People News

Alex Wells has joined Aftermarket magazine as editor

Alex is a familiar face in the industry. Prior to joining Aftermarket he ran a number of magazines in the industry including Garage & Bodyshop Professional and Automotive Industry Magazine as well as BODY Magazine, covering the crash repair sector. He has been a regular contributor to a wide range of other sector titles over the years as well.

Alex Wells, the new editor of Aftermarket

He is also an author. His book detailing the history of the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMI) commemorated the organisation’s centenary.

Commenting on his new role, Alex says: “Aftermarket is a great publication. I’ve greatly admired it as a reader over the years and I’m delighted to be its new editor. There are many challenges ahead for the sector and it is vital that the leading publication in the industry covers the serious issues facing garages and suppliers. I will make sure Aftermarket continues to be the destination publication for news and views in our industry.”

He adds: “I’m looking forward to getting out and seeing everyone with my new Aftermarket hat on.”

Alex can be reached by email on [email protected]

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How gas could power the future for long-distance HGVs

Supermarket chain Waitrose has begun using what is claimed to be Europe’s most advanced fleet of compressed natural gas (CNG) trucks. The 10 Scanias use twin, carbon fibre fuel tanks which store gas at a higher than average pressure of 250 bar, and claim a 500 mile range (up from what was previously around 300 for a CNG truck), 40% lower fuel costs and 70% lower CO2 emissions.

The fuel has previously struggled to gain a foothold in the UK: range issues, reliability concerns about dual-fuel vehicles and the lack of a refuelling infrastructure have prevented widespread usage by the British freight sector.

Plans are in hand to change that as Todd Sloan, Senior Vice President of Innovation and Global Business Development at Agility Fuel Solutions – which co-developed the technology behind the Waitrose trucks – explains. “There’s no opportunity on earth quite like the UK when it comes to natural gas vehicles,” he said. “There have been a few studies published that show that biomethane could support, especially on heavy truck and bus vehicles, enough energy through and beyond 2050.”

“What’s really unique about the UK is you have an incredible gas pipeline network; you’ve got one heading up the east coast, one running up the west coast, with ladders in-between. And you have all this bio-waste, including what they’re calling the ‘black bag waste’ – all the other stuff you’re left with when you remove the recyclables and the food waste – that ‘other stuff’ can actually be incinerated and turned into biomethane. On top of that is a mandate, at government level, to reduce or eliminate landfills; this all means the UK has the ability to support biomethane fuel for heavy truck and bus – and that’s where biggest bang per buck is from an environmental perspective.”

If gas can flourish anywhere in the UK, it’s in the refuse sector. London’s Camden Council is about to replace a series of existing Euro 5 CNG trucks with 15 new, Euro 6 Mercedes-Benz Econic models, which will be run by environmental firm Veolia. According to Bryan, Leeds City Council also runs gas refuse trucks, and both local authorities source their gas from the mains. “There’s a lot of focus, especially in other boroughs of London, on the success of the Camden vehicles,” adds Bryan, “[the gas trucks are] a lot quieter, so potentially it means they could run through the night in London.”

Bryan claims quieter trucks could allow for more overnight deliveries in urban areas, but adds that the infrastructure needs to improve before most operators can realistically consider CNG: “a gas vehicle does cost more, it’s low volume, so the capital cost of the vehicle is higher. It’s doable, though, and there are gas companies out there now that are pushing their wares and trying to get that infrastructure in, with different ways of funding it, but it involves a buy-in with all parties; we can supply the vehicles, they’ve just got to sort the gas supply out, and if they can do that in a way that doesn’t have that much impact on the capital cost to the customer, that’s when the gas infrastructure will grow. But at the moment, everyone thinks it will cost £300,000 for [their own] gas plant.”

Work is underway to broaden the UK’s gas infrastructure. “We’re looking to build a minimum of four to six stations every year,” says Philip Fjeld, CEO of CNG Fuels, which specialises in renewable gas infrastructure. “These are large capacity stations which are going to be on the M1, M6, M4, M5 etc – basically trunking hotspots and corridors where some of the large fleets have vehicles going up and down there every single day of the year.

“Currently, there are somewhere between five to 10 stations in the UK but not all of them are truly public access; some you need an agreement in order to enter and you can’t just get an account and turn up 24/7. But, I’m aware of other companies that have plans for smaller capacity stations [and] the more refuelling infrastructure that is put in place, the easier it is for fleets to adopt. Probably, by next year, that five to 10 will have doubled.”

If the UK’s fuelling infrastructure gets off the ground, then gas may stand a chance – but it’s likely to remain small scale until then. Even so, small steps are happening. In addition to Waitrose, freight and logistics operator Howard Tenens is about to run two gas-powered Scania rigids with funding from government’s Low Emission Freight and Logistics Trial, while Renault Trucks will debut a series of gas-powered Range D models at the at the International Transport and Logistics Week trade show in Paris. Vehicle ranges are improving too, Iveco launched the gas-powered Stralis NP truck in 2016 which can achieve a claimed 1,500 kilometres from one fill, while Sloane says there’s a potential quick fix to get HGVs over the 1000 kilometre mark.

“It’s a behind-the-cab version of the fuel system and we’re asking government officials in the UK for an exemption on total wheelbase length. If we can get, say, one metre of extra wheelbase, we could put CNG systems behind the cab and increase the driving range to well over 1,000km – and that’s a very cost-effective system that would have a return on investment within two years.”

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Long distance hybrid from Volvo Trucks

Volvo first unveiled its concept truck in May 2016, but has enhanced it with improvements in aerodynamics, rolling resistance and reduced weight. The new version also features a hybrid powertrain – one of the first of its kind for heavy-duty trucks in long-haul applications – developed from the company’s popular hybrid bus range. The manufacturer claims that CO2 emissions have been reduced by up to 30%, along with improved fuel economy.

“We strive to be at the forefront of electro-mobility and to constantly push the limits when it comes to reducing fuel consumption and emissions,” says Claes Nilsson, CEO at Volvo Trucks. “Over the coming years, as society moves more and more towards renewable energy, we strongly believe that electro-mobility and hybrid technology will become increasingly important. With the concept truck we will gain valuable knowledge and experience, which will help us develop the technology further.”

The hybrid powertrain works by recovering energy when driving downhill on slopes steeper than 1% or when braking. The recovered energy is stored in the vehicle’s batteries and used to power the truck in electric mode on flat roads or low gradients. A version of Volvo Trucks’ driver support system I-See has also been created especially for the hybrid powertrain. This analyses upcoming topography to calculate the most economical and efficient choice between the diesel engine and the electric motor, in addition to the optimal time to use the recovered energy.

In long-haul transportation, Volvo claims the hybrid powertrain will allow the combustion engine to be shut off for up to 30% of the driving time. This will save between 5-10% of fuel, depending on the vehicle type or specification and its drive cycle. It also offers the ability to drive in full electric mode for up to 10 kilometres, enabling the vehicle to operate with zero emissions and low noise.

Using hybrid technology, the potential reduction in fuel and emissions is considerable and an important step towards reaching both our and society’s environmental goals for the future,” said Lars Mårtensson, Director Environment and Innovation, Volvo Trucks.

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New technical programme announced for workshops at Automechanika Birmingham

Automechanika Birmingham 2017, the UK’s biggest exhibition for the automotive aftermarket and supply chain takes place 6-8 June 2017.

Over 800 quality exhibitors, will provide product launches, great deals on garage and diagnostic equipment, parts and tools at an event which will be 70% bigger than in 2016.

The Workshop Training Zone provides two exciting elements for workshops; Technical Talks and the Interactive Workshop.

Technical Talks
Industry speakers include; Frank Massey, James Dillon, Andy Crook and Peter Coombes who will spearhead a programme of technical sessions, training and advice to address the most pressing issues facing workshop technicians.

The talks and live demonstrations will cover;
• Diagnostics & connectivity
• ADAS calibration
• Battery technology
• Diesel engines
• Hybrid & electric vehicles
• Tyres & TPMS

Further presentations will be delivered from the likes of Ralf Pelkmann from TecAlliance, Thijs Jasink from AcTronics, Neil Hilton from HELLA, experts from Dayco and more to be confirmed.

Interactive Workshop
After listening to presentations, visitors can see what they’ve just learnt in action in the Interactive workshop. See live demonstrations from the likes of AcTronics, Bartec Auto ID, Delphi, ECOBAT, HELLA, The IMI & Bosch Training and many others.

Automechanika Birmingham is the must attend event for workshop owners and technicians.

Find out more and register free now.

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Vehicle Safety Recalls: February 2017

These are the vehicles, parts or accessories recalled by manufacturers for a safety reason during February 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
R/2016/268 Toyota: Dyna Fuel may leak leading to engine cut out
R/2016/285 Iveco: Stralis Hi-Way, AS/AS-L, Hi-Road and Hi-Street Brakes may not perform as intended
R/2016/292 Vauxhall: Adam, Corsa D and Corsa E Steering rack may fracture
R/2016/294 Audi: A4 Front backrest may not perform correctly
R/2016/297 Jaguar: XE (2 litre diesel engine) Fuel may leak
R/2016/298 Mercedes-Benz: C-Class Flammable vapour may ignite
R/2016/299 Mercedes-Benz: ML/GL/GLE/GLS & GLE Front passenger airbag may be deactivated
R/2017/002 Volvo Car: V40CC, V60CC, V90, XC60, S60CC, XC90, V40, S60, S90 and V60 One or more airbags may fail to deploy in the event of a collision
R/2017/003 Mercedes-Benz: Acros 963, Antos 963 & Aroc 964 Steering may not perform as expected
R/2017/008 Mercedes-Benz: Citan Loss of brake fluid
R/2017/009 Ford: Ranger Automatic transmission may not operate  as intended
R/2017/011 BMW: i8, 2,3,4,5,6, X1, M4 & Mini Clubman Airbags may not deploy
R/2017/012 Mercedes-Benz: ML/GL Front and/or rear axle bolts may not be tightened correctly
R/2017/013 Renault: Trafic III Incorrect tyre pressure label and spare wheel fitted
R/2017/014 Renault: Master II Platform Cab (with tipper conversion) Side board may detach
R/2017/015 Porsche: 911 Carrera & 718 Front side airbags may be impaired
R/2017/018 Citroen: DS5 Directional control may be affected
R/2017/021 Vauxhall: Corsa D Short circuit may occur
R/2017/043 Volvo Truck: FL & FE3 Rear axle suspension may become insecure
R/2017/044 Volvo Truck: FL & FE Drag link joints may be incorrectly torqued
R/2017/047 Lamborghini: Aventador (Coupè, Roadster), Veneno (Coupè, Roadster) and Aventador J Risk of fire
R/2017/052 BMW: X1 Airbag may not deploy
R/2017/057 Citroen: Spacetourer, Dispatch IV Fuel may leak
R/2017/058 Citroen: Spacetourer, Dispatch IV Brake servo may be insecure
R/2017/059 Peugeot: Traveller, Expert IV Reduction in braking effort due to air in the servo
R/2017/060 Citroen: Spacetourer, Dispatch Unexpected airbag deployment
R/2017/061 Peugeot: Traveller, Expert Unexpected airbag deployment
R/2017/062 Peugeot: Traveller, Expert IV Fuel may leak around fuel filler neck
R/2017/063 Citroen: Spacetourer, Dispatch IV Wheel may detach
R/2017/064 Peugeot: Traveller, Expert IV Wheel may detach
R/2017/065 Citroen: Spacetourer, Dispatch IV Malfunctions in electrical systems
R/2017/066 Peugeot: Traveller Malfunctions in electrical systems
R/2017/067 Citroen: Spacetourer, Dispatch IV Front shock absorber may fail
R/2017/068 Peugeot: Traveller and Expert IV Unexpected airbag deployment
R/2017/070 Citroen: Spacetourer, Dispatch IV Unexpected airbag deployment
R/2017/071 Citroen: Spacetourer, Dispatch IV Steering bolts may not be tightened correctly
R/2017/072 Peugeot: Traveller and Expert IV Steering bolts may be tightened incorrectly
R/2017/074 Peugeot: Traveller and Expert IV Reduction in braking effort due to air in the servo
R/2017/080 Mercedes-Benz: Citan Steering column may fracture
RM/2017/001 BMW Motorcycles: G650 GS & G650 GS Sertao Engine may cut out
RM/2017/002 Ducati: Scrambler Engine may cut out
RM/2017/003 Triumph: Bonneville T120 & Bonneville T120 Black Unintended acceleration

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FPS goes gold

FPS sponsored athlete, Andrew Pozzi, won gold in the 60m hurdles at the European Indoor Athletics Championships in Belgrade on 3rd March
FPS has sponsored local Stratford-upon-Avon hurdler, Andrew Pozzi, since 2011, and Andrew has even done work experience with the marketing team. Since then, the company has closely followed the highs and lows of his GB senior career, and are delighted for Andrew in winning one of 5 gold medals for Team GB at the European Indoor Athletics Championships.

FPS Managing Director, Neil Davis, commented “Andrew is a real example to us all. He has had major injuries and multiple operations, but always believed he would realise his potential. He has worked so hard in the face of adversity and we are really pleased for him to win this gold medal which recognises him as the best in Europe.“

It was a closely fought race – Andrew finished just 0.01 seconds in front of the defending champion, France’s Pascal Martinot-Lagarde. Andrew commented, “It has been a long old road and I wasn’t sure I’d ever get to the level I wanted to be at, so to win with grit and determination, I’m over the moon.”

Andrew returned to racing shortly before the Rio Olympics, getting as far as the semi-finals. This year, we’ve seen Andrew not only return to his previous form but improve upon it, achieving a personal best indoor time of 7.43 seconds at the Birmingham Indoor Grand Prix in February.

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Budget News

Changes to tax treatment of diesel vehicles to be announced in the autumn

The Chancellor Philip Hammond has put the fleet industry on alert after announcing that he expects to reveal changes to the tax treatment of diesel vehicles in the autumn.

He said that the Government was committed to improving air quality, and will consult on a detailed draft plan in the spring which will set out how the UK’s air quality goals will be achieved.

Alongside this, he said it will “continue to explore the appropriate tax treatment for diesel vehicles, and will engage with stakeholders ahead of making any tax changes at Autumn Budget 2017”.
Energy and transport taxes

From 1 April 2017, VED rates for cars, vans and motorcycles registered before April 2017 will increase by Retail Prices Index (RPI).

Meanwhile, HGV VED and Road User Levy rates will be frozen from April 1, 2017. A call for evidence on updating the existing HGV Road User Levy will also be launched this spring.

The Government says it will work with industry to update the Levy so that it rewards hauliers that plan their routes efficiently, to incentivise the efficient use of roads and improve air quality.

Hammond had previously announced the continuing freeze in fuel duty in Autumn Statement 2016.

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First IAAF Industry Briefing Session of 2017 fully booked

The IAAF is running a series of 7 Industry Briefing Meetings around the UK during 2017 and is extremely pleased with the interest in the first of these which is to be held at Sales-i in Solihull on Thursday 16th March.  This is now fully booked.

The 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.

The 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?

Further meetings will be held throughout the year, with next one being in Milton Keynes on Thursday 25th May.  To book for the second meeting, please email Ann Silvester at the IAAF.

For more information about this and future meetings, please contact Mike Smallbone directly on 07584 136970 or [email protected].

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Counterfeit SKF bearings seized in West Yorkshire raid

SKF has participated in a raid against a company trading counterfeit bearings in the West Yorkshire area.

A raid, led by members of the West Yorkshire Trading Standards authority alongside staff from SKF’s Brand Protection Team, has resulted in the seizure of counterfeit bearings which otherwise could have been sold on to unsuspecting industrial customers and end-users. Several thousands of bearings, of more than 170 different types and sizes were seized, with an estimated total weight of 1.5 tons. A wide range of products was seized, including items used in automotive applications as well as industrial machinery.

During the raid, SKF learned that counterfeit goods had been sold on to many customers in the UK by the non-authorised distributor. Bearings from other brands, allegedly sourced from the same suppliers as the counterfeit SKF products, are also suspected to be non-genuine.

Every year, SKF’s Brand Protection Team participates in more than 100 raids against retailers, distributors and manufacturers of counterfeit products across all continents.

Saim Manto, Brand Protection Manager, SKF Group Brand Protection, says: “Counterfeit industrial products are present in all markets across the globe and we see cases from across all sectors, from power generation to high-performance motorbikes. Just this year, in Europe alone, we have pursued counterfeit cases in the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and Poland.”

The financial damage to dealers resulting from the sale of counterfeit products is difficult to quantify. However, lost sales and reputational damage are very likely outcomes for those dealers who are involved in this illegal trade.

Paul Dysiewicz, SKF’s Engineering Manager, says: “Counterfeit industrial products like bearings are still a major concern for our UK customers who purchase them in good faith, believing them to be the genuine article. Customers who accidentally purchase counterfeit products are being cheated financially, risk damage to their machinery and incur expensive downtime as a result. They may also be liable to third party damages. We always recommend that, in order to safeguard authenticity, customers carefully select their supplier and always source their SKF bearings from trusted, authorised distributors.”

SKF has made significant efforts to increase market awareness of the existence of counterfeit bearings and the related risks for users. Distinguishing a counterfeit bearing from an authentic SKF bearing often requires expertise. Customers that suspect they might have been sold counterfeit products should use the SKF Authenticate app for smartphones to take and send photos of suspect products directly to SKF for verification. The app can be downloaded for free from the Apple App Store or Google Play. They can also e-mail pictures of the suspected bearings to [email protected]

All premium brands are affected by counterfeit products. SKF, along with other bearing manufacturers affected by counterfeiting, are working to fight against this problem and have launched a counterfeit awareness campaign through the umbrella organisation, World Bearing Association (WBA). The campaign aims to make customers aware of the risks and problems with counterfeits. More information can be found at

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Mercedes to recall 75,000 UK cars over fire risk

Cars made between 2015 and 2017 may be affected with problem starter components that overheat

Daimler is to recall around 75,000 Mercedes-Benz cars in the UK and one million cars worldwide after around 50 fires were reported.

No injuries or deaths have yet been recorded.

The fault is reported to affect the fuse in some of its A, B, C, and E-class cars as well as its CLA, GLA and GLC vehicles and could cause them to overheat when starting the car.

A fix has been implemented in the production of new vehicles and for cars already currently on dealer forecourts.

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