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The Parts Alliance supports local heroes with promotion prizes

Snacks and treats delivered by local branches to NHS staff and carers

Following the Covid-19 outbreak, The Parts Alliance has decided to donate food prizes from it’s recent ‘Original Experience’ promotion to local causes.

The two-month promotion was scheduled to run throughout March and April, however, with a lockdown in place across the country, the promotion has been postponed.

With the promotion’s unplanned early finish, thousands of food prizes, such as snack boxes and chocolate eggs were leftover across the distributers branch network.

Rather than let the sweet treats go to waste, The Parts Alliance has instructed their branches to donate the prizes to worthy local organisations, such as food banks and NHS hospitals.

“These are challenging times for everyone, so it felt right to spread a little cheer and give the remaining sweets and chocolates from our recent promotion to local organisations that do so much good,” said Simon Moore, head of marketing.

Find out more about The Parts Alliance’s operations during the coranavirus disruption, please click here.

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Servicesure steps in to freeze fees for garages

The Parts Alliance has acted quickly to freeze the membership fees paid by its national garage network

The move has naturally been welcomed by garages who have appreciated the speed of the response at a time when cash flow has come under sudden pressure.

Colourspray Auto Services in Merseyside offers MOTs, servicing and bodywork.  He took the difficult decision to close the business on 28th March.

“Servicesure contacted us to tell us they were freezing our membership fees and to have someone be proactive in trying to help is great,” said owner Graham Young. “It’s not about the amount of money saved, it’s the fact that Servicesure offered it unprompted as a way of supporting us.

“The support we’ve had from Servicesure, CES and The Parts Alliance has been great. It’s easy to make promises when the going’s good, but it’s times like this when you really know who’s there for you.

Graham Young

“I know we’ll come out the other side of this and we’ll remember the people who stood by us and supported us however they could.”

 Garages like other UK businesses have been left reeling after the sudden measures taken to control the impact of the rapidly escalating COVID-19 crisis.

Garages are entitled to stay open to keep cars moving but decisions are being made on an individual basis as owners wrestle with the social and financial implications.

“We saw trade drop off when the MOT exemption announcement was made and I didn’t want to risk the safety of the team, so we closed the business down,” added Graham.

The DVSA confirmed a six month MOT extension in a decision which has the IAAF and IGA trade associations see will present ‘huge challenges’ for garages.

You can read more about Servicesure here.

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“No significant supply chain shortages” The Parts Alliance confirms

The Parts Alliance publishes latest business operations in response to coronavirus

In response to the current coronavirus situation, The Parts Alliance has announced that it’s priority is delivering both on its social responsibilities of helping to prevent the spread of this virus and in performing its role as a vital service keeping the vehicles moving that in turn provide essential workers, emergency services and critical supply chains with the transport they need.

The group’s branch network will continue to offer trade deliveries following the government’s confirmation that garages can remain open.

The DVSA has provided clarification that MOT testing can be completed ‘behind closed doors’ and without issuing paper documents to customers where an MOT is due before 30 March.

It has also confirmed that MOTs due after 30 March would be automatically extended by six months to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Motorists still have a responsibility to “keep their vehicle in a roadworthy condition” and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has recognised garages provide “vital services”, adding they can “remain open for essential repair work”.

“It’s our social responsibility to continue supporting garages”

Neil Croxson, chief executive officer of The Parts Alliance said: “We feel it’s our social responsibility to continue supporting garages across the UK at this crucial time, operating in a way that keeps our people and our customers as safe as possible.

“Our motor factor branches provide the vital link between suppliers and garages that need quality products to keep cars moving safely.

“The decision on whether garages remain open will be taken by them individually with mind to the risks involved and the needs of their communities, but the fact is many people are reliant on cars, either as key workers travelling to jobs, or to buy food and medicines.”

The Parts Alliance also supplies national accounts operating breakdown recovery, emergency service and transport delivery vehicles.

Garages are advised that service levels may be reduced to improve the safety of staff and the group has implemented a wide range of safety measures, including increased cleaning of vehicles and premises with latex gloves used on delivery routes.

Online orders can still be delivered to home addresses.

The popular ‘Click and Collect’ service has been suspended to reduce branch contact, but will be reinstated shortly for essential trade and key workers only.

Neil Croxson added: “There’s clearly a difficult balance to strike.

“Safety of staff and compliance with government guidance are our top priorities.

“We will maintain parts supply where possible and will do everything in our power to support essential services and the population during these difficult times.”

The Parts Alliance emphasises that despite speculation, there are no significant shortages of products emerging within the supply chain currently.

The Parts Alliance continues to review its Covid-19 policy, which is available to read in full by clicking here.

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The Parts Alliance issues advice for staying safe during COVID-19

Company makes recommendations on how to protect customers and staff

The government has recently announced that independent garages can remain open during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Whilst workshops are open there are many simple practices that can be implemented to keep customers and staff safe during the pandemic.

There’s really no limit to the preventive measures that can be taken, so here’s some suggestions to get garages started.  

Frequent
Cleaning

Frequently sanitise those surfaces that are regularly touched.

These can include door handles, computer keyboards, payment keypads, workshop diaries, kettle buttons/levers, microwave controls, reception counter tops, toilet flush handles, toilet door handles and taps.

Think about those objects / surfaces that are repeatably touched and ensure they’re often sanitised throughout the day.

Minimise Risk

To help reduce the risk of infection, antibacterial handwash should be available within all toilets, for both customers and staff.

For those garages with a drinks machine or water cooler within the reception area, sanitise all buttons and surfaces regularly and provide disposable cups for customers to use, rather than reusable cups.

Having tissues available within the reception area is another simple step to reduce the chance of transmission of COVID-19 between customers and staff.

Take Care
with Money and Keys

Encourage customers to pay with their debit/credit card, to reduce exposure to handling cash.

If this isn’t possible, think about wearing protective latex / nitrile gloves for cash transactions.

Similarly, gloves should be worn when receiving and handing keys back to customers.

Wiping keys with antibacterial wipes, after initially receiving them and before giving them back to customers is an additional safety step.

Maintain
Social Distancing

Follow the government guidelines issued to businesses for maintaining social distancing.

This includes minimising the number of customers within the premises at any one time and keeping a space of 2 meters between individuals.

Placing tape on the reception floor can help remind customers to keep their distance from the reception counter.

For the moment, refrain from shaking customers’ hands, no matter how loyal they’ve been in the past – they’ll understand.

Vehicle
Vigilance

It’s good practice to not only wear latex / nitrile gloves when working on a vehicle, but also to change them between working on different vehicles.

Before turning on the vehicle ignition, switch off air conditioning systems to limit anything being airbourne inside the cabin.

The most frequently touched areas of the vehicle should be thoroughly sanitised before any work starts – these include the steering wheel, gear stick, door handles, handbrake, indicator and wiper stalks, light switches, window switches, seat buckles and entertainment systems.

Similarly, when the vehicle is ready to be returned frequently touched areas should be sanitised once again.

Provide
Assurance

It’s natural for customers and staff alike to be nervous during the current COVID-19 outbreak.

Informing customers and staff about the procedures that have put in place will provide reassurance.

This can be as simple as telling customers that their vehicle has been thoroughly cleaned, to clearly displaying a list of the measures your business is undertaking to safeguard those on site, within the reception area.

Poster now available

The Parts Alliance has created a poster for garages with all this information included. It can be downloaded here for printing.

Keep Updated

Stay up-to-date with the latest government advice and guidance.

The government has a dedicated section on its website www.gov.uk/coronavirus, which includes advice for businesses.

Rather than remembering to visit the site, it is possible to register an email address to receive updates, with the option to choose the frequency of the updates.

For more information on the The Parts Alliance’s COVID-19 policy, click here.

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MOT due dates extended by six months

MOT extension applied to cars, vans and motorcycles due from 30 March 2020

MOT due dates for cars, motorcycles and light vans have been extended by six months in a bid to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Vehicle owners do not need to do anything to extend the MOT expiry date if it’s on or after 30 March 2020 but they must keep their vehicle in a roadworthy condition.

If a vehicle’s MOT was due to expire on 3 April 2020, this will automatically be extended to 3 October 2020 and the owner will need to get an MOT by this date.

The DVSA is not issuing paper exemption certificates.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We must ensure those on the frontline of helping the nation combat COVID-19 are able to do so.

“Allowing this temporary exemption from vehicle testing will enable vital services such as deliveries to continue, frontline workers to get to work, and people to get essential food and medicine.

“Safety is key, which is why garages will remain open for essential repair work.”

MOTs that run-out before 30 March

If a vehicle’s first MOT was due before 30 March 2020 and it did not pass, it won’t get an extension to its MOT due date.

The DVSA advises owners of vehicles that have run out of MOT while in self-isolation to book an MOT test after their period of self-isolation is over.

Vehicle owners that are extremely vulnerable from coronavirus must not take their vehicle for its MOT.

Those who are not self-isolating may book an MOT at any test centre.

The Department for Transport is working with insurers and the police to ensure owners are not unfairly penalised for not being able to get an MOT.

“Garages are allowed to stay open”

The government is allowing MOT centres and garages to remain open for owners that use their vehicle to shop for basic necessities, for any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person and to travel to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home.

A spokesperson for the DVSA said: “The government has extended the requirement for certain businesses to close, but garages are allowed to stay open.

“This is to make sure that essential vehicle maintenance and repair to keep vehicles, goods and key workers moving and safe can continue.”

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

Visit the Auto Torque blog to catch-up on the latest industry news.

The Parts Alliance aims to keep garages moving

The Parts Alliance has been busy making operational changes to meet the tightening government requirements as the COVID-19 crisis has quickly escalated.

The intention of The Parts Alliance is to operate safely and responsibly whilst continuing to support garages that choose to stay open to provide their ‘essential service’ locally.

It’s a fast-changing situation, DVSA clarified in the last couple of days both that garages are allowed to remain open and that the MOT can be delayed six months.

You can read more on the latest updates to operations from The Parts Alliance on the dedicated website section here.

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Visit the Auto Torque blog to catch-up on the latest industry news.

Coronavirus outbreak sees UK’s independent garages pull together for support

How’s your workshop adapting and what are you doing to help others? GW calls on garages for ‘good-news’ stories

As the UK adjusts to increasingly drastic measures to combat the spread of coronavirus Covid-19, independent garages are doing their bit to keep the country moving.

A GW poll has revealed that it’s business as usual for 76 per cent of garages.

Speaking to GW, Hayley Pells of Avia Autos in Bridgend said: “The private car is a lifeline to many working front line services, the elderly and vulnerable who cannot use public transport but still need to make essential travel and will be more dependent than ever on maintenance and repair.

“The independent garage sector will be reliant on supply chains to ensure distribution of the products needed to keep everyone going.”

Many are taking to social media to share tips and advice with other workshops on how to cope in the current situation.

Commenting in the GW forum, Mickey Kredel said: “Since the outbreak we are asking customers to turn off the heating and air conditioning system so air is not blowing when the key is turned on and asking that there be no open drinks, straws, food etc in the vehicle.

“We enter with gloves on and wipe down the steering wheel, shifter and door, along with spraying Lysol onto their keys in a bowl when they arrive.”

Other measures taken by garage businesses include customer vehicle collection and drop-off services.

Responding to a mechanic’s question on Good Morning Britain this week about the dangers on transmitting coronavirus while working with customer vehicles, Dr Hilary Jones said: “It’s people that transmit the virus, not things.

“Obviously the virus can live on things but if people are washing their hands frequently and taking the relevant precautions, cleaning cars, wearing gloves where they can and using hand sanitisers, that is all we can do and he is going to minimise his risk of transmitting the infection and can carry on working.”

Inevitability, some garages have reported a rise in cancellations but with such uncertainty GW is calling on its readers to share their good news stories on how they’re working through the outbreak and helping their local community.

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

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DVSA suspends heavy vehicle testing in response to Covid-19 pandemic

Three-month suspension implemented with immediate effect

The DVSA has suspended heavy vehicle testing all Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV), trailers and Public Service Vehicles (PSV) for up to three months.

All HGVs, trailers and PSVs with an annual test due to expire will be issued with a three-month certificate of exemption (CTE) until further notice.

Paper certificates will not be re-issued for HGVs, trailers and PSVs but the DVSA has said that it will amend the digital record so that vehicles can continue to operate.

The Department for Transport has said it is keeping MOT testing for cars, motorcycles and light vans under review.

A DVSA spokesperson said: “We want to ensure that all heavy vehicles and trailers remain legal whilst the country deals with the COVID-19 outbreak.

“So DVSA will be implementing the provisions within the Plating and Testing Regulations and Motor Vehicle Test Regulations which provide for HGV and PSV vehicles to be exempted from the annual roadworthiness test.

“These are exceptional circumstances and we thank you for your understanding and patience.”

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

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