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Daily News Round upBack

Why you need to beware of dashcams in your workshop


A recent trend is seeing vehicle owners upload dashcam footage following a visit to the garage

Dashcam sales have rocketed in recent months as motorists fight back against car insurance scams and protect themselves from fraudsters.

With an increasing volume of cars now automatically recording footage at the turn of the ignition, it’s likely that you will soon encounter a dash mounted camera in your workshop – if you haven’t already.

Privacy and security are the major concerns here, with fears being aired that the layout and contents of your workshop could be broadcast online for all to see.

Footage recently emerged from a customer who discovered a dealership had driven his Focus ST at speeds of up to 118mph on public roads, abusing the owner’s trust and his car.

An earlier visit to the dealership, which left him half a tank of fuel worse off, prompted the cunning owner to activate his dashboard camera when he returned the car for further repairs.

Public perceptions

Whilst no one could ever justify such unprofessionalism, not all dashcam footage could appear as clear cut, explains Nick Seabrook of Exminster Garage in Devon: “Public perceptions worry me. You hear a lot in the media about people being recorded, named and shamed but I think a lack of understanding could misrepresent the garage in the wrong way.

“You may have a good reason why the vehicle is being driven a certain way, but the customer may not understand this.

“You might be looking in the glovebox, door pockets and boot for the locking wheel nut key, which on dashcam could look highly suspicious and be easily misinterpreted.”

Dashcams can take many forms and are available for as little as £20, boasting the ability to record vision, sound and even GPS tracking.

Higher-end models tend to feature more than one lens, capturing the road ahead, behind and inside the cabin.

Breach of privacy

Mr Seabrook said: “They are intrusive, not everyone likes to be filmed, whether its knowingly or unknowingly but what can you do?”

Mr Gilbert, owner of Sedgley Autos in Ashton-Under-Lyne, told GW: “There’s nothing that goes on here that shouldn’t and if they want to put a camera in their car, we can’t stop them but I know the lads won’t want to be posted all over the internet.”

IGA Director, Stuart James advises garages to ensure their customers are aware that you may be looking around inside the car for the EOBD socket, for example, and that the car may need to be taken for a test drive, protecting you from any misunderstandings later.

Mr James said: “Filming someone in the work place without the owners knowledge seems unnecessary, some of our members actually have cameras in the workshop so customers can see the technicians working on their car anyway.

“If the consumer wishes to leave the camera on, then they really should make the garage aware of that but there is always the risk that the footage will be misinterpreted.”

Andy Trollope, owner of Brunel Motor Services in Salisbury, said: “We’ve not seen any dashcams come into our garage yet but I don’t think we’d have a problem if one did come in.

“We normally say to customers if we need to go out and drive it hard as a matter of course, so that would avoid any misunderstandings if there was a camera.”

Embracing video

Whilst the unnatural nature of cameras can make anyone feel uncomfortable, Danny Tritt, owner of DT Motors in Cheltenham told GW that his business is embracing video technology.

Tritt said: “We’re actually looking into a system to film the work that we carry out so as we can show customers worn parts, faults and physically show them what we do during a service.

“We’d show the video to customers in the waiting room and could even email it out to customers that are at work.

It’s all about trust and customer relationships for Mr Tritt: “If you bring in a car that’s broken and it comes back to you fixed, you know that we’ve fixed it but it’s harder to see what has been done in a service, which is where this system will come into play.”

We’ve all seen entertaining dashcam videos, just this week a foolish cyclist ploughed into the back of a parked car, but this new technology could pose a very real threat to your reputation.



Car dealer JCT600 looks for record number of apprentices

Yorkshire based family dealer group JCT600 is looking for 27 new apprentices in a variety of roles as part of its drive to take on 115 apprentices working in the business.

After running a scheme for many years, the Bradford-based company celebrated a record intake last year and is continuing to grow numbers.

It is again offering apprenticeships at most of its 50 dealerships in Yorkshire, the North East, the Humber, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire for roles such as trainee service advisers, apprentice technicians and parts advisers.

These apprenticeships run for two and three years and the successful apprentices gain NVQ Level 3 qualifications alongside IMI Technical Certificates.

Chris Pape (19) of Fulford, York, who has just completed the first year of his three year apprenticeship as a technician with JCT600 York Audi, said: “Some members of my family work for JCT600 at its Volkswagen York dealership and they have nothing but good things to say about the company so I knew that the training would be excellent.

“My brother’s a mechanic and I’ve wanted to work with cars all my life so the JCT600 apprenticeship was a dream come true. It means that I can work my way up and learn everything I can – as well as the on-the-job training, I also go down to Audi’s headquarters in Milton Keynes for additional training. So far, I’m really enjoying it and plan to stay with JCT600 after my apprenticeship, hopefully carrying on with my training and working up to being a master technician.”

Pape is one of a handful of apprentices in the UK to have been shortlisted for the Audi Brand Apprentice of the Year Award.

John Tordoff, chief executive of JCT600, said: “Our apprentice scheme is once again proving very popular with over 200 applications received so far and more still coming in. Having successfully recruited a record number of apprentices last year, we are keen to keep up the momentum by continuing to attract and nurture young talent for the future.

“Already, the business is benefitting from the enthusiasm and fresh ideas provided by our existing apprentices and they too are feeling the benefit of our investment in developing their skills with 89% of our apprentices choosing to stay with JCT600 last year.

“Apprenticeships are a great alternative route into the workplace for school leavers, offering structured, on the job learning and enabling them to gain a recognised qualification while also earning a salary.”

JCT600 has almost 50 dealerships throughout Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and the North East and sells 19 of the world’s most respected brands such as Aston Martin, Audi, Bentley, BMW/MINI, Ferrari, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Vauxhall and Volkswagen. The group now has a workforce of over 2,000 people.


Holt Mitsubishi wins Midlands Car Dealership of the Year

Holt Mitsubishi in Derby has won the Midlands Car Dealership of the Year prize at the 2015 Acquisition International Business Excellence awards.

The award comes after the dealership on London Road, Alvaston, was named a five-star dealer in a nationwide Mitsubishi customer satisfaction survey.

Holt Mitsubishi dealer principal Brian Holt (pictured) said: “It is great to get this award as we are only in our third year of trading and have worked incredibly hard to establish ourselves, and this shows we are now starting to make our mark. Awards like this can be the fuel that drives businesses to do better.

“There are so many areas that we have focused on to push the business forward. However, the first thing for us to achieve this was to become a ‘five-star’ dealership and in the eyes of our customers we have certainly done that. We became one of only 18 five-star Mitsubishi dealerships in the UK out of 129.

“We are here to make sure that any transaction is as smooth and hassle-free as possible. Most importantly, we like our customers to feel they can trust our integrity. For both sales and aftersales we have one aim, of ‘exceeding expectations’.

“Moving forward, one major development we have seen is a huge swing in technology preferences over the last year with the arrival of our hugely successful Outlander Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV). It’s clear that this type of transport will become our biggest seller.”


‘Majority of motorists against scrapped paper counterpart driving licence’

The majority of motorists are against the Government’s decision to scrap the paper-based driving counterpart licence, according to a new poll by Motorpoint.

An online survey by the UK car supermarket found 53.1% of people quizzed didn’t want to see the paper-based counterpart driving licence replaced by an online service, which came into effect this week.

Just under 1,000 people took part in the snap poll on the Motorpoint website.

The paper-based counterpart driving licence showing a driver’s record, including offences and endorsements, has been replaced by an online service in a bid to save motorists millions of pounds.

Last year over 445,000 paper-based driving counterpart licences were lost for which motorists were charged £20 each to cover the cost of replacement.

Managing director of Motorpoint Mark Carpenter (pictured) said: “Although the changes announced by the Government have caused some initial confusion over the medium to long term the new system once it has settled down should prove to be more efficient as well as cost effective for drivers.”

Any paper based driving licence issued before the photocard was introduced in 1998 remains valid.


Used car performance helps boost car dealer Arnold Clark’s 2014 financial results

The growing success of its used car operation has contributed a significant amount to the boost in turnover and profitability of car dealer Arnold Clark Automobiles, helping to mitigate tightening new car margins.

The AM10 dealer has reported 2014 turnover of £3.2 billion and profit before tax of £107 million, increases year-on-year of 12% and 26% respectively. New car sales accounted for only about 2% of this result.

Instead, managing director Eddie Hawthorne said the growth had come from the “continued buoyancy in used car values, driven by our used car operation and low interest rates, plus our contract hire department”.

Across the sector the PCP funding method has proved a boon in new car sales, but while Arnold Clark is also benefiting from this phenomenon, it had also started proving the product on up to 36-month used cars, with finance company support.

Arnold Clark’s strategy for 2015 was to continue to work for further gains in used cars, despite a hardening of residual values – particularly in small cars – due to a surplus in supply: “auction companies are finding it harder to make private sales because customers are coming to us instead for all the benefits a franchised dealer can provide,” Hawthorne said.

In 2015, he said, increase in the company’s scale will come in boosting the number of its used car outlets. It has used car centres in Birtley, Glenrothes, Newcastle and Warrington.

The 2015 target for the Glasgow-based company is to sell a total of 300,000 cars. In 2014 it sold 100,000 new and 150,000 used).

Used car margins, Hawthorne said, are growing, but while new car retailing is still profitable margins reduced from 2013 last year. “Earnings went backwards as targets went up and we had to sell more cars to earn the same amount of money as in 2013.”

Arnold Clark is one of numerous dealers to cite margin pressure driven by increased targets, often tightened from a quarter to a month.

“Is this behaviour acceptable? No. Is it sustainable? No. There has to be some return for us otherwise there would be no point in the business, given the levels of investment expected,” he said.


Emma Spedding appointed DP at Sytner Volkswagen Skipton

A former banker has been appointed dealer principal at Sytner Volkswagen Skipton, having worked her way up the ranks of the car dealer group.

Emma Spedding joined the company’s Leeds dealership in 2010, as a sales executive, from Yorkshire Bank. She became business manager, first at Volkswagen and then in Sytner’s Audi division, before joining the company’s Mercedes-Benz finance team as development manager.

“I have a real affinity for the Volkswagen brand, having started at the Leeds dealership,” said Spedding.

“My main focus is on maintaining Skipton’s very high customer satisfaction survey rankings, which enables the company to benefit from repeat business from loyal clients.

“There are also opportunities to increase sales and to create more jobs for local people. We have been fortunate to attract very good people and have low staff turnover, giving us a solid base on which to build a bigger team.

“Right now I’m looking for a new service advisor to join the experts in our workshop, and we have ambitions for further recruitment in coming months.”


London calls for 2016 diesel levy

The London Assembly is calling for the mayor of London, Boris Johnson, to introduce a £2.50 levy on all diesels entering central London from next year.

Stephen Knight, lead Liberal Democrat on the assembly council, is proposing the tax on all diesels entering the congestion charge zone ahead of the introduction of Boris’ planned Ultra Low Emission Zone in September 2020.

The London Assembly has already called for Johnson to pull the introduction of ULEZ forward, but the mayor has refused in order to allow businesses more time to prepare.

The ULEZ will require non-Euro6 diesels and non-Euro4 petrols travelling in the zone to meet the new criteria 24 hours a day, seven days a week, unlike the regular congestion charge zone, which operates between 7am and 6pm Monday to Friday, or pay a daily charge. Non-compliant ULEZ vehicles will still be allowed inside the zone, but will have to pay a daily charge of £12.50 on top of the £11.50 C-charge


Highways England makes ‘design excellence’ pledge for roads

An expert panel brought together by Highways England to encourage excellence in road design, met for the first time and pledged to change thinking and place more emphasis on the importance of good design within the road environment.

Highways England is responsible for delivering £11 billion of Government investment in England’s major roads and motorways over the next five years, and says it is important to maximise opportunities to ensure the road network is in harmony with its surroundings.

The panel comprises experts from the fields of architecture, environment, heritage, design and engineering.

Mike Wilson, Highways England chief highways engineer, said: “We’re charged with delivering less congested roads to enable swift, safe and comfortable journeys and it is important to us that our road network fits within its environment.

“We’ve already got some great road design and this an opportunity for us to take it a step further – to get input from other experts, which can only be good for Highways England as we set off on the road to becoming an exemplar of good design.”

Highways England will seek advice from the panel on:

  • Embedding a design led approach as an important part of the development of all road improvement schemes.
  • Road schemes, network management and operations.
  • The development of relevant design standards and advice.
  • At any other time where required by the Secretary of State.

The Design Panel is built into the Highways England licence and is part of a broader vision for the future of the road network.

The intention is to harnesses the engineering and design talent this country has to further develop a network that, while durable and effective, is something people can enjoy and be proud of.

A key part of this is to consider and demand the highest design outcomes for all the elements of the network so that together they create the best user experience.

The full panel comprises members from the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation, the National Trust, Campaign to Protect Rural England, Royal Institute of British Architects, Campaign for Better Transport, Landscape Institute, Prince’s Foundation, Institution of Civil Engineers, Natural England, Design Council, Institution of Structural Engineers and Historic England.


CAA Claims Management deploys Inter-cept accident assessment software

CAA Claims Management has implemented the Inter-cept accident assessment system, to allow call centre staff to assess damaged vehicles.

Accessed online, Inter-cept supports call centre operatives as they triage damaged vehicles. Drawing on extensive industry knowledge, Inter-cept prompts questions and guides interventions.

Director, David Quance said: “We are claims experts. We employ the best people and use the most advanced and cutting-edge systems to ensure we deliver on our brand promises.

“When a vehicle is damaged, it is in everyone’s interest to move things along quickly. Without mistakes. Especially at the start. FNOL.

“Owners want to know the scale of the damage, get their vehicle back promptly or set about finding a replacement.

“Insurers have a responsibility and a need to maximise efficiency. Repairer suppliers want to receive the right vehicles in the right place at the right time.”

The performance of Inter-cept is monitored systematically, underpinned by Management Information (MI) systems to record actual proven performance.

Michael Nixon, CEO of Inter-est said: “Delivering effective solutions to clients is the be-all and end-all of our business. Inter-cept is one of our solutions that are all paying their way by saving time and money – for everyone. This is proven beyond doubt – by hard statistics across a range of clients and sectors. We are very proud that CAA are the latest to see the benefits in action: both for themselves and their customers.”


Franchised dealers lose £123m of servicing work in Q1

Franchised dealers missed out on over £120m worth of revenue by failing to sell red and amber work identified during customer vehicle health checks during the first quarter of 2015.

New data, from BTC, the vehicle health check supplier, revealed the average UK franchised dealer failed to sell around £25,169 of red work in the first three months of the year. Across the UK’s 4,900 strong dealer network this equates to a total of £123m in lost sales.

BTC said the figure, which is down from £143m in the same quarter last year, will still raise concerns that independents and rapid-fit operators are being allowed to benefit from missed sales opportunities.

The data was gathered using autoVHC, BTC’s electronic vehicle health check system, which recorded information from a sample of 500 UK dealers. It revealed dealers sold an average of just 57% of urgent red work – such as severely worn or illegal tyres and faulty brakes. This equated to a total of £12.5m of missed sales across the sample.

A total of £24.1m worth of amber work was also identified by the sample dealers in Q1 but just 17.2% was converted.

“It’s good to see more red work being converted but dealers are still letting too much slip away. When a customer decides not to have the work done there and then they’re usually looking at having it carried out by an independent outfit. This means dealers face losing not only the immediate sale but also the customer’s long term business,” said BTC chief executive Guy Allman.

“There is also a duty of care aspect to all of this. If the customer decides against having the work done, they’re potentially being allowed to drive off the forecourt in a car that is in a dangerous or illegal condition.”


Toyota announces new UK boss

Toyota has appointed Paul Van der Burgh as its new UK president and managing director. He replaces Matt Harrison who moves to Toyota Motor Europe as vice president of sales and marketing, having held the position for two years.

Van der Burgh (pictured), currently the director of Consumer One at Toyota Motor Europe, where he has led the modernisation of Toyota’s Customer First initiative, takes up his new position on 1 July.

He previously held senior positions across Toyota Europe, including director of Toyota marketing and director of Lexus Europe.

Prior to joining Toyota Van der Burgh held senior roles at Ford of Britain including sales director and marketing director. He was also head of marketing for Mitsubishi Europe.



Defra to tackle air quality plans

The Government has confirmed that Rory Stewart, minister for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), will tackle plans to meet air quality targets in the UK as part of his new position.

Stewart, who is MP for Penrith and The Border, replaces Lib Dem MP Dan Rogerson and will be responsible for delivering a plan to reduce emissions across the UK’s cities before the end of this year, which could introduce changes to taxation and see congestion charge zones in more UK cities.

The Government was ordered by the Supreme Court earlier this year to submit its plans to reduce air pollution across the UK to the European Union by 31 December.

Defra’s strategy will need to include drastic action to reduce NOx emissions levels, which many experts blame on diesel vehicles.

Liz Truss will continue as secretary of state for the environment, while George Eustice was promoted within Defra to minister of state.



Jaguar Land Rover has revealed some of the prototype technologies that its UK-based research team are developing to deliver autonomous driving in the future.

A Remote Control Range Rover Sport research vehicle demonstrates how a driver could drive the vehicle from outside the car via their smartphone. The smartphone app includes control of steering, accelerator and brakes as well as changing from high and low range. This would allow the driver to walk alongside the car, at a maximum speed of 4mph, to manoeuvre their car out of challenging situations safely, or even to negotiate difficult off-road terrain.

The driver could use the smartphone to reverse the car out of a parking space if someone has parked too close for them to open the door, or allow the driver to become their own off-road spotter, to guide the car over off-road obstacles from outside the vehicle.

By walking alongside the car, the driver could continually check ramp, approach and departure angles and allow precise positioning of the vehicle when rock crawling. It could also be an invaluable aid when the vehicle is fording a stream or traversing sections made slippery by mud or snow. The remote control function will only operate if the user is within 10 metres of the car and if the smart key can be detected. The system will stop the vehicle if the driver moves out of range or gets too close.

Future possibilities for this technology could include more autonomous functionality where the driver gives a simple command from the handset to traverse an obstacle or exit a parking space, and the car does the rest.

Jaguar Land Rover’s ‘Multi-Point Turn’ Range Rover Sport is capable of autonomously manoeuvring through 180 degrees to turn the car in the road and point the car in the opposite direction. This autonomous vehicle could extricate itself from the most difficult situations, such as a dead-end roads or congested car parks, as well as performing many drivers’ least favourite manoeuvre – the three-point turn in a busy street or car park.

The system uses sensors to assess available space and to avoid pedestrians, vehicles and other objects. The system takes over gear selection, steering, braking and acceleration to make as many forward and backwards movements as necessary to achieve the manoeuvre.

The research team is working on a system to scan the environment around the car and inform the driver whether it is safe to perform the turning manoeuvre. The driver then confirms the manoeuvre and the car would move forward until its path is blocked. It then selects reverse and uses the steering, throttle and brakes to do the same again. It repeats this as many times as required until it is facing in the opposite direction.


Get on your bike for Ride to Work Week

This week is Ride To Work Week, so if you’re one of the unlucky ones who doesn’t normally get to ride for the daily commute, this is your prime excuse to dig out your bike and arrive with a smile on your face.

The annual event started as a one-day only gig, but has grown to encompass a whole week, and is an international initiative to prove the benefits for everyone on our roads. Motorcyclists are happier when they commute by bike, saving time and money for most commutes that would normally involve a car or train journey, and cumulatively reducing congestion for other road users, too.


Environment ministers want flexible air pollution targets

Environment ministers on Monday (15 June) demanded flexibility in meeting EU air quality targets, after dropping a cap on methane emissions from draft pollution rules.

Governments were split on whether the proposed reduction goals for 2030 should be legally binding or non-binding. Poland demanded the targets be pushed back to 2040 and Hungary said the bill should be scrapped, while others called for review clauses to be inserted in the legislation.

The revised National Emissions Ceiling Directive (NEC) puts controls on different types of air pollution in each member state. Its overarching goal is to cut the number of premature deaths caused by air pollution by half by 2030. 400,000 people die each year from air pollution in the EU, according to the European Environment Agency.

The United Kingdom, Lithuania, the Czech Republic and Hungary welcomed the ditching of methane ceilings from the bill, which EurActiv reported on last week, arguing that the cap overlapped with EU commitments to cut greenhouse gases.

Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella said non-binding targets would be pointless. “This would essentially deprive the policy of its content,” he said.

He told ministers that they should keep the cap on methane. The proposed revision to the NEC Directive is the first time the European Commission has tried to put limit methane emissions, 40% of which in the EU comes from agriculture.

Posted by Lois Hardy on 16/06/2015