The UK new car market declined in 2019, with annual registrations falling for the third consecutive year, according to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). 2,311,140 units were registered last year, representing a -2.4% decline as the turbulent market reacted to weak business and consumer confidence, general political and economic instability and confusion over clean air zones.
The annual decline was driven primarily by falling private demand, with registrations from consumers down -3.2%, while the small volume business market also fell, down -34.4%. Fleet registrations, meanwhile, remained broadly stable, up +0.8%. Demand fell across nearly all vehicle segments, with only the dual purpose and specialist sports categories experiencing growth, up +12.0% and +19.2% respectively. Despite registrations of superminis and lower medium cars falling (by -6.0% and -4.0% respectively), these smaller vehicles remain the most popular – with a combined 57.1% market share.
There was modest growth in demand for petrol cars, up +2.2%. However, this was not enough to offset the significant -21.8% decline in diesel registrations. December marked the 33rd month of diesel decline, as continued anti-diesel rhetoric and confusion over clean air zones hit demand. This has resulted in drivers keeping their older, more polluting vehicles on the road for longer, holding back progress towards environmental goals.
Bucking the overall trend, combined alternatively fuelled vehicle (AFV) registrations surged in 2019 to take a record 7.4% market share. Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) continued to dominate this sector, with registrations increasing +17.1% to 97,850 units. Battery electric vehicle (BEV) registrations experienced the biggest percentage growth, rising +144.0% to 37,850 units and overtaking plug-in hybrids for the first time.
While the huge increase in BEV demand is welcome, their 1.6% market share is still tiny and underlines the progress needed to reach the 50-70% share the government envisages in the next 10 years. This ambition has not been helped by the significant decline of zero emission-capable plug-in hybrids, down -17.8% – further evidence of the consequences of prematurely removing upfront purchase incentives before the market is ready.
The figures come as SMMT publishes data showing the UK new car fleet average CO2 rose for a third successive year, by +2.7% to 127.9g/km. Massive investment by manufacturers into advanced powertrains, lightweight materials and aerodynamics means new cars are ever more efficient, with new cars emitting, on average, some -29.3% less CO2 than models produced in 2000. However, this could not offset the overall rise which was due primarily to the effect of the more stringent WLTP test of new models, which generally ascribes a higher CO2 value than the older NEDC test to the same model, as well as some segment shifts and the decline in diesel.
December ended a turbulent year on a positive, however, with the market up +3.4%. Fuel type demand mirrored that seen throughout the year, with diesel declining -19.0% and petrol rising +2.6%. Battery electric vehicles saw another huge increase in the last month of the year, up +220.7%, while PHEV registrations grew for only the fourth month this year, up +21.8%.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “A third year of decline for the UK new car market is a significant concern for industry and the wider economy. Political and economic uncertainty, and confusing messages on clean air zones have taken their toll on buyer confidence, with demand for new cars at a six-year low.
“A stalling market will hinder industry’s ability to meet stringent new CO2 targets and, importantly, undermine wider environmental goals. We urgently need more supportive policies: investment in infrastructure; broader measures to encourage uptake of the latest, low and zero emission cars; and long term purchase incentives to put the UK at the forefront of this technological shift. Industry is playing its part with a raft of exciting new models in 2020 and compelling offers but consumers will only respond if economic confidence is strong and the technology affordable.”
Despite the overall decline in 2019, the UK car market remains the second biggest in the EU, behind Germany. It is also one of the most diverse, with buyers able to choose from some 350 different models available in various fuel types and body styles to suit all driving needs. With nearly 90 exciting new generation models – 23 of them zero emission cars and 11 plug-in hybrids – set to make their showroom debuts in 2020, and some compelling deals on offer, the industry is committed to new technology that will benefit consumers and the broader environment.
Top Technician, the competition for techs in the garage sector, has returned for 2020, and round one is now open online.
Top Technician has been running since 2002, and through it, thousands of people in the sector have tested their skills, and had some fun too. For those who win, it can be life-changing, as it puts them on a national stage. Opportunities often follow.
If you like fun, and you relish opportunities, then you should be entering Top Technician 2020 now.
Top Technician 2020 and Top Garage 2020 are sponsored by Snap-on, VARTA and TechMan and come to you in association with ABC Awards, Auto iQ, the Garage Equipment Association (GEA), the Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) and the Independent Garage Association (IGA).
Commenting on the decision to sponsor Top Technician and Top Garage 2020, Helen Robinson, Corporate Communications Director at Euro Car Parts, said:
“As the UK’s leading distributor of car and LCV parts, we know we have an important role to play in helping technicians and garages adapt to change and prepare for the future. This goes above and beyond the supply of parts, and includes investment in training, partnerships, and the quality of independent workshops’ premises.
“Independent repairers must continually improve the products and services they offer if they want to remain competitive, and highlighting best practice through Top Technician and Top Garage is key to this. It’s a great opportunity for us to spend time with repairers and garage owners from across the UK, accessing real-time insight from the front-line and understanding how we can provide not just products, but resources, insight and ongoing support.
“Good luck to everyone who takes part this year – we look forward to an exciting few months of challenges, and ultimately, to seeing who will take home the top prizes.”
Almost 3 million workers in Britain are to receive a pay rise of more than 4 times the rate of inflation from April, after the government said it would increase the official minimum wage.
The government said the “national living wage” for over 25s would increase from £8.21 an hour to £8.72 from the start of April 2020.
Workers over the age of 25 on the legal minimum wage, re-branded as the “national living wage” four years ago, will receive an annual pay rise of 6.2% from April – more than quadruple the level of the consumer price index (CPI) gauge of inflation, which stood at 1.5% in November.
The Treasury said the increase equated to an increase in gross annual earnings of around £930 for a full-time worker on the current minimum rate.
Pay rates will also rise above inflation across all other age groups, including:
• by 6.5% for 21-24-year-olds to £8.20,
• by 4.9% to £6.45 for 18-20-year-olds,
• by 4.6% to £4.55 for under-18s and 6.4% to £4.15 for apprentices.
Excel Automotive Group (EAG) has bolstered its sales team with the appointment of Chris Haw, who has assumed the role of UK sales manager.
A qualified technician, Chris has been immersed in the automotive aftermarket for more than 30 years, where he enjoyed sales roles with Autoglym, Brown Brothers and Tetrosyl, before spending the last two decades with Delphi.
As a business development manager, Chris spent 10 years covering Scotland, North-East England and Ireland. During his impressive tenure, he developed an account in Scotland into the largest single customer and transformed an account in Republic of Ireland into the third-largest customer for the business.
As such, he was promoted to the position of UK customer sales manager, where he was tasked with developing the business outside the UKPA. He enjoyed phenomenal success with both AAG and PDP, in particular.
Asked why he was looking for a new challenge and why EAG was the right move for him, Chris said: “It’s an exciting opportunity to develop a business, which I have a track record in achieving. EAG is a successful business and boasts renowned brands, such as Brembo, Monroe and Champion, and, most recently, it has became the sole disrubutor for Suplex in the UK, so discovering new opportunities for these names and others is what appeals to me.
“Furthermore, these brands are complemented by EAG’s own range of products, which include a 4,500-strong range of steering & suspension components, as well as transmission and engine parts.”
On relationships with distributors, Chris added: “It is important to provide a good service but also work with proactive factors to sell our products, so their businesses grow with excellent support. My background gives me a head-start in understanding what workshops want from factors and tailoring our offer to suit the customers’ needs, making us easy to deal with.
“This is an exciting new position, which I am very much looking forward to.”
The Commercial Vehicle Show is the largest and most comprehensive road freight transport, distribution and logistics event staged in Britain, catering for every operator’s requirements and purposely designed to give you a truly rewarding and informative day spent out of the office.
All under one massive roof at the NEC in Birmingham, the UK’s best-connected venue by road, rail or air, you will find hundreds of exhibitors spanning the whole road transport, distribution and logistics supply business. From truck, van and trailer manufacturers through to fork lift trucks, insurers, tyre, telematics and training providers, fuels and lubricants suppliers and a whole lot more. The CV Show provides something for every operator looking to boost productivity and profit.
To ensure your vehicles are kept running at maximum efficiency, the Workshop zone will showcase everything from OE components and replacement parts to maintenance management systems, garage, workshop and bodyshop equipment.
For those moving goods to be kept at a constantly controlled temperature the Cool zone is a must visit. Here you will find a huge range of refrigerated vehicles and bodywork, side by side with the latest fridge units, monitoring equipment and other products specific to cold chain operations.
A visit to the CV Show, at the NEC Birmingham, will keep you fully briefed on the latest product and service innovations, fulfil all your sourcing needs and help improve business efficiency, profitability and compliance. And entry is totally free. Simply return to this website in January when you will be able to apply for your free ticket and put 28 April – 30 April 2020 in your diary now.
With a significant number of places already snapped up, technicians are being urged to sign-up for the first REPXPERT Academy LIVE event of 2020, held at Basingstoke College of Technology, on Saturday 25th January.
The ‘roadshow’ training concept continues its journey throughout the UK, following a successful debut at Lincoln College in November last year. In collaboration with the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), Schaeffler is primed for a new group of visitors, all of whom are ready to experience a full-day’s training, geared to improve and futureproof their technical and business skills.
Workshop owners and technicians will be offered masterclasses by a team of Schaeffler REPXPERTs, who will be concentrating on LuK clutch technology, INA timing drives and modern thermal management systems. There will also be a focus on new and upcoming vehicle technologies, such as hybridisation and electrification.
REPXPERT Brand Ambassador and The Garage Inspector, Andy Savva, will also be hosting a class based on his popular business training sessions. An award-winning ex-workshop owner, aftermarket commentator and now business advisor, Andy will demonstrate to workshop owners and their staff how they can ‘empower their workshop’.
These four 45-minute sessions will incorporate practical knowledge, theory and discussion elements, all designed to impart as much knowledge as possible. This will ensure that each delegate will have the opportunity to absorb plenty of valuable technical and business-related information from every session.
There will also be plenty to see in the workshop throughout the day, with guest exhibitors, Laser Tools and TechMan, plus, of course, displays from Schaeffler, the IMI and Basingstoke College of Technology.
Entry to REPXPERT Academy LIVE is free of charge, and every visitor will be offered complimentary breakfast and lunch, as well as refreshments throughout. Doors will open at 9am, with the event due to finish at 4pm.
The HSE has published updated guidance for local authorities, suggesting priorities for health and safety enforcement. What can you expect?
The setting. Under the Enforcing Authority Regulations 1998 the HSE shares responsibility for health and safety enforcement with local authorities (LAs). The Regulations have the effect of allocating different types of business to either the HSE or LAs, with LAs focusing on the high street and retail parks. The HSE does not directly manage LA health and safety inspectors, but nevertheless it has considerable influence and the main way this occurs is via guidance documents. The latest, Setting Local Authority Priorities and Targeting Interventions(LAC 67/2) , provides guidance and tools to help LAs prioritise and target their enforcement action with the businesses under their regulatory control.
What’s on the horizon? If your business comes under your LA inspectors’ remit, such as a retail or warehouse site, you could receive a visit, especially when:
(1) a complaint regarding health and safety has been received by the LA;
(2) it becomes aware through local intelligence of a risk of serious injury or health; or
(3) there is a serious incident.
Prominent. Certain risks will receive proactive attention as outlined in Annex A of LAC 67/2 . These include:
(1) play inflatables;
(2) dispense gases;
(3) animal visitor attractions;
(4) gas installations in commercial catering premises; and
(5) control of construction work by client organisations.
Inspectors are also asked to remind businesses receiving deliveries that, where practicable, toilet and rest facilities should be made available to visiting drivers. The risks to the public from accessing large waste and recycling bins are to be highlighted, and inspectors are asked to promote the importance of worker involvement in health and safety.
Tip. Although proactive inspections by LA inspectors are rare, be prepared for one if you have a cooling tower or evaporative condenser, run a petting farm, have a caravan or camping park, run high volume warehousing and distribution, operate a care home or organise events needing crowd control.
Inspectors are likely to appear if there is a complaint or an incident suggesting staff or others are at risk. Priority sectors for visits include high volume warehouses and care homes.
LKQ Corporation has announced the execution of a definitive agreement to sell its equity interests in two Czech wholesale automotive parts distributors to Swiss Automotive Group AG. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
In May 2018, the European Commission cleared LKQ’s acquisition of STAHLGRUBER GmbH, with the exception of Stahlgruber’s two wholesale businesses in the Czech Republic, which were referred for review to the Czech Competition Authority. Earlier this year, the Czech Competition Authority approved LKQ’s acquisition of the two Czech distributors, subject to certain divestiture conditions. LKQ subsequently decided to sell the entire equity interests of the two businesses. LKQ Europe will continue to operate its existing Auto Kelly a.s. and ELIT s.r.o. businesses in the Czech Republic.
Dominick Zarcone, President and Chief Executive Officer of LKQ, stated, “We appreciate the efforts of local management to build a successful business in the Czech Republic, and we are proud that we have found an outstanding new owner for it.”
LKQ expects to complete the sale in early 2020, subject to required regulatory approvals.
AS-PL are inviting people to take part in a virtual walk around three of their branches located in Gdansk and Lubichowo.
Thanks to modern technical capabilities, it is now possible to see their buildings from a “bird’s eye view” and walk freely around their offices, warehouses and production hall.
The idea of a virtual walk around the company was created a few months ago. They wanted to show that AS buildings are not only modern constructions, but also beautifully and ergonomically designed interiors, adapted to friendly and effective work for employees.
A virtual walk allows every room to be viewed, as well as interesting places and those which are generally not accessible. AS-PL hopes that this New Year’s surprise will be a great opportunity for people to get to know their company better.