Less than a fifth of new cars have traditional handbrakes

Decline of manual handbrake is accelerating, with proportion falling from 30 per cent in 2019 and 24 per cent in 2020

More than eight in ten new cars on sale in the UK today come without a manual handbrake as the decline of the fabled car feature continues.

According to the third annual instalment of the CarGurus Manual Handbrake Report, manufacturers are continuing the switch to electronic handbrakes apace, with the proportion of new cars offering a manual handbrake falling to 17% in 2021, compared to 24% in 2020 and 30% in 2019.

Popular models including the Vauxhall Corsa, Seat Leon and BMW 4 Series have all dropped traditional manual handbrakes over the last year.

The manual handbrake study by CarGurus found that household names including Volvo, Alfa Romeo, Jaguar, Porsche and Mercedes-Benz no longer have any new models on sale in the UK fitted with a traditional manual handbrake.

The departure of Mitsubishi from the UK car market and the increasing prevalence of EVs, which tend to use electronic parking brakes, are two of the main factors contributing to the latest drop of manual handbrakes.

Compared to last year, 2021 has so far seen an 86 per cent increase in Battery Electric Vehicles registered in the UK. Meanwhile, registrations of Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles have increased by 90 per cent to 95,422, compared to 50,277 YTD in 2020**.

Abarth is the only manufacturer in the UK market to offer a manual handbrake across its product range.*

Meanwhile, only 1 per cent of Audi’s range has the option of a manual handbrake – the Audi A1 Sportback – while just 6 per cent of Peugeot’s range offer the more customary braking system.

Chris Knapman, editor at CarGurus UK, said: “Last year we forecasted the existence of the manual handbrake on new cars only has a few years left, and our latest data causes us no reason to believe otherwise with there being an even greater decline in 2021 than there was between 2020 and 2019.

“The rapid shift towards electric vehicles will only speed up the demise of the manual handbrake, leaving many traditionalists who are looking for the tactile feel and mechanical simplicity of a manual handbrake scratching their heads.

“Nonetheless, for drivers looking to enjoy this feature, there are still certain models of new cars available with manual handbrakes across a range of classes.”

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Delphi Technologies Academy EV content enhanced with high voltage battery insight

New video complements existing H/EV tutorials on Delphi Technologies Academy learning platform

Only weeks after launching its new online training platform, Delphi Technologies has further enhanced the electrified vehicle content with the addition of a virtual insight into the workings of a high voltage battery.

Entitled ‘Inside a HV battery’ the short video provides viewers with an easy-to-follow understanding of the principles and components of the high voltage battery.

Visually, it includes a 3D image of a battery that Delphi Technologies created by using a LiDAR scanner to perform a 360-degree scan of a sample high voltage battery at its Warwick-based Training Centre.

The new video is designed to complement existing H/EV tutorials on the Delphi Technologies Academy learning platform – the company’s new online training resource which users can access 24/7 and is designed to help overcome the financial and time challenges that independent garages can face when pursuing practical, off-site training.

The HV battery introduction joins electrified vehicle training materials that span instruction on how to lift an EV to what PPE to wear and OE systems to online modules that support the completion of popular IMI courses, such as the Hybrid Level 3 IMI programme that covers everything other than working on a live battery or active system.

Phil Mitchell, Technical Services Manager, Delphi Technologies Aftermarket, said: “We recognised the increasingly urgent need for independent garages to have access to electric vehicle training a long time ago.

“The Delphi Technologies Academy and the introduction of online tutorials, such as the HV battery video, are part of our solution to help address the huge shortage in non-franchised garage personnel having the skills to work on electrified vehicles.

“The virtual content of the Delphi Technologies Academy perfectly complements our practical EV training, allowing us to offer a sought-after ‘blended learning approach’, but also enables users to significantly expand their knowledge of EVs in general.

“With the technology being so fresh, the content is suitable for those who are just starting out on their career right through to those who have spent 30 years in the industry.”

For further details, please click here.

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Half of large vans and third of light commercial vehicles fail their MOT

Average repair cost is £143, leaving van drivers with a collective bill of £193 million to get back on the road

UK van drivers face a £193 million repair bill each year to get back on the road after failed MOTs, according to research by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.

On average, almost half (45 per cent) of vans between 3.0-3.5 tonnes fail their MOT every year, while around a third of light commercial vehicles initially fail the test.

The average cost to repair a failed vehicle so it can pass the test is £143, leaving UK van drivers with an estimated £193 million bill.

The most common reasons for failure are damaged lights, faulty brakes and unsafe suspension, according to data from the DVSA.

James Allitt, head of aftersales at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, said: “The figures reveal many vans are failing the MOT with simple maintenance issues that would be picked up by regular servicing, and it’s leaving van drivers risking unwanted downtime and an unexpected repair bill to get back on the road.”

To help give van drivers peace of mind and prevent unexpected repair costs, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is offering 10 per cent off† its All-in service package.

The offer, which runs until 31 December 2021, will save van drivers over £80, usually priced at £839.30 and now only £755.37 – with monthly payments now from just £31.47.

The ‘All-in’ package combines two services (one major, one minor), two MOTs, two years’ warranty, and two years’ roadside assistance, and saves van drivers an average of £1,558 over the two-year period, compared to pay-as-you-go prices.

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Ivor Searle adds Ford Fiesta application to gearbox range

Manual transmission for 1.1 litre Duratec petrol models built from 2017 – 2018

Remanufacturer Ivor Searle has added the manual transmission for the best-selling Ford Fiesta to its extensive all-makes range of gearboxes for cars and LCVs.

The five-speed Getrag unit covers the popular 1.1 litre Duratec petrol derivitives of the popular supermini equipped with Stop/Start systems built from 2017 – 2018.

Ivor Searle‘s remanufactured gearbox programme covers around 90 per cent of the UK’s vehicle parc and cost up to 40 per cent less than OE.

For peace of mind, all Ivor Searle gearboxes are covered by a 12-month unlimited mileage parts and labour warranty. Ivor Searle also offers free next day UK mainland delivery for stock items ordered before 3.30pm.

For further details, please click here.

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NDC is the first to receive new GSF Car Parts signage

A major national rebrand begins

Following news last week of The Parts Alliance rebranding to GSF Car Parts, a major exercise in replacing existing signage is now underway across the motor factor’s nationwide network.

Group Head of Marketing Simon Moore was delighted to announce: “Our National Distribution Centre at Midpoint Park in Sutton Coldfield was the first to receive its brand-new signage as part of our national rebrand from The Parts Alliance and its local brands to GSF Car Parts. The signage was completed on Friday 12th November and is the first of over 170 locations to be updated.

“It’s business as usual for our branches and our customers during the rebranding – all our teams, processes, deliveries and service levels are unaffected by the changeover.   

“Operating under one national brand will enable us to make significant improvements to the way we work and serve our trade customers in the future. Investments in technology, products, service and staff will help us to provide the leading service in the aftermarket and the whole team is incredibly excited about what lies ahead.”

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Mercedes-Benz recalls EQC over steering failure concerns

Water ingress could cause steering assist to spontaneously fail, carmaker says

Mercedes-Benz has issued a recall notice for more than 19,000 models of its EQC electric SUV over concerns that the power steering could suddenly fail.

It’s not yet been confirmed how many UK models are affected but cars being recalled were built between 11 December 2019 and 18 May 2020.

In a statement, the carmaker said: “Mercedes-Benz AG has determined that on certain EQC vehicles (293 platform), the wiring harness of the electrical steering might have been damaged during the assembly process.

“In this case, water might ingress into the wiring harness through a damaged isolation and advance over time into the steering control unit.

“As a consequence, the steering assist might fail spontaneously, also during driving.

“In this case, the driver would be notified by a red warning message in the instrument cluster.”

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Suspended jail term for garage owner’s illegal waste operation

“Wilful refusal” to clear waste made custody the only option, owner told at Magistrates

A Norfolk garage owner has received a suspended prison sentence for storing waste illegally, despite repeated warnings from the Environment Agency.

He has also been ordered to pay costs of £8,289.79 and a victim surcharge of £150 within 28 days.

Colin Barnes of CT Barnes Autos in Dereham admitted storing end of life motor vehicles, car parts, gear boxes and suspension units illegally at his site in Podmore Lane at Norwich Magistrates’ Court on 4 November.

It followed an earlier appearance on 12 May 2021 when magistrates deferred a sentence for six months, warning Barnes that if he failed to clear the site he risked a prison sentence.

When officers returned to inspect the site in October 2021, they found little improvement and saw that new end of life vehicles had arrived.

Magistrates heard that despite the warnings given in May, Barnes had not cleared the site at Podmore Lane of stockpiled scrap vehicles.

The stockpile contained pollutants such as fuel, brake fluid, batteries and tyres.

Environment Agency prosecutor, Sarah Dunne told the court that Barnes, had previous convictions for similar offences spanning a decade.

He had been given “chance after chance” to clear the waste and to work with the Environment Agency.

However, the site remained a risk to the environment and undermined law-abiding competitors who operated within the law.

Sentencing Barnes to 16 weeks’ imprisonment, the chair of the bench, Mr Nicholas Clarke, told Barnes that his “wilful refusal” made custody the only option.

He told Barnes that the prison sentence would be suspended for 2 years and made an order requiring Barnes to remediate the site by 17 January 2022.

He warned Barnes that, if he failed to clear the waste and continued to stockpile waste, he would be brought back to court.

He warned him that this is his, “final, final chance” and if he came back to court, he should, “bring a bag”.

Mr Clarke said the bench’s priority is to protect the environment and warned Barnes that the impact of his behaviour would contaminate the land for generations to come.

After hearing the verdict, enforcement team leader for East Anglia Area Lesley Robertson said: “This case shows why we pursue offenders through the courts.

“Magistrates will not hesitate to impose a custodial sentence where necessary.

“Storing and treating waste illegally without an environmental permit meant that Mr Barnes operated at a commercial advantage, undermining legitimate business.

“Owning a piece of land means accepting a responsibility to the surrounding area and all that resides there, be it business, homes or wildlife.”

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Valeo camera to take automated driving to “next level”

New tech to address driverless car challenges

Valeo has launched WoodScape, the first ever surround view fisheye camera open-source dataset, with the aim of taking research in computer vision for automated driving and parking to the next level.

Marc Vrecko, President of Valeo’s Comfort & Driving Assistance Business Group said: “With WoodScape, we would like to encourage the research community to develop computer vision algorithms for fisheye cameras aimed at both low- and high-speed vehicle automation scenarios, in order to make roads safer.”

WoodScape comprises over 10,000 images captured by multiple Valeo vehicles across Europe using four automotive-grade surround-view fisheye cameras and annotations for a variety of tasks such as semantic segmentation, depth estimation, 2D object detection, visual odometry, motion segmentation, soiling detection and end-to-end driving.

While datasets from narrow field cameras are available, there are no extensive multitask surround-view fisheye camera datasets publicly available.

In addition, most automotive public datasets limit research to three or four tasks.

One of the biggest challenges in automated driving research is obtaining sufficient relevant data that has been thoroughly labeled and human-annotated to allow perception systems to classify objects surrounding the vehicle.

Valeo says WoodScape will help to address this challenge.

Valeo has developed a comprehensive sensor portfolio in the automotive industry, comprising ultrasonic sensors, radars, cameras, and the first and only series-produced LiDAR to meet automotive standards and able to be fitted in vehicles that are already on the market. In particular, Valeo produces fisheye cameras enabling 360° perception, key for automated driving.

For further details, please click here.

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Former Dyson CEO Martin McCourt to speak at IAAF Virtual Conference 2021

Online conference to tackle automotive aftermarket’s past, present and future

The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) has announced Martin McCourt, who was previously the long-standing CEO of Dyson, as special guest speaker at its 2021 Virtual Conference.

In line with the Conference’s theme of Aftermarket for the Future, McCourt will discuss key topics, such as ‘Vertical Growth’, ‘Think Big Stay Small’ and the importance of ‘Innovation’.

Throughout the session, members will benefit from expert advice on meeting and overcoming adversity and how to turn this into positive opportunities, as well how to retain a business’ identity, while scaling up and continuing to grow.

McCourt has spent over 40 years working at the heart of British-based manufacturing, design and marketing for quality brands, including Dyson, Mars, Duracell, Toshiba and Pelikan.

As CEO of Dyson for 15 years, the ideas to market-leading consumer products maker, he devised and implemented a strategy that transformed the company from a single product, single-market producer into one where 80 percent of the business came from over 60 markets around the world.

In that time, he increased UK skilled jobs, grew profits to over £300m and enabled James Dyson to keep on inventing.
In 2010 Martin was named UK Business Leader of the Year.

In 2011, Dyson hit £1 bn revenue for the first time and McCourt was directly responsible for the establishment of Dyson subsidiaries in the USA, Japan, Switzerland, Austria and Germany.

In total he took Dyson into over 60 markets, achieving market leadership in the majority including the USA.

Mark Field, IAAF chief executive said: “New legislation and continuous innovations affecting the market mean that our industry is constantly evolving, and it’s crucial that the automotive aftermarket prepares accordingly in order to futureproof their businesses.

“We’re delighted to have Martin on board, as we’re sure he will use his vast experience and expertise to help businesses maximise potential opportunities to diversify for the better and innovate for the future.”

The IAAF Virtual Conference 2021, taking place on 2 December, will tackle the past, present and future of the sector, supporting members’ business activity.

A number of new sponsorship packages have been introduced and the event will also feature the ‘Pride of the Aftermarket’ awards, which will honour exceptional performances of companies and individuals throughout the past year.

For further details, please click here.

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ZF Aftermarket calls on Commercial Vehicle Sector to prepare for electrification

Widespread population of electric CVs just around the corner in technological terms

ZF Aftermarket is calling on the commercial vehicle sector to ensure they are well prepared for the mass electrification of its vehicles. This message goes out to motor factors, workshops and suppliers alike. Leading the way in hybrid and electric vehicle technology, ZF produces holistic system solutions which allow vehicles to see, think, and act. This enables ZF Aftermarket to anticipate industry challenges and prepare its partners at an early stage to adapt to changes; offering solutions which will be pivotal in the transition period for the HGV & LCV marketplace as it moves into the Next Generation Mobility.

“It’s ZF’s aim to help the aftermarket understand the challenges ahead and to work with its partners to ensure that the workshops are ready and prepared for future mobility,” explains ZF’s UK CV expert, James O’Gara.

At the moment, most commercial EVs are buses operating in cities due to distance travelled per charge – with some E trucks used for shorter city deliveries. However, the number of hybrid but also battery operated electric models is increasing and with it the need for service and repairs. A key message is that without the correct training, technicians are not allowed to touch an electric or hybrid vehicle; a rule which even applies to simple maintenance work on conventional vehicle components. As a leading manufacturer of products for electric vehicles in OEM quality, ZF leverages its first-hand knowledge to offer the relevant technical skills to its workshop partners in the Aftermarket.

Following the recent acquisition of WABCO, ZF now also offers the leading product and service portfolio for commercial vehicles in the aftermarket.

Through its technical training initiative, ZF offers courses which allow workshops to acquire the comprehensive knowledge necessary to deal with Next Generation Mobility. Having trained staff within ZF working on its own technology allows for a competitive advantage when it comes to educating the wider audience. 

ZF Aftermarket customer and IFA member, Dale Terry, Sales Director at HGV Direct, adds his weight to the argument for more training and increased preparation. A recent graduate of ZF’s High Voltage Expert training course, he says the valuable information he learned will help him to pass on an understanding of the technology to his customers as mobility advances.

“At some point electric vehicles will be the norm. With ever more stringent emissions targets to hit companies are looking more closely at their environmental impact and changes to larger fleets have already begun.”

Dale is in full agreement that mandatory training should be undertaken before working with EV and hybrid commercial vehicles.

 “The EV system is complex and requires in-depth knowledge to safely and correctly repair it,” he says.

“This subject should not be ignored. It’s the future for every fleet operator or commercial workshop and understanding it will allow businesses to adapt and prepare.”

“With technology advancing rapidly the market is closer to needing to find a solution than we realise,” Dale adds. “Right now, the CV aftermarket should be working closely with VMs and companies such as ZF to understand the transition timescales and provide valuable information to business owners and fleet operators. In the future this will have a direct impact on fleet renewals, carbon reduction targets and future expansion.”

“ZF Aftermarket’s objective is that all market participants understand Next Generation Mobility technologies as well as the challenges they bring and can therefore prepare at an early stage. Technological developments offer interesting growth potential for workshops but can only be used if they are prepared for it,” concludes James O’Gara.

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