Aftermarket April 2024

Your route to net zero cooling products The UK’s No 1 distributor of greener automotive A/C refrigerants The No.1 magazine for automotive information APRIL 2024 INSIDE Budget 2024: Sector responds P8 The Chancellor of the Exchequer’s measures in the Spring Budget proved to be a disappointment for the automotive sector Business: Simply the best P14 Rebecca Pullan from Carmaster asks if you making sure you have taken enough training to effectively run a workshop Technical: Face the Pro Ace P30 Neil Currie finds that the most dangerous game is indeed man, when a past mistake proves to be a real head-scratcher ENTER TOP TECHNICIAN AND TOP GARAGE 2024: PAGES 22-23

Call your local branch now! • Over 260 quality control checks completed for brake pads • Bolts & accessories included with the pads where applicable • 100% Copper free pads – strong green credentials • Alternative to OE without compromising on quality • Nationwide stock – local availability across UK and ROI. Eicher brake pads and discs are exclusively manufactured in quality-controlled production facilities. We use carefully selected materials and formulations to meet the performance and comfort standards of leading vehicle manufacturers. All Eicher’s brake pads and discs meet the “parts of matching quality” requirements in the BER EEC Commission Regulation 461/2010 (Block Exemption certified) so they won’t invalidate vehicle warranties, and conform to ECE R90, the European standard for brake performance and safety – so you can fit Eicher with total confidence. The Eicher brake friction range includes over 1,000 part numbers, providing coverage of 97% of the UK vehicle parc. Quality without compromise * Our braking warranty is no quibble. It does not include off road use (4x4 days or track days). It does not cover alterations outside of the manufacturers specifications. APRIL 2024 AFTERMARKET 3 CONTENTS BUSINESS 8 Big issue: Spring Budget 2024 12 Adam Bernstein: A credit to you 14 Rebecca Pullan: Simply the best? 16 Pole position for holograms 18 PLI: Charging ahead 20 A sign of quality TOP TECHNICIAN/TOP GARAGE 22 Enter now! TECHNICAL 24 Technical update 26 Aftermarket of the future 28 Frank Massey: A month in the life 30 Neil Currie: Face the Pro Ace 33 Repairify: Evolution of ADAS IN FOCUS 34 Snap-on 36 ADAS 38 Wheel and body alignment 42 Steering and suspension 46 Rotating electrics 48 Protective equipment PLUS... 50 Competition/General products 54 On the road: LKQ Branch Manager Conference 56 Garage visit: Wish you were here 58 Juice Technology 60 Editor’s Log: Looking for the exit ramp 62 Training update 64 Recruitment 66 Teabreak ENTROPY Editor | Alex Wells | +44 (0) 1732 370 345 Head of Sales | Angela Lyus | +44 (0) 7823 736 629 Managing Director | Ryan Fuller | +44 (0) 1732 370 340 Contributors Adam Bernstein | Neil Currie | Dr. Paul Dunn | Neil Kennett | Frank Massey | Giuseppe Pedretti | Martin Pinnell-Brown | Rebecca Pullan Operations Manager | Emma Godden-Wood | +44 (0) 1732 370 340 Marketing Manager | Hope Jepson | +44 (0) 1732 371081 Finance Department | +44 (0) 1732 370 340 Chief Executive | Ian Atkinson | +44 (0) 1732 370 340 Published by | DFA Aftermarket Media Ltd 192 High Street, Tonbridge, Kent, TN9 1BE Alex Wells, Editor Average net circulation July 2022 to June 2023 17,274 @aftermarketmagazine @aftermarket01 @aftermarketmagazine @aftermarketmagazine ISSN 2516-9149 Aftermarket is published 10 times a year and is sent free of charge to applicants meeting the publisher’s criteria. All others may subscribe at £60 per anum, £120 Europe and £150 rest of the world. While every care is taken to provide accurate information, the publisher cannot accept responsibility for any errors or ommisions, no matter how caused. All rights reserved. No part of the publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior consent of the publisher. The views of contributors do not necessarily represent the views of the publisher. Copyright: DFA Media Group 2024. Is seven your lucky number? I’ve always been fond of it, for whatever reason. I’m not sure if the Chancellor of the Exchequer prefers any particular numbers. They certainly don’t seem to like him very much, what with the way they keep running away from him. Despite this, the Budget provided an opportunity for the Government to set its stall prior to the General Election. Of course, this could take place as late as January 2025, and anything can happen between now and then. As the Editor of a monthly magazine, I am really sticking my neck out making a reference like that, as by the time this issue hits your desk, the Prime Minister may have called the General Election…or not… Anyway, if you turn to Big Issue on pages 8-11 you can see what the sector had to say about the measures announced in the Budget. The phrase “missed opportunity” comes up a lot. Back to the number seven, it has a new significance for me now, as after just over seven years, I am stepping away from Aftermarket, and leaving the role of Editor behind. If you turn to pages 60-61, I’ve put together a longer look back at my time on the mag, considering the major events that have punctuated my tenure, ranging from the pandemic, to the skills crisis and the ongoing saga of the MOT. No, don’t yawn – it also covers my hilarious attempts at motor racing, and that one time there was a very real possibility I might have to consider attending a major international trade show naked. Luckily, that didn’t happen, but plenty of other fun stuff did, so take a look. I’ve always had an interest in dates. When something happened is as important as why it happened, and that fact will often provide some additional insight as well. I’ve been on the mag for a long time, although I think I’m only the secondlongest-serving Editor. It tickled me when I realised that I’ve been Editor of Aftermarket for the same amount of time that Tom Baker played the title character in TV’s Doctor Who; Seven years to be precise. He was the secondlongest serving Doctor as well, contrary to popular belief, so that’s a nice coincidence. It does make me wonder if today is going to end with my archnemesis shoving me off the top of a radio telescope, although that seems unlikely. That being said, if you are a workshop based near Jodrell Bank hoping for an impromptu garage visit from me, it’s definitely not your lucky day. The second law of thermodynamics states that entropy, which is a scientific concept associated with disorder, chaos or uncertainty cannot decrease in an isolated system. Anyone who has ever met me will know I can be pretty random, and after seven years of my terrible puns and thrown-in pop-culture references, the entropy building within Aftermarket must be enormous! That means it must be time to open up to new influences. To coin a phrase: “It’s the end, but the moment has been prepared for.” By this, of course, I mean that next month, a new Editor will be taking up the mantle on Aftermarket, so please give him a warm welcome. Thank you for reading for all these years. It’s been my great honour to work with you all, and I look forward to seeing you all from the other side, by which I mean from the wilderness of mirrors that is media relations. Enjoy! Subscribe for your FREE copy now

Garages could soon find it easier to take on apprentices, following the Government’s decision to fully fund apprenticeships for young people up to the age of 21 at small businesses from 1 April. A further £60 million is also being spent as a result of the changes, which could pay for up to 20,000 additional places. Part of the move has been facilitated by reforms to the Apprenticeship Levy, with firms now able to transfer up to 50% of their unused Levy funding to another business. The limit had been 25%. The Apprenticeship Levy was introduced in 2017, but has been criticised because many employers were not using the funding, while also being prevented from passing it to other enterprises to use. Announcing the changes, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: "Whether it’s breaking down barriers and red tape for small businesses, helping businesses hire more young people into apprenticeships and skilled jobs or empowering women to start up their own businesses – this Government is sticking to the plan and leaving no stone unturned to make the UK the best place to do business. Taken together, these measures will unlock a tidal wave of opportunity and make a real difference to businesses and entrepreneurs across the country.” Welcoming the measures, IGA Chief Executive Stuart James said: "We applaud the Prime Minister's proactive approach to supporting small businesses and enhancing apprenticeship opportunities. We are very pleased that the government have listened to the feedback This initiative demonstrates a clear understanding of the vital role that small businesses, including independent garages, play in driving economic growth and fostering innovation." Stuart continued: “The pledge of a £60 million investment to facilitate up to 20,000 additional apprenticeships, coupled with the commitment to fully fund apprenticeships in small businesses, represents a significant boost for the automotive industry. By providing financial support for apprenticeship training, the Government is empowering small businesses to cultivate a skilled workforce, ensuring the sustainability and competitiveness of the sector.” The IGA had raised the need to reduce regulatory burdens around apprenticeships with Robert Halfron, Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships, and Higher Education, and it was hoped that such a move would be announced as part of the Spring Budget. Changes to company thresholds were also announced, which would make 132,000 more businesses count as small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). As a result, they could avoid non-financial reporting requirements. Stuart added: “The Government's initiative to slash unnecessary regulatory burdens through Brexit freedoms is a welcome development for small businesses nationwide. Simplifying reporting requirements and reducing administrative red tape will enable independent garages to operate more efficiently, allowing them to focus on delivering exceptional services to their customers.” 4 AFTERMARKET APRIL 2024 Apprenticeship reform to provide “significant boost” for auto sector? NEWS In association with:

MONTH 2017 AFTERMARKET 3 APRIL 2024 AFTERMARKET 5 Follow us on Facebook @aftermarketmagazine The Aftermarket Event: Castrol & The Race Group named as Headline Sponsor Castrol & The Race Group has been named as Headline Sponsor for The Aftermarket Event, which is taking place from 2-3 October at Farnborough International, with Distrigo Parts Distribution also signed up as Registration Sponsor. The Race Group (part of Certas Energy) is Castrol's route to market, servicing independent workshops in the UK . Castrol provides outstanding lubricants , technical expertise and branding oppor tunities to IWS, enabling busines s growth and development in competitive times. As lubricant specialis ts the Race Group know it's not just about product and price and offer workshop efficiency solutions, equipment, online training , EV charge points and much mor e.Their aim is to ensure you receive the best possible Castrol customerexperienc e, from outs tanding service to technical advice from dedicated account managers. Commenting on Distrigos’ sponsorship of the event, Chris Downing , Head of Sales and Operations at Distrigo Parts Distribution & Accident Repair, said: “Distrigo is thril led to sponsor The Aftermarket Event, showcasing our commitment to innovation and excellence in parts distribution. We look forward to meeting you at stand B11.” With backing from major sector organisations including the IGA, RMI Standards and Certification, HEVRA and the British Compressed Air Society (BCAS), support for the show is growing exponentially. The Aftermarket Event is set to include around 150 exhibitors. Major names already confirmed include LKQ Euro Car Parts, Castrol & The Race Group, Distrigo Parts Distribution, Delphi, Ben, Autel, A1 ADAS Solutions, TOPDON, JLM Lubricants UK and many more. There will also be around 50 speakers appearing across two theatres themed around the Top Technician and Top Garage competitions. The event will also be co-located with another show, Safety, Health & Wellbeing Live. This will mean Aftermarket Event visitors can also learn more about workplace safety and occupational health. For more information, visit: Sukhpal’s coming home: GSF opens new Wembley branch GSF Car Parts recently opened a brand-new outlet in Wembley. As well as being part of the company’s expansion in London, with several sites set to open around the capital in the next few months, the move also brings GSF Executive Chairman Sukhpal Singh Ahluwalia home to his old ECP stomping ground. GSF Car Parts CEO Steve Horne said: “This is a really important launch for us as it is part of our strategy for London. We know there are scores of customers in the Wembley area that we can provide an excellent service to, so the new branch team are looking forward to building the kind of relationships that will enable GSF to supercharge their business and ours.“ Sukhpal Singh Ahluwalia added: “Being at our Wembley branch when it opened reminded me of my early days in the trade many years ago and it’s great to see our team have the same hunger to win as I did back then. “I know exactly what it takes to succeed in the London market, so we’re doing everything in our power to get our new and existing branches all the resources they need to get customers across the city the parts they need.” GSF is aiming for a network of 200 branches across the UK by 2025. Headline sponsor: NEWS In association with: Find out more:

6 AFTERMARKET APRIL 2024 Three more Full Event Partners have been announced for Top Technician and Top Garage 2024, with Castrol & The Race Group signing up for the first time, and ALLDATA Europe and LKQ Euro Car Parts both returning to back the competitions. Following their debut as a Full Event Partner in 2023, ALLDATA Europe are back, and ALLDATA Europe Sales Director Simon Frost will also be returning to his role as a judge in the finals. He said: “Top Technician and Top Garage are awards that are coveted and deeply respected in the industry. At ALLDATA Europe, we understand the importance of rewarding excellence, and with the exceptionally high calibre of last year’s finalists, we are confident that this year’s standards will not only be met but possibly surpassed. “Furthermore, it’s another opportunity to demonstrate the authority and credentials of ALLDATA Repair. The need to invest in original VM data is as vital as ever, with the growing influence of EVs and ADAS, and we believe Top Technician and Top Garage will give us the perfect platform to demonstrate that.” LKQ Euro Car Parts meanwhile are long-term supporters of the competitions, and according to Kevan Wooden, Group Chief Executive Officer at LKQ UK & Ireland, the organisation is delighted to be back on board: “At what is such a pivotal time for the independent aftermarket, it’s more important than ever that we take the time to recognise the businesses going the extra mile to keep their customers’ vehicles on the road. “Top Technician and Top Garage are always a great opportunity to celebrate those driving the aftermarket forward – be it through the adoption of the latest technology in the workshop, or the provision of top-class customer service – and we look forward to hearing the stories of this year’s finalists.” Top Technician and Top Garage 2024 come to you in association with the Garage Equipment Association (GEA), the Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) and the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI). Full Event Partners: Snap-on, TOPDON, JLM Lubricants UK, Delphi, ALLDATA Europe, LKQ Euro Car Parts and Castrol & The Race Group. Trio of major names to back Top Technician/Top Garage 2024 V-Tech teams up with Andy Savva: “Not just any ambassador deal” V-Tech UK has named The Garage Inspector Andy Savva as its new brand ambassador. Commenting on the move, V-Tech CEO Chris Coyle said: “There’s a huge amount of synergy and trust between Andy and V-Tech. This is highlighted by the fact we’re the first garage equipment supplier he’s ever worked with in this way.” He continued: “This is not just any ambassador deal. We’re making it customer-centric. This means, in certain cases, we’ll pay for customers to attend one of The Garage Inspector courses to help expand their skill set and maximise the long-term use of their garage equipment.” Andy added: “It wasn’t a hard decision to work with V-Tech, but I’m certainly not representing VTech to sell their products. Good products sell themselves. I’m here because I know they excel at service – and that’s what really matters to the customer.” New marketing portal MAHLE Aftermarket has opened a marketing portal offering branded merchandise including beanies, cups, pens, notebooks, water bottles, promotional snack boxes, air fresheners and clothing. Commenting on the opening of the new webshop, MAHLE Aftermarket Sales and Marketing Manager Jason Smith said: "By offering easy access to a wealth of branded materials, we're enabling our customers to enhance their visibility and sales. It's an essential tool for any of our customers looking to stand out in a competitive landscape." For more information, visit: New Editor for Aftermarket A new Editor is joining Aftermarket. John Shepherd is taking over the role from Alex Wells, who is leaving to join sector PR and media agency Autotech Communications as Account Director. Commenting on his new role, John said: “I can’t wait to join the Aftermarket team in continuing our first-rate coverage of this sector and building on the great reputation Alex Wells has built for our magazine and online content to date.” DFA Aftermarket Media Managing Director Ryan Fuller observed: “John brings with him a wealth of media experience and a good understanding of battery storage, electric vehicles, and energy. He is looking forward to joining the automotive aftermarket and bringing his ideas and enthusiasm to the role. “He is taking on responsibility for our growing portfolio of industry-leading products; Aftermarket, encompassing the magazine, website and digital, Top Technician and Top Garage, as well as our new launch for 2024, The Aftermarket Event.” Ryan added: “We would like to thank Alex for all his hard work and I’m sure everyone would like to join us in wishing him well in his new role.” NEWS In association with: Full Event Partners:

NEWS APRIL 2024 AFTERMARKET 7 Follow us on Facebook @aftermarketmagazine It’s a try! Garages across home nations join Eurorepar network Eurorepar Car Service has kicked off Springtime by welcoming new centres based in all four home nations to its 260-stong network. KFA Commercials of Bellshill and Central Garage in Motherwell represent Scotland, while Newport-based Mustoes Specialist Vehicle Body Repairs roars for Wales. Meanwhile Northern Irish sites Crosseys Garage in Lisburn and Graham’s Autos in Ulster join a number of new sites in England including 4 Tonnes Automotive Centre in Birmingham, Walkers Garage in Northallerton and Advance Motors in Maidenhead. Chris Jones, Head of Network & Business Development Manager at Eurorepar Car Service, said: “With spring already upon us, we’ve had a busy start to the year channelling our support into our new centres in each of the home nations. As with all of our members, we’re helping garages with the backing they need to be resilient in an ever-changing industry landscape. Whether they’re on target for a goal or tackling a tricky period, we’re here to help and support.” For more information, visit: Garages that have used Google Business Profiles to build their website may have seen their pages disappear last month due to Google disconnecting the service. Visitors to a closed website would have encountered a ‘page not found’ error with a redirect to the garage’s Google Business Profile, which remain in place until 10 June. While the switch-off was announced by Google in January, aftermarket online expert Jim Lang said many businesses will not have realised: “This will only affect businesses that have exclusively created their online presence using a Google Business Profile website.” Jim added: “For a garage to establish its position and take more market share, it’s imperative that it can be easily found online and is visible above and among the garage’s competitors in the search results.” For more information, visit: lose websites as Google turns off service BookMyGarage launches new listing system BookMyGarage has launched a new programme that promotes those garages that have the best feedback and reviews. Via the new Tier Programme, garages will be automatically promoted as part of the recently launched Accelerate marketing package. BookMyGarage Chief Marketing Officer Jessica Potts said: “The development of the Tier Programme was always part of the overall plan for what we see as a concerted initiative that takes the customer search for a local garage, to a whole new level.” The BookMyGarage Tier Programme has three levels: Silver, Gold and Top Tier, with each offering physical and digital badges, enhanced visibility in the listings and, for those who reach the Top Tier, exclusivity as the only-such garage in their area, a status that comes with a seat on the newly formed BookMyGarage council. Garages who participate in Accelerate, to which the Tier Programme is directly linked, receive their own marketing programme as well. For more information, visit: NEWS In association with: Automotive aft software desig Business mana e easy- reporting processes in on s, stock mana Integrate your sale termarket gned for the agement age. -to-use pack d gement, accounting an factors Motor 7/10 Used by 7 Autopart For further information or to request a demo, pleas or call us on 01226 35 se visit 52901

8 AFTERMARKET APRIL 2024 BIG ISSUE On Wednesday 6 March, Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt delivered his Spring Budget. With it sure to be the final full Budget before a General Election, it was expected to offer much for the wider voting public. For motorists, the headline measure was the fact that the 5 pence per litre fuel duty cut has been maintained and is set to continue for a further 12 months until March 2025. PRA Chief Executive Gordon Balmer said: “I am pleased that the Chancellor has listened to us and extended the fuel duty freeze and the 5 pence per litre cut. This move is poised to ease the financial burden on motorists when they refuel and is likely to be wellreceived.” For businesses, more significant was the news that full expensing is being extended to leased assets, with the VAT threshold rising from £85,000 to £90,000. However, the automotive sector was looking for more from this setpiece Budget. This included hoped-for changes to the Apprenticeship Levy, proposed by the IGA in its Budget Submission. These did not come to pass. There had also been calls across the industry for wider support for the transition to EVs, taking in VAT and VED changes. This too did not transpire. Key concerns IGA Chief Executive Stuart James was disappointed by the Budget: “The independent garage sector had hoped for strategic support from the Government in this critical year of change. Unfortunately, the Budget missed several opportunities to address key concerns. Whilst we appreciate that this budget announcement has been heavily weighted to support consumers ahead of the impending general election, it is disappointing that very little has been mentioned regarding supporting SME’s, the backbone of the UK economy.” On changes to the VAT threshold and full expensing on leasing, Stuart said: “While we appreciate certain fiscal adjustments, the lack of business rates reform is disappointing, particularly given its adverse effects on independent repairers." On the fuel duty freeze, he said: "Extending the fuel duty cut provides relief to consumers amidst global instability. However, more comprehensive support is needed to navigate ongoing challenges." Looking towards what was not mentioned, Stuart started with hopedfor reform of the Apprenticeship Levy, something on which the IGA had made a submission on some weeks prior to the budget. He said: "The oversight of apprenticeship reform exacerbates the skills shortage in the independent repair sector. Simplifying the Apprenticeship Levy is crucial for recruitment and skills development. This is an area for concern, and following recent communication between the IGA and The Rt Hon Robert Halfon, Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education, we had expected this to be addressed in the Spring Budget." On the failure to offer private EV price incentives, Stuart observed: "The absence of incentives for private EV buyers is concerning, as the UK falls behind other European markets.” He added: "The Spring Budget missed opportunities to support the SME sector as a whole and address SPRING BUDGET 2024 “MISSED OPPORTUNITY” SAYS SECTOR The Budget from Chancellor Jeremy Hunt disappointed many in the automotive sector with a number of hoped-for measures not enacted

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the skills gap in the industry, delaying the intake of young apprentices actively seeking employment. We hope to hear more from the Government on these important issues in the coming weeks." Missed opportunity As recently as the day before the Spring Budget, the SMMT had continued to call on the Government to offer more support for the transition to zero emission vehicles by halving VAT on new EVs for three years, amending proposed VED changes, and cutting VAT on public charging to bring it level with home charging. On that basis, SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes saw what was actually laid out as missing the chance to give EVs a boost: “Government has been keen to assure the UK automotive industry’s competitiveness, with support for EV development and manufacturing – including £2.1 billion in autumn’s Advanced Manufacturing Plan – but there is little to help consumer demand. The Budget is, therefore, a missed opportunity to deliver fairer tax for a fair transition. “Reducing VAT on new EVs, revising vehicle taxation to promote rather than punish going electric, and an end to the VAT pavement penalty on public charging would have energised the market. With both Government and industry having statutory requirements to deliver net zero, more still needs to be done to help consumers make the switch.” Significance IMI CEO Steve Nash agreed with this view: “Despite talking about encouraging investment in future technologies, today’s Spring Budget seemed to miss the opportunity to make some small changes that would support the widest automotive sector as it faces a continuing skills gap while trying to future-proof itself. There was also nothing done to encourage more people to move to lower and zero emissions vehicles. For the UK to achieve its green ambitions every part of the automotive sector must be supported and that includes the aftermarket.” Looking towards businesses looking to invest, Steve lamented the end of the Super Deduction: “Whilst the addition of leased assets in the Full Expensing 100% first year capital allowance may provide some businesses with help, it’s disappointing that the Super Deduction was not reintroduced. This would have provided the wider aftermarket with essential help to ensure it is adequately equipped and trained to support EV drivers.” He believed moves on childcare provision could have a positive impact on skills shortages, so long as the move towards more diverse hiring in the sector continues: “It was however encouraging to hear that the Chancellor intends to maintain the Back to Work plan and improve the Childcare offer to give more people who may have felt they couldn’t get back to work, back into the workplace. The IMI is working with automotive employers to ensure they can attract the most diverse workforce through our Diversity Task Force and the ‘There’s More to Motor’ campaign and we hope the government’s actions, including its intention for the National Insurance cut to encourage more people into the workforce, will help.” He added: “Cynics might say it was a Budget for an election – sadly it seemed to miss the significance of how important the automotive sector is to the UK’s economic and social infrastructure as a whole.” Widening skills gap The growing EV car parc and the lack of trained technicians should both have been addressed by the Budget as far as Autodata Technical Director James Lett was concerned: “Across the UK there’s a widening skills gap amongst car technicians not having the skills or tools to repair EVs. Without Government support, garages and auto technicians are being left behind in the EV revolution. “The IMI predicts a shortfall of over 29,767 technicians in 2035, the same year the ban on new combustion engine vehicles being sold has been extended to. Like many in the industry, we had high hopes that the Spring Budget would recognise the need for critical investment and support. “A million EVs are already on the road, but they can only be serviced or repaired by technicians with specialist training and tools. Neither of these are cheap nor do we see any government investment to change that. Not only are garages losing money by turning down business, EV drivers can’t access the services they need to safely be on the road. It’s a catch-22 situation that cannot continue. “ Mixed feelings Despite the fact that businesses and fleets make up the majority of buyers for zero emission vehicles, Association of Fleet Professionals Chair Paul Hollick said more still needs to be done with regards to infrastructure: “There’s some mixed feelings here. In a lot of ways, one of the wins this Government can claim over the last 14 years is its commitment to electrification, and the impact that its policies have had on the fleet sector in terms of moving to zero carbon emissions have been marked and dramatic. “The truth is that more assistance in this area is now required – especially when it comes to van electrification where there are fundamental issues to overcome as well the need for a further increased rollout of charging infrastructure – and there was no sign of that help arriving at any time soon.” While he noted the positives, Vehicle Remarketing Association Chair Philip Nothard said it was what was left undone that counted for this Budget: “What we really wanted to see from the Government was help to underpin the proper functioning of the used car market as it moves to electrification. There are clearly issues with levels of demand and residual values that need to be resolved as supply of EVs into the sector continues to rise quite rapidly. There are a range of possible solutions that have proven successful in other countries – from zero interest loans to subsidies. 10 AFTERMARKET APRIL 2024 BIG ISSUE Unfortunately, the Budget missed several opportunities to address key concerns ”

APRIL 2024 AFTERMARKET 11 Unfortunately, there was nothing forthcoming in this area and this was a Budget that was very much about the politics of the forthcoming general election.” Startline Motor Finance CEO Paul Burgess said: “Overwhelmingly, this was a Budget aimed at voters rather than businesses, with the general election only a matter of months away. We carried out some research a couple of weeks ago that showed what motorists overwhelmingly want from the next Government – whoever that turns out to be – is to resolve the pothole crisis and bring down fuel costs.” James Tew, CEO at iVendi, said: “With the used car market in reasonably strong health and figures showing that the new car market had its best February for 20 years, it’s probably unlikely that the Government was ever going to provide any new forms of support for our sector in this Budget, even if there are various voices asking for more help during the process of electrification. While the reduction in National Insurance might make a few people more likely to swap their car, the truth is that we appear to be in the middle of a long period when growth is flatlining, and general consumer and economic confidence is similarly, largely in check. Whether the general election later this year will start to change that situation and bring a degree of optimism is an unknown.” Unnecessary costs The AA saw the fuel duty freeze as a positive move, but thought more could have been done to help motorists, as AA Head of Roads Policy Jack Cousens observed: “The AA is disappointed that the Chancellor did not review Insurance Premium Tax (IPT). This levy on responsible motoring, has added such a financial burden on car ownership, especially younger drivers, that it’s estimated that a million people drive without insurance. It’s not only illegal but it adds unnecessary costs and worry to every law-abiding driver. Similarly, not equalising the VAT on public charging of EVs with domestic charging is a missed opportunity to encourage more car owners to switch to an EV and contribute towards the UK goal of Net Zero.” Critical year Continuing the chorus of sector disappointment on the lack of support for the shift to EVs, NFDA Chief Executive Sue Robinson said: “2024 is a critical year for the automotive retail industry. As such, the Budget provided a significant moment for the Government to provide a strategic and clear vision to support the sector but that opportunity has largely been missed. With the Chancellor’s Spring Budget failing to mention private EV price incentives, the UK remains one of the major markets in Europe with little to offer in terms of price incentives for private buyers of electric vehicles.” Commenting on the business rates side, Sue noted: “These rates are now at the highest level ever at 54p in the pound, a drastic increase compared to 34p in the pound when they were first introduced in 1990.” On the lack of measure to reform the Apprenticeship Levy, Sue said: “It is concerning that once again the Chancellor has failed to fix the existing, unworkable Apprenticeship Levy in this latest fiscal event. The motor retail sector experienced its highest vacancy rate in 2023.” Prudent Coming back to the potential impact on garages, Kevan Wooden, CEO at LKQ UK & Ireland, said: “Garages and workshops will find few gifts for them in the Spring Budget – with the Chancellor largely focused on addressing the consumer tax burden, while continuing to toe a cautious line on public spending as the economy gets back on track. “A handful of the industry’s smallest players will benefit from the threshold for VAT registration increasing from £85,000 to £90,000. This could help to free-up vital cash for investment in the skills and equipment needed to supercharge growth. But the rise falls short of the £100,000 threshold that many small businesses had hoped the Chancellor would stretch to. “The decision to make full expensing permanent, representing a £10 billion tax cut for businesses looking to invest in equipment and machinery, was warmly received in last November’s Autumn Statement. So, new intention to extend full expensing to leased assets will be similarly welcomed by garages and workshops wanting to invest in new EV or ADAS servicing equipment.” Kevan added: “However, it was a budget that felt more in favour of ICE then EV, with fuel duty frozen and no new incentives to help motorists to switch to plug-ins. Despite this, the transition to electric vehicles continues to be the direction of travel for the industry. It will still be prudent for the industry to invest in the skills and equipment to service electric vehicles sooner rather than later to ensure their long-term success.”

Bread, dough, moolah, dollar, cash – call it what you want - we all have a need for it. While the physical is clearly giving way to the digital, money as a medium of exchange, in whatever form, does make the world go around. The problem is that access can be restricted or carry a burdensome cost if the borrower is seen as risky. Take a mobile phone contract. We’re credit checked and either approved or rejected depending on status. Credit checking ties an individual’s record to publicly available information and that which is shared by financial organisations with credit reference agencies. We know the process as individuals but not everyone appreciates that the same applies to businesses. Quite simply, any business that wants to borrow or buy on the best possible terms needs a 5-star rating. Generating the facts James McGarva, Head of Business information at Experian, defines a credit score as a “measure of creditworthiness, which is made up from a number of different factors to understand financial position and level of financial risk.” This information, he says, “is combined to create a score, which influences whether companies are seen to be a repayment risk.” Equifax’s Product Manager, Andrew Fielder, holds a similar view, but adds that his company looks at data and represents the outcome as not just a score but also “as an amount that a business may be seen as being ‘good for’ on typically a monthly basis.” A credit rating, he says, “aims to rank relative strengths of businesses against each other on a scale regardless of size, so a business that is scored 20 out of 100 is seen as less able to support credit than a business that scores 80 out of 100.” Experian uses a similar methodology. It gives a credit score that can range from 0 to 100, with 0 representing a high risk and 100 representing a low risk. 0, for example, would be applied to a failed company, 26-50 to an above average business, while 91-100 is a very low risk firm. As James outlines, “business information is generally held by a number of credit reference agencies and comes from multiple sources, including creditors, such as banks, credit card companies and building societies, or simply from publicly available records.” It should be pointed out that the information gathering process is not underhand in any way. And to illustrate this, Fielder explains that information credit reference agencies obtain comes “from a wide variety of sources that include more well-known entities such as Companies House or the main Gazettes, as well as closed user group information on payment behaviour and newer data sources like Open Banking.” James says that this information is collated and includes data on existing business credit, such as current accounts, loans and credit card information along with balances and amounts outstanding. On top of that is data on payment performance “which”, he says, “can offer real insight into a business’ financial standing – and any potential problems they might be experiencing”; County Court Judgments (CCJs) and bankruptcies – this type of information is, according to James, “particularly significant to potential or existing suppliers and lenders. It can indicate severe financial difficulties and may well act as a red flag to those considering working with them”; and Companies House records such as details on the directors, previous company names and annual returns. It’s value, as Andrew notes, comes from “agencies looking at data in a number of ways, using aggregated data sources and applying analytical methodologies to build the score.” He carries on, saying, that “agencies use a database that has been built up over time to understand how businesses that were created historically have performed through an extended period.” He adds that scores may also incorporate personal data on company directors. 12 AFTERMARKET APRIL 2024 BUSINESS A CREDIT TO YOU Credit information can be used by a business, and it can be used on a business. The key is to understand its importance and impact BY Adam Bernstein

APRIL 2024 AFTERMARKET 13 Making improvements So, whenever an application for credit is made, information on a credit report will be used along with other sources of information to determine whether a lender will agree to the request and on what terms. And this is why firms, according to Andrew, should make every effort to maintain a good report as it influences their ability to make purchases. He points out that “business credit ratings are not as ubiquitous as personal credit ratings, however they are more prevalent when dealing with larger purchases or lending decisions, such as for a loan or a business vehicle.” It follows that a well-managed credit report will be seen by lenders as a positive. But as James details, “businesses with little to no financial history – known as ‘thin file’ businesses – may struggle to be accepted or get the best rates. In these circumstances, a business owner’s or director’s personal credit scores can be considered to help with the decision.” Information in the world of credit is clearly everything; if it’s suspected that information held is inaccurate or plainly wrong, steps should be taken to correct it. James says that the only option is to dispute the business credit report by contacting the relevant credit reference agencies. Not only can they correct data that can be shown to be inaccurate, but also have services to review whole reports. Experian is a good example with its Credit Review Service. Credit information for suppliers Credit information is almost as ubiquitous in the world of commerce as it is in our private lives. Businesses wanting to buy a vehicle, buy goods on terms, or take out a new bank loan are very likely to be checked for their ability to repay. Having a clean bill of health in this department is essential to both getting approval and an approval on good terms. But the wonder of information is that it invariably has more than one purpose. Just as a credit report allows a lender a window into the world of a (potential) borrower, so the process can be reversed by any business looking to check on its suppliers (and its clients). James makes the case here as being one of commercial survival as “any business can protect their revenue flow by running credit score reports on their customers to ensure they can pay for their services.” That said, many firms will generally require payment at the time of the work whether in ‘cash’, by card or credit instalment plan via a third party. However, if a firm partners with another a check could be of value. Credit information can aid the fight against fraud in that credit checking a business can confirm that contacts are who they say they are – and that their business is performing the way they say it is. For James “this kind of due diligence can save a lot of hassle and lost revenue down the line.” Credit reference agencies offer a variety of services to support a business dealing with a large volume of clients or suppliers. Here Fielder details that products to note “include services such as ad-hoc credit reports or the ability to use the data for account opening and account management.” Of course, each agency will do something similar and more. Equifax, for example, offers products to age verify, bank account verify, document verify, and more. Firms should hunt around. The cost of protection The costs associated with credit information aren’t as horrific as might be expected. James reckons that Experian’s Business Express – which costs from £25 per month – “has one of the most predictive scoring models in the industry and lets a business easily determine the creditworthiness of their business partners.” He asserts that it can help a business predict business credit risks and failures within the next 12 months. Alternatively, where a business wants to check and improve its own business credit score, Experian has My Business Profile at a cost of £24.99 per month. “This,” says James, “enables a business owner or director to gain full visibility of their business credit profile, enabling them to understand what’s affecting their company credit score.” Granted it’s a cost, but for Andrew, credit ratings tell subscribers which companies are growing, and which are shrinking and that’s got to be a benefit. In summary Like it or not, credit information exists and is here to stay. Whether it’s to borrow or to seek terms with a supplier, having a whiter than white report is going to put a firm head and shoulders above its rivals. And with profit being a function of revenue less cost, anything that shaves off expense and risk has to be worth examining. How to improve a credit rating 1. View your business credit report to understand the positive and negative factors in your history and plan the best path for progress 2.Make a note of suppliers’ payment terms and plan payments so they are on time. Poor payment performance can indicate a business struggling to service its debts 3.File annual returns and financial accounts on time. Making more information on your business available helps suppliers, utility providers and lenders to understand it and make appropriate decisions 4.Avoid County Court Judgments. Should one occur, settle it promptly 5.Keep an eye on your personal finances. Directors’ personal credit scores can be considered for new businesses when little information is available 6.Appoint a director with a strong history of running companies and a good credit score to help boost your company’s standing 7. Check and monitor the credit status of the companies you work with, so you can anticipate any supply chain problems before it affects the business.

You are a business owner. You opened the doors one day, and there you were. The road towards this moment was long I imagine, but since then you have kept working, and you have managed to make a success of it. Of course, all the business training you did made things so much easier didn’t it? Wait…what? You never did any business courses? Why am I not surprised? Well, probably because this is such a common story in this industry. Should it be this way though? Let’s start by thinking about how many hours you spent learning to mend cars. You probably have done at least three years in college, maybe five, and after that many would say your learning had just started. You may have become a diagnostic tech and then a master tech, studying hard for each qualification. Then as you got a few grey hairs, some new technology came out and you had to start again learning from scratch. The motor industry is a constantly moving vehicle (pun intended, as always) and your learning will never stop. I think most decent techs will agree with this. So, how many hours have you spent? Many thousands probably, and yes you can mend cars, and really well too. It was the many hours of mindful learning, plus the practice, plus probably some great mentorship and finally a personal drive that achieved this. Follow this reasonable recipe then you will become good at mending cars. Do all these things even longer and with more dedication, and you could become incredible, In the words of the great Tina Turner; “Simply the best.” Are you training enough to have your own garage workshop though? We all agree that to mend cars amazingly you will be learning for a whole lifetime and spending thousands of hours. So, now I ask you why should it be any different when it comes to running a business? How many hours have you trained yourself to become amazing at that? Key areas Let’s take a look at the following, which are definitely key 14 AFTERMARKET APRIL 2024 BUSINESS SIMPLY THE BEST? Are you making sure you have taken enough training to effectively run a workshop? BY Rebecca Pullan, Carmaster Garage

APRIL 2024 AFTERMARKET 15 areas (but not exclusively, I hasten to add): People skills: Learn how to ensure your team feels valued and trust you. You do not need to be a very large garage before the most important skill of team building is a make-or-break thing. Do not just assume it is enough to pay people wages. How to keep the team safe: Ensuring best practice and perhaps actually keep your legacy safe from litigation. Is your HR knowledge up to date? The numbers game: How many hours have you spent learning how to be good at the numbers? Have you spent enough time to even be just average at this? I could go on. Do you go on training courses? Have you got a mentor? Do you read? Are you even trying to get better at making your business skills great? Or do you just assume you can do it, just like the guy who walked into your workshop and told you what was wrong with their car. They don’t need it diagnosing; They tell you that they are just short on time…and yet, you know they are actually short on knowledge. Do they know they are short on expertise? Do you know you are short on your skillset too? Unless you have spent at least one thousand hours, I wager you, the answer is yes you are. Please change this, decide today to be better. Improve There are not many industries that if you are good at your job, you think you can do it better than your current workplace. This is often when someone says to themselves “why not leave and give it a bash?” They then open your own garage and off you go. Will you do it better than your old place of work? Maybe you will, maybe you won’t, but you certainly can be more successful if you stop and think about creating a training programme for yourself. It’s not dissimilar to the recipe discussed above for being good at mending cars. There is so much help out there and plenty for free. Tens of thousands of cracking books to read, or listen to, if you prefer. Podcasts and YouTube are awash with information and knowledge. There really is no excuse not to improve your skills, little by little, every day. Or do something weekly or monthly at the very least. Book yourself onto a training course There are some fantastic courses that you will enjoy or at the very least love the outcomes. Find yourself a mentor, and even better if you are in a position to, consider putting yourself up to be one. The future of the motor industry will be so much richer if you do. If you are reading this and are employed and think you can do it better, start your new knowledge journey now and get yourself ready. Finally, if this is not your thing, but you know someone who can do better, pop this article in front of them, and ask them to read it. Be like Tina Turner in all you do. Be like Tina Turner in all you do... ”