FIGIEFA General Assembly – report

On 12th June, FIGIEFA Members gathered in Barcelona for the General Assembly. On this occasion, they reiterated their intention to advocate for an EU legislation guaranteeing effective competition between vehicle manufacturers and independent operators in the automotive aftermarket. This requires equal capabilities for all to interact with the customers in the vehicles and the vehicles themselves, through direct access to the vehicles, their data, functions and users. The so-called Extended Vehicle concept, as promoted by vehicle manufacturers, suffers from inherent, structural design flaws by giving the full control to the vehicle manufacturers over access to the vehicle and the use of all in vehicle data. The Proof of Concept requested by the European Commission has unequivocally proved this.

FIGIEFA members attending the recent General Assembly

Cyber-security and security related repair and maintenance information will require a rapid adoption of certification and authentication schemes in order to enable independent operators to compete with vehicle manufacturers. Legislation should ensure that independent operators are not prevented from conducting their operations by additional red tape or technical burdens, which would negatively affect legitimate businesses in particular.

A section of the meeting was dedicated to the analysis of the changing political landscape at EU level, resulting from the last European elections and the major re shaping of the European Parliament, which will, in the long term, affect the political balance, agenda and priorities.

Members and the FIGIEFA Secretariat agreed to further deepen their co-operation.

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Rise of fake parts sees TMD Friction develop new ways to fight back

TMD Friction has revealed that it is continuing to fight back against fake parts amid reports of a rise in the number of fake components entering the aftermarket.

The manufacturer is currently working on a security seal that will be directly linked to its computer system, allowing any factor or garage to check the authenticity.

Scott Irwin, head of technical training at TMD Friction, said: “The price of products is always going to be a major deciding factor for garages and consumers, however, this needs to be balanced with quality and more importantly, safety.

“We have seen a marked increase in counterfeit products being sold in the aftermarket that are such convincing replicas of the original product, it is becoming more and more difficult for factors and garages to tell the difference.

“In some cases, it has even been difficult for TMD Friction as a manufacturer to tell the difference on first inspection of our own products.

“It is only when putting the products through our rigorous testing facilities that we are able to confirm they are fakes.”

Counterfeit Textar pads
TMD Friction has reported several cases of plagiarism of its premium OE brand, Textar.

Most recently a batch of brake pads for trucks were identified with a remarkable resemblance to the original – it was only the performance that demonstrated the batch were fakes.

Scott said: “When tested, these products proved to be extremely dangerous and would put lives at risk by having this material equipped on any vehicle, let alone a truck that requires specialist material to stop such weights.

“The fake product performed very poorly on temperature and speed, which is required for long-distance braking in commercial vehicles.

Brake failure
“It also had low compressibility, making it very aggressive to brake discs and leading to disc cracking.”

In the disc cracking test, the fake products were worn down to the underlayer, causing a failure after only 110 brake applications.

Scott warned that using fake parts such as these would lead to brake failure, putting lives in danger.

Factors and garages in doubt about the authenticity of Textar products should contact uk.technical@tmdfriction.com.

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Diesel sales wane as EV popularity rises

The UK new car market declined again in July, with 157,198 vehicles leaving showrooms, according to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Registrations fell by -4.1%, the fifth consecutive month of decline, as political and economic uncertainty and confusion over future government policy on different fuel types continued to knock consumer and business confidence.

SMMT data on new car registrations

Declines were seen across all sectors, with private demand falling -2.0%, while deliveries for fleet and business customers were down -4.7% and -22.5% respectively. Luxury saloons and specialist sports cars experienced a rise in registrations in the month with volumes driven by increased demand for dual purpose vehicles, up 12.8% to take nearly a quarter (24.4%) of the market. All other segments experienced declines in the month, with the biggest falls seen in executive (-21.6%) and supermini (-12.1%) segments.

Registrations of diesel vehicles fell for the 28th month, down -22.1%, while petrols remained stable, with 2,646 more registrations than in July 2018. Hybrid electric cars increased by a substantial 34.2%, with 7,758 of these low-emission vehicles joining UK roads. Meanwhile, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles continued their recent decline, down -49.6%. Demand for battery electric vehicles shot up by a massive 158.1%, resulting in a 1.4% market share, the highest monthly market share on record.

Manufacturers have invested heavily in a growing range of powertrain options, with British drivers now having the choice of advanced low emission petrols and diesels, and an ever-greater number of hybrid, plug-in hybrid, battery electric and even hydrogen cars. There are currently more than 350 models available in the UK – around 80 of them alternatively fuelled, including 21 battery electric, with more expected to arrive in showrooms later this year.

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Autoparts UK leads aftermarket in curbing plastic waste

Car parts distributor Autoparts UK has announced a significant increase in popularity of its bottle-free tablet form of screenwash under the P1 Autocare brand.

Since the brand joined the global campaign against the use of plastic bottles early in 2019, Autoparts has sold over 5000 screenwash pods, eliminating unnecessary plastic bottles going into landfill or the ocean.

With UK motorists annually consuming around 100 million plastic bottles of screenwash – almost two million plastic bottles per week and an astonishing 285,000 per day – the effects are plunging the world into an environmental catastrophe.

The automotive aftermarket’s response is proving overwhelmingly positive, but more garages are being urged to switch from the traditional bottles to the P1 Autocare Screenwash Pods, to help curb plastic waste and avert an even bigger environmental crisis.

Instead of typically buying a 5-litre bottle of screenwash or 500ml of concentrate, the P1 Autocare Screenwash Pod makes up to 5 litres in the washer fluid reservoir.

Teal blue in colour with a pleasant blue raspberry smell, the smear-free product is available from Autoparts UK under the P1 Autocare brand in blister packs of one, three and six tablets, to optimise speed to market and product visibility.

Craig McCracken, Autoparts group factor manager, said: “With the success of the screenwash pods, we’ve taken 42 pallets of plastic waste out of circulation. This increase in popularity is very encouraging and I’m delighted that Autoparts UK is leading the campaign against waste in the automotive aftermarket.”

For further information on P1 Autocare screenwash pods, view the online video here.

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Reman ticks all the boxes for fleet operators

The perception of remanufacturing is changing in the automotive industry and with it an understanding from fleet operators of just how important the product is to an optimum total cost of ownership (TCO) of a truck or fleet.

Commercial vehicle brake specialist Roadlink International has long been a fervent believer in the remanufacturing process, reflected in the company’s ongoing investment in reman and its commitment to helping reduce the company’s carbon footprint. Roadlink remanufacturing promotes quality whilst also offering a competitively priced, environmentally friendly alternative.

While the rise in environmental awareness plays a massive part in the popularity of remanufactured product – such as the reduction of raw material consumption, reduced energy consumption and CO2 emissions – it is important to remind ourselves just what is meant by the definition of “remanufactured”.

According to the Centre for Remanufacturing and Reuse (CRR) “Remanufacturing is the process of returning a used product to at least its original performance with a warranty that is equivalent to or better than that of the newly manufactured product.”

In commercial vehicle parts terms, the process of remanufacturing a part is similar to the original production process, the difference being that remanufacturing involves the restoration of a component to its original condition.

Remanufacturing promotes the re-engineering of a product to the same or indeed better than the OE equivalent. It’s clear to see why the quality of such parts, much more competitively priced, attracts so much attention and use.

This price difference between the new and remanufactured product plays a massive part in calculating the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of a vehicle and provides confidence up and down the supply chain that the remanufactured parts used offer high performance, longevity and serious value for money.

The popularity of all things remanufacturing has also brought about its own challenges and competition. In automotive braking, cheaper, lesser quality products branded “new” are flooding the market.

But the popularity of remanufactured products remains undiminished – the sector is believed to have an EU market potential of euros 90bn by 2030.

Roadlink remanufactures its brake calipers and shoes with the entire vehicle lifecycle in mind.

Remanufactured calipers are fully-tested and produced to the highest standards thanks to its extensive state-of-the-art production facility and distribution operation, which are certified to the latest ISO9001:2015 quality and ISO14001:2015 environmental standards.

It’s state-of-the-art brake shoe reline operation is supported by ISO9001 approved production and ISO14001 environmental accreditation, with every shoe platform checked and linished.

A 15-stage production process for relining brake shoes is something Roadlink strictly adheres to, which involves rollers being checked where applicable and shoe platforms treated with an anti-corrosion long lasting water-based paint, unique to Roadlink.

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Wheel safety specialist Checkpoint joins IAAF

Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) has welcomed Checkpoint as its latest member, enabling the wheel safety specialist to keep up to date with the latest developments and legislation in the industry.

New enrolee Checkpoint was founded over 30 years ago by CEO Mike Marczynski, inventor of what would be the Checkpoint Original, and the world’s first loose nut indicator.

Thanks to three decades of continual evolution and expansion of its product range, it now distributes in over 70 countries, where it is recognised as an industry expert and global leader in wheel safety. The Lancashire-based company, led by a dedicated team of innovators, manufactures and develops its extensive product range here in the UK, which offers a wide variety of wheel safety products, including indicators and retainers, designed to simplify and improve vehicle maintenance whilst increasing safety awareness.

Checkpoint will now have access to the vast array of IAAF benefits including legal helpline, medical cash plans, HR Manager Lite and ADR cover, as well as the opportunity to have its say on industry-related issues at a number of planned network events.

Alex Deremez, Managing Director of Checkpoint, said: “As a member we’re very much looking forward to supporting the aftermarket and ensuring only genuine safety products are continued to be introduced. We aim to lend technical advice and expertise to fleets and suppliers on wheel safety as well as keeping up to date with the latest developments and legislation in the industry.

Wendy Williamson, IAAF chief executive, said: “With the ever-changing market requirements, legislation and environmental pressures, having Checkpoint onboard to share their insight into CV safety will be extremely important.

“Alongside Checkpoint, we will work together as one to demonstrate our commitment to ensuring that only the highest quality products are introduced into the aftermarket and that vehicle safety stays at the forefront of the many services provided.”

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Ring gears up support for duo taking on charity challenges

Ring, the leading lighting and automotive electrical specialist based in Leeds, is gearing up its support for two employees who are embarking on a pair of physically demanding charity challenges in August and September.

Pippa Rowe-Bewick and Nick Weddall are set to take part in the Great North Run and RideLondon, respectively, to raise money for St Vincent’s Support Centre, which helps change the lives of people in Leeds suffering from poverty and deprivation.

Ring, which was acquired by German manufacturer OSRAM in May, has set a team fundraising target of £850, which it hopes to collect from supportive colleagues.

Nick, who is tackling the 100-mile closed road cycling event in London on 4th August, comments: “The work St Vincent’s does for the local community is absolutely vital. I am extremely proud to be supporting an organisation that is so dedicated to helping people who are less fortunate than ourselves and assist them in building a brighter future.

“The work St Vincent’s carries out is enormously beneficial for those who really need it. Although this 100-mile cycling event will be one of the toughest challenges I’ve ever taken on before, knowing I am helping St Vincent’s continue its work is all the motivation I need.”

Pippa, who will take on the 13.2-mile Great North Run on 8th September, comments: “I was really moved by the work St Vincent’s does for the less fortunate, especially with all the services the team is able to offer under one roof.

“Everything from helping those with mental health issues to providing an emergency food parcel service, the charity goes above and beyond to help the people of Leeds and I want to do all that I can to support all the good work it does. Even if that does mean taking part in the largest half marathon in the world!”

Sheena Eastwood, Centre Manager at St Vincent’s Support Centre, comments: “We are really thankful to Pippa and Nick for choosing to support St Vincent’s. We could not do what we do without the kindness of people like them and the money raised will be used to help local people in need. We are in awe of the physical challenges they have chosen to do and wish them every success.”

Based in East Leeds, the St Vincent’s Support Centre has a professional team helping change the lives of those who are deprived of income, employment, education, social networks and community support.

For further details about the challenges and how to show support for Pippa and Nick, please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/teams/ringautomotive.

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DfT quadruples ecargo bike grant funding cap to £200,000 per organisation

Organisations are being given the chance to apply for up to £200,000 of Department for Transport funding towards ecargo bikes – four times the amount they could previously apply for.

Delivered by Energy Saving Trust, the £2 million eCargo Bike Grant Fund is available to limited companies, sole traders, partnerships, charities and not-for-profit organisations.

The grant fund originally opened to applications on April 1, 2019, to support the adoption of sustainable transport by businesses operating in England. Funding had previously been capped at £50,000 per organisation.

To date, more than 50 SMEs have been awarded funding.

Tim Anderson, senior programme manager at Energy Saving Trust, said: “It is heartening to see the significant interest and response to this grant fund which enables applicants to request grant funding for up to 20% of the cost of a new ecargo bike up to the value of £1,000 per bike.

“This increase means that a possible 200 ecargo bikes per organisation can now be secured, to support larger organisations implementing sustainable last-mile delivery and goods transport solutions.”

Anderson said benefits to the adoption of ecargo bikes include the reduction of congestion, improvement of air quality in towns and cities, and operating costs savings.

The deadline for applications to the grant fund is March 31, 2020, and applications for funding will be assessed on a first come, first served basis.

Grant funding is conditional on recipients signing up to a robust code of practice developed in association with the UK Cycle Logistics Federation and the Bicycle Association and includes cycle safety best practice.

The eCargo Bike Grant Fund eligibility criteria, code of practice and application form are available – CLICK  HERE.

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Euro Car Parts brought the heat to Ford Fair 2019

Euro Car Parts’ specialist performance parts division showcased its latest products at Ford Fair 2019 on the 4th of August. Hosted at Silverstone Circuit, Ford Fair is Europe’s biggest and best Ford festival, attracting around 4,000 different clubs from across the UK.

This year, Euro Car Parts partnered with suppliers WD40, who brought their Fiesta rally car, and U-POL with its custom Ford Ranger Raptor; both of which were at the stand for attendees to see up close.

Euro Car Parts also had a number of products on display for popular performance Ford ST and RS models, including the new Fiesta ST and Focus ST. Product and performance experts were on-hand throughout the day to answer any burning questions from enthusiasts.

“From induction kits and high-performance brakes to lowering springs and exhausts, we offer performance upgrades for a wide variety of Ford models. We have parts from the best brands – even for the latest models. With close links to brands like H&R, Bilstein, Milltek, Brembo, K&N and a continuously expanding range, we are your perfect partner in performance,” explains Helen Robinson, marketing director at Euro Car Parts.

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Memorial Service for Kevin Shortis

Kevin Shortis sadly passed away in June after a short illness, at which time there was a small funeral for family and close friends, due mainly to the local village church being very small.

The family received many comments, typified by one: “Your father was a charming character and one of the founding fathers of the business we all work in today.”

Therefore, to celebrate his life and all he did for the industry, a memorial service is to be held at Norwich Cathedral on 13th September 2019. The family is hoping that the great and good of the industry will attend. Over the years, Kevin Shortis would have met most of them and although the family has endeavoured to reach out to many of them, it has not been possible to reach some due to changes to email addresses and people moving on to different roles.

The family has asked that if any members of the industry would like to attend the memorial service in Norwich on 13th September, they should contact Richard Shortis to enable numbers to be calculated.

To download full details of the service, click on the link below.

Kevin Shortis Memorial

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