ContiTech springs into action at IAAF

Air Spring specialist ContiTech Air Spring Systems is the latest manufacturer to become a member of the Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF).

Back in 1955, Continental was the first company in Europe to market air spring bellows for buses and trucks. Today, Continental, employing 243,000 people worldwide, develops innovative components and complete systems for adjustable air springs in buses, trailers, rail vehicles, stationary machines and construction foundation mounts.

As a specialist in air spring systems, ContiTech is sought-after worldwide as a development partner and OEM. Its customers benefit from an innovative technology partner, which promotes close communication with customers and extensive product knowledge and expertise.

Air springs have a significant impact on driving safety, cost-effectiveness and ride comfort and ContiTech supplies the ContiTech, PHOENIX and PRIME-RIDE brands to customers around the UK and Europe.

Mark Hopkinson, ContiTech sales and marketing manager, said: “The IAAF is the voice of the independent automotive aftermarket and we are delighted to be able to support its activities. By becoming a member, we are looking to exchange experiences and ideas with fellow members and raise the profile of ContiTech’s aftermarket achievements.”

Wendy Williamson, IAAF chief executive, said: “Our commercial vehicle section membership of suppliers and distributors continues to grow in stature and the membership of ContiTech adds further weight to our voice. The company is a leader in its field and will provides us with valuable insight into the various markets it serves.”

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Autotech Recruit appoints Simon King to drive growth strategy

With increasing demand for its services, and a growing reputation within the automotive industry for its innovative approach to creating recruitment solutions, Autotech Recruit has strengthened its management team with the appointment of Simon King.

A renowned figure within the automotive industry, Simon has joined Autotech Recruit as New Concepts Manager in a bid to drive strategy and forge new partnerships within the aftermarket and with OEMs for the dynamic recruitment company, which continues to grow at a fast pace.

Having spent almost two decades with Kwik-Fit, within Operations and Business Development positions, Simon brings a wealth of industry knowledge to his new role.

Retaining the largest network of automotive contractors in the UK, supplying many of the car dealerships, national retail groups, independent garages and government organisations across the country, Autotech Recruit has launched several training and apprentice initiatives in a bid to reduce the ongoing recruitment and skills shortage within the industry.

With demand for the company’s services increasing, managing director, Gavin White, explains how Simon will help steer Autotech Recruit as it continues to grow: “Our ‘inch-wide, mile-deep’ approach has enabled us to fully entrench ourselves within the automotive industry and we work with a wide range of businesses and governing bodies. This allows us to fully understand the needs of the industry and, while our overriding objective is to keep workshops running and supply the industry with skilled vehicle technicians and MOT testers, create fresh recruitment and training initiatives to reduce the skills gap.

We are delighted to have Simon on board as not only does he have the knowledge and industry connections to help drive our strategy forward, but his experience will help shape our processes to ensure we continue to deliver innovative, quality solutions.”

On his appointment Simon King comments: “I have known Gavin and the team at Autotech Recruit for many years, in fact, while at Kwik-Fit, I was their biggest client. The team are unsurpassed in their ability to listen to the industry and create solutions to counteract recruitment challenges. For a small company, they have made a significant impact within large national automotive companies, and I am looking forward to helping them grow in the future.”

In addition to Simon’s post, Autotech Recruit has created two further business development positions. Alistair MacDonald has joined the company to manage the aftermarket, while James Mackay is set to manage OEM partnerships. This follows the appointment, at the end of last year, of recruitment industry expert, Graham Palfery-Smith as a non-executive director.

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Counterfeit car parts feature in annual IP Crime Report

The rise of counterfeit car parts and the role of the IAAF in countering this threat for the benefit of the independent automotive aftermarket has featured in the latest Annual IP Crime and Enforcement Report: 2018 to 2019.

Having actively participated in last year’s IPO anti-counterfeiting campaign and IAAF chief executive Wendy Williamson presenting the challenges facing the sector at a Counterfeit Awareness 2019 conference in Bristol in July, the federation is working hard to combat this increasingly large threat.

The 132-page report said: “Preventing counterfeiting and piracy isn’t just about protecting the innocent from criminals, it’s about maintaining the credibility of legitimate trade. Counterfeit car parts can affect both Original Equipment Manufacturer and aftermarket businesses alike. Counterfeiters are becoming more skilled in making fake parts and their packaging look identical to genuine ones.

“Whilst parts might look the same, they are unlikely to perform to the same standard and in many cases the counterfeits are produced using dangerous and substandard materials, which have not been properly tested.”

The latest report from the OECD has done nothing to quell concerns, with counterfeit car parts still clearly a growing problem, as the latest figure shows an increase in the global trade of fake vehicle-related parts, which is now worth a colossal $10 billion.

With the explosion of the internet over the past few years, fraudulent products being available online is a problem and a trend we have seen increasing in line with the growth of internet sales. When purchasing parts online, it is crucial that people know who they are buying their parts from. It is hard to know – for parts bought online – if a part is genuine or not and reputable suppliers will have a certificate of OE matching quality that they will be able to provide customers with.

Wendy Williamson, IAAF Chief executive said: “The fact that the issue of counterfeit car parts in the automotive industry has featured in the annual crime report indicates the growing threat we as a sector face.

“It is important, now more than ever, that suppliers, distributors and garages are aware of the origin of the parts they are using. We shall look forward to carry on working with the IPO and other partners to keep raising awareness in the supply chain and to consumers, and to encourage reporting of counterfeit goods.”

The report can be found by CLICKING HERE.

Top tips are available on the IPO’s website, which gives counterfeit parts guidance to consumers to help them make the right choice.

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Martin Butterworth joins SMPE’s export sales team

Standard Motor Products Europe (SMPE) has announced that Martin Butterworth has been appointed as its new Export Sales Manager.

Butterworth previously ran First Automotive and comes with a history of working at director level in the automotive industry with other major aftermarket names including TVS and Juratek. In his new role, he will be responsible for growing SMPE’s brands which include Lemark, Intermotor, Fuel Parts and Lucas, as well as building relationships with key customers, buying groups and distributors throughout Europe. He joins an existing team to take the total number of dedicated international salespeople to three.

Butterworth said: “I am genuinely excited at the prospect of helping SMPE to continue to grow market share and have been particularly impressed with their ambitious plans for development across UK and Europe. There are huge opportunities ahead as we unlock the potential within the European aftermarket.”

Richard Morley, SMPE Commercial Director, said: “We’re delighted to have Martin onboard, which is a major boost to our expansion plans. His experience in the European and global aftermarket will help us move the Lucas and SMPE business forward in these channels, all of which is backed by the Nottingham Centre of Engineering Excellence and Poland manufacturing facility.

Engine management specialist SMPE has undergone an intensive recruitment campaign over the past few months to add to its talent pool across engineering, sales, operations and other aspects of the business. Its Nottingham Centre of Engineering Excellence has also benefited from investment in new workshop facilities and engineering equipment to aid rapid prototyping of products.

Furthermore, SMPE’s operations in Europe have continued to evolve, with another exciting announcement planned in the coming months.

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Lumileds continues fight against ‘dangerous and illegal’ counterfeit lighting products

Lumileds has launched a new webpage, providing details of Philips’ authorised distribution partners both in the UK and Ireland, as it continues its fight against counterfeit lighting products in the automotive industry.

Lumileds has spearheaded the campaign against fake lighting products for many years; for example, it introduced new packaging for all of its Philips HID xenon headlight bulbs, so customers could check their authenticity by either scanning a QR code or typing an online verification code into a dedicated webpage (

Philips Certificate of Authenticity (COA) is a proactive solution in the fight against fake Philips headlight bulbs, which are still available through online and offline distribution channels.

Not only are these headlight bulbs poor imitations and of inferior quality compared to the genuine original equipment, they are illegal to buy, sell or be in possession of. In 2017, following raids seen on the BBC’s Fake Britain, where hundreds of counterfeit xenon bulbs were seized, a successful prosecution took place.

Lumileds Business Development Manager Automotive – UK and Ireland, Richard Armstrong, said: “To safeguard our customers, we have published information as to who our genuine distribution partners are. Having this list gives everyone peace of mind.

“We remain committed to protecting our customers from counterfeit products, which are not just illegal, but risk the health and safety of motorists, passengers and people in the vicinity of the vehicles fitted with these poor imitations.

“We need to ensure we’re a step ahead of those distributing these fake headlight bulbs, and we will continue to invest our time and resources, creating new technology, information and messages in the fight against counterfeiting.

“This is an ongoing and dangerous issue, but it is one that we can assure all of our dedicated and loyal customers that we’re doing everything we can to halt.”

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LIQUI MOLY at the 2020 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Switzerland

LIQUI MOLY sticks with the sport of pucks. When the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship kicks off on May 8, 2020, the oil and additive specialist from Germany will be along for the ride once again. The company has been the official sponsor of the title matches since the 2017 IIHF World Championship hosted by Germany and France. “Many of our key markets have national teams. Ice hockey is popular there and we can increase the popularity of our brand,” says Ernst Prost, LIQUI MOLY CEO.

These key markets include Russia, Scandinavia and North America. Their national teams are firm favourites at the biggest annual winter sport event. The IIHF World Championship is the final chord in LIQUI MOLY’s successful sponsorship of winter sport. Ernst Prost explains how important it is to have engagements outside of motor sport. “In this way the brand can be seen almost everywhere, even outside the motor sport season. And we reach a large additional audience through this advertising campaign.”

In terms of numbers, almost half a million spectators saw last year’s games in the two Slovakian stadiums and more than 1.6 billion people across 160 countries watched on television. In Switzerland, the oil manufacturer’s logo will be on the boards at every game. Matches will take place in Zurich and Lausanne. The world champion title will be decided in Zurich’s Hallenstadion on May 24. Then the players will enjoy their summer break and LIQUI MOLY will return once more to focusing on motor sport.

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Government announces funding to double rapid charge points

Ministers have announced more than half a billion pounds of investment in green technologies, with electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure receiving the lion’s share.

The first £70m has been earmarked for 3,000 charge points – more than doubling the number across the UK to 5,000, says the Treasury.

A review is currently underway to explore the provision of charge points across major road networks. Today’s investment complements £1.5 billion support to boost the uptake of EVs and make cleaner vehicles more accessible to everyone, it said.

It has also announced £31.5m for research into pioneering technologies to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, and £22m to research new kinds of air pollutants and minimise their effects on public health.

The Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund will be managed and invested on a commercial basis by the private sector, and Government will invest up to £200m to be matched by private investors.

The fund, it said, is leveraging private investment to support the rollout of charge points for electric vehicles across the UK.

The initial £70m investment has been provided by Government and Masdar.

Further investment into green technology is also being announced.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has unveiled £142.9m funding in green projects, including driving forward approaches to removing greenhouse gases from the air.

Part of the second wave of the Government’s Strategic Priority Fund, the investment, it says, is evidence of the Government’s steadfast commitment to ensure a healthy, happy planet and population.

The SPF Wave 2 total programme funding figure is £496.8 million. The fund is being delivered by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

Five projects are benefiting from the cash injection, include:

  • Greenhouse Gas Removal Technologies (£31.52m) – this will support the UK in its net zero ambitions, by driving forward approaches to remove greenhouse gases from the sky on a large scale.
  • Clean Air: Addressing the Challenge of Indoor and Outdoor Pollution (£22m) – the next decade will see declining transport pollution but increases in other areas like household products and adhesives. This project will look at tackling emerging air pollutants indoors and outdoors, such as air fresheners and cleaning products, to minimise their effects on public health.
  • Cleaner food systems for healthy people and a healthy planet (£47m) – this will transform UK diets to be healthier and more sustainable through changes in production, manufacturing, retail and consumption. It will deliver coherent evidence to enable concerted action from policy, business and civil society to help the UK meet its targets on obesity and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Reusing and recycling materials in innovative ways (£30m) – this programme will drive forward new research to support opportunities to re-use and recycle materials across sectors such as food, water, textiles and electronics – as well accelerating new, greener manufacturing technologies.
  • Sustainable Management of Marine Resources (£12.43m) – This programme will ensure that the UK realises sustainable societal and economic benefits through better management of the UK’s marine resources, including working more closely with government, industry and the public.

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Our Virtual Academy launches vehicle electrics course

Our Virtual Academy, a provider of online courses for technicians, has announced the addition of its latest course in vehicle electrics.

The first two chapters in the series will focus on what Our Virtual Academy considers to be a much-neglected subject: the 12V lead acid battery.

According to Our Virtual Academy, a huge number of vehicle breakdowns occur due to faults associated to the 12V lead acid battery.

As a result, the first two chapters will cover the often confusing topic of battery types and their associated terminology.

The remaining chapters will be released over the coming weeks.

Subscribers get unlimited access to all of Our Virtual Academy’s online training, 24-hours-a-day, so technicians can learn when and how it suits them.

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IAAF Industry Briefing Session already a sell-out

The next IAAF Industry Briefing Session is taking place on 31st October at the Haynes International Motor Museum in Sparkford near Yeovil is already set to be a sell-out success as all the available places have been filled.

Mike Smallbone, Head of Membership Development, will be giving an update on current threats and opportunities in the independent aftermarket.

Guest speakers will include Quentin Le Hetet from GiPA UK and Train 4 Auto Consultancy’s Director Steve Carter, who will be sharing the latest developments in technology which are set to dramatically re-shape the future of the industry.

Steve will be presenting a talk entitled ‘Fact and Fiction’, giving a fascinating insight into the rapidly evolving changes taking place with Hybrid, PHEV and Hydrogen Fuel Celled vehicles, unveiling some significant facts and statistics to highlight the advancement in technology for the “PHEV revolution”, and the monumental shifts afoot for both aftermarket and drivers alike.

Quentin will also be taking the stand to illustrate what the next five years hold for the independent aftermarket, highlighting the development of mobility, PHEVs and the VMs’ strategy as key influential factors.

Smallbone said: “These sessions are an essential and useful way to engage with members and ensure they are up to date on the most recent issues affecting the aftermarket. We strongly encourage members to attend our other briefings as the year continues.”

Attendees will also be able to enjoy a tour of the museum courtesy of Haynes.

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Cheltenham trade show debut a major success, says The Parts Alliance

The Parts Alliance has heralded its third trade show of 2019 as a major success, providing the perfect environment to bring all of its customers and suppliers in the Cheltenham area together to socialise and network.

Held on 5th September, it was the first time the trade show had been to Cheltenham Racecourse, following the format so well received by attendees at previous events.

Attended by representatives from nearby branches and suppliers, the Parts Alliance’s trade shows have become well-known throughout the industry for the lively and informative seminars and technical content, such as those on offer during the Cheltenham event from MANN Filters, Yuasa and Comma.

There were exclusive show offers and prizes to be won, with complimentary food and drink served as special guests Fuzz Townshend, Matt Neal and Daniel Rowbottom mingled with the crowd.

All that guests had to do to be in with a chance of winning was get a card stamped as they made their way around all of the suppliers in attendance.

Fuzz and Matt announced the winners and presented the prizes during a prize draw at the end of the show.

Among the prizes was £2,495 worth of EAE workshop equipment which included an EE-488OID tyre changer and EE-3096AV2 wheel balancer with free next-day delivery for winner Danny Martin of Auto Boss in Swindon.

Danny said: “We came to see the suppliers, and what we’ve learnt just by talking to all the different manufacturers here made it a real worthwhile night and then, my name was pulled out of the hat for this amazing prize – you can’t top that.

“The new kit from EAE will replace our tired old machines, so we can’t wait to get this new equipment installed and start earning some money from it.

“It’s great because the EAE colours match our colours, so it will look really smart in our workshop.”

Other visitors to the show were only too happy to heap praise on the trade event too, with Kristian Ducros of Elite Vehicle Services in Swindon commenting: “I’ve got quite a close relationship with my local GSF and they invited me along to have a look around.

“There’s loads of cool stuff here, I’ve got to be careful not to spend too much money!

“The thing is, the automotive industry is changing all the time: I was just in the MANN FILTER presentation and they’re talking about how vehicle manufacturers are trying to harness brake dust now, so it just shows how everything is evolving.

“You’ve got to have your finger on the pulse to keep up with it all, it’s a tricky trade to be in but events like this are a great way of keeping up to date.”

Discussing the success of the show, Simon Moore, head of marketing at The Parts Alliance, said: “We’re delighted by the positive feedback we’ve had for this new venue, as well as the training sessions on offer.

“There are plenty more trade shows in the diary, so keep your eyes open for one taking place near you in the coming months.”

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