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Daily news round upBack

Wealthiest car dealers named in Sunday Times Rich List

arnold clark

Owners of motor retail businesses once again figured prominently in the Sunday Times Rich List 2015, the annual review of personal wealth in the UK.

Sir Arnold Clark (pictured) retained his position as the wealthiest car retailer at number 166 based on a personal fortune of £675m (2014: £675m). Clark, now aged 87 and chairman of the eponymous business he founded in 1954, has grown it into the largest privately owned-dealer group in the UK with 200 sites across Scotland and in north England. Clark, who is listed with his family in the Sunday Times listing, saw profits rise last year to a record £85.1m on sales of £2.91bn.

Lord Edmiston (234), founder and owner of the IM Group, the UK distributor of Subaru, Isuzu and Great Wall, was once again listed in second place with a personal fortune which has grown to £472m (2014: £452m). IM Group, which also operates an extensive property portfolio, made a £312m profit in 2014 on sales of £400m. The Rich List also noted he donated £39.4m to charity.

Jack Tordoff (280), founder and chairman of the Bradford-based JCT600, was rated, along with his family, as having a personal fortune of £368m (£353m). The volume to prestige group saw operating profits increase by 31% to £20.3m in 2013 on sales up 36% to £909m.

Sukpal Singh Ahluwalia (340), the founder of Euro Car Parts, was rated at 340 on a personal fortune of £300m. Having sold the group to LKQ, the US parts distributor in 2011 for £285, he stayed on as chairman and managing director of Euro Car Parts before stepping down in April 2014 . However, last November he re-joined LKQ as a director and chairman of its UK operations.

Tony Bramall (464), whose dealer businesses include CD Bramall and Bramall and Jones, was rated with his family at 464 with a personal fortune of £208m 2014: £209m). Bramall has a £96m stake in Lookers.

Sir Michael Marshall and family, the erstwhile owner of the Marshall Motors, was rated at 476 on a fortune worth £200m (2014: £133m). The family, which also owns and operates Cambridge Airport and has extensive property interests, floated the dealer group in April but retains a majority shareholding.

Sir Peter Vardy was rated at joint 562 on a fortune worth £176m. The former CEO of Reg Vardy, who oversaw the group’s £506m sale to Pendragon in 2006 after which he formed the Vardy Group of Companies which consists of the Peter Vardy dealer group and the Vardy Property Group. The Rich List also noted he donated £175m to charity.

Kwik Fit founder Sir Tom Farmer (725) has a personal fortune of £130m (2014: £128m). Sir Tom now owns Farmer Autocare and Hibs, the Edinburgh-based football team.





Northridge Finance celebrates win at Motor Finance Europe Awards

Northridge Finance’s ‘Joint Venture’ offering was named Best Finance Product at the Motor Finance Europe Awards in Munich.

James McGee, managing director of NIIB and Northridge Finance, collected the award.

The company was also among the finalists in the Independent Finance Provider of the Year category.

As a key part of Northridge Finance’s product portfolio, Joint Venture is essentially a shared risk and reward arrangement with motor dealer groups.

The concept was established almost 20 years ago with a small number of dealer groups in Northern Ireland, and has since grown in popularity to the extent that it now accounts for almost 20% of annual new business-lending across the UK for Northridge.

McGee said: “Joint Venture is unique in the way it is relationship led, transparent and very much a long-term arrangement which offers stability to dealer partners.



The Parts Alliance promises to cut independent garages’ tool costs by up to 95%

The Parts Alliance has launched a national tool hire programme,, in a ‘first’ for a motor factor group, promising repairers significant savings.

Independent garages and workshops need no longer turn away business because they don’t have the specialist tools to do the job, thanks to a national tool hire programme launched by The Parts Alliance., a ‘first’ for a motor factor group, is designed to provide fast and easy access to more than 300 special service tools and diagnostic equipment covering every major area of service and repair.

The club’s website uses a combination of the latest electronic ordering systems, including access through The Parts Alliance’s cataloguing system, so members can see in ‘real time’ the days they can hire for.

Membership is by annual subscription, at gold, silver and bronze levels, with different hire price bands depending on the capital cost of the tools.
With a gold subscription the rental for some equipment is zero.



Average emissions of Fleet Alliance client orders fall to 116g/km

Fleet Alliance has seen carbon emissions fall to an all-time low of 116g/km per vehicle for new cars ordered in the first quarter of 2015.

For the year to the end of March, some 28% of all new cars ordered across the 18,000-strong Fleet Alliance vehicle fleet have been sub 100g/km of CO2, with 81% of them less than 129g/km, as the green message hits home.

In a league table of the cleanest cars, the most efficient 10 models leased by the company now all have carbon emissions of 95g/km or less.

The company has also introduced a number of new green initiatives including an EV awareness programme. This involves two new examples of the world’s best-selling electric vehicle, the Nissan Leaf, which have been added to the Fleet Alliance fleet for testing and review purposes.

Fleet Alliance has also provided two free-to-use electric car charging points in the visitors’ car park at its new offices, Skypark, just outside Glasgow city centre. Skypark landlords have paid for the installation while Fleet Alliance is paying the ongoing electricity charges.

The company is also working with the Energy Saving Trust to offer clients best practice advice for hybrid, electric and grey fleet vehicles, reviewing fleet costs and eco-driver training.

Fleet Alliance managing director, Martin Brown said: “Carbon emissions are falling across our whole fleet and so far this year are down to an average of 116g/km, the lowest we have seen to date.

“This will continue to fall as clients increasingly follow our advice and switch to greener cars. This has the effect of not only cutting their carbon footprints but reducing their tax and fuel bills too.



ACFO signs up for Fleet Management Live

ACFO has signed up as a ‘show partner’ for Fleet Management Live.

As well as attending the event, the body that helps fleet decision-makers improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their business travel operation will work with Fleet Management Live organiser Fleet News to deliver insightful and thought-provoking workshops and theatre sessions.

Fleet Management Live is a new forum for suppliers, manufacturers and service providers to meet fleet decision-makers. It takes place at the NEC on 6 & 7 October 2015.

The event will be the definitive event for company car decision-makers, whether traditional fleet operator or managers in procurement, finance, HR, travel and facilities management with fleet responsibilities.

Stephen Briers, editor-in-chief of Fleet News, said: “Fleet Management Live is going to be a major event for the fleet industry and it is great to have AFCO as a partner. Its considerable industry expertise and knowledge will be invaluable in drawing up original and cutting edge content with leading industry experts.

John Pryor, chair of ACFO, added: “We are really excited to be a partner at Fleet Management Live. It promises to be to a unique event with a good mix of workshops, exhibitions and discussions. We are really looking forward to developing a programme that will be of interest for people who have a responsibility for fleets within procurement, finance, HR, travel and facilities management as well as established fleet managers.”




Piech resigns from Volkswagen as board backs Winterkorn

Volkswagen chairman Ferdinand Piech has resigned from the carmaker just weeks after he instigated a power struggle with its chief executive Martin Winterkorn.

Piech lost the boardroom battle in a five to one vote of Volkswagen’s steering committee last week.

In a statement to shareholders Volkswagen said: “The members of the executive committee have unanimously determined that in view of the background of the last weeks the mutual trust necessary for successful cooperation no longer exists.

“For this reason Professor Dr Ferdinand K Piëch has resigned with immediate effect from his position as chairman of the supervisory board and from all his mandates as a supervisory board member within the Volkswagen Group.”

The bust up was caused by comments made by Piech In an interview with Der Spiegel magazine where he said: “I am at a distance to Winterkorn.”

The seven words ignited intense speculation on whether Winterkorn would succeed Piech as chairman in 2017 as had been expected and whether he would hold on to his CEO post.

But the board backed Winterkorn and Piech was isolated. Under Winterkorn made record profits of €12.7bn (£9.3bn) in 2014. Its Audi brand was its most successful, making profits of Euro %.2bn in 2014.

But a big bugbear for Piech was Volkswagen’s inability to crack the US market where it is weak.

See analysis by Ray Hutton on VW Group’s expansion plans for 2015 under Winterkorn in the April issue of Motor Trader.



Hyundai confirms pricing and specification for facelifted i40

Hyundai has confirmed its facelifted i40 will be priced from £19,600 when it goes on sale later this year. The outgoing model was priced from £19,050.

It is powered by the firm’s 1.7-litre diesel with the choice of two power outputs – 115hp, 141hp and 141hp with an automatic transmission.

The facelifted i40 is available in four trim levels – S, SE Nav, SE Nav Business and Premium. Standard equipment on the entry-level S models includes Bluetooth connectivity, air conditioning, leather wrapped steering wheel, automatic headlights and steering wheel equipped telephone controls.

SE Nav models add the firm’s touchscreen satellite navigation unit with rear view parking camera, DAB radio, an auto dimming rear view mirror, climate control, LED front fog lights and a seven speaker sound system, while the SE Nav Business editions adds keyless entry and a driver’s seat memory function.

The range-topping Premium model features 18-inch alloy wheels, a panoramic sunroof, a luggage net and a lane departure warning system.

“The introduction of the i40 Tourer and saloon means that the Hyundai range now has a fresher and more dynamic look, with changes aimed to appeal particularly to the requirements of our fleet customers,” said Tony Whitehorn, CEO of Hyundai UK.

“The addition of the SE Nav as a new trim level provides a clear differentiator from the traditional SE models and identifies the standardisation of our highly capable navigation system,” said Whitehorn.




Fleet Alliance reduces fleet carbon levels

Fleet management company Fleet Alliance has claimed its fleet emissions has fallen to an all-time low of 116g/km of CO2 per vehicle for the cars it manages ordered in the first quarter of the year.

The firm said that 81% of all cars ordered across its 18,000 vehicle fleet have been sub-129g/km of CO2 with 28% of them emitting less than 100g/km of CO2.

The company said it has been advising fleet drivers of the importance of setting fleet policies that encourage the take-up of low carbon-emitting cars, while it is working with the Energy Saving Trust to offer best practice advice for hybrid, electric and grey fleet vehicles.

“Carbon emissions are falling across our whole fleet and so far this year are down to an average of 116g/km, the lowest we have seen to date,” said Martin Brown, Fleet Alliance managing director.

“This will continue to fall as clients increasingly follow our advice and switch to greener cars. This has the effect of not only cutting their carbon footprints but reducing their tax and fuel bills too,” said Brown.



Motorists warned about hiring cars abroad

The BBC reports that motorists going abroad after 8 June are being warned they will need to take a special code with them if they want to hire a car.

From that date the paper counterpart of UK driving licences – which records endorsements and fines – is being computerised.

Anyone wanting to hire a car abroad will officially need a code to show convictions for offences like speeding.

To obtain it, motorists will have to log on to the DVLA website beforehand.

But the code is only valid for 72 hours, so anyone wanting to hire a car more than three days into their trip will need to generate a new code while they are abroad.

For those who do not have internet access, a phone number will also be made available.

The RAC said many drivers were unaware of the changes.

‘Our research shows that with just over a month to go before the paper counterpart to the photo-card licence disappears, 55% of drivers are not aware of the planned change,’ said RAC spokesman Simon Williams.

The DVLA recommends destroying paper counterparts after 8 June.

However the AA is advising people to hang on to the document, in case some hire companies are unaware of the new arrangements.

‘Not all car rental companies, or indeed traffic police abroad, will be aware of the changes, so a ‘belt and braces’ approach of also taking the counterpart might help,’ said AA president Edmund King.

But the AA also said that hiring a car abroad without a paper counterpart is not always a problem.

Just as some car hire companies do not currently ask for a counterpart, not all will ask for a code after 8 June.

The old-style paper licences, issued before the photo card was introduced in 1998, will remain valid.

To view a record of their convictions, motorists can log on to the View My Driving licence page of the government website.

They will need their driving licence number, their national insurance number and their postcode.





Supply chain is to worry for manufacturers

Manufacturers cite the risk of supply chain disruption as being their greatest cause of concern, according to recent research by the Business Continuity Institute (BCI) and the business standards company, BSI. 77% of companies identify supply chain complexity as their fastest growing business threat, which is intensified in the automotive industry by often complex globalised logistics operations. It is vital, warns emergency logistics specialist Evolution Time Critical, to safeguard processes against potentially turbulent factors to avoid costly financial and reputational penalties.

‘Supply chain failure in the automotive industry can cost millions in minutes if production is jeopardised; manufacturers cannot afford to risk unscheduled assembly line stoppages,’ said Evolution Time Critical managing director, Brad Brennan. ‘Efficiently protecting the supply chain from failure does not only provide a safetynet for when things go wrong, but enables the utilisation of higher risk strategies that can help optimise operations and provide vehicle manufacturers with a competitive advantage.’

In the past 18 months Evolution Time Critical has witnessed a growing awareness at senior management level of the importance of supply chain integrity. This has translated in to greater understanding of supplier activity, lead time requirements, and provided knowledge of where potentially fractious supply chain links remain. ‘The research by the BCI evidences this growing supply chain visibility at board level, as clearly you cannot fear what you are not aware of. This trend is allowing Evolution Time Critical to work proactively with manufacturers to streamline their logistics while remaining vigilant against failure,’ continued Brad.

Growing awareness of the cost of supply chain failure has led to increased manufacturer investment in analysis of activities, leading to a deeper understanding of supply chain nuances and allowing the adoption of higher risk strategies – while the risk of failure is heightened, protection provided by proactive contingency ensures that the cost of failure is reduced. Industry trends for intensified production schedules, increasing model and trim variance and the demand for ever-improving component quality all place heightened pressure on suppliers, for whom an emergency logistics safetynet remains invaluable.


Posted by Lois Hardy on 27/04/2015