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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Don’t miss your chance to be a ‘Garage of the Year’

The industry will gather 5th June to celebrate the achievements of independent garages across nine categories. Don’t miss your chance to win by taking a few minutes to enter – but hurry, there’s only a week to go before entries close…

Automechanika Birmingham’s ‘Garage of the Year’ awards are being hosted in association with Garage Wire at the National Motorcycle Museum on the 5th June. The deadline for entries has been extended until Sunday 5th May.

Sponsored by the Independent Garage Association (IGA) the competition is open to garages from across the UK and Ireland.

It takes just a few minutes to enter as many of the nine
sub-categories as garages want to, with the overall winner once again set to
receive £1,000.

All garages shortlisted in one or more categories will get two free tickets for the awards drinks and dinner at the National Motorcycle Museum. Located little more than a stone’s throw from the NEC, and with the awards event running from 7pm, it’s the perfect opportunity to celebrate the achievements of independent garage excellence either before or after a daytime visit to Automechanika Birmingham.

The Parts Alliance are again sponsoring the ‘Best Small Garage’ category. Other categories include ‘Best Large Garage’, ‘Commitment to Training and Standards’, ‘Garage Owner of the Year’, ‘Outstanding Achievement’, ‘Auto-Mechanik’, ‘Best Community Initiative’, ‘Business Innovation’ and ‘Technical Innovation’

“We’re excited to be involved again,” said Simon Moore, Head of Marketing at The Parts Alliance. “We’re hoping lots of our garage customers, particularly those around Birmingham, will get involved and enter as it promises to be a great which will help showcase all the great work independent garages do as unsung heroes for UK motorists.”

Automechanika’s Garage of the Year awards forms part of the Big UK Garage Event at this year’s Automechanika Birmingham. This will include exclusive show offers, big giveaways, competitions and some celebrity appearances. The event gives access to over 500 leading suppliers.

Garages will also receive free parking and free breakfast on arrival for their workforce.

Entries can be made online now.

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Suppliers and customers join celebrity guests at Spring Trade Show

A series of technical talks, market developments, profit opportunities for branches and garages, and a surprise awards ceremony awaited guests

The Parts Alliance hosted its first trade of 2019 with motoring celebrities and global suppliers joining over 500 customers at the Spring Trade Show.

On Wednesday 27 March, over 500 customers attended the event, which ran from 5pm at the Centenary Pavilion of Leeds United’s Elland Road stadium, taking the opportunity to discuss the latest products, technology, market developments and profit opportunities with more than 50 of the trading group’s supplier partners.

“We thought we should come for a wander around and see because we’ve never had the chance to get to anything like this before,” said David Gilfeather, owner of DG Autos in Rodley, Leeds.

“It’s really great to see so much here and was well worth us coming.”

Branches of BBC Superfactors, BMS Superfactors, GSF Car Parts, SAS Autoparts and Waterloo Motor Trade all invited customers, who took the opportunity to not only do business but also listen to interviews with special guests.

Celebrity guests

Fuzz Townshend from Car SOS talked about highlights from his TV shows whilst three-time British Touring Car Champion Matt Neal discussed improvements to his car and hopes for the upcoming season.

So valuable

Fuzz said: “For The Parts Alliance to put on an event where garage owners can meet fantastic suppliers and get a better understanding of their products is so valuable.”

Technical talks were given by Comma Oil on how changes in engine technology are impacting the choice of engine lubricants; Schaeffler discussed DMF technology, whilst Delphi provided numerous insights on keeping up with developing VM digital service record technology.

“We were delighted by the turnout on our first visit to Leeds with a show of this scale,” said Simon Moore, head of marketing at The Parts Alliance.

Response from garages

“We had some great comments from the garages and lots of the suppliers seem to have had some really good discussions and done brisk business; our thanks go to everyone who supported the show.”

Nick Nafahran, of Vehicle Repairs UK in Leeds, was interested in a Tecalemit tyre changer and said: “I’ve got to see it and got all the information that I need, so it’s been useful.”

The evening ran until nearly 10pm with an extensive prize draw seeing around 20 prizes, generously donated by suppliers, given away to garages on the night.

Andrew Wood of APW Cars in Otley, Leeds added: “I’m here to see new technology.

“I’ve just been inside the REPXPERT van, it’s a real eye opener to see where the industry is going; I’d definitely recommend others to try to get to one of these events if they have the chance.

“I’ve only got a little garage and I’m usually in the workshop until late but I’m glad I made the time for this – free food and drink too, so what’s not to like?”

Customers are advised to look out for more events in 2019, said The Parts Alliance.

Find out more about The Parts Alliance and its national network of branches by clicking here.

Auto Torque has partnered with Garage Wire to bring you all the latest aftermarket news.

The post Suppliers and customers join celebrity guests at Spring Trade Show appeared first on Auto Torque Magazine.

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Some motorists can no longer afford to drive as ULEZ introduced in London

31 per cent of drivers have said they won’t be able to afford to drive in London anymore

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has launched the UK’s first Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ), leaving many drivers without the funds to be able to drive.

Bikesure, a motorbike insurer, recently surveyed 1,000 commuters in London to find out how the ULEZ will impact them.

Among the questions, respondents were asked how the ULEZ will affect them.

Asked if they have changed or thought about changing their usual mode of transport in preparation for the ULEZ:

Changing mode of transport

  • 37 per cent of commuters have already changed their usual mode of transport
  • 46 per cent have thought about changing their usual mode of transport
  • 18 per cent will not be changing their usual mode of transport

Can’t afford to drive

  • 31 per cent of commuters won’t be able to afford to drive/ride in the ULEZ anymore
  • 32 per cent won’t drive/ride in the ULEZ as much as they used to
  • 29 per cent won’t be affected by the ULEZ
  • 7 per cent don’t know how it will affect them

How did they feel about the ULEZ?

  • 47 per cent of Londoners think it is a good idea and they don’t mind it being brought in
  • 45 per cent can understand the reasons, but feel frustrated by it
  • 8 per cent think it’s a bad idea

Find out more about the findings and the rest of the Bikesure survey by clicking here.

What do you think of the ULEZ? Is it necessary to combat the levels of C02 and nitrogen dioxide in the atmosphere, or does it pose a threat to the levels of business factors and garages can receive and deliver?

Auto Torque has partnered with Garage Wire to bring you all the latest aftermarket news.

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VIP experience on offer from Schaeffler at Automechanika Birmingham

Members and non-members of REPXPERT can still register for the VIP experience

Schaeffler has invited its REPXPERT members to register as VIP guests for Automechanika Birmingham 2019 for the three-day event at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) on 4 June, with a variety of prizes and rewards available.

REPXPERT members and non-members can now sign-up online to receive hospitality from Schaeffler, which includes lunch, a premium REPXPERT messenger bag full of workshop goodies, including a ‘magnaband’ wrist magnet, sports bottle, leaflet, pen and REPXPERT bonus points – plus all the benefits of Automechanika’s ‘Big UK Garage Event’ – all free-of-charge.

Range of benefits

Automechanika’s Big UK Garage Event adds breakfast, free car park voucher, as well as CPD-accredited training opportunities, live demonstrations and business advice.

Nigel Morgan, managing director of Schaeffler UK’s aftermarket division, said: “Schaeffler is delighted to be returning to Automechanika Birmingham and is back with a packed schedule full of top training, interactive exhibits and special guests over the three days.

“We are especially excited to again welcome REPXPERT VIPs to our stand which will make their show even more special.

“REPXPERT VIP registration is limited, and available on a first-come, first-served basis, so we urge members to sign-up quickly by logging in at www.repxpert.co.uk and clicking the Automechanika VIP button.

Additionally, for visitors from factors and the wider automotive aftermarket, the Retail Accessories Village will be open with the latest products and technology for suppliers of vehicle accessories.

Non-members can sign up

“Any technician that isn’t already a REPXPERT member can register for free at the site now to access the VIP link, or can sign-up at the show to become an instant VIP.

“The REPXPERT VIP package is just one small part of what visitors can expect from Schaeffler at Automechanika Birmingham 2019, and we will reveal further details of what else will be happening on our stand soon – watch this space.”

Schaeffler is a global supplier of OE-quality parts to the automotive aftermarket.

Find out more about REPXPERT and signing up for the VIP package by clicking here.

Auto Torque has partnered with Garage Wire to bring you all the latest aftermarket news.

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