Scope Ratings GmbH is predicting a slump in the order of 15-20 per cent in the European automotive market this year. Sales in Western Europe are among the worst hit, with a predicted 21 per cent fall in light vehicle demand. Having said that, the European credit rating agency says that the region’s car manufacturers have proved surprisingly resilient.
Switching from aluminium to zinc alloys could greatly improve longevity and sustainability of automotive parts, according to a new study conducted by Cranfield University’s Sustainable Manufacturing Systems Centre.
Roughly a year after reports suggested the UK could become home to a gigafactory, AMTE Power and Britishvolt announced plans to investigate collaborating to build the UK’s first full cycle battery cell GigaPlant, servicing the automotive and energy storage markets. Both parties have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) focussed on each other`s complementary ambitions to create and expand an onshore manufacturing supply chain. The successful outcome of the collaboration would enable scalable production of a diverse product portfolio of lithium ion batteries to support the country’s Road to Zero targets and unprecedented transition to electrification.
WAIglobal has added new rotating electrics products to its OE quality aftermarket range, providing even greater sales opportunities for garages and motor factors.
The leading parts manufacturer has added four alternators to its ever-expanding range, covering the latest vehicle applications for both passenger cars and light commercial vehicles, for several major manufacturers including BMW, Mercedes and Audi.
New figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) confirm the growing strength and vitality of the UK automotive industry and its ascendancy as a major global player. SMMT’s 16th annual Sustainability Report confirms the sector is breaking new records, with turnover hitting an all-time high of £69.5 billion in 2014. Manufacturing output, vehicle sales, jobs and export values also grew, while the environmental impact from vehicle production has been reduced dramatically.
The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) has announced that its latest breakfast network meeting will address key legislation, internet parts and social media misuse for employers in the automotive aftermarket. Taking place at Valeo Service UK, Redditch, on Tuesday 21 April, the event will welcome a representative from Capita, a leading FTSE business and provider of business process management solutions.
Automechanika Shanghai’s organisers (Messe Frankfurt) report that the auto parts show is concentrating its efforts on providing an “outstanding” and “insightful” event this year. Scheduled to take place from 9 – 12 December at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre in China, the fair is described as the world’s second largest Automechanika
Snap-on Incorporated of the USA has acquired Pro-Cut International, Inc. the world’s leading manufacturer of on-car brake disc lathes. Pro-Cut’s lathes are widely used in brake servicing by car repair workshops of all types. In the UK, Pro-Cut lathes are distributed by Haweka UK of Toddington, Gloucestershire.
Continental Tyre South Africa announced the appointment of Niel Langner as marketing manager; Jiminy-Ann Knoetze Bosman as public relations and communications manager; and Morris Naiker as national sales manager on 14 May 2014. The move is being described as a set of strategic appointments designed to strengthen the firm’s tyre sales position in the country.
Fuel cell system specialist Symbio FCell reports that Michelin has taken a “significant minority stake” in its business. This acquisition was made as part of a capital increase, and Symbio FCell views Michelin as more than just a shareholder: “Michelin, by virtue of its considerable research and development in hydrogen fuel cells and sustainable mobility, brings value to this partnership,” wrote Symbio FCell in a statement on 6 May.
In the first quarter of this year, sales at Continental Corporation increased 4.4 per cent to €8.39 billion, while net income attributable to shareholders of the parent rose 33.3 per cent to €588.3 million, or €2.94 per share. This jump in profits prompted CEO Dr. Elmar Degenhart to comment that the tyre and automotive systems manufacturer is “very capable of combining our growth with value creation.” EBIT rose by almost 21 per cent year-on-year to €903 million as at March 31. This corresponds to a margin of 10.8 per cent, after 9.3 per cent in the previous year. Adjusted EBIT for the first quarter climbed by 19.7 per cent year-on-year to €953 million in the first quarter. The adjusted EBIT margin was 11.4 per cent.
Revenue and operating profit at Hankook Tire was marginally lower year-on-year in the first quarter of 2014, the company reported on 30 April. Global sales revenue amounted to KRW 1.675 trillion (£958.9 million) between 1 January and 31 March, 0.3 per cent lower than the revenue achieved in the first quarter of 2013. Operating profit in Q1 2014 was KRW 260.1 billion (£148.9 million), 0.7 per cent less than a year earlier. Operating profit to sales ratio was 15.5 per cent.
Last November, Germany’s main political parties agreed in principle to the idea of requiring companies based in the country to allocate 30 per cent of their non-executive board seats to women as of 2016. The concept is yet to become law, however many German firms are implementing their own gender initiatives ahead of the possible introduction of such legislation. Continental AG is one such company, and when its new Supervisory Board met for the first time on 25 April, its numbers included three freshly-elected women. The presence of four female members on the 20-strong board means Continental has exceeded its target of having a Supervisory Board with 15 per cent women following the 2014 elections.
Sovereign Rotating Machines has launched a new supplement for its range of WPS branded Wiper Motors. Previously seen as a ‘dealer only’ product, wiper motors represent a significant opportunity in the automotive aftermarket and there are just seven part numbers required to cover more than 70 percent of the UK vehicle parc.