AAG acquires Hennig Farhzeugteile

Consolidation in parts distribution continues: The Alliance Automotive Group (AAG) is to buy all the business divisions of Hennig Fahrzeugteile GmbH. The group, based in Essen, has 31 branches.

The transaction is still awaiting approval from the competition authorities, states AAG in their press release. Hennig Fahrzeugteile supplies over 9,000 customers with components for cars and commercial vehicles, predominantly to retail and independent repairers. The group’s annual turnover is over 160 million Euros.

“I am pleased that Hennig Fahrzeugteile has found a new home with the Alliance Automotive Group. Both our customers and staff will benefit from the experience and international networking within the AAG”, states Uwe Hennig who, with Stephan Klatt, will continue to manage the business of Hennig Fahrzeugteile. Christina Hennig, the third generation in the family business, added: “This merger offers an excellent perspective for our businesses.”

“We are happy to be able to welcome the Hennig Fahrzeugteile Group into the AAG organisation. With this acquisition we are starting our expansion into Germany and now have an additional competitive logistics network to supply our customers”, stated Jean-Jaques Lafont, CEO of AAG.

With a 2017 turnover of two thousand million Euro, AAG is one of the largest trade groups for car and commercial replacement parts in the independent aftermarket. Trading under the names Groupauto France, Precisiuim, Partners and Gef’Auto in France, Groupauto UK, UAN and FPS in Great Britain as well as Coler GmbH & Co KG, Bush Handelsgesellschaft mbH and Büge GmbH in Germany, AAG supplies around 1,500 regional parts distributors as well as over 26,000 workshops with over 100,000 different repair components. The business, which is headquartered in London, belongs to the US-american business Genuine Parts Company.

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Delivering the goods – Europart acquisition continues Digraph’s growth strategy

The UK’s fastest-growing commercial vehicle motor factor business, Digraph, has reached another milestone in its aggressive expansion plans with the acquisition of Oldbury-based Europart. The agreement boosts Digraph’s national infrastructure significantly, accelerating delivery times with faster, off-the-shelf deliveries to commercial vehicle fleet operators and truck and trailer repairers in the West Midlands.

Now trading as Digraph, the existing Europart team will remain in the business, ensuring customers continue to receive exceptional levels of service. The move sees Digraph further enhancing its stock portfolio by strengthening its relationship with the German-based Europart, Europe’s leading distributor of commercial vehicle parts.

Sukhbir Kapoor, chief executive officer at Digraph, commented: “The Digraph mission is to further improve off-the-shelf availability and speed of delivery to service the needs of fleet operators, commercial vehicle repairers and parts resellers. We are doing this through major investments in stock ranges, new branches, delivery fleet and support initiatives.

“Europart has a strong national presence as well as a traditional, local customer base. The acquisition enables us to provide customers nationwide with an even quicker, more efficient response from our branches as we continue to build on Digraph’s reputation for exemplary service. We are planning further investments and additions to our branch network as we continue to shake up the commercial vehicle sector.”

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Catalytic converters: advice on type approval and legal requirements for suppliers and manufacturers

The Dept. for Transport has recently published advice on the type approval and legal requirements on catalytic converters.

The information sheet outlines the strict emissions testing procedures they are required to pass and the legal requirements manufacturers and suppliers of catalytic converters have to comply with to gain approval. It gives a description of a catalytic converter and the testing procedures used, which also apply to replacement catalytic converters.

Manufacturers and suppliers of replacement catalytic converters have a legal duty to ensure the products they design, manufacture and sell comply with the applicable laws, including approval requirements governing the fitting to certain vehicles.

The approval requirements for replacement catalytic converters are set out in the Motor Vehicles (Replacement of Catalytic Converters and Pollution Control Devices) Regulations 2009.

Examples of non-compliant behaviour would include:

  • the sale of non-approved catalytic converters for vehicles that require only approved units
  • the sale of non-approved replacement diesel particulate filters (DPFs) for Euro 5 (and onwards) vehicles (a separate information sheet is provided on this subject)
  • the supply and fitment of approved catalytic converters and DPFs for and to vehicles that are not covered by the scope of the approval and not listed on the relevant approval documentation, e.g. a catalytic converter is approved to only fit manufacturer A’s vehicles, but is sold for fitment to manufacturer B’s vehicles.

The Department for Transport’s Market Surveillance Unit (MSU) will continue to check that vehicles and components available on the UK market comply with the legislative requirements to which they were approved. Manufacturers, suppliers and distributors who are found to have breached these requirements should expect to be the subject of enforcement action.

In addition to planned testing, the MSU will investigate areas of potential non-compliance that are brought to its attention and welcomes any information or concerns from within the relevant industries or from members of the public.

To contact the MSU, email: [email protected]. The information that supplied will be considered carefully by the MSU who will decide whether further investigation is needed.

Breaching the requirements of the 2009 Regulations can amount to a criminal offence, punishable by a fine of up to £5,000.

It is also an offence under the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations (Regulation 61a(3)) to use a vehicle which has been modified in such a way that it no longer complies with the air pollutant emissions standards it was designed to meet. The potential penalties for failing to comply with Regulation 61a are fines of up to £1,000 for a car or £2,500 for a light goods vehicle.

To access the full information sheet, CLICK HERE.

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ECCO Safety Group EMEA announces appointment of new Director of Operations, Giovanni Donzelli

ECCO Safety Group has appointed Giovanni Donzelli as their new Director of Operations for the EMEA region.

Giovanni joins ESG with an exceptionally strong engineering background and has 18 years of experience at strategic and operational level within production, supply chain and quality management. He has got an overall 23 years international experience in world class Engineering and Manufacturing industries.

“We are confident that Giovanni’s extensive knowledge and experience will contribute enormously to take ECCO Safety Group into the next level of growth and will move the company forward with the speed required to capitalise on the opportunities in front of us”, states Enrico Vassallo, Managing Director at ESG EMEA.

“I am really looking forward to joining the ESG team at such an exciting time in the company’s growth and will do my best to take advantage of my previous extended experience and apply it to this growing business.” said Giovanni Donzelli.

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Exol appoints new financial controller

Exol Lubricants has appointed Anthony Eddowes to the position of Financial Controller, based at the company’s head office in Wednesbury.

Eddowes, qualified as a chartered accountant, has worked in a number of accountancy practices for 15 years, before joining the metal pressings industry in 2014. In his new role at Exol, reporting directly to Finance Director, Scott Donaldson, he will be responsible for heading up the finance team and assisting in streamlining and process improvement within the finance function.

Commenting on his new role, Eddowes said: “I am delighted to have joined such a well-established business within the oil and lubricants industry. Exol supplies products to numerous countries across the globe and this brings with it various new challenges and opportunities for growth. I am enjoying being a part of such a great team of hard working people.”

Scott Donaldson, Exol Lubricants Finance director, added: “Anthony has a real passion for the oil and lubricants industry and will play an integral part in our very exciting growth plans over the next few years.”

In other Exol people news, Luke Abley has become the new Group Transport Manager. In his new role, based at Exol’s Rotherham bulk blending plant, he will be responsible for ensuring that the company remains fully legal and compliant in line with all current transport legislation.

He is also tasked with managing and implementing maintenance schedules, planning and scheduling routes, driver management, vehicle performance analysis and is currently working across a number of projects to ensure Exol meets all customers’ requirements.

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vGroup looks to grow car and van accessory fitment service with new appointment

Motor accessory provider vGroup International has appointed Ryan Godfrey to head its vComms division as it bids to expand its national mobile car and van accessory fitment service.

Godfrey, most recently vGroup International’s customer services manager, has devised a three-year plan to expand vComms in the end-user fleet and contract hire and leasing sectors. vComms will also focus on targeting dealer groups.

He said: “I am tremendously excited to progress this already developing division to sustain existing business, accelerate new opportunities and show our customers – fleets, leasing companies and dealers – the range of products, services and support we offer.

“I am very proud to be part of a world class company and privileged to be in a position to impact the way we can continue to deliver our services.”

Replacing Godfrey as head of customer service is Linda Chambers, previously a vComms account executive.

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TMD Friction appoints new regional sales director

Leading global OE manufacturer, TMD Friction, has strengthened its team with the appointment of Stephen Willis as Regional Sales Director.

With more than 28 years’ experience within the automotive aftermarket, Stephen has held a number of senior leadership positions at ZF and TRW, as well as being the former Managing Director and shareholder of Brakes Engineering Ltd, the leading UK caliper remanufacturer.

Drawing on his vast experience, Stephen will be responsible for sales and marketing for TMD Friction’s northern region, including the UK, Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Working across the Textar, Mintex, and Don brands, Stephen will define and develop the ongoing strategy for the brands to support customers’ distribution channels.

Stephen Willis, said: “With extensive experience within the aftermarket brakes industry, I am looking forward to bringing a new and dynamic approach to TMD Friction that will feed into the overall company strategy.”

The new role will see Stephen working closely with Robert Lightfoot, Executive Director Sales and Marketing Europe at TMD Friction, and his team to ensure consistent and effective messaging throughout all marketing and sales activity.

Robert Lightfoot, said: “Stephen is a welcome and valued addition to the TMD Friction team. His considerable experience within the automotive aftermarket, combined with his proven leadership skills will be a further factor in our commitment to consolidating our position as the leading premium braking producer.”

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Comline features in The Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200 for third consecutive year

Comline Auto Parts Ltd. (Comline) has featured in the prestigious Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200 league table for a third year in succession.

Renowned as an independent British distributor of European, Japanese and Korean replacement car parts, Comline’s inclusion for a third consecutive year (2016, 2017 and 2018) comes off the back of significant and sustained international growth during this period. This has been spearheaded by the ongoing success of Comline filters and by the brand’s braking range, plus its continued diversification into categories, such as steering & suspension.

Marketing and Communications Manager, Leigh Davies, said: “Comline works hard to bring its product to market in more than 40 countries worldwide and that number continues to grow. This International Track 200 hat-trick is testament to the collective efforts of our staff and our network of customers in the UK and across the globe.”

Amanda Murphy, Head of Commercial Banking, HSBC UK (the league table sponsor), said: “We at HSBC UK are delighted to back The Sunday Times International Track 200 again this year. All the businesses it showcases have truly inspiring stories to tell about creativity, resilience and ambition to succeed. The 47 companies in the southeast of England are putting the region firmly on the map. They are the kinds of enterprises we are thrilled to support and that provide the backbone of our economy, today and tomorrow.”

Published within the business section of The Sunday Times on June 10th, the esteemed HSBC International Track 200 table is currently in its ninth edition and ranks Britain’s privately-owned companies by their individual international sales growth. This hotlist is sponsored by HSBC and compiled by research and events company Fast Track.

This momentous treble for Comline emphasises the brand’s growth credentials and underlines exactly why it is currently respected as one of the fastest growing automotive brands in Europe.

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Two German VMs in the news on fallout from Diesel scandal

The German government has ordered car maker Daimler to recall 238,000 vehicles in Germany after they were found to be fitted with illegal software that masks diesel emissions.

Across Europe a total of 774,000 diesel vehicles contain “defeat devices” and Daimler said it would recall them all.

The diesel versions of the Mercedes C-Class, Vito and GLC models are the main ones affected, the ministry said.

Daimler said it would refit the software but denied any wrongdoing.

German transport minister Andreas Scheuer said the ministry and Daimler had “negotiated intensively for many hours” on Monday.

Afterwards he said the ministry had ordered the “immediate” recall of Daimler models in Germany because they contained “illegal shutdown devices”.

“Daimler states that it will, at maximum speed and with co-operative transparency with the authorities, remove the applications in the engine control system which the government objects to,” he said.

The Transport Ministry only has authority to force the recall of vehicles within Germany.

Daimler refused to elaborate on where the other vehicles would be recalled. It also said the legality of the software would still need to be clarified.

Earlier Daimler chairman, Dieter Zetsche, had said a technical solution had been found to the software problems and that he did not expect the company to be fined.

VW fined 1 Billion Euros

In a separate matter, the Volkswagen Group has been fined £880 million (1 billion Euros) by German prosecutors over its diesel emissions scandal.

The public prosecutor found Volkswagen had sold more than 10 million cars between mid-2007 and 2015 that had emissions-test cheating software installed.

Volkswagen chief executive Herbert Diess said the company was not planning to appeal against the fine and that by accepting the fine, “Volkswagen takes responsibility for the diesel crisis”.

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Tough regulations brought in to crack down on emissions cheats

Carmakers will face heavy fines if they supply vehicles designed to cheat emissions tests to the UK, the government has announced.

Under tough new regulations, manufacturers could be forced to pay up to £50,000 for each new vehicle found to be fitted with a so-called ‘defeat device’.

The rules have been brought in following a government consultation which saw overwhelming support for measures to crack down on emissions cheats.

This comes following the publication of the government’s Clean Air Strategy, which set out a range of measures to tackle air pollution. And the government will outline further steps as part of its Road to Zero Strategy, which will set out how the UK will transition to zero emission vehicles.

Transport Minister Jesse Norman said:

There has rightly been a huge public outcry against car manufacturers that have been cheating on emissions standards. Their behaviour has been dishonest and deplorable.

These tough new regulations are designed to ensure that those who cheat will be held to proper account in this country, legally and financially, for their actions.

The Road Vehicles (Defeat Device, Fuel Consumption and Type Approval) Regulations 2018 will be laid in Parliament before coming into force on 1 July 2018.

This announcement comes alongside the government’s commitment to end the sale of conventional new diesel and petrol cars and vans by 2040 and follows the publication of the UK’s air quality plan for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) last year.

Following revelations in 2015 that Volkswagen had been using software which caused their car engines to behave differently during emissions tests, the Department for Transport tested a range of the most popular diesel vehicles in the UK. This found that no other manufacturer tested was using a similar strategy to Volkswagen.

Volkswagen reimbursed the British taxpayer £1.1 million for the costs of this programme.

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