A legendary brand at an historical event

Lucas, the globally recognised brand is back on the world stage this month as it teams up with James Winslow and GRAFF Racing to tackle this year’s gruelling Le Man 24-hour race in the team’s brand new Gibson V8 powered ORECA 07 LMP2 racer.

Although this is the second occasion that ECOBAT Battery Technologies (EBT) – the European custodian of the Lucas battery brand – has stepped forward to support James in the 24-hour race, 2017 is the first with GRAFF Racing and follows last year’s encouraging showing in the Race Performance Megatron ORECA 03 Judd LMP2.

Commenting on the association, EBT’s Steve Sheppard said: “Since the formal consolidation of our various battery businesses spread throughout Europe, which was completed last year, we have been looking for an opportunity to promote the pan-European nature of EBT.

“Le Mans is a truly global event and therefore provides us with just such a platform, while also providing the opportunity to raise awareness of the Lucas battery brand to both our many trade customers and the wider motoring public.

“James is clearly a driver with considerable talent and a track record of success in a multitude of series’ from his formative years, when he was a five-time British karting champion, through success in a number of Formula 3 championships and other outings in various series in the States and Australia, to his current sportscar endeavours.

“This multi-discipline ability also sits well with the multi-category nature of the Lucas battery range, which caters for everything from the familiar automotive and commercial vehicle applications, to include the motorcycle, leisure, marine and mobility sectors.

“When it comes to the aftermarket, Lucas is a highly regarded brand, which is why we have invested in the range to ensure it is able to provide our customers with the ideal solution to their needs, whether that be for a standard lead-acid battery for a low demand application, to the latest Start-Stop enabled vehicle with regenerative braking.

“Back to Le Mans and we naturally wish all the competitors well as they set off in anger at 14:00 UK time on Saturday 17th June, but clearly our focus will be on James, his fellow drivers and the team, as we look forward to great result at the conclusion of the toughest or tough events.”

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Wendy Williamson offers aftermarket insight at Automechanika

At Automechanika Birmingham 2017 Wendy Williamson, chief executive of the Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF), provided an overview of the latest challenges facing the industry in 2017 and how the aftermarket is responding to these issues.

In a keynote speech, Williamson discussed a variety of topics, following up on recent developments and a changing political landscape that have captivated interest since last year’s event.

Wendy Williamson addressing a packed Aftermarket Pavilion

The impact of new Type Approval legislation was highlighted and Williamson expressed IAAF’s active role to ensure the industry gets the best deal.

Over the last year, the IAAF has hosted several meetings with Dan Dalton, MEP for the West Midlands, and the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO) who are drafting the report, and as a result of this it has been successful in pushing through a number of key amendments, including keeping the OBD port alive for RMI information and ensuring that information continues to be made available in an electronic form.

The threat of the connected car was also discussed as Williamson conveyed that the aftermarket could potentially lose all unmonitored access to the vehicle with the extended vehicle and become solely reliant on vehicle manufacturers (VMs) for information.

The IAAF believes current proposals do not offer consumers a level playing field and with the growing number of vehicles now being connected, IAAF told visitors that it is currently raising its concerns to the legislators in both the EU and the UK.

Next on the agenda was the proposed MOT changes from 3-1-1 to 4-1-1 and the dangers this could cause. Williamson argued that although great technological progress has been made in modern vehicles, the main causes of MOT failures are still wear and tear items such as tyres, brakes and lamps, all of which would go unchecked for a further year on newer vehicles.

An insight into the automotive industry’s future was also provided including the topic of the inevitable autonomous vehicle and the challenges surrounding it, as well as air pollution with Williamson calling for a co-ordinated response across all sectors instead of just targeting older diesel cars.

Finally, the seminar ended on a positive note promoting the relaunch of ‘Your Car, Your Choice’ as Williamson urged the aftermarket to get behind the campaign and raise awareness of motorists’ rights concerning block exemption legislation.

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IAAF launches Your Car, Your Choice campaign

The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) is raising awareness of motorists’ rights by launching the ‘Your Car, Your Choice’ campaign, supporting key legislation providing motorists with freedom to choose where to service, maintain and repair their vehicle.

The campaign, formally called Right2Choose, has been relaunched by IAAF to reflect developments in the digital age and to refocus the industry’s attention on the importance of choice in regards to vehicle maintenance and repair work.

Under Block Exemption legislation, consumers have the right to use any repair workshop for non-warranty work during the warranty period.

The aftermarket can utilise the rebranded promotional support and materials available, including an easy-to-navigate website, merchandise, literature explaining key legislation and information, and a social media campaign.

Wendy Williamson, IAAF chief executive said: “Many motorists are unaware of this legislation and it’s our duty as an industry to inform the general public and give them the opportunity to choose the best option for their own requirements.

“We will now work alongside the aftermarket to tackle misconceptions within the industry and beyond. This message is incredibly important, not just for motorists but for the future of the independent aftermarket and we encourage the sector to get behind and spread the word.”

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BEN Cricket Day – 22 June 2017 – Dorridge Cricket Club

Stop the Press………Teams are now full for this year’s BEN Cricket Day, and SJ Events are delighted to confirm that they will be welcoming back some familiar faces, along with several new budding cricketers and cricket fans! As previously mentioned the event is again being kindly sponsored by FPS Distribution, and supported by many other companies; a huge thank you to you all.

It is always a fantastic day, with lots of food, drink, laughter and of course, games of cricket; so why not come along and show your support for your fellow industry colleagues, whilst supporting a great charity.

It is only £30.00 per person to come along for the day; and this includes welcome tea or coffee with biccies, tasty buffet lunch, afternoon tea with homemade scones, cream and jam, and a hot meal at the end of the day – not bad hey!!

The date of the event is Thursday 22nd June 2017, and the venue is Dorridge Cricket Club.

If you are interested in supporting this event, please feel free to contact emma@sjevents.co.uk for further details!

Thank you in advance for your support and we look forward to seeing you on the day!

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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.

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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.

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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 Car.com supported the competition by offering additional prizes to the £1000 cash prize.

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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.

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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


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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.

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