Wendy Williamson wins ‘Lifetime Achievement’ award

Wendy Williamson, Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) chief executive, has received the ‘Lifetime Achievement’ award at the Car & Accessory Trader (CAT) Awards 2017.

This year, the event moved north and was held for the first time in the Lowry Hotel in Manchester on 10 February, welcoming a number of leading aftermarket professionals who were in attendance to network among themselves and congratulate Williamson on her prestigious win.

Wendy Williamson receiving her award from Greg Whitaker, Editor of CAT Magazine (R) and Mark Field of Impression Communications (L)

Since graduating with a business studies degree, specialising in marketing, joining Black & Decker as a graduate trainee and then entering the automotive sphere through Unipart, Williamson has gone on to become an established expert in the independent automotive aftermarket, utilising her marketing and aftermarket experience to help secure the sector’s future.

Williamson said: “Receiving this award is incredibly humbling and a great honour. The automotive aftermarket is a fantastic sector and I would like to pay tribute to the enthusiasm and passion shown by members in protecting and promoting the trade. The IAAF continues to grow in stature and this award is recognition of the positive contributions the federation and its members have made to the industry.”

Williamson’s position as an aftermarket leader has been further supported recently after gaining recognition from 2016 Autocar’s Top 100 Great British Women.
IAAF represents the largest number of parts distributors and suppliers in the independent automotive aftermarket, having total representation of the trade. This reinforces the strength of its voice within government departments, increasing its power over legislation affecting the industry.

The federation supports members by providing a variety of products and services such as through health and safety, insurance and fleet management schemes.

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Government may change licence restrictions to encourage alternative fuel take-up

The Government is developing proposals to allow drivers to operate alternatively-fuelled commercial vehicles which weigh more than currently allowed under their licence restrictions.

It has a long-term target of reducing freight and logistics industry emissions by at least 80% on 1990 levels by 2050.

As part of its Freight Carbon Review 2017, the Government said it is looking to allow operators of alternatively-fuelled HGVs up to an extra tonne in weight to account for their heavier drivertrains, while it is also developing proposals to allow Category B driving licence holders to operate alternatively-fuelled vans up to 4,250kg.

The document brings together evidence on the opportunities for and barriers to reducing road freight greenhouse gas emissions.

Other measures identified include working with the Energy Saving Trust to pilot an HGV fleet review scheme advising SME fleet operators on reducing fuel consumption and costs, and supporting the roll-out of the HGV technology accreditation scheme.

Responding to the review Andy Eastlake, managing director of the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) said: “The LowCVP very much welcomes the publication of the Freight Carbon Review.

“The freight sector is responsible for around 17% of the UK’s greenhouse gas and about 21% of the NOx emissions from road transport; and it represents one of the most challenging areas to decarbonise.

“The relative contribution of the commercial vehicle sector to total emissions has been growing but it has not, until now, had the same level of focused support as the car or bus sectors (or, indeed, walking and cycling). It provides some of the best opportunities for innovative solutions to make an impact on carbon dioxide emissions.

“The Partnership has been working closely with the Department for Transport to develop the data and benchmarks necessary to provide ‘building-blocks’ for effective policy in this area.

“We will continue to work with the Government and industry to support the further roll-out of the HGV accreditation scheme and other policy mechanisms that may be associated with it in future.

“We have already held several events and activities to renew stakeholder focus on low emission freight transport (some in association with TfL’s LoCITY initiative) and have re-established the LowCVP’s Commercial Vehicle Working Group which will hold its first full meeting on March 1 in Birmingham.”

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London Mayor calls on Government to adopt diesel scrappage scheme

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Kahn, has called on government to implement his new proposals for a national ‘dirty’ diesel scrappage scheme.

The Mayor has made air quality a top priority and has consulted on plans which include a ‘toxic’ charge for the most polluting vehicles, bringing forward the introduction of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), and then expanding it up to the North and South Circular Road.

However, the Mayor claims that without a clear plan to tackle emissions from diesel vehicles, the city’s air will not improve.

In his manifesto, he committed to put forward a proposal to Government for a diesel scrappage scheme and has now published a report, with Transport for London and Cambridge Economic Policy Associates, on its merits.

It provides a new framework for a national scrappage fund and modelling which other UK cities could use to produce their own scheme and subsequent share of funding required.

The package of proposed measures could be delivered by Government over a two-year period, and would help fulfil the UK’s legal obligation to comply with European pollution limits, incentivise ‘dirty’ diesel drivers to switch to cleaner vehicles, and protect the health of people in the capital and across the country, says the report.

The key recommendations have now been presented to the Chancellor, Phillip Hammond, the transport secretary Chris Grayling, and environment secretary Andrea Leadsom.

They include:

Payments of £3,500 to scrap up to 70,000 polluting vans and minibuses in London and a national fund to support charities and small businesses that often own older diesel and mini buses.
A credit scheme valued at £2,000 to help low-income households in cities scrap up to 130,000 polluting cars, with incentives for car clubs.
Payments of £1,000 to help scrap up to 10,000 older polluting London taxis: traditionally the taxi trade has had a limited choice of heavy, polluting diesel vehicles but this proposed fund would be used alongside wider existing support to help drivers switch to new zero-emission models.

Urgent implementation of these proposals would help reduce the cost of introducing and expanding the Ultra-Low Emission Zone and help to achieve a 40% reduction in London road transport NOx emissions, says the Mayor.

Under his new proposal, the total Government compensation for drivers of the most polluting diesel vehicles in London would be up to £515 million. This is before taking into account industry participation, which has the scope to make a significant reduction in the amount to be funded by Government, he claims.

Khan said: “A national diesel scrappage fund is the cost effective way to deliver significant emission reductions while reducing the economic impact on those most affected, such as small businesses, charities and low income households.”

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Business Rate changes on the way

Business rates in England and Wales are being revised to take into account changes in property values.

A statement from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) said that most businesses will not face sharp rises in costs. It said, ‘Following the revaluation, three-quarters of properties will see no change or even a fall in their bills, and the small minority of businesses that face an increase will benefit from our £3.6bn transitional relief scheme.’

However, according to the BBC, property experts have predicted that some businesses, especially in thriving commercial centres and the south-east of England could see very dramatic changes to their rates bills, by as much as several hundred per cent.

The move represents the first change to business rates in almost a decade and will result in companies paying rates which have been calculated based on the rise in property prices since 2008.

Business rates are calculated by multiplying the rateable value of a property by a multiplier set by the government. But as property values change over time, rateable values need to be reassessed periodically – typically every five years.

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GiPA comment on Government MOT proposals

IAAF Service Partner GiPA have issued their thoughts on the MOT consultation document issued at the end of January 2017. GiPA comment in particular on the Department for Transport claim that changing the MOT test intervals from the current schedule of 3-1-1 to 4-1-1 would result in annual savings of approximately £100,000,000 across the total driving population.

GiPA have produced the chart below showing the key insights into the 3-year car parc MOT business. The market volume of workshop entries directly related to MOT testing is 650,755, a market estimated by GiPA to be valued at £148,988,541. This would mean potential lost revenue for workshops.

The 3-year old car parc MOT business: Key figures
2,230,000 units It is a legal requirement for all drivers to perform the first MOT test when their car is 3 years old and every year thereafter (3-1-1).  Currently there are 2,230,000 3-year old passenger cars in operation.
650,755 entries Excluding the MOT test, this population generated 650,755 workshop entries to prepare their car for the MOT test or make repairs following it.
£148,988,541 These preparations and repair entries generated an estimated turnover of £148,988,541 on average.

GiPA suggest that a 4-1-1 MOT test schedule could enable drivers to save even more money than the Department for Transport estimates.

However, GiPA state that this saving could have an implication for driver safety. When looking at which operations were carried out during MOT preparation and repair for the 3-year-old car parc segment, GiPA found that 48% of these workshop entries were to change tyres or braking parts.

The 3-year old car parc MOT business: Safety parts replacements
33% brake parts 33% of operations undertaken during these 650,755 workshop entries linked to MOT tests were related to braking parts replacement.
15% tyres 15% of operations undertaken during these 650,755 workshop entries linked to MOT tests were related to tyres replacement.

The results raise potential concerns about safety. It would appear that a high volume of essential repairs are carried out in the 3rd year of a car’s life; and that these potentially safety-critical operations would be delayed by a year with the introduction of a 4-1-1 MOT test interval.

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HGV suppliers offer new apprenticeships in collaboration with Reaseheath College

Reaseheath College has secured 25 new apprenticeship positions for young people thanks to a new collaboration with heavy good vehicle commercial parts suppliers.

The Level 2 and Level 3 HGV specific parts, sales and marketing apprenticeships will run in partnership with the Independent Motor Trade Factors Associated Ltd (IFA), one of the most successful motor factor buying groups in the UK. The group identified a gap in the market for training young people and offering a career path within the HGV parts sector and looked to Reaseheath for a training solution. After a meeting with the Cheshire college’s apprenticeship team on campus on Monday (24th January), fifteen IFA employers identified Reaseheath as their preferred training provider.

IFA group joined by Reaseheath engineering staff

The IFA group will work in partnership with the Reaseheath’s apprenticeship team (Reaseheath Training) to develop the bespoke parts, sales and marketing apprenticeship programme specific to the HGV parts supplier field. Apprentices will study on a block release basis with the programme designed to enhance their customer service skills and contextualise their role in the business. Training will include selecting and issuing parts, receiving and ordering parts, processing orders and customer service all specifically focused on the heavy-good sector. The first cohort of apprentices will begin their training September 2017.

Simon Smedley, spokesman for the IFA responsible for the sourcing of a training solution, and director of HGV Direct, said: “We’ve found a clear gap in provision when comes to specific training for young people entering field of heavy duty parts supplies. Working with Reaseheath to deliver this specific programme of study is just what the industry needs to enhance our reputation as both a viable and attractive career option for a young person.”

Reaseheath’s Head of Apprentices Sharon Yates added: “We are delighted to be working with the IFA group to further broaden career opportunities for young people. We look forward to working closely with the IFA to ensure this brand new training programme really meets the needs of our employers.”

For further details on these and other apprenticeships contact Reaseheath Training on 01270 613221 or email apprenticeships@reaseheath.ac.uk

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Help sought with development of new IAAF member benefit

The IAAF is working towards the launch of a brand-new benefit that will help members gain peace of mind that their vehicle fleets are safe, cost effective and legally compliant. To this end, the IAAF has selected FleetCheck to join our IAAF Service Member network.

To help us finalise this key project and proceed to launch as quickly as possible, the IAAF is looking for assistance in developing the new product from member companies.

We need members who would be willing to complete a very short, very simple survey. The feedback will help improve understanding on how IAAF members approach and prioritise the practicalities of running a fleet of vehicles, no matter how big or small.

Members can rest assured that responses will be totally confidential. The sole purpose of the survey is for the IAAF to gauge how to deliver the most relevant and effective support to members needing assistance in what can be a complex and often misunderstood area of the business.

The survey can be taken HERE.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Mike Smallbone at the IAAF or Steve Hutton, FleetCheck’s Head of Marketing.

Thank you in advance for helping the IAAF to develop another great IAAF member benefit.

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PSA confirms talks to buy Vauxhall and Opel from GM

PSA has confirmed it is in talks to buy General Motors’ European Opel and Vauxhall operations.

If the move were successful it would create Europe’s second biggest carmaker behind Volkswagen.

In a statement PSA said: “PSA Group confirms that, together with General Motors, it is exploring numerous strategic initiatives aiming at improving its profitability and operational efficiency, including a potential acquisition of Opel. There can be no assurance that an agreement will be reached.”

Vishwas Shankar, an analyst with Frost & Sullivan, said: “In the last eight years ever since GM retired or sold Saturn, Pontiac, Hummer, Saab, Opel in Europe was always waiting for a big announcement.

“With PSA in the driver seat, Opel might find a new address and parent in 2017. PSA’s interest in Opel could be the link to Russia. Russia will be Opel’s biggest market in 2020.”

Bloomberg said that PSA was considering the deal to gain scale, get access to Opel’s engineering and electric-car technology as well as cutting costs through greater buying power.

“Both carmakers have gone through painful restructuring in recent years. GM, which has lost billions in Europe in the past two decades, closed a factory in Bochum, Germany, the first auto plant to close in the country since World War II, while PSA shuttered a facility in the Paris suburb of Aulnay.

“While those moves helped ease overcapacity concerns, the two manufacturers largely target similar customers in Europe’s competitive and mature auto market,” it added.

Reuters reported that a deal could take place quickly and commented on the historical links between the two companies.

“A deal may be announced within days, the sources said. GM and PSA already share production of SUVs and commercial vans, a relic of their last attempt to forge a broader alliance, which was unwound in 2013 with the sale of the U.S. carmaker’s stake in PSA.

“Together, PSA and Opel would command a 16.3 percent share of the European car market share compared with Volkswagen’s 24.1 percent, based on 2016 data.”


Vehicle Safety Recalls: January 2017

These are the vehicles, parts or accessories recalled by manufacturers for a safety reason during January 2017.

You can check for vehicle, part or accessory recalls or find out more about vehicle recalls and faults by CLICKING HERE.

DVSA ref no Make and model Issue
R/2016/236 Toyota: Corolla Driver’s side airbag inflator may rupture
R/2016/244 Ford: Transit Connect/ Tourneo Connect Panoramic roof glass may detach
R/2016/263 Chevrolet UK: Captiva Possibility of fire
R/2016/264 Vauxhall: Antara Possibility of fire
R/2016/267 Vauxhall: Meriva B Seat belt may not function correctly
R/2016/272 VW: Tiguan (5N) Front seat backrest may collapse in a collision
R/2016/274 Vauxhall: Meriva B & Astra K Front passenger airbag may not deploy as intended
R/2016/283 SsangYong: Rodius & Turismo Shock absorber may fail, causing front wheel to rub on wheel arch
R/2016/288 Jeep: Cherokee Seat may not perform correctly in a collision
R/2016/289 Land Rover: Discovery Sport, Range Rover Evoque with 2 ltr diesel vehicles with automatic transmission Electrical short circuit
R/2016/295 Toyota: Lexus – NX200T & NX300H Parking brake may not activate correctly
R/2016/306 Mercedes-Benz: Sprinter Trailer hitch may detach
R/2016/308 Volvo Bus: B5LH 7900 Engine hatch may show closed in error enabling engine to be started
R/2016/309 Rolls Royce: Dawn Front mounted side airbag may fail to deploy in a collision
R/2017/005 Volvo Bus: B5LH Engine may overheat
R/2017/006 MAN Bus: P20, P21 & P22 Maintenance flap may open unintentionally
R/2017/007 Fiat: Talento Incorrect load capacity listed for interior hooks
R/2017/023 Wrightbus: Streetvibe, Streetlite & Streetdeck Parking brake can be released before full air pressure is achieved
RCOMP/2017/001 Scorpion Automotive Ltd: Datatool S4 Red/Triumph Accessory alarm/immobiliser Alarm/immobiliser may malfunction
RM/2016/036 Honda Motorcycles: CBR300RA 2015 – 2016 MY Engine may stop/stall and fail to re-start
RM/2016/047 Suzuki Motorcycles: DL650A/XA L2-L6 (Motorcycle) and LT-A750X-XP L6-L7 (ATV) Engine may stall and/or fail to restart

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Waitrose launches fleet of CNG-fuelled trucks with 500-mile range

Supermarket group Waitrose has introduced a fleet of CNG (compressed natural gas)-powered trucks with a range of up to 500 miles.

It has teamed up with CNG Fuel and will use technology developed jointly with Scania and Agility Fuel Solutions, a CNG fuel systems and cylinders company based in North America.

This will help overcome concerns about the distance that CNG-powered lorries are able to cover before refuelling.

Ten new Scania-manufactured CNG trucks entered operation for Waitrose in January and will be used to make deliveries to the company’s stores in the Midlands and the North.

They are the first in Europe to use twin 26-inch diameter carbon fibre fuel tanks which store gas at 250 bar of pressure to increase range from around 300 miles to as much as 500.

It will allow them to always run entirely on biomethane, which is 35% to 40% cheaper than diesel and emits 70% less CO2.

The carbon fibre tanks, which are already in use in the US, were adapted and certified for the European market by Agility Fuel Solutions, thereby offering significant advantages over the standard European set-up of eight steel gas tanks.

The vehicles are half a tonne lighter, hold more gas and can cover a greater distance depending on the load being carried.

Each of Waitrose’s new CNG trucks costs 50% more than one which runs on diesel, but are expected to repay the extra costs in two to three years with fuel savings of £15,000 to £20,000 a year depending on mileage.

Its vehicles are likely to operate for at least five more years, generating overall lifetime savings of £75,000 to £100,000 compared with a diesel equivalent.

Each lorry will also save more than 100 tonnes of CO2 a year (versus diesel).

Justin Laney, general manager central transport for the John Lewis Partnership, said: “With Europe’s most advanced CNG trucks, we will be able to make deliveries to our stores without having to refuel away from base.

“Using biomethane will deliver significant environmental and operational benefits to our business.

“It’s much cleaner and quieter than diesel, and we can run five gas trucks for the same emissions as one diesel lorry.”

Philip Fjeld, CEO of CNG Fuels, added: “High pressure carbon-fibre fuel tanks demolish the ‘range anxiety’ concerns that have made many hauliers reluctant to move away from diesel to CNG.

“Renewable biomethane is far cheaper and cleaner than diesel, and, with a range of up to 500 miles, it is a game-changer for road transport operators.”

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