UK spends more on car parts online than groceries

Published:  26 June, 2017

Last year, UK consumers bought a higher percentage of automotive parts, accessories and services online than they did cosmetics and groceries according to research commissioned by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) from independent consultancy Frost & Sullivan.

Together they spent £920m on items such as tyres, brakes and batteries, and by 2022 this is forecast to rise by more than three quarters to £1.65bn.

In 2016, UK motorists increased their annual spending on car maintenance by 1.7% to an average of £707. This was due, in part, to the replacement of more high tech components, which require new skills and equipment to fit. While tyres, lubricants and filters are still the most commonly replaced items, demand is rising fastest for telematics devices and tyre pressure monitoring sensors.

In 2016, the UK aftermarket grew its contribution to the economy by 2.5% to £12.5bn and created 1,400 new jobs. The total number of livelihoods supported by the sector now stands at some 347,000 – more than the population of Coventry. By 2022 the UK automotive aftermarket is projected to be worth £28 billion, with an employee base of 400,000.

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    Mark Blinston, Commercial Director at BM Catalysts commented: “Emissions are a hot topic for discussion at the moment for many media outlets and manufacturers. All efforts are geared towards reducing emissions, as well as preventing the sale and fitting of catalytic converters and DPFs to vehicles that haven’t been approved to meet the relevant Euro Levels.
        
    “Vehicles and replacement emission control devices must meet specific standards for exhaust emissions before they can be offered for sale in the European Union. Vehicle emissions are one of a series of performance standards that must be met to achieve Whole Vehicle Type Approval in accordance with EC Directives. In order to achieve type approval on the emissions levels for replacement emission control devices, such as catalytic converters and diesel particulate filters (DPFs), performance and noise levels must be within calculated limits as prescribed by legislation. Replacement catalytic converters and DPFs cannot be approved to a lower Euro level than that of the original vehicle. If the vehicle is Euro 5 then the replacement must be approved to Euro 5 levels. Testing and approving this part to Euro 4 would mean that it cannot be proven to meet emission standards and therefore cannot legally be fitted to any Euro 5 vehicle.”  
        
    Mark continued: “Helping to identify the correct products for stockists and garage professionals, the MAM software solution program is set to revolutionise the aftermarket. Used by the majority of distributors, the supply chain software is due to receive a V9 update, which will map the Euro level that a supplier’s part is approved for sale on against a vehicle registration number. Once the change is in place, we’ll start to see the correct catalytic converters and DPFs available matched against the correct vehicles for the first time. Additionally, the Department for Transport (DfT) is also helping to clarify the rules for the UK market, with recent guidelines reiterating the strict requirements for selling catalytic converters and DPFs to the UK market.”
        
    But while the correct cataloguing of aftermarket parts is complex and challenging, perhaps the biggest shake up to the emissions market is the recent MOT changes. Mark continued: “The result of an EU directive, new regulations were introduced to the MOT test in May 2018, placing further emphasis on diesel emissions. The regulations require checks to the exhaust for visible smoke production and tampering or removal of the DPF. Any visible sign of alteration to the DPF or smoke of any colour will result in a fail for the vehicle. Prior to these tighter regulations, experts warned that the true figure of vehicles driving without DPFs were in the thousands, leaving many car owners at risk of hefty fines and penalty points.
        
    “BM Catalysts acknowledges the need for up to date information on EU levels. As a leading manufacturer in Europe, we recognise we are a big part in meeting these standards, producing superior aftermarket products with the least harm to the environment. Additionally, we have recently produced free educational material on DPFs and the MOT changes to help our customers make informed motoring decisions.”
        
    Mark added: “BM Catalysts produce catalytic converters and DPFs to high standards, yet to create a lasting change to the market, it is important that all hands along the supply chain, even the consumer, does their part to make sure they’re complying to regulations. If one link is in this chain proves weak, we all fail.”



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