MAHLE acquires majority holding in diagnostics specialist BrainBee

The MAHLE Group has increased its holding in BrainBee, an automotive workshop equipment specialist, to 80 percent of the company’s shares. After a strategic minority holding of 20 percent was agreed in September 2017, MAHLE Aftermarket is now taking another important step toward becoming a solutions provider.

With this majority acquisition, MAHLE Aftermarket is significantly expanding its European presence in the area of equipment and services for workshops. MAHLE Service Solutions, MAHLE Aftermarket’s workshop equipment business segment, has already been working with BrainBee for some time on the development and production of workshop equipment.

BrainBee was founded in 2001 and brings comprehensive expertise in the development and manufacture of A/C service, diagnostics, fluid management, and exhaust gas measuring equipment.

In September 2017, MAHLE acquired a 20 percent share in the Italian workshop equipment specialist. MAHLE is now increasing this share to 80 percent. The group intends expand the BrainBee activities with its currently approx. 110 employees. “The BrainBee expertise in fields such as A/C service, diagnostics, fluid management and exhaust gas measurement complements our portfolio extremely well. In the future, we’ll be able to offer vehicle workshops and manufacturers an even broader range of equipment and services,” says Olaf Henning, Managing Director of MAHLE Aftermarket.

“The latest example of the results of our cooperation so far has been the EmissionPRO 180 exhaust gas measuring unit, which we developed and produced together. And at this year’s Automechanika we will launch further new, commonly designed products.”

“This further step confirms our will to fully share with the MAHLE group our extensive experience and knowledge as well as the many patents and numerous awards that BrainBee has acquired over the years,” says Carlo Rocchi, CEO and founder of BrainBee. “Since the beginning of our co-operation with MAHLE, we have introduced important innovations in order to meet the requirements of the most important markets.

Combining the strengths of MAHLE with BrainBee’s expertise provides a strong foundation for continuing to deliver innovative and high quality products and services both to the aftermarket and original equipment market.”

The integration of BrainBee strengthens the position of MAHLE Service Solutions in terms of research and development, production, and sales.

Customers worldwide will benefit from the additional European location in Parma/Italy, where cutting-edge workshop equipment will be developed and manufactured. With its global platform development, MAHLE is improving the efficiency of its production thus ensuring advantages to all customers worldwide. Another advantage is that European customers now have access to an even denser sales and service network.

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Updates to IAAF Privacy Policy

As you will be aware by now, from today 25 May 2018, the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) comes into effect. This is the biggest change in UK data privacy laws in 20 years. As we take your privacy seriously, we want to make it clear what data we collect, how we use it and your rights to control that information, which is why we have made some updates to our Privacy Policy.

Our updated policy explains the type of personal information we collect and how we use it, the legal grounds for using it and your rights in relation to the information we hold about you. You can read our Privacy Policy on our website,

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Halfords Autocentres leads the industry with launch of hybrid vehicle servicing

Halfords Autocentres, the UK’s largest independent garage network, has introduced hybrid car servicing. The move reflects the growing number of hybrid cars on the road, as the industry predicts there will be 200,000 electric or plug-in hybrid cars driven in the UK by the end of this year. As the first national garage network to offer these services, expert technicians will service any make and model of hybrid car using the latest techniques and diagnostic equipment.

One in 10 fully qualified electric car hybrid mechanics in the UK are trained by Halfords Autocentres as the network has invested in training its technicians to offer services to meet the needs of drivers of all types of cars.

Stefan Warhaftig, Commercial Director for Halfords Autocentres says: “Being the first to offer Hybrid services nationally is a great milestone for us. We’ve trained almost 400 technicians to develop the skills needed to service and maintain low carbon vehicles – so we’re pleased to be able to broaden our offering to customers.”

Halfords Autocentres offer three levels of hybrid services which are designed to meet the needs of all cars – no matter their condition. These include:

Interim Service – 6 month vehicle service (from £89) – this 6 month, 54-point service is designed for the high mileage car user, or where the manufacturer recommends more frequent checks between annual services. This service includes an oil and filter change, top ups of essential fluids, as well as brake, steering and suspension checks

Full Service – 12 month vehicle service (from £159) – this is a comprehensive annual service for trouble free motoring. It exceeds most manufacturers’ service schedules, and includes 81 checks and adjustments including an air filter change, a top up of brake fluid, power steering fluid and coolant. High quality parts are used and we check and record wear and tear items using a colour code reporting system, to give you peace of mind

Major Service – 24 month vehicle service (from £215) – this 24 month complete service covers all areas of essential maintenance. In addition to all the items included in our Interim and Full Services, the Major Service covers items that are regularly recommended for replacement every two years, including your cabin filter and brake fluid change

In addition to the regular checks carried out as part of the above services, Hybrid Servicing includes:

• Diagnostic hybrid battery health check
• Charging port and high voltage cables check
• Inverter coolant check
• Brake binding check

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Automechanika Birmingham: the future is almost here

Automechanika Birmingham has revealed the shortlist for its Garage of the Year 2018 award, in partnership with Garage Wire, featuring some of the UK’s top independent garages all vying to win the prestigious accolade.

With this year’s competition receiving a record number of entries, voting has now closed and the shortlist has now been drawn up for each of the six categories of Best Small Garage, Best Large Garage, Best Community Initiative, Auto-Mechanik of the Year, Technology Innovation and Business Innovation.

The judging panel of James Onions (Garage Wire), Andy Savva (The Garage Inspector), Stuart James (IGA) and Simon Albert (Automechanika Birmingham) will announce the winners from each category at a special evening dinner to be held in the Director’s Lounge, Aston Villa Football Club on 5 June, with guest speaker, Fuzz Townshend. The finalist will get to find out who has been crowned overall Garage of the Year winner at the event itself on 6 June.

Innovation will be at the forefront of the ‘new look’ agenda for Automechanika Birmingham when the doors open on the three-day show in just over one week’s time.

Among the exciting initiatives set to drive this year’s event will be a raft of keynote presentations, panels, forums and seminars to name a few of the opportunities available, set to draw, inspire and motivate visitors attending the industry’s three-day showcase.

One major coup for the show this year is the Women in Innovation panel, a Who’s Who of industry’s key influencers, chaired by Dr. Julia E. Saini, Global Vice President of Frost & Sullivan, which will feature contributions from top keynote speakers including Jo Lewis, Colours & Materials Design Manager of McLaren Automotive and Steph Savill, Founder of FOXY Lady Drivers Club, the UK’s fastest growing Motoring Club for women.

Other key ‘innovation’ highlights to look out for include:

Motorsport Valley® Innovation (feature)
Presented by the Motorsport Industry Association (MIA), sponsored by Staubli, this interactive showcase of cutting edge technologies fosters closer collaboration between OEM automotive manufacturers and Tier 1 suppliers, MIA members of the motorsport and high-performance engineering industry. The feature will showcase technologies from the likes of Prodrive, Grainger & Worrall, Goodridge and Ricardo.

Innovation Forum (Keynote Theatre, Wednesday 6 June)
“How the Automotive OEM and Tier 1 supply chain can increasingly benefit from the UK’s Motorsport Valley community”.

Motorsport is currently an under-utilised asset of the automotive industry in the UK. This short presentation will demonstrate ways in which fast-response motorsport-based R&D and prototype capabilities can help meet demands placed on the fast-changing automotive sector. Motorsport suppliers apply their unique innovative abilities to meet technical challenges on a regular basis; some of these successful companies, including Xtrac, Delta Motorsport and McLaren Applied Technologies, will share how they have already, and will continue to, provide benefit to the automotive supply chain. The MIA programme, supported by the Automotive Council, increases collaboration between these two industry sectors.

Tomorrow’s Mobility
New for 2018 and sponsored by Innovate UK Knowledge Transfer Network, this year’s event will host a dedicated area showcasing the UK’s capabilities with the latest technologies in connected and autonomous vehicles, electrification, ultra-low emissions and battery technology. Hosted by leaders in UK research and development, this is a showcase not to be missed.

Tomorrow’s Mobility Forum (Keynote Theatre, Wednesday 6 June)
A panel of leaders from UK government-funded organisations will discuss the capabilities of the UK to be leaders in innovation, outlining the priorities for the industry and opportunities to access funding and support for innovation across the sector.

Leading global filtration specialist MANN+HUMMEL will also be discussing some of its latest developments underpinned by innovation in its seminar: ‘Spotlight on Innovation: Filtration in electro mobility – Solutions for innovative Drivetrains’.

Visitor registration is free for the 3-day event and tickets can be booked online at

Automechanika Birmingham 2018 opens its doors at the NEC from 5 – 7 June featuring a new-look layout, hosting over 500 quality exhibitors.

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ECCO Safety Group joins IAAF

The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) has welcomed leading manufacturer in commercial vehicle warning and safety products, ECCO Safety Group (ESG) EMEA to its membership.

ESG EMEA employs 324 staff and is a world-class supplier of light-bars, safety lighting, sirens, mirrors, back-up alarms and in-vehicle CCTV equipment to global vehicle builders in Construction, Commercial Vehicle, Emergency Services and Agricultural sectors. Its equipment can be found on all types of Specialist Construction Machines, Vans, Trucks Tractors and the Emergency Services.

Established in 1972, the American-based company has sites across four continents including two in the UK, with these located in Bridlington and Leeds that feature Design & Manufacturing and Testing facilities as well as Sales & Distribution.

As a member, ESG EMEA will benefit from a range of IAAF services such as: Merchandise and promotional workwear, lifestyle protection plans, alternative dispute resolution cover, and fleet management solutions, as well as all the latest industry information and networking opportunities.

Director of Marketing and Product Management EMEA, Marium Ali said: “ECCO Safety Group supplies a large sector of the Aftermarket and becoming a member of the IAAF enables us to play an active part in the industry.

“As three merged businesses (formerly Vision Alert, Britax and Premier Hazard) our aims include strengthening ECCO Safety Group as the Corporate brand for the business as well as our specialist expertise.”

The safety lighting manufacturer will have access to the many IAAF networking meetings and it will be able to build relations within the automotive aftermarket to complement their industry insights and privileges.

Wendy Williamson, IAAF chief executive, said: “We are delighted to welcome such a globally-recognised brand as ECCO Safety Group on board to our network, which is growing month by month. We’re positive that they will be a great addition to the membership and we will do all we can to help educate customers about upcoming industry information.”

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Truck CO2 standards ‘must not’ follow same approach as cars

The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) is urging the European Commission to take into account the specific complexities of the truck market when setting CO2 emission standards.

The Commission is due to publish proposals next week.

“Unlike passenger cars, trucks are not consumer goods. They are working tools used by small and large businesses alike,” said ACEA secretary general, Erik Jonnaert.

Indeed, most trucks are custom-built to meet the requirements of customers, who use them for a wide variety of different jobs or ‘missions’ – ranging from long-haul and regional transport, to urban delivery or municipal services. There are literally thousands of different shapes and sizes of trucks.

“Put simply, trucks are not big cars, he said. “So, when designing CO2 standards for heavy-duty vehicles, policy-makers should not fall into the trap of simply mirroring the approach used for passenger cars.”

Likewise, some stakeholders are oversimplifying the debate by comparing the CO2 emissions of trucks with those of cars on a per-vehicle rather than a per-load basis.

But in fact, while trucks account for one fifth of EU transport-related CO2 emissions, they are responsible for carrying more than 70% of all land-based freight, says ACEA.

Several stakeholders have also been putting forward their own proposals for CO2 emission reduction levels. However, as these proposals use completely different timeframes and baselines, they are not directly comparable, it argues.

Jonnaert said: “Given the varying framework conditions behind these different numbers, we need to be careful not to compare apples with pears.”

From 2019 onwards, all EU truck manufacturers will use the same calculation tool (VECTO) to declare and report the CO2 emissions from a wide range of trucks. For this reason, 2019 would be the most robust baseline for future targets, says ACEA.

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EU proposes tachographs for UK vans

The European Parliament’s transport committee has proposed that all UK vans should be fitted with tachographs in a similar manner to lorries.

The proposition is part of the latest draft of the European Union’s Mobility Package, and stipulates that operators of commercial vehicles weighing between 2.4 and 3.5 tonnes would be required to fit and operate a tachograph.

A tachograph is a device that records information about a driver’s time, speed and distance at the wheel. They are designed to ensure that employers follow the rules around drivers’ working hours and are a legal requirement for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs).

Drivers are issued with smart cards that are inserted into the tachograph unit when they begin their shift, which starts the recording. The unit is fitted to the interior of the vehicle and the law states that it has to be mounted within the driver’s field of vision so they can easy see any visual warnings – for example, the unit might tell them they are close to that day’s driving limit.

Conventional vans do not currently have to be fitted with tachographs in the UK, as they only apply to vehicles that weigh more than 3.5 tonnes. The exception is if you’re towing for business purposes, and both the vehicle and its trailer have a combined weight of more than 3.5 tonnes – at which point the van must be fitted with a tachograph.

The Mobility Package has not yet made it through the courts. However, if it is confirmed in its current form, then it could be implemented before the UK’s scheduled exit from the European Union in March 2019, therefore requiring British van drivers to comply.

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New role to drive future innovation at Ring

Ring, the leading supplier of vehicle lighting, workshop equipment and vehicle accessories to the aftermarket, has appointed Charles Maltby as Technical and New Product Development Director.

Charles will oversee Ring’s newly-launched Future Technologies Unit, an area that marks a significant investment for the business, as it meets with the accelerating pace of technology and focuses on the latest developments regarding electric vehicles and internet connected services. Charles’ team will help the company be first to market with new concepts and keep pace with the rapid rate of change.

A Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) and Chartered Engineer, Charles will take on the responsibility for enhancing the new product development process and creating product pipelines that support the future growth and success of the business.

Charles Maltby comments: “Ring has led the vehicle lighting market nationally and internationally for over 40 years and has grown to offer a comprehensive range of award winning products that support both retail and trade customers. The experience and talent within the team, combined with the company’s own purpose-built, onsite testing facilities, has created a reputation for developing innovative, quality equipment that is relied upon by garage mechanics, technicians and car enthusiasts across the world.”

“My role is to build upon this by delivering an up to date, robust and technically-focused new product development process that will support our existing and emerging markets, future proof our range and deliver innovations that are first to market and not first to follow.

“The automotive sector is experiencing significant change, not least through the growth of electric cars and connected vehicles, but also in the demands that we place on our vehicles, internal features we desire and how we look after them! Our business, services and products need to evolve to continue to support this.”

An experienced board level director, Charles will utilise his technical and project expertise from working within aerospace, automotive, medical and precision engineering sectors to deliver enhancements to the NPD process throughout Ring.

Ring has supported the automotive aftermarket for more than 40 years. Recognised for innovation and delivering ranges that are known for performance and quality, the company continues to produce world-class products that have become firm favourites amongst professional technicians.

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Mandate lists 11 advanced driver assist systems to be fitted to new cars from 2021

The European Commission has announced a new set of safety rules which will see all new cars feature autonomous emergency braking, lane keeping assistance, reversing cameras, driver fatigue detection by 2021.

A total of 11 systems will become mandatory for new cars introduced to the market, saving an estimated 7,300 lives and preventing 38,900 serious injuries between 2020 and 2030.

Experts have long been predicting autonomous emergency braking (AEB) to be made mandatory on new cars.

The system, which automatically applies a car’s brakes if a driver fails to slow for an obstacle, is thought to reduce rear-end collisions by 38 per cent.

From 2021 new cars must also feature ‘over-ridable intelligent speed assistance’.

This system uses traffic sign recognition cameras to control the car’s speed limiter, automatically setting a car’s upper speed based on prevailing limits.

New cars will also have to be fitted with accident data recorders by 2021, logging telematics information following any collision.

Mandatory ADAS to be fitted to all new cars

  • Advanced emergency braking
  • Alcohol interlock installation facilitation
  • Drowsiness and attention detection
  • Event (accident) data recorder
  • Emergency stop signal
  • Full-width frontal occupant protection crash test, plus improved seatbelts
  • Head impact zone enlargement for pedestrians and cyclists, plus safety glass
  • Intelligent speed assistance
  • Lane-keeping assist
  • Pole side-impact occupant protection
  • Reversing camera or detection system

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Stigma around Mental Health talks – Ben Blog

Despite several high-profile, hard-hitting campaigns, more than half (56%) of van drivers and owners still say there is a stigma attached to discussing mental health at work, according to the latest Business Barometer research from Mercedes-Benz Vans UK.

More than 2,000 van drivers and owners were asked to give their candid views and experiences of mental health issues in the workplace, and the top reason cited for this perceived stigma is because it is a ‘male-dominated industry’.

Being in a ‘a male-dominated’ workplace was a key factor for 50% of those who felt there was still a sigma, with a further 46% highlighting fears over job security and career progression that make talking about mental health a taboo at work.

According to the new survey 28% of managers said an employee had spoken to them about mental health concerns, although female managers are more likely to have experienced an employee talking about mental health concerns than male managers (32% vs 26%).

Nearly three out of five (57%) of those who say a colleague or employee has spoken to them about a mental health issue felt ‘glad they could confide in me’, but one in four admitted they felt uninformed, 21% said they felt embarrassed and a further 17% did not feel equipped to know what to do or say.

The prevailing taboo affects not just businesses – mental health conditions such as work-related stress, depression or anxiety accounted for 15.8 million sick days last year according to ONS data.

The latest government figures (ONS Report 2001-2013) shows that a man between 20 and 49, is more likely to die from suicide than cancer, road accidents or heart disease and suicide rates in men aged between 45 and 59 have also now begun to rise, increasing to their highest levels since 1981.

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