Plans to extend block exemption confirmed

Regulation as it’s currently known comes to an end in May 2023 but now looks to be extended by five years with guideline revisions

The European Commission is proposing to extend the Motor Vehicle Block Exemption Regulations (MVBER) with revised guidelines, the Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) has announced.

A five-year extension would see the regulation remain in place until 31 May 2028.

The European Commission will be consulting stakeholders on the draft rules in the second quarter of 2022, and the final adoption is foreseen in the second quarter of 2023.

The UK version of MVBER expires in May 2023 and so attention now turns to the UK government as UK AFCAR gathers increasing evidence that demonstrates vehicle manufacturers and their authorised networks are ‘misinterpreting’ current Motor Vehicle Block Exemption Regulations (MV-BER).

UK AFCAR, the new UK automotive lobbying group comprising automotive trade associations and commercial organisations, will call for the UK MVBER to be modernised, in-line with technical and digital enhancements within the modern motor vehicle.

In recent months, UK AFCAR has received information on the prevention of access to technical information for independent garages, and also an unwillingness to investigate customer issues, once the vehicle has been worked on by the independent aftermarket within the warranty period.

Mark Field, IAAF chief executive, said: “We welcome the news from the European Commission and will lobby the UK government to follow suit.

“We shall also call for greater enforcement of the regulations as the reality is that there is a lack of understanding on the interpretation of the legislation, with many issues falling into ‘grey areas’ or being applied incorrectly.

“This is not in the spirt of the legislation and co-operation needs to happen so that motorists can continue to access local and affordable independent garages that have access to the right parts, tools and technical information.

“Lack of co-operation, prevention of access and unreasonable costs all place additional barriers and burdens on the aftermarket in its position as the leading provider to motorists for service, repair and maintenance of vehicles.

“Ultimately, the motorist loses out and we will make this clear to government through our work as part of UK AFCAR.”

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

Subscribe for FREE to the Auto Torque e-Bulletin
Auto Torque from SCMF & The Parts Alliance brings you the latest news and buzz from around the automotive aftermarket, including business advice, technical tips and industry interviews.

Subscribe for FREE today to receive fortnightly industry news delivered directly to your inbox!
It's easy to unsubscribe from these communications at any time.

OSRAM and Ring launch joint distributor initiative

‘Workshop Solutions Van’ latest products and innovations

Automotive aftermarket specialists, OSRAM and Ring, will be launching a joint initiative, teaming up with distributors across the country to bring the latest in automotive lighting and garage and workshop tools and equipment direct to independent garages.

The Workshop Solutions Van, from OSRAM and Ring, will showcase the latest products and innovations from both brands, along with technical advice and product demonstrations from Technical Manager, Alan Povey.

Alan will be driving the specially equipped van around the UK and Ireland to garages and workshops to meet technicians directly at their premises.

The idea is to bring OSRAM and Ring’s leading products and technical expertise direct to technicians, offering demonstrations of the very latest products on the market, and the opportunity to make a purchase from the van, which will be fulfilled by their local distributors.

Technicians will also be able to explore the brands’ range of merchandise options to suit their individual business needs, and what’s more, they will have the opportunity to access exclusive giveaways and support materials during the visit too.

Jason Smith, general sales manager (UK and Ireland) at Ring Automotive, said: “We recognise that it continues to be a busy time for technicians and therefore bringing our range of products directly to them, and arranging any purchases through their local distributor, will mean we can help them keep up to date with the latest technology and workshop tools on the market, while at the same time supporting our customers.”

The boldly branded van will be equipped with inspection lamps, bulbs, and professional tyre care and battery care products for technicians to get their hands on and try before they buy.

Each visit will last approximately one hour and will take place with a representative of the local OSRAM and Ring distributor in that area.

Technicians are advised to contact their local OSRAM and Ring distributor for more information and to arrange a visit.

In the coming weeks Ring area sales managers will be getting in touch with customers to plan the Workshop Solutions Van visits to their local workshops.

For further information, please click here.

Subscribe for FREE to the Auto Torque e-Bulletin
Auto Torque from SCMF & The Parts Alliance brings you the latest news and buzz from around the automotive aftermarket, including business advice, technical tips and industry interviews.

Subscribe for FREE today to receive fortnightly industry news delivered directly to your inbox!
It's easy to unsubscribe from these communications at any time.

HELLA Black Magic LED now available in European market

Award-winning lamps provide 15,000 lumen light output

HELLA has launched the new Black Magic LED series to the European market.

The dustproof and waterproof housing and robust construction is specially designed for off-road applications and in the U.S., the company had already received two best new product awards for the product series in the form of the AAPEX Award and the Sema Global Media Award 2021, which is awarded by MAS MOTOR Magazine (Mexico).

“With the new HELLA Black Magic LED series, we are ushering in a new era in auxiliary lights as they combine powerful LED light output, with a slim and stylish all-black design,” says Stefan van Dalen, who is responsible for the global Aftermarket business at HELLA.

The auxiliary lights are available as cubes, lightbars and mini-lightbars and depending on the variant, they provide outstanding off-road illumination with up to 15,000 lumens.

A specially developed reflector ensures homogeneous illumination and the integrated, intelligent thermal management system ensures adaptation to the ambient temperature, thus providing optimal light output and a longer lifetime of the LEDs.

Available in floodlight or spotlight versions, the Black Magic LED series can be mounted vertically or in a suspended manner, or they can be integrated into the bodywork or bumper.

For further information, please click here.

Subscribe for FREE to the Auto Torque e-Bulletin
Auto Torque from SCMF & The Parts Alliance brings you the latest news and buzz from around the automotive aftermarket, including business advice, technical tips and industry interviews.

Subscribe for FREE today to receive fortnightly industry news delivered directly to your inbox!
It's easy to unsubscribe from these communications at any time.

Hybrid system revolutionises World Rally Championship

Schaeffler subsidiary Compact Dynamics equips all manufacturers with innovative hybrid system

During the Monte Carlo Rally (January 20–23), the hybrid era in the International Automobile Federation (FIA) World Rally Championship (WRC) began and through its subsidiary Compact Dynamics, Schaeffler once again played a pioneering role by equipping all the competing vehicles with an innovative hybrid system.

Through the introduction of new technical regulations for this popular championship, which, this year, is being held for the 50th time, the FIA is not only ensuring greater safety and equal opportunities, but is also driving forward the further development of sustainable drives.

“For Schaeffler and Compact Dynamics, motorsport has, for many years, played an important role in the development of innovative technologies for volume production solutions, in the field of e-mobility,” says Dr. Jochen Schröder, head of the E-Mobility business division at Schaeffler.

“As a series partner, we are delighted that our subsidiary, Compact Dynamics, is playing a decisive role in the future of the WRC. As pioneers of mobility, Schaeffler and Compact Dynamics recognised the potential of motorsport for developing innovative future technologies and therefore implemented a race-to-road strategy at an early stage.

The core of the new Compact Dynamics drive concept, is a high performance hybrid system that combines a motor-generator, control unit and a battery with 3.9 kWh capacity – supplied by Kreisel Electric – in a very small design envelope.

As a plug-in unit, the system weighs just 87 kilograms, is fitted transversely in the centre of the new Rally cars, and is connected with the powertrain via a shaft to the rear differential and therefore corresponds to the P3 topology.

“The system is a hybrid technology milestone,” says Oliver Blamberger, Managing Director of Compact Dynamics.

“During the events, the vehicles are driven in purely electric mode in specified areas, such as the service park, or so-called hybrid electric vehicle zones (HEV).

“In addition to the 286 kW (390 PS) provided by the internal combustion engine, the hybrid system gives the drivers 100 kW of ‘extra boost’ during special stages.

“The traction battery can then be recharged through the recuperation of braking energy during the stages.”

The expertise gained by Schaeffler through such competition is integrated directly into volume production for, as examples, electric axles, hybrid transmissions or electric motors for electric drives.

As a series and innovation partner to the DTM, Schaeffler is already revolutionising the world’s most important touring car racing series and is developing a fully electric concept vehicle with almost 1,200 PS, torque vectoring, and Space Drive steer-by-wire technology.

From the very beginning in 2014, until 2021, Schaeffler was also involved in the FIA Formula E electric racing series and played an active role as a pioneer in shaping the championship.

With its challenging calendar in Europe, Africa, and Oceania, the WRC places the highest demands on the cars and is therefore an ideal test laboratory for innovative technologies, as the events are held in extreme conditions, which range from sub-zero temperatures and snow and ice in Sweden, to dust and an altitude of more than 2,000 metres in Kenya.

For further details, please click here.

Subscribe for FREE to the Auto Torque e-Bulletin
Auto Torque from SCMF & The Parts Alliance brings you the latest news and buzz from around the automotive aftermarket, including business advice, technical tips and industry interviews.

Subscribe for FREE today to receive fortnightly industry news delivered directly to your inbox!
It's easy to unsubscribe from these communications at any time.

MOT slot fee to be increased by 3p

DVSA says it will “consider” calls from testing stations to raise maximum fee they can charge for an MOT

The MOT slot fee is to be increased from £2.05 to £2.08 later this year, the DVSA has confirmed.

It follows a consultation on proposals to increase most DVSA statutory fees by 1.5 per cent.

It received 2,573 responses, of which 30 per cent were from those who run or work at an MOT test centre.

Some 68 per cent of all respondents said that the proposed fee increases were fair while 21 per cent said they strongly disagreed with the increase.

Ministers have now agreed for the increase to be made later this year but a firm date is yet to be announced.

The DVSA says the increase will allow it to continue making essential improvements.

In its response to the consultation, which closed in September, the Independent Garage Association said: “We feel that ongoing development of DVSA services to keep pace with changes in testing and vehicle technology is important.

“Inevitably, there must be at some stage a consideration made of increased costs to test stations and how they are able to invest in improvements to the benefit of the MOT scheme both capital and with personnel.

“This is important to ensure provision of service and choice to consumers and to ensure the industry can fund their own improvements in quality and consistency.”

Many of the respondents connected to an MOT testing centre made reference in their consultation response about a rise in the maximum fee they are allowed to charge for an MOT – a total of 533 comments were made on this.

The DVSA has said that it “will take on board these comments for further consideration”.

At the launch of the consultation, a DVSA spokesperson said: “Most of our fees haven’t increased since 2010, and we’ve worked hard to make savings through efficiency measures in the last few years.

“In the next year we’ll be focusing on improving the driving test booking service, the way the theory test service is delivered, how we carry out heavy vehicle enforcement and the MOT testing service.”

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

Subscribe for FREE to the Auto Torque e-Bulletin
Auto Torque from SCMF & The Parts Alliance brings you the latest news and buzz from around the automotive aftermarket, including business advice, technical tips and industry interviews.

Subscribe for FREE today to receive fortnightly industry news delivered directly to your inbox!
It's easy to unsubscribe from these communications at any time.

How Schaeffler’s making workshop life easier

REPXPERT to play an increasingly important role in providing specialist tools and repair support

Cars are continuing to evolve, becoming more powerful, more environmentally friendly, more comfortable, and safer.

At the same time, they are becoming more complex, and with each new innovation, independent workshops have to familiarise themselves with yet more technology.

That is why it’s good to have a partner like Schaeffler Automotive Aftermarket on their side, because the company’s objective is to make things easier for them and their customers, despite all the complexity involved.

‘Convenience’ is one of the key focus points of Schaeffler Automotive Aftermarket’s strategy designed to shape the future of the independent aftermarket.

However, is convenience really possible at a time when both cars and the replacement parts they need are becoming steadily more complicated?

As digitalisation and electric mobility gains ground and the number of repairs and services requiring special expertise and tools continues to grow, along with the pressure on workshops to work profitably and efficiently?

It is a challenge, but one that can be overcome with system expertise and market knowledge, explains Jens Schüler, President GKAM, Global Sales & Marketing, Schaeffler Automotive Aftermarket: “Schaeffler is a renowned specialist and innovator in the powertrain, engine and chassis segments, and a leading global development partner for vehicle manufacturers.

“Our Automotive Aftermarket division is a longstanding and reliable partner that provides support and inspiration to the independent aftermarket and independent workshops.

“There is no organisation better placed than we are to provide the right answers to important questions the future of car servicing.”

Tapping into new trends, along with preparing for them in advance, is essential for the long-term success of a workshop.

Schaeffler is therefore working on solutions that allow workshops to participate in new trends, by helping shape the process of digitalisation for example.

“We consider digitalisation to be an opportunity to support complex repair procedures on-site and intensify the dialogue with our customers worldwide,” says Schüler.

REPXPERT will play an increasingly important role in this context, as the Schaeffler service brand provides workshop professionals with appropriate special tools and repair support, not just via traditional channels like personal training and hotlines, but increasingly through digital formats such as virtual installation instructions and training sessions.

At the same time, Schaeffler is helping to ensure that independent workshops do not lose out on the opportunities offered by electric mobility.

For example, the company has its sights set firmly on the independent aftermarket as it develops e-axles and hybrid modules for electric vehicle manufacturers all over the world.

When electric vehicles become relevant for the independent aftermarket, Schaeffler will be ready with an aligned portfolio of repair solutions and services to support workshops, solutions that will make it easy for garages to benefit from the increasing prevalence of electric vehicles, allowing them to tap into this new segment and thus secure a profitable future for their business.

Information on Schaeffler products, fitting instructions, labour times and much more can be found on the REPXPERT workshop portal, the REPXPERT app, or by calling the Schaeffler REPXPERT hotline on 0872 737 0037.

Subscribe for FREE to the Auto Torque e-Bulletin
Auto Torque from SCMF & The Parts Alliance brings you the latest news and buzz from around the automotive aftermarket, including business advice, technical tips and industry interviews.

Subscribe for FREE today to receive fortnightly industry news delivered directly to your inbox!
It's easy to unsubscribe from these communications at any time.

DVSA bans tester for MOT fraud

Investigations found him to have issued passes for nine vehicles which had never been in the workshop

An MOT tester who claimed to have tested a van in the UK while it was actually in Spain has been sentenced to a 12-month community order and banned from testing.

Jamie Smith of Rookhill Road, Pontefract claimed to have completed the MOT test and issued a pass certificate for a Mercedes-Benz C van at a garage in West Yorkshire when it had been seized by Spanish police for not having valid tax or MOT.

The van was one of nine vehicles Smith falsely issued MOT certificates for.

He was sentenced to a community order and given 50 hours of unpaid work, a curfew from 7am to 7am for two months and ordered to pay full costs totalling £1,620 at Kirklees Magistrates Court on 5 January 2022.

He was also given the full five year cessation notice by DVSA.

The DVLA notified the DVSA on 2 June 2021, making them aware that a vehicle they suspected was in Spain had been issued a MOT in the UK.

Spanish Police confirmed the vehicle had been seized and impounded at the time of the MOT.

Further investigations revealed that there were a further eight vehicles, including four vans, which had been issued MOT certificates by Smith, without ever having been at the garage.

The certificates were issued between 15 January and 2 June 2021.

Having initially denied the offences, when presented with the evidence, Smith admitted to the counts and to having received payment for the fraudulent MOTs.

DVSA’s head regulatory services and transformation, Caroline Hicks said: “DVSA’s priority is protecting you from unsafe drivers and vehicles.

“Mr. Smith had no way of knowing the condition of the vehicles. His greed put the safety of drivers and the public danger.

“We will ensure that anyone who compromises safety in pursuit of personal gain feels the full force of the law.”

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

Subscribe for FREE to the Auto Torque e-Bulletin
Auto Torque from SCMF & The Parts Alliance brings you the latest news and buzz from around the automotive aftermarket, including business advice, technical tips and industry interviews.

Subscribe for FREE today to receive fortnightly industry news delivered directly to your inbox!
It's easy to unsubscribe from these communications at any time.

GS Yuasa ‘Powering What Matters’ advertising campaign hits TV screens nationwide

Manufacturer to promote its primary brand, whilst continuing to market its world-renowned Yuasa and GS ranges

Centred around a 40 second television advert, the nationwide advertising campaign explores the world of GS Yuasa through the eyes of 6-year-old Isabella and her mother as they go about their day noticing the many exciting applications powered by the battery manufacturer.

Launching today (Monday 17 January) it will be carried by the likes of ITV, Absolute Radio, YouTube, social media and digital billboards across the UK and highlight the vast range of applications that utilise GS Yuasa batteries.

Powering What Matters touches on the diverse range of markets served by the Japanese based manufacturer, which is larger than any other producer or supplier.

From starter batteries to satellites – GS Yuasa enable everyday life for millions of people around the world.

In fact, they are the preferred choice for vehicle, motorcycle and industrial batteries due to their superior quality, reliability and performance.

GS Yuasa also manufacture Yuasa and GS branded products.

Moving forward the manufacturer will now promote its primary brand, whilst continuing to market its world-renowned Yuasa and GS ranges.

James Hylton, managing director of GS Yuasa Battery Sales UK said: “We’re incredibly proud of the difference our batteries make in enabling the everyday lives of millions of people around the world.

“Powering What Matters celebrates this and brings the GS Yuasa name to the forefront of our activities for the first time.”

“We wanted to explore the enormous breadth of applications we power.

“From exploring the deepest depths of the ocean to the International Space Station 250 miles above earth – our batteries are the number one choice for millions of applications around the world.

“These days almost all battery manufacturers make similar claims, however we can go one step further with a message that is unique to us.”

For further details, please click here.

Subscribe for FREE to the Auto Torque e-Bulletin
Auto Torque from SCMF & The Parts Alliance brings you the latest news and buzz from around the automotive aftermarket, including business advice, technical tips and industry interviews.

Subscribe for FREE today to receive fortnightly industry news delivered directly to your inbox!
It's easy to unsubscribe from these communications at any time.

Shell replaces Fulham petrol and diesel pumps with ultra-rapid charge points

Garage features nine ultra-rapid 175kW charge points which can charge most vehicles from 0-80 per cent within 10 minutes

Shell has replaced all of its existing petrol and diesel pumps at its station in Fulham, London with ultra-rapid 175kW charge points thus turning this station into the Group’s first EV charging hub in the UK.

It represents the first conversion of an existing gas station into EV solely charging hub for the Group.

István Kapitány, Shell’s global executive vice president for Mobility said: “EV drivers are looking for a charging experience that is as fast, convenient and comfortable as possible.

“This is exactly what Shell Fulham aims to offer.

“It joins our growing network of Shell Recharge sites at forecourts and other locations, our ubitricity on-street charging network, and our Shell Recharge Solutions for homes and businesses as we increasingly help EV drivers to charge wherever they need it.

“It also gives us all a glimpse into the future of mobility.”

Transport Minister, Trudy Harrison said: “It’s fantastic to see Shell leading the way with their brand-new charging hub, offering EV drivers an easy and rapid charging experience.

“With more people making the switch to EVs than ever before, this is exactly the type of facility we need to help make the transition as simple as possible for drivers up and down the country.

“This government has committed £2.5bn to vehicle grants and infrastructure to support the switch to EVs.

“In addition to government efforts, it is equally encouraging to see businesses support the EV transition – and Shell’s new hub is a brilliant example of the UK’s huge effort to go-green and reach our important net-zero targets.”

Shell Fulham features a sustainable design including a timber canopy with built-in solar panels, and roof and shop windows that employ double glazing with high insulating properties.

The hub includes a seating area, free Wi-Fi, a Costa Coffee and a Little Waitrose.

With more than 130 full or hybrid electric vehicle models now available to buyers, EV sales in the UK are accelerating rapidly.

In December 2021, 27,705 EVs were sold, making up 25.5 per cent of all new registrations that month.

Shell has previously stated an ambition to install 50,000 on-street chargers in the UK by 2025 through Shell-owned company ubitricity, and in July 2021 announced that up to 800 Shell electric vehicle charging points would be installed in as many as 100 Waitrose sites across the UK by 2025.

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

Subscribe for FREE to the Auto Torque e-Bulletin
Auto Torque from SCMF & The Parts Alliance brings you the latest news and buzz from around the automotive aftermarket, including business advice, technical tips and industry interviews.

Subscribe for FREE today to receive fortnightly industry news delivered directly to your inbox!
It's easy to unsubscribe from these communications at any time.

HELLA reveals half-year results

Workshop business drives positive development in firm’s aftermarket segment

In the first six months of the fiscal year 2021/2022, massive bottlenecks with electronic components have significantly burdened the development of sales and earnings at the international automotive supplier HELLA.

As of today, HELLA has presented the complete and final half-year figures, thereby confirming preliminary key figures published on 29 November 2021.

The currency and portfolio-adjusted sales of the HELLA Group fell accordingly in the first half-year (1 June until 30 November 2021) by 2.6 per cent to € 3.0 billion (prior year: € 3.1 billion); as reported, sales declined by 2.0 per cent.

In the second quarter, the currency and portfolio-adjusted sales fell by 11.9 per cent to € 1.5 billion (prior year: € 1.8 billion).

Due to the reduced sales volumes and increasing cost pressure, the adjusted earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) fell to € 156 million in the first six months (prior year: € 269 million); the adjusted EBIT margin is at 5.1 per cent (prior year: 8.7 per cent).

In the second quarter, the adjusted EBIT margin amounted to 4.1 per cent (prior year: 12.1 per cent). In the first half-year, the EBIT is at € 149 million (prior year: € 94 million); the reported EBIT margin amounts to 4.9 per cent (prior year: 3.0 per cent).

The lower figures from the prior year can be attributed to the expenses recorded for the programme to sustainably improve competitiveness.

“At present, there are great challenges in the market environment.

“Due to the massive bottlenecks in the global supply and logistics chains, the global light vehicle production sustained a drastic collapse in the second fiscal quarter in particular”, says HELLA CEO Dr. Rolf Breidenbach.

“Despite these adverse conditions, however, we performed well overall.

O2ur Automotive segment continued to develop significantly better than the overall market, which underscores our strong strategic orientation in this area.

“In addition, the business development posted by both of our other segments Aftermarket and Special Applications was also favourable.”

In the Aftermarket segment, sales rose by 17.1 per cent to € 283 million in the first half-year (prior year: € 241 million).

The independent spare parts business developed particularly well in Germany, Poland and the Americas.

In the workshop area, a particularly positive influence on sales came from the market launch of the new mega macs X diagnostic device.

As a result of the higher sales volumes, the Aftermarket segment’s EBIT improved to € 33 million in the first six months (prior year: € 29 million); the EBIT margin stands at 11.8 per cent (prior year: 11.9 per cent).

Given the business development to date, the expected lack of market recovery in the second half of the year and increasing cost burdens, HELLA further lowered its sales and earnings forecast for the current fiscal year already on 29 November 2021.

For fiscal year 2021/2022 (1 June 2021 until 31 May 2022), the Company anticipates currency and portfolio-adjusted sales of between around € 5.9 and 6.2 billion (previously adjusted: around € 6.0 to 6.5 billion) and an EBIT margin adjusted for structural measures and portfolio effects of around 3.5 to 5.0 per cent (previously adjusted: around 5.0 to 7.0 per cent).

Especially with a view to the third quarter of the fiscal year, the company sees major challenges with lower production volumes and further increasing cost burdens in light of the ongoing shortage of materials and components.

“The industry environment remains challenging. For the current fiscal year, we anticipate a considerable decline in light vehicle production.

“The component shortages are expected to persist into 2023.

“The coronavirus pandemic is continuing to cause considerable uncertainties as well”, says HELLA CEO Dr. Rolf Breidenbach.

“Nevertheless, not least because of our established cost management, our innovative product portfolio and well-filled order book, we are confident that our development will remain significantly better than that of the overall market.”

Subscribe for FREE to the Auto Torque e-Bulletin
Auto Torque from SCMF & The Parts Alliance brings you the latest news and buzz from around the automotive aftermarket, including business advice, technical tips and industry interviews.

Subscribe for FREE today to receive fortnightly industry news delivered directly to your inbox!
It's easy to unsubscribe from these communications at any time.