Budget measures to help small businesses welcomed by industry

The Independent Garage Association (IGA) has welcomed the reduction in small business rates announced by the Chancellor in today’s Autumn Budget.

Stuart James

“We are delighted the Chancellor is considering small businesses who are the lifeblood of the UK economy,” Stuart James, IGA Director comments.

“This will help garage owners by allowing them to re-allocate their budget in a difficult market environment, at a time when the aftermarket is evolving and an increase in investment in tools and equipment is absolutely essential.”

In today’s Budget, the Chancellor confirmed that its new business rates relief, targeted at small retailers, could knock a third off their bills and that 90% of them would benefit from the proposals. To qualify as a small retailer, business premises must have a rateable value of £51,000 or less.

Also in response to the Budget statement, Martin Gray, CEO of Euro Car Parts commented: “As the dust settles on Philip Hammond’s 2018 Budget announcement, it’s clear that this was a declaration with small businesses firmly in mind.

Martin Gray

“This tax relief represents a significant opportunity for independent repairers to focus on their own business growth. Indeed, that extra £8,000 would serve workshops well if they invested it in the skills and equipment required to continue servicing the vehicles of tomorrow. Modern vehicles are becoming more complex with sophisticated use of electrics and it is essential that the independent sector has both the skills and equipment required to work safely on these vehicles during repair and servicing work.”

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IAAF announces Ratner as new keynote speaker at Conference

The IAAF is to welcome British household name and well-known businessman Gerald Ratner as keynote speaker to its Annual Conference in December, sponsored by Impression Communications.

Ratner is a name most associated with one of the business world’s biggest falls from grace, following his unfortunate turn of phrase describing products sold by his company, H. Samuel, during a speech at the Institute of Directors in 1991. He will be sharing his experiences with the audience, including what happened in the immediate aftermath, the fallout and the comeback, as written about in his book, ‘The Rise And Fall And Rise Again.’

The automotive aftermarket marketplace in 2019 and beyond will be the underlying theme of IAAF’s agenda, as the federation aims to produce another lively debate for its conference guests.

The Conference will be held on 6 December for the second consecutive year at DoubleTree by Hilton, Milton Keynes, with an array of influential key speakers from across the industry taking centre stage to discuss important issues involving ‘tomorrow’s’ aftermarket and future technology. The IAAF has been very pleased with bookings for the conference, which is virtually sold out.

The day’s discussions will examine technologies including data access, connected and autonomous vehicles, as well as other advanced concepts such as 5G connectivity, car-sharing and e-hailing. Insight on other market trends in today’s world will also be thrown into the mix, including the issue of counterfeit and fraudulent products, as well as the evolving role of shows and exhibitions.

Head of IAAF Membership Development, Mike Smallbone will be facilitating the proceedings, as he will welcome a host of speakers invited to engage the audience of around 150 attendees, most of whom will include parts suppliers, distributors, garages, as well as representatives from the industry and aftermarket trade press.

Quentin Le-Hetet from GIPA, Automechanika Birmingham, Dr Julia Saini from Frost & Sullivan and FIGEIFA will also feature as part of the strong line-up, alongside the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), before the Conference draws to a close with President of the IAAF, Lawrence Bleasdale.

Wendy Williamson, IAAF chief executive said: “This year’s Conference is set to encapsulate the break-neck pace of technological change that has accelerated rapidly over the last few years, and will serve as a reminder to our guests that the future we’ve been urged to prepare for is now here, so we must be ready for it.

“As always, we cannot wait to welcome our guests and hear them share their industry expertise and insight. We’re delighted that Gerald Ratner will be our new keynote speaker to replace Dan Dalton, whom we are sorry can’t join us this year. No doubt hearing how Gerald ultimately triumphed in the face of challenge, which draws parallels with the aftermarket’s own story, will go down a storm at the Conference.”

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Final call to join the premier league with the IAAF

The IAAF is issuing a final call for bookings at its final Industry Briefing Session of 2018 which is to be held at Vicarage Road, home of Premiership side Watford, on 15 November. The session is being jointly organised by the IAAF and Johnson Controls Batteries.

The session will feature two main speakers; Steve Carter from Train4Auto Consultancy will update members on Hybrid, PHEV and Hydrogen Fuel Celled vehicles and Julian Lloyd of ProVQ will explain how members can exploit a recent change in government policy to financially encourage companies of all sizes to focus on the skills, knowledge and competencies of their staff. In addition, Joel Combes of Lawgistics will be on hand to answer questions about HR Manager Lite, which is being launched as an additional benefit of membership for IAAF members.

The timings for the session are:

9.00      Coffee and networking
10.00     IAAF Industry Briefing Session
13.00     Lunch

As always, places at IAAF Industry Briefing Sessions are limited so members are encourage to book as soon as possible. To register on the session, please email anns@iaaf.co.uk.

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Faulty brakes top list of fatal vehicle defects, government stats show

Defective brakes caused more accidents on the UK’s roads than any other type of vehicle defect last year, Department for Transport statistics show.

In total, vehicle defects led to a staggering 1,539 accidents and collisions on the UK’s roads last year, causing 32 deaths and seriously injuring a further
359 people.

Faulty brakes caused 570 accidents in 2017, resulting in nine fatalities and 129 serious injuries.

Illegal, defective, or under-inflated tyres caused 472 accidents and was the second most common accident-causing car defect, with 14 fatalities and a further
115 seriously injured.

The third most common cause was defective steering or suspension, resulting in 267 accidents in which four people were killed and 67 seriously injured.

The RAC spokesman has stressed that properly functioning brakes are essential and advised motorists to watch out for warning signs of defective braking systems, particularly as winter fast approaches.

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No clarification in Budget of impact of WLTP on company car and road tax

Chancellor Philip Hammond’s 2018 Budget Statement outlined a review into the impact of the new Worldwide harmonised Light vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) on both company car tax and Vehicle Excise Duty (VED).

The government announced that it will review the impact of WLTP on company car tax and VED, prior to reporting in the Spring Statement in March.

The WLTP regime, the government said, aims to provide a closer representation of ‘real-world’ fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Vehicle manufacturers are currently able to quote WLTP emissions values correlated to the previous New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) testing system, before they must switch solely to WLTP values from April 2020.

However, many experts have identified a general increase in CO2 emissions under the NEDC-correlated WLTP values when comparing the old regime to the new, which could increase BIK tax bills. The move was immediately welcomed by the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) which urged the Government to publish a new set of tax bands as soon as possible.

Chief Executive Gerry Keaney said: “It is great to hear that the Treasury is making plans to remedy any potential tax distortion caused by the transition to the new WLTP emissions standard in April 2020.

“It is vital that fleets and company car drivers are able to plan for the future, confident that they are working with more accurate emissions information and a fairer tax regime that rewards those who choose cleaner vehicles. These revised tax bandings can’t come too soon.”

The fleet industry had been hoping for tax incentives for electric vehicles (EVs) as, under current plans, the Benefit-in-Kind (BIK) rate for electric company cars is set to soar to 16% next April, before dropping to 2% in April 2020.

This has served to actively dis-incentivise the take-up of EVs, contrary to the Government’s own ambition to encourage their take-up, as set out in its ‘Road to Zero’ environmental strategy. However, there were no changes to BIK rates in the Budget. Gerry Keaney said the BVRLA was dismayed at the lack of news.

“The Chancellor chose to ignore the overwhelming voice of fleets, motoring groups, business organisations, environmental groups and MPs – all of whom were united in calling for this simple tax measure to support the electric vehicle market,” said Keaney.

“The Government has missed a golden opportunity to incentivise the most important market for electric cars and is in danger of undermining its own Road to Zero strategy,“ he added.

The BVRLA’s disappointment was shared by Neil Parish, Chair of the Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs Select Committee, one of dozens of MPs that had supported the association’s call.

“By not bringing forward the 2% company car tax rate for zero-emitting vehicles by one year the Government has signalled that transitioning to cleaner and greener vehicles is not a priority.

“This is a disappointing decision and will discourage company car drivers from choosing an electric vehicle until April 2020,” he said.

The Chancellor announced an additional £420 million, on top of an existing fund of almost £300m, to tackle the nation’s growing pothole problem. The funding announcement came alongside additional cash to upgrade England’s motorways.

Mr Hammond earmarked around £25.5 billion for Highways England for major road upgrades between 2020 and 2025 with the money coming from VED collected in England.

The government said it was delivering on its commitment to hypothecate English VED to roads spending, announcing that the National Roads Fund will be £28.8 billion between 2020-25. The Fund will provide long-term certainty for roads investment, said the government, including the new major roads network and large local major roads schemes, such as the North Devon Link Road.

A freeze on fuel duty for the ninth year in a row had already been signposted by Prime Minster Theresa May at the Conservative Party Conference earlier in the month when she announced that duty, which is expected to generate £28.2bn in income for the Government in 2018-19, would not be increased.

From 1 April 2019 VED rates for cars, vans and motorcycles will increase in line with RPI. To support the haulage sector, the government also intends to freeze the Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) VED for 2019-20.

With regard to VED on vans, the government will shortly publish a summary of responses from the consultation on VED reform for vans, published in May 2018. The response will set out proposals to introduce environmental incentives from April 2021. Bands and rates will be set out ahead of Finance Bill 2019-20.

From next April, fuel benefit charges will increase in line with RPI and the van benefit charge will increase in line with CPI.

The 100% first year allowance for expenditure by businesses on electric charging points has been extended to 2023 for corporation tax and income tax.

The Chancellor also announced an additional £680m of funding for sustainable transport including buses, trams and cycling routes through the Government’s Transforming Cities Fund. This brings the total amount of funding available through the Transforming Cities Fund, which aims to support productivity and prosperity through investment in public and sustainable transport, to £2.4bn.

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Corteco has relocated

Corteco has successfully moved from Lutterworth to Rugby. The move has completed the largest expansion for the brand in the UK and emphasises the rate of annual growth for the company.

The new location places Corteco alongside its parent company Freudenberg Sealing Technologies (FST) allowing Corteco to reap knowledge and expertise from the Original Equipment Manufacturer and to pass it onto their customers. This is still proving to be a fruitful year for Corteco, with the expansion of the team, the new state of art location and additional stock enabling Corteco to serve customers instantly.

The move has brought access to a bigger warehouse, a more central location, more office space, improved facilities, a strong source of OE knowledge and a brand new ordering system. All of this helps to benefit the team and the customers greatly proving a seamless service from start to finish.

Corteco asks all customers to ensure the new address is updated to reflect the completed transition.

For any queries on this matter please call 01455 550000 or email a member of the customer service team on service@corteco.co.uk

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DENSO wins Innovation Award at Auto Trade Expo

DENSO has recieved the Innovation Award and Best Stand Award at Auto Trade Expo.

The automotive parts manufacturer brought a product showcase which not only featured a host of OE-quality parts – including the Iridium TT Spark Plug, a previous Best Innovation Award winner – but also DENSO’s all-new vehicle health check tool.

Launched in the UK earlier this year, e-Videns will soon be launched in Germany and Poland, and visitors at the show snatched at the opportunity to see the features and benefits of the new vehicle health check tool.

Technical specialist, Mike Sadler, delivered a seminar about e-Videns, discussing exactly how the innovative vehicle health check tool can help improve efficiency in the workshop and significantly improve turnover.

With hundreds of brands heading to Dublin every other year, Auto Trade Expo has quickly become a key fixture for the Irish aftermarket and for DENSO.

Fatiha Laauich, marketing communications manager at DENSO Automotive UK Ltd, commented: “For DENSO, innovation as at its very core and to receive such acclaim is nothing short of overwhelming.

“Auto Trade Expo gives us valuable occasion to really engage with customers and garages, and with a comprehensive showcase featuring innovative products and experts on-hand, we always want to make the most of that rare opportunity.”

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Eminox secures very first CVRAS

Lincolnshire based retrofit solutions company, Eminox is the first company to be approved for the Clean Vehicle Retrofit Accreditation Scheme (CVRAS) for the UK’s best-selling coach, the Volvo B9R, with just six months to go before the London Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) comes into force.

The company will work with Hampshire based luxury coach hire business, Lucketts Travel, amongst others, to retrofit its coaches to ensure it meets Euro VI standards across its fleet.

Showcasing at Euro Bus Expo between 30 October and 1 November 2018 at the NEC, Carlos Vicente, Retrofit sales director for Eminox said, ‘Eminox was the first company to gain CVRAS accreditation on buses and refuse collection vehicles (RCVs) and we’ve now achieved another first on coaches with the Volvo B9R.

‘Eminox leads the market in emissions reduction for buses and coaches and our presence at Euro Bus Expo demonstrates our commitment to the sector – and plans for the future.

‘Time is running out to equip coach and bus fleets for the London ULEZ and the growing number of Clean Air Zones (CAZ). We invite operators to talk to us about their needs and how we can use our experience and expertise to help them achieve Euro VI standards ahead of the deadline.’

To act as a focus for its work in the coach market, Eminox has also launched its new Clean Air Zone Retrofit Development Centre. Their team is working closely with industry partners to achieve further CVRAS accreditations for a wide range of vehicles ahead of the London ULEZ and other emissions zones.

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Roadlink re-awarded Investors in People accreditation

Roadlink International, one of the UK’s leading suppliers of braking products for commercial vehicles, is delighted to announce that the company has been re-awarded the prestigious Investors in People (IIP) accreditation, which it has held continuously for the past 18 years.

First awarded to Roadlink in 2000, Investors in People is a high-performance accreditation Standard for organisations that defines what it takes to lead, support and manage people well, providing a foundation for a simple and robust approach, to measure an organisation’s people management practices.

Roadlink has been an ongoing champion of best practices, with its distribution and remanufacturing processes audited and approved to ISO9001 and ISO14001 internationally-recognised standards, demonstrating its commitment to remanufacturing products to the highest quality and offering exceptional service under a clear environmental policy.

The supplier has achieved much success as one of the first companies in the UK to achieve the coveted ‘Brake Assured’ status, providing its customers with the guarantee that all of its brake shoes are fully remanufactured to the highest quality standards.

This continuous investment in systems and processes, combined with its renewed IIP status, reaffirms the quality of Roadlink’s extensive range from production through to sales.

Keith Sedgley, Roadlink joint managing director, said: “We are delighted to have been re-awarded such a prestigious accreditation, which we believe sets the benchmark for better people management.

“We’ve worked tremendously hard to build the right organisational structure within Roadlink and by unlocking the team’s potential, we’re helping to future-proof the business and ensure ongoing, sustainable success for the company.”

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Comline appoints PR & Communications Specialist

Leigh Davies, Marketing & Communications Manager, has announced the full-time appointment of Debbie Shields as PR & Communications Specialist at Comline Auto Parts.

Debbie has joined the Comline marketing team to spearhead all Comline Group PR making her the point of contact for the Comline, Motaquip and Allied Nippon brands. She brings with her a wealth of PR and automotive experience having previously worked for GM/Vauxhall in a variety of PR and Communications roles.

Davies is confident that Debbie’s skills and expertise will be a huge asset to the marketing team and to the Comline business as a whole.

Debbie is already up and running on a number of PR projects.

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