MEP Dalton confirmed as keynote speaker for 2018 IAAF Conference

The IAAF has announced that it will welcome MEP Daniel Dalton as keynote speaker to its 2018 Annual Conference, due to take place on 6 December at DoubleTree by Hilton, Milton Keynes.

Dalton has been a Member of the European Parliament for the West Midlands since January 2015. For the last three years he has been lead negotiator for the Parliament’s third largest group, the European Conservatives and Reformists, on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO), which plays a key role in shaping European motor vehicle legislation.

In 2016, Dalton was appointed Rapporteur (Draftsman) on the Regulation revising the type approval and market surveillance framework, the primary European legislative response to the Dieselgate scandal, which also revised EU rules on access to repair and maintenance information. It was Dalton’s involvement that helped significantly influence the changes to Type Approval – a constant theme of IAAF’s own lobbying activities – that saw him visit a Birmingham-based independent garage alongside IAAF’s Wendy Williamson, gaining insight first hand on how crucial maintaining aftermarket access was to in-vehicle data.

Dalton was instrumental in getting the legislation through the EU Commission, Council and Parliament, when the Regulation was finally adopted in April 2018, after more than two years of negotiations.

He has now been appointed Rapporteur on the revised regulation on the type approval of two and three wheel vehicles and quadricycles, working on a number of European legislative cases involving vehicle data access.

The Annual Conference – this year sponsored by Impression Communications – will include an extensive line-up of influential key speakers from across the automotive industry, aiming to discuss among other topics the latest developments in technology, as well as address current issues from both the UK and Europe. This will be followed by the Annual Awards Dinner, to be held at the same venue, billed as one of the highlights on the industry event calendar.

Once again the Conference is expected to attract an audience of at least 100 attendees, most of whom will include parts suppliers, distributors, garages, as well as representatives from the industry and aftermarket trade press.

Wendy Williamson, IAAF chief executive said: “We’re delighted that Daniel will be our keynote speaker at this year’s conference. This is an absolute coup, not just for us but for the audience, who can expect a thoroughly engaging discussion from him.

“He has been and continues to be hugely influential in helping us overcome some of the industry’s biggest challenges and his presence will demonstrate just how big an advocate of the aftermarket he is. We are all relishing the prospect of what he has to say on Type Approval and Brexit, in what will be one of the highlights of a very interesting and extensive speaker line-up, of which more will be revealed shortly!”

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Brakes, tyres and road wear call for evidence – input required from friction manufacturers

The government has launched a call for evidence on the impact of emissions from brakes, tyres and road wear.  The IAAF would like all friction manufacturers to get in touch with their views so that they can co-ordinate the responses into an IAAF submission.

Air quality has improved significantly over recent decades, but we recognise more needs to be done to tackle all sources of pollution. The new Road to Zero strategy has already set out a clear pathway to zero tailpipe emissions and Government’s plans to make the UK the best place in the world to build and own an electric vehicle but it is also vital we also look at the non-exhaust emissions that all road vehicles can produce.

The call for evidence, which was first announced in the new Clean Air Strategy, will look at ways to address the impact tyres and brakes have on air quality and our environment and will help inform the design of future policy.

Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey said:

“While we are all now well aware that fumes from the exhaust pipes on our cars can have a detrimental impact on human health, it is less well known that tiny particles that are released from our brakes and tyres also contribute to air pollution and can harm our precious marine life.

“This call for evidence will help us to learn more about how these particles are released as well the actions we can take to reduce their impact. I encourage anyone who has evidence or solutions to share to get involved.

“While we’re driving our vehicles, the brakes and tyres produce tiny pieces of particulate matter – for example dust and soot – that comes from general wear and tear.

These particles are left on our roads and when it rains can be deposited into our sewers and oceans, leading to harmful consequences to our marine wildlife and food chains.”

Transport Minister Jesse Norman said:

“Particulate pollution from exhausts has been reduced substantially in recent years. But we must also take action to reduce the very serious pollution caused by the wear of tyres, brakes and roads.

Tackling this issue is crucial for reducing air pollution. We would urge anyone who has expertise in this area to get involved and share their evidence and views.”

The government has worked with the University of Plymouth to improve scientific understanding of the impact these tiny particles and we estimate that emissions from tyre wear may contribute as much as 5-10% to the total amount of plastic in our oceans. But further research and data in this area is still required which is why we have launched this call for evidence to improve the evidence base both nationally and globally.

Click on the link Call for Evidence to read the full  document.  It will run until 28 September 2018.

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New Ring Carnation brand offers comprehensive vehicle conversion offering

Vehicle conversion specialists Ring and Carnation Designs have merged brands to become a single entity – Ring Carnation. This new brand gives clarity for customers of the companies, who can come to Ring Carnation for a one “one-stop-shop” supply of vehicle power management, lighting and vehicle safety solutions.

Ring acquired Carnation Designs in 2016, and since the two companies have worked in partnership to develop a unique vehicle conversion package. This incorporates genisysTM, the industry-leading switching and power management system for specialist vehicles.

Proven in the toughest emergency service applications, genisysTM ensures that power is available for critical applications by managing the power distribution throughout the vehicle – particularly crucial in life saving situations.

genisysTM is joined by a range of professional inverters, DC-to-DC auxiliary batteries, interior and external lighting plus vehicle safety camera systems, all of which combine to give vehicle converters a complete electrical solution from Ring Carnation.

Ian Hay, Commercial Director for Ring Carnation, comments: “The new Ring Carnation brand consolidates the pre-existing relationship between the two brands and in coming together gives our customers clarity on what to expect from the team.

“The vehicles on which our products are installed often work in challenging environments, in which consistent performance is essential. Ring Carnation is now ideally placed to ensure that these high expectations are delivered in terms of product range, system performance and exceptional service from the Ring Carnation team.”

Ring Carnation is based in Leeds, where the state-of-the-art Quality Assurance and assembly facilities ensure that all the Ring Carnation products supplied and built on time to exacting standards.

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UK’s largest online car repair marketplace secures £4m investment

The UK’s largest online car repair marketplace has secured £4 million from investors including Shell Ventures, Sir Trevor Chinn, Active Partners and Venrex Investment Management. The marketplace currently has 11,500 garages registered to the site, has processed over 1 million repair requests from UK drivers and receives 60,000 new job requests every month from drivers.

The UK’s largest online car repair marketplace has secured £4 million from investors including Shell Ventures, Sir Trevor Chinn, Active Partners and Venrex Investment Management. was launched in 2011 by two former investment bankers, Al Preston and Ian Griffiths, and has since become the biggest online marketplace for drivers and garages in the UK. The company has offices in Newcastle upon Tyne, London and Kiev. is the UK’s leading local garage and mechanic comparison service, allowing drivers to post jobs and receive quotes from local garages and mechanics. The platform currently has 11,500 garages registered to the site, has processed 1 million repair requests from UK drivers and receives circa 60,000 new job requests from drivers every month.

The UK aftermarket industry generated a revenue of £21.6 billion in 2016 according to the SMMT*. Garages on have seen an increase in business since joining the platform, with single site garages obtaining circa 600 new customers per year through the platform and top regional groups securing 3,000-4,000 bookings per year.

Shell, a leading global energy company and the world’s number one global lubricants manufacturer, has invested in via its corporate venture capital arm, Shell Ventures, which supports both business and fund-led deals in areas of strategic interest for Shell. This investment follows the development of the Shell Helix Service Specialist Network, a recently launched scheme which allows independent workshops on the site to be officially associated with Shell.

Other investors include Active Partners, which has stakes in household names such as Evans Cycles, Rapha, Leon and Soho House. Venrex Investment Management is another stakeholder and has previously invested in Just Eat, Not on the High Street and Revolut. Sir Trevor Chinn, who is the chairman of and has previously chaired other automotive companies, such as the AA, Kwik Fit and RAC, has also invested.

Al Preston, co-founder of, said:
“This is a really exciting time for the company. The whole team have worked extremely hard to bring the business to this point, where we can attract such interesting partners for our next stage of growth.

“The plan will be to keep scaling our activities and consolidate our position in the UK. We are also focusing on new products and solutions that will further benefit our garage network and provide car owners with a better, richer experience when it comes to car maintenance and repairs.”

Commenting on the announcement, Huibert Vigeveno, Executive Vice President for Global Commercial, Shell, said,

“The aftermarket sector is changing rapidly as technology savvy customers seek products and services which are easier and more convenient to use. Shell wants to be at the forefront of shaping those products and services. Digital and services partnerships such as this investment in are very much part of our future growth strategy.”

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vPlate launched to meet strict new number plate legislation

vGroup International has launched vPlate, a new number plate that ensures re-sellers remain compliant under new legislation coming into effect later this year.

The new number plate standard, BSAU145e improves compatibility with automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) systems and requires plates to be resistant to bending, impact, abrasion, corrosion, solvents, weathering and extremes of temperature.

Due to the overwhelming requirement from resellers for clarity and support on the new legislation – expected to affect thousands of companies throughout the UK – vGroup has worked tirelessly to arrive at a plate solution in vPlate that complies with the new standard and offers confidence throughout the entire automotive supply chain.

Coming complete with a five-year warranty, all vPlate number plates are individually cut using laser technology and all sides are hermetically sealed. vPlate uses a special bonding process that increases the bond between the reflective and acrylic, thereby significantly reducing the risk of delamination and water ingress.

vPlate uses 3mm thick acrylic polymer material giving it impact resistance, thereby far exceeding the new requirements. The waterproof plate is also 50percent more reflective than current plates, giving off 100 lumens. vPlate number plates come with a full range of accessories and components, including fixing plates.

With local production of plates at motor factors and accessory retailers to decline considerably under the new law, vGroup is working with resellers to ensure they benefit from a solution that offers ease of ordering and next day delivery.

James Nash, vGroup Managing Director, said: “We’re new entrants into the number plate market and we’ve been delighted to take a leading role in producing a solution that is not only fully compliant with the upcoming number plate legislation, but that offers complete traceability and reassurance to re-sellers.”

It is expected that there will be much greater enforcement of the new legislation with fines handed down to companies that fall foul of the rules.

vGroup is a leading manufacturer in the UK of automotive car mats, producing over two million mat sets per year. The group is an innovator in design and is committed to reducing death and injury in the car, commercial vehicle, workplace and home. Its preferred charity, Driver First Assist (DFA) is a charity dedicated to training drivers who have been trained to provide lifesaving first aid and manage the scene at a road traffic collision prior to the arrival of the emergency services.

A helpline has been set up to assist number plate resellers: Tel 01908 220 101 or email:

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UK Road to Zero target ‘far beyond’ European ULEV aims

The Government wants two in every five new vans sold to have emissions of less than 50g/km of CO2 by 2030. The interim target forms part of its Road to Zero strategy – a plan to phase out conventional petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040.

By then, transport secretary Chris Grayling says he expects the majority of new vans sold to be 100% zero emission and all new vans to have “significant zero emission capability”.

The Government wants almost every van to be zero emission by 2050.

Progress towards the target of up to 40% of the new van market being classed as ultra-low emitting vehicles (ULEVs) – sub-50g/km – will be reviewed in 2025. If insufficient progress is being made, the Government says it will look at what “interventions” might be required.

It is hoping a combination of innovation, improved infrastructure and incentives – laid out in the strategy – will help deliver its targets.

However, with just 0.3% of new van sales currently classed as ULEVs, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which represents van makers in the UK, said it was concerned that targets for ULEV penetration went “far beyond” those proposed by the European Commission for vans – 30% by 2030.

SMMT commercial vehicle development manager Nigel Base said: “Achieving 40% market share would require a nearly 144-fold increase in uptake from the current position of just 0.3%.”

He continued: “Vans are business tools and drivers are typically far more sensitive to purchase price and return on investment than car buyers, while current electric van technology, which involves large batteries, can mean reduced carrying capacity.

“In addition, there is currently no bespoke charging network for these vehicles, which require larger parking bays, longer charging times and charge point locations that will fit seamlessly into their day-to-day business operations.”

The Road to Zero strategy includes a number of initiatives to boost the charging infrastructure for electric vehicles (EVs). However, they appear to be aimed at plug-in car users, rather than commercial fleet operators.

For example, the Government says it will look to mandate charge points in newly-built homes and for new lampposts to include charging points.

It will also launch a £400 million Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund to help accelerate the roll-out of charging infrastructure by providing funding to new and existing companies that produce and install charge points.

Furthermore, a new £40m programme to develop and trial wireless and on-street charging technology will be launched, as well as providing up to £500 for EV owners to put in a charge point in their home.

There is also a proposal for increasing the grant level of the Workplace Charging Scheme from £300 per socket to 75% of the purchase and installation costs of a charge point capped at a maximum of £500 per socket.

In taking a technology neutral approach, Grayling has acknowledged a role for diesel, in the short term at least.

“Cleaner diesel vehicles can play an important part in reducing CO2 emissions from road transport during the transition to zero emission vehicles, while meeting ever-more stringent air quality standards,” he said.

However, he stressed that for diesel vehicles to play their part fully, their air quality impact must continue to be reduced.

Developed over 18 months, the Department for Transport’s Transport Energy Model sets out the relative environmental performance of different fuels and technologies which will underpin future policies.

It suggests Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) will also have a key role to play.

LPG vehicles emit less NOx, CO2 and particulates than both petrol and diesel models and the new report even uncovers LPG’s favourability over full petrol hybrids.

In the van sector (2.5-to-3.5 tonnes), an LPG van was estimated to be cleaner in terms of both CO2 and NOx than petrol, full petrol hybrid and even Euro 6 diesel alternatives.

A new industry-wide voluntary target for reducing HGV greenhouse gas emissions by 15% by 2025 compared with 2015 levels, is also revealed in the Road to Zero report.

Although new emissions standards for HGVs have achieved significant air quality improvements, they have remained relatively constant in recent years and zero emission options must be developed and made available commercially for all types of HGVs, says the report.

As a result, the Government says it is launching a joint research project with Highways England to identify and assess zero emission HGV technologies and their suitability to the UK road network and freight operations.

It is also working with industry to test the environmental performance of the latest gas HGVs. The results of this testing will be used ‘to assess further the potential for gas HGVs to deliver emissions reductions in the short- to medium-term while zero emission options are being developed and deployed.

There are two main challenges with electric vehicles, according to Steve Whelan, technical director at truck exhaust specialist Eminox: energy storage and charging infrastructure.

“In a passenger car, the load on the battery is very light,” he said. “Most cars will travel at high speed with little battery depletion because you never run at rated load.

“In a truck, the load is very heavy, which means the battery will deplete much more quickly. This can be mitigated by fitting more batteries, but they add weight and reduce payload.”

Fitting more batteries will also increase the re-charging time, which, in turn, will create extra downtime for the vehicle.

“It’s just physics, electric trucks are a long way off in heavy duty usage – it’s the same for industrial and construction equipment. They operate at high load and the technology just isn’t there,” said Whelan.

The strategy also recognises the need to reduce emissions from existing HGVs. It says the Government will provide funding for the Energy Saving Trust to develop a freight portal that will ensure HGV operators have access to reliable information on cost-effective measures to improve fuel efficiency and reduce their emissions.

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Motor factors welcome WAI and Marathon partnership

An increasing number of motor factors are starting to benefit from the new WAI-Marathon agreement, which offers improved availability and a frequent same-day delivery service for rotating electrics.

The agreement, signed at Automechanika Birmingham 2018, now sees the despatch of WAI product from Bognor Regis to Marathon Warehouse Distribution’s National Distribution Centre in Redditch, before heading to its 14-branch network throughout the UK.

One such factor already poised to reap the benefits as a result is Road & Rally Automotive, whose branches are located across Derbyshire, South Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire with a distribution warehouse in Bolsover.

Louisa Mitchell, Director of Road & Rally Automotive, said: “We’re looking forward to this new collaboration as it will allow us to source products multiple times a day. This agreement opens up availability on a wide range of products and with the stock going into all of the Marathon warehouses, we know that it will be on the shelves and delivered to us the same day. This is great news on a range such as window regulators, for instance, where the range is so large, it would be impractical for us to stock them all.”

Richard Welland, WAI managing director: “We have been delighted by the aftermarket’s reception to our new agreement and it demonstrates our ability to react to market changes, ensuring an almost instant parts supply to more than 85percent of the UK population through Marathon. Centred around this agreement is our desire to be as easy to deal with as possible and ensure the customers management of stock and core is made simple.”

WAI customer stock orders will continue to be supplied through the company’s Bognor Regis warehouse on a next day delivery service, but with the implementation of the same day service, it will bring WAI even closer to the motor factor and ensure immediate access to ‘grey tail’ products.

Marathon branches are strategically located to cover most key UK conurbations and offer a service to motor factors of up to 8 times a day. The expanding distribution centre network is supported by a national distribution centre situated in Redditch, West Midlands.

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ECCO Safety Group EMEA makes two new appointments

ECCO Safety Group EMEA appoints Marco Betsch as Director of Finance

ECCO Safety Group is delighted to announce the appointment of Marco Betsch into the position of Director of Finance EMEA with effect from 1st August 2018.

Marco obtained an MBA at the University of Pittsburgh – Katz Graduate School of Business and is also a member of the very prestigious Beta Gamma Sigma Society which recognises business excellence.

Marco has held numerous senior Finance roles and joins ECCO Safety Group from Nyrstar, a global multi-metals business where he led the Corporate Finance team.

“We are very much looking forward to working with Marco as the wealth of experience he brings with him, will take ESG EMEA to the next level of growth and he further strengthens the Leadership team at ESG EMEA.” – says Enrico Vassallo, Managing Director of ECCO Safety Group EMEA.

“This appointment highly motivates me and I am extremely excited about the opportunities it presents. Contributing to increase the success of ESG will be a very rewarding challenge and I look forward to working in the EMEA organisation. As a former sport professional, I believe in the power of true teamwork and I have seen in practise the amazing results coming out of passionate teams, both in my sport and in my professional career.” – added Marco Betsch.

Marco is relocating from Switzerland to the Leeds area with his family.

ECCO Safety Group EMEA appoints Ian Roberts as Senior Product Manager

ECCO Safety Group is pleased to announce the appointment of Ian Roberts for the position of Senior Product Manager.

Ian joins ECCO Safety Group from Eaton as Senior Product Manager and has over 20 years of experience in the lighting industry. His experience includes also Technical Support, Sales and Business Development, Marketing and he has several years’ experience working in Canada as well.

“We are delighted to welcome Ian into our team of experienced Product Managers. We are sure he will bring a wealth of new experience with him to define product strategy, roadmaps and to introduce new product innovation to the business. Ian will be responsible for the product categories of White Lighting, Alarms and other projects.” – states Marium Ali, Director of Marketing and Product Management at ESG EMEA.

“It’s an exciting time to join ESG and I look forward to working with our highly skilled team across the business to take advantage of profitable opportunities within our portfolio. I’m passionate about Product Management as I think it’s one of the best jobs in an organisation; the proactive business management of products is central to our continued success whilst being interesting and personally rewarding.” – said Ian Roberts.

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Andy Savva – ‘The Garage Inspector’ – has become Schaeffler’s first UK Brand Ambassador

Andy has been supporting Schaeffler’s REPXPERT team by presenting at various trade fairs and training events over recent months, sharing his expertise on building up a workshop brand and profile, while also offering tips and best practice techniques on how to make a business profitable.

Following a positive and successful start to their working relationship, Andy has now accepted an invitation to become an official ‘Brand Ambassador’, which he described as “overwhelming”.

On being offered the role, he said: “To be associated with a leading global brand, like Schaeffler, a company that I trusted for its quality of components during my years owning and running workshops, the opportunity was one that I simply couldn’t turn down.

“I am very proud; over the years, I have endorsed the use of original equipment parts, so I am a perfect match for Schaeffler. I have a passion for helping the independent sector, and this new role will only help my ambition of achieving that.”

Because of his familiarity with the workshop business, Andy will be mainly focused on supporting the REPXPERT team, as well as conducting various media duties. REPXPERT users will also be able to redeem bonus points to enrol on one of his one-day business courses held at various UK locations throughout the year.

In a message to technicians, he said: “We are here to help, guide and assist REPXPERT users. The challenges of running a workshop today, and in the future, are huge; therefore, this is a unique partnership, which will enable all users to not only access excellent technical training, but also benefit from my business acumen on the same platform”

Schaeffler Managing Director, Nigel Morgan, said: “Andy is a familiar face to most vehicle technicians, who appreciate the fact that he has been there, done that and got the T-shirt to prove it.

“He knows how to run a successful workshop and recommends fitting genuine quality parts, like ours, because they protect his and the workshop’s reputation.

“Tapping into his business skills will allow us to increase the type and level of support we can offer to workshops, via REPXPERT online or at live training events.”

To learn more about The Garage Inspector and the workshop business courses available visit REPXPERT members can sign-up to attend these courses using their bonus points, by logging in to REPXPERT and heading to the ‘events’ page.

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Mekonomen acquires wholesale activities from HELLA

HELLA GmbH & Co. KGaA, one of the world’s leading automotive suppliers for lighting and electronics, is selling its Danish and Polish wholesale companies, FTZ Autodele & Verktoj A/S („FTZ“) and Inter-Team sp. z o.o. („Inter-Team“), to the Swedish wholesaler, Mekonomen AB. A corresponding agreement has been signed by both companies. The purchase price amounts to € 395 million on a cash and debt-free basis. In addition, a consideration equivalent to profits generated from November 30, 2017 to completion of the transaction will also be paid to HELLA. The sale is subject to approval by the relevant antitrust authorities and is expected to close in the 3rd quarter 2018.

“With Mekonomen, a renowned wholesaler, taking over our activities in Denmark and Poland, it will strategically develop the business,” explains Dr Werner Benade, HELLA Managing Director responsible for the Aftermarket and Special Applications segment. “We will systematically focus the Aftermarket segment on the independent spare parts business and innovative workshop equipment. As part of this, we are accelerating the interaction between the divisions and opening up digital business models.”

Pehr Oscarson, President and CEO of Mekonomen, adds: “Through the acquisition of FTZ and Inter-Team, we strengthen our position as a leading automotive spare-parts distributor in the Nordic region and take the step into Europe. The acquisition is in line with our strategy of playing a central role in the ongoing consolidation in Europe. These are two well-run companies that will continue to develop within the framework of existing corporate structures and brands as standalone companies in the Group.”

FTZ and Inter-Team employ a total of approximately 2,500 people. The two wholesalers achieved total sales of around € 480 million in the 2016/2017 financial year. This corresponds to some seven percent of HELLA’s group consolidated sales.

The transaction is conducted with the assistance of Jefferies Financial Group (Financial Advisor), Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Legal Advisor), Ebner Stolz (Financial & Tax Due Diligence) and Roland Berger (Commercial Due Diligence).

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