FIGIEFA seeks Technical Advisor

FIGIEFA (International Federation of Wholesalers of Automotive Replacement Parts), is looking for a Technical Advisor (full-time or substantial part time) to support the activities of its office in Brussels.

FIGIEFA is the European federation and political representative in Brussels of the independent wholesalers and retailers of automotive replacement parts. Together with its 19 national European Member State members, it represents the interests of more than 30,000 companies trading with vehicle parts, components and accessories throughout Europe. The aim of FIGIEFA is to safeguard a legislative environment in the EU that provides free and fair competition in the automotive aftermarket. In this context, ensuring continued access to technical information for independent market operators and the availability of spare parts, is of crucial importance for our association in a rapidly changing automotive technology environment.

Job Description
• Manage all technical and IT related (e.g. the ‘connected car’) dossiers and processes in connection with FIGIEFA activities in the area of the automotive aftermarket.
• Advise FIGIEFA in all technical and IT related matters related to e.g. telematics or access to technical information or EC type-approval legislation.
• Participate in meetings (in Brussels or EU) upon request of FIGIEFA (such as e.g. EC Working Groups, telematics working groups, legislative requirements for the access to repair & maintenance information, CEN or UNECE standardisation meetings, FIGIEFA working group meetings) and assume responsibility for the management of the corresponding technical subjects and dossiers.
• Support the FIGIEFA Secretariat in its information activities and meetings.
• Advise and prepare answers on upcoming questions from the EU institutions.
• Liaise with FIGIEFA’s partner alliance AFCAR (Alliance for the Freedom of Car Repair in the EU).
• Communicate with FIGIEFA experts and work out common strategies, statements and positions.

Desired profile
• Experienced automotive technical expert or qualified engineer in computer science – IT architecture or mechanical automotive engineering (preferably with specialisation in vehicle communication, diagnostics and electronic components or contemporary and developing vehicle technologies).
• Good English language skills (oral and written).
• Interpersonal communicational skill to participate in meetings with business partners and counterparts.
• Capable of assessing the business consequences of new legislation, automotive technologies and service procedures.
• Proactive person, capable of working on his/her own, but in close cooperation with the FIGIEFA Secretariat.
• High degree of availability and flexibility required: Capacity and willingness to work on the basis of flexible working hours.
• Availability for frequent trips when necessary to other European countries.

• Full-time or part-time employment contract or freelance contract also possible on the basis of a 3 year assignment. The ideal candidate would preferably be located in, or would be prepared to move to Brussels. In the event of a freelance contract involving commuting to Brussels, a maximum 2 hours travelling distance to Brussels is obligatory.
• We offer you a diverse and challenging position within a multi-national and political environment that tackles a wide range of technical issues.
• Start: immediately.

To submit an application, please contact the FIGIEFA office direct.

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Vehicle recalls: DVSA reaches out to vehicle owners

DVSA is urging drivers to check that their vehicles, parts or accessories aren’t subject to a safety recall.

New figures show that 2.6 million vehicles were affected by a recall between April 2015 to March 2016.

How recalls work
Manufacturers should recall vehicles when they become aware of a safety problem, and repair them free of charge.

Some parts and accessories – such as child car seats and tyres – aren’t registered to drivers like vehicles are, so manufacturers can’t always trace the owner.

The DVSA stresses that it is vital that to check for recalls that affect these items.

Check for vehicle, part or accessory recalls

Reporting serious safety defects
If you find a serious defect that affects the safety of your vehicle, one of its parts, or an accessory, report it to the manufacturer immediately.

Tell DVSA if you’re not happy with how the manufacturer is dealing with your report.

Report a serious defect

In addition, in an effort to engage more with members of the public, DVSA is also starting to use its Facebook and Twitter accounts to issue new recall alerts.

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3D component printing comes to the truck industry

Replacement parts for trucks produced by 3D printing to order at a local dealership are now a reality for operators of older Mercedes-Benz models.

Replacement plastic components such as covers, spacers, ducts and clamps are printed as spare parts by state-of-the-art 3D printers based on the Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) printing process, in a process first developed by the company for producing prototype components.

The dealers are said to benefit by carrying a reduced parts inventory, while customers gain by having otherwise ‘slow-moving’ parts produced while they wait rather than being shipped over from a central warehouse.

Mercedes itself no longer needs to get suppliers to produce small amounts of individual components for vehicles which have long gone out of production: they can instead be printed as required by a local dealer.

As previously featured in the eBulletin, Volvo Group subsidiary Renault Trucks has produced metal additive printed parts for a truck engine, claiming that the technique has enabled an engine weight reduction of 25 per cent.

Renault Trucks ‘virtually designed’ an entire engine DTI 5 four-cylinder engine that could be built using 3D printing, and also trialled 3D-printed rocker arms and camshaft bearing caps in an actual engine which was successfully bench-tested for 600 hours.

3D printing frees engine designers from the constraints of casting and machining which usually apply when a component is shaped, as material is simply added layer-upon-layer.

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New Car CO2 Report 2016

The SMMT has produced its New Car CO2 Report for 2016. The main points contained in this document can be summarised as follows:

2015 New Car CO2 Emissions
In 2015 average new car CO2 emissions in the UK fell to a new low of 121.4g/km, a 26.4% drop on 2007 (pre-recession performance) and a 2.6% reduction on 2014.

UK New Car Emissions Against EU Target
The UK’s 2015 performance was 6.6% below the pan-EU 2015 target of 130g/km. However, progression of 4.8% per annum is necessary to achieve the EU’s 2021 target of 95g/km.

Plug-in Vehicle Uptake Grows, but Needs On-Going Support to Meet Targets
Registrations of pure electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles rose by 94% on 2014 to account for more than 1% of the total market, while the alternatively fuelled vehicle (including hybrids) market share reached a new high of 2.8%. However, there is a signifi cant gap between this and the government’s
ambition of a 60% share of the market for pure and plug-in electric vehicles by 2030.

Importance of Diesels in Meeting the CO2 Targets
Diesel cars can emit up to 20% less CO2 than a petrol car. Therefore any measures that undermine diesel uptake could erode the industry’s ability to meet its 2021 95g/km target.

Total CO2 Emissions from all Cars in Use
CO2 emissions from all cars in use have been reduced by over 15% since 2007. Emissions have been cut despite the rise in vehicle use and the number of vehicles on the roads.

This performance reflects new, lower emitting vehicles entering the market place.

Uptake of New Technologies Key to Greening the Fleet
New cars are, on average, around 20% lower CO2 emitting than the average car in use. Speeding up the rate of renewal in the fleet will help lower emissions from all vehicles in use, as well as delivering ever-safer and lower-polluting vehicles.

To view the whole of the SMMT Report, click on the link below.


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Motorists turn their backs on diesel cars while eco-friendly sales rise

Comparison figures released by the SMMT suggest that motorists are shunning diesel cars, instead opting for vehicles that are much more eco-friendly.

SMMT reported that 78,778 diesel cars were sold in January 2017, a drop of 4.3% on the same month last year.

Over the same period sales of electric cars and other alternatively-fuelled vehicles (AFVs) jumped by 19.9%.

For the first time, AFVs now account for more than 4% of the market.

The figures show that 7,270 AFVs – including hybrids – were sold in January, gaining a 4.2% market share.

Sales of diesel cars have been falling for several months, following publicity about pollution and health issues.

In December 2016, sales of diesel cars were down by 6.8% on the same month a year earlier.

The growth in diesel sales was 0.6%, which hid the fact that the move against diesel had accelerated throughout the year.

The latest figures for January seem to confirm the trend. They show that while a year ago diesel sales were outnumbering those of petrol cars, by January 2017 that situation had reversed.

Moreover, in 2015 the market share of diesel and petrol cars was neck and neck, but by January this year, diesel’s market share had fallen to 45.1% compared to petrol’s 50.7%.

Several big cities around the world have said they want to ban diesel cars within 10 years, because of the pollution they cause.

A group of doctors has called on the Mayor of London to ban them in the capital, while Westminster will hit some diesel drivers with extra parking charges from April, as was reported in Issue 769.

Overall, the SMMT figures show that sales of vehicles in the UK last month were at their highest January level in 12 years. In total 174,564 cars were sold, a rise of 2.9% on January 2016. Motorists who buy electric or hybrid petrol/electric cars still enjoy a grant from the government, worth up to 35% – or £4,500 – of the total value.

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IAAF to run series of Industry Briefing Sessions around the UK

The IAAF will be running a series of 7 Industry Briefing Meetings around the UK during 2017.

These sessions are being headed up by Mike Smallbone, Membership Development Manager, and are designed to keep IAAF members up-to-date on some of the challenges, and opportunities, facing the Independent Automotive Aftermarket. These meetings are free of charge for members and are aimed typically at “middle managers” although they are of course open to any IAAF member employees who might benefit from such a session.

One of the 2016 networking meetings held at Ring

Guest speaker will be Quentin Le Hetet (GIPA UK) Quentin is an aftermarket expert who has managed numerous aftersales market intelligence projects in the UK. He will draw on GiPA’s 30 years international experience in automotive aftersales intelligence to provide insightful analysis of how the industry is moving.

Quentin will be presenting two key topics that are relevant to our industry and its future:

  • What will be the impact of extending the MOT period to four years on the UK automotive aftermarket?
  • What is the future of parts distribution in the UK?

The first of these sessions will be held at Sales–i in Solihull on Thursday 16th March starting at 10.00am and finishing at 1.00pm with lunch. Spaces are limited so booking early is advisable, and can be done by emailing Ann Silvester at the IAAF –

Further meetings will be held throughout the year, with next one being in Milton Keynes on Thursday 25th May.

For more information about this and future meetings, please contact Mike Smallbone directly on 07584 136970 or

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Westminster to trial diesel-based parking surcharge

Westminster City Council is set to trial emissions-based charging for diesel cars parking within Marylebone.

In a pilot programme to be introduced by the local authority from April 3, 2017, the charge for pay-to-park bays during normal parking hours will be raised specifically within F zone for diesel cars, some of the heaviest of polluting vehicles. This will apply to visitors into Marylebone, with resident permits remaining unchanged.

The surcharge will add 50% to the current rate of £4.90 per hour in F Zone. Customers are currently able to park and pay per minute up to a maximum of 240 minutes (4 hours), meaning charges will be 8p per minute in real terms and 12p per minute for diesels.

Marylebone suffers some of the highest pollution levels in London, given the area’s location, mix of land uses, building density and type, and number of vehicle trips. A “polluter pays” principle will have the aim of reducing harmful vehicle emissions in Marylebone and any money raised will be spent on initiatives to promote sustainable transport, says the council.

Cllr David Harvey, cabinet member for environment, sports and community said: “Residents and visitors tell us all the time that air quality is a key concern in central London and we have consulted with our partners and local stakeholders on this practical step in improving our health and wellbeing.

“We have had a positive impact and reduced vehicle emissions through our anti-idling campaign days and by encouraging sustainable and active travel.

“Additional charges for diesel vehicles will mean people think twice about using highly polluting cars and invest in cleaner transport that will make a real difference in the quality of air we breathe and our environment.”

The pilot measure is supported by local stakeholders and partners within the Marylebone Low Emission Neighbourhood including the three business improvement districts (BIDs).

Kay Buxton from the Marble Arch BID said: “As one of the three Business Improvement Districts in the Low Emission Neighbourhood, Marble Arch London is committed to improving air quality locally.

“We welcome Westminster’s first step to addressing air pollution through differential parking charges and hope to see a resultant behaviour change across the Neighbourhood, with people choosing not to bring diesel vehicles into the area.”

Marylebone’s location between major transport routes results in a complex urban air quality problem with levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) that exceed recommended health levels and very high levels of particulate matter (PM). This is particularly concerning given the number of young families, schools, universities, businesses and medical facilities in Marylebone, says the council.

The pilot 50% surcharge for diesel will also provide valuable insight into how the policy works practically and whether there are positive behavioural changes from it that could be replicated elsewhere.

The City of Westminster says it is responding to residents’ concerns about air quality and leading from the front to tackle it ahead of the Mayor of London’s implementation of the Ultra-Low Emissions Zones in 2019.

In 2017, Westminster will also see several green initiatives come into effect in the low emission neighbourhood which will help improve air quality. This includes freight consolidation and a new EV infrastructure with charging points upgraded and increased by up to 20 new outlets, including some rapid chargers. We are also encouraging more sustainable transport and will soon release our Walking Strategy report.

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Ben Blogs

Ben have published more in their series of blogs on the subject of Financial Health, giving advice to employers on what they might consider if an employee finds themselves in difficulty and another on opportunities to get fit for free.

Financial Health

Ben have pointed out that everyone will go through a tough time at some point in their lives, as a result of events such as debt, bereavement or ill health. As work and personal life can often overlap, stress and worries in one area are likely to affect the other.

Whilst an employer should normally try to avoid getting involved in an employee’s personal life, it is still possible to support them whilst they get themselves back on track.

Ben reiterates that they exist to provide support for life to the people of the automotive industry and their families. To read the full blog and download a leaflet to print off CLICK HERE.

Getting Fit on a Budget

The other blog highlights the fact that at the start of each new year many people make a resolution to get fitter or lose weight, but this can fall by the wayside because of costs and so have produced a list of alternative suggestions.

To read the whole blog, CLICK HERE.

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All lorry drivers who use satnavs should be compelled to use commercial models says LGA

The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents more than 370 councils in England and Wales, says that while the majority of lorry drivers are reputable and responsible, a minority cut corners by using cheaper satnavs designed for cars.

Villages and rural communities across the country have been blighted by a recent spate of lorry smashes, it says. For example, a historic bridge in Marlow, Bucks, had to be closed for months – with £200,000 damage – after a driver reportedly drove a truck 10 times the structure’s weight limit over it.

Lorry satnavs are like normal car satnavs, but they include bridge heights, narrow roads, and roads unsuitable for trucks. In addition, they allow the driver to enter the lorry’s dimensions – height, width, weight and load – so they are only guided along suitable roads. However, they are typically slightly more expensive than ones designed for cars.

The LGA wants councils to also be able to fine lorry drivers who flout weight restrictions. Lorries of a certain weight or width are banned from many minor roads but the police do not always have the resources to enforce the restrictions.

The Government has handed powers under the Traffic Management Act (2004) to local authorities in Wales, and London (under different legislation), to take action if lorry drivers break the law.

The LGA says councils across the country must also be given the ability to enforce weight and width restrictions where there are hotspots of abuse in their communities by issuing fines.

It wants the Government to enable councils to take enforcement action where necessary. Councils up and down the country are already working with communities to tackle the issue by organising lorry watch schemes. They are also working with freight and haulage companies to ensure that lorries use the most suitable routes and roads.

The money collected from the fines could be used towards tackling the national pothole backlog – which could reach £14 billion in two years.

LGA Transport spokesman Cllr Martin Tett said: “There has been a spate of recent accidents involving lorry drivers driving irresponsibly and causing chaos. The Government must start taking this issue more seriously and give councils the legislative tools to help their communities and other motorists.

“It is common sense that all lorry drivers should use satnavs designed for trucks, but this is only going to become a reality when it is a mandatory requirement. We are talking about a very small extra cost to drivers.

“Lorry drivers who get wedged in narrow roads or under bridges not only endanger themselves, other road users and pedestrians, but also cause massive disruption. This has a significant impact on local economies, particularly in rural areas.

“Some rural communities are fed-up with lorries ignoring weight restrictions and using their streets. The additional noise, vibration and pollution make their lives miserable.

“Councils hear these concerns and are doing everything they can to help their residents, working with communities by organising lorry watch schemes. But they are trying to take action with one hand tied behind their back and urgently need tougher powers. If a community is being plagued by problems, councils should be able to respond to their concerns by issuing fines to act as a deterrent.

“We would stress that most lorry drivers are reputable and drive responsibly. These powers would be targeted at the minority who do not follow the law. This is also about protecting the drivers’ safety as well as the safety of residents and other road users.”

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NGK sales manager, Stuart Bayne, raises more than £30,000

Charity cyclist Stuart Bayne raised more than £30,000 on his marathon ride through New Zealand.

Stuart, who is Sales Manager – North for NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd, cycled 2108km (1309 miles), climbing more than 14,000 metres, during his epic journey from Bluff at the southern tip of New Zealand’s South Island to Cape Reinga, the northern-most part of the country, to raise funds for the Down’s Syndrome Association (DSA).

His journey was made more arduous as he had to alter his route after two simultaneous major earthquakes struck north of Christchurch closing a number of roads he planned to travel on.

Stuart Bayne taking a rest during his cycle ride around New Zealand

But his fund-raising efforts were rewarded with £23,661.74 being raised for the DSA in the UK and a further $11,627 NZ (£6689.70) for the DSA in New Zealand.

Stuart, a 53-year-old father-of-three, said he is extremely grateful for the level of support that he has received, not only from major sponsors NGK UK and NGK Europe and Australia, but also from many of the company’s customers in all industry sectors, from automotive to horticultural, making specific reference to Key Skills Recruitment (Wellington/Tauranga) in New Zealand and Cobra Garden Machinery for their support.

Marko Wowczyna, Automotive Director, NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd, said: “On behalf of everyone at NGK I would like to thank all our customers who have supported Stuart. We have been raising funds for the DSA at various events all over the country and have received fantastic backing. I would also like to pay tribute to Stuart himself for surpassing his previous incredible achievement.”

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