How the UK aftermarket is enduring Brexit and lockdown

The last time Tyres & Accessories took a close look at the aftermarket sector back in July 2019, we took the optimistic view that the UK aftermarket space would be able to weather the Brexit storm. Of course, back then Brexit and trans-Atlantic trade wars were the most significant pressures on aftermarket parts segment. Now, however, things are considerably more complex and unpredictable. So, in this analysis we examine the most recent pre-lockdown data as well the latest mid-lockdown information in order to answer the question: is the UK aftermarket still weathering the storm?

The United Kingdom automotive aftermarket sector reached a value of $30.6 billion (£24.6 billion) last year, according to MarketLine data, which is calculated in US-dollars. This figure means the UK aftermarket grew 3.9 per cent, which remains a healthy pre-corona figure albeit slower growth than the 4.9 per cent and $28.5 billion total (£22.53 billion) a year earlier.

Tyrepress Podcast: Autogem’s Prashant Chopra

Autogem’s TPMS tool, expertise and aftermarket strength rewarded

,
Aftermarket supplier Autogem is bringing its product range to life in front of hundreds of garage businesses at Mechanex 2021, energised by its maiden victory in the NTDA’s Aftermarket Supplier of the Year Tyre Industry Awards category. The company said that it will showcase its solutions to a host of key decision makers and centre owners at the 9-10 November event. While making its name as a one-stop shop for all sorts of garage consumables, Autogem is also a specialist in TPMS, built around its investment in the I-sensor Pro handheld tool. The tool offers instant, personalised tyre pressure reporting with a completely integrated tread-depth measuring device to give technicians a full picture of the condition of each tyre they are tending to on an easy-to-read colour screen.

Autogem ‘an indispensable aftermarket partner’ – Tyre Industry Awards 2021

,

Autogem has been praised as “an indispensable partner in the aftermarket to a great number of businesses” following its victory in the Tyre Industry Awards 2021 Aftermarket Equipment Supplier of the Year category. The UK provider of automotive chemicals, fasteners, hand tools, workshop consumables, and TPMS solutions was recognised for its adaptation during the pandemic as well as its investment in products and training support.

Merityre, Bridgestone, Stapleton’s scoop big Tyre Industry Awards 2021

,
The National Tyre Distributors Association has presented a bumper crop of awards during its 92nd Annual Dinner in Birmingham. In the headline awards, Merityre was made the Overall Tyre Retailer of the Year, sponsored by Pirelli Tyres, Bridgestone took first place in Tyre Manufacturer of the Year, sponsored by The Commercial Vehicle Show, while Stapleton’s Tyre Services became 2021’s Tyre Wholesaler of the Year, sponsored by Compilator / Team Systems. Tyrepress reported the announcement of the award winners, in addition to the day’s Tyre Industry Conference, live via Twitter.
Quayside Tyre & Service Centre

Quayside Tyres unlocks TPMS opportunities

,
Theory is one thing, but practice is quite another. With this in mind, we took a look at one tyre retailer’s real-life experience with TPMS. Quayside Tyre & Service Centre reports that it has enjoyed a fruitful three-year relationship with Autogem, which began with its TPMS programme and i-sensor device, and has gone on to include Michelin Pro Series Wiper Blades for the first time. Here, owner Glenn Harrison reflects on a three-year anniversary with Autogem and outlines the benefits associated with the ongoing partnership.
Autogem

Autogem: TPMS programme a positive within the turbulence

,
While 2020 was a challenging year for the aftermarket, Autogem has reflected on a number of positives amid the turbulence which have cemented its position as a supplier of automotive chemicals, fasteners, hand tools, tyre and workshop consumables and exhaust fittings. Indeed, the firm’s TPMS programme represents a key highlight, with the company can lay claim to being “genuine innovators” in this segment.
Autogem

Autogem unveils I-sensor Pro advanced handheld TPMS solution

Autogem has launched a new, advanced TPMS handheld solution, the I-sensor Pro, in an online event for customers. The device upgrades the original I-sensor, offering customers increased time-saving and potential revenue generation. The I-sensor Pro features Wi-Fi connectivity, wireless Bluetooth and an integrated auto-focus camera, allowing for instant, personalised tyre pressure reporting. It also features a completely integrated tread depth measuring device. The original i-sensor handheld TPMS servicing device was launched in 2013, and has since sold more than 3,500 units in the UK.

Tyrepress Podcast: Pro-Align’s Clive Seabrook

Hella, Pro-Align launch new trade event in Scotland

,
Pro-Align vehicle diagnostic expert and Hella Gutmann will bring a hands-on workshop experience to Lanarkshire in Scotland in November 2021. The event, giving business owners and vehicle technicians from across Scotland an opportunity to trial on some of the world’s leading industry systems, will be hosted by New College Lanarkshire on 17 November. Pro-Align is the sole UK distributor of leading US wheel servicing equipment brand Hunter. Hella Gutmann is a pioneer of advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) calibration for the independent aftermarket. Recognising the increasing synergies between their areas of expertise, the two companies became brand partners earlier in 2021.

Pro-Align: maximise wheel alignment opportunity with standard free checks

,
Wheel alignment checks offer garages the opportunity to demonstrate professional customer service while boosting profitability considerably, with a sizable proportion of the car parc suffering from misalignment, according to a leading garage equipment company. Pro-Align, the distributor of Hunter garage equipment products, says that 70 per cent of cars on the road today are misaligned. This, it continues, means there is a prime opportunity for workshops to help identify these issues through free alignment checks for every customer, regardless of what they had originally booked in for. After returning the initial outlay on machinery, Pro-Align says realignment jobs can then typically return profit margins of 88 per cent.

Motofix adds further four-wheel alignment with Pro-Align

,
One of the UK’s leading independent vehicle repair groups, Motofix has extended its four-wheel alignment capabilities with a new Hunter wheel aligner, supplied and installed by UK distributor Pro-Align. The Towcester firm recently completed the latest installation at one of Motofix’s repair facilities in Northampton, allowing customers to access premium four-wheel alignment.

Pro-Align appoints ex-Kwik Fit manager to sales team

,
Workshop equipment and wheel alignment specialist Pro-Align has appointed a former Kwik Fit branch manager to its sales team. Tom Burkett, a former director and owner of a mobile tyre fitting service and branch manager at Kwik Fit, has been appointed to join the team as a sales executive, covering the Midlands and South Wales region. The Hunter distributor said the addition of Burkett will provide “even greater levels of support to workshops across the country.”
Pro Align

Pro-Align: Quick Check Drive is ‘a wheel servicing revolution’

,
The development of modern car technology has accelerated as fast as ever before and manufacturers producing the systems that allow workshops to service these vehicles effectively have also developed at a fast rate. In some cases, the development has been a technological necessity needed to keep pace with vehicle development, but in other cases, the development is driven by the vision to provide a better, more efficient servicing solution.

MOTs worth £177 million a year in UK tyre sales

MOTs influence the sale of up to a quarter of a billion pounds-worth of replacement tyre sales in the UK each year

Together, the increased utilisation of independent contractors on the supply side and record online search figures on the demand side show that MOT testing is booming. Considering that MOTs were put on hold for roughly four-and-a-half months between March and August (let’s not even mention the Northern Ireland MOT crisis), this is good news. Word of a coming MOT spike will be warmly welcomed by the tyre and aftermarket associations that lobbied government for the end of the MOT extension on both road safety and economic grounds. But what exactly does the apparent boom look like? And why does it matter to the tyre trade?

MOT demand set to double in the last quarter of 2020

Demand for MOT tests is expected to double in the last four months of 2020 (Photo: Ryan Doka; Pixabay)

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is encouraging motorists to get their delayed MOT test done this summer ahead of a surge in demand in the Autumn. The projections, based on due dates and vehicle MOT expiry dates, show that demand for MOTs will be at around 3.4 million in September, 4.8 million in October and November and 4.2 million in December. This demand is predicted to be around double the normal volumes (approx. 2.5 million per month). However, August demand is predicted to be just over 2 million MOTs, which is fewer than usual.

DVSA’s predictions of double MOT demand are even more pronounced that Halfords’ earlier projections of an 85 per cent uptick in demand. Halfords based its analysis on the grounds that 1.7 million drivers will try to book their MOT in October, on top of the normal demand of about 2 million vehicles.

12.5 million motorists may have skipped car service due to COVID-19

Despite nearly half (47%) claiming that they were concerned about the safety of their vehicle, fewer than four in 10 (38%) were comfortable doing maintenance work on their car themselves. (Photo: Skica911; Pixabay)

A third of UK motorists (32%) have put off getting their car serviced because COVID-19 financial pressure, according to BookMyGarage.com.

BookMyGarage surveyed 10,000 of its subscribers and found that, in addition, a similar number (29%) of drivers delayed servicing procedures simply because their car had covered far fewer miles during lockdown.

While more than half (56%) used the Government’s MOT exemption, the number of drivers who have also put off servicing equates to around 12.5 million cars across the UK’s total of 38.2 million registered vehicles.

End of MOT extension ‘will make the roads safer’ – IAAF

Wendy Williamson, IAAF chief executive

The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) welcomed the end of the MOT extension period on 1 August. The federation argues that the move will not only significantly increase road safety but will give a much-needed boost to the automotive sector overall.

The IAAF previously stated that delaying MOTs for a six-month period causes “huge challenges” for the sector, as it inevitably results in thousands of dangerous vehicles in operation, posing huge safety risks. The federation believes the announcement will ensure this number is significantly reduced.

How Pro Align is helping garages revive margins post-lockdown

Pro-Align adopted a service-orientated stance during lockdown (Photo: Pro-Align)

Pro-Align adopted a service-orientated stance during lockdown (Photo: Pro-Align)

Roughly 18 months after Clive Seabrook joined Pro-Align, Tyres & Accessories caught up with the relatively new CEO in order to find out more about how the right equipment and services can add value to garage businesses, especially in the post-lockdown environment.

Challenging times need innovative solutions, so Pro Align responded to the pressures brought about by lockdown by seeing by choosing not to approach the circumstances as a commercial opportunity, but rather by responding to the customer instead: “We adopted the stance that we are providing a service”, said Seabrook, adding this that meant the message was that Pro Align wanted to ensure that customers could continue to do what they wanted to do during the period.

Autogem unveils I-sensor Pro advanced handheld TPMS solution

Autogem’s new I-sensor Pro

Autogem has launched a new, advanced TPMS handheld solution, the I-sensor Pro, in an online event for customers. The device upgrades the original I-sensor, offering customers increased time-saving and potential revenue generation. The I-sensor Pro features Wi-Fi connectivity, wireless Bluetooth and an integrated auto-focus camera, allowing for instant, personalised tyre pressure reporting. It also features a completely integrated tread depth measuring device. The original i-sensor handheld TPMS servicing device was launched in 2013, and has since sold more than 3,500 units in the UK. The I-sensor Pro, like the original, duplicates sensors electronically or manually and can create a brand new, unique sensor in a matter of seconds. It diagnoses sensors at the wheel side and boasts 99 per cent coverage of all direct TPMS vehicles in the UK and also includes American vehicle software coverage as standard.

Trico rebrands as First Brands Group, acquires US brakes, filtration companies

Trico is reminding technicians of customer care best practice, which in turn leads to valuable sales opportunities

Trico is primarily known in the UK as a wiper blade specialist (Photo: Trico)

The automotive replacement parts manufacturer, Trico Group, has announced its new name: First Brands Group, along with the addition of two new brands to its growing portfolio. The company said the adoption of its new identity “reflects its position as a multi-brand global player.” First Brands Group also announced the acquisition of two market-leading US manufacturing companies: brake parts specialist Brake Parts Inc (BPI) and filtration expert, Champion Laboratories Inc (Champ Labs).

Euro Car Parts becomes ‘LKQ Euro Car Parts’

The Euro Car Parts and Andrew Page businesses are to rebrand as ‘LKQ Euro Car Parts’. LKQ Euro Car Parts says the decision reflects its position as a leading business in the UK and European aftermarket sectors with the largest network of outlets, the best technical expertise, widest product choice and most competitive prices. All branches will move under the new LKQ Euro Car Parts banner as part of a phased roll-out, and all employees will now gain access to the same information and systems.

IAAF goes virtual to keep industry connected

Aftermarket businesses have had to adapt due to the current pandemic, and the way in which professionals connect and engage with one another is no exception. As a result, members of the Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) are now being offered the opportunity to keep up to date with industry insights, trends and opportunities through a virtual platform.

Delphi Technologies expands brake range

Delphi Technologies expands brake range

Delphi Technologies has added to its aftermarket braking range in Europe. In 2019 the company launched more than 130 new brake pads and discs for popular new vehicles, including a growing parc of Asian applications and hybrid and electric cars. Fitted to an additional 19 million vehicles, the company now offers more than 97 per cent coverage on brake discs and 98.58 per cent on pads, in Europe.

Brembo OE on Polestar 2

Brembo is to produce the two-piece four-piston aluminium front calipers and Brembo’s exclusive dual-cast floating brake disc for the Polestar 2 (Photo: Brembo)

Brembo is to produce the two-piece four-piston aluminium front calipers for the Polestar 2 (Photo: Brembo)

Brembo is to supply brake calipers and discs for the new Polestar 2. Specifically, Brembo is to produce the two-piece four-piston aluminium front calipers and Brembo’s exclusive dual-cast floating brake disc for the Polestar 2. Accenting their lightweight aluminium construction, Polestar highlights the aero sculpted Polestar 2 calipers with a distinctive copper gold color that captures the eye and communicates that this Polestar has a Brembo brake system.

Denso webinars ‘go from strength to strength’

Introduced in response to the coronavirus crisis to provide technicians with ongoing training during the restrictions imposed by the country’s lockdown measures, Denso Aftermarket’s webinar programme has proved immensely popular. As a result, alongside the original air conditioning and thermal management modules, which will remain, new product categories will join them as the company shares its wealth of technical knowledge derived from decades of original equipment design and production experience.

Ecobat offers start-stop battery training

The Ecobat EBT780 battery test tool allows users to understand the condition of the battery and the onscreen result can be printed and given to the owner. (Photo: Ecobat)

The Ecobat EBT780 battery test tool allows users to understand the condition of the battery and the onscreen result can be printed and given to the owner.
(Photo: Ecobat)

Following the launch of its One Box start-stop battery testing and installation solution at Automechanika Birmingham last June, Ecobat Battery Technologies (Ecobat), has further developed its offering with the release of a free start-stop battery training, assessment and certification.

Schaeffler adds INA installation guides to Repxpert

Following the successful launch of its LuK clutch step-by-step replacement guides on the Repxpert online technical portal in March, Schaeffler UK is now adding more detailed installation guides – this time covering INA belt systems. The original equipment manufacturer has a hard-won reputation for empowering technicians with the vital technical knowledge they need to carry out safe, reliable and professional repairs, and this latest development continues to underpin this long-term philosophy.

PCL invests in new electronic testing and development facility

New testing facility

Senior Electronics Development Engineer, Michael Crookes

Led by Senior Electronics Development Engineer, Michael Crookes, the introduction of the new electronic testing facility and role will “enable PCL to test and develop electronic products in-house at its state-of-the-art Sheffield HQ”, according to the company.

Autogem introduces multi-use face masks for garages

Autogem has added its gemCare facemask to its product range in response to garages’ demand for anti-Coronavirus measures

Autogem has created a triple-layer, reusable anti-bacterial facemask. The new product has been added to the TPMS and workshop consumables supplier in response to the needs of customers during the COVID-19 outbreak. The ‘gemCare’ masks, which are non-medical grade and will therefore not affect the supply chain to the NHS, are designed by medical professionals.

ECP launches back-to-work packs to help garages reopen safely

ECP’s Back-to-Work pack

Euro Car Parts has created a new product bundle to help garages access essential cleaning equipment and PPE. Garages can buy a ‘Back to Work Pack’ complete with a 500ml antibacterial hand sanitising gel, a 500ml surface disinfectant spray, 25 pairs of gloves, 25 large, heavy duty refuse bags and six 2-ply blue rolls.

Ring pushes forward with new safety measures

Ring Automotive has taken the appropriate steps to keep the supply chain moving safely and securely and has now fully opened its warehouse with greater capacity than before to continue to support customers, the transport industry and key workers. During the coronavirus pandemic, Ring’s warehouse has been operating all day, every day, albeit with a reduced level of staff and strict safety measures in place to allow for the shipment of both emergency orders and other customer orders.