Neil Croxson named president and COO of The Parts Alliance

The Parts Alliance has announced that its Chief Financial Officer, Neil Croxson has been appointed to the position of president and chief operating officer, with immediate effect.

Neil succeeds Peter Sephton who will be retiring after ensuring an orderly transition over a three-month period.

“I would like to thank all my colleagues in The Parts Alliance, Uni-Select, suppliers and other industry professionals who have helped our journey to build a market leader, and I wish Neil and the team the best of luck in what will be a great onward journey,” said Peter Sephton.

Neil Croxson (below) joined The Parts Alliance as CFO in 2015 and has been playing a pivotal role in the expansion of the network through selected acquisitions and the opening of 15 company-owned stores.

Increased market coverage

He has worked in close collaboration with Peter Sephton to deliver the group’s financial strategy and increase market coverage in the U.K. and Ireland.

“Neil Croxson has already demonstrated great leadership capabilities and we are delighted to see him progress into such a strategic role,” said André Courville, interim president and ceo of parent company Uni-Select.

Market leader in UK autoparts distribution

“I also wish to thank Peter for building The Parts Alliance into a formidable force and market leader in the UK autoparts distribution industry and help us grow the business further after Uni-Select acquired it in 2017.

“We are glad that Peter will continue to work with us as a special advisor and represent our interests in associated trade bodies, such as Nexus International.”

“I am honoured to be taking on this new role,” said Neil Croxson, president and COO of The Parts Alliance.

“We had an excellent performance during our first full-year under the Uni-Select umbrella, and under Peter’s leadership, we implemented strong foundations to enable us to capture future market opportunities.

“I look forward to building on this momentum.”

An Interim CFO at The Parts Alliance will be named for the transition period and until the conclusion of the executive search for this position.

Find out more about The Parts Alliance and its UK-wide network of parts distributers by clicking here.

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DIY car repairs on the rise as drivers end up paying £170 to fix their mistakes, study shows

Almost 40 per cent of ‘home mechanics’ have had to take their car into a garage to correct their mistakes, costing them as much as £170 to get the work done professionally, new research suggests.

The study also claims that a growing number of British motorists attempting to repair their own vehicle with 57 per cent now buying spare vehicle parts.

Two-fifths of drivers have had to get their issues rectified at costs between £80 and £170, the research from Consumer website, Money Saving Heroes shows.

Just 30 per cent say they don’t attempt any repairs themselves because they ‘don’t trust’ themselves to do the work, 24 per cent ‘have a friend’ who does it for them cheaper than garages charge and 21 per cent ‘want it done properly the first time’.

Head gasket replacement

Common jobs carried out by ‘home mechanics’ included head gasket replacement and bodywork repairs.

Asked if it would have been cheaper to take the car to a garage in the first instance, 42 per cent said it would have been cheaper.

George Charles, a spokesperson Money Saving Heroes said: “It is no surprise that people end up paying more to rectify their car DIY jobs than it would have cost to get a trained mechanic to do the job, what with the average Briton not being a mechanic and understanding the ins and outs of a car.”

Do you think garages are having to correct more bodged car repairs? Are more customers coming to you for parts to undertake DIY maintenance? Share your comments and experiences below.

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Watch: What’s life like for an Autotech vehicle technician contractor?

Autotech Recruit provides contractor, temporary and permanent cover for autocentres, garages and workshops throughout the UK, but what happens when you need a contractor?

This video explores what garages can do to deal with the unexpected need to bring in a temporary or other member of staff and what it’s like to be a contractor technician.

For garages looking to recruit staff, you can find answers to the frequently asked questions that surround technician recruitment; for technicians, find out what goes into the process of contracting.

Find out more about Autotech recruit and its services to the independent automotive industry by clicking here.

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Valeo hosting training webinar for new electronic parts catalogue

Valeo, the automotive aftermarket supplier and technology company, is to deliver a training webinar to independents on how to get the best from its AutoCat V8 electronic parts catalogue.

The webinar, which takes place on today (28 March 2019), has been designed to inform independents and motor factors about best use practices, new features and how to make the correct choices when choosing Valeo parts.

The seminar starts with a range of interactive walkthroughs of the software, which will show independents how to best use the features available.

Informing independents about ADAS data and new parts

Attendees will also take a look at the new V8 data and how it could benefit the wider automotive aftermarket sector.

Valeo has said that the webinar is ideal for those with beginner or advanced knowledge of AutoCat+.

Register now to book a free place at the webinar and improve knowledge of Valeo parts and how they are best used by garages and motor factors.

The Valeo Group provides and distributes spare parts for automakers and independent aftermarket operators, as well innovating solutions for more intuitive driving and reducing C02 emissions.

Find out more about Valeo, their products and the training they provide by clicking here.

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Futureproof your garage with ZF [pro]Tech membership

ZF, the global aftermarket solutions brand, has launched ZF [pro]Tech start, a personalised technical support and information hub to futureproof independent garages.

In-line with its underlying principle of leading the aftermarket into the next generation of mobility, a one-off payment offers UK garages access to ZF [pro]Tech start.

Multiple membership benefits will help futureproof garage businesses, the company claims.

Via an online portal and technical helpline, membership includes: free access to ZF’s technical knowledge; all-makes, all systems OEM service campaign information and discounted ZF training courses, including those on high voltage electrical systems.

Matt Shakespeare, UK technical sales manager, ZF Aftermarket explained: “ZF [pro]Tech start connects UK garages to our industry-leading specialists, allowing them to benefit from our ZF knowledge and experience and arm their businesses with the skills and proficiencies required for the vehicles of today and tomorrow.”

Supporting the independent aftermarket amid advancing mobility

The ZF [pro]Tech concept was born of a genuine desire to support the independent aftermarket (IAM) in an age of advancing – and changing mobility.

ZF has said it knows importance of futureproofing business within the sector and is an advocate of development and growth through knowledge and training, therefore made a decision long ago that this initiative would be about people, not profit.

Shakespeare continued: “Membership gives garages a direct link into ZF’s technical world.

“Once garages are logged on to the ZF portal, using their own unique passwords and login details, they have access to a wealth of ZF technical know-how that will not only assist them with the service and repair of the vehicles they see on a daily basis, but will also offer the ability to futureproof their businesses.”

In addition to free access to ZF’s continuously updated technical information and fitting instructions – via the online portal, telephone helpline and online service desk – the one-off payment secures access to a host of all-makes VM (vehicle manufacturer) OE service information.

Training on working with hybrid and electric vehicles

“ZF firmly believes that to protect the integrity of the sector as a whole, and to ensure a safe working environment for those dealing with hybrid and electric vehicles, everyone working with these technologies should have easy and affordable access to it,” Shakespeare concluded.

The ZF [pro]Tech initiative in the UK is managed and implemented by the technical training and sales teams, based at Crick in Northamptonshire and spearheaded by Matt Shakespeare.

You can find out more about ZF [pro]Tech and what it offers independent garages by clicking here.

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Bosch releases new ABS and ESP fluid range

Bosch has released its latest brake fluids, ENV 4 and ENV 6 Black Line, and both the ranges provide improvements to ESP and ABS reaction times and wear levels.

ENV 4 and ENV 6 protect ABS and ESP from wear due to a high lubrication capacity and is released according to the OEM standards of Audi, Volkswagen, SEAT and Skoda.

A total of eight product references have been produced – five for ENV 4 and three for ENV 6, ranging from 0.5 to 60 litres.

The latest formula developed by Bosch has its lowest fluidity yet, which ensures of shorter ESP reaction times, while a higher wet boiling time lowers the risk of steam bubble formation – the highest cause of brake failure worldwide.

A lower viscosity means smaller levels of compression are needed to be placed on the ABS and ESP to react to driver needs.

A longer shelf life for motor factors

ENV 4 is compatible with all DOT 4-Standards, while ENV 6 is compatible with all DOT Standards, with the exception of DOT 5 silicone brake fluid & hydraulics fluid.

The latest Bosch fluids can be used for 60 months unopened, delivering a five-year shelf life for motor factors.

Bosch brake fluids ENV 4 and the high-performance version, ENV 6 ensure all braking systems after 1990 can be catered for.

The high lubricity of Bosch ENV 6 minimises both noise and wear inside ABS and ESP® systems.

Additionally, the newly developed brake fluids reduce corrosion within brake systems, after tests revealed fewer bubbles formed, which facilitates increased service intervals for ENV 6.

ENV 6 has a three-year replacement interval, while ENV 4 needs to be replaced every two years.

Find out more about Bosch and its other automotive aftermarket products by clicking here.

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Automotive lighting brand launches new website to support pan-European exports

Ring, the lighting and automotive electrical brand, has developed a bespoke version of its website specifically for the German market, reaffirming its commitment to increasing export sales across Europe and providing support to garages amid Brexit.

Following an initial investment of £30,000 in 2018, the website is now able to cater to customers from German-speaking countries, including Austria and Switzerland, wherein it has over 600 stores, as well as a strong online presence.

The company is now able to use the website to showcase its updated branding, range of products and improved functionality and navigation to deliver a better overall experience for visitors.

Investing across Europe to support garage customers ahead of Brexit

As part of a wider strategy to focus on exports, which has included a £200,000 investment in European offices and a dedicated international team of 11 people, Ring is continuously growing its presence across markets to reassure its customers and partners ahead of Brexit.

By visiting the new site, German visitors will be able to see Ring’s product range, complete with videos, downloads, reviews and full specifications.

It will continue to be developed along with the UK site, which was launched in September 2018.

Henry Bisson, marketing manager for Ring, comments: “Expanding our presence in the European market has been a strategic aim of the business and has formed part of a phased plan over recent years, which has seen significant time, money and resource invested.

“We already have a bespoke site for our French visitors and it made sense that we would extend this to the German market too.

“Creating dedicated pages means that we are able to communicate directly to our customers in each territory and to share news that is most relevant to them.”

Find out about the entire Ring HID range by clicking here.

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Lesjöfors reassures coil springs customers that it is ready for Brexit

Lesjöfors has taken steps to ensure availability of their suspension coil springs that covers 99.9 per cent of the European car parc is maintained whatever the outcome of Brexit.

Should the UK leave the EU without a deal, World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules would automatically apply, potentially imposing tariffs on all coil springs entering the country.

In addition, new customs arrangements would most likely mean long delays at channel ports, presenting further challenges.

As well as maintaining a coil spring stock of around 450,000 units at their UK distribution centre, Lesjöfors has been working to ensure of zero disruption and continued availability.

Made in Britain

Lesjöfors has been making springs of various kinds in Britain since 2007 and, in recent years, has worked to strengthen their production of automotive suspension springs; investing over £3 million in new infrastructure, machinery and technologies in 2018 alone.

Lesjöfors’ UK factory has a production capacity of 65,000 suspension coil springs per week.

To further prepare for Brexit, Lesjöfors has increased raw wire stocks markedly, with spring wire sourced from a leading global supplier which is not subject to tariffs, and shipped directly to UK ports.

As a UK aftermarket supplier of automotive springs, Lesjöfors provide a range of OE products, with all aftermarket springs guarantee to match of exceed OE quality.

Find out more about Lesjöfors and its products by clicking here.

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Neil Croxson becomes President and COO of The Parts Alliance

The Parts Alliance has announced that its Chief Financial Officer, Neil Croxson, has been appointed to the position of President and Chief Operating Officer, effective immediately. Neil succeeds Peter Sephton who will be retiring after ensuring an orderly transition over a three-month period.

“I would like to thank all my colleagues in The Parts Alliance, Uni-Select, suppliers and other industry professionals who have helped our journey to build a market leader, and I wish Neil and the team the best of luck in what will be a great onward journey,” said Peter Sephton.

Neil Croxson joined The Parts Alliance as CFO in 2015 and has been playing a pivotal role in the expansion of the network through selected acquisitions and the opening of 15 company-owned stores. He has worked in close collaboration with Peter Sephton to deliver the group’s financial strategy and increase market coverage in the U.K. and Ireland.

“Neil Croxson has already demonstrated great leadership capabilities and we are delighted to see him progress into such a strategic role,” said André Courville, Interim President and CEO of parent company Uni-Select. “I also wish to thank Peter for building The Parts Alliance into a formidable force and market leader in the U.K. autoparts distribution industry and help us grow the business further after Uni-Select acquired it in 2017. We are glad that Peter will continue to work with us as a special advisor and represent our interests in associated trade bodies, such as Nexus International.”

“I am honoured to be taking on this new role,” said Neil Croxson, President and COO of The Parts Alliance. “We had an excellent performance during our first full-year under the Uni-Select umbrella, and under Peter’s leadership, we implemented strong foundations to enable us to capture future market opportunities. I look forward to building on this momentum.”

An Interim CFO at The Parts Alliance will be named for the transition period and until the conclusion of the executive search for this position.

Automechanika pre-registrations up by 21 per cent as The Big Garage Show awaits

Pre-registration for Automechanika Birmingham 2019 is up 21 per cent on 2018, with organisers urging garages and motor factors to take advantage of The Big UK Garage Event and stay abreast of the latest industry products and innovations.

A record number of factors and technicians are due to descend upon the Midlands once again for the automotive industry trade exhibition, taking place from 4 to 6 June at the NEC Birmingham.

This year’s event will see the launch of many new points of interest covering all aspects of the automotive industry, including: the Big UK Garage Event, aftermarket innovation showcase, commercial vehicle showcase, garage equipment showcase and hosted garage programme – all designed to deliver an enhanced visitor experience.

CPD-accredited training

The Big UK Garage Event offers garages free parking, free breakfast on arrival and ‘Happy Hour’, where technicians can grab a free drink every lunch time.

Other exciting developments this year for garages include CPD-accredited training and demos from the industry’s top speakers including Frank Massey, Andy Crook and James Dillon, the Training and Skills Village and the returning Workshop Training Hub.

Exclusive giveaways for garages

Exhibitors will also be providing a raft of exclusive show offers and giveaways for garages at this year’s event.

Motor factors that bring their garage customers to Automechanika Birmingham 2019 will benefit from an exclusive VIP area, enjoy fast track access into the event and support with their travel arrangements through the hosted garage programme.

Innovation will be the leading theme for the 2019 event.

Following extensive Automechanika research, “new technology and innovation” were key reasons to attend the event for independent garages, motor factors, retailers and body shops.

Automechanika is looking to build on this by highlighting all innovation from within the automotive industry.

Other new initiatives for Automechanika Birmingham 2019 include: bodyshop demo hub, aftermarket power network, Automechanika Garage of the Year Awards and future mobility and innovation hub in association with Department of International Trade.

Jack Halliday, event director, said: “We’ve seen an increase in anticipation from visitors and exhibitors for this year’s event and the excitement is building.

Must-visit for automotive industry

“Automechanika Birmingham is a must-visit for anybody working in the automotive industry and this year’s event is going to be the most engaging yet, cementing Automechanika Birmingham’s position as the meeting place for the UK’s automotive industry.”

Major aftermarket names committed to the 2019 event include: Schaeffler, ZF, DENSO, MAHLE Aftermarket, Delphi Technologies, Valeo, Bosch, Hella, Bilstein Group, MANN + HUMMEL, NGK, Yuasa, Apec Braking Ltd, BM Catalysts, Draper Tools, GROUPAUTO, Launch Tech UK, Liqui Moly, MAM Software, Marathon Warehouse Distribution, Morris Lubricants, OESSA, Texa UK and Total UK.

Registration is still open and visitors can book their free ticket by clicking here.

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