Avia Autos crowned Garage of the Year 2019

Automechanika Birmingham evening event celebrated examples of excellence among UK independents

Avia Autos in Bridgend has been named Garage of the Year at this year’s awards ceremony held at the National Motorcylce Museum this week.

Collecting the Garage of the Year award and £1,000 cash prize, Hayley Pells described the moment as a complete shock.

She said: “I was listening to all of the categories, waiting in anticipation and thinking that we might stand a small chance of winning one of these but I certainly didn’t expect to win the overall award.”

Garage of the Year 2019 award winners

  • Community Initiative, sponsored by Gallagher: Sufari at Newberry Road Garage
  • Training and Standards, sponsored by ZF: Community Motors CIC
  • Automechanik, sponsored by Automechanika: Matthew Pestridge, D&D Autos
  • Business Innovation, sponsored by TechMan: Cleevely Motors
  • Tech Innovation, sponsored by EDT: AAK
  • Outstanding Achievement, sponsored by Delphi: Bee Cool ACS
  • Garage Owner, sponsored by Launch UK: Lorraine Amor
  • Best Small Garage, sponsored by The Parts Alliance: Performance 3000 (South), Brian Swales (North)
  • Best Large Garage, sponsored by Autologic: Jackson & Phillips (South), Chelt. & Glos Autocentre (North)
  • Garage of the Year: Avia Autos

This year’s competition featured a total of nine categories.

The Independent Garage Association (IGA) were the main sponsor once again whilst Autologic, The Parts Alliance, Delphi Technologies, ZF, Gallagher, Launch UK, EDT Automotive and Techman all supported categories.

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Schaeffler hails ‘best ever’ Automechanika Birmingham

Exhibition stand offered visitors a glimpse at the ‘garage of tomorrow’

The stand, located in the OESAA village, featured a striking workshop setting with a Schaeffler BMW M4 DTM car, plus augmented and mixed reality exhibits.

According to Schaeffler, it grabbed the attention of technicians and distributors alike, with feedback from visitors overwhelmingly positive.

Because there was so much for visitors to see and do, the stand was constantly busy across all three days, with Schaeffler UK Aftermarket marketing and communications manager, Jeff Earl, describing it as “one of the most exciting, interactive and innovative visitor experiences we have ever produced”.

Visitors took full advantage of the high-tech exhibits, which allowed technicians to get up close-and-personal with a technical ‘helpline’ of the future.

Wearing goggles, which relayed heads-up instructions, technicians were able to carry out a simulated timing chain replacement using real tools and components, or learn about the inner workings of a dual mass flywheel.

They were designed to show how repairs could be made easier and quicker in the future, utilising support from the likes of Schaeffler, with its interactive, live and online instructions.

Switching to augmented reality, visitors were able to use an iPad to scan each individual component of a complete FAG chassis system, breaking down and exploring each single part using images and videos, as well as giving lots of hints and tips.

One of the visiting technicians, the manager of a new start-up business, said: “We’re already purchasing a lot of Schaeffler equipment from a local distributor, and it’s nice to be able to come onto the stand and have a chat with the REPXPERTs and discover more about the products and what they’ve got planned for the future.”

Another technician from an independent workshop added: “Schaeffler is always developing innovative ideas, so it’s useful to see what the latest developments are.

“As an independent workshop, we don’t always see these products until two or three years down the line.

“It’s important we futureproof our business; we need to keep up-to-date with the times and adapt with them, rather than be left behind.”

Automechanika Birmingham 2019 was also the perfect platform for Schaeffler to launch the REPXPERT app.

Designed to make it simpler and quicker for members to access the online portal, REPXPERTs can now source part numbers and product details for all Schaeffler repair solutions, as well as being able to access invaluable technical data – all from the palm of their hands.

Meanwhile, around 300 Schaeffler VIPs were treated to an informative presentation and audio tour, followed by lunch on the stand, before taking away an exclusive REPXPERT technician’s messenger bag.

Another 300 REPXPERT VIPs also enjoyed lunch and a goody bag, before many of them took the opportunity to enter the INA Torque Challenge competition.

Schaeffler gave away eight torque wrenches every day to technicians that performed the best after learning about the importance of using correct torque settings.

Finally, Edd China visited the stand on Wednesday and Thursday to sign his new book, Grease Junkie.

For more information on REPXPERT, please click here.

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Automechanika Birmingham 2019 attracts highest ever visitor attendance

12,145 automotive industry professionals visited the hugely successful 2019 event

Organiser says the event delivered on its promise of bringing the entire UK automotive industry together against a backdrop of innovation, technology and networking.

Feedback from exhibitors was overwhelmingly positive and, as a result, 87 percent of space has been reserved for 2021 where exhibitors include: Schaeffler, ZF, Valeo, NGK, HELLA, Delphi, Denso, BM Catalysts, Mann Hummel and YUASA.

Martyn Houghton, senior manager IAM at ZF Aftermarket, said: “Automechanika Birmingham was a resounding success for us.

“Must-attend exhibition”

“The event has now established itself as the “must-attend” exhibition for motor factors and garages in the UK automotive aftermarket.

“We could positively engage with a high-quality visitor and promote our extensive portfolio of brands, products and new technologies.

“We are already working on plans to engage with visitors for Automechanika Birmingham 2021.”

Nigel Morgan, managing director of Schaeffler UK’s Aftermarket division, said: “We had a packed schedule of top training, interactive exhibits and special guests over the three days and our stand was busy throughout, engaging fully with visitors on how we continue to innovate the automotive aftermarket and work with them to support their business.

“As Schaeffler always delivers one of the most exciting and innovative stands at the event, we are already looking forward to Automechanika Birmingham 2021.”

From extensive research carried out by event organisers Messe Frankfurt UK, it was clear that the market demanded a focussed event for the UK independent garage sector.

As a result, the launch of The Big UK Garage Event led to the highest number of independent garages and bodyshops attending an Automechanika Birmingham event.

Key decision makers and owners

The Big UK Garage Event attracted key decision makers and owners, who benefitted from an enhanced Seminar Programme offering free CPD technical training and the largest selection of exclusive giveaways, discounts, prizes and deals worth over £26,000.

Jack Halliday, Automechanika Birmingham event director, said: “This has been the best attended Automechanika Birmingham to date.

“Working with exhibitors, we have strived to offer visitors across the entire automotive industry an experience that supports the running of their businesses and one that they will continue to benefit from in the future.

“The event in 2021 is already shaping up to be another fantastic showcase for the automotive industry.”

With an improved visitor layout, Automechanika Birmingham featured over 500 exhibitors from 21 countries. 120 companies exhibited at Automechanika Birmingham for the first time.

There was also an abundance of well-known faces at this year’s show, with celebrity appearances from Lord Sebastian Coe, Guy Martin, Nicholas Hamilton, Edd China and some of British Touring Car Championship’s (BTCC) top drivers.

For the automotive aftermarket, the new Aftermarket Power Network event brought together the most influential leaders across the full breadth of the UK automotive aftermarket, as Lord Coe joined the launch event to address and network with leading industry peers.

The Aftermarket Hall featured the Retail Accessories Village, Bodyshop Zone and the debut of the Automechanika Body & Paint World Championships. Returning for the second year, Automechanika Connect provided the ultimate match-making tool, allowing visitors the opportunity to pre-plan meetings with exhibitors to maximise their time.

With new product launches dominating the Aftermarket hall, along with announcements of key distribution agreements signed between companies, the event offered more than 100 hours of training seminars and debates, hosting industry experts who delivered sessions covering daily workplace challenges, industry developments and advanced technology.

Returning for another year, the Vehicle Production hall hosted the increasingly successful “Meet the Buyer” and “Open Forum” events, hosted by SMMT.

The events were successful in bringing together automotive buyers and suppliers to build relationships between OEMs, tier one suppliers and the supply chain.

Automechanika Birmingham will return to the NEC on 8 to 10 June 2021.

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ZF Smart Service to transform diagnostics

Aftermarket business says it’s well prepared and ahead of the curve when it comes to megatrend solutions.

ZF Aftermarket says that its Smart Service app will, in the future, allow mechanics to carry out reliable vehicle diagnoses and basic maintenance, such as replacing brakes or resetting steering angle sensors (SAS), using mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

Extremely simple to use and operate, the Smart Service app is loaded to a mobile device, the device is connected using the vehicle’s OBD interface and they communicate via Bluetooth.

Having been successfully piloted in the UK, the next step is to introduce this innovative product to the wider UK market, followed by a European and then global launch.

Martyn Houghton, senior manager IAM at ZF Aftermarket, explains: “We know that in the past, many independent workshops have shied away from investing in expensive stationary diagnostic units.

“With ZF Smart Service, we have developed a particularly efficient workshop tool, a digital screwdriver, if you like, that no tool box should be without.”

Well prepared and ahead of the curve when it comes to providing solutions for megatrends such as mobility, safety, efficiency and autonomous driving, the business understands that with vehicles growing smarter and customers more demanding, the job of the workshop is becoming significantly more complex.

ZF Aftermarket believes that empowering and enabling the technicians of today with the correct tools, support and know-how will help secure the integrity of the aftermarket of tomorrow, benefitting all players.

Tailor-made product and service portfolios

Passionate in ensuring the modern technician is well-equipped to cope with the changing landscape, ZF Aftermarket delivers technical support, information & training through its ZF [pro]Tech workshop concept.

“We will see an increase in electrically powered vehicles and transportation systems that are highly automated or even driving autonomously, especially in urban environments,” explains Wayne McCluskey, technical training manager, ZF Aftermarket.

“As a manufacturer of the accompanying products in OE quality, we have first-hand knowledge. We designed a high-voltage (HV) training concept at an early stage – and have watched this become a bestseller in our comprehensive training program portfolio.”

The training gives workshop employees the necessary key competencies to master the complex range of topics surrounding future technology.

ZF Aftermarket’s modular blended learning concept ensures optimal success whilst reducing attendance time and lowering costs.

The training course offer is continuously updated in line with market need, and July 2019 will see the debut of: ‘Introduction to Electrical Engineering’.

Another new addition to the ZF [pro]Tech family is ‘start’.

Complementing, yet operating independently of the training courses, ZF Tech ‘start’ is a technical support and information hub which is available to garages via distributors for an affordable, one-off fee.

For further information, please click here.

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Coated brake discs brings longer lasting protection, reports Delphi Technologies

Delphi disc lasted 700 hours longer than OE and aftermarket brands during independent testing.

Delphi Technologies say its coated brake discs beat the competition during the test, lasting more than 720 hours of salt spray corrosion resistance, versus less than 24 hours for a premium black painted disc and the plain OE.

The added protection ensures a quality, long-lasting disc that installers can fit with confidence.

With no oil to clean off, they are much quicker and easier to fit, saving garages labour and service time too.

“We know the key to a profitable brake service is fast, right-first-time fitment,” says Neil Fryer, vice president, Global Marketing, Product and Strategy, Delphi Technologies Aftermarket.

“Our coated brakes are designed so they can be unpacked and installed straight from the box, saving valuable time and money.”

“We also understand that distributors and garages want the best products for their customers.

“The competitive testing proves what we’ve known all along – that with our coated brake discs, they can have it all – money-making repairs with products they are proud to recommend and install.”

An independent, specialist material laboratory conducted the head-to-head product testing, using a popular PSA application.

In accordance with ASTM B117-16 regulations, the lab put Delphi Technologies, the OE and five leading aftermarket competitor painted brake discs through 720 hours of intense salt spray exposure.

After 24 hours, the Delphi Technologies’ coated brake disc showed only moderate corrosion in a few areas.

It continued to perform strongly throughout the full test.

Disparity between fully coated, painted and plain discs

In sharp contrast, both the OE and a premium painted disc, suffered complete corrosion within 24 hours, and were withdrawn from the procedure, highlighting the disparity between fully coated, painted and plain discs.

“Cast iron brake discs are susceptible to corrosion from road salt, dirt and water,” explains Fryer.

“That’s why we apply an environmentally friendly water- and zinc-flake-based Geomet coating across the entire surface of our discs, including the top hat, outer rim, internal veins and friction faces.

“As these tests show, this significantly enhances protection.”

And, while painted or partially coated discs may look just as good when installed, any benefits are short lived.

Contaminants, especially during winter months, can quickly and easily penetrate the paint or any unprotected surfaces, leading to corrosion and accelerated wear and tear.

In addition to increased protection, Delphi Technologies’ coated brake discs also offer significant advantages for the installer.

Because there is no oil to clean off, technicians can simply unpack and install straight from the box.

The strong Geomet coating on the hub mounting surface, also makes brake disc removal easier, because there will be less corrosion, and therefore less adhesion.

“These tests prove it’s what’s on – and under the surface in terms of engineered quality and durability – that counts when it comes to brake discs,” Fryer adds.

To learn more about Delphi Technologies’ brake disc lineup click here.

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New Garage Wire survey to snapshot state of business for independent garages

Take part in this short survey to give a ‘snapshot’ of the state of the aftermarket

Garage Wire has launched a new ‘state of the aftermarket’ survey aimed at finding how business is for independent garages.

A simple structure asks garages to rate business now compared to six months ago and to estimate how business will be six months in the future.

The answers for range from ‘much worse’ to ‘much better’ enabling a simple average to be taken on garages’ perception of how things are now compared to previously and how optimistic they are about the future.

“The reaction of the independent aftermarket to wider economic trends has always been complex,” said managing director James Onions.

“The feeling now seems to be that consumers are nervous about the UK economy and their personal finances may be under pressure but then driving is absolutely essential for many people too.”

Historically the aftermarket has proved relatively immune to fluctuations in the economy.

Whilst downturns dramatically effect new car sales, independent garages and the wider supply chain have been seen to benefit as drivers’ hold onto cars longer, incurring more maintenance needs and turn to independents in great number to service older cars and to save money over franchised dealers.

“The big difference this time is probably Brexit uncertainty,” added James.

“There’s a lull now in media coverage but many motorists may be reluctant to spend or apprehensive about the future.”

The survey can be completed in 5 minutes by following the ‘More Details’ button below.

The aim is to take the temperature of the market at six month intervals. Results will be shared in the near future.

Take part in the survey now.

Garagewire

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Croydon garage adopts board of shame to deal with non-paying customers

Garage Wire reports Fiat 500 owner currently named and shamed after failing to pay bill for clutch and master cylinder replacement

MOTaPlus Ltd in Croydon has taken to naming and shaming non-paying customers by writing their name and vehicle details on a white board located outside the workshop for all to see.

Garage owner, Gary Pritchard told GW that he adopted the board “out of principle” after helping a customer only for them to bounce a cheque for a £40 MOT.

“Put it up out of principle”

He said: “I first put it up out of principle after a customer came in for an MOT following a recommendation.

“She called us up, desperate for a test because she didn’t have an MOT but it was a Saturday and we were fully booked up.

“To help her out though, we told her to come down and we’d get it done to get her out of trouble.

“We MOTd the car and it failed on a couple of bulbs and a few other small bits, which we put right and didn’t even charge her for it.

“She wrote a £40 cheque out for the MOT and off she went.

“A couple of weeks later, we noticed the cheque didn’t go through and after looking into it I found out that she parked around the corner and stopped the cheque.

“From there on, the board has stayed up.”

Amuses genuine customers

Gary says the board has gone down well among his genuine customers, with many finding it amusing and even taking photos of it.

He added: “I’ve not had many on there at all and those that have been on there have had plenty of warning.

“It’s all about embarrassment.

“I trust everyone on face value and if they fail to pay I’d rather just embarrass them and warn other garages around here.

“It’s not about the money, it’s the principle.”

Currently the owner of a white Fiat 500 features on the board of shame after failing to pay two bills for a clutch and a master cylinder.

Gary said: “The lady that’s on there at the moment is local.

“I’d rather embarrass her than waste my time chasing”

“I know where she lives and I could go and knock on her door but I’d rather embarrass her than waste my time chasing her.

“We fitted a new clutch and we told her it had a fault on the slave and master cylinder but she didn’t want it repaired at the time.

“Of course, that soon failed but we put it right for her.”

The lady in question had already made a couple of payments towards her initial bill for the clutch replacement and made one more following the later repair but has since failed to make any further payment.

How do you deal non-paying customers? Share your comments and experiences below.

Garagewire

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

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REPXPERT INA and FAG training day gets 10/10 rating

Course covered INA belt system and FAG wheel bearing technology best practice, installation and problem diagnosis

Schaeffler’s latest training day at the REPXPERT Academy in Hereford has been rated ‘10 out of 10’ by one of the attending technicians.

Members were given some practical demonstrations before being set a number of tasks by REPXPERTs Tim Adams and Andrew Vaux.

One invaluable session was how to accurately install an INA timing belt tensioner on either a VAG 1.9-litre or 2.0-litre TDi, using the INA-designed stud alignment tool to help avoid potentially expensive belt system failures.

Tim and Andrew also showed the group how to change the timing belt on a Ford 1.8TDCi, illustrating how using best practice can help avoid system failure.

The pair revealed that the method can also be applied to Vauxhall, Honda, Renault, VAG, Range Rover and Iveco applications.

The delegates were also presented with INA front end auxiliary drive (FEAD) systems, incorporating multi-ribbed belts, overrunning alternator pulleys (OAP) and overrunning alternator decouplers (OAD), as well as the INA crankshaft pulley decoupler fitted to BMW, Volvo and Vauxhall applications.

Another aspect of the training was an analysis of different timing drive configurations, as well as the latest intelligent water pump designs and thermal management technology.

Switching to FAG, the REPXPERTs gave practical demonstrations of the Hub 2.1 (Gen.2) wheel bearing, showing how to use the special tools that are required to guarantee a safe and correct installation.

There was also a presentation about wheel bearing evolution, and how this humble part has evolved to help to reduce fuel consumption and emissions.

One of the attending technicians, Gary Butler-Holmes, said: “I learnt a lot, and the course refreshed my memory on key factors.

“Highly regarded by all technicians – a 10 out of 10 from me.”

John Hall added: “The two presenters certainly had a wealth of knowledge between them on the subjects and were more than willing to get stuck in.

“They not only discussed the topics but demonstrated them as well.”

David Painter said: “I do like to have a full understanding of what tasks I am giving my staff, so we can try to avoid making expensive mistakes.

“What was of particular interest to me was the VAG stud tool and the FEAD drive with OAPs.”

Automechanika Birmingham

Schaeffler will be exhibiting at Automechanika Birmingham 2019 between the 4th and 6th June (19S140), and amongst the augmented and mixed reality exhibits, which will offer visitors the chance to experience the ‘garage of the future’, a series of new training dates will be announced.

As well as the popular INA and FAG module, there will be several new sessions that focus on LuK double clutches, which proved successful throughout 2018 and the early part of this year.

All these workouts are designed to prepare technicians for work entering their workshop now and in the future.

For further information about REPXPERT, please click here.

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Guy Martin to open The Big UK Garage Event at Automechanika

Mechanic, TV presenter and best-selling author to open most exciting event yet

Mechanic and motorcycle racer turned television presenter, Guy Martin, will officially open The Big UK Garage Event at Automechanika Birmingham 2019, held at the NEC from 4 to 6 June.

In what is shaping up to be the most successful Automechanika Birmingham to date, Morris Lubricant’s brand ambassador will “cut the ribbon” and open the doors to the launch of The Big UK Garage Event at 9.30am, welcoming visitors from all areas of the automotive industry.

On Tuesday 4 June Guy Martin will feature on Morris Lubricants stand K110 and also give a special interview at 1:45pm in the Aftermarket Seminar Theatre.

Lincolnshire born Guy Martin is a British motorcycle racer, truck mechanic and hands-on engineer best known for his successful motorcycle road racing career, and most notably for grabbing the headlines in the Isle of Man TT races.

But, in recent years, his career has taken off in a different direction presenting the series How Britain Worked and Speed with Guy Martin.

During the series Guy broke the British record for outright speed on a bicycle, hitting an amazing 122.4 mph and smashed the world gravity-powered sledge speed record.

2019 exhibition

With visitor registrations significantly up from this time in 2018, Automechanika Birmingham is set to successfully unite the automotive industry again this June.

The event then won’t return to the NEC before 2021.

Comprising main areas for the Aftermarket andThe Big UK Garage Event more than 500 exhibitors will pack into Birmingham NEC as they promote their products and services to the expanding visitor audience of independent garages, motor factors, retailers, bodyshops and dealerships

The Big UK Garage Event, geared towards helping garages grow their business will offer exclusive show deals, big giveaways and competition prizes worth over £26,000, plus celebrity appearances from 7 BTCC drivers and Edd China across the 3 days.

Garage perks

Garages will also benefit from free technical training in the Workshop Training Hub and Bodyshop Training Hub, all accredited by the IMI and enabling garages to add to their CPD points.

Major brands exhibiting include: Schaeffler, ZF, DENSO, MAHLE Aftermarket, Delphi Technologies, Valeo, Bosch, Hella, Bilstein Group, MANN + HUMMEL, NGK and Yuasa.

Other exhibitors include Snap on, Sealey, Launch UK, Hickleys, Pichler, Franklin Tools, Morris Lubricants, Hofmann Megaplan, Tool Connection, Stanners Garage Equipment and many others.

Jack Halliday, event director of Automechanika Birmingham, said: “It’s fantastic that Guy Martin is officially opening The Big UK Garage Event at Automechanika Birmingham 2019 and only adds to the buzz there is around the event as we countdown to it.

“There’s so much for visitors to see and do at the event – if there is one place to visit this year, The Big UK Garage Event will offer the most valuable day out of their business all year.”

Visitors can now book their free ticket by clicking here.

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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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