Euro Car Parts brought the heat to Ford Fair 2019

Euro Car Parts’ specialist performance parts division showcased its latest products at Ford Fair 2019 on the 4th of August. Hosted at Silverstone Circuit, Ford Fair is Europe’s biggest and best Ford festival, attracting around 4,000 different clubs from across the UK.

This year, Euro Car Parts partnered with suppliers WD40, who brought their Fiesta rally car, and U-POL with its custom Ford Ranger Raptor; both of which were at the stand for attendees to see up close.

Euro Car Parts also had a number of products on display for popular performance Ford ST and RS models, including the new Fiesta ST and Focus ST. Product and performance experts were on-hand throughout the day to answer any burning questions from enthusiasts.

“From induction kits and high-performance brakes to lowering springs and exhausts, we offer performance upgrades for a wide variety of Ford models. We have parts from the best brands – even for the latest models. With close links to brands like H&R, Bilstein, Milltek, Brembo, K&N and a continuously expanding range, we are your perfect partner in performance,” explains Helen Robinson, marketing director at Euro Car Parts.

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Memorial Service for Kevin Shortis

Kevin Shortis sadly passed away in June after a short illness, at which time there was a small funeral for family and close friends, due mainly to the local village church being very small.

The family received many comments, typified by one: “Your father was a charming character and one of the founding fathers of the business we all work in today.”

Therefore, to celebrate his life and all he did for the industry, a memorial service is to be held at Norwich Cathedral on 13th September 2019. The family is hoping that the great and good of the industry will attend. Over the years, Kevin Shortis would have met most of them and although the family has endeavoured to reach out to many of them, it has not been possible to reach some due to changes to email addresses and people moving on to different roles.

The family has asked that if any members of the industry would like to attend the memorial service in Norwich on 13th September, they should contact Richard Shortis to enable numbers to be calculated.

To download full details of the service, click on the link below.

Kevin Shortis Memorial

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Phil O’Brien retires

After 41 years in the automotive industry and 25 years with the IFA, Phil O’Brien of York Motor Factors has retired. At its July meeting the IFA presented Phil with a gift in recognition of his contributions over the years.

Phil gave a short speech summarising his time with York Motor Factors.

The business was started in 1969 by Bill and Mary O’Brien and Phil joined in 1978 with a temporary position as a van driver, until he found a ‘proper job’.

York Motor Factors joined the IFA in May 1994 and this has acted as a catalyst for the business in many ways over the next few decades.

Phil served his time on the board with his usual integrity and never lost his enthusiasm to get the best from every interaction. Every role as Product Manager was handed to Phil knowing he would always strive to get the best for everyone involved. Liked and respected by suppliers and members alike, he steps down from YMF, leaving it in better shape than ever with Barry and their competent, motivated team to keep up their highest standards of customer care and service.

“We will all miss Phil’s contribution”, said Tim Whittaker, IFA Marketing Director. “He always looked for a positive angle from every situation. ‘Together we are better’ he would say, (unless it involved skiing with other IFA members, where I’m confident he felt the complete opposite!)

We all wish Phil and Michelle a very long and happy retirement.

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Melett appoints Darren Johnson as Head of Sales

Melett has promoted Darren Johnson to the role of Head of Sales having previously occupied the position of Sales Manager.

Johnson has been with the company since 2012, having first joined as a Sales Engineer for UK, Ireland, Scandinavia and the Netherlands. In just over a year, he became Sales Manager, where he occupied the role for more than six years.

Johnson is tasked with managing the Melett sales team along with growing and developing sales of Melett products across a number of territories and through various partners.

As an expert in his field, Johnson attends many conferences and events and recently gave a keynote presentation to visitors of ReMaTec. He examined the increased parts proliferation in the turbo market and how the level of investment required to produce a comprehensive aftermarket range becomes prohibitive. As a consequence, he said, “the opportunities for remanufacturing and specialist expertise in turbochargers increase.”

Commenting on his new position, Johnson said: “We’ve a great team here at Melett and I’m looking forward to pushing the company forward with new ideas and ensuring we take advantage of the opportunities in the turbocharger reman market. As there is an ever-greater reliance on our customers – to have the specialist equipment and expertise – we also recognise the crucial role Melett plays in supporting them to offer the very highest level of turbocharger repairs.”

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Bloodhound entrepreneur Noble keynote speaker at IAAF Conference

The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) is delighted to announce that record breaker and entrepreneur Richard Noble OBE will be the keynote speaker at its 2019 Annual Conference on 5 December, due to take place for the third year running at DoubleTree by Hilton, Milton Keynes.

Motivational speaker Noble, who was founding Director of The Bloodhound Project, is known for developing high-risk ventures, including the Thrust2 programme which brought the World Land Speed Record back to Britain in 1983 and the 1997 Thrust SSC first-ever supersonic land speed record programme.

His life story, described as a gripping roller-coaster of the unexpected and the unbelievable, is also a tale of great struggles and success mixed with disappointment and failure. As a risk taker, he has lived life on a precarious edge, submerged in debts and battling to make ends meet, counteracted by his resilient gung-ho enthusiasm, determination and ingenuity to achieve world records that were deemed to be impossible.

That same grit and visionary approach saw him establish the Bloodhound project in 2008 – to build and develop the world’s first 1000mph car.

Noble will share his inspiring story and unique insight with delegates attending the conference, where technology will play the central theme. He joins an impressive list of top industry speakers, due to be announced shortly.

Wendy Williamson, IAAF chief executive said: “We’re delighted to have secured Richard for this year’s Conference; our members will no doubt be gripped by his extraordinary achievements as a pioneering explorer and the incredible stories around developing the Bloodhound Project. He is part of what is going to be an extremely impressive line-up of speakers from across the industry, and the audience will be treated to a thoroughly absorbing and enjoyable day.”

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IAAF Golf Days 2019 – last chance to enter a team at The Abbey Redditch

The second of the IAAF’s two golf days is taking place at The Abbey Hotel & Golf Course, Redditch on 15th August 2019.

If you would like to enter a team of four players, or as an individual, you should contact the IAAF as soon as possible.

The overall winning team from across the two days’ play at The Abbey and the earlier event at Worsley Park will be invited to the IAAF’s Annual Dinner in December where they will be presented with their trophy.

The cost per team of four will be £360 per team plus vat and the cost for individuals will be £95 plus VAT per person. This includes:

  • Bacon Sandwich and coffee/Tea on arrival
  • 18 Holes of golf
  • Evening meal served after golf
  • Presentation of prizes to the winners on the day

The Company Team Challenge will be a four ball format whereby the best two scores on each hole will score and on all par three holes all four scores will count.

Joe Richardson is again kindly organising these events on behalf of the IAAF and BEN.

To enter please phone the IAAF Office on 0121 748 4600 or email anns@iaaf.co.uk.

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BBIF urges aftermarket to help promote battery industry

The British Battery Industry Federation (BBIF) is calling upon the automotive industry to join its ranks and lend support to its campaign after meeting with Government to discuss misrepresentation of batteries.

The Product Enforcement Team at the Office for Product and Safety Standards, part of The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), convened with representatives of the BBIF to address them on the subject of misrepresentation of batteries, giving a brief outline of how the unit had been set up and was now operating, including how the system operated when an issue was raised.

The current processes for reporting and dealing with instances where batteries in particular might be misrepresented were outlined and members present were invited to seek clarification on various points.

In particular, concerns were expressed regarding mislabelling of batteries, an over-rating of capacity on automotive batteries, misrepresentation of performance and type of technology of batteries, and the apparent lack of penalties imposed for contravening regulations.

It was generally agreed that greater compliance would be achieved if it were obvious that penalties would be imposed for infringing regulations. The outcome of the meeting was the agreement between both parties to work closely together to ensure compliance across the marketplace.

The BBIF was formed in 2010 from the merger of the Society for the British Battery Industry and the Independent Battery Distributors Association and represents the automotive and industrial battery industry in the UK. Its members include automotive and industrial battery manufacturers, importers, distributors, suppliers, and battery related companies and individuals, all unified in making a positive contribution to a sustainable environment.

The Federation, also a member of the Automotive Aftermarket Liaison Group, has over the last year been involved in intense lobbying in conjunction with the Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF), resulting in the exclusion of batteries from the Offensive Weapons Act, thus avoiding significant implications for the UK aftermarket.

Paul Ross, BBIF Chairman said: “We are delighted that the Federation is really starting to make headway with its key objectives for the automotive, leisure, mobility and industrial sectors, proven with the recent success involving the Offensive Weapons Bill and now through our recent activity with the Government to ensure compliance in battery misrepresentation.

“Now with this momentum in full swing, we would like to hear from representatives from the aftermarket who would be interested in becoming a BBIF member, so we can ensure our voice in support of the sector is heard loud and clear.”

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Company car registration date could cost drivers dear

In its long-awaited response to the review of company car tax, HM Treasury announced it was binning previously published BIK rates for 2020/21, in an effort to mitigate more accurate, and as a result higher, vehicle CO2 emissions shown in the Worldwide harmonised Light vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP).

Instead, it revealed two new BIK tables for company car drivers: one for those driving a company car registered after April 6, 2020, based on WLTP CO2 figures, and one for those driving a company car registered before the same date, based on NEDC-correlated CO2 figures.

Despite a new eye-catching rate of 0% for pure electric vehicles (EVs) from April 2020, some company car drivers could face a year-on-year increase of more than 10%, while others could be paying hundreds of pounds more to drive exactly the same company car as a colleague.

WLTP impact on CO2
Fleets had already seen CO2 values increase by 10% or between 10-15g/km, on average, for cars tested under the old NEDC emissions testing regime compared with NEDC-correlated figures derived from the new WLTP value, resulting in higher tax bills.

However, evidence provided by manufacturers showed that more than 50% of cars would also see an increase from NEDC-correlated emissions to WLTP values, of between 10% and 20%, when they would be used for tax purposes for cars registered after April 6, 2020.

Under HM Treasury’s original rates, in 2020/21 the BIK percentage would have increased from 29% to 30%, equating to a new annual charge of £1,538.40 – a 3.5% year-on-year rise.

The new BIK table for cars registered before April 6, 2020, maintains that 30% rate for the next three tax years, up to and including 2022/23.

However, if a fleet replaces that Golf with an identical model next April, the driver would incur a 32% BIK rate due to the higher WLTP-calculated CO2 figure, resulting in a year-on-year increase of more than £150 or 10.5%.

Furthermore, two drivers could have exactly the same model registered days apart, but one would pay £102 more than their colleague during the same tax year (2020/21) thanks to the different tax rates and CO2 emissions calculations the Government intends to employ.

The disparity would also grow year-on-year; by £153 in 2021/22 and by more than £200 the following year.

There are similar discrepancies for a 40% taxpayer; take a BMW 320d M Sport, for example. It has a NEDC-correlated value of 118g/km, with a WLTP range from 133-139g/km, almost an 18% increase at the upper end. The original 2020/21 rates would have resulted in the BIK rate increasing from 31% to 32%, equating to a new annual charge of £4,655.36 – a year-on-year increase of just over 3%.

The new BIK table for cars registered before April 6, 2020, maintains that 32% rate for the next three tax years, up to and including 2022/23.

However, replace that car with exactly the same model next April, at 139g/km (WLTP) it attracts a BIK rate of 34% and, with a P11D price of £36,370, leaving the driver facing an increase of almost 10% or more than £430, year-on-year.

Furthermore, two drivers could have exactly the same model registered days apart, but one would pay £290 more than their colleague during the same tax year (2020/21) thanks to the different tax rates.

The disparity would again grow year-on-year; to £430 in 2021/22 and to £580 the following year.

WLTP not tax neutral
The 4% diesel supplement stays, with RDE2-compliant diesels exempt from the charge.

Fleets started taking delivery of the first RDE2 diesel cars earlier this year, with manufacturers promising that more models will follow.

EV company car drivers were already looking forward to a much reduced rate of 2% for 2020/21; the 0% BIK tax rate will now mean they pay no company car tax at all for 12 months from next April. The rate for zero emission cars then increases to 1% in 2021/22 and 2% in 2022/23.

For a 20% tax-payer, driving a Nissan Leaf 62kw e+ Tekna, with a P11D price of £39,340, their company car tax bill will fall by £1,259 from April, 2020.

The BIK rate was due to fall to 2%, before the new rates were published, so there was already a significant saving to be had by choosing a zero emission car.

HMRC statistics published days before Treasury issued the new tax tables show that in 2016/17 – the last available data set – less than 1% drove a zero emission car while 3% had a car with emissions between 1-50g/km of CO2.

Carmakers have already seen demand for alternative fuel vehicles outstripping supply and the situation may not improve anytime soon due to a lack of batteries.

Car vs Cash
The lack of long-term tax rates for company cars and the impact of WLTP have been cited by the fleet industry for more employees choosing cash over a car.

Indeed, BIK statistics released in the past few weeks show a 50,000 decline in the number of company car drivers, down from 940,000 to 890,000.

HMRC said initial analysis suggests a new way of reporting company car tax for some employers may have “significantly” skewed the figures.

However, the Government dismissed claims WLTP was to blame. The Treasury said: “Significant evidence was not provided (from the consultation) to suggest that WLTP will cause individuals to opt-out of company cars, or that these individuals would substitute for higher emitting models in the private market.”

It has also now provided a view of future company car tax rates up until April 2023.

It says that “by providing clarity of future appropriate percentages, businesses will have the ability to make more informed decisions about how they make the transition to zero emission fleets”.

It added that rates beyond 2022-23 remain “under review and will be announced at future fiscal events”.

“The Government aims to announce appropriate percentages at least two years ahead of implementation to provide certainty for employers, employees and fleet operators,” The Treasury has said.

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Summer tax incentive for parents

Our colleagues at Xecutive Search have drawn our attention to the fact that HMRC is reminding parents and employers of the benefits of Tax-Free Childcare (TFC), especially over the school summer holidays. Might your employees be missing out on a government freebie?

The holiday season is here and with this in mind HMRC has begun a campaign to remind parents of the tax break for childcare. In its latest Employer Bulletin, it asks employers to help by publicising Tax-Free Childcare (TFC) accounts to their workers, many of whom will be asking for time off to look after their youngsters in the school holidays.

In an unusual display of benevolence, HMRC says that it’s raising awareness of the tax break because its research shows that it’s being underused, particularly for ad-hoc childcare.

TFC accounts aren’t only for regular childcare costs. They can also be used to pay for after-school care and to help over the school summer holidays, for example. As an employer this can be good news for you, it might help prevent you from being short staffed in school breaks as fewer employees will need to take time off at the same time.

However, HMRC’s reminder, while helpful, neglects to mention that if you provide a subsidy or vouchers for childcare to employees as a perk they aren’t allowed to have a TFC account.

TFC is available to working parents with children up to eleven years old. When you pay into a TFC account the government will add a tax-free incentive equal to 25% of what you put in, up to a maximum of £2,000 per child per year. The money from the account can be used to pay for approved childminders, nurseries and nannies.

The government pays a 25% tax-free incentive to help towards childcare costs, including those for summer camps and supervised school holiday activities, etc.

A TFC account can be opened online: https://www.gov.uk/get-tax-free-childcare.

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Royal Mail to add further 190 electric vans to fleet

Royal Mail is to triple the size of its electric van fleet with the addition of 190 new models by the end of the year.

The company, which will use the new vans to deliver letters, parcels and cards across selected locations in London and surrounding areas, introduced 100 EVs last year.

The investment forms part of Royal Mail’s involvement in Ofgem-funded Optimise Prime – the world’s largest commercial electric vehicle project.

The new vans will begin to join the fleet this month and will be wrapped in green instead of the company’s traditional red to mark the occasion.

Paul Gatti, fleet director at Royal Mail said: “As a company we are committed to making changes to our operations that reduce our environmental impact, while ensuring we continue to meet customer expectations.

“This trial is part of a programme of initiatives across our business that will ensure we can continue to deliver letters and parcels safely, efficiently and in the most environmentally-friendly way possible.”

The mix of Mercedes-Benz eVito and Peugeot Partner vans can travel between 93 and 106 miles per charge, and are charged via wall or floor mounted charging posts.

The vehicles will have load capacities ranging from 3.7cu m to 6.3cu m and will operate as part fo usual delivery routes.

They will be launched during July across selected locations in London and the south east including Whitechapel, Islington, Bexleyheath, Dartford and Orpington in Kent.

Optimise Prime is led by Hitachi Vantara and UK Power Networks, the initiative aims to bring together leading power, technology, fleet and transport companies – including SSEN, Uber and Centrica – to test and implement the best approaches to the EV rollout for commercial enterprises.

Nicole Thompson, director, social innovation and co-creation partnerships at Hitachi Vantara said: “The Optimise Prime consortium is delighted to see the first tranche of new commercial electric vehicles on the road. By sharing data and collaborating with this industry-led initiative, Royal Mail is helping us pave the way for the mass adoption of electric vehicles in the UK.”

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