MOT slot fee to be increased by 3p

DVSA says it will “consider” calls from testing stations to raise maximum fee they can charge for an MOT

The MOT slot fee is to be increased from £2.05 to £2.08 later this year, the DVSA has confirmed.

It follows a consultation on proposals to increase most DVSA statutory fees by 1.5 per cent.

It received 2,573 responses, of which 30 per cent were from those who run or work at an MOT test centre.

Some 68 per cent of all respondents said that the proposed fee increases were fair while 21 per cent said they strongly disagreed with the increase.

Ministers have now agreed for the increase to be made later this year but a firm date is yet to be announced.

The DVSA says the increase will allow it to continue making essential improvements.

In its response to the consultation, which closed in September, the Independent Garage Association said: “We feel that ongoing development of DVSA services to keep pace with changes in testing and vehicle technology is important.

“Inevitably, there must be at some stage a consideration made of increased costs to test stations and how they are able to invest in improvements to the benefit of the MOT scheme both capital and with personnel.

“This is important to ensure provision of service and choice to consumers and to ensure the industry can fund their own improvements in quality and consistency.”

Many of the respondents connected to an MOT testing centre made reference in their consultation response about a rise in the maximum fee they are allowed to charge for an MOT – a total of 533 comments were made on this.

The DVSA has said that it “will take on board these comments for further consideration”.

At the launch of the consultation, a DVSA spokesperson said: “Most of our fees haven’t increased since 2010, and we’ve worked hard to make savings through efficiency measures in the last few years.

“In the next year we’ll be focusing on improving the driving test booking service, the way the theory test service is delivered, how we carry out heavy vehicle enforcement and the MOT testing service.”

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How Schaeffler’s making workshop life easier

REPXPERT to play an increasingly important role in providing specialist tools and repair support

Cars are continuing to evolve, becoming more powerful, more environmentally friendly, more comfortable, and safer.

At the same time, they are becoming more complex, and with each new innovation, independent workshops have to familiarise themselves with yet more technology.

That is why it’s good to have a partner like Schaeffler Automotive Aftermarket on their side, because the company’s objective is to make things easier for them and their customers, despite all the complexity involved.

‘Convenience’ is one of the key focus points of Schaeffler Automotive Aftermarket’s strategy designed to shape the future of the independent aftermarket.

However, is convenience really possible at a time when both cars and the replacement parts they need are becoming steadily more complicated?

As digitalisation and electric mobility gains ground and the number of repairs and services requiring special expertise and tools continues to grow, along with the pressure on workshops to work profitably and efficiently?

It is a challenge, but one that can be overcome with system expertise and market knowledge, explains Jens Schüler, President GKAM, Global Sales & Marketing, Schaeffler Automotive Aftermarket: “Schaeffler is a renowned specialist and innovator in the powertrain, engine and chassis segments, and a leading global development partner for vehicle manufacturers.

“Our Automotive Aftermarket division is a longstanding and reliable partner that provides support and inspiration to the independent aftermarket and independent workshops.

“There is no organisation better placed than we are to provide the right answers to important questions the future of car servicing.”

Tapping into new trends, along with preparing for them in advance, is essential for the long-term success of a workshop.

Schaeffler is therefore working on solutions that allow workshops to participate in new trends, by helping shape the process of digitalisation for example.

“We consider digitalisation to be an opportunity to support complex repair procedures on-site and intensify the dialogue with our customers worldwide,” says Schüler.

REPXPERT will play an increasingly important role in this context, as the Schaeffler service brand provides workshop professionals with appropriate special tools and repair support, not just via traditional channels like personal training and hotlines, but increasingly through digital formats such as virtual installation instructions and training sessions.

At the same time, Schaeffler is helping to ensure that independent workshops do not lose out on the opportunities offered by electric mobility.

For example, the company has its sights set firmly on the independent aftermarket as it develops e-axles and hybrid modules for electric vehicle manufacturers all over the world.

When electric vehicles become relevant for the independent aftermarket, Schaeffler will be ready with an aligned portfolio of repair solutions and services to support workshops, solutions that will make it easy for garages to benefit from the increasing prevalence of electric vehicles, allowing them to tap into this new segment and thus secure a profitable future for their business.

Information on Schaeffler products, fitting instructions, labour times and much more can be found on the REPXPERT workshop portal, the REPXPERT app, or by calling the Schaeffler REPXPERT hotline on 0872 737 0037.

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DVSA bans tester for MOT fraud

Investigations found him to have issued passes for nine vehicles which had never been in the workshop

An MOT tester who claimed to have tested a van in the UK while it was actually in Spain has been sentenced to a 12-month community order and banned from testing.

Jamie Smith of Rookhill Road, Pontefract claimed to have completed the MOT test and issued a pass certificate for a Mercedes-Benz C van at a garage in West Yorkshire when it had been seized by Spanish police for not having valid tax or MOT.

The van was one of nine vehicles Smith falsely issued MOT certificates for.

He was sentenced to a community order and given 50 hours of unpaid work, a curfew from 7am to 7am for two months and ordered to pay full costs totalling £1,620 at Kirklees Magistrates Court on 5 January 2022.

He was also given the full five year cessation notice by DVSA.

The DVLA notified the DVSA on 2 June 2021, making them aware that a vehicle they suspected was in Spain had been issued a MOT in the UK.

Spanish Police confirmed the vehicle had been seized and impounded at the time of the MOT.

Further investigations revealed that there were a further eight vehicles, including four vans, which had been issued MOT certificates by Smith, without ever having been at the garage.

The certificates were issued between 15 January and 2 June 2021.

Having initially denied the offences, when presented with the evidence, Smith admitted to the counts and to having received payment for the fraudulent MOTs.

DVSA’s head regulatory services and transformation, Caroline Hicks said: “DVSA’s priority is protecting you from unsafe drivers and vehicles.

“Mr. Smith had no way of knowing the condition of the vehicles. His greed put the safety of drivers and the public danger.

“We will ensure that anyone who compromises safety in pursuit of personal gain feels the full force of the law.”

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GS Yuasa ‘Powering What Matters’ advertising campaign hits TV screens nationwide

Manufacturer to promote its primary brand, whilst continuing to market its world-renowned Yuasa and GS ranges

Centred around a 40 second television advert, the nationwide advertising campaign explores the world of GS Yuasa through the eyes of 6-year-old Isabella and her mother as they go about their day noticing the many exciting applications powered by the battery manufacturer.

Launching today (Monday 17 January) it will be carried by the likes of ITV, Absolute Radio, YouTube, social media and digital billboards across the UK and highlight the vast range of applications that utilise GS Yuasa batteries.

Powering What Matters touches on the diverse range of markets served by the Japanese based manufacturer, which is larger than any other producer or supplier.

From starter batteries to satellites – GS Yuasa enable everyday life for millions of people around the world.

In fact, they are the preferred choice for vehicle, motorcycle and industrial batteries due to their superior quality, reliability and performance.

GS Yuasa also manufacture Yuasa and GS branded products.

Moving forward the manufacturer will now promote its primary brand, whilst continuing to market its world-renowned Yuasa and GS ranges.

James Hylton, managing director of GS Yuasa Battery Sales UK said: “We’re incredibly proud of the difference our batteries make in enabling the everyday lives of millions of people around the world.

“Powering What Matters celebrates this and brings the GS Yuasa name to the forefront of our activities for the first time.”

“We wanted to explore the enormous breadth of applications we power.

“From exploring the deepest depths of the ocean to the International Space Station 250 miles above earth – our batteries are the number one choice for millions of applications around the world.

“These days almost all battery manufacturers make similar claims, however we can go one step further with a message that is unique to us.”

For further details, please click here.

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Shell replaces Fulham petrol and diesel pumps with ultra-rapid charge points

Garage features nine ultra-rapid 175kW charge points which can charge most vehicles from 0-80 per cent within 10 minutes

Shell has replaced all of its existing petrol and diesel pumps at its station in Fulham, London with ultra-rapid 175kW charge points thus turning this station into the Group’s first EV charging hub in the UK.

It represents the first conversion of an existing gas station into EV solely charging hub for the Group.

István Kapitány, Shell’s global executive vice president for Mobility said: “EV drivers are looking for a charging experience that is as fast, convenient and comfortable as possible.

“This is exactly what Shell Fulham aims to offer.

“It joins our growing network of Shell Recharge sites at forecourts and other locations, our ubitricity on-street charging network, and our Shell Recharge Solutions for homes and businesses as we increasingly help EV drivers to charge wherever they need it.

“It also gives us all a glimpse into the future of mobility.”

Transport Minister, Trudy Harrison said: “It’s fantastic to see Shell leading the way with their brand-new charging hub, offering EV drivers an easy and rapid charging experience.

“With more people making the switch to EVs than ever before, this is exactly the type of facility we need to help make the transition as simple as possible for drivers up and down the country.

“This government has committed £2.5bn to vehicle grants and infrastructure to support the switch to EVs.

“In addition to government efforts, it is equally encouraging to see businesses support the EV transition – and Shell’s new hub is a brilliant example of the UK’s huge effort to go-green and reach our important net-zero targets.”

Shell Fulham features a sustainable design including a timber canopy with built-in solar panels, and roof and shop windows that employ double glazing with high insulating properties.

The hub includes a seating area, free Wi-Fi, a Costa Coffee and a Little Waitrose.

With more than 130 full or hybrid electric vehicle models now available to buyers, EV sales in the UK are accelerating rapidly.

In December 2021, 27,705 EVs were sold, making up 25.5 per cent of all new registrations that month.

Shell has previously stated an ambition to install 50,000 on-street chargers in the UK by 2025 through Shell-owned company ubitricity, and in July 2021 announced that up to 800 Shell electric vehicle charging points would be installed in as many as 100 Waitrose sites across the UK by 2025.

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HELLA reveals half-year results

Workshop business drives positive development in firm’s aftermarket segment

In the first six months of the fiscal year 2021/2022, massive bottlenecks with electronic components have significantly burdened the development of sales and earnings at the international automotive supplier HELLA.

As of today, HELLA has presented the complete and final half-year figures, thereby confirming preliminary key figures published on 29 November 2021.

The currency and portfolio-adjusted sales of the HELLA Group fell accordingly in the first half-year (1 June until 30 November 2021) by 2.6 per cent to € 3.0 billion (prior year: € 3.1 billion); as reported, sales declined by 2.0 per cent.

In the second quarter, the currency and portfolio-adjusted sales fell by 11.9 per cent to € 1.5 billion (prior year: € 1.8 billion).

Due to the reduced sales volumes and increasing cost pressure, the adjusted earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) fell to € 156 million in the first six months (prior year: € 269 million); the adjusted EBIT margin is at 5.1 per cent (prior year: 8.7 per cent).

In the second quarter, the adjusted EBIT margin amounted to 4.1 per cent (prior year: 12.1 per cent). In the first half-year, the EBIT is at € 149 million (prior year: € 94 million); the reported EBIT margin amounts to 4.9 per cent (prior year: 3.0 per cent).

The lower figures from the prior year can be attributed to the expenses recorded for the programme to sustainably improve competitiveness.

“At present, there are great challenges in the market environment.

“Due to the massive bottlenecks in the global supply and logistics chains, the global light vehicle production sustained a drastic collapse in the second fiscal quarter in particular”, says HELLA CEO Dr. Rolf Breidenbach.

“Despite these adverse conditions, however, we performed well overall.

O2ur Automotive segment continued to develop significantly better than the overall market, which underscores our strong strategic orientation in this area.

“In addition, the business development posted by both of our other segments Aftermarket and Special Applications was also favourable.”

In the Aftermarket segment, sales rose by 17.1 per cent to € 283 million in the first half-year (prior year: € 241 million).

The independent spare parts business developed particularly well in Germany, Poland and the Americas.

In the workshop area, a particularly positive influence on sales came from the market launch of the new mega macs X diagnostic device.

As a result of the higher sales volumes, the Aftermarket segment’s EBIT improved to € 33 million in the first six months (prior year: € 29 million); the EBIT margin stands at 11.8 per cent (prior year: 11.9 per cent).

Given the business development to date, the expected lack of market recovery in the second half of the year and increasing cost burdens, HELLA further lowered its sales and earnings forecast for the current fiscal year already on 29 November 2021.

For fiscal year 2021/2022 (1 June 2021 until 31 May 2022), the Company anticipates currency and portfolio-adjusted sales of between around € 5.9 and 6.2 billion (previously adjusted: around € 6.0 to 6.5 billion) and an EBIT margin adjusted for structural measures and portfolio effects of around 3.5 to 5.0 per cent (previously adjusted: around 5.0 to 7.0 per cent).

Especially with a view to the third quarter of the fiscal year, the company sees major challenges with lower production volumes and further increasing cost burdens in light of the ongoing shortage of materials and components.

“The industry environment remains challenging. For the current fiscal year, we anticipate a considerable decline in light vehicle production.

“The component shortages are expected to persist into 2023.

“The coronavirus pandemic is continuing to cause considerable uncertainties as well”, says HELLA CEO Dr. Rolf Breidenbach.

“Nevertheless, not least because of our established cost management, our innovative product portfolio and well-filled order book, we are confident that our development will remain significantly better than that of the overall market.”

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Volvo is first to launch direct integration with Google Assistant-enabled devices

Owners can directly talk to Google in their car and remotely control a variety of vehicle systems

Volvo Cars will be the first car maker to directly integrate its cars with Google Assistant-enabled devices, a step in the continued partnership between Volvo Cars and Google.

The planned direct integration allows for the most seamless connection between Google Assistant and cars to date, letting Volvo Cars customers control functions in their car by issuing voice commands to Google Assistant-enabled home and mobile devices.

By pairing their Volvo car with their Google account, owners can directly talk to Google in their car and remotely control a variety of functionalities, such as warming it up on a cold winter day or locking the car.

With this integration, users can receive information related to their car remotely at any time.

Planned future functionalities include charging scheduling, which allows customers to set specific times when they want their car to start charging, and more.

Henrik Green, chief product officer at Volvo Cars said: “Volvo Car Group was first to introduce Google technology and services in our cars, and we are now looking to be the first to integrate fully with Google Assistant-enabled devices – it is a natural next step in our partnership with Google.

“This integration allows us to improve the customer experience immensely, because it gives customers the possibility to easily and securely manage their car while at home or on the go, through any personal device that has Google Assistant.”

For more sensitive commands – such as unlocking the car – a two-factor authentication process ensures that only the right people can hear or access the right information at the right time.

The functionality will be gradually made available in the coming months to all Volvo drivers with an infotainment system powered by Android that is connected to their Volvo Cars app and a Google Assistant-enabled device, and in select areas where Google Assistant is available.

Volvo Cars also aims for the integration of its cars with Google Assistant to support the company’s ongoing move towards full electrification.

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Firefighters tackle blaze at Birmingham garage

Six fire engines, a brigade response vehicle and a hydraulic aerial platform were sent to the scene

Thirty-five firefighters have been tackling a large blaze at a Birmingham garage this week.

Fire crews were called to the blaze at Auto Cars Ltd at 12.49am on Wednesday, January 5.

Neil Spencer, West Midlands Fire spokesman, said: “At 12.49am in the early hours of Wed 5 Jan we were called to a severe fire in a car repair workshop in Wellington Street, Soho, Birmingham.

“The first of our crews arrived in just over three minutes to find the entire single-storey building was involved in the fire.

“Six fire engines, a Brigade Response Vehicle and a hydraulic aerial platform were sent to the scene, crewed by a total of 35 firefighters.

“The police and ambulance services also attended, together with engineers from gas and electricity companies and a rail representative.

“Smoke was drifting across nearby railway lines during the incident, so train drivers were warned as a precaution.

“By 3am our crews had made good progress and, by 4.30am, the fire was confirmed to be out and our resources were being scaled down.

“This morning, one fire crew remains at the scene to ensure that no hotspots remain.

“Our investigators are working to establish how the fire started.

“Two cats were rescued from the premises by firefighters.

“They are understood to have been taken to a vet by a police officer.”

A fire investigation team is looking into the cause of the blaze.

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Petrol retailers refusing to pass on wholesale price savings, RAC reports

Drivers are being overcharged by £5M a day for petrol, RAC data suggests

Despite wholesale prices meriting big cuts at the pumps the average price of petrol in the UK fell by just 2p a litre in December meaning drivers paid £156m more than they should have, data from RAC Fuel Watch shows.

Unleaded dropped from 147.47p a litre to 145.48p when drivers should really have seen prices nearer to 135p had retailers played fair instead of taking far bigger margins than normal.

Diesel dropped by just under 2p a litre from 150.80p to 148.92p when drivers should have been paying around 142p.

Instead of their long-term margin of 6p a litre, retailers took an average of 16p a litre on petrol and 12.5p on diesel in December making forecourt prices far more expensive than they would have been, had retailers not changed their fuel pricing strategy.

The price of a litre of unleaded on the wholesale market, including delivery, averaged 106p across the month.

Had a 6p margin been taken drivers would have seen an average petrol pump price of around 135p after applying VAT at 20 per cent.

The average wholesale cost of delivered diesel was 112p a litre which, with the usual 6p retailer margin, would have given a pump price of around 142p.

It means it has cost petrol car drivers £6 more to fill up a typical 55-litre family car than it should have (£80 v £74) and for diesel nearly £4 more with a tank costing £82 at the end of the month instead of £78.

The RAC estimates retailers’ refusal to reflect lower wholesale prices at the pumps cost petrol car drivers a huge £156m in December, or the equivalent of £5m a day.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “In the past when wholesale prices have dropped retailers have always done the right thing –eventually – and reduced their pump prices.

“This time they’ve stood strong, taking advantage of all the media talk about ‘higher energy prices’ and banked on the oil price rising again and catching up with their artificially inflated prices, which it has now done.

“The trouble is every extra penny they take as margin leads to drivers paying even more as VAT gets added on top at the end of the forecourt transaction.

“This means the Treasury’s coffers have been substantially boosted on the back of the retailers’ action.

“We urge ministers to push retailers into doing the right thing for consumers.

“The only benefit of the current high fuel prices is the extra incentive for drivers to go electric as those driving 9,000 miles a year could save around £1,500.

“To help drivers afford to make the switch we are offering highly competitive EV leasing deals as well as an excellent value EV home charging tariff which can be fixed until June 2023 and currently costs just 6p per kilowatt hour overnight.”

An analysis of RAC Fuel Watch data reveals Asda had the cheapest petrol at the end of the year with a litre costing an average of 141.81p at their stores, with Sainsbury’s not far behind at 142.57p.

Asda also sold the lowest priced diesel at 144.9p a litre ahead of Tesco on 145.8p.

The average price of motorway unleaded at the close of December was 160.55p while diesel was higher still at 163.43p.

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UK motorists predicted to buy over 330,000 new electric vehicles in 2022

Half of new registrations will EVs by 2025, experts say

At least 330,000 new battery electric vehicles (BEVs) will be registered in the UK in 2022, according to figures from DriveElectric, one of the UK’s leading electric vehicle leasing companies.

The figure is based on DriveElectric’s own forecasts, and it represents a significant increase from 183,000 – the number of battery electric vehicles (cars and light vans) expected to have been registered in the UK in 2021.

The figure of 330,000, which is around 16 per cent of all new sales, does not include plug-in hybrids (PHEVs).

Mike Potter, Managing Director, DriveElectric, said: “EV registrations will continue to increase, however issues such as the semiconductor shortage will still have an impact on the availability of vehicles as we enter 2022.

“We see this challenge improving by mid-2022 and sales for the remainder of the year should offset the slow start, helped by yet more new EV models coming to market.”

Looking further ahead, DriveElectric sees particularly high numbers of EV sales from 2025 onwards when it expects EVs to be around 50 per cent of registrations.

Registrations of petrol and diesel vehicles will decline naturally ahead of the 2030 ban, as people will stop buying them due to poor residual values, which means higher lease costs, and as EV prices become competitive with prices of ICE vehicles.

At COP26 electric vehicles were seen as a key solution to help the UK achieve Net Zero greenhouse gas targets.

EVs also help with the problem of local air quality, and have lower running costs than petrol and diesel vehicles.

However a key factor in the rapid increase in EV adoption is that the vast majority of motorists vastly prefer the driving experience of EVs compared to petrol and diesel cars and vans.

DriveElectric is an electric vehicle leasing company that has been helping organisations and individuals to adopt EVs.

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