Phocas webinar for IAAF members – final reminder

Join an exclusive live webinar for IAAF members on Tuesday, 21st January at 2pm.

Register now to discover:

  • the top auto industry issues and how Phocas helps solve them
  • how Phocas is used by 100+ UK automotive businesses to monitor and improve all aspects of their business
  • how these business benefits could be applied to your organisation
  • how Phocas creates a return on investment within a matter of weeks.

The aftermarket is facing a dynamic set of challenges: changing market conditions, increased competition, cost, time pressure and the need to stand out. Phocas approaches your data analytics with a clear focus on business issues. Let Phocas show you how your data can deliver a significant competitive advantage.

Register for the exclusive webinar here.

Can’t attend? Register and we will send you the recording.

Contact:      Joe Dawber
Phone:        07971 556989
Email:         [email protected]

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BMW and Daimler pull out of multiple car-sharing markets

BMW and Daimler are pulling their car-sharing services from multiple markets, including the UK and North America, blaming rising infrastructure costs and “low adoption rates”.

The announcement comes just months after they had announced that they were investing more than €1 billion (£870 million) to develop and integrate car-sharing, ride-hailing, parking, electric vehicle (EV) charging and multimodal transport.

This included ShareNow, which amalgamated Daimler’s Car2Go brand and BMW’s DriveNow. Both offer app-based, by-the-minute rentals.

However, the German carmakers seem unwilling to invest more into the venture while they are dealing with the huge cost of developing electric cars, according to the Financial Times.

On Wednesday, ShareNow said it would leave the United States and Canada due the “volatile state of the global mobility landscape” and the “rising infrastructure complexities facing North American transportation”.

The business also said it would leave Brussels, London and Florence due to “low adoption rates”.

Despite boasting 90 million users of its “mobility services”, which include ride-hailing and charging apps, the companies have thus far failed to make car-sharing profitable, reports the FT.

DriveNow and Car2Go, which had already pulled out of more than a dozen locations, will continue to operate in 18 European cities, including seven in Germany.

It says the number of customers in London and demand for its car sharing service was below expectations and lower than other Share Now cities.

The company also blamed local factors, citing the high costs of operation and the different circumstances in the individual London boroughs.

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Hella Gutmann Solutions’ success with partnership

Diagnostics expert, Hella Gutmann Solutions (HGS) and online car repair marketplace,, joined forces in August to provide motorists with the best diagnostic solution for their vehicles and just three months into the partnership, it’s already proved to be a resounding success.

With its renowned mega macs range, HGS is a global leader in diagnostic technology and the preferred supplier to countless workshops around the world. However, through its association with many more now have a greater awareness of the brand and have come to realise that HGS is fast becoming the benchmark equipment for the independent.

Since HGS joined the website, 189 workshops now identify as a HGS professional, meaning they all rely on the renowned mega macs 56 and/or 77 devices to safely and efficiently carry out diagnostic test procedures, with many also performing camera and radar recalibration on vehicles equipped with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).

The website shows that HGS professionals have secured more than 4,770 bookings through the site, with the rating of these workshops averaging at 4.6 stars out of five.

Neil Hilton, HGS’ head of business development, said, “The response we’ve had from workshops through the network has been astounding and we’ve enjoyed assisting these workshops in educating them about diagnostic tool best practice and ADAS realicration, as well as what they can do to prepare for the aftermarket of the future.

“It’s vital that workshops understand the importance of ADAS recalibration because if they don’t have the right equipment, but still work on these vehicles, they can put drivers and their passengers at serious risk. With more and more vehicles now equipped with ADAS features as standard, the industry needs to prepare quickly and educate itself properly.

“We’re pleased that we’ve been able to go directly to workshops and technicians through because many may not be getting the best information or even be aware of how serious ADAS recalibrating is. So, while it’s an investment for any workshop, it’s certainly a worthwhile one to future proof their businesses.

“It’s been a busy three months with this new partnership, but we’re happy with how popular its been with the workshops and we’ll continue to support the site and educate as many technicians as we can.”

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Latest garage technical evening gears up for winter

Midwest Motor Factors and Monmore Auto Parts have hosted their latest technical evening for independent garages at GTG Wolverhampton.

More than 50 garage owners, technicians and apprentices attended the event, which this time featured presentations by Yuasa’s Ian Newham, European technical training manager and European Exhausts and Catalysts’ (EEC) Stuart Still, business development manager and technical trainer.

The Yuasa batteries brand is the newest brand available at Midwest and Monmore, complementing the range of Goliath batteries also available.

Both motor factors offer Yuasa’s market leading, OE-quality YBX automotive range including conventional batteries to handle the demands of today’s modern vehicles and next generation EFB and AGM batteries, specifically designed to satisfy the fuel saving and environmental benefits of vehicles fitted with emission reduction systems such as Start-Stop.

With almost complete coverage of the UK vehicle parc, Yuasa’s YBX batteries offer superior performance, long service life and the very latest in technology and come with a four year warranty.

Also unveiled at the event was the Padtech Fitting Centre Programme, aimed at promoting the very highest standards in brake pad fitting in the automotive industry.

With free, eye-catching point of sales material available to repairers, garages will have access to the latest in brake pad technology and enjoy generous discounts on the Padtech range.

To be part of the fitting centre programme, garages need to buy the top 20 pads for just £275+vat. Fitting centres will receive a banner and wall sign promoting the Padtech fitting centre status, air fresheners and checklists to assist motorists on braking inspections.

Group Factor Manager, Craig McCracken, said: “This training event was the most comprehensive yet, as we respond to customer requests to include more information on services and opportunities available to them through Midwest Motor Factors and Monmore Auto Parts. With Winter fast approaching, we want to make sure all garages are prepared for the season ahead to have complete confidence in the brands, products and ranges we have available.”

Every person that attended the technical training event was entered into the prize raffle, this time won by Charlie Whitehouse, apprentice at Macrome’s Garage who picked up a hamper, while two free Bilston F.C football shirts were won by Eurotechniks and C Fierro Garage.

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FFR Automotive joins IAAF

Permanent recruitment solutions company FFR Automotive has joined Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF).

FFR specialises in passenger car, commercial vehicle and refinish sectors, being a trusted recruitment partner to major aftermarket businesses including manufacturers, suppliers, motor factors and independent garages.

With more than 20 years combined experience, the FFR team prides itself on offering best in class recruitment solutions for any role within an aftermarket business, also offering free candidate training and a 12-month candidate guarantee.

Directors Gavin Collier and David Jobin, explained the reasons behind joining IAAF: “We are a specialist people business and we want to support all IAAF members with insight and expertise from our unique position, ultimately becoming a key voice on all things aftermarket recruitment related.”

“We also want to keep abreast of all of the latest developments within the industry and support initiatives that the IAAF works hard to promote, as they are key to the survival of the aftermarket as we know it.”

The pair also highlighted the ever-growing skills shortage in the industry, saying: “People are the heart of every great company – the skills shortage is a threat to many businesses. For example, the UK skills shortage has cost companies over £2 billion in increased salaries alone. More concerning still is that more than half of senior business leaders surveyed (53%) expect the situation to deteriorate over the next 12 months. This is a real issue for many aftermarket businesses or certainly will be in the future and we are in a position to help members alleviate these pressures.”

Mike Smallbone, IAAF head of membership development, said: “We welcome FFR Automotive into membership and look forward to their insight and knowledge on recruitment for businesses in the automotive aftermarket.”

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HELLA announces new UK Managing Director

HELLA has announced its new UK Managing Director (MD), Neil Grant, who will officially begin his latest role in January 2020.

Neil has been the financial director (FD) of HELLA UK, based in Chipping Warden, for four years and has a wealth of financial experience behind him.

Neil will be taking over from current MD, Matthew Say, who has been leading the UK operation for the past four and a half years.

Commenting on his appointment, Neil said: “Becoming the MD of a company such as HELLA UK is a huge honour and one that I am very much looking forward to. Having worked for the company for the past four years as the FD, I am well prepared for the role and fully aware of our customer base, product portfolio and of the strengths we have within our team. Working alongside Matthew Say in the strategic decisions and direction of the company over my tenure means that I have also already met many of our key partners.

“In an industry that is constantly changing, it is now my responsibility to ensure that we remain a relevant supplier to our customers, are adaptable to the developing landscape and are well positioned to meet their needs. We will therefore continue to invest in our core product offering, as well as those within the important ADAS and diagnostic fields and to grow our relationships with supply partners and customers.

“I have a great deal of customer knowledge, am aware of the potential growth areas and intend to continue the good work that Matthew has established. I am therefore, very much looking forward to leading HELLA UK through the next chapter in its journey.”

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Dayco appoints Laura Kowalchik as Chief Financial Officer

Dayco has announced that Laura Kowalchik has joined the company, as chief financial officer (CFO).

“Laura is a highly regarded operational finance leader with significant experience in automotive industries, data analytics and steel. Her breadth of experience in multiple ownership structures, and market conditions, as well as her hands-on-leadership style make her uniquely qualified to drive our financial strategy forward to deliver industry leading financial performance across our business worldwide,” said Joel Wiegert, Dayco’s chief executive officer.

“I am looking forward to working closely with Dayco’s investors and stakeholders,” Kowalchik said. “It is exciting to join the Dayco team during this time of transformation to drive strong discipline around financial results that focus on delivering stakeholder value.”

Laura has served as the CFO for Kenwal Steel Corporation and previously for Urban Science, but her career has also included senior level financial and controller positions with organizations such as Kaydon Corporation, Dura Automotive Systems, Microheat, and Metaldyne Corporation. She earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Richmond and a master of business administration degree in finance from Indiana University.

Laura is also active in the community and a member of the Board of Trustees for the Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation.

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Nutexa Frictions appoints new regional sales executive

Commercial brake manufacturer Nutexa Frictions Ltd has expanded its team with the appointment of Russell Baker as regional sales executive for the North West of England.

Russell will be focusing on looking after the light commercial side of the automotive/industrial braking sector and also introducing bicycle, motorcycle and performance car brakes into a already existing wide range of commercial vehicle brakes and clutch manufacturing/refurbishing at their factory in Hoylake.

Russell brings with him a significant knowledge from his 20yr background in mechanical engineering, working closely with the rest of the team at Hoylake to bring their customers the stopping power they require.

Janet Sergeant, Joint Managing Director at Nutexa Frictions Ltd, said “this is a great addition to growing our catalogue of commercial/light commercial brake range and expanding our growth as a business”.

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FIGIEFA and IAAF are working hard to protect the rights of the aftermarket under proposed cybersecurity legislation

A very large proportion of the legislative and regulatory framework for automotive aftermarket businesses is decided at European Union or even at United Nations levels.

FIGIEFA represents independent automotive parts distributors amongst European and international legislators. It monitors their legislative proposals and is in constant contact with them, with the aim of securing legislative framework conditions that allow you to operate your business in an open market, with free competition and a fair, level playing field. FIGIEFA is a participant in UNECE, a body of the United Nations which deals with mobility issues (amongst others) and work has started on creating a Regulation on cyber-security which is proposed to be finalised early next year, this would then be referenced into the European Union as vehicle type approval legislation.

The IAAF is one of the two bodies representing the UK in FIGIEFA, this cooperation is particularly important as it ensures that the UK automotive aftermarket retains an input into legislative and regulatory decisions that will impact the rights of UK businesses to conduct routine and legitimate work practices when repairing and maintaining businesses.

A PDF leaflet can be downloaded below which explains the issues in more detail.

201910 Cybersecurity

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Volvo Cars and Geely intend to merge their combustion engine operations

Volvo Cars and Geely intend to merge their existing combustion engine operations into a stand-alone business in order to establish a new global supplier that will seek to develop next-generation combustion engines and hybrid powertrains.

The proposed new business would clear the way for Volvo Cars to focus on the development of its all-electric range of premium cars. Volvo Cars is building an entirely electrified product range, as part of the company’s ambition to put sustainability at the core of its operations. By the middle of the next decade it expects half its global sales to be fully electric and the other half hybrid, supplied by the new unit.

For Geely, the planned new entity means technologically advanced and efficient combustion engines and hybrid powertrains would be available to Geely Auto, Proton, Lotus, LEVC and LYNK & CO. The planned new stand-alone business can also supply third-party manufacturers, providing possible growth opportunities.

The planned new business would represent a significant industrial collaboration between Volvo Cars and Geely, with substantial operational, industrial and financial synergies.

The proposed new business is intended to be an attractive employer for approximately 3,000 employees from Volvo Cars and around 5,000 employees from Geely’s combustion engine operations, including research and development, procurement, manufacturing, IT and finance functions. No reductions in the workforce are anticipated.

Both Volvo Cars and Geely are in the process of carving out their ICE (internal combustion engine) operations into new units within their respective organisations, as a first step towards a merger of the two into a combined new stand-alone business.

Volvo Cars believes the electrification of the automotive industry will be a gradual process, meaning there will be significant ongoing demand for efficient hybrid powertrains alongside fully electric offerings.

“Hybrid cars need the best internal combustion engines. This new unit will have the resources, scale and expertise to develop these powertrains cost efficiently,” said Håkan Samuelsson, Volvo Cars’ President and Chief Executive.

The detailed plans of the new business are under development and subject to union negotiations as well as board and relevant authority approvals.

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