Garage customer demands compensation for car theft

Business owner admits dropping car keys but says case is closed after owner received car insurance settlement

The owner of a stolen Ford Focus is pressuring his garage for compensation after his car was taken while it was under the care of the service and repairs business, the Eastern Daily Press has reported.

Stephen Wright had taken his car to Dunthorne’s Garage in Norfolk to have routine repairs carried out but received a call from police informing him his car had been involved in a road traffic collision on Sunday, September 8.

Stephen said: “We went to the garage and could see the gates had been forced open.

“It didn’t look like there was any damage to the workshop, where I’d been told my car would be kept.

“They said they had taken it outside on the Friday night because someone wanted to use the garage for private work on the Saturday.”

He was offered £2,400 by his insurance company, but is adamant he should also receive compensation from the garage.

“It didn’t exactly do me any good”

Julian Dunthorne, who runs the business on Great Eastern Way, admitted he dropped the keys, which he claims thieves must have later found, but believes the matter is over.

He said: “For the first time in 28 years I dropped a set of keys.

“The people who broke in must have found Mr Wright’s keys and then his car.

“Mr Wright wants more money for the stress this has caused, but he’s been offered more than the car is worth.

“This whole situation has left a bitter taste in the mouth.

“It didn’t exactly do me any good.”

A Norfolk police spokesman said: “A man in his 20s and a man in his late teens were arrested in connection and released under investigation. enquiries are ongoing.”

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Yuasa named double British Rally Champion Matt Edwards sponsor at new car launch

Team confident about competitive season ahead as it works towards a third consecutive title

Battery manufacturer, Yuasa has been named as the title sponsor of Matt Edwards and co-driver Darren Garrod, with the unveiling of a stunning new car and livery at Autosport International.

The duo will hunt Matt’s third British Rally Championship (BRC) title, having won the crown in 2018 and 2019.

The move sees the Yuasa Rally Team name enter the sport for the first time as the title sponsor of M-Sport’s BRC operation.

Ford Fiesta R5 MkII

The team will tackle stages across the UK, Ireland and Belgium in the all-new Ford Fiesta R5 MkII carrying Yuasa’s distinctive red, white and black livery, made popular in the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC).

Unveiled earlier today at the annual Autosport International show at the NEC in Birmingham, Matt’s R5 MkII sees significant improvements over its championship-winning predecessor.

Performance has increased to 290 BHP and 475 Nm of torque at 4,000 RPM while the adoption of aluminium damper bodies provides a welcome weight reduction.

Yuasa, a long-time supplier of motorhome batteries to Swift, joined the UK manufacturer’s value-added partner programme in 2019.

As part of the scheme, the two companies work closely to provide caravan and motorhome owners and dealers access to Yuasa’s award-winning products, supply and service.

James Hylton, managing director of GS Yuasa Battery Sales UK Ltd said: “We’re excited to be working with Matt and the M-Sport team again – their results over the last few years have been hugely impressive so continuing our support as they challenge for their third championship was an obvious one for us.

“We’re proud to be continuing our partnership with Swift too.

“Since joining their value-added partner programme last year, we’ve worked hard to integrate the two brands closely while continuing to provide the leisure vehicle market with the most cutting-edge equipment available.”

Yuasa are synonymous with motorsport, sponsoring the Honda-backed Halfords Yuasa Racing team in the BTCC and HRC Repsol Honda in MotoGP.

Matt said: “It is fantastic to be heading into 2020 with M-Sport again, and I’m very pleased Yuasa have joined us for our campaign.

“It’s also exciting to be heading into the year with the all-new MkII Fiesta R5, a car I already have a little experience of on tarmac.

“I’m confident we can be competitive again towards a third consecutive title.”

The 2020 British Rally Championship starts with the Cambrian Rally on 8 February.

For further information about Yuasa, click here.

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ZF appoints sales engineer to support bus and coach operators

Latest appointment responsible for feedback on ZF products and providing support where needed

Bus and coach driveline and chassis specialist, ZF Services UK has appointed Alex Acosta as sales engineer.

Acosta began his career at ZF at the age of 17, beginning as a workshop technician.

That initial role enabled him to explore the various products and services ZF supplies, while also studying at Central College, Nottingham.

Upon completing his four-year apprenticeship and continuing studies towards a Higher National Diploma (HND), Acosta specialised on the Ecolife / Ecomat / AV132 section at ZF’s Centre of Competence in Nottingham.

This involved the strip, assessment and rebuild of each product.

In his latest role as sales engineer within the commercial vehicle department, he is responsible for visiting bus and coach operator depots, gathering feedback on ZF products and providing support where needed.

Acosta said: “With my technical background, I am continuing to develop my knowledge of ZF products and supporting customers nationwide.

“ZF is a market leader and an exciting partner for many businesses as it continually invests in new technologies, designed to bring substantial benefits to the bus and coach industry.

“This level of investment is inspirational and empowers me to work closely with customers in order to understand their powertrain requirements.”

David Wakeling, head of commercial vehicle at ZF, said: “Having developed his technical skills at ZF’s centre of competence in Nottingham, Alex has the expertise necessary to not only support customers but to also prepare them for future technologies and the challenges of tomorrow.

“We wish him well in his new position and look forward to his continued growth within ZF.”

For further information about ZF, click here.

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Toyota to recall thousands of UK cars over exploding airbag fault

More than 37,000 cars built between 1997 and 1999 could be affected

Toyota has confirmed thousands of UK cars will be recalled due to faulty Takata airbags which could explode.

The Japanese carmaker says 37,410 cars built between 1997 and 1999 could be affected.

The recall will include its RAV4, Yaris, Starlet and Celica models.

Toyota has revealed that it will contact owners to advise on free upgrades. 

In a statement to, a Toyota spokesperson said: “In the UK market this affects a potential 37,410 cars manufactured between February 1997 and August 1999.

“The models included are the RAV4, Yaris, Starlet and Celica.

“As a precaution and in line with the DVSA recall code of practice, we will be notifying owners of affected vehicles in due course and replacing the airbag inflator or the airbag assembly at no cost to the vehicle owner.”

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Ben increases mental health services for automotive industry people

New digital services will enable Ben to support more people with mental health issues

On Blue Monday Ben announced that it is increasing and enhancing its range of services for automotive industry people who need mental health support.

By extending its services, Ben offers more choice for individuals seeking support with mental health and wellbeing issues including stress, anxiety and depression.

This growth in Ben’s service provision is in direct response to insights gained about the needs of automotive industry people.

Mental health is the most common reason why people reach out to Ben for support, with 52% contacting its helpline last year due to concerns with their mental health.

Ben’s new services will allow the charity to reach and support even more people in the automotive industry, which will be enabled through the introduction of a new digital platform.

Providing access to a range of different services including online self-help, a digital platform, as well as telephone or face-to-face talking therapies and telephone-based life coaching, give individuals more choice over how they receive support for their mental health.

The digital platform will support people with issues such as managing stress, anxiety and depression, as well as commonly associated issues like money worries or sleeping difficulties.

As Ben continues to transform its health and wellbeing services, the digital platform will be extended to support people with their wellbeing, lifestyle and building personal resilience, with specific programmes including mindfulness. 

Ben will continue to provide information, advice and guidance through its helpline and support services, but will also have a dedicated, specialist team focusing on delivering mental health support, including in-house delivery of a mental health assessment service.

Ben’s online self-help, provided through its website and via email, will continue to provide useful, preventative and relevant tips, advice and tools on topics including mental health.

Individuals can sign up at

If individuals need to speak to someone, they can contact Ben’s free and confidential helpline service and speak to a trained advisor, who may then refer them to a case manager.

When someone contacts Ben about their mental health, their needs are assessed and a tailored action plan is developed to support them.

As well as the many benefits for individuals, automotive industry employers that work with Ben through Ben4Business are assured that all their employees have access to Ben’s mental health support.

Currently, 1 in 3 referrals contacting Ben’s helpline for support come from Ben4Business employers.

For employers wanting to find out more about working with Ben through Ben4Business and referring an employee for support, visit Ben’s website.

Rachel Clift, health and wellbeing director, said: “We’re delighted to be increasing and enhancing our mental health services for automotive people.

“Our new digital services will enable us to support even more people and the extension of our services will offer individuals more informed choice and control in how they receive support for their mental health.

“In addition to this, automotive employers can feel assured that their employees have access to a range of support options which are free and confidential.

“So whether you’re an individual struggling with your own mental health, or an employer worried about an employee, please don’t put off getting in touch with us.”

Ben’s free, confidential support is offered to anyone who works, or has worked, in the automotive industry and their family dependents.

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MANN+HUMMEL joins Hydrogen Council

Growing global initiative of leading companies to promote hydrogen-based technologies

MANN+HUMMEL has joined the Hydrogen Council, which aims to establish hydrogen as a solution to facilitate the exit from fossil fuels and nuclear power, and to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Kurk Wilks, president and CEO at MANN+HUMMEL, said: “We believe hydrogen plays a crucial role in limiting CO2 emissions.

“As a member of the Hydrogen Council, we are delighted to be sharing our innovations centered on protecting fuel cells and jointly invigorating the global debate.”

The filtration expert draws on many years’ experience engineering cost-optimized system solutions to extend the life and durability of fuel cells.

“Systems have to be durable, reliable and cost-effective”

Dr. Michael Harenbrock, principal expert electric mobility at MANN+HUMMEL. said: “Systems have to be durable, reliable and cost-effective for fuel cell technology to be widely accepted on the market.

“We at MANN+HUMMEL have developed an innovative air duct system for the cathode path to protect sensitive components and ensure the fuel cell has a highly efficient supply of clean air.”

As the first CEO-led global initiative of its kind, the Hydrogen Council was founded in 2017 at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

More than 80 leading energy, transportation and industrial companies are currently members. 

For details on MANN+HUMMEL, click here.

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AA no longer stopping on smart motorways to assist members over safety concerns

Roadside technicians told to head to safe location and wait for the driver’s car to be moved by Highways England

The AA has confirmed that it has instructed its crews not to stop on smart motorways amid increasing safety concerns.

The revelation comes after nine people died on such motorways last year.

A former AA patrolman of the year confirmed the company’s policy on the BBC’s Inside Out North West last night (January 20).

Instead, roadside technicians should head to a safe location and wait for the driver’s car to be moved there by Highways England.

Tony Rich, a former AA patrolman of the year, said: “We’ll contact the customer to say ‘we can’t stop where you are’.

“We will contact Highways England, go to a safe area and wait for the vehicle to be delivered.”

Some drivers have to wait up to 17 minutes before there car is moved because they may be out of sight of camera which monitor for stranded cars.

Edmund King, AA president said: “Being stuck in a live lane is in incredibly dangerous.

“The official advice is keep your seat belt and hazard lights on and dial 999.

“It is not safe for breakdown organisations to recover vehicles unless the lane is closed and has a physical presence sat behind the casualty vehicle.

“This is either the Police with blue flashing lights or Highways England Traffic Officers with red flashing lights.

“This highlights the severity of breaking down in a live lane and further emphasises our calls for double the number of Emergency Refuge Areas.

“Providing drivers with more places of relative safety would reduce the risk of vehicles being stuck in a lane of fast moving traffic.”

Recent figures from Highways England revealed 19,316 vehicles stopped in a live lane over the past two years.

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BG Automotive highlights Mercedes M271 engine timing issue

Research reveals that M271 drivers are experiencing higher than average rates of engine failure

After analysing industry data, BG Automotive says that it has identified issues with the Mercedes M271 1.8L engine and is offering technicians advice on the problems, causes, and what to look for when sourcing the best kit to handle the job.

The problem: OE VVT sprockets in the M271 engines are experiencing higher than average rates of failure due to the material composition and design of the back plate

Solution: The BGA Ref TC5690S1/S2 fits the Mercedes M271.820 and M271.860 engines

The BGA VVT sprocket uses a steel back plate and improved design, making it stronger and more durable for many years of dependable use.

The timing chain system (BGA Ref: TC5690VFK) comprises of five main components, all included within BGA’s full kit solutions, and fits the Mercedes M271.820 and M271.860 set of engines.

The kit includes a chain, chain tensioner, guides and sprockets.

To find out more, click here.

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DRiV to help develop wheel-corner concepts for autonomous vehicles

Project to investigate improved ride dynamics and passenger comfort through innovative wheel-corner design

Global aftermarket and OE ride performance supplier, DRiV is among several research partners to have received a European Union Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions mobility grant for development and evaluation of advanced wheel-corner concepts for autonomous vehicles.

DRiV will collaborate with Arrival ltd, a London based technology company designing and manufacturing Generation 2.0 electric vehicles, and several leading universities and industrial organizations in Project OWHEEL, which will produce recommendations for improving ride dynamics and passenger comfort through innovative wheel-corner designs.

Established in 1996, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) is a fellowship program that awards grants to promote interdisciplinary research and international collaborations.

The EU Research Executive Agency has awarded more than €6 billion in MSCA grants for projects dedicated to excellence and worldwide mobility in research.

Next-generation wheel-corner concepts

Partners in Project OWHEEL will develop and benchmark the performance of four next-generation wheel-corner concepts – passive corner with stationary wheel positioning, passive composite corner, active corner with conventional ride dynamics control, and active corner with integrated wheel positioning control – intended to enhance passenger comfort in autonomous operation.

Project partners will collaborate in development design, extensive simulation studies and experimental validation of each proposed concept.

Brad Norton, executive vice president and president for ride performance at DRiV, said: “OWHEEL’s main goal is to provide fact-based recommendations for future vehicle suspension architecture.

“DRiV engineers have pioneered the exploration of advanced ride dynamics control for emerging mobility platforms, including electric and autonomous vehicles. Several of these solutions are already commercially available within our advanced suspension technologies portfolio.”

For further information about DRiV, click here.

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How to overcome the “skills shortage” in your workshop

Improve recruitment process, outsource temp jobs, develop existing workforce and build next gen techs, Autotech Recruit reports

Autotech Recruit has revealed what it describes as four strategies to help overcome talent shortages.

It says a “fully rounded” approach which involves garage owners improving recruitment practices, outsourcing skills for busy period, developing the existing workforce and helping to build the next generation of workshop talent.

The recruitment specialist encourages automotive businesses to adopt a bespoke recruitment or risk greater expense and even repeated efforts to find the right person for the role.

Once employed, upskilling staff should be a critical component within the strategy, according to Autotech Recruit.

A spokesperson said: “Today, technicians need continual training to ensure they have the relevant ability to service technologically advanced vehicles.

“What’s more, vehicle technicians are increasingly seeing training as an employment package must-have.”

Temporary recruitment

Autotech Recruit says combining permanent staff with outsourced temporary workers who can help cover shortfalls in labour and is a profitable solution.

“Having a good understanding of periods of time when the business may need additional support is vital and having the ability to plan for these occasions and tap into outsourced resource could add thousands to your bottom line.”

Finally, garages are being encouraged to create training and apprenticeship opportunities in a bid to sustain the future of the automotive industry.

Concluding, the spokesperson said: “The automotive industry is yet to shake off the ‘skills shortage’ label which has plagued it for years.

“A lack of understanding of the evolution that the industry has gone through, the departure of retiring baby boomers and under-investment in education of motor mechanics, have all played a role in this shortage.

“Nonetheless, each automotive business, regardless of size, can reduce the skills gap, while reaching its full potential by implementing an effective recruitment plan.”

For further information about Autotech Recruit, click here.

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