans are to ensure the Lucas brand builds on its heritage and remains synonymous with quality and performance. Under SMPE’s stewardship, we are confident of achieving this.”

SMPE offers one of the strongest OE matching quality European aftermarket engine management programmes available, through its commitment to quality and performance, underpinned by its ISO 9001:2015 accreditation.

Your Comments

UK van sector delivers £56 billion pay-packet to British workers, finds new research

The extent British businesses depend on vans has been revealed by new research published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) and management and technology consultancy, BearingPoint. Without a van, 3.4 million people – 10% of the UK’s workforce – would not be able to do their jobs, with an estimated 500,000 driving one as their main role.

The report, Light Commercial Vehicles: Delivering for the UK Economy, highlights for the first time the vast economic and social contribution made by the 3.4 million UK van users and employees of businesses that depend on them, with a combined wage bill of at least £56 billion, equating to 11% of GDP. However, this figure only accounts for part of the contribution vans make to the economy. The UK is home to two major van manufacturing plants, as well as a thriving sub-economy of van conversion companies and a strong aftermarket sector. Around 900,000 used vans change hands every year, while the annual new light commercials market is estimated to be worth nearly £10 billion.

The UK van parc has experienced significant growth in recent years, up 59% since 2000 – almost double the growth seen in cars. The boom in online shopping, in particular, has seen a surge in demand for delivery vans. The UK is now the EU’s biggest online retail market, with 83% of consumers here buying goods and services online, compared with the EU average of 60%. Meanwhile, the rapid rise in the number of self-employed people, up from 3.3 million in 2001 to 4.8 million in 2017, has also been a key driver of van growth, with the trend to vehicle downsizing another factor.

As well as the vehicles registered to businesses, the report suggests that the majority of privately owned vans are operated by a booming sole trader and SME sector. The van is an essential tool of the trade for these owner-operators, who depend on them for their livelihood. The report also suggests that, despite additional costs, vans operated by sole traders and SMEs tend to be at a higher specification. Small businesses are now taking advantage of the latest innovations in safety and comfort, often as a reflection of their professionalism. New vans now offer a variety of features, including advanced driver assistance, lane departure warning and autonomous emergency braking systems, all of which help to improve the sector’s already strong safety record.

The report highlights the vital role vans play in delivering for society and for the economy. Almost all (96%) of these vehicles are powered by diesel, which delivers the high levels of efficiency and performance needed to transport goods over long distances. The commercial vehicle sector has invested heavily to ensure that the Euro 6 diesel vans on sale today are the cleanest in history. The development of the latest low emission technology has resulted in new vehicles that have virtually eliminated particulates and have vastly reduced NOx. Furthermore, UK average new van CO2 fell to 166.93g/km last year, down -10.4% since 2013, highlighting the important role new diesel vans play, and will continue to play, in reducing emissions.

Manufacturers are investing heavily to bring an exciting range of ultra-low and zero emission vans to market. While there is an increasing appetite for these vehicles, demand remains low, accounting for just 0.3% of the market in 2018. To increase uptake, a number of barriers must be removed, including tackling range and payload anxiety and addressing the sector’s specific charging needs.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “The UK’s van fleet is the backbone of our society, driving our economy and allowing millions of workers to carry out jobs that our country relies on. Industry is supporting these businesses by responding to a changing society, developing and delivering the cleanest and safest vehicles in history. To continue to thrive, this vital sector needs policies and incentives that encourage businesses to invest in the latest technology that best suit their needs to help them deliver for Britain.”

James Rodger, Partner and UK&I Lead, BearingPoint, said, “The data analysis and interviews that we have conducted highlight the key role that the LCV sector plays in the UK economy. The report brings the data and the qualitative insights together to paint a picture of a diverse and vibrant sector which touches all our lives on a daily basis. Advancements in technology in the sector will ensure that the LCV continues to play a pivotal role in the years to come. We hope that this report contributes to the better understanding and appreciation of the LCV sector in the UK.”

Your Comments

New car demand falls in April as plug-in hybrids take a hit

The UK new car market declined by -4.1% in April, according to figures released recently by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). The month saw 161,064 units registered, the second lowest April volume since 2012 but following a double-digit increase the previous year.

Registrations by private motorists fell in April, down -10.3%, after a rise of more than 26% in April 2018. Fleet demand, meanwhile, remained stable, growing 2.9%, with these businesses registering 2,498 more cars than in April 2018.

Declines were recorded across most vehicle segments, with registrations of popular supermini and small family cars falling most significantly, down -14.1% and -10.6%. Demand for lower volume luxury saloons and sports cars rose while the dual purpose segment also grew, by +18.4% to 40,580 units. These vehicles are now the third most popular body type, with registrations tripling since 2012.

Diesel registrations fell again, but the pace of decline slowed significantly, down -9.4%. Petrol demand also dropped, by -3.0%. Overall, alternatively fuelled vehicle (AFV) registrations grew by 12.7%, with 10,254 leaving showrooms. Petrol electric hybrids remained the most popular choice, up 31.1% to 6,810 units. Battery electric cars also recorded a strong uplift, from 929 to 1,517 units, which still only represents 0.9% of the market.

Meanwhile, zero emission-capable plug-in hybrids experienced a significant decline, down -34.4% in April and -20.4% year-to-date – evidence of the consequences of prematurely removing upfront purchase incentives before the market is ready.

Manufacturers are investing heavily to bring ultra-low and zero emission cars to market, with some 40 plug-in models now available in showrooms, and over 20 more expected to arrive in 2019. However, if this still emerging sector is to reach meaningful levels, measures and incentives that build business and consumer confidence will be vital.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “While it’s great to see buyers respond to the growing range of pure electric cars on offer, they still only represent a tiny fraction of the market and are just one of a number of technologies that will help us on the road to zero. Industry is working hard to deliver on this shared ambition, providing ever cleaner cars to suit every need.

We need policies that help get the latest, cleanest vehicles on the road more quickly and support market transition for all drivers. This includes investment in infrastructure and long term incentives to make new technologies as affordable as possible.”

EU Approves New Rights For GIG Workers

Xecutive Search has drawn attention to news from the European parliament where new minimum rights for workers in so-called “gig economy” jobs such as Uber drivers and Deliveroo riders have received approval.

Under the EU regulations, ‘casualised’ employees across Europe will have a right to compensation from their bosses for last-minute cancellation of work. Any mandatory training will have to be provided free of charge to workers, and counted as paid working time.

“Exclusivity clauses” that ban workers from taking other jobs will also be banned, and probation periods will be restricted to one, with a maximum of six months. Employers will also have to give workers a description of their duties “from day one”, a formal starting date and pay information, and an indication of what the standard working day will be.

The rules, which will apply to everyone who works at least three hours a week, are intended as a baseline, with member states able to raise standards to higher levels. The new regulations are not intended to apply to “genuinely self-employed” people, EU officials say.

Enrique Calvet Chambon, a Spanish liberal MEP overseeing the rules, said: “All workers who have been in limbo will now be granted minimum rights thanks to this directive, and the European Court of Justice rulings. From now on no employer will be able to abuse the flexibility in the labour market.” Member states, which have already approved the plan at the European Council, will have to enforce the rules in their own domestic laws within three years.

While the UK government could in theory scrap the rules once it has left the EU, the European Commission has said any future trade deal between the bloc and the UK would require Britain to sign up to “non-regression” clauses to stop it from undermining existing workers’ rights.

In June last year, a group of 50 couriers working for the food takeaway service Deliveroo won a six-figure payout after they successfully argued they had been unlawfully denied the minimum wage and paid holiday.

A string of other “gig economy” providers including Hermes, Uber, Addison Lee, and CitySprint have also faced legal cases which established that their employees are workers rather than “self employed” and therefore entitled to the same rights as others.

Your Comments