SMTA Scots Auto Scene – Issue 17

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THOMSON COOPER: COX AUTOMOTIVE: MEMBER PROFILES: SMTA Education Programme Launch ‘Cautiously Optimistic’ Used Car Forecast Funding Options for Your Business Knockhill Racing Circuit & Bridgend Motor Group ISSUE 17 SUPPORTED BY The Magazine for Scottish Motor Professionals brought to you by




3. Assist Authorised Examiners to maintain DVSA standards


4. QMS site assessments exceeds minimum requirements as set by DVSA for quality control

5. Protect your income for less than the price of one MOT per month

Why use SMTA QMS?

Currently we carry out over 800 QMS surveys per annum! Participation in the QMS programme and adhering to its standards should also substantially reduce the likelihood for DVSA to consider taking disciplinary action against a Vehicle Testing Station. However, if an incident necessitating this was to occur, then evidence of measures taken by Authorised Examiners to apply standards that exceed DVSA’s minimum standards would be taken into consideration and could lead to a reduction in the severity of any sanction imposed. SMTA members also benefit from free representation and appeals assistance, others will charge you additional costs for this service.

Ask about our QMS service today! E: T: 0778 9264 228
In-depth examination of all aspects of the MOT scheme
2. Structured to suit individual business needs


Welcome to our new look, new style, and even new name (well, it’s an old name reused, actually) ScotsAUTOSCENE magazine. We wanted to update the image and style of the magazine to better reflect the duties we have to represent the automotive industry here in Scotland. That mindset led us to consider changing the name and, given we own the intellectual rights to a number of previously popular trade magazine titles, including the ScotsAUTOSCENE one, we thought, why not use it? The branding fully reflects our ethos to “ENCOURAGE, PROMOTE & PROTECT” our members who operate predominately, but not exclusively, in Scotland. We all hope that you like what you see.

That said, as always, this magazine is created for our members, and if, as a member, you see something you don’t like, then tell us. Or, and possibly more importantly, if you have an idea for some content that we are not dealing with, then tell us as well!

At the SMTA Annual Dinner in 2023, I announced that we would be launching an education programme in partnership with the IMI during the spring of 2024. I am delighted to confirm that the process is now well underway, and we are confident of getting this out to the schools post-summer holidays, with the ambition to judge the entries in spring 2025. You will see the working model for the cover of the launch brochure as per our front cover. I wanted to share this for two reasons:

To make everyone aware of the plans and the progress as stated above.

To ensure that everyone understands we are not, all of a sudden, “going political” and promoting Scottish Independence. The title I.N.D.Y. 25 was picked because we have paired up with the Jim Clark Museum down in Duns as they prepare to celebrate 60 years since the Scottish Motor Racing legend, double World Formula One Champion, Jim Clark, won the Indianapolis 500 in 1965!

We see Jim Clark and his success as being something that will instill confidence and ambition in those who take part in this competition, which has separate primary and secondary work tasks, all mapped to the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence.

The exciting part is that, as a member of the SMTA, you can promote the event to your customers, staff, and the general public. It is free to enter, and every school or educational process at the primary or secondary education level is able to take part, meaning there should be no exclusions! The ambition behind this project is simple and of value to every employer in our sector. If not now, most certainly in the future, we want to highlight the career opportunities within the automotive industry to the youth of today.

How can you help? Simple. As and when we have everything ready, all we ask is if you would consider promoting the competition (which has some fantastic prizes) to your client or contacts base within your locality. No charge for the simple link that will take anyone interested, pupils, employees, clients, teachers, etc., to the entry process. You could even find your next technician or manager of the future as a result, and quite possibly enjoy the engagement as well.

We will advise you further in the near future. Look out for the relevant E-Shot coming into your inbox soon!

Turning to the future, I am proud to announce that on the 15th of July 2024, I will have been involved with the SMTA for fifty years! I started my apprenticeship (four years) in 1974, learning my trade on a relatively unheard-of Japanese brand of car called Datsun. At the time, I was told that they would never last and be gone from our shores within a decade. Guess what? They are still here. You may now know them as Nissan, one of the UK’s largest exporters and motor vehicle manufacturers. Cars evolve, our industry evolves, and people evolve. However, eventually, there is a time when the needs of the sector and the membership of the SMTA would benefit from a refresh of thinking and leadership. So, as I get ready to celebrate this half-century involvement with the SMTA, I have also reached the painful decision that it is time to hand the reins over to someone new. Therefore, with a heavy heart, I advised the President that I wish to stand down from my Chief Executive’s role with effect from the 31st of December, 2024.

I plan to write a more detailed article for the next edition of ScotsAUTOSCENE, so for now, I just wanted to advise that the Board has started the search for my successor, and I look forward to working with the successful candidate to bring about a seamless and smooth handover.


‘Cautiously optimistic’ used car forecast .


SMTA is looking for members to join their board of directors.


Knockhill Racing Circuit celebrates 50 years


Bridgend Motor Group


Funding options for your business


Latest new car registrations for Scotland


Annandale Distillery feature with a chance to win afternoon tea!.

If you would like to take advantage of advertising in ScotsAUTOSCENE which reaches all SMTA members and beyond to approximately 5,000 sites across Scotland, or have an article you would like to discuss for publication contact Wendy Hennessy: Email:

For details of SMTA events please contact: Email:

For now, I hope you all enjoy summer and wish you all the very best for you and yours personally and in business.

Scottish Motor Trade Association Ltd., Palmerston House, 10 The Loan, South Queensferry EH30 9NS

SMTA Ltd Tel: 0131 331 5510

Scotsure MBI Ltd Tel: 0131 331 5512

SMTA is proud to support:

‘Cautiously optimistic’ used car forecast the most likely outcome for 2024.

Cox Automotive’s new Insight Quarterly (IQ), helps you stay informed about the industry’s most important trends and topics. This includes the used market, where EV registrations, the growth of the new car sector and price volatility remain areas of intense discussion. Cox Automotive’s Insight Director Philip Nothard here outlines his used market forecasts and scenarios for the remainder of 2024.

Stories about the growth of the new car market and EV registrations continued to dominate trade media news feeds in the first quarter of 2024. In the used market, price volatility remains a significant topic of debate.

That volatility, alongside other issues, makes us think the UK used car market could see up to 7.7 million transactions by the end of the year if trading continues at the pace established during the first quarter.

However, while official SMMT figures for Q1 matched our upside forecast for the period, we think the most likely outcome for 2024 will be 7.4 million units.

The official numbers are cause for celebration as the market grew 6.5% to almost two million units, the fifth successive quarter of growth and a five-year high. Transaction statistics were therefore within a whisker of the 1.96 million upside forecast we published in October of last year.

That ‘bounce’ could lead us to conclude that our upside scenario is the most likely to play out. But it’s important we don’t get ahead of ourselves - I instead remain cautiously optimistic.

This dynamic environment underscores the need for adaptability and strategic planning to thrive in today’s automotive market.

Fuel type considerations

As the volume of battery electric vehicles surges, largely propelled by the fleet sector, there’s mounting pressure and complexity surrounding predicting and managing future residual values. OEMs, grappling with production volume constraints and the looming

threat of new entrants, are being forced to navigate the supply chain to find new efficiencies. Price adjustments have become a key defence strategy, which is evident in recent actions by Tesla and BYD as they grapple with missed targets. Balancing these factors poses a significant challenge for the used vehicle sector.

While the medium to long-term economic outlook appears optimistic, our recent four-year fuel type forecast predicted an overall rise, albeit a modest one, for the used market in 2024. Retailers are facing a raft of challenges stemming from higher interest rates and the cost of ownership for used vehicles. Compared to the heavily subsidised, well-supported new

car market, driven by OEMs striving to allocate the elevated levels of production currently accumulating in compounds and ports across the market, these challenges represent a substantial number of challenges to used.

As a result, retailers are grappling with the dual pressures of a shifting economic landscape and the dynamic demands of an increasingly complex automotive market. Balancing these factors requires strategic adaptation and innovative solutions to sustain profitability and navigate a morphing marketplace.

Used car dealers must adapt to that transformation. It’s worth considering what proportion of UK operators have a noticeable lack of EVs and hybrid variants on their forecourt. That sector


is becoming increasingly competitive each year, but how many dealers are ready for what’s coming down the pipe?

Savvy dealers, if they haven’t already, need to give their stock profile serious consideration, especially as the ICE car parc is ageing year-on-year. That trend is impacting availability and choice in vehicles up to four years old. Retailers should consider how their forecourt looks now, what percentage of it is ICE and how will that look a year from now and in the years that follow. Can that profile be sustained, when the availability of ICE vehicles is shrinking at a rate of 10-16% a year going forward?

We stand by our prediction that diesel’s new car market share will plummet to 3% by 2028: yet another firm reason to embrace the EV wave more enthusiastically. This comes with opportunity. Are dealers maximising the margin opportunity on subone-year-old diesel stock now? The transition to electric and hybrid variants now, more than ever, must indeed involve more training and better tech knowhow. Consumer behaviour over the past few years tells us that availability, not preference, is pushing many buyers to choose

hybrid as opposed to full-blown BEV. Could hybrid be the stepping stone dealers and their customers need in the wholesale shift to electric? And if so, are your sales team members equipped to help them?

Still, we must remember that 94% of used cars sold last year were ICE and the majority of buyers will stay loyal to petrol and/or diesel for many years to come. They may not yet be ready to make the leap into EVs for financial, infrastructure or use-case reasons. That means customers eager to get their hands on an ICE must have their questions about availability and price answered by clued-up dealers.

It’s also worth noting that unstable used EV prices, already under pressure from shifting market dynamics, will only be compounded by OEM pricing tactics in the new market. Manufacturers’ pricing strategies, keen to shift their new vehicles and spurred on by the arrival of new entrants and the 2035 ICE ban deadline, will likely continue to give used retailers headaches.

Time for recalibration?

While news coverage has often highlighted financial pressures

and compressed margins in the automotive sector, the reality encompasses a broader spectrum of challenges.

Indeed, businesses face increasing pressures on their balance sheets, driven by factors such as interest rates and rising labour and energy costs.

However, it’s essential to contextualise these challenges within the broader narrative of industry dynamics. Comparing current performance to previous years, it’s evident that the sector previously enjoyed robust margins amid constrained new vehicle supply and high demand for used cars.

However, these conditions were unsustainable, and as depreciation returns and stock write-downs become more

prevalent, operators must recalibrate their strategies. Embracing a “back to basics” approach while keeping a watchful eye on what’s happening in the new market, will be crucial for navigating the current landscape, allowing businesses to adapt to evolving market dynamics while maintaining resilience and profitability.

Building on recent used car figures and insights, the market factors described in this article, and in line with previous Cox Automotive forecasts, we have adjusted our used car registration forecasts accordingly. They have been broken up into three scenarios – upside, baseline, and downside – each with its justification below. The baseline is, we believe, the most likely scenario to materialise.


Upside Scenario

In the upside scenario, a balanced recovery unfolds, driven by increased choice, heightened consumer confidence, and a notable surge in Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) ownership.

y New vehicle registrations follow a steady recovery trajectory, alleviating the strain on the cost of owning used vehicles compared to new ones.

y Expansion of used vehicle options: Recent production shortages, which previously limited choice in the used market, gradually ease as inventory from fleet and rental sectors enters the market. This influx and a notable upturn in consumer confidence support increased supply volumes.

y Economic measures, such as lower inflation and declining interest rates, implemented sufficiently in 2024, stimulate consumer confidence and enhance overall spending. Consequently, this alleviates pressure on both the leading and broader automotive sectors.

y The used EV market experiences significant expansion as consumer interest in ownership rockets. This heightened interest could stem from increased confidence in residual values, enhanced battery health, or government-driven initiatives to bolster demand.

Baseline Scenario

In the baseline scenario, a slow resurgence unfolds as economic factors maintain inflation at higher-than-ideal levels. At the same time, new vehicle production gradually recovers amid growing EV adoption.

y The broader economy remains characterised by unresolved conditions, with no significant deterioration observed. Long-term recovery plans and forecasts remain feasible, albeit with gradual inflation reduction and stubbornly high interest rates, experiencing only minor yearly declines.

y • The recovery in new vehicle production stabilises and potentially gains momentum. As EV adoption grows, particularly in the new vehicle market, the return of fleet, rental, and business sector commercial discounts helps ease pressures on the supply of used vehicles. This growth is carefully managed to prevent a significant oversupply that could lead to a sudden crash in vehicle values.

y The shift to EVs in the used car market continues slowly. Similar to trends observed in 2023, adopting used EVs shows incremental progress without significant acceleration.

Downside Scenario

In the downside scenario, weakened consumer confidence and economic struggles contribute to a challenging landscape where financing a used vehicle proves prohibitively expensive for many.

y The economy undergoes a substantial and prolonged downturn, with implemented measures failing to make a significant impact. Persistent high inflation rates persist, with limited prospects for reduction. The Bank of England maintains elevated base rates to counter inflation, further exacerbating economic woes.

y Fragile consumer sentiment results in a decrease in demand for used vehicles, leading to a contraction in the used car market. Economic uncertainties prompt consumers to postpone or reconsider purchasing used vehicles, dampening market activity.

y Financing rates for used vehicles remain markedly higher than anticipated, rendering used vehicle ownership financially out of reach for a significant number of consumers. This disparity in affordability is particularly pronounced amid a cost-of-living crisis and within an economic landscape characterised by persistent inflation.

Packed with industry insights, forecasts and opinions, IQ is designed to provide a clearer view of the road ahead.

Read more here. Insight Quarterly 6 WWW.SMTA.CO.UK

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Be part of SMTA!

As your trade association, you will know that we have a Board of Directors who strive to ‘encourage, protect and promote’ the SMTA for its members.

Some of our current board members are standing down this year and we are therefore looking for several non-executive directors to join the Board. We are looking for people who are passionate about the Scottish motor trade and who can bring their experience and ideas to the SMTA.

It is a non-executive position, and we ask that you are free in person or remotely to attend four board meetings per year. We will cover your travel expenses and you would also have a complimentary invitation to our Annual Dinner each year and, let’s not forget you would assisting in future-proofing the SMTA going forward to deal with the many changes that the motor industry is facing right now.

Interested? Please contact our Chief Executive, Sandy Burgess or you can call him on 07764 152566 for an informal chat about the role.

Support Services Consultant Full-time, Permanent


The Scottish Motor Trade Association Ltd is looking to recruit a permanent full-time Support Services Consultant to provide MOT quality assessment services for Vehicle Testing Stations and Testers, primarily in the east and north-east of Scotland but also elsewhere in Scotland should the need arise

The ideal candidate should be a qualified or experienced mechanic with a good knowledge of MOT Testing. Being a qualified MOT Tester would be a distinct advantage but is not essential as training can be provided. Good verbal and written communication skills are also desirable.

The successful candidate will work from home and a fully expensed company car will be provided (a driving licence is required for this position). We offer a basic salary and bonus package with on target earnings in the region of £35,800, a generous company pension scheme, ‘Death in Service’ benefit and 30 days annual leave per year.


y Ability to conduct tester quality checks by observing testing practices or by partial re-examination of previously tested vehicles.

y Ability to assess the premises and equipment for compliance with standards set by DVSA.

y Someone who can adopt an analytical approach in the assessment of management practices and the examination of MOT related documentation.

y Confident in use of computers to access and analyse VTS and tester data available on DVSA’s web-based MOT Testing Service.

y Attention to detail is a must and someone who can prioritise and categorise their findings to present or discuss those findings at an appropriate level within the client/member business.

y Confident in communicating and dealing with people at all levels.

y Smart in appearance as you will be representing the SMTA and appropriate for the type of establishment being visited.

y Able to manage workload in a time and cost-efficient manner.

y Flexibility to working patterns, including a willingness on occasions to start early, finish late or stay away from home overnight.

Experienced vehicle technician

Qualified MOT Tester (or willingness to train)

Good written and oral communication skills

Good timekeeping and ability to manage own workload

If you are interested in applying for this vacancy, please send in your CV and a supporting letter to by Friday 21st June 2024.

We work with ambitious automotive partners to strengthen their relationships with their customers. Through exible retention solutions, we create positive motoring experiences that lead to increased loyalty and greater pro tability.

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Why an A-rated insurance company is the best choice for your business

Discover what makes an insurance company A-rated, why it matters, and what it means for your motor trade business if you go for a cheaper, lower-grade option.

With motor trade policy prices still on the up, it’s understandable that many clients are shopping around for a lower quote. Something’s got to give, right? Well, no, actually –there certainly shouldn’t be any compromising on the standards and coverage of your insurance. Cheaper options are often from unrated insurers who may suddenly pull out of the market, leaving customers high and dry. Road Runner (who’ve been allied with A-rated AXA since 2013) explains why you need to partner with an ‘A’ rated and experienced insurance provider and what they need to do to earn an ‘A’ rating.

An A-rated insurer has the full approval from the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI). It also has a high credit rating from one of the leading agencies, such as Moody’s AM Best, or Fitch. This means they’ll have a reputation for having a strong and secure financial footing, so likely to honour policy terms and repay creditors.

At a more granular level, critical elements that determine the rating of an insurance company are likely to encompass financial reserves, business focus, claims payment history plus style and structure of management.

Ratings actually go from the highest AAA down to C, but anything with an A status is one that you can feel confident in.

So, would you want to put your faith and insurance needs in the hands of an organisation that doesn’t fulfil the basic criteria? Newcomers to the market are likely to have a lower rate, a shakier foundation,a lack of financial reserves and a questionable credit history. And if this insurance provider crashed, customers would be without cover and unprotected, so that cheaper insurance premium may cost more in the long run. A whole new policy would need to be taken out, and that savvy saving may end up leaving a hole in your profit margins.

The three main considerations for choosing an insurer are stability, reputation, and longevity in the market.

That A-rating is important, but what has the insurance provider done to achieve that? Make sure that they’re authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) as they can verify old-timers and newcomers are meeting tough requirements and have no history of misleading customers.

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Road Runner comes with the stability, reputation, longevity, and knowledge to help you secure the best quote and right insurance for you.

You can check on the FCA’s financial services register if they’re regulated. If not, move on to the next possible choice.

Once you’ve a list of contenders, look at their websites and review sites such as Feefo (Road Runner is currently scoring 4.8 out of 5 there, based on 598 customer reviews) to see what customers themselves have experienced – especially if they’ve had to make a claim.

Another factor is to partner with a motor trade expert. With more than twenty five years of building customer relationships across all parts of the motor trade – from mechanics to vehicle sales, and panel-beaters to paint experts – Road Runner comes with the stability, reputation, longevity, and knowledge to help you secure the best quote and right insurance for you. And we make it our business to work with A-rated AXA, so your business remains in safe hands. Our parting advice? Opting for an insurance A-lister may not be the cheapest insurance option, but it’s the most reliable and sensible. After all, none of us want to be caught out by that old saying: “Buy cheap, buy twice”.

If you want to know more about the advantages of A-Rated insurance and how Road Runner can benefit your motor trade business, call us on 0330 100 8720, scan the code, or visit to get a quote today.

The small print; no purchase necessary, free to enter draw, no alternative prize will be offered. Closing date for entry is 30 days after magazine is published. Prize provided by Niall Farmer of GES Scotland and Gemco. Competition entry only open to those businesses in current membership of the SMTA. SIMPLY EMAIL YOUR CONTACT DETAILS TO: Need help? Please call Niall Farmer of GES Scotland on 07483 827734 WIN COMPETITION TIME!! SIMPLY EMAIL YOUR DETAILS TO ENTER! © GEMCO 2023 All Rights Reserved. GEMCO and the GEMCO globe device are trade marks of GEMCO UK Limited. *Warranty is subject to proof of maintenance and excludes accidental damaged, vandalism or acts of nature. Contact Us: 0345 872 2400 / Email: / Website: 098013 AUTOPSTENHOJ Maestro 2.35 F Sport 3.5 Tonne Two Post Lift (Baseless) 3.5 tonne lifting capacity 70mm – 95mm minimum height 1970mm – 1995mm maximum lifting height Electro-mechanical operation 35 seconds lifting & lowering time 707/1443mm arm length min-max 2 x 2.8kW motor size 3 phase 3 YEAR WARRANTY The AUTOPSTENHOJ 098013 Maestro 2.35 F Sport two post lift is the ultimate for lifting of low profile sports cars! This lift features a low arm pad height of just 70mm and the arm profiles on the final extension are very low profile so that they do not foul on the sill. This lift is suitable for all types of repair and maintenance work on small and large passenger cars, sports cars, 4×4 and vans (excl LWB). ALL AUTOPSTENHOJ two post lifts are led through a sling purifying plant (according to SA2.50 – ISO-Norm 8501-1:2007), dipped in primer and finally led through an electrostatic powder bake plant. Ultra low 70mm pad height OPTIONAL LED lighting kit (2 tubes) with magnetic fixings Baseless with overhead portal Hybrid and EV wheel adaptors availble Made In Denmark Niall Farmer 07483 827734 More Jacket Prizes by popular demand

How Dealers benefit from working with Warranty First.

Warranty First takes pride in its mission to support dealerships throughout the UK by providing outstanding vehicle protection solutions for their customers while simultaneously boosting the dealerships’ revenue.

The company achieves this not only through its top-tier coverage options but also by offering personalised guidance, unwavering support, and a dedicated focus tailored to each individual dealership’s needs.

Warranty First believes in a handson approach, working closely with dealerships to drive success at every level.

By delivering exceptional service and building strong partnerships, the company creates a mutually beneficial situation – a true winwin for both Warranty First and the dealerships they serve. This commitment to going above and beyond sets Warranty First apart in the industry, making them a valuable ally for any dealership looking to enhance customer

satisfaction and increase profitability.

Why should your dealership offer a warranty product?

For a dealership to thrive in the current climate, it must develop a deep sense of trust and confidence among its customers - even when the vehicle is used. Offering a warranty serves as a powerful safety net, assuring customers that they are protected against unexpected costs stemming from potential vehicle issues further down the road.

Recognising the critical role of warranties in building customer loyalty and peace of mind, Warranty First provides comprehensive policies designed to cover these unforeseen expenses. By partnering with Warranty First, dealerships can demonstrate their commitment to customer satisfaction and stand behind the quality of their vehicles by offering a wide range of extended warranty plans.

This, in turn, strengthens the bond between the dealership

and its customers, leading to increased sales, positive wordof-mouth recommendations, and a stellar reputation in the competitive automotive market. Warranty First’s honest and transparent approach to car, van, and motorbike protection sets them apart from the competition.

What support does warranty first provide to dealers?

To assist dealers in extending or upselling warranties, Warranty First implements a comprehensive approach that focuses on empowering dealership staff through tailored training and development plans. These plans are meticulously crafted to address the unique needs of each dealer partner, ensuring that their sales teams receive the most relevant and effective support possible.

The company’s dedicated team works closely with dealerships to provide ongoing sales and product coaching, continually refining their strategies based on monthly reviews and feedback. This proactive approach allows

Join the dealers up and down the country enjoying the benefits of putting their warranty offering, first. Shift your warranty journey into gear by visiting the online home of Warranty First at and give the team a call on 01733 830278 or send an enquiry via the website.

Warranty First to adapt their support to the evolving needs of each dealership’s sales team, maximising their potential for success.

Furthermore, decision-makers at Warranty First’s dealer partners have access to a sophisticated portal that enables them to monitor their warranty incomes and drill down into specific data points. This invaluable resource helps identify areas where additional training and support are needed, allowing Warranty First to develop targeted solutions that drive performance and profitability.

By combining these personalised training and development plans with exceptional products and outstanding aftercare service, Warranty First empowers dealerships to transform their warranty offerings into highperforming profit centres.

The company’s steadfast commitment to supporting its dealer partners at every level sets the stage for long-term success and growth in the dynamic automotive industry.


SMTA Annual Dinner 2024


Join us for a special evening of Recognition and Inspiration

The Scottish Motor Trade Association is thrilled to invite you to one of the most anticipated events in our industry’s calendar, the SMTA Annual Dinner 2024. This prestigious evening will be a celebration of excellence, achievement, and community spirit within the Scottish motor trade industry.

Special Guest Speaker: Ben Collins, aka “The Stig”

We are honoured to announce that this year’s guest speaker will be none other than Ben Collins, renowned for his enigmatic presence as “The Stig” on the iconic television series, Top Gear. Ben’s insights and stories from behind the wheel promise to be an enthralling highlight of the evening.

Spaces for the SMTA Annual Dinner 2024 are limited. Secure your attendance at this prestigious event and be part of an evening dedicated to excellence, inspiration, and community spirit within the Scottish Motor Trade Industry.

Tickets Now On Sale

Book your tickets online –scan the QR code on the left or visit

Thursday, 24th October 2024

at the Hilton Hotel, Glasgow

C.A.R Star Award Sponsors Programme Sponsor Executive Sponsor Headline Sponsor President’s Award Sponsor Sponsorship items are available please email for information
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Knockhill celebrates its 50th Anniversary in 2024

Located high in the rolling hills above Dunfermline in Fife, Knockhill Racing Circuit is Scotland’s only permanent motorsport circuit and is Scotland’s National Motorsport Centre. It has been the setting for some of the most memorable moments in Scottish racing history as it celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2024. Champions Niall Mackenzie, Gordon Shedden, Damon Hill, Steve Hislop, Joey Dunlop and Colin McRae are just a few of the racing legends who have tackled the famous course, which opened in 1974.

The plans for a circuit began in the early 1970s when landowner Tom Kinnaird had a vision, with friend David Brown, to create a permanent circuit on 200 acres of moorland. The first bike meeting happened on September 22nd 1974, with the circuit not yet having its final top surface of tarmac laid. But the riders loved the track’s twists and turns and the spectators enjoyed great vantage points and a panoramic view across Fife to Edinburgh. In September 1983 the track was bought by Derek Butcher, who had raced at that first bike

meeting a decade before who started a life-long improvement programme. It is only 1.3 miles long and is the only racing circuit in the world licensed to run both clockwise and anticlockwise, giving Scotland two top-class circuits at one venue.

The decades have seen the circuit grow stronger and stronger over the years with a diverse range of activities now hosted all year round including track days, car launch events, Supertruck and fireworks events as well as one of the most extensive range of Driving Experiences in the UK. Drivers can have the thrill of driving the British Touring Car circuit behind the wheel of a 2024 Alpine A110 sports car before driving a Formula Single Seater, Legends, Ferrari 430 or even a classic Jaguar E Type.

Guests over the 50 years have been many and varied including Prince William when he tested an Extreme E Odyssey 21 electric car in 2020. Other stars include Sir Ian Botham, Sir Chris Hoy, Mark Beaumont, film star Idris Elba and many of the Scotland rugby and football teams including David Sole, Doddie Weir, Ally McCoist

and Jim Leishman. Colin McRae made his racing debut at the first British Touring Car event in 1992 in a BMW M3 where he infamously pushed Matt Neal off at the hairpin, to a cheer from the crowd, but to the anger of Matt’s father Steve, who chased after him – all memorable and magical moments!

In addition to the sporting events that Knockhill is famous for, the range of Driving Experiences, car launches, Press events, car and bike track days, corporate and team-building events occupy the track fully from March to November.

As Knockhill celebrates its 50th anniversary, including the publication of a coffee table style book Knockhill 50 Years of Racing, the team are looking forward to hosting a special season with a number of extra features at the Superbikes in June, Touring Cars in August and the Circuit’s birthday bike event on September 22nd, 50 years to the day since the first bike meeting in 1974.

To find out more about Knockhill and the range of exciting activities, contact the team on 01383 723337 or check out

Knockhill Racing


repairs, servicing, or simply to assess what is wrong with it, and then they either don’t pay or contact you after the work has finished.

They refuse to answer calls or respond to texts, or they discover their vehicle is not worth repairing, so just leave it with you. These vehicles take up your valuable space and/or signify a hefty outstanding bill.

If this should happen to you, then you need to know about lien and tort.

Initially, you may opt to hold a lien over a vehicle. A lien is “the right of a person or company who has lawfully received property belonging to another to retain that property for so long as a debt owed by the owner of the property remains unpaid.”

Always remember that a lien is purely a right to hold the vehicle until payment is made. It is not permission to dispose of the vehicle or take any other actions

that might be over and above what would be expected of a repairing garage, such as using it as transport.

Also, remember you owe the owner a duty to take reasonable steps to look after the vehicle whilst in your possession and that you cannot charge storage under a lien.

If the vehicle is not collected, you may wish to sell the vehicle to recoup some or all of your losses. The same applies whether the owner has not paid the invoice or if they have left a vehicle with you and never collected it, but owe you no money.

Before acquiring a lien, you must serve a Torts Notice to the owner, in accordance with the Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977.

unless they collect this property and pay what they owe, you are going to sell their property.

You must return to the owner any money recouped over and above that which is owed to you.

If the vehicle owner doesn’t respond to the tort, then you have a decision to make.

You can sell the vehicle, keep what you are owed, and give any extra money received to the vehicle owner. Alternatively, you can ask the court to rule on how the vehicle should be disposed of.

If the original owner did not have good title to the vehicle, and you sell it without the court’s ruling, this does not grant good title to the new owner. If the vehicle was to be seized at a future date, the new owner may look to you for reimbursement.

You are under a duty to sell the vehicle to achieve the best terms

allow the original owner to argue that you should have sold the vehicle via a different method, and therefore, you must return some or all of the money you have made to them.

By receiving the court’s ruling on how to dispose of the vehicle, the order will be conclusive and the original owner will find it difficult to appeal the outcome.

Other factors to consider include the value of the vehicle being sold, whether it is a classic/rare vehicle that once sold will be extremely difficult to recover or replace, and whether the history with the original owner was amicable or not, especially if they decide to dispute matters further down the line.

In conclusion, it all comes down to what level of risk you are prepared to take.



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Time off for carers.

A common enquiry that we receive from clients is how to manage requests from employees for time off to be a carer. There are three types of statutory leave that employees are entitled to in order to enable them to fulfil this function, each of which will be considered below.


Employees have the right to take a “reasonable” amount of unpaid time off work in order to take action which is necessary to deal with particular situations affecting their dependants and to make any necessary long-term care arrangements.

This right is not subject to any qualifying period of employment, meaning that employees accrue the right from their first day of employment.

For the purposes of this type of leave, a “dependant” is defined as:

y The employee’s spouse or civil partner

y A child of the employee.

y A parent of the employee.

y A person who lives in the same household as the employee (but who is not their tenant, lodger, boarder or employee).

The time off is to allow the employee to take action which is necessary:

y To provide assistance when a dependant falls ill, gives birth or is injured or assaulted.

y To make arrangements for the provision of care for a dependant who is ill or injured.

y In consequence of the death of a dependant.

y Because of the unexpected disruption or termination of the dependant’s care arrangements.

y To deal with an unexpected incident which involves the employee’s child while they are at school (or another educational establishment).

What is considered a “reasonable” amount of time off will depend on the circumstances of each case. However, as the leave is to allow employees to make suitable care arrangements, rather than for providing the care themselves, time off should normally be for no longer than a day or two.


Employees also have the statutory right to one week’s unpaid leave in each rolling 12-month period to provide or arrange care for a dependant with a “long-term care need”. This is a new type of leave which came into effect from 6 April 2024.

For the purposes of carer’s leave, a “dependant” is defined in the same way as above, except it also includes any person that reasonably relies on the employee to provide or arrange care.


A dependant will be considered to have a “long-term care need” if they:

y Have an illness or injury (whether physical or mental) that requires, or is likely to require, care for more than three months.

y Have a disability for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010.

y Require care for a reason connected with their old age.

Again, there is no qualifying period for an employee to accrue this right, making it a “day one” right.

The difference between Carer’s Leave and time off for care of dependants is that the former would be planned leave, while the latter would be to deal with some sort of incident or emergency.


Finally, Employees who have, or expect to have, responsibility for a child are entitled to unpaid parental leave. This includes both birth parents and adoptive parents.

Unlike the other two types of leave described above, which are day one rights, parental leave is only available to employees who have one year’s continuous employment with their current employer.

Qualifying employees are entitled to take up to 18 weeks’ unpaid parental leave for each child for the purpose of caring for that child, with a maximum of 4 weeks being taken in any one year. Periods of leave should be taken in blocks of one week, unless otherwise agreed with the employer.


Employees have the right not to be dismissed, or subject to a detriment short of dismissal (such as suspension or a formal written warning), for taking any of the types of leave set out above. Any dismissal for taking these types of leave will be automatically unfair.

Importantly, whereas ordinary claims for unfair dismissal require an employee to have two years’ service, employees can bring automatic unfairness claims from day one of their employment.


It is important that employers are aware of the types of statutory leave that employees who care for dependants are entitled to. Employers should also ensure that they always take legal advice before terminating the employment of, or taking any form of disciplinary action against, an employee who has recently taken one of the types of leave described above.

Just Employment Law are employment law specialists with expertise in drafting policies and advising employers on how to manage requests for time off to care for dependants. If you are interested in learning more about our services, contact us on 0141 331 5150 or at You can also visit our website at www.

Used Inventory Insight from MotoNovo Finance

This perhaps surprising reality is one of the key findings from our latest Used Inventory Insight report for Q1. As one of the UK’s largest used vehicle stock funders, we have a wealth of data on what has been selling and how quickly. What is abundantly clear is that at an average trade purchase of £21,097, dealers could find willing EV buyers quickly.

The overall price comparison with ICE cars is interesting; in stock for an average of 59 days, with an average dealer purchase price of £14,451, the overall car parc is older and cheaper. However, there are signs that price parity between EVs and ICE cars is emerging on an age like-for-like basis.

Looking forward, in the face of increasing new EV supply, growing price competition and the pressure created by the government’s Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV ) targets, there is the potential for used EV values to decline, making them more affordable. Factor in the fact that EVs have fewer mechanical

parts to go wrong and that with a home charger, they are typically cheaper to run than an ICE car, and the potential for increased demand for EVs is evident.


A continuing carryover from the post-COVID semiconductor shortage is an ageing used car parc.  The traditional demand for cars in the 3-6 age category remains true, but availability remains constrained. The inevitable consequence has been increased stocking of cars in the 6-9 age range.

A little over 40% of stock purchased and settled in the last quarter came from the 3-6 age

range. It was a percentage almost matched by cars in the 6-9-yearold segment. In fact, trade buying remained brisk in cars up to 11 years old.

With inflation now at 3.2% and the Office for National Statistics reporting annual growth in employees’ average total earnings (including bonuses) of 5.6% in mid-April, it will be interesting to see if consumers start to feel more confident and look to buy newer cars. Alternatively, might they be more inclined to buy an EV, as suggested previously?


BMW, Audi, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, and Ford cars account for almost half of all used cars stocked with funding from MotoNovo Finance. Smallmedium-sized cars, such as the BMW 3 series, Ford Fiesta, and Volkswagen Golf, featured most prominently within these brands.

Looking at fuel type, the demand for diesel cars is still evident.


However, new diesel car sales, which fell to 6.9% in the year to the end of March, suggest that a shortage of used diesel cars will start to emerge in the future if the demand is sustained. It is possible that diesel cars could gain a price premium in this eventuality.

Finally, in this section, what colours are in fashion? In ranking order, the top colours are Black, White, Grey, and Blue, with Silver and Red following a fair distance behind the top four. One shocker was Beige coming in at No. 13!

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Wholesale stock funding –it’s not what you think.

Successfully navigating the used car market means being agile and adaptable – sniffing out a great opportunity when it arises. But in today’s everchanging world, where car buying behaviour is evolving, margins are getting tighter and where there’s always fierce competition for quality vehicles, keeping your forecourt stocked and your cash flow healthy can feel like a slog.

This is where stock funding comes in. Though often misunderstood as complicated, restrictive and a last resort for failing businesses, the truth is that it is a crucial tool that helps ambitious dealers to transform their business.


We’ve already pointed out that agility in the market is vital to any dealer’s success. Among other things that means doing the basics right, including having access to funds when the right vehicle comes along. Wholesale stock funding, such as a NextGear Capital Stocking Plan, is one common form of funding. With it you can fund wholesale vehicles from anywhere you want. If tried and tested sources are more appealing, at NextGear Capital we have more than 70 auction and wholesale partners. This is great news for you if you are keen to make sure your stock turn is efficient and reliable. Our partners are also what sets us apart from traditional lenders and ‘captive’ funders.


We’re not going to hide behind the fact that, quite often, whether it’s on social media or general chatter, stock funding is considered to be the last resort for dealers who might be struggling. But that’s far from the truth. We prefer to say we work with ambitious dealerships, and we have numerous customers who have been with us since they were start-ups and who now have multi-million-pound funding lines. The success stories are almost too many to be counted. Having the ability to stock more vehicles and sell where the market dictates, frees up cash for investment elsewhere in your business – a surefire way of drastically improving overall profitability. This unmatched flexibility empowers you to make strategic decisions based on your unique business needs, not on limitations imposed by other funding sources. These measures could hardly be called the preserve of someone who’s going through a difficult time with their business.


The NextGear Capital team often speak to dealers who are rightly concerned whether they are using their capital in the right way and running, as it were, a tight ship. Some even think that stock funding is too costly. While it’s true that stock funding is more costly using your own capital, in truth it can’t be rightly compared to ordinary cash or traditional credit. You’re not comparing “apples with apples”.

Instead think about stock funding as a way to grow your business and pursue additional investments. A prime example we see is dealers using our funding as an enabler to evolve their stock profile i.e., to stock better quality (and potentially higher margin) vehicles. Another use case is where dealers use the additional funding to stock more vehicles on their forecourt. With both of these examples it’s easy to see how stock funding can be a driver of additional revenues and profit margins that may have otherwise been unattainable.


It may come as something of a surprise to learn that stock funding is not that complicated. We provide funding that allows dealers to purchase vehicles and grow their business – it’s as simple as that. Another myth that typically piggybacks the sinister-sounding principal of

the ‘captives,’ i.e., that if you take funding from NextGear Capital, there’s going to be some other requirement attached to that funding. In truth, there’s no caveat other than dealers must use it on a pay-as-you-go basis to fund used cars, motorbikes or commercial vehicles.


Our Stocking Plans are tailored to suit the needs of used vehicle dealers. We take that responsibility very seriously and have and experienced team who’ll work with you to understand your business and determine an appropriate facility. Not only that, we stay close to you and adjust your plan as your needs evolve.

We provide funding that enables dealers to purchase vehicles and grow their business – it’s as simple as that. Ignore the fake news. Why not book an appointment here with our Scotland-based Account Manager, David Robertson, to find out how you can boost your bottom line?


Bridgend Motor Group

We talk to Alan McLaughlan –Managing Director at Bridgend Motor Group about their community work and winning an SMTA Car Star Award.

SMTA: What does it mean to your business to win one of our Community Activity Recognition Awards?

AM: It’s great to be recognised and celebrated for our commitment to our local Ayrshire communities. As an independent, family business employing over 240 local people it’s important for us to be involved with the local

clubs and charities that matter to our staff. It’s especially great to win an award from the SMTA as recognition within the motor trade, and it really means a lot to our team.

SMTA: Tell us about your work in your local community?

AM: We have a monthly charity and community fund which allows any member of staff to nominate a good cause that matters to them to receive a donation from the company. Along with a local charity we organise an annual Christmas event in our Kilwinning Autoplex showroom, our fleet of trucks are decorated and lit up, and our drivers take Santa, The Grinch, Frosty the Snowman, and Elf out through the streets of Kilwinning, delivering selection boxes to local children. We also donate selection boxes to the local fire station for them to hand out at their drive through Santas grotto. We support the local community by sponsoring Fireworks Night, Gala Days, and the Christmas Lights switch on. Christmas jumper day, a staff favourite every year! raises a good sum of money for Cash for Kids, and staff love getting involved when we enter teams in charity events such as Race for Life, and the Ayrshire Hospice Colour Dash. For more than 30 years Bridgend Motor Group

has chosen to support Ayrshire Hospice as our main charity, and for almost 40 years the Hospice has been carrying out fantastic work, supporting and caring for patients from communities all over Ayrshire.

SMTA: What’s one of the highlights of your community activity over the years?

AM: Our highlight every year is our ‘Operation Santa’ in conjunction with local charity ACES Woodwynd, our staff love it with many of them bringing their families along to wave Santa off. It’s great to see all the local kids’ faces light up when they our trucks coming along their street with Santa ringing his bell, and his elves handing out selection boxes. We even made it on to the BBC one year!

SMTA: The SMTA is keen to show that our members are not just garage businesses but many of our members also play a huge part in the community. What inspires you to be so active in your community?

AM: We are an Ayrshire family business, but firstly we are a born & bred Ayrshire family, we all live and work in Ayrshire, and we are glad to be able to give back and contribute to our local communities.


SMTA: Can you tell our readers how Bridgend Motor Group started out?

AM: Founded in 1930 as a haulage firm by Hugh Mclaughlan, Bridgend has continued to grow and diversify through the last 94 years into the thriving Ayrshire business it is today. Still owned and run by founder Hugh’s children and grandchildren, Bridgend now has branches in Kilwinning, Kilmarnock, Ayr, and Irvine, and we are proud to employ over 240 local people many of whom are second or even third generation employees with the company.

SMTA: What’s the key to your success?

AM: Communication, listening to what customers and staff tell us, and being open and transparent back. Constantly evolving the business as new opportunities and/or challenges present themselves, making sure everyone knows what’s happening, having a great staff team, and hard work!

SMTA: What are you plans for the future?

AM: We’ve been growing our business significantly and consistently over the last 20 years, developing new sites across Ayrshire, redeveloping existing sites, and diversifying what we do within the motor trade to complement our traditional operations. The last couple of decades have been busy, expanding on all fronts, from our car & van sales, to mechanical repairs, and our accident repair centres. We’re now up to 11 branches and over 1600 used vehicles in stock! But we do have our eyes on 1 or 2 other new opportunities…..

SMTA: How does your SMTA membership help?

AM: Our SMTA membership gives access to savings across trade services, as well as providing us with independent quality checking of our MOT operations.

SMTA: Where will the business be in five years’ time?

At its 100 birthday! That is something we are all really looking forward to. It’s not many people who will get the privilege to experience taking a generational family business to 100 years.

SMTA: How do you maintain customer levels?

AM: Good quality service, fair pricing, honesty and transparency. If we get it wrong, we own the problem, and do our best to put it right. It has never been more important to deliver high levels of customer satisfaction than it is today. We’re not perfect, we make mistakes but we fix them, our staff are genuine and they care, customers can see that and it makes a big difference.

SMTA: What is the biggest challenge for your business right now?

AM: We are facing the same challenges as everyone else in the motor trade right now, recruiting enough skilled tradespeople to cope with demand. We’re great at retraining staff, but there is a huge shortage of mechanical technicians, panel beaters, and spray painters. But like with all big problems there can be great solutions which end up putting you in a better place than you were in the first place, if it wasn’t for the skills shortage we would never have started our own Training Academy back in 2019. It’s a great story which would take

another Q&A on its own! but we have been and are producing fantastic tradespeople ‘in house’ as a result of supplying the training, apprenticeship pathways, and qualifications to our trainees. We are filling our skills gap by doing it ourselves, we are very proud of this part of the business, as well as our trainees and tradespeople it has produced.

SMTA: What’s the most important thing you’ve learned in your career, and how have you made use of it?

AM: So many things, but here are a couple of them. Open communication with colleagues and customers. Everyone wants to know what’s happening and how it may affect them, no one likes to be kept in the dark, so whether its good or bad news, it’s best to be open and transparent at all times. The other is that there are no shortcuts or half measures in the motor trade, it’s a competitive industry and demands 100% effort continually.


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Independent businesses – tapping into temporary resources to generate profit and meet demand

As the automotive industry continues to hit full throttle on the road to technological sophistication, the shortage of skilled vehicle technicians remains a very urgent issue which needs addressing.

While hindering the ability to meet customer demand, this gap in expertise and general shortage of talent is already putting a dent in the profitability of aftermarket businesses – particularly those within the independent sector.

Workshops with unoccupied ramps due to a lack of resources are leaking profits, to the tune of over £2,000 every week—an alarming statistic for any business aiming to thrive within the sector.

A key strategy to overcome shortages is the use of temporary vehicle technicians. Proving to be more than just a quick fix, the use of contractors has become a profitable strategy for many and can be switched on and off as and when demand dictates.

The vast majority of Scottish dealer groups have already tuned into this resource, however, it has yet to filter through to the independent sector.

Putting the costs into context, employing temporary contractors could yield a profit of £800 per week for an independent business - before accounting for part sales and services.

According to Autotech Recruit’s recent annual recruitment survey, the impact on profitability as a result of the shortage in skills is not a rare occurrence. Conducted at the start of this year, the survey revealed that over half of respondents cited failing to meet demand due to a shortage of skilled vehicle technicians, while

almost two-thirds disclosed that this shortage was leading to an inability to maximise profitability.

This isn’t just about numbers though; it’s about retaining valuable customers who could be driven away by a garage’s inability to meet demand.

Looking ahead, unless there is a sudden injection of talent into the industry, a garage will need to explore previously untapped avenues such as using contractors to ensure they can meet demand. For instance, the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) projects that, over the next decade, 111,400 roles in the automotive industry will need filling.

Trailing this is the electric vehicle (EV) revolution, a charge towards meeting net zero objectives that comes with its own set of challenges. Currently, just 52,000 vehicle technicians are EV-qualified—a mere 22% of the

workforce— and by 2035, EVs will demand the expertise of nearly 185,000 vehicle technicians. This represents a looming gap of approximately 30,000 vehicle technicians not fully prepared to deal with EVs.

The investment in training, and upskilling existing workforces is non-negotiable, not doing so will have a significant impact on a garage’s ability to retain staff and meet demand. However, for many, the time out of business to embark upon training is putting a further dent into profits and some simply cannot afford to lose their staff for even a day.

Having contractors built into annual staffing strategies allows for business peaks and training days. No longer just a short term solution to cover absences due to sickness and holidays, contractors are increasingly used to fill vacancies on a long term basis, and, throughout Scotland, there is a strong, growing contingent of experienced temporary vehicle technicians and MOT testers who are skilled and ready to fill these gaps.


Funding options for your business

Securing funding is something many businesses are likely to require, regardless of the stage of their business. Funding can come in many forms, each with its own advantages, disadvantages and considerations. The type of funding, and where this is sourced from, will depend on many factors - what the funding will be used for, eligibility requirements, repayment terms, risk, etc. It is essential for business owners to carefully consider the most suitable financing strategy for their business, taking into account their overall borrowing needs. In this article we explore the most common forms of business funding.



Banks usually provide an overdraft and may be willing to lend in the long-term where that lending is secured on assets such as land and property. However, raising medium-term finance to fund operations is often more difficult for SMEs as banks are traditionally more conservative. Unfortunately, this leads to many business owners financing medium-term assets with shortterm finance like an overdraft which is expensive. It also becomes a higher risk prospect if the bank requires a personal guarantee from the business owner.


Whether you want to help your business expand, buy new equipment or even cover periods of irregular income, a business loan is another option. These broadly fall into two categories – unsecured and secured, and are normally repaid with interest over a set term. Unsecured loans are when your business borrows money without using its assets as security, whereas secured loans use assets as security. The amount you can borrow depends on the value of the assets. If the repayments aren’t made on a secured loan, the lender can sell the asset to get their money back. Unsecured loans will be dependent on the creditworthiness of you and your business.


Asset finance enables the business owner to free up cash flow by spreading the capital costs of purchasing new and used assets. This could mean acquiring the latest equipment and technology to build

competitive advantage while spreading the cost of the asset over a longer period, reflecting the economic life of the asset. Funding for certain assets may be more specialist and engaging in the services of a finance broker who has experience in your sector will likely provide access to multiple funders. This approach could provide more competitive products and options than just approaching a single lender.


This method of funding allows the business owner to borrow against the value of their unpaid invoices by selling unpaid invoices to a third-party company at a discount in exchange for immediate cash. Invoice factoring is borrowing money worth a percentage of the value of your invoices where the lender collects the money directly from your customers to take its share. Invoice discounting is where the borrower collects the payments then pays the lender for the service. This type of funding is only recommended as a shortterm solution and is often more expensive than an overdraft. However, as the business grows, their outstanding invoices will increase and so the amount they can borrow rises.


Peer-to-peer (P2P) loans are typically made from a group of private investors who pool their money and lend it as they wish. Although there may be less scrutiny than you would find through a bank with this type of lending, interest rates can be high. Also worth noting is that P2P lending isn’t covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).

Thomson Cooper in association with Breadalbane


Crowdfunding platforms allow businesses to raise funds from a large number of people, typically through online campaigns. There are different types of crowdfunding, including rewardsbased, equity-based, and debtbased crowdfunding. However, investors could have little security for their investment if the business fails as crowdfunding is sometimes used when all other types of funding have been unsuccessful as the project is deemed high risk.


A good place to search for funding options is the Find Business Support website which lists the current schemes that are in operation. https://

The list includes options from organisations like Scottish Enterprise, Business Gateway, Skills Development Scotland and councils. Opportunities include the Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) fund that is designed to support projects that will help create or protect jobs.


Your accountant can help by working with a finance broker e.g. Breadalbane who have a long tradition of working with dealerships and garages across the U.K to provide funding solutions.

Finance brokers have access to a network of funders and provide competitive, straight forward options for business owners to meet their financing needs for asset purchases. Breadalbane’s specialist brokers are experienced

in the motor trade, providing effective solutions for funding complex assets and a dedicated one-point of contact for their clients and network of partners. Their projects have included securing finance for purchasing MOT test station equipment, garage fit-outs, ramps, etc, as well as helping secure finance for dealerships’ commercial customers.

If a business is looking to raise cash for growth or to create working capital, finance brokers have various routes to market on this depending on the business profile and requirements. Their panel of loan funders can provide unsecured loans on a term ranging from 1 to 6 years. These loans can be settled early without incurring any charges. There is also a refinance product, whereby they can release equity tied up in assets on the company’s balance sheet to raise working capital. This can be a cost-effective, flexible and accessible means to raising cash or consolidating debt for a business.



Specialist Recruitment from the Philippines and Dubai.

Supporting businesses to grow and deliver with highly skilled automotive personnel

Despite the fact that the UK undoubtedly has a wealth of skilled labour in the automotive space there simply just aren’t enough highly skilled and available people to deliver the demand required to service our automotive industry requirements. Finding and employing suitably skilled and competent labour remains a significant challenge across industries in the UK.

General shortages of labour have been caused by many different factors in recent years and this has led to companies competing for skills both from inside and outside the automotive industry. Competition for our highly trained, skilled and competent workforce has led to salary inflation and increased staff turnover, impacting the ability to deliver and grow businesses.

Looking at alternative solutions outside of the norm and the UK labour pool is a solution to this challenge. Without taking a different approach we will continue to face the same challenges to attract and retain talent.

Recent times have seen a surge in demand across our automotive clients and to date in this space alone we have placed more than 700 candidates across

the roles of Auto Mechanic, Spay Painter, Panel Beater, Road Worthiness/MOT Test Technician, PDI Technician, Auto Electrician, Coachbuilder, Welder and Fabricator.

Aureol Global Connections recognise that recruiting from overseas can be seen as a daunting, different and a challenging initiative by business owners, managers and HR/ Recruitment professionals. We are proud to be able to support our clients through this process using our specialist guidance and services through the key steps of attracting, client bespoke trades testing, qualification verification, english language testing, visa and immigration processes, initial mobilisation and continued support.

Feedback from our existing clients confirms the benefits of the Filipino workforce through their technical skills, strong work ethic, loyalty, commitment and ability to integrate with existing teams. Clients have benefited from being able to confidently recruit as well as retain staff, lower attrition rates and reduce overall spending on recruitment long term.

Aureol Global Connections have recently supported an operator to bring 20 Filipino Qualified Mechanics to Ireland - these new additions bring the total of Filipinos for this client to 150 in the last 12 months. Our support in


For more details please contact Julie Stewart | +44 (0)7526 008171

recruiting means they now have the highest volume of Vehicle Inspectors ever within their industry sector.

A bus manufacturing client has developed a strong relationship with us based on the quality of service and candidates. Following a number of recruitment trips across the last 12 months they have recruited over 400 employees across 7 different types of trades positions.

Supporting businesses with either small or large numbers for recruitment are of equal importance to us. Greenhall Motors is a family run dealership located in North Cork and they have 3 Filipino employees working with them to support them to maintain their track record of a 6 times winner of the Customer Excellence Award. Mr Barry O’Shea from Greenhall Motors commented that “Aureol Global Connections were instrumental in assisting us with hiring from overseas. They brought us through the process step by step and were available at the

end of the phone anytime we needed help. They sourced an excellent range of applicants and we successfully hired 3 excellent mechanics. The new hires fitted in seamlessly to our organisation and we are very grateful to them and Aureol”

“Embarking on my journey to Ireland was a leap of faith fuelled by determination and grit. As a Pedicab Driver turned college graduate with a passion for

being a mechanic, the dream of working abroad seemed distant yet tantalizingly real. Thanks to Aureol Global Connections that dream became a reality. Despite some hurdles along the way, their unwavering support and dedication ensured that every hiccup was overcome. From the bustling streets of my hometown to the promising avenues of Ireland, my journey stands as a testament to perseverance and the transformative power of

opportunity. Thanks to Aureol Global Connections, I’m living my dream one pedal stroke at a time.” Zyrone Hernaez, Auto Mechanic at Greenhall Motors.

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Looking to the future of the MOT

The dust has now settled after the publication of the consultation on MOT, which confirmed that the government wasn’t changing the frequency of MOTs

Whilst there was a lot of press coverage around the consultation, the government also ran a call for evidence at the same time on the wider future of the MOT. The aim of this was to allow the government to collect information to help develop future proposals.

For all of us – the future of the MOT is really important, so we wanted to tell you a bit about what has been happening so far.


Many of you will have completed answers to that call for evidence. Whilst much of the focus will have been on the content of the test – for example around whether some modern technologies on vehicles needs to make their way into the MOT – the call for evidence also included wider aspects of the MOT. Those wider aspects included enforcing the roles, the whole way the scheme is administered and service to motorists.

Following the call for evidence closing DFT have had the huge task of collating all the feedback and make sense of it. Not surprisingly, there are lots of different views – often opposing. We now need to work with the garage industry, and other stakeholders to find a path through all the feedback to make sure future changes work for everyone.


Key to making sure that the MOT is ‘fit for the future’ is working with industry. We have been

doing that in a few ways such as trialling new ways of working in MOT garages, workshops with the trade and holding discussion groups. We’ll continue to do more of these things as we move forward.

One of the higher profile ways we have worked together is through a work shop. DFT, alongside DVSA and the Transport Research Laboratory, hosted a workshop in Birmingham in February. This allowed us to get key representatives from the industry together and talk through the main themes from the call for evidence. Those stakeholders included those associations that represent the garage industry, professional bodies for the industry, manufacturers, vehicle users and those involved in research – it really did provide many perspectives. That workshop has helped us do some very high prioritisation and work out what things might be feasible and desirable in the shorter term, and those that may take a little longer.

The workshop also helped us all have an open conversation about understanding the different drivers for improving the MOT – including the need to make sure that we create an environment where investment is encouraged. So, yes, we did touch on the contentious subject of fees!! Not suggesting it is all solved – but talking openly about the challenges is a key step.


We’ve previously mentioned our trial which looked into the feasibility of PN (particulate number) testing so we’d like to give you some feedback on how that trial went since it ended in August 2023.

During the trial, 1800 vehicles were tested with a fail rate of around 5%. This is really helpful data as it will help government determine if this is a worthwhile change.

To make sure the trial was representative, we used a variety of PN testing machines. Our focus now over the coming months will be reviewing the data so we can discuss the outcome of the trial with the Department of Transport and the next steps.


One of the common themes from the public is confidence in what an MOT means – particularly when buying a car. A long-standing ‘man on the street’ view has been that surely we should just make sure the car has an MOT by having a photo of it.

Over the last year, we have been trialling different ways of doing just that. And I think its fair to say that it is easier said than done to find something that will work easily across the 23,400 garages! We want to provide better security, but it’s also important not to slow things down for garages.

It’s also clear that taking photos isn’t the only answer to improving the security of the MOT –although it may be a part of the answer. It might be some of other work on ‘plugging’ in to vehicles is also what helps here. We have conducted some trials already, and are now working on different ways of doing it – based on all the feedback we have had.


The call for evidence provided a lot of feedback on EV testing – a type of vehicle that is increasingly common.

Whilst there has been some suggestion that these vehicles should have a very different type of MOT, the reality is that the vast majority of the existing MOT works for these vehicles.

Looking ahead there may be areas that make sense to add to the test for these vehicles – such as the function of ‘Acoustic Vehicle Alerting Systems’ (the noise the cars make) or Battery Health Status – but any such changes will need careful work with the industry to make sure what we propose is feasible and affordable.


Whether we like it or not, modern vehicles have increasing levels of driver assistance systems –and on the even more modern vehicles, these are mandated. Inevitably as these become more common, drivers become more dependent upon them – so the question arises as to whether they should be in the MOT.

As with all such the things, the answer is not straightforward – and the answer will not be immediate. It is likely that any trial will be along the lines of checks we already have for emissions control systems or ABS – where we check the vehicles own diagnostic information rather than actually check the system itself.


As the MOT develops, engagement and dialogue with the industry is key. This is an exciting time to be in the motor industry with the huge jumps in how technology is changing motoring – and the MOT will need to develop to remain at the heart of keeping vehicles safe. DVSA 36 WWW.SMTA.CO.UK
Courtesy DVSA Matters of Testing


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Insurance Essentials for the Motor Trade.

The motor trade industry has navigated some challenging environments in recent years, from financial global disruption to Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic.

In 2024, the motor trade industry anticipates growth, with the UK’s new vehicle market forecasted to reach two million units, a 5% increase. Used car sales are also expected to rise to 7.3 million units, albeit below 2019 levels. Despite positive projections, challenges arose in 2023, notably a decline in used car prices, impacting the industry’s future.

Amidst these challenges, it’s crucial you have the right insurance cover in place to ensure you manage your business risks and protect your livelihood. Here are some of the main covers you may need.

Employers liability

If you employ staff – on a full or part-time basis – even if they’re under contract but not currently working, you’re legally required to have this cover in place. In fact, you could face fines of up to £2,500 a day if you don’t. Family businesses who only employ family members are not legally required to have employers liability insurance. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have it.

You’re responsible for your employees’ safety while they’re at work and for ensuring they don’t get sick or injured because of the work they do for you. Employers liability covers legal defence costs and compensation

if an employee is injured or falls ill at work. Read more about what employers liability insurance covers here.

Public liability

This cover protects you if a customer or member of the public claims against your business for injury or physical property damage. For instance, if an injury is caused by someone slipping on an oily surface or tripping over a tool left on the floor, this policy can cover legal costs and compensation payouts for which you are liable.

Wrongful conversion

Wrongful conversion insurance protects motor trade businesses against financial losses resulting from the unlawful sale or disposal of vehicles without rightful ownership. If a vehicle is stolen and sold without knowledge of its unlawful origin, this insurance covers the value of the vehicle or any losses claimed by the lawful owner.

Personal accident cover

If you suffer a serious accident or illness (in your personal life or at work) and are unable to work, personal accident insurance would help cover your monthly bills.

Property, tools and vehicles cover

This insurance protects buildings, stock, tools, and vehicles from damage, theft, or loss, ensuring business continuity. Without adequate coverage, disruptions could lead to financial strain, delays in operations, and potential losses, highlighting the necessity of this protection for sustaining and protecting the business.

Legal expenses cover

Business legal expenses insurance can cover unforeseen legal costs related to property and employment, or legal representation for serious issues such as employment tribunals or contract disputes, providing essential protection for your business.

Other types of insurance include:

y Contents insurance.

y Cyber insurance.

y Business interruption insurance.

y Goods in transit insurance.

Marsh Commercial can arrange the following enhanced cover for SMTA customers:

y New vehicle replacement –new for old cover for vehicles

less than 12 months old.

y Changing locks (vehicles).

y Sums insured seasonal Increase – this is usually 30% in February, March, August and September.

y Prevention of access –£50,000 any one claim.

y Unauthorised movement of vehicles.

y Contents of customer’s vehicles – £5,000.

y Commercial loads of customers’ vehicles –£50,000.

FREE Business insurance check

If you need further information about the different types of cover or welcome some advice, our FREE no-obligation business insurance check will compare the cover, service, and price you’re currently getting with what we can provide. As well as explaining the different levels of cover available, we will also see if you’re missing out on valuable enhanced benefits and whether we can save you money too.

If you need to speak with us, please call 0330 818 0064

This is a marketing communication. The information contained herein is based on sources we believe reliable and should be understood to be general insurance and risk management information only. The information is not intended to be taken as advice and cannot be relied upon as such. Statements concerning legal, tax or accounting matters should be understood to be general observations based solely on our experience as insurance brokers and risk consultants and should not be relied upon as legal, tax or accounting advice, which we are not authorised to provide. The Scottish Motor Trade Association (SMTA) is an introducer to Marsh Ltd. Marsh Commercial is a trading name of Marsh Ltd. Marsh Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority for General Insurance Distribution and Credit Broking (Firm Reference No. 307511). Copyright © 2024 Marsh Ltd. Registered in England and Wales Number: 1507274, Registered office: 1 Tower Place West, Tower Place, London EC3R 5BU. All rights reserved. 38 WWW.SMTA.CO.UK MARKET INSIGHT

Delivering tyres to the Scottish Motor Trade.

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Freephone 0800 085 5515 Glenrothes or 0800 2800 114 Dundee & Aberdeen

We are delighted to announce the opening of our new facility in Aberdeen to further Enhance our service to the Scottish Motor trade.

Alongside our Glenrothes and Dundee depots we now have three warehouses stocking in excess of 100,000 tyres from economy brands through our suite of midrange offerings to all the major tyre manufacturers.

All of this is supported with our fleet of fifty plus vans and we also now offer a next day courier service to those customers out with our delivery areas. If you are in the Motor Trade Why
use the easity optio t easityre tion? easityre Glenrothes 2-3 Blackwood Road Eastfield Industrial Estate Glenrothes Fife KY7 4NP Freephone:
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0800 085 5515
Diesel 4,650 10,411 Petrol/Electric TOP 10 MARQUES YEAR TO DATE TOP 10
YEAR TO DATE Strathclyde 1,340 Lothian 4,516 1,082 Grampian 1,009 Central 770 Tayside 582 Fife 546 Highlands 236 Dumfries & Galloway 133 Borders REGISTRATIONS BY REGION
YEAR TO DATE Petrol 35,512 Electric 5,379 Diesel/Electric 5 Petrol/LPG 219 UK YEAR TO DATE: SCOTLAND YEAR TO DATE: SCOTLAND MONTHLY: 679,822 56,176 10,214 CAR FIGURES APRIL
Vauxhall Corsa 1,736 Volkswagen 5,123 (9.12%) BMW 1 Series 1,566 Vauxhall 4,141 (7.37%) MG ZS 1,482 BMW 3,865 (6.88%) Kia Sportage 1,454 Kia 3,447 (6.14%) Volkswagen T-Roc 1,064 Ford 2,984 (5.31%) Volkswagen Polo 1,132 MG 2,821 (5.02%) Nissan Qashqai 1209 Audi 2,778 (4.95%) Renault Captur 956 Nissan 2,665 (4.74%) Ford Puma 1,525 Renault 2,393 (4.26%) Volkswagen Golf 949 Hyundai 2,229 (3.97%)


Females in Focus 2024

Friday, 20th September 2024

Grand Central Hotel, Glasgow

An Inspiring Gathering

The Scottish Motor Trade Association is excited to announce the return of the Females in Focus lunch, taking place this year at the Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow on Friday, 20th September 2024. This lunch is always such a highlight of our event calendar and we are proud to be able to run an event that highlights the many career paths available in the motor trade to females.

We are proud to create a platform that celebrates and supports the achievements of women in our field, showcasing the varied and vibrant career paths available.

Engage with Inspirational Business Leaders

This year’s lunch will feature an inspiring panel of businesswomen who will share their journeys, challenges, successes, and insights into their careers. It’s a fantastic opportunity to gain inspiration, advice, and perspectives from those who have made significant strides in their fields.

Full details will be available soon, in the meantime any queries can be emailed to

Tickets Now On Sale


Supporting Sponsors Sponsorship items are available please email for information Book your tickets
scan the QR code on above or visit
Drinks Reception Sponsor
online –
Jillian Shedden, Managing Director, Knockhill Racing Circuit Nicola Gilda, Managing Director, Peoples Automotive Group

EVs drive down carbon emissions and lift vehicle ownership to record high.

Number of vehicles on UK roads reaches record 41.4 million in 2023, with car ownership up 1.6% to 35,694,845 units.

The average car in use saw CO2 emissions decline by -2.1%, notably thanks to incentivised investment by business fleets into EVs.

One in 40 of all vehicles on roads now zero emission, including 960,896 cars, 61,161 vans, 2,383 HGVs and 1,922 buses.

Industry calls for more rapid EV infrastructure investment to drive uptake as latest analysis shows just one standard public chargepoint for every 35 plug-ins on the road – a figure almost unchanged from last year.

The number of vehicles on UK roads reached a record high in 2023, rising by 1.7% to 41,404,589 vehicles, according to new Motorparc data published recently by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) – with plug-in vehicles driving the biggest growth in car ownership since 2016.1

Total cars on the road rose by 1.6% or 546,800 units to 35,694,845, after almost half a million new battery electric (BEV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) vehicles were registered during 2023.2 The number of BEVs in use increased by almost half (47.3%) compared with 2022, meaning these vital zero emission vehicles now account for 2.7% of all cars in use, up from just 1.9% in 2022.

With the industry now largely recovered from previous supply chain challenges that constricted deliveries in the aftermath of the pandemic, manufacturers could better meet robust pent-up demand. Implied scrappage rates of older vehicles has also fallen

to the lowest on record with British motorists keeping their cars for longer, with the average car on the road now nine years old – with the average age of a car now up by more than a year since 2019.3

Despite a record number of motors on the road, average car CO2 dropped -2.1% – while company car emissions plummeted by -11.5%, thanks to compelling fiscal incentives encouraging fleets to invest in EVs and manufacturer investment in new lower and zero emission models.4 Providing private consumers with similar incentives to switch would help dramatically decarbonise UK road transport.


Record numbers of commercial vehicles are now in use, with 625,873 heavy goods vehicles and 5,012,632 vans in operation, up by 1.7% and 2.6% respectively. Zero emission workhorses also recorded a boost – with BEV van volumes rising by 43.5% on 2022 to 61,161, meaning 1.2% of vans on UK roads is now zero emission. Electric HGVs rose 146.4% in 2023, although at just 0.4% of the fleet, urgent action is therefore required on grants and infrastructure – especially given that new trucks under 26 tonnes have the same end of sale date as cars and vans.

The number of electric buses in operation also grew, up by 159.4% to 1,922 units, making the UK Europe’s biggest market for zero emission buses and coaches. However, despite a record year of registrations in 2023, the UK’s public transport fleet has shrunk to its smallest level since records began at 71,239 vehicles. In further evidence of the need for greater investment in this sector, one in five buses in use is more than 18 years old.

While overall EV use continues to grow, with 1,602,334 plug-in cars, vans, trucks and buses in operation, public chargepoint rollout is still lagging. 2023 was the best year for public chargepoint rollout, but there is still just one standard public charger available for every 35 plug-in cars on the road, only a slight improvement

from one for every 36 last year.5 The situation is even more challenging for commercial vehicles, with no clear national plan for van-specific chargepoints, and just one dedicated public truck charging location for the entire country. With increasing numbers of electric cars and vans now being mandated for sale, the time to invest in infrastructure is now. That investment should be nationwide so that everyone – irrespective of vehicle type, location and accessibility – can access a reliable, convenient and affordable charging network.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “After two challenging years of constrained supply, more people and businesses across the UK are now getting back behind the wheel – and increasingly, opting for greener options. However, given the ageing fleet, we now need to encourage consumers and businesses who have deferred purchases of new cars, vans, trucks and buses to upgrade. A stronger and stable economy, coupled with reduced living costs, would boost consumer and business confidence, while compelling fiscal incentives would ensure that these purchases are emissions free. Not only would this accelerate the transition – fundamental to the UK’s net zero ambitions – but it would also stimulate the economy and enhance the wider environment in which we all live.”

Did you know?

The five most popular cars on UK roads in 2023 accounted for over 5.3 million in use – these are the Ford Fiesta at 1,487,925, Vauxhall Corsa at 1,050,579, Ford Focus at 1,049,818, Volkswagen Golf at 1,004,152 and Vauxhall Astra with 715,647 in use.

35.1% of cars on the road are registered to women, compared with 51.1% to men – with the remainder either registered to companies or gender unlisted. This follows a rise of more than half a million women as registered keepers on 20186

The highest number of cars in the UK reside in London and the South East (8,910,951), followed by the North West (3,959,236) and the South West (3,572,387)

With electric vehicles increasing in popularity, manual transmissions have fallen to 63.5% of the parc, down from 66.0% in 2022.

London and the South East is also the region with the highest volume of plug-in vehicles with over half a million (527,887) of these green vehicles making up 5.9% of all cars in the area

The UK might be the fifth rainiest country in Europe... yet that hasn’t stopped convertibles accounting for almost one in 35 cars on the road, with 1,022,849 in use –falling very slightly on 2022 by 0.1 percentage points7

Continuing their domination, superminis remain the most popular car type on roads, with one in three drivers choosing these more compact vehicles to get around

You’re more likely to see a car or van painted white than in any other colour in the UK, with 8,187,012 of them on the roads. Black and grey come in second and third place at 7,609,015 and 6,792,003 units respectively

Almost 25,000 pink cars can be found on British roads – with four in five registered to women. Wales has the highest proportion of pink cars, accounting for 0.1% of those in use. Scotland has the highest proportion of red cars at 12.3%

2023 may have had a record year of vehicle registrations, but the UK’s public transport actually recorded the smallest bus fleet level since records began at 71,239 vehicles, down from 72,766 in 2022 and over 100,000 in 2007.

Courtesy of


Whisky, Wonder, and the Warmth of Annandale LIFESTYLE

Now the Summer is here, the longer days mean there’s more time to get out, about and explore. Nestled in the gentle countryside of Annan, Scotland, where rolling hills meet the Solway Firth, lies a treasure for those seeking an authentic taste of history and world-class spirits: Annandale Distillery. Come, let’s unlock the secrets of this revived gem and discover the unique experiences that await.


History buffs and whisky novices alike, prepare to be transported. On the Classic Tour, the past of Annandale Distillery comes alive. You are guided through the working distillery, wandering around the original Victorian buildings you’ll learn of the distillery’s near 100-year slumber and its magnificent rebirth in 2017.

From the meticulous restoration to the gleaming copper stills, a sense of whisky-making heritage permeates the air. This is where tradition meets cutting-edge craftsmanship.


For real whisky fans, this new tour allows you to immerse yourself in the magic of whisky creation

and discover the science behind the flavours. Witness the intricate processes from grain to glass: milling, mashing, fermenting, and finally, the alchemy of distillation itself. Expert guides demystify the art and science behind transforming humble ingredients into Scotland’s ‘water of life’. Breathe in the rich aromas and feel the warmth of this working distillery – it’s a full sensory experience.


Annandale Distillery isn’t just for whisky lovers. Families will find plenty to delight them. Throughout the year, the distillery hosts a range of events, from vibrant festivals to intimate dinners, showcasing the best of local produce and Scottish hospitality.


The soul of Annandale Distillery lies in its people. You won’t find faceless tours here. From the master distiller to the friendly visitor centre team, everyone shares a passion for whiskymaking and a welcoming spirit. This distillery thrives on

connection, so don’t be shy to ask questions, share your preferences, and create a truly personal whisky-themed adventure.


Annandale Distillery isn’t simply a tour destination; it’s a place to linger. The well-stocked shop offers a diverse range of Annandale Distillery whiskies, unique merchandise, and even the chance to fill your own bottle straight from the cask - that’s the ultimate souvenir! Settle into the award-winning cafe with its delicious fare, enjoying drams amidst the vibrant distillery atmosphere.


Whether you’re seeking a leisurely whisky tasting, an in-depth exploration, or a fun-filled family day, Annandale Distillery delivers. This is more than just a distillery; it’s a testament to the enduring spirit of Scottish craftsmanship. Come, discover the warmth, the wonder, and the whiskies of Annandale.

Annandale Distillery is open 7-days a week with tours running from 10am and is in Annan, just 15 minutes from the Scotland/ England border and 20 minutes from the busy town of Dumfries. For more information or to book a tour visit AnnandaleDistillery. com or call 01461 207817.


The history of Scottish Clans

In Scotland, we have a broad history of Clans dating back to the 12th century. While they have less significance in today’s modern times, the history of Scottish Clans gives us a deep insight into Scottish society today. Have you ever wondered what history your Scottish sounding surname is linked to? Keep reading to uncover what a clan is, what history surrounds Scottish Clans and the legacy linked to them.


Clan in Gaelic translates to ‘children’, and a clan was defined by a group of people with the same surname. However, clans were often extended to surrounding neighbours and networks within surrounding areas.

Clan names were usually derived from the area that the family lived within Scotland, which is why surnames like Kerr, Hamilton and Fraser are popular. Scottish Clans have been recorded as far back as the 12th century, a concept created in a society that lived off

the land and lived within family communities.

Clans were led by a clan chief, who would direct the clans on matters of politics, disputes, labour and marriages. Today, clans are less recognised as having official standing in Scottish society, however, a clan with a clan leader is still a legally recognised group.


As clans based their quality of life on the fertility of the land they lived off, wars and marriage alliances to expand are common when looking at Scottish clan history. Feuds could last between clans for hundreds of years and were famous for a violent outcome.

The last major clan battle and one of the bloodiest took place in Caithness in 1680. This battle was fought between the Campbell’s and Sinclair’s and resulted in over 300 deaths. This battle resulted in the bagpipe tune ‘The Campbell’s are Coming”, and it’s still a touchy subject in Caithness.

But what happened to the clan system that was once so prevalent in Scotland? The answer lies in the 18th century, during the Jacobite uprisings. In 1745, the Jacobites believed Charles Stewart, known as Bonnie Prince Charlie, was the rightful heir to the British throne. This resulted in a massive backlash in Scotland, with Scottish culture massively punished and criminalised as a result to squash the uprisings. Much of Highland Scottish land was taken over by

the English, and wearing a kilt, speaking Gaelic and practising Scottish Culture was made illegal. Although there was resistance against this, the Act to prevent the expression of Scottish culture was in place for 36 years. This successfully saw a wipeout of the clan system.


Today, Scottish clan history and tartans are making a come back in popularity worldwide. The resistance towards wiping out Scottish Culture was successful in the sense that during the taking over of Scottish land, Scotsmen and women settled across the globe in places like Canada. Once there, clan culture was somewhat continued, which is why Highland Games and Gaelic speakers still exist worldwide. Scottish surnames like McDonald are common not only in Scotland but also in America and Canada.

Fast-forward to today, the media drives resurgence in interest towards Scottish Clan history and culture. TV and films like Braveheart, Outlander and Brave have encouraged the people of Scotland and fans worldwide to pick up interest. People online are even tracing their family history, and using the internet to connect with others that’s ancestors may have lived within the same clan. People are finding connections to their clan’s tartan and crests, and Scottish retailers often offer clan tartan scarves and kilts.

MAP – Originally based on the “Clan Map of Scotland” from The Scottish Clans & Their Tartans, W. & A.K. Johnston, 1939 LIFESTYLE

Gates Reopen to Famous Castles and Gardens across Scotland

As Aberdeenshire’s iconic Craigievar Castle, and the community-run Braemar Castle are both set to open their doors imminently following extensive multimillion pound refurbishments, visitors should make the most of the spring blooms and sunshine with a visit to these and many more of Scotland’s estates, walled gardens and castles as they reopen for the season.

Whether an afternoon picnic amongst nature or stepping back in time to marvel at the ancient tales and architecture, find the latest gardens and castle news as well as unique events taking place across Scotland below, to inspire the ultimate day out during a break away.

Castles Reopening

Over twenty Historic Environment Scotland (HES) sites have reopened their doors to welcome visitors for Spring, as well as several heritage locations too.

This includes Lochleven Castle, which famously held Mary Queen of Scots imprisoned in 1567; Iron Age archaeology at the Broch of Gurness; dark historical tales from Hermitage Castle, Spynie Palace, Newark Castle and Scotland’s only circular castle, Rothesay Castle, following essential conservation work. For the full list of reopenings and prices for admission, please visit: www.

Braemar Castle, Aberdeenshire,


Built by the Earl of Mar in 1628, Braemar Castle has been a hunting lodge, fortress, garrison and family home. An iconic 17th century landmark in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park. The castle’s future rests with the small community of Braemar, and over the past ten years the village has been working to raise funds and gradually conserve and restore the castle to provide even better facilities for future visitors. As a result of the communities’ efforts, Braemar Castle is opening its doors following a £1.6 million restoration programme to re-render the exterior.

Opening times: Thursday to Sunday 11am4pm, last entry 3pm

Admission: Adults £12, Group rate available (pre booking required, price applicable to groups over 10 participants) £10pp, Children (aged 5 – 12) £5.00, Family tickets available.

For more information and updates on additional opening times in summer, please visit:

Craigievar Castle, Aberdeenshire,


An example of the best of Scottish Baronial architecture, Craigievar Castle fits naturally amongst the rolling hills of Aberdeenshire. The elegant pink tower of Craigievar Castle was completed in 1626 and is amongst the most loved in Scotland. The castle is currently undergoing a major conservation project to carry out essential maintenance work, including refreshing the lime wash that gives Craigievar its distinctive and beloved pink colour. Visitors will be treated to a grand reveal in in the coming months, when the new exterior is unveiled.

For more information on Craigievar Castle, the reopening date and the Pink Again Project, please visit craigievar/.

Images – Above, Dumbarton Castle sited on a volcanic rock overlooking the River Clyde. Right, Crawick Multiverse, Dumfries & Galloway. VisitScotland.

Gardens Reopening

Kailzie Gardens, Scottish Borders

Kailzie Gardens is a renowned garden and woodland a mile east of Peebles in the Scottish Borders, with 20 acres to explore.

Kailzie Gardens also boasts the popular Courtyard Café that has become a firm favourite with locals. Their seasonal shop offers local produce, gifts and plant sales, as well as a children’s nature trail and a chance to have a go on the Gardener’s 18-hole putting green, or a game of pétanque.

Opening times: 10am – 4pm (closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays)

Admission: Adults £5.00, Concessions £4.00, Children (15 under) free

Note: Dog friendly and free parking

The Japanese Garden at Cowden, Clackmannanshire

Those looking to embrace serenity should look no further than the beautiful grounds of The Japanese Garden at Cowden. The woodlands and gardens are adorned with an array of exceptional plants and flora which are elevated by the tranquil essence of its Japanese-inspired design and structures, creating a unique and utterly authentic bridge between Scottish and Japanese culture.

Numbers in the garden are restricted so that its peaceful atmosphere is not compromised, but despite that, 40,000 people still visit every year. Today Cowden has a team of full-time gardeners, a thriving cafe, and the Stewart Adventure Woodland where children can let off steam.

Admission: £9.25 per person

Opening times: Open 6 days a week (closed on Tuesdays), from 10.30am - 5pm

Note: Please be aware only Guide Dogs are allowed in the Japanese Garden and Christie Walk. However, dogs on leads are very welcome to enjoy the Woodland Walk, Lime Tree Avenue and outside seating areas

Amisfield Walled Garden, East Lothian

A hidden gem lying on the outskirts of Haddington in East Lothian, Amisfield Walled Garden dates back to the late 18th century and is one of the largest walled gardens in Scotland, with extensive herbaceous borders, fruit and vegetable beds, wildflower meadow, orchard and woodland to explore.

The Garden is currently being restored and developed as a community garden by the Amisfield Preservation Trust and a band of volunteers, providing a venue for education and training for people of all abilities.

Opening times: 10am – 4pm Monday to Friday, and from 10-1pm each Saturday

Admission: Free, donations gratefully received

Note: Well behaved dogs on leads are very welcome

Da Gairdins, Shetland

This 60-acre site (of which one third is maintained woodland and gardens) is an area of outstanding natural beauty on the Westside of Shetland. Avid wildlife watchers can experience the diversity of Shetland’s wildlife as, due to its proximity to the sea and the salt marsh dividing the gardens between the sea, the area is a magnet for nesting and migrating birds.

Wander around and sit on one of the many benches to witness firsthand the fact that Shetland is not a tree-less landscape like many would believe, but instead is an oasis of life, with a surprisingly mild climate, thanks to the North Atlantic Drift which surrounds this captivating location.

Opening times: 7am - 10pm

Admission: Free, donations gratefully received

Note: Well behaved dogs on leads are very welcome

Crawick Multiverse, Dumfries & Galloway

Located near Sanquhar and spanning the equivalent of over 36 football pitches, Crawick Multiverse is a unique location of outstanding artistic and historical interest and is not to be missed.

Designed and constructed on the site of a former open-cast coal mine by renowned landscape architect Charles Jencks between 2011 and 2017. Feel the spiritual and astrological magic of the landforms through the striking landscape, opt to have a picnic in the Sun Amphitheatre, photograph the incredible 360 views of the site and Upper Nithsdale Valley from the Northpoint or peer inside the ‘cave’ of the Omphalos; there’s plenty to see and do.

Opening times: Monday to Thursday 10am – 4pm, Friday to Sunday 10am – 6pm

Admission: Adults £7.00, Children (under 16) £4.00, Under 5s Free, Carers Free, Family Tickets (2 Adults and up to 4 children under 16) £18.00.

Note: Well behaved dogs on leads are very welcome

Carolside House & Gardens, Scottish Borders

Carolside is an 18th century mansion set in beautiful parkland flanked by wooded hills, nestling in a bend of the River Leader. Carolside is one of Scotland’s finest Private Gardens and is best known for its collection of historic roses, many of them rare today and is home to the National Collection of Gallica Roses.

Opening times: 11am – 5pm Saturday and Sunday from 01 May – 01 September 2024

Admission: Adult £6.00, Children under 16 and HHA members free

Note: Well behaved dogs on leads are very welcome in the designated park area


Tech Scene

Tech Scene is brought to you with the support of the IVS 360 OEM-Trained Master Technicians at OPUS IVS and TMD Friction to whom we are very grateful.

Here we highlight some of the more common recent faults that our partners have come across in their workshops and of course provide you with the appropriate fixes.


BMW Engine with a Turbocharger leak.


BMW 2 Series, 3 Series, 5 Series, 7 Series, X3, X4, 6 Series, 4 Series (- 2017)


Potential leak between the two turbine housings of the turbocharger.


Inspect the distance of the tabs from the V-clamp.

To gain access, remove the intake silencer and visually inspect the V-clamp using a vernier or suitable measuring device. The distance should be no less than 0.5mm. If the gap is less than this, then the turbo will need replacing.

2. Tighten the V-clamp

Next, tighten the hexagon nut (AF 10 mm) clockwise, while the bolt (Torx T30) is held down until a tightening torque of 8.5Nm is reached.

3. Check distance A of the tabs from the V-clamp again

After tightening the tabs of the V-clamp, check that the tabs are not touching each other, and that the gap is still more than 0.5mm. If the tabs are now touching each other or the gap is less than 0.5mm, then the turbo would have to be replaced.

4. After completed repair, refit all parts removed from the vehicle and

road test the vehicle

5. Check turbo for leaks

Whilst being cautious of hot surfaces, the customer was advised to remove lower engine covers to gain access so they could perform a visual inspection of whether the oil comes out at the V-clip on the exhaust turbocharger, the oil feed line or oil return line.


Hexagon head socket, AF 10mm – Torx socket T30 – A suitable tool for holding the Torx socket T30 – Torque wrench.

VAG Fault in Engine – P15A100 Neutral gear sensor implausible signal.


Manual gearbox on start/stop models


Warning in instrument cluster of start/ stop not possible.


Possible fault in Engine – P15A100

Neutral gear sensor implausible signal.


The neutral position collar moves or breaks off.


1. Using your device go to Engine Electronics and select Dynamic requests - common measuring groups – switches. Look for neutral position sensor, and read this data while moving the gear lever, it should change when a gear is selected.

If it does not, or the value is changing all the time without moving the gear lever, go to the gear lever sensor itself.

2. Remove the neutral position sensor, and reconnect the connector. Whilst looking at live data place a metal object close to the sensor, this will simulate the pick up ring inside the gearbox, and the live data on Opus IVS then should indicate a neutral position.

If the live data does not change, wiring checks would be required to determine the fault. If the value changes, go to step 3.

3. Look through the hole where the sensor fits, look for the sensor pick up ring - if you cant see through the hole, remove the selector shaft, and examine the gear neutral position sensor pick up ring, see picture.

The ring can move or break off, and if this has happened the sensor will not see the gear selector position. If you find this has moved then you would need to replace the gear selector.


Renault-Scenic 3 – ‘Spanner Light’ & ‘Check Parking Brake’ Warnings on IPC

Opus IVS delivers beyond the scope of general scan tool diagnostic capabilities, with its IVS 360TM Live Repair Guidance support service.

Customers have access to the IVS 360TM team of Brand-Specific Master Technicians through their diagnostic devices DrivePro TM and FixPro. Not only does the team establish the fastest, most reliable, and accurate diagnosis, they also take customers through the process step-bystep, all the way through to vehicle repair.

Ultimately, workshops have access to a team of ‘behind the scenes’ brandspecific technicians that they can rely on daily to repair complex vehicle technology fast, with confidence.

The IVS 360 TM division is split into teams of brand-specific departments, ensuring that all vehicle makes and model types are catered for. Here is a case that the Renault team worked on this week:


Renault -Scenic 3 (2008 - 2013) All with electronic parking brake.


• ‘Spanner Light’ on IPC

• ‘Check Parking Brake’ on IPC POSSIBLE CAUSES

The wiring at the left or right rear brake caliper is broken or damaged.


1. Carry out diagnostic scan on the parking brake control unit and check for fault codes

Warnings on the instrument pack will be displayed in place of the mileage (circled) and the spanner light (circled) will also come on. If fault codes are stored relating to the rear brake calipers, then proceed with the checks in this document.


2. Put the vehicle on lift and inspect the rear electronic brake caliper wiring for chaffing corrosion and broken wires at the connection to the caliper.

3. If any damage is seen order a repair loom.

Caliper wiring repair harness as pictured.

4. Replace one or both wiring harnesses depending on the checks.

Don’t be victim to DTV: Problem, Solutions & Prevention

Following the brake replacement process, customers may return complaining of judder, noise or vibration when driving. More often than not, this is a sign that something is not quite right with the braking system and should be investigated as it could be a case of DTV. If not corrected, over time DTV could spiral into further issues, which could negatively impact the overall braking performance.

Scott Irwin MIMI, Head of Technical Training at Textar, a leading global manufacturer of brake friction products, advises their top tips for brake replacement success.


Disc thickness variation (DTV) occurs when the thickness of the brake disc is not even, making a noticeable difference when the brake pedal is applied. It can be avoided by performing some simple yet effective steps within the brake replacement process, however, it can often be overlooked if there are time constraints.


DTV is sometimes mistaken for lateral runout when trying to determine the cause of vibration or judder. It’s important to note that the symptoms are similar. In both cases, there are steering wheel vibrations or pedal pulsation.

The classic lateral runout, which may not exceed 0.07mm when installed or 0.04mm in the case of very sensitive chassis, usually becomes noticeable during the bedding-in phase.

Whereas DTV usually only appears after a few thousand kilometres, as it is caused by unintentional contact between the brake pad and the brake disc in the unbraked state, leading to washouts in the brake disc. The difference between the thinnest and the thickest point in the brake disc must not exceed a value of 0.015mm and, in the case of sensitive chassis, 0.008mm.


DTV can stem from improper practice when cleaning the surfaces during the brake replacement process. The cause of a DTV is likely from a defective or unclean wheel hub and the associated unwanted residual braking torque.


Whilst DTV may first be felt as a vibration or judder by the driver and impact the comfort, if not fixed it can spiral into further complications, including lateral runout or poor brake release behaviour. Over time this could lead to overheating, which causes performance issues, dissipates greases and even result in discs cracking or crumbling. This is of course, worst case scenario but it is just not worth

The soldering sleeves on each wire should be offset by 2 cm and the repair should be made inside the vehicle past the body grommet.

5. Clear fault codes and check operation of the parking brake


• Caliper wiring repair harness (82 01 625 545)


the risk as brakes are safety critical.


It’s essential to ensure the contact surfaces and caliper are dirt and rust free, as insufficient cleaning can result in the occurrence of brake judder. Mechanics should use a wire brush or hub grinder/ over stud cleaning tool to remove any rust deposits from the hub, while taking care not to damage it or the calipers.

Once a thorough clean and inspection of the hub and surrounding area is complete, it’s time to fit the new brake disc. Once in place, a dial gauge should be used to check for any potential lateral runout. It’s important to make sure disc runout doesn’t exceed 0.07mm, as this can have consequences on the entire braking system and can cause vibrations through the steering wheel and also the brake pedal.

Taking just a little more time during the brake replacement process to properly clean and check the runout can make a significant difference in the overall job and performance of the brakes. Whilst it can be easy to miss this step out during busy periods, more time will be spent trying to find the fault if a customer comes back with the complaint. Following best practice from the initial brake replacement will ensure the brakes perform as intended, resulting in a happy customer with no return visits.


1. DTV occurs when the thickness of the brake disc is not even.

2. DTV usually only appears after a few thousand kilometres.

3. DTV can cause driver discomfort including noise and vibration. Over time this could lead to more serious complications for the overall braking performance.

4. The thinnest and the thickest point in the brake disc must not exceed 0.015mm and, in the case of sensitive chassis, 0.008mm.

5. Taking just a little more time during the brake replacement process to properly clean and check the runout will reduce the risk of DTV.

Brake caliper area to check pictured above.

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Enjoy a Traditional two-course afternoon tea for two people courtesy of the Annandale Distillery.

To enter simply email your answer to the question below, along with your name and contact details to

Q: In what year was Annandale Distillery established?

Annandale Distillery, Northfield, Annan, DG12 5LL

*All entries should be submitted by 15th July and the winner will be drawn at random. The winner will be notified via the email address they entered with*

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NOW OPEN IN WORKINGTON! Contact your local DINGBRO branch MONTROSE ARBROATH DUNDEE PERTH KIRKCALDY STIRLING DUMBARTON GREENOCK PAISLEY GLASGOW DUNFERMLINE LEITH GYLE BATHGATE BELLSHILL EAST KILBRIDE GALASHIELS DUMFRIES AYR CARLISLE WORKINGTON INVERNESS ELGIN FRASERBURGH PETERHEAD ABERDEEN FALKIRK STRANRAER KILMARNOCK NOW OPEN IN WORKINGTON! Contact your local DINGBRO branch MONTROSE ARBROATH DUNDEE PERTH KIRKCALDY STIRLING DUMBARTON GREENOCK PAISLEY GLASGOW DUNFERMLINE LEITH GYLE BATHGATE BELLSHILL EAST KILBRIDE GALASHIELS DUMFRIES AYR CARLISLE WORKINGTON INVERNESS ELGIN FRASERBURGH PETERHEAD ABERDEEN FALKIRK STRANRAER KILMARNOCK Since 1973 Dingbro have become synonymous with excellence in the field of automotive component distribution. With over 1500 employees in 33 sites throughout Scotland and North West England, Dingbro is one of the largest independent motor factor groups in the UK. Servicing an area from Shetland and the Faroe Islands down to the Scottish borders and North West England. Dingbro are also a member of the Parts Alliance which further enhances our service. Combined with strong supplier partnerships, OE quality products, stock availability and a fast and reliable service, this makes Dingbro the leading company in its field in Scotland. Local Service With National Strength

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