Servicesure celebrates the New Year in style thanks to darts champ partnership

Peter Wright wins world championship for first time.

Servicesure, the national garage network of The Parts Alliance, had reason to celebrate this New Year thanks to its partnership with darts champion Peter ‘Snakebite’ Wright.

The 49-year old Scottish darts player won the 2020 PDC World Darts Championship on New Year’s day.

He scooped his first major title, the biggest event in professional darts, by seven sets to three with sustained high scoring and precision finishing.

The win saw him finally beat number one seed, three-time former champion and bookies favourite Michael van Gerwen.

A raucous Alexandra Palace roared on crowd favourite Peter, helping him realise a resolution that he made back at the beginning of his darts career to win the world title before he was 50.

Servicesure has sponsored Peter, who’s renowned for his colourful ‘mohawk’ hairstyle, since March 2017 when the partnership was launched with a special event at The Parts Alliance head office in Solihull.

Speaking at the sponsorship launch, former tyre fitter Peter said: “I’m thrilled to have the backing of Servicesure for what I hope will be an exciting period of my career.”

Paul Dineen, head of the Servicesure programme, said: “We were thrilled to see Peter get the victory he deserved and we’re proud to be a sponsor of the man who is now the world champion – it’s a brilliant way of getting our brand out there on a global scale.

“Both Servicesure and Peter have enjoyed success since 2017, and we’re excited to be on this journey with him.”

To find out more about the benefits of becoming a member of the fast-growing Servicesure network, click here.

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REPXPERT Academy LIVE: High number of visitors expected at Basingstoke

Technicians advised to book places quickly for training concept held in partnership with the IMI.

With a significant number of places already snapped up, technicians are being urged to sign-up for the first REPXPERT Academy LIVE event of 2020, held at Basingstoke College of Technology, on Saturday 25th January.

The roadshow training concept continues its journey throughout the UK, following a successful debut at Lincoln College in November last year.

In collaboration with the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), Schaeffler is primed for a new group of visitors, all of whom are ready to experience a full-day’s training, geared to improve and futureproof their technical and business skills.

Workshop owners and technicians will be offered masterclasses by a team of Schaeffler REPXPERTs, who will be concentrating on LuK clutch technology, INA timing drives and modern thermal management systems.

There will also be a focus on new and upcoming vehicle technologies, such as hybridisation and electrification.

The Garage Inspector

REPXPERT brand ambassador and The Garage Inspector, Andy Savva, will also be hosting a class based on his popular business training sessions.

An award-winning ex-workshop owner, aftermarket commentator and now business advisor, Andy will demonstrate to workshop owners and their staff how they can ‘empower their workshop’.

These four 45-minute sessions will incorporate practical knowledge, theory and discussion elements, all designed to impart as much knowledge as possible.

This will ensure that each delegate will have the opportunity to absorb plenty of valuable technical and business-related information from every session.

There will also be plenty to see in the workshop throughout the day, with guest exhibitors, Laser Tools and TechMan, plus, of course, displays from Schaeffler, the IMI and Basingstoke College of Technology.

Entry to REPXPERT Academy LIVE is free of charge, and every visitor will be offered complimentary breakfast and lunch, as well as refreshments throughout. Doors will open at 9am, with the event due to finish at 4pm.

To book your free place, click here.

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Further reman engine growth expected after record sales in Europe, reports Ivor Searle

Benefits of more sustainable remanufactured components continues to gain traction across aftermarket.

Remanufacturer of major units, Ivor Searle, is predicting a boost in demand for its remanufactured products next year, following record sales of engines in Europe during 2019.

As laws surrounding the recycling of vehicle parts become more stringent in the EU than anywhere else in the world, Cambridgeshire-based Ivor Searle sees further growth opportunities as the benefits of more sustainable remanufactured products continue to gain traction across the aftermarket, both in its home territory and in continental Europe.

In a continually challenging economic climate, which has resulted in a significant slowdown in new car sales, added to the rising cost of insurance that has reduced the threshold for uneconomical repair, the market for remanufacture has developed as a competitive alternative to OEM replacement parts.

Ivor Searle claims to save garages up to 40 per cent on the cost of buying OEM by instead, sourcing high quality remanufactured engines, cylinder heads, gearboxes and turbochargers.

The automotive parts remanufacturing market in Europe is valued at around €10 billion and expected to reach €20 billion by the end of 2024.

According to its report, Automotive Parts Remanufacturing Market: Europe Industry Analysis and Forecast 2016-2024, Persistence Market Research projects that Europe’s vehicle parts remanufacturing market will grow by up to 8 per cent annually.

By the end of 2024, the report predicts the number of remanufactured products will surpass 56 million per year.

The emergence of more sophisticated components for controlling vehicle emissions performance, as well as significant growth in the take up of alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs), are considered to be key driver for the remanufacturing market’s growth, particularly in regard to diesel remanufactured engines for both cars and vans, the latter of which is the workhorse of the pan-European parcel delivery fleet.

In addition to strong demand for remanufactured engines, Ivor Searle forecasts increased growth for ‘reman’ gearboxes, turbochargers and other components.

Of Europe’s total automotive parts remanufacturing market, more than 40 per cent relates to cars.

With benefits to the consumer, aftermarket and the wider world, remanufacturing will continue to exert an increasing influence on the automotive industry, as David Eszenyi, commercial director of Ivor Searle, said: “Now that all EU manufactured cars have to be at least 95 per cent recyclable, plus billions of euros being poured into the development of AFVs, the automotive sector is looking to a sustainable future.

“Remanufacturing is a fundamental part of a Circular Economy, as it’s a cost-effective alternative to manufacturing brand new products and at the same time saving on raw materials and energy.

“A remanufactured engine from Ivor Searle will save around 55kg in core metal whilst using 85 per cent less energy than manufacturing. It’s a win-win process.”

For further information about Ivor Searle, click here.

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Lesjöfors acquires Metrol Springs Ltd in the UK

The company has a diversified customer base in the UK, Europe, the US, and Asia, serving industrial and automotive customers.

Lesjöfors AB has announced its acquisition of the shares in Metrol Springs Ltd, a leading manufacturer of tooling gas springs, special purpose gas springs, and gas struts, within the UK and other global markets.

The company has enhanced their product offering with the addition of linear actuators and a constantly expanding range of industrial hardware.

A large proportion of the sales are via their catalogue in conjunction with their current websites.

Metrol’s revenues amount to MGBP 7 with good profitability, of which approximately 40 percent are exports to more than 20 countries.

Based in Northampton, Lesjöfors has acquired the real estate on which Metrol’s manufacturing plant is located through shares in Nitro Springs Manufacturing Ltd.

Retiring Lesjöfors President, Kjell-Arne Lindbäck, comments on the transaction: “With its main business areas being gas springs and gas struts, Metrol will broaden the Lesjöfors Group’s offering for both existing and new customers.

“The decentralized, technical and sales-orientated business culture within Metrol mirrors the philosophy we have at Lesjöfors, which will make it easy to work closely in our joint development of this business.”

Recently appointed Lesjöfors President, Ola Tengroth, also commented on the transaction: “I look forward to supporting the development of Metrol going forward along with its strong management team, which is now fully integrated within Lesjöfors.”

Metrol’s principal owners, Andrew Marks and Robert Lamb, and directors Paul Hynes and Chris Pegram, comments on the transaction: “We are incredibly happy for the company to become a part of a group that has a global market presence with extensive knowledge of our business concept and ethos.”

In addition, Paul Hynes and Chris Pegram states: “We appreciate the decentralized structure of Lesjöfors and are looking forward to staying on and continuing to develop the company further.”

Robert Lamb is also enthused by the prospect of his continued involvement in Metrol as part of the expanding Lesjöfors team.

To find out more about Lesjöfors, click here.

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The Parts Alliance open evening attracts over 200 customers despite heavy rain

The Parts Alliance’s new Midpoint Distribution Centre opened its doors for garage customers, attracting a total of 250 attendees including 25 key suppliers.

The open evening, held on Thursday 13 June had originally been intended to take place at GSF Birmingham but was moved to Midpoint to involve eager customers of local branches of CES and Bromsgrove Motor Factors too.

Guests were given tours of the distribution centre and, undeterred by the weather, were treated to a BBQ courtesy of Schaeffler’s LuK brand.

Dean Whitehouse, head of business development at The Parts Alliance, said: “It was an amazing night.

“We were delighted to see so many customers make the effort in spite of the awful rain.

“It’s great to be able to show hundreds of customers the investment we’re making to keep improving service levels and what goes on behind the scenes.”

Branch staff took the opportunity to chat to customers away from the pressures of work as suppliers also reported strong interest in the technology and product developments they were explaining.

Simon Moore, head of marketing at The Parts Alliance, said: “Despite atrocious weather, we had an unbelievable turnout and it really showed the loyalty of our customers to make the effort through the floods.

“It was wonderful to see so many people there and our thanks go to our suppliers and staff for putting together a great open evening.”

To find your nearest branch of The Parts Alliance please visit https://www.thepartsalliance.com/contact/branch-finder/.

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Latest MOT horror pictures serve as reminder to motorists about importance of annual test

MOT test stations across the country are continuing to report dangerous defects and MOT horrors.

The latest selection sent to the DVSA shows shocking bodges, dangerous repairs and defects as a result of overlooked vehicle maintenance.

One tester submitted a picture of a 2005 Toyota Landcruiser that came in for a ‘quick MOT’ before the owner set off on a trip with his caravan in tow.

The chassis mounting point for his nearside rear trailing arm had completely rotted away and the back axle was floating about.

The owner said it felt, “a little odd on acceleration”.

Thankfully, the caravan holiday was cancelled and the Landcruiser was scrapped.

Serious spring damage

Another tester from Keith’s garage in East Sussex sent in a picture of what remained of an Audi rear spring.

This car’s suspension was badly damaged and needed to be fixed before the car was driven again.

Seat belt bodge

Worrying photos showed a seat belt tied together, offering absolutely no restraint for the person on the seat in the event of an accident.

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The Parts Alliance helps recognise the UK’s best independents at Garage of the Year awards

The Parts Alliance has helped to pay tribute to the achievements of independent garages by sponsoring ‘Best Small Garage’ at Automechanika Birmingham’s Garage of the Year awards.

The event, which took place at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham on Wednesday 5 June, saw 200 industry professionals gather for a three-course meal and awards presentation to celebrate the hard work and dedication demonstrated by independents across the UK.

Sponsoring ‘Best Small Garage’, The Parts Alliance’s CEO Neil Croxson was on hand to present the award to Northern winner Bryan Swales Auto Repairs based in Castle Douglas, and Southern winner Performance 3000 based in Yeovil.

Bryan Swales, owner of Bryan Swales Auto Repairs, commented: “With a target audience of 10,000 people in a 10 mile radius, and 13 other garages vying for the business, you can imagine that we have to try and be at the top of our game.

“We use manufacturers’ specific tooling, ADAS equipment and the best quality parts to help us differentiate ourselves from the local competition and save our customers trekking for miles to find a main dealer.”

“We also send staff to attend numerous training courses all over the country, some of which can take hours to get to from our little remote part of Scotland.”

Similarly, Performance 3000’s entry highlighted the lengths the business was willing to go to for its customers.

“Since last year we have employed one more technician and we’re still inundated with more work,” said owner Mike Randino.

“Our next move is to redesign the workshop to fit in another ramp before we can look at employing another technician.

“We now hold our own in-house business development training days, held the first Saturday of every month, when we plan around the future of our industry and the business.”

Simon Moore, Head of Marketing at The Parts Alliance, said: “Small garages are the lifeblood of the aftermarket and we were delighted to support a category with so many fantastic entries.

“Congratulations go to both our winners; we understand how challenging it can be as a small business in this industry, so to recognise these exceptional efforts is incredibly rewarding.”

To find out more about The Parts Alliance, visit www.thepartsalliance.com.

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Schaeffler unveils REPXPERT app

Schaeffler says that the app will transform the way technicians utilise its online portal, with REPXPERTs now able to source product details for repair solutions and invaluable installation instructions, as well as gain access to TecDoc and product details from across the independent automotive aftermarket, all from the palm of their hands.

On the user-friendly homescreen, which is recognisably REPXPERT branded and in line with the website and e-newsletter, users are faced with a variety of icons, one of which is ‘vehicle search’.

This feature allows users to quickly find the parts they need for both passenger cars and commercial vehicles.

Once the user finds the correct vehicle, the app allows the user to either browse by Schaeffler brands – LuK, INA, FAG or Ruville – or by product group.

Another crucial feature is ‘part search’, which allows REPXPERTs to find parts by typing in a Schaeffler, OE or competitor part number or even an EAN code.

Alternatively, the user can just simply click ‘barcode scan’ and use the camera on their device to scan the barcode on any Schaeffler packaging.

‘CheckPoint’ is another icon in the REPXPERT app, which is currently home to a complete version of the previous LuK DMF CheckPoint app, a must-have for anybody servicing or repairing clutches with a dual mass flywheel.

Other CheckPoint functions to be added include INA timing systems, which will feature tensioner and pulley stud torque values and more belt service-related information.

Schaeffler is hopeful that the release of the new platform will inspire a new generation of technicians to sign-up.

Registered users can log-in using their existing details, while new members can sign-up, via the REPXPERT app, free-of-charge.

The REPXPERT app can be downloaded, also for free, for all Apple iOS and Android devices.

Schaeffler head of category and technical, Thom Willis, said: “The new app is unique in the aftermarket, using a direct link to the REPXPERT technical platform to provide both catalogue and repair information straight to the user’s device.

“Extra functionality will continue to be developed, such as ‘INA CheckPoint’, making the REPXPERT app an invaluable tool for the modern workshop.”

Click here to find out more about REPXPERT.

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Customisable air filter shapes launched by MANN+HUMMEL

MANN-FILTER Flexline has flexible external contours to improve flexibility for technicians and fitters in engine compartments with limited space

MANN+HUMMEL has launched a series of customisable air filter shapes that aim to make more efficient use of space in engine compartments and deliver an improved dust-holding capacity.

Installation space in a car is a rare commodity.

Comfort functions, turbocharging, and much more have significantly reduced the available space in the engine compartment over the past decades.

In response to this, global filtration brand MANN+HUMMEL has developed new air filters with flexible external contours that make more efficient use of the available installation space.

Larger filtration area and higher standards

For the independent automotive aftermarket, they are available as MANN-FILTER Flexline C 26 017 and C 30 030 for the Mercedes-Benz A and B Class.

The C 26 017 air filter is for petrol engines and the C 30 030 is for diesel models.

The use of further elements with flexible contours for other automotive manufacturers is planned.

Whereas flat air filters based on rectangular, trapezoidal, and polygonal forms with straight lateral edges were once the dominant design, the MANN-FILTER Flexline also makes efficient use of installation spaces with curved external contours.

“We can accommodate a larger filtration area compared with conventional designs, and thus achieve higher separation efficiency and dust holding capacity,” said Daniel Schmid, product developer for Automotive Aftermarket Air Filter Elements at MANN+HUMMEL.

“With Flexline, we produce the air filter contours using state-of-the-art laser technology.

Produce almost any shape

“This means that we can produce almost any shape that was not possible with the conventional method.

“With this laser technology, we are setting new standards in filter manufacturing,” emphasised Schmid.

Compared with filters with limited geometries and straight lateral edges, the C 26 017 air filter has features such as 11 per cent more filter surface area, 22 per cent higher dust holding capacity, and 16 per cent lower pressure loss.

At the same time, the new Flexline air filters are also flatter than standard products, which means that can be used in particularly low installation spaces.

Mercedes-Benz has adopted solution

Mercedes-Benz was the first vehicle manufacturer to use the innovative solution, and is now using it as standard for its MFA2 (Modular Front Architecture) platform.

The air filter will therefore be used in almost all four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines from the A and B Class as well as their derivatives in the future.

MANN+HUMMEL has filed several patents for the manufacturing method and the design of the Flexline air filter with the German Patent and Trademark Office as well as in other countries.

To find out more about the products and stocking the references at your factor, click here.

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Branch Focus: SCMF Croydon

SCMF Croydon has flourished during the last year, winning the New Branch of the Year Award but, as branch manager Bill Barrett explains, a different approach to customer service has been key to their branch success.

Having only opened a year ago, SCMF Croydon has enjoyed a remarkable rise to its recognition as New Branch of the Year, but what does branch manager Bill Barrett think is the key to their successful formula?

“I believe in giving clear expectations to my team and giving them the support to achieve them.

“We always have a clear development plan in place to support sales growth.

“Regular meetings to review performance in all areas help to make sure we are achieving all KPIs.

Bill explains more on the ideas that have helped the branch perform so well

“I spend no time in my office; 90 per cent of my time either with supporting the sales team, supporting the warehouse or visiting customers.

“I like to remain visible and active, which I feel is proactive – and to make sure we have the right people in the right places,” Bill confirms.

Winning the award has proved pleasing recognition for SCMF Croydon

“We were shocked and hugely appreciative to win.

“It’s nice to have the recognition of our blood, sweat and tears that have gone into getting the branch to where it is and we’re proud of where we’ve come in a year.

“It’s made us want to work even harder to be in with a chance of winning the big one next time out,” the branch manager says.

Branch-specific initiatives can help maintain customers, but The Parts Alliance’s national activity has been invaluable too

“I have been extremely impressed with the offering from the marketing team.

“The level of support and incentives available along with localised support is second to none.

The branch has a team of 15 staff with 10 delivery vehicles.

Bill also maintains a keen focus on staff training, encouraging multi-skilling staff to have flexibility to cover absences

“Being part of The Parts Alliance really does embrace local service with national strength.

“Through trading as SC Motor Factors or Allparts, for instance, it makes you relevant in the area whilst being able to have the same offering that the trade has grown to expect.

“Targeting and developing customers, holding the correct product, pricing and logistics are just some of the things we get great support on, which in turn allows us to better meet our customers’ needs.

“The support we received and continue to receive since opening has been second to none,” Bill concludes.

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