The proposal that MOT testing in Northern Ireland should move from annual to biennial testing has stirred up a variety of opinions among the trade and the public and, over the past weeks, National Franchised Dealers Association Northern Ireland (NFDA NI) has drawn attention to the issues currently facing the MOT system in Northern Ireland and the Department for Infrastructure’s proposals for biennial testing.
Kerr’s Tyres Group opened its 20th tyre centre in Bangor, County Down on Monday 3 January 2022. The opening of branch number 20 is the latest in a string of announcements in recent years that have “propelled the group’s expansion”. And what’s more, according to an official statement, the organisation aims to announce further expansion plans in the coming months.
During our recent visit to Magowan’s T&A met with founder Darryl Magowan Snr., Darryl Magowan Jnr, David Magowan and IT manager Ben Tinsley who gave us a guided tour around the bespoke newbuild warehouse and who also explained the thinking that has gone into the project.
NFDA Northern Ireland has responded to Northern Ireland’s Department for Infrastructure’s consultation on proposals to carry out MOT tests every two years. Sue Robinson, NFDA NI chief executive said that moving to biennial testing “is not the correct solution to the issues currently facing the NI Testing Scheme.” She said that the solution to current capacity issues should not come “at the expense of road safety.” The proposals were put forward earlier this year with the region’s MOT testing capacity struggling to keep pace with demand.
In 2017 Daryl Magowan Snr. hatched the plan for a next-generation tyre warehouse and paperless warehouse management system. By 2019 plans were well underway, with the Magowan’s Tyres team cooperating closely with Mike Allen and the software professionals at Cam. Two years later, both the building and its cutting-edge software system are up and running at the bespoke site just outside Belfast. Tyres & Accessories recently toured the site in order to find out more about the warehouse, its software and the significant efficiencies they offer not only Magowan’s but the wider tyre wholesale business.
Ireland’s Modern Tyres invested £5.6 million in the establishment of a new division, Modern Wheel Solutions division back in May. The new business will be situated at a 81,000 square foot purpose-built factory in Carnbane Business Park in Newry.
IAAF is advising against the Northern Ireland Executive’s (NIE) potential introduction of biennial MOT testing (every two years) for private cars, light goods vehicles following the news that the NIE is consulting on the matter. The current testing frequency in Northern Ireland is 4-1-1 with the first vehicle test at four years of age and then a test every year after. The IAAF argues that the current test frequency is both safer and more cost effective for motorists.
At the start of August, Kerr’s Tyres Group, announced it had completed the purchase of Auto Bann. The acquisition of Auto Bann, one of Portadown’s most respected independent garages, means Auto Bann becomes the 13th Kerr’s Tyres & Auto location in Northern Ireland and the first in Portadown. Having entered Tyres & Accessories top 25 UK tyre retailer ranking in May 2021 when the company had 12 branches, the addition of Auto Bann means the chain’s current total of 13 is one step closer to 24th position, which is currently occupied by Elite Garages, with 14 branches.
Alliance Automotive Group UK (AAG), a subsidiary of Genuine Parts Company (GPC) and one of the UK’s leading aftermarket distributors, has acquired J&S Automotive Distributors (J&S). The acquired business, which includes its subsidiary Auto Components Northern Ireland, trades from three distribution centres in Dublin, Cork and Omagh with annual sales of approximately €35m.
The media might have picked up on the rhetoric of “freedom day”, but the NTDA’s recent “Keeping Tyre Centres Safe” report highlights the fact that businesses will still be required to take responsibility for managing health and safety risks: “All employers will continue to have a legal responsibility to protect workers and others from a risk to their health and safety and have a legal duty to consult workers on health and safety matters.” Here, Tyrepress.com takes a close look at the responsibility and choices facing tyre retailers.
When cracks were found in vehicle lifts belonging to Northern Ireland’s MOT body, Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA), all of its 55 lifts and therefore the country’s centrally run MOT system came to a standstill. A little over a year later, the Northern Ireland Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee published its “Report on Driver and Vehicle Agency 2019-20”, which examined how vehicle testing came to be suspended due to problems with virtually all of the DVA’s vehicle lifts.
The National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) has established NFDA Northern Ireland (NFDA NI). “The ongoing issues facing automotive retailers in Northern Ireland mean we must continue to increase our lobbying efforts to ensure the voice of the franchised vehicle dealer is heard, NFDA NI will represent the platform our industry needs to best represent dealers in Northern Ireland”, said Sue Robinson, chief executive of the NFDA.
The Northern Ireland Executive has announced that from 30 April all shops in Northern Ireland will be permitted to reopen, in line with a package of indicative reopening dates.
This includes car dealerships and Sue Robinson, Chief Executive of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle retailers in the UK, welcomed the decision, saying that the NFDA’s lobbying efforts were instrumental in bringing it about.