Review of the year: Part 2

A look back at the news of 2014

Published:  31 December, 2014

May

Political party UKIP caused a storm when they sent out flyers pointing out that the EU wanted to change the MOT significantly. The claims were unfounded as the new EU roadworthiness bill had been passed earlier in the year, with a number of UK MEPs and aftermarket industry bodies involved in ensuring the UK system was not affected.

Autodata announced that Five Arrows and Bowmark Capital were to be its new investment partners, the latter bringing with it significant experience in the information and data industry. The companies agreed to allow Autodata to retain its independence while providing funding for its growth.

At the end of the month, Mike Harding was crowned Top Technician 2014. Mike, who runs a family business in Woking, passed through the online tests, semi-final and final, and was presented with his trophy and prizes at a ceremony during Top Technician Live at Mercedes-Benz World. Jerry Carrol took the runner-up spot.

June

The adoption of new biofuel blends in the UK could lead to the need to rethink filter technology, according to Sogefi. the company discussed the challenges facing the filter market, including a move to a 30% biofuel mix, which some service stations are beginning to implement, which could lead to filter casing corrosion which increases the possibilities of contaminants in the fuel.

The RAC made a call for the government to implement a scrappage scheme specifically for older Diesel cars. Following a 'smog' over the UK earlier in the year, the call was a reaction to reports of poor air quality in the UK, with newer cars having to pass stricter Euro 5 and Euro 6 emission checks.

Another study revealed that 62% of drivers who put off vehicle maintenance and servicing do so because of cost. This was a particular issue with drivers over the age of 65, who also took longer due to their desire to locate a trustworthy garage.

July

The month was dominated by one news story, the collapse of Unipart Automotive. First signs that the company was in trouble came when it announced that it had consulted with administrators, however things seemed positive when prospective buyers for the business were announced.

However, no deal could be finalised and at the end of July the company went into administration. Instantly Andrew Page, The Parts Alliance and Euro Car Parts announced they had purchased a number of branches in various locations across the country, securing a number of jobs. However the collapse did lead to some staff being made redundant. Since the closure, other branches have been purchased, while some head office staff have found other roles within the industry.

August

The IMI announced it was to lobby the UK Government for technician licencing. The move came after a number of discussions and surveys throughout the year, with Aftermarket conducting its own research for our Round Table discussion on the industry. 82% of respondents to our survey agreed for the need of some form of technician licencing.

A new report suggested that the tyre industry should look to nanomaterials that could help to provide sustainable vehicle tyres. These materials offer new avenues for future innovation, which have the potential to decrease rolling road resistance and lower wear resistance, increasing fuel efficiency and tyre lifetime, while also maintaining strong levels of grip.

Following the collapse of Unipart Automotive, the Unipart Group, which was a minority shareholder in the business, announced it would work together with Andrew Page to keep the Unipart Car Care Centre workshop scheme running, allowing its members to continue business as normal.

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