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issue 1

The magazine of the Scottish Motor Trade Association

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07/02/2013 09:34

Welcome to issue one of our new monthly magazine ‘Motoring Matters’ We will be using this publication to investigate some of the issues facing both the businesses involved in the Scottish Motor Trade and the Scottish motoring public. This magazine will promote SMTA member businesses that are successfully dealing with these issues and are winning business through the steps they are taking. We will also highlight SMTA activities, our engagement with member businesses and difference we make to these businesses. The Motor Trade in Scotland is not as widely recognised as it should be for the positive contribution it makes to the Scottish economy. The automotive industry in Scotland has a turnover of approximately £12 Billion, generating over £2 Billion in gross value to the economy and employing over 40,000 people. A healthy, profitable and innovative Motor trade is an essential part of a successful sustainable Scotland. We intend to use this publication to illustrate the contribution Motor Trade businesses make to local employment, skills development, community sustainability, tax revenue (supplying income to national and local government in Scotland) and most importantly keeping Scotland and Scottish business moving and safe on the road. We think it is important that the Scottish Motor Trade is appropriately recognised as a vital part of Scotland’s future success. SMTA members will receive this publication as part of their membership but we will also use the magazine to target other organisations, both commercial and governmental, that we think can either provide benefits to the Motor Trade or who we think need to more fully understand the challenges the Motor Trade is facing. Motor Trade businesses have been coping with serious economic and commercial challenges and an important part of SMTA activities should be,

on the positive side, the identification of possible solutions, and on the negative side, highlighting the consequences of not taking action. Our members’ experiences are the best way of illustrating these issues in terms that are appropriate and applicable to other Motor Trade businesses. The SMTA is currently undergoing a process ofchange and we will be much more active in promoting our member businesses and strengthening their ability to differentiate their businesses as dependable, trustworthy, efficient and cost effective service providers. ‘Motoring Matters’ is not intended to be a competitor to the existing trade press , we are a member driven association and will use our members experiences to illustrate the opportunities or challenges facing the trade and each month will only address to or three issues.Therefore we hope to answer or at least inform some of the questions that our members are asking. If there are topics or subjects that you feel are important and should be covered in this magazine then please contact me using the details below. • What are the biggest challenges your business is facing? • What are you doing about them? • What solutions have you found? • Would you like to promote your business and share your story in ‘Motoring Matters’? Contact 0131 331 5510. TO ADVERTISE IN MOTORING MATTERS CONTACT CAROL MCCOLGAN AT NEON MARKETING. 07827 974393 01506 845349


‘The Enforcer’

The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) delivers a range of testing, licensing and enforcement services with the stated aims of; Saving lives, making roads safer, cutting crime and protecting the environment. VOSA’s vision for the future is one where drivers, operators, vehicles, MOT garages and maintenance workshops are fully compliant with regulations. This is a vision the SMTA supports and is active in helping to deliver. VOSA has a wide arsenal of resources that is targeted at, in VOSA’s assessment, those most likely to be non-compliant and at areas of non-compliance most likely to cause collisions / incidents. These resources, aimed at incorrect MOT Scheme management and testing standards, include; mystery shopper exercises, re-examination of recently tested vehicles and risk based site assessment inspections. Whatever method used their experienced Vehicle Examiners will find any shortcomings, if they exist, and that can leave Authorised Examiners (AE) and Nominated Testers (NT) facing disciplinary action. VOSA’s disciplinary system will ordinarily issue penalty points and a formal warning or in more extreme cases cessation notices requiring the NT or AE to reapply to be accepted back into the MOT Scheme. We provide free support to member businesses that experience such challenges. Even in the best managed Testing Station things can go wrong and be missed. If this does happen to your business having an experienced partner well used to representing Vehicle Testing Stations in these circumstances can have a significant effect on the outcome. We don’t help member businesses to avoid the consequences of non-compliance but we do help to ensure that VOSA have an accurate and appropriate view of the business they are dealing with and that, where appropriate, the sanctions applied and their impact is minimised. Not that long ago one of our members had need of our help and support when, after a

re-examination of three recently tested vehicles that had been issued with a VT20, VOSA contacted the business detailing their findings and suggesting that disciplinary action may be taken and that the case may warrant cessation of their authorisation to test. The VOSA Vehicle Examiner found defects on the vehicles that were considered to have justified failure at the time of the tests but were instead issued with VT20s. The Nominated Tester was a temporary replacement and only employed by the Authorised Examiner on a part time basis but had been found to have knowingly recorded incorrect information and issued the VT20’s in the full knowledge that the defects identified by the Vehicle Examiner still existed on the vehicles. After further investigation VOSA issued 500 penalty points and a 5 year cessation notice which had obvious implications for the business, fortunately as SMTA members they could call on the support and help needed. We entered into the appeals process and requested to present the case on behalf of the business in an informal hearing. This process is an important part of VOSA’s process and allows for a complete picture of the circumstances of the failures to be examined and the past performance of the VTS to be provided. The Authorised Examiner did not dispute the findings of the Vehicle Examiner but did think that the decision to withdraw authorisation for 5 years was too severe. We provided evidence of both the past performance of the Testing Station and their commitment to use the SMTA QC programme to ensure adherence to the correct standards in the future. After a great deal of correspondence and communication with both the business involved and VOSA the outcome of the appeal was that the Secretary of State for Transport found that the cessation of authorisation for 5 years could be considered harsh and that they considered it

appropriate to allow reapplication after 12 months, if remedial measures, like the QC programme, could be demonstrated. Whilst the impact of this cessation was severe for the business involved they were able to survive and regain authorisation. Another member in the central belt had case to use our support after a re-examination of a 16 year old Ford Fiesta. The car was found, by the Vehicle Examiner, to have major corrosion in a number of areas and therefore not to have been tested in the manner and to the standards as prescribed by the Motor Vehicles (Test) Regulations and the instructions issued by VOSA. The proposed disciplinary action was to allocate 180 points but fortunately, as an SMTA member, we were able to represent the business in the appeals process. This case hinged not on the details of the car in question but in VOSA’s failure to follow fully their own operating instructions in VT11 Inverted Appeal procedures a situation only identified though the involvement of our personnel. This challenge combined with representations of the Testing Stations good practice, a commitment to get involved in our QC programme and previous good performance resulted in the case being dropped completely. As these examples demonstrate the SMTA benefits from a strong and long-established relationship with VOSA. This valuable experience and expertise has been used to develop the MOT Quality Control Programme that is very effective and is recognised by VOSA as representing ‘best practice’ and helping Authorised Examiners adhere to the standards required. The programme is designed to enable Vehicle Testing Stations to avoid issues of practice that might expose them to the risk of being targeted by VOSA’s Vehicle Examiners. Providing evidence of participation can often lead to the awarding of credit points when VOSA are considering disciplinary action. If you are interested in hearing more about the support we can provide to Vehicle Testing Stations please contact David Innes using the details below. 0131 331 5510

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Hardies of Larbert and Stirling are just one of many Dealer groups and independents to entrust their entire web strategy to Specialist Automotive Digital Marketing Agency Motor Commerce. The Peugeot group operates new and used car sales and servicing and have a number of websites generating enquiries and sales through a range of media that include Search Engine Optimisation, e-Newsletters and e-mail marketing, Social Media including Facebook and Twitter and recently some innovative Facebook advertising that is generating quality new car enquiries and showroom traffic. The sites were designed following a no compromise, no template approach that allows real personalisation and goes a long way towards establishing a unique online identity in these days of Internet sales. Most web providers shy away from bespoke designs in favour of easier to produce but lower performance “stock” versions.

be tracked back to source. This allows a very clear understanding of the effectiveness of advertising spend with used car portals, allowing fine tuning of advertising budgets and real accountability of their performance. Motor Commerce specialise in the marketing of websites just as much as their creation. Says Edward Legge, Motor Commerce Sales & Marketing Manager, ‘It’s a cliché now but still as true as ever - what use is a website without exposure? Years ago Google used to be the prime supplier of traffic but now there are so many other media that need to be understood and employed, including Blogging, Social Media and e-mail marketing. All have a place in today’s marketing of new and used cars. For more information on MotorCommerce call 01724 781499, e-mail or visit

The Advanced Admin area incorporates VRM Lookup, CAP Tech & Spec data and feeds to all of the major used car portals such as Autotrader, Pistonheads, eBay, Netcars and many more. Critically, recent Advanced Admin upgrades means that all enquiries by portals, phones or e-mail can

Motor Commerce

SCOTLAND Andrew McIntosh has 15 years industry experience, ten with Northridge. He has operational responsibility for clients from the Borders, Dumfries and Galloway, across the Central Belt and into the Highlands.

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Unique to Northridge: our Target 365 online proposal system, making it easy to capture valuable data quickly. And our Joint Venture Product, a first in this industry, with true, highly competitive ‘money cost’ base rates, to help clients deliver better value to their customers. Says Scotland Regional Manager, Andrew McIntosh, “The Northridge name began in Edinburgh in 1999, so a significant slice of our overall market share comes through Scotland. So while we are looking to maintain growth, It is vitally important that we continue to deliver for our loyal supporters.” It’s not just the quality of our service you can count on, but our people too. Talk to Andrew. Call 07736 900573

An eye to the future

Kinghorn Bodyshop in Blackburn Aberdeen

Derek McBrien was the winner of the ‘Body Repair’ category and works for Graham Kinghorn, of Kinghorn Bodyshop in Blackburn Aberdeen. Graham recognises both the advantages and risks of taking on apprentices. “We need young people to join our business and perform to the high standards that we set. There is always the risk that you will lose your apprentice once they qualify but we know that by investing this time in our team we can continue to deliver the quality of service our customers demand. We currently have 2 second year apprentices, 1 that

has just finished his time and we are looking for 2 first years right now – the benefits far outweigh the risks, we get members of staff who we know fit the team and can work to the quality and standards we need.” Kirsty Andrews won the ‘Vehicle Paint’ category of the competition and works for Neil Rennie at Castle Park Autobody in Ellon. Neil is a supporter of the apprentice scheme and believes strongly in the importance and benefits of giving young people a chance. “We didn’t need Kirsty to win the award to tell us that she was good at her job but it was nice for her to get the recognition anyway and confirms the benefit our business gets from Kirsty’s training. The Apprentice scheme gives us ‘Peace of Mind’ that our trainees are working to the standards we require and having properly qualified staff gives our

Westhill Garage, Westhill Aberdeenshire

The recent ‘Apprentice of the Year 2012’ competition supported by the Grampian Motor Training Trust and Aberdeen College celebrated both the achievement of the apprentice technicians involved and the importance that their employers place on staff training.

Station Garage in Bucksburn Aberdeen.

Craig Wood was the runner up in the overall Apprentice of the Year competition and works at the Station Garage in Bucksburn Aberdeen. Kevin Massie is the Service Manager at the Station Garage and is clear about why they use the apprentice training scheme. “We have been in business for over 30 years and have built up our reputation over that period. It is important that we maintain our good name and bringing in the right sort of people and training them in the way we do things is vital. We have brought in ‘time served’ mechanics before but it is not easy to get the skills we need and the advantage of bringing young people in through the Apprentice scheme is that you can mould them into your way of doing the work. We know that our standards won’t change and that they will work in the way we think is best and suits our team. We currently have 3 apprentices and it works for us” The winner of the competition and Apprentice of the Year 2012 was Michael Keith. Michael works for Derek Stewart at the Westhill Garage, Westhill Aberdeenshire and Derek is sure of the benefits they get from their commitment to the apprentice scheme. “Michael winning the ‘Apprentice of the Year 2012’ was a huge boost to the whole of the business. This recognition can be shared by every one in the team and this commitment to giving young people a chance is an important part of who we are. We have been in business since 1968 and I have been here since 1972 so I have seen and been part

of the development of a lot of young people. Bringing in Apprentices, we have 3 at the moment, can give us confidence in the standard of work being done and allows us to develop the apprentices in the way that suits us and fits with the high standards we require. Our investment in developing the skills and knowledge of our apprentices often helps to create a sense of loyalty that reduces the risk of losing them. Our position in the local community is important and providing opportunities for local young people is good for the community and good for business.” Apprentice Training is an important part of our activities, designed specifically for motor trade businesses, which helps ensure your trainees gain the valuable knowledge and skills necessary for your business. We have strong working relationships with Further Education Colleges and Group Training Associations throughout Scotland built up over the last 14 years which means that we can provide support to all aspects of apprentice training - from recruitment and selection through to final certification. We work very closely with training providers to monitor progress and to support both your trainees and your business throughout the training programme. We arrange the funding and, as the employer, all you have to do is pay and support your apprentice in the workplace. If you’re thinking about Apprentice Training, have someone you’re looking to start or just want a bit more information give Fraser Miller a call on 0131-331-5510.

Castle Park Autobody in Ellon

customers’ confidence in our services. We have 2 members of staff doing their apprenticeships and I firmly believe the trade needs schemes like this and support from the SMTA to bring in new blood and be successful in the future.”

Are you taking full advantage? How much could your business gain? ▲

Our Buying Group, available only to members, provides reduced pricing on a number of Motor Trade products. SMTA membership could provide significant savings for your business.

We provide Credit and Debit Card Services that could cut your transaction cost significantly, whatever the size of your business.

The exclusive to members Motor Trade Insurance offer brings an experienced team, familiar with motor trade requirements, who can assess your requirements and deliver reduced charges and improved benefits.

One of our most valuable services is MOT Support and Representation. We provide direct support to members who experience a challenge from VOSA. Our team is experienced at working with VOSA and our in-depth knowledge helps to ensure the most positive outcomes possible are achieved.

We can also help to ensure you consistently comply with testing requirements through our MOT QC Programme. VOSA already recognise businesses that are using our programme as worthy of credit in their assessments.

The SMTA Apprentice Training Services provide structured courses and ensures that your business gains people with the expertise needed for successful operations. We can manage all of your apprentice training needs.

Our Waste Management provider provides substantial discounts exclusively to our members. There are options to pick standard or specifically tailored solutions to deal with your waste and deliver income to your business.

The Conciliation and Arbitration service available and free to members means that when and if things go wrong you know you have the support you need to resolve disputes as positively as possible.

Support is also available through our HR/Employment and Health & Safety Advice that can reduce the risks and costs associated with providing a satisfactory working environment.

Members can also benefit from our Technical Support Bulletin & Helpline with unlimited access provided at preferential rates through a dedicated specialist service.

contact us

0131 331 5510

Motor Trade Matters Feb 2013  
Motor Trade Matters Feb 2013  

Magazine of the Scottish Motor Trade Association - informing members of news and new products.