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.
Northern Ireland-based Kerr’s Tyres Group has bought MW Tyres & Exhausts for an undisclosed sum. MW Tyres & Exhausts has been rebranded as MW Tyres & Auto and will now offer the 24/7 365 UK & Ireland coverage offered by Kerr’s Tyres Group. As a result of the acquisition, Kerrs Group now operates from 12 sites in Northern Ireland and four sites in the Greater Dublin region. Look out for our May edition to see how this affects Kerr’s Tyres’ position in our annual tyre retail ranking.
Over the past weeks, the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) has written to HMRC and a number of MPs to highlight that under post-Brexit EU VAT rules, the sale price of a significant proportion of used vehicles in Northern Ireland (NI) will be subject to a 20 per cent increase for stock purchased in Great Britain (GB). NFDA has urged HMRC to resolve the issue before the end of the year to avoid a major impact on NI and GB vehicle dealers as well as consumers.
Kerr’s Tyre’s & Auto has acquired Belfast-based Roundabout Tyre & Battery Service. Roundabout Tyre & Battery Service have been operating from Belfast’s outer ring for 31 years. No price details have been released.
Following its purchase of Easystart Ireland last month, Ecobat Battery Technologies (Ecobat) is opening a new branch in Northern Ireland. The branch is located in Crumlin, Co Antrim and will be headed by Colin Watterson, managing director of Easystart since its founding in 2016 and a 20-year battery industry veteran. He will be joined by two Easystart colleagues, Jim Brennan and David McNeill.
Davanti tyres will be Larne FC’s sleeve sponsor for the 2020/21 campaign as the Irish Premiership side set their sights on qualifying for Europe. It is Davanti’s first major sports sponsorship in Northern Ireland.
A cross-party group of MPs with bus manufacturing sites within their constituencies have written to the Prime Minister to demand the £3 billion he committed in February to fund investment in “at least 4,000 new zero emissions buses” is brought forward as soon as possible.
TPMS sensor manufacturer Sensata Technologies is cutting 160 jobs in the town of Antrim, Northern Ireland. The news follows Sensata’s decision to close its Carrickfergus, County Antrim operation in January 2020. And this was part of a downward trend that saw the company cut 125 jobs in Carrickfergus in 2018.
Following reports at the end of June that the UK government is consulting on current and forthcoming tyre legislation, it is worth taking a closer look and clarifying exactly what rules are passing through the labyrinths of legislative bureaucracy. In short, there are three strands of UK tyre legislation on the table at the moment: minimum standards legislation; current tyre labelling legislation; and forthcoming tyre labelling legislation. Taken together they will likely bring with them the largely unannounced consequence of having both old and new tyre labels in the market at the same time, for a while at least.
Kerr’s Tyres & Auto, one of Northern Ireland’s leading suppliers of tyres and automotive services, has secured a half-million pound loan from Ulster Bank to support it through the coronavirus crisis. It has been delivered through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).
A farmer in Northern Ireland has become the first person in Northern Ireland to put Michelin’s X Tweel SSL airless tyre and wheel combination into operation. Michelin has offered its range of Tweel products for grass mowing, agricultural and industrial applications in North America for several years, but its fitment for skid-steer loaders is the first Tweel product to arrive this side of the Atlantic.
Drivers in Northern Ireland whose MOTs are due during the pandemic shutdown will enjoy a one-year exemption, a Stormont minister said. It would not be possible to accommodate the backlog as well as conduct normal business at testing centres, infrastructure minister Nichola Mallon said. Drivers will instead apply for MOTs as normal next year. The announcement caps a year of turmoil for MOT testers in the region. In January, all tests were suspended due to faults with vehicle lifts used in MOT centres. Anti-Coronavirus lockdown measures had already led to further extensions for the MOT exemption.
In addition to the news that the Maha Duo+1 scissor lift if the model behind the Northern Ireland MOT crisis, GEA chief executive Julian Woods has pointed out that these Irish lifts are different to UK equivalents: “Vehicle lifts used for performing MOT tests in Ireland are of a different design/specification to those required in the UK MOT market and as such we cannot compare the situations.”
Maha Ireland has confirmed that its Maha DUO+1 scissor lift is behind the Northern Ireland MOT crisis. The lift, which has been supplied to DVA centres across Northern Ireland and is also believed to have been supplied to NCT centres in the Republic of Ireland, suffering from cracking which resulted in the suspension of all car MOTS in Northern Ireland on 27 January 2020.