ECP parent to acquire Stahlgruber

Euro Car Parts’ parent company LKQ Corporation has entered an agreement to acquire Stahlgruber GmbH in a deal valued at roughly €1.5bn.

Stahlgruber is one of Germany’s largest factor chains and, as was discussed at last week’s IAAF conference, it was known to be for sale.

A report in the October issue of CAT highlighted how Stahlgruber recently invested in a vast automatic warehouse using robotics from TGW Logistics. The firm has over 500,000 SKUs and 100,000 clients on its books.

LKQ plans to complete the deal in March or April of next year, subject to usual regulatory approvals.

John S. Quinn CEO of LKQ said: “The LKQ Europe management team and I look forward to working with Stahlgruber’s management team and leveraging our combined best practices to maximize the benefits of scale across the continent.”

Heinz Reiner Reiff, CEO of Stahlgruber Otto Gruber AG, added: “I am very excited about the meaningful benefits that will occur by combining our complementary cultures and industry leading management, which together position Stahlgruber to achieve the continued growth of its European businesses. Our acceptance of LKQ shares as part of the consideration emphasizes our belief in the value of this combination.”

Your Comments

Surge in electronic trading as PACT celebrates 10 years

Electronic trading between motor factors and component suppliers has reached an all-time high, as PACT, the joint venture between eparts and TecCom, celebrates its 10-year partnership in the automotive aftermarket.

Millions of messages – including stock enquiries and ordering, order acknowledgements, dispatch notes and invoices – are transacted every month, saving the distribution aftermarket valuable time and resource.

PACT electronic trading ‘sits’ on a parts distributor’s business management system such as MAM Software and connects with its supplier base, offering seamless trading efficiencies.

Today, more than 2000 motor factor locations are connected to 90-plus leading UK automotive component suppliers including Apec Braking, Delphi, First Line, Mann & Hummel, NGK, Tetrosyl, TMD Friction and ZF.

Peter Hollowood of PACT said: “We’ve seen a growing trend in the number of messages passed between a motor factor and its supply base. Factors are ordering more frequently, thanks to suppliers’ strong availability, service and delivery. Add to this the ease in which users can check a supplier’s stock and place orders, it’s clear that electronic trading is not only the norm but also the most popular method of trading in our sector.”

Mark Rudge (L) with Peter Hollowood (R)

Further growth for the electronic trading solution has come from the appointment of new suppliers, along with establishing PACT in the commercial vehicle parts aftermarket.

Mark Rudge of PACT added: “PACT was created in response to market demand for a single electronic trading solution. Ten years on, the decision to join forces has proven to be correct and the growth in usage underlines this.

“Moreover, against the backdrop of an ever-changing trading landscape, PACT remains the single best way to reach all of your trading partners. Put simply, to trade electronically in the automotive aftermarket, PACT is now the standard. This makes our partnership every bit as relevant today as it was a decade ago.”

Your Comments

General Data Protection Regulation – Part 5

This is the final instalment of the advice for businesses to prepare themselves for this regulation which comes into effect in May 2018.  Business are strongly recommended to visit the ICO website to view all of the advice available there on what they should be doing.

Data Protection by Design and Data Protection Impact Assessments

It has always been good practice to adopt a privacy by design approach and to carry out a Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) as part of this. However, the GDPR makes privacy by design an express legal requirement, under the term ‘data protection by design and by default’. It also makes PIAs – referred to as ‘Data Protection Impact Assessments’ or DPIAs – mandatory in certain circumstances.

A DPIA is required in situations where data processing is likely to result in high risk to individuals, for example:

  • where a new technology is being deployed;
  • where a profiling operation is likely to significantly affect individuals; or
  • where there is processing on a large scale of the special categories of data.

If a DPIA indicates that the data processing is high risk, and a business cannot sufficiently address those risks, it will be required to consult the ICO to seek its opinion as to whether the processing operation complies with the GDPR.

Businesses should therefore start to assess the situations where it will be necessary to conduct a DPIA. Who will do it? Who else needs to be involved? Will the process be run centrally or locally?

The business should also familiarise itself now with the guidance the ICO has produced on PIAs as well as guidance from the Article 29 Working Party, and work out how to implement them in the organisation. This guidance shows how PIAs can link to other organisational processes such as risk management and project management.

Data Protection Officers

Each business should designate someone to take responsibility for data protection compliance and assess where this role will sit within the organisation’s structure and governance arrangements.

The business should consider whether it is required to formally designate a Data Protection Officer (DPO). It must designate a DPO if it is:

  • a public authority (except for courts acting in their judicial capacity);
  • an organisation that carries out the regular and systematic monitoring of individuals on a large scale; or
  • an organisation that carries out the large scale processing of special categories of data, such as health records, or information about criminal convictions. The Article 29 Working Party has produced guidance for organisations on the designation, position and tasks of DPOs.

It is most important that someone in the organisation, or an external data protection advisor, takes proper responsibility for data protection compliance and has the knowledge, support and authority to carry out their role effectively.


If an organisation operates in more than one EU member state, it should determine its lead data protection supervisory authority and document this.

The lead authority is the supervisory authority in the state where its main establishment is located. The main establishment is the location of its central administration in the EU or else the location where decisions about the purposes and means of processing are taken and implemented.

This is only relevant where cross-border processing is carried out, i.e. the organisation has establishments in more than one EU member state or a single establishment in the EU that carries out processing which substantially affects individuals in other EU states.

If this applies to any organisation, it should map out where the organisation makes its most significant decisions about its processing activities. This will help to determine the ‘main establishment’ and therefore the lead supervisory authority.

The Article 29 Working party has produced guidance on identifying a controller or processor’s lead supervisory authority.

Your Comments


Mental health at Christmas: 12 tips for well-being

BEN have put together their top tips about mental health at Christmas, as well as some advice on beating loneliness and their festive opening hours.

Mental health doesn’t take time off at Christmas, and with all the added stresses that can come with the festive season it’s very important to care for your wellbeing.

1. Plan ahead
Avoid unnecessary stress over the festive season by planning as much as possible in the run up to Christmas and being careful not to take on too much. You’re not being selfish by saying “no” to some things or asking for some help. For example, if you’re hosting Christmas dinner, could you ask some of your guests to bring a starter or dessert?

2. Make time for you
At Christmas it can be all too easy to get swept up into other peoples’ ideas of fun. It’s important to make sure that you do something you want as well – this is your holiday too! If you know this will be hard, try booking something in advance or setting a free day or two aside just for you.

3. Avoid comparisons
If you do decide to use social media over the festive season, avoid comparing your experience to those of your friends. Remember that most people only share the best bits of their lives online and you don’t know what’s going on behind the smiling selfies and prezzie pics!

4. Pace yourself
Give yourself time to relax over the Christmas period – don’t be afraid to take time out to go for a walk, listen to music or have a nap if you need it. If you’re hosting, try to plan this in advance.

5. Get outside
Going for a wintery walk – even if it’s just around the block – can be the perfect way to get some fresh air and exercise along with a change of place. Being in the same house for too long can get a bit intense, especially if it’s crowded, so a change of scenery will do everyone good!

6. Try to eat healthily
Whilst it’s fine to have a bit of culinary indulgence over Christmas, try to keep your diet as balanced as possible with lots of fruit and vegetables. This will help you to avoid energy lows that can have an effect on your mood.

7. Alcohol in moderation
While a bit of alcohol can make you feel relaxed, don’t forget that drinking too much can leave you feeling irritable and low. Drinking within the recommended guidelines means you’ll get to enjoy a Christmas tipple, whilst reducing the negative effects on your mood. Alcohol can also play a big part in arguments and disagreements, so it’s sensible to drink in moderation.

8. Get enough sleep
Feeling sleepy can also leave you feeling low, so try to keep to regular sleep patterns as much as possible over the Christmas period. We have lots of tips on getting enough shut-eye on our sleep blog.

9. Talk to someone
If you’re worried about Christmas or feel overwhelmed or under pressure, don’t be afraid to talk to someone about it. Have a chat to someone you trust. You can read our tips on talking about your mental health here.

10. Keep active
Exercise can be great for mental health and there are still ways to keep it up over Christmas! Have a boogie to some festive classics or head outside for a fresh wintery walk. If we’re lucky enough to have a white Christmas, you could even get some people together for a snowball fight or go sledging!

11. Christmas alone
If you’re spending Christmas alone, have a think about what you want to do beforehand. You may decide to curl up with a favourite movie, book yourself a getaway or arrange to go to a lunch. You could also consider volunteering (see point 12) which is a great way to meet new friends and give something back. We also have lots of inspiration on our blog at

12. Volunteer
It’s no secret – giving something back can help you feel good about yourself and there’s no more perfect time to volunteer than around Christmas. Head to to check out local opportunities!

Support for mental health at Christmas

If you’re worried about your mental health at Christmas, you can find out our helpline opening hours and where to get support on our Christmas support post. It’s completely free to get in touch with us if you work (or have worked) in the automotive industry, or you are dependent on someone who is.

Your Comments

Ford scrappage scheme to continue in 2018

The Ford scrappage scheme, which includes cars and CVs, is to be extended into the first quarter of 2018.

The success of the scheme, which has seen over 10,500 vehicles scrapped and replaced with cleaner, more fuel efficient vehicles, is expanded to include the Ford Ranger as well as the most popular all-new Fiesta, Focus and Transit CV models.

Andy Barratt, Ford of Britain chairman and managing director said, ‘The Ford scrappage scheme has been so well received by our customers and I’m pleased to announce its extension in to next year. We have an excellent product line-up and our scheme is applicable to one of the broadest ranges of vehicles, including the segment leading Ford Ranger.

‘We continue to carry strong sales momentum as we more towards the end of the year. Our CV sales growth was particularly positive in an increasingly challenging market. It’s also rewarding to see the all-new Fiesta strengthening its leadership position as we continue the launch of the full model range, with Fiesta Active and ST still to come to complete the line-up of our most technologically advanced Fiesta ever.’

Your Comments

Sponsor Link: IAAF 2017 Award Sponsors

The sponsors for the 2017 Awards were:

Car Distributor:   Denso Aftermarket

Autosupplies (Chesterfield) receiving their award from Martin Pring (L) from Award Sponsor Denso and Johnny Herbert (2nd from right)

Car Supplier:  Elcome

MAHLE Aftermarket receiving their award from Award Sponsor Elcome and Johnny Herbert

CV Distributor:  Boswell Aftermarket

Debbie and Dennis Baker receiving their award

2017 IAAF conference highlights wind of change for aftermarket

The IAAF Annual Conference, sponsored by Autoparts UK, addressed some of the major issues that will impact on the aftermarket in 2018 and beyond, including global influences, technical threats, rapidly evolving technology and Brexit, as it hosted the most engaging conference to date.

Held for the first time at the DoubleTree by Hilton, Milton Keynes on 7 December, the new venue reflected the renewed sense of purpose in combatting and dealing with some of the biggest proposed changes the aftermarket has faced. The high turnout of delegates heard from an abundance of key industry speakers, who all shared their invaluable insight into various hot topics exploring IAAF’s key theme, ‘Facing a new Brexit world in the automotive aftermarket’.

Wendy Williamson, IAAF chief executive, welcomed the delegates and kickstarted proceedings on a seasonal note, delivering her summary of the past year in a ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ address that covered 12 key issues that characterised the past year in the industry.

Wendy Williamson opening the 2017 IAAF Conference

Williamson summarised the main issues including the proposed MOT changes, the connected vehicle and the ‘demonisation’ of diesel cars regarding emissions, with the outcome of the TRL report being “one of the gold results of the year”. She also warned of what was to come post-Brexit, acknowledging “the journey we have ahead”.

Dr Julia Saini from Frost & Sullivan then examined the importance of the UK aftermarket to the UK economy and the impact of Brexit on the sector, supported by key metrics and statistics highlighting UK growth, as well as the effect on trade balance as a result of the relationship between the UK and EU.

Delegates also learned more about how global influences are shaping the distribution structure, with an overview of the consolidations of the UK and Europe aftermarket, with Quentin Le Hetet from GIPA. This was followed by Whocanfixmycar Co-Founder Alistair Preston, who addressed the rise of online service providers and the impact on the UK aftermarket.

After lunch, Olaf Henning from MAHLE took to the stand to illustrate how F1 technology is being used to drive developments in the automotive parts aftermarket, whilst underlining MAHLE’s global expertise and ongoing collaboration with Ferrari.

Steve Nash from IMI was also on hand to discuss future technologies and their role, with a report projecting a significant increase in digital revenue and the need for businesses to specialise.

Steve Nash, CEO of the Institute of the Motor Industry

This was followed by Neil Pattemore from Figiefa, who addressed the latest emerging technical threats to the aftermarket, giving an update on progress made over the past 12 months.

Lawrence Bleasdale, IAAF president, then wrapped up the conference, outlining the key messages from the day and thanking all members for attending.

Wendy Williamson, IAAF chief executive, said: ““The conference was one of our best yet, offering plenty of industry expertise and food for thought, helping to arm the independent aftermarket with advice that could greatly benefit it in the times ahead.

“As an industry, we will continue to face many challenges on different fronts, and we will encounter more complex threats. However, we are prepared, and the future is bright despite the challenges we face. What we do know is that IAAF will continue to work tirelessly on behalf of its members to secure that future.”

Your Comments

IAAF Award Ceremony applauds aftermarket champions

The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) Annual Awards & Dinner 2017 welcomed industry professionals with a ‘fresh new look’, as it celebrated the hard work carried out by the independent aftermarket over the past year.

The prestigious event, held for the first time at the DoubleTree by Hilton, Milton Keynes, was larger than in previous years with close to 600 guests in
attendance. Sponsored by Automotive Alliance Group, it again united the aftermarket for its distinguished annual gathering, presenting professionals with the opportunity to network over a four-course meal set in state-of-the-art surroundings.

IAAF President, Lawrence Bleasdale, addressing guests at the 2017 IAAF Dinner

Guests were kept entertained throughout the course of the evening by IAAF’s guest speaker and world renowned F1 driver Johnny Herbert, one of the greatest all-round racing drivers in the history of motorsport, as he shared highlights of his illustrious career with the audience.

Talented duo Limerence performed for the nearly 600 guests in attendance with a live after-dinner acoustic set.

The IAAF Annual Awards were also announced and runners up and winners were as follows:

Car Distributor of Excellence
Winner: Autosupplies (Chesterfield)
Runner Up: Fast Parts Wales

Autosupplies (Chesterfield) receiving their award from Martin Pring (L) from Award Sponsor Denso and Johnny Herbert (2nd from right)

Car Supplier of Excellence
Winner: MAHLE Aftermarket Ltd
Runner Up: Apec Braking

MAHLE Aftermarket receiving their award from Award Sponsor Elcome and Johnny Herbert

CV Supplier of Excellence
Winner: Roadlink International
Runner Up: Exol Lubricants

Roadlink International receiving their award from Johnny Herbert and IAAF President Lawrence Bleasdale

CV Distributor of Excellence
Winner: David Huggett Motor Factors
Runner Up: DB Wilson & Co.

David Huggett MF receiving their award from Award Sponsor Boswell Aftermarket and Johnny Herbert

All guests were able to make a charitable donation to the automotive industry charity, BEN, which, when combined with the two IAAF golf days, successfully raised nearly £10,000.

IAAF chief executive, Wendy Williamson, said: “We’re thrilled with another successful awards dinner and what a fantastic new location to hold it in. It is
great to welcome even more guests this year and see a whole host of new members enjoying a superb evening. We’re already looking forward to doing it all again next year!”

Your Comments

Double-digit decline for new van market in November

The SMMT has released figures s howing that new light commercial vehicle (LCV) registrations experienced a double-digit decline in November. The market fell -11.1%, with 26,486 new vans and pick-ups registered – the third consecutive monthly fall.

SMMT figures for UK van registrations YTD November 2017

All segments experienced declines, with demand for smaller vans falling the most, down -21.7%. Pick-ups were next, down -14.4%, followed by 4x4s, larger vans, and vans weighing 2.0T-2.5T, which dropped -10.0%, -9.4%, and -8.9% respectively. Year-to-date, the LCV market has fallen -4.1% with 334,133 new vans joining UK roads, broadly in line with expectations.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “While the market decline is worrying, it remains at an historically high level. Nevertheless, economic and political uncertainty continues to affect business confidence and with it new van purchasing patterns which is damaging, both for the market and for efforts to improve air quality. Getting more of the latest, Euro 6 LCVs onto our roads is the fastest way to reduce emissions so, to avoid a prolonged downturn, it is vital that government works to restore the conditions that give operators confidence to invest in their fleets.”

Your Comments

£80M set aside for EV battery development

The government has allocated £80m for the development of a national centre in Coventry which will develop batteries for electric cars.

The National Battery Manufacturing Development Facility (NBMDF) could create upward of 10,000 jobs.

According to the Coventry Telegraph, the NBMDF will see the development of the next generation of battery systems across battery chemistry, electrodes, cell design, module and pack level and will see a partnership between academia and industry.

Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, made the announcement following a bid by WMG at the University of Warwick, Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership and Coventry City Council.

Professor Lord Bhattacharyya, chairman of WMG said, ‘We are delighted to have been successful in the bid to create this new national battery facility here in the Midlands. Working with industry and the supply chain we will develop and expand battery R&D which will see the creation of skilled jobs and developments within the automotive sector.

‘Coventry and the sub region has a significant contribution to make in the delivery of the UK’s national industrial strategy, being in a strong position to lead the advancement of battery development, and vehicle electrification and autonomous vehicles. It will be at the heart of the drive to make the city a smart motor city.’

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said, ‘Battery technology is one of the most game-changing forms of energy innovation and it is one of the cornerstones of our ambition, through the Industrial Strategy and the Faraday Challenge, to ensure that the UK leads the world, and reaps the economic benefits, in the global transition to a low carbon economy.

‘The new facility, based in Coventry and Warwickshire, will propel the UK forward in this thriving area, bringing experts from academia and industry together to deliver innovation and R&D that will further enhance the West Midlands’ international reputation as a cluster of automotive excellence.’

Your Comments