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The agreement will see EMaC’s sales portal integrated into the Suzuki main website. The portal enables customers to locate and select their local dealer, tailor a service plan to fit their requirements and buy direct.
EMaC’s national development team is supporting the entire Suzuki network by providing all dealers with the opportunity to review their current service plan activity. The aim is to ensure all dealers have the opportunity of benefitting from a tailored programme.
Aftersales director at Suzuki GB PLC, Denis Houston, said: “Moving over to EMaC has enabled us to call upon its dedicated and proven resource to deliver and support the sale of service plans.
“Customer retention is a key part our long term strategy and we see EMaC as the partner to help deliver these goals in relation to service plan sales.”
The service plan support agreement extends across both cars and motorcycles. EMaC managing director Angela Barrow said: “We are looking forward to supporting Suzuki and its dealer network for their customer retention needs in the years to come.”
The meeting, which took place on April 21 at Valeo Service UK, Redditch, addressed the big issues affecting the automotive aftermarket, with internet parts dominating discussions.
Jeff Bradshaw of Capita (pictured, image 2) said garages had a duty of care to motorists to ensure that any work is carried out with reasonable care and skill, and that consumers are entitled to expect that parts are of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose.
IAAF chief executive Wendy Williamson said: “There is still much confusion when it comes to parts sourced by the motorists over the internet, but through all the debate, the clear message to garages from IAAF is: Don’t fit parts of unknown origin.”
Williamson also highlighted at the event the Federation’s increased dialogue with motorists and garages on the continual misinformation provided by dealerships on vehicle warranties under block exemption regulations.
“The IAAF continues to work tirelessly to promote the independent aftermarket and we have forecasted the increased aggression from vehicle manufacturers for some time. With the support of our members, who continually feedback to us examples of this misinformation, we are able to head them off quickly and find a resolution that benefits the entire automotive aftermarket and motorist,” Williamson said.
Fleet and business new car sales helped April registrations hit a 10-year high with demand up by 5.1% to 185,778 units – the month’s best performance since 2005.
The figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reveal that fleet and business registrations were responsible for 54% of the market at 99,798 units – up 7% on April, 2014, when the sector recorded 93,098 registrations.
The strong monthly performance has helped fleet and business registrations reach 482,835 units so far this year, which equates to 52% of the overall market and is up 11% on the first four months of 2014.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “Today’s figures highlight the current strength of consumer confidence, even at a time of such political uncertainty.
“We are confident that the UK’s new car market – so symbolic of economic mood – will continue to thrive, but long-term success will depend largely on economic and political stability in the months and years ahead.
“Whatever the outcome of today’s election, the next government must act quickly to uphold economic certainty and reassure consumers and markets.”
April’s strong performance, which comes after a record first quarter for the sector, tracks a 12-year high for consumer confidence and continues a pattern of growth in new car registrations around general elections that dates back to 1979.
Demand in the period following May 7 is forecast to continue in line with this trend and as new products, attractive finance deals and low interest rates inspire consumers and businesses to give the new car market their vote of confidence.
All but three of the past nine general elections have coincided with a spike in new car demand in the three months immediately before and after polling day.
Notable exceptions were during the recessions of 1992 and 2010, while the 2005 election period saw registrations dip as part of natural market readjustment after hitting peak volumes in 2002.
National Windscreens has been able to process more than 100,000 enquiries with 99.5% accuracy thanks to new software Partscheck.
The software correctly identifies the piece of replacement glass needed for a specific vehicle by simply entering the vehicle registration number – addressing a problematic issue that affects the windscreen replacement industry.
Significant advances in the range of technologies used in windscreens has resulted in the availability of a variety of screen models for the same vehicle, as regional director Phil Lomas explains: “As well as heated windscreens, recent industry developments have seen the introduction of acoustic glass, windscreen mounted cameras, integral Heads Up Displays (HUDs) and a variety of sensors which mean that identifying the correct piece of glass needed can be quite difficult. For example, there are more than 20 different screens available for the current model BMW Series 5, so expecting a motorist to know the exact replacement windscreen type they require is unrealistic.
“Partscheck has been developed to eradicate this issue and is achieving outstanding results for National Windscreens. We introduced it early last year and it is currently running at 99.5% accuracy.”
The software is benefiting National Windscreens’ fleet and insurance clients who can be accurately quoted for every job before the technician has even seen the vehicle.
PSA is pushing ahead with the restructuring of its parts operation in the UK to boost efficiency and provide more frequent deliveries of parts to Peugeot and Citroen dealers.
Currently the warehouse in Coventry delivers to over 500 outlets across the UK but PSA is appointing 30 dealers to act as regional hubs to deliver parts to dealers three times a day.
The new system will be more efficient, cheaper to run, offer more frequent deliveries and will also help to boost trade sales.
It is part of a European-wide strategy to boost parts business in the face of mounting competition from independent distributors like Euro Car Parts, which is now owned by US company LKQ
LKQ is the largest supplier of aftermarket and recycled collision replacement parts and refurbished collision replacement products in the US and Canada.
It is moving Euro Car parts into new areas like collision parts, competing directly with OE parts from carmakers.
According to director of parts and service PSA UK Richard Dyson, PSA is running dealer pilots in the West and East Midlands, Manchester, Cornwall and Devon.
“The efficiency is those hubs will be delivering three times a day. We will be delivering to 30 rather than 500 locations.
“Delivering to 500 sites every day is horrendously expensive,” said Dyson.
The European project will be completed by March 2017.
Peugeot dealers are to offer customers test drives in the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf to put it head to head with the 308 model.
The promotion will run from 11 May to 25 May at the majority of dealers in the network in a bid to show how competitive the 308 against the two competitors.
“It is a head to head challenge: come and compare our car with the market leaders. Every Peugeot dealer will have a Focus and Golf at their dealership and inviting customs to compare,” said Neil Moscrop, brand director Peugeot UK.
“We are so confident in our product that we do not believe they will be disappointed,” he added.
Peugeot has also made changes to its sales management team to get closer to dealers.
“One of the strategic changes we have made in our relationship with dealers is to use a Peugeot zone manger to be far more involved in training of staff in lead management than we have in the past.
“We have restructured that centrally so that our zone sales managers can concentrate on things that generate revenue in terms of customer management and the sale of cars,” he said.
Tyre-giant Michelin has acquired the UK online tyre retailer Blackcircles.com for £50 million.
A spokesman for Michelin said it was “business as usual” for Blackcircles customers and the brand name would remain, as would the current management team.
Based in Edinburgh, Blackcircles.com generated £28 million in revenue in 2013. Blackcircles is run by founder and chief executive Mike Welch. BusinessCar understands Welch has been incentivized to remain to run the business.
Michelin said the acquisition was driven by its intention to increase its online business in addition to its 40% stake in Allopneus, the French online tyre sales company.
Michelin said the deal with Blackcircles will enable it to improve its mix of distribution channels in the UK and develop an even stronger relationship with its traditional tyre distributor, ATS Euromaster.
Welch said: “The strength of the Michelin Group will allow us to underpin the multi-brand offering that we deploy in each garage, on every street corner.
“I am convinced that our teams, our customers, our garages and our suppliers will rapidly start to see the benefits of this partnership.”
Blackcircles.com created a fleet division, which is “dedicated to business vehicles”, in March this year.The business appointed Martin Towers as its director of corporate sales to lead the new fleet business.
Applebridge Construction has taken on 18 Volkswagen Caddy vans in a new fleet deal. The vehicles will be used to maintain work sites across Yorkshire.
Applebridge said it has a good relationship with a VW dealership and said its customer service was central to securing the deal. The aftersales service will mean the company’s team can access any van centre across the UK.
The Caddy was also chosen for its low running costs and reliability.
“Keeping our teams on the road across our regional offices is vital to maintaining our business. When looking at replacing our fleet we took into consideration vehicle quality, aftercare service and whole life costs. Volkswagen had the winning formula,” said Philip Hughes, construction director at Applebridge Construction.
Mark Wilson, group chief executive officer, said, ‘Aviva’s turnaround is on track and ahead of schedule. It’s been a busy quarter. We have completed the acquisition of Friends Life and at the same time delivered an improvement in our key metrics. Value of new business is up, our general insurance combined operating ratio has improved and our IFRS book value has grown over the quarter. In the face of unpredictable global markets, we continue to improve the Group’s resilience.
‘Detailed plans to integrate Friends Life are well underway and whilst this is a challenging and complex project, we are confident of timely progress. We expect 2015 to be a year of continued delivery of our turnaround plan.’
Aviva’s general insurance business reported an improved combined operating ratio (COR) of 96.4% (1Q 2014: 97.7%) with UK general insurance net written premiums up one per cent to £855 million (1Q14: £845 million).
‘We posted total revenue growth of 17.2% on a constant currency basis and the highest third quarter revenue in our history of $281 million on a GAAP basis,’ said Tony Aquila, Solera’s founder, chairman and chief executive officer. ‘We are also pleased to report that the UK’s Competition and Market Authority (CMA) has cleared our acquisition of CAP Automotive, paving the way for the launch of the Digital Garage starting in the UK. Exciting additions to Solera’s vertical offerings like CAP and, soon-to-be addition, DME automotive support the roll-out of our risk and asset management platform, increase our content and fortify our digital transformation.’
Revenues from insurance company customers were $108.0 million for the third quarter, representing a 12.3% increase over the prior year third quarter. On a constant currency basis, revenues from insurance company customers for the third quarter increased 22.4% over the prior year third quarter.
Revenues from collision and glass repair facility customers were $69.0 million for the third quarter, representing a 7.4% decrease over the prior year third quarter. On a constant currency basis, revenues from collision and glass repair facility customers for the third quarter increased 5.3% over the prior year third quarter.
Revenues from independent assessors were $16.0 million for the third quarter, representing a 17.1% decrease over the prior year third quarter. On a constant currency basis, revenues from independent assessors for the third quarter increased 1.5% over the prior year third quarter.
Revenues from service, maintenance and repair facilities customers, were $32.9 million for the third quarter, representing a 12.2% increase over the prior year third quarter on both an actual and constant currency basis.