BMW to launch connectivity platform for car data

On 27 May, the BMW Group announced the launch of a connectivity platform that would allow third parties to offer their services directly within BMW cars. Labelled “BMW CarData”, the platform was officially launched on 30 May. Through this move, BMW wanted to position itself strategically within this technology in the short-term and then use the platform to generate profit in the long-term.

According to BMW CEO Harald Krüger, BMW will be the first carmaker to offer such a service. “The connectivity of our vehicles will reach a new level with BMW CarData”, he said in an interview with trade journal Automobilwoche.

The platform will provide data to third party service providers such as car repair shops or insurers, provided the car user has agreed to this. BMW will not allow direct data access to the vehicle but will instead provide it through its own server, citing safety reasons for this.

CEO Krüger said “the protection of car data is part of our identity as a premium brand offering advanced connectivity”.

BMW will require third parties to pay 29 cents per retrieval of their service. This will be capped at €5 per month and customer. The carmaker is planning to turn the platform to profit in the long-run but first wants to position itself strategically in the market.

Just like telematics services from other companies, CarData will give the vehicle user the option to share their driving habits with insurance companies – giving more tailored, and hopefully cheaper premiums. BMW has said it could even speed up other processes like scheduled car services, as dealerships will know which parts to order before they even open the bonnet. Third-parties won’t get direct access to the car, instead, they will get encrypted data from a secure BMW server that sits in the middle of both parties.

Your Comments

New vehicle market declines but enquiries for used vehicles soar

The UK new car market declined in May, with demand falling -8.5%, according to figures released today by SMMT. 186,265 new cars were registered in the month, with business purchases driving the market, up 20.1%, to offset declines from private and fleet buyers.

Although it dipped slightly in the previous month, the market for alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) bounced back in May to continue the upward trend seen in the first quarter and take a new record market share of 4.4%. More than 8,000 AFVs were registered in the month, representing an increase of 46.7%. Almost 50,000 new AFVs have joined Britain’s roads so far this year.

Despite a dip of -0.6% in overall registrations since January, more than 1.1 million new cars have been registered on UK roads so far in 2017. Business and fleet sectors have driven demand, up 5.3% and 2.4% respectively to offset a decline from private buyers of -4.2%. However, more than half a million new cars have been registered by private buyers since the start of the year.

In addition, the light commercial vehicle market (LCV) declined in May following a period of exceptionally strong demand, according to figures released by SMMT. 26,982 new vans hit British roads in May, representing a fall of -5.3%.

Demand for pickups continued its upward trend, with registrations increasing 26.2% compared with the same month last year. However, the medium and large van segments experienced a decline, with registrations of vans weighing 2.0-2.5 tonnes down -2.1%, while vans weighing 2.5-3.5 tonnes fell -10.1%. The under 2.0 tonne segment, meanwhile, remained steady, with an -0.8% decline representing just 20 fewer small van registrations than May 2016.

By contrast, consumer demand for used vehicles rocketed in May with a 29% increase in enquiries compared to May last year.

An analysis of dealer data shows a year on year increase in orders for used vehicles of 19%, the data shows May conversion rates of enquiry to order for new vehicles at 22.6%, which compares to 27.8% in April.

The figures for used stock show conversion rates of 33% in May against 33.5% in April.

Consumer demand for used vehicles rocketed in May with a 29% increase in enquiries compared to May last year.

Your Comments

Solihull based garage MotorServ-UK wins Garage of the Year award

Automechanika Birmingham, in partnership with GarageWire, has awarded MotorServ-UK Solihull ‘Garage of the Year’ with the West Midlands workshop picking up the prize of £1000.

MotorServ-UK was up against 12 other shortlisted contenders but managed to gain the most votes in the battle for top spot with Philips Garage Ltd from Glasgow narrowly missing out and finishing second overall, and Shropshire-based garage EAC Telford coming third.

Kamran Saleem, director of Motorserv-UK Solihull, said: “We are thrilled to be the winners of ‘Garage of the Year’ at Automechanika Birmingham 2017. We are always striving for excellence by investing heavily in training, keeping up to date with future innovations and improving our internal management systems. Thank you to all those who voted for us, we are so happy that we are able to deliver a valued service to new and existing customers and this award is just another step in the right direction for us.

The West Midlands workshop offers a range of benefits to the local community, all of which helped it to secure the win. These include its ‘Gold-Membership’ whereby members pay-monthly for scheduled services and get £400+ additional-services free, an MOT-reminder sequence built with text and emails, state-of-the-art equipment, free high-quality courtesy cars, and also a collection and delivery service.

The judging panel, James Onions, Andy Savva and Simon Albert announced the winner on Wednesday 7 June in the Workshop Training Zone at 1.00pm at Automechanika Birmingham, NEC.

Simon Albert, event director of Automechanika Birmingham, said: “We were overwhelmed by the number of entries and the quality businesses that entered made it difficult for us to narrow it down to a shortlist of just thirteen.

“After a close vote, MotorServ UK are a well-deserved winner. Their entrepreneurial drive, willingness to invest in new equipment and technologies, and commitment to delivering first-class customer service helped the workshop secure the award. Many congratulations to the team.”

DURA and Who Can Fix My supported the competition by offering additional prizes to the £1000 cash prize.

Your Comments

Could ‘AdBlue conversion technology’ save diesel?

Selective catalytic reduction systems aim to remove NOx produced by combustion, but AdBlue only functions well at high exhaust temperatures – until now?

An industry-first technology developed by Loughborough University has the potential to significantly cut nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions in diesel engines.

The ammonia creation and conversion technology (ACCT) created by academics from the University’s School of mechanical, electrical and manufacturing engineering effectively increases the capacity of existing on engine after treatment systems.

Currently, almost all new diesel vehicles are fitted with a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system to try and remove NOx produced by combustion.

This system uses AdBlue to safely provide the ammonia required to reduce NOx into harmless nitrogen and water.

However, AdBlue only functions well at high exhaust temperatures, typically in excess of 250°C.

Therefore, the SCR does not necessarily operate at all engine conditions, for example, during short, stop-start commutes, particularly in urban areas or on construction sites.

What’s more, use of AdBlue at these problematic lower temperatures can result in severe exhaust blockages and subsequent engine damage.

AdBlue conversion technology

ACCT is an AdBlue conversion technology that uses waste energy to modify AdBlue to work effectively at these lower exhaust temperatures.

By greatly extending the temperature range at which SCR systems can operate the new technology significantly enhances existing NOx reduction systems.

Loughborough’s Professor Graham Hargrave, an internationally acclaimed expert on the optimisation of combustion engines, developed the technology with Research Associate Jonathan Wilson.

Professor Hargrave said: “Unfortunately with many vehicles doing short stop/start journeys, such as buses and construction vehicles, many engines never reach the optimal temperature required for the SCR systems to operate efficiently.

Engine temperature

“The result is excessive NOx being released into the urban environment, especially in large cities.

“Our system enables the SCR systems to work at much lower temperatures – as low as 60ºC.”

Currently the Loughborough technology has been tailored for HGV’s, however the same system is fully scalable for use in all diesel vehicles.

The Energy Technology Institute’s (ETI) chief technology officer for heavy duty vehicles, Chris Thorne said: “Based upon a brief review, the ACCT technology recently developed by Loughborough has the potential to viably produce gaseous ammonia at temperatures significantly below 190°C, thus enabling increased conversion efficiency and lower NOx emissions.

“It is likely that emissions legislation will become even tighter and VMs will need to develop technologies to address this, and it is our belief that the ACCT technology should be further developed as it could help address this challenge in the real world.”

Diesel demonisation

In 2015 the Government estimated that exposure to NOx and particulate matter emissions from diesel engines lead to around 52,000 additional deaths in the UK.

NOx emissions are also the primary cause of smog in major cities around the world and a growing public health concern.

This has led to growing pressure on VMs to reduce engine emissions, with new European NOx reduction targets for on-highway and heavy-duty diesel vehicles now so low they are almost impossible to meet.

Your Comments

Vehicle Safety Recalls: May 2017

These are the vehicles, parts or accessories recalled by manufacturers for a safety reason during May 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 & model Issue
R/2017/030 BYD: K8SR Steering may fail
R/2017/082 BYD: D9UR, K9UR & K8UR Steering wheel may be adjusted whilst driving
R/2017/103 Land Rover: Range Rover & Range Rover Sport Front passenger airbag may not deploy
R/2017/104 Jaguar: F-PACE (Automatic transmission only) Incorrect driveshaft may detach
R/2017/115 AUDI – A4,A5, A6 & Q5 (with 2 ltr TFSI engine) Coolant pump may overheat
R/2017/125 Peugeot: 208,2008,508, Partner III, Expert 4 & Traveller Gearbox actuator may not be to specification
R/2017/126 Citroen: DS3, C4 Cactus, DS5 & Berlingo Gearbox actuator may not be to specification
R/2017/131 AUDI: Q5 Curtain airbag cylinder may corrode leading to possible rear passenger injury
R/2017/132 BMW: 1,X1,Z4,3,5,6 & 7 Driveshaft universal joint may break
R/2017/135 Renault: Twingo III Outer skin of rear spoiler may detach
R/2017/136 Renault: Twingo III Outer skin of rear spoiler and bonnet may detach
R/2017/139 Citroen: C3 (B618), C Elysée, C4 Cactus, C4 Picasso (B78), Spacetourer, Dispatch IV Starter motor may not operate correctly
R/2017/140 Peugeot: 208, 2008, 308 (t9), 3008 (P84), 508, Traveller and Expert 4 Starter motor may not operate correctly
R/2017/141 Volvo Truck: FL3 Risk of rear underrun detaching
R/2017/149 Ford: Mustang & Ford GT Front driver side air bag inflator housing may rupture
R/2017/150 Mazda: 2, 3 & 6 Mounting points for seat runner may fail
R/2017/152 Volvo Bus: B5LH & B5TL Incorrect oil pan fitted
R/2017/166 Peugeot: 308 (T9) Front wishbone retaining bolts may not be to specification
RM/2017/015 Husqvarna: Strada 650 ECU software malfunction could cause stalling

Your Comments

11 ways to reduce the risk of telecoms fraud – advice from DuoCall

Telecoms fraud is something that has been around for a long time and eradicating it is proving a tough task. Fraudsters are constantly looking for opportunities to breach your system’s security and make a quick buck, at the expense of your business.

During public holidays the telecoms industry witnesses an increase in attempted PBX attacks. The fact that many premises are often left unattended means that fraudsters regularly find opportunities during these times.

DuoCall has put together a list of key steps to help your business reduce telecoms fraud risks. It is always important to understand the threats that your business faces.

Common types of telecoms fraud

PBX fraud (DISA)
A large number of recent fraud cases have involved Private Branch Exchange (PBX) systems, by direct inward system access (DISA). Criminals gain access to businesses that use a PBX phone or voicemail system and use system commands such as an 0800 number to gain a dial tone. They can then place unlimited long-distance calls through this line and resell it at a profit.

Voicemail fraud
Voicemail fraud is the most common type of telecom fraud and therefore the most significant threat to businesses that use a PBX system or voicemail. An unauthorised third party can gain access to a business’s phone system and place long-distance calls directly through these lines.

On most occasions they gain access through voicemail menus that are protected with simple passwords, (1111, 1234 etc.) or unchanged factory set passwords. Once inside the system commands can be used to gain a dial tone.

DuoCall’s 11 steps to reduce telecoms fraud

  • Lock down international and premium rate access if not required
  • Change access codes and passwords; avoid 000, 1234 and extension numbers
  • Consider limiting call types by extension – if an end user doesn’t need to call international or premium rate numbers then bar access
  • Review any DISA (Direct Inwards System Access) settings and control or deactivate – this is typically used to allow employees to dial in from home to make outbound calls (usually high value call types – mobile and international in particular) via the company PBX
  • Secure your comms room. The system should be situated in a dedicated comms room and the access to that room should be restricted
  • Remove all default password settings when deploying the PBX and limit access to any maintenance ports
  • Make sure you fully understand your systems functionality and capabilities, therefore allowing you to restrict access to the services that you don’t use
  • Block access to unused mailboxes on the system; also ensure the security PIN is changed from the default
  • Be aware and keep an eye out for evidence of hacking – not being able to obtain an outbound line is usually a good indicator of high volumes of traffic through your system. Calls outside of business hours can also be a sign of hacking.
  • Assess security of all PBX extensions and applications: platform, operating system and password
  • Regularly review call usage – this will help to identify any irregular calling patterns

Telecoms fraud statistics

Statistics published by the US Federal Trade Commission detailed that in 2012 telecom fraud accounted for 34% of fraud complaints. This was a 20% increase from 2010. Due to the ever increasing levels of technology these figures continue to grow and have led to many new telecom fraud tactics.

Your Comments

World’s first flying car now on sale

THE world’s first commercial road and air legal flying car has gone on sale, but with a hefty price tag.

Dutch manufacturer PAL-V have revealed details of the Liberty, which is the first commercial flying car on sale.

PAL-V Liberty, a concept that first debuted in 2012, costs around £425,000, more expensive than 26 Ford Fiestas.

The price of the flying car includes flight instruction sessions, power heating and other personalisation options.

The Dutch manufacturer first debuted the PAL-V Liberty back in 2012, where they aimed to prove that they could create a flying car that was both road and air legal.

A cheaper version of the flying car, the PAL-V Liberty Sport model, will cost buyers around £254,000.

It doesn’t offer the same amount of personalisation as the Pioneer but still includes flying lessons.

Both versions of the car have a three-wheel layout with a collapsable rotor blade system on top.

PAL-V takes the form of a gyrocopter utilising the power of two engines – the dual-propulsion powertrain uses one engine for driving and one for flying.

The driving mode engine has 99bhp, top speed of 100mph and a 0-62mph time of nine seconds. Range of the car is claimed to be around 817 miles and average fuel economy is 31mpg.

In the air the Liberty is powered by a 197bhp engine that can reach a top speed of 112mph. Liberty can also climb to a maximum altitude of 3500m and has a claimed range of 310 miles.

Converting the car from road mode to flight mode takes between five and ten minutes and the Liberty can carry two people.

A flying license is required to pilot the plane and you won’t be able to take off and land anywhere you please. Between 90-200 metres of space without obstacles is required to take off or land the PAL-V making it more suited to start at airfields and glider sites.

First deliveries of the Liberty are expected for the end of 2018.

Your Comments

FER celebrates 80 years of success

The Federation of Engine Remanufacturers (FER) is celebrating its 80th anniversary throughout 2017 and has promised to develop even further to ensure it can keep up with an ever-evolving motor trade.

John Gray, FER president, said: “Over the years, many of our members have diversified and are very much multi-specialists in all things remanufacturing gaining a prestigious reputation. We use our wealth of experience to guide and educate the motoring public to ensure the highest standards are met wherever possible and will continue to do so for many years to come.”

John Gray, FER President

From the very beginning the federation has been environmentally friendly helping to save the environment by remanufacturing engines across all industries using combustion engines, and as a result of this, it has accumulated a large membership of leading engine remanufacturers all working to the British Standard BS AU 257: 2002.

With technology continuing to evolve, some FER members have also expanded into reconditioning turbos and major units, while others are agents for turbo manufacturers.

Formed in 1937 to establish higher standards of workmanship within the industry, the Federation is now the only corporate body representing engine remanufacturing in the United Kingdom. The FER offers a range of services to members including technical support, dispute resolution advice and, an industry-renowned code of practice.

Gray continued: “We are committed to protecting our environment and have naturally experienced many changes over the course of the 80 years that we have been in service and we’ve had to adapt accordingly. At present the rate of technological advancement is phenomenal and we are constantly embracing this shift and utilising new technology to further benefit our industry.

“As we begin to look forward to the next 80 years, we are considering the effect modern engines will have on our members, as well as the array of legislative changes that continue to be put in place. The future of engine remanufacturing will no doubt be incredibly interesting and we will work hard to ensure that we do not fall behind and remain as relevant as ever before.”

Your Comments

Should you present a vehicle or trailer for a brake test laden or unladen? – Advice from the DVSA

One of the most common questions received by the DVSA is whether a vehicle or trailer should be laden or unladen when brake tested.

The DVSA advice is that vehicles must be laden for testing – ideally to 65% of their total maximum weight.

Their recommendation is that the vehicle should be loaded by the owner/driver wherever possible, otherwise it will be necessary to arrange for someone else to do it.

Some ATFs offer this facility. They can advise in advance if they do and how much it will cost.

Are there any vehicles that this doesn’t apply to?
Yes, there are some vehicles that can’t be presented laden. This could be due to basic design limitations or other restrictions.

You can find more by reading the “Conditions for testing when unladen” section in the DVSA best practice guide for heavy vehicle brake testing.

What about tri axle semi-trailers?
Tri-axle semi-trailers can be tested unladen. This is because it can be difficult to get a load for these trailers.

However, the best way to pass a brake test is to always present a loaded trailer.

For more information read the DVSA heavy vehicle brake test best practice guide.

Your Comments

The Parts Alliance Group purchased by Uni-Select Inc.

The Parts Alliance Group has been acquired from its private equity owner HgCapital by Uni-Select Inc., a Canadian publicly listed, North American Automotive aftermarket distributor.

New owners Uni-Select operate as a market-leader in the USA and Canada, distributing automotive aftermarket parts, equipment and refinish products through a network of 14 distribution centres, 270 corporate stores and over 1,100 independent wholesalers with 3,000 employees generating sales of $1.2 billion USD per annum.

The Parts Alliance, through a series of 10 acquisitions since 2012 has grown to become a market-leader by investing in people and technology and putting their customers first

“This has been a fantastic journey, building a market leader in just over 4 years through 10 acquisitions and consistently strong organic growth,” said Peter Sephton. “I and our management team would like to thank HgCapital for all their support as our 2,900 colleagues look forward to continuing that journey with Uni-Select, helping build a great international autoparts business together with the Uni-Select leadership team.”

Peter Sephton, CEO, The Parts Alliance

The Parts Alliance emphasise that for customers it’s very much ‘business as usual’ and look forward to working under trade owners with a deep understanding of the automotive aftermarket. The existing management team will continue to operate the business and Peter Sephton, Chief Executive of The Parts Alliance, will join Uni-Select’s executive team while continuing his leadership role in the UK as President and CEO of the European business segment.

Uni-Select’s origins are similar to those of The Parts Alliance; Uni-Select was founded in 1968 by 12 Québec businessmen who joined forces to form a purchasing group for aftermarket parts. The business now trade as a listed company on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: UNS).

“We are excited to establish a third growth pillar in the large UK parts aftermarket that is expected to be immediately accretive in a market with great upside potential from future consolidation opportunities. Parts Alliance is a great organization, with a market leadership position and national scale, a proven growth platform and an experienced management team that has demonstrated its ability to drive profitable growth both organically and through acquisitions,” said Henry Buckley, President and CEO of Uni-Select. “Our two companies are a perfect fit in terms of business profile, customer focus, entrepreneurial culture and commitment to people development.”

Martin Block, Partner, HgCapital, said: “We are delighted with the sale of this very special business to Uni-Select. They will be a fantastic partner for the next phase of Parts Alliance’s continued growth and development. As a buy and build in a fragmented and dynamic sector, our management team were able to create a business of scale and real capability through their drive, professionalism and determination. The Parts Alliance brings together a high-quality group of distinct brands with a common culture and local identity. We wish both the team and the new owners every success for the future”.

Your Comments