Salvage Wire

Salvage Wire
Helping Automotive recyclers become leaders in their industry

Thursday 11 November 2010


Reputation is the opinion (more technically, a social evaluation) of the public toward a person, a group of people, or an organization. It is an important factor in many fields, such as education, business, online communities or social status.
Reputation is 'the result of what you do, what you say, and what other people say about you'.
Put in simpler terms a working definition of reputation is: the sum of impressions held by a company's stakeholders.
In other words, reputation is in the "eyes of the beholder". For a company, its reputation is how esteemed it is in the eyes of its employees, customers, investors, talent, prospective candidates, competitors, analysts, regulators and the list goes on.
Firm reputation
Many businesses have public relations departments dedicated to managing their reputation. In addition, many public relations firms describe their expertise in terms of reputation management. The public relations industry is growing due to the demand for companies to build corporate credibility and hence reputation Incidents which damage a company's reputation for honesty or safety may cause serious damage to finances. For example, in 1999 Coca-Cola lost $60 million (by its own estimate) after schoolchildren reported suffering from symptoms like headaches, nausea and shivering after drinking its products.
Building reputation through stakeholder management
The stakeholder theory says corporations should be run for the benefit of all “stakeholders,” not just the shareholders. The stakeholders of a company can be suppliers, consumers, employees, shareholders, financial community, government, and media. Companies must properly manage the relationships between stakeholder groups and consider interest of each stakeholder group carefully. Good reputation enhances profitability because it attracts customers to products, and employees to its jobs. Company’s reputation is an asset and wealth that gives that company a competitive advantage because this kind of a company will be regarded as a reliable, credible, trustworthy and responsible for employees, customers, shareholders and financial markets. In addition, according to MORI’s survey of about 200 managers in the private sector, 99% responded the management of corporate reputation is very (83%) or fairly (16%) important. Reputation is a reflection of companies’ culture and identity. Also, it is the outcome of managers' efforts to prove their success and excellence. It is sustained through acting reliable, credible, trustworthy and responsible in the market. It can be sustained through consistent communication activities both internally and externally with key stakeholder groups.
CEO reputation
Research has shown the reputation of the CEO is inextricably linked to the reputation of the company. CEOs set the tone, define company direction, attract talent, and are the human face of the organization.
Online Reputation
Online reputation is a factor in any online community where trust is important. It affects a pseudonym rather than a person. Examples include eBay. One study found that a good reputation added 7.6% to the price received.
Another way to look at online reputation is how well its being managed. Nearly seven out of 10 global business executives see their reputations online as vulnerable.
An online reputation is the perception that one has on the Internet based on their digital footprint. This is why a merchant on the web having a physical shop (with real name, real address) is usually more trusted than an eBay member with a pseudonym.
Reputation Officers
Despite the rising interest in reputation, few companies have reputation officers. Although many companies will say company reputation is the job of the CEO, managing reputation is a daily function. Some would argue reputation-building and protection is the job of the CEO and not any direct report. Others would say that the CEO has too many responsibilities to focus on reputation.
Reputation Recovery
The convergence of globalization, instantaneous news and online citizen journalism magnifies any corporate wrongdoing or misstep. Barely a day goes by without some company facing new assaults on its reputation. Reputation recovery is the long and arduous path to rebuilding equity in a company's good name. Research by Weber Shandwick has found it takes approximately 3.5 years to fully recover reputation ([Safeguarding Reputation). James C. Collins of Good to Great fame says it takes a company seven years to go from good to great. The path is clearly long. The reason reputation recovery has risen in importance is that the "stumble rate" among companies has risen exponentially over the past five years. In fact, 79% of the world's most admired companies have lost their number one positions in industries in that time period. Companies which were once heralded as invincible, no longer are.

Tuesday 9 November 2010

Unregulated Internet Automobile Sales are a Ticking Time Bomb

The Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA) is calling upon state lawmakers to review and update gaps in laws that allow: (1) vehicles to be sold and transferred without the proper paperwork; (2) allow total loss vehicles, vehicles damaged so severely that the cost of repairs and the salvage value combined exceed the current value of the vehicle, back on the road and (3) allow individuals to bypass important environmental regulations regarding the safe disposal of vehicles. Last year alone, some three million-plus total loss vehicles were sold at salvage pool auctions throughout the United States many of which were sold to unregulated buyers via the Internet.

In a steep departure from past practices, these severely damaged motor vehicles are now electronically bypassing state laws and regulations. ― Most of the safeguards in place across the country were instituted before the explosion of the Internet and don't take into account the ease and reliance of our society on Internet commerce. Every day in the United States, individuals and entities are using the Internet to bypass safety standards and circumventing state statues designed to protect consumers and the environment, says Michael E. Wilson, Automotive Recyclers Associations Chief Executive Officer.

Terrorist networks and organized crime syndicates are exploiting loopholes to fund their criminal activities. In fact, many severely damaged total loss vehicles that are sold through salvage auctions are fetching huge sums because criminals merely want the VIN plate and paperwork that go with these vehicles. The purchasers can then use this information to cover up undamaged stolen vehicles by replacing the VINs and corresponding paperwork from the total loss vehicle securing tens of thousand of dollars in financial gain from the sales of clean stolen vehicles.

Based on press accounts, the Times Square bombing suspect Faisal Shahzad purchased the 1993 Nissan Pathfinder through a cash deal made on the popular consumer Web site Craigslist. No documents were exchanged and no vehicle registration was recorded. The $1,300 deal was finalized at a Connecticut shopping mall where the buyer handed over the money to the unsuspecting seller and drove off. Shahzad then destroyed one Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on the Pathfinder not realizing it had many others. This mistake gave investigators the ability to trace the car to the Connecticut seller. Shahzad also used a stolen license plate to drive the car into New York City.

―Loopholes like this result in the defrauding of consumers on motor vehicle sales and purchases, criminal activity of all sorts, and even the bypassing of safe environmental regulations regarding the disposal of retired vehicles. The Time Square bombing attempt should be a wake-up call to elected officials throughout the country to review motor vehicle sales statues, Wilson adds.

Saturday 6 November 2010

The Automotive Recycling Association responds to Auto Manufacturers' unfounded attacks on recycled auto parts

The ARA recently announced that they organisation has issued a formal complaint against Hyundai Motor America and American Honda. Both companies have released statements that warn against the use of recycled auto parts, and indicate that their use will void vehicle warranties.
"Neither manufacturer has provided any evidence that parts unaffected by an accident become inadequate once reused" ARA's Chief Executive Office Michael E Wilson states in his appeal the the Federal Trade Commission.
Full details of the complaint can be found at the association web site,

EMR to open new facility

European Metal Recycling Ltd. has opened its newest scrap recycling facility in Darlington.
The new site will include a special depollution rig to safely remove liquids from end-of-life vehicles before they are processed, according to EMR.
“As such, we will play an important part in ensuring vehicles are disposed of safely, responsibly and efficiently and we can pay the customer the best price,” says Andrew Sheppard, EMR area manager.
The facility will accept all grades of ferrous and nonferrous metals.

Calls for salvage code of practice

With more vehicles forecast to be produced in the next 20 years than in the entire history of the motor industry to date, its feared millions of scrapped cars may find their way back onto the roads if the recycling community fails to take action to implement recognised standards, according to Bluecycle.

Calling for the first worldwide code of practice for motor vehicle salvage, Bluecycle claims that the rising cost and complexity of vehicle repair presents a 'clear and present danger' that more unsafe vehicles will be sold across borders and instances of fraud will escalate, unless countries work towards a common objective to improve standards and tighten controls relating to salvage categorisation and recycling.
Speaking at the USA’s Automotive Recycling Association annual convention to be held in Texas on 20-23 October, Andy Latham, Bluecycle’s Reputation Manager, will champion the case for the development of a global code of practice for the disposal of motor vehicle salvage and re-use of parts.
Andy Latham, Reputation Manager, Bluecycle, said, 'Vehicle salvage has global reach now but there are differing standards of repair and legislation regarding recycled or green parts, not to mention a severe lack of information exchange and documentation control. Continuing technical advances are making vehicle repair much harder and more expensive and this has the potential for sub-standard repair and fraud to increase on a global scale unless collective measures are taken to address these issues.'

Global Motor Salvage Code

The motor salvage market has moved from being a 'local' industry into a global industry generating millions in cash every year.
Many countries do not have controls on motor salvage, so is it time for the motor salvage industry to introduce a global code of practice?
A code of practice designed to support all legitimate motor salvage and auto recycling operations, those that care about their individual businesses, their staff, their customers, the environment, and the need to have a sustainable business plan.
An effective code could avoid draconian legislation, give more opportunity to sell recycled vehicle parts, give increased customer safety, more repair opportunities, reduce repair costs, reduce CO2 emissions as a direct result of less new parts being used, reduce fraud, increase the numbers of legitimate operations and increase the professionalism of the auto recycling industry.

Friday 8 October 2010

MVDA Annual General Meeting

The Motor Vehicle Dismantlers Association Annual General Meeting is being held Tuesday 12th October, at the Stretford Suite, Old Trafford, Manchester.
There is an opportunity to tour the stadium at 11am, followed by buffet lunch at 1.00pm, the AGM starts at 2.00pm with presentations from:
Peter Stokes - Environmental Manager Cartakeback - The impact on ELV's of new car co2 directive.
Duncan Weymyss - MVDA Association Secretary - Continuing Technical Competence Requirements for ATF ELV permits
Bluecycle and the European Commission have also been invited to speak.
The AGM will conclude at 4pm

For more details contact the MVDA on 01543 254254 or

Monday 4 October 2010

International Round Table on Auto Recycling

Auto Recyclers from around the world gather in Quebec City for the International round Table on Auto Recycling

It started as a simple forum--an exchange of ideas and discussion of what the auto recycling industry could do to improve the business.

Currently, in its 5th year of succession, the International Roundtable on Auto Recycling--IRT for short--has become a global phenomenon, uniting leaders and scholars in auto recycling, insurance, repairs and government in one forum over the course of a few days.

Read the full report at

Tuesday 21 September 2010

The Dangers of Depollution Drip Trays

The Dangers of Depollution Drip Trays
It was initially thought that the provision of drip trays in vehicle depollution bays were a good idea, preventing the spread of spills and making the cleaning up process quicker and more efficient. These large metal trays at the base of a depollution bay collect drips of coolant, oil, brake fluid, diesel, and petrol during the depollution process.
The problem is, however, that petrol vapour also collects in the tray; because this vapour is heavier than air, it sinks to the lowest point and then can’t escape or disperse due to the metal sides (usually around 2” deep). Because petrol vapour is explosive, what at first seemed to be a good idea turns out to be a major hazard to workers using the depollution bay. In addition to this, many manufacturers do not fully understand the legislation surrounding the potential hazards of this explosive atmosphere and cocktail of flammable substances.
The European Directive 94/9/EC, ATEX, or as it’s known in the UK, DSEAR (Dangerous Substances & Explosive Atmosphere Regulations) provides guidelines and legislations regarding the safe handling and management of explosive gases. According to this legislation, the UK’s Health & Safety Executive have declared that the area above the drip tray is a permanent explosive atmosphere, due to the fact that petrol vapour is present along with flammable liquids. What’s more alarming is that it is deemed to be a ‘Zone 0’ – the highest graded risk.
One of the leading UK depollution bay manufacturers, AutoDrain, have spent many years researching and testing vehicle depollution equipment and ensure that all of their products are designed in accordance with this legislation. Putting safety as a paramount priority, they strongly recommend that drip trays are not used – their own equipment reflects this; workers using their bays are not at risk from standing on top of a drip tray and the potentially fatal atmosphere that they can create.
In addition to the aforementioned legislative reasons for discarding the use of dangerous drip trays, AutoDrain also state that they do not use drip trays due to potential tripping hazards and other health and safety legislation - which would require breathing apparatus to be used by depollution workers.

Thursday 16 September 2010

Conversation with DVLA

I rang the DVLA yesterday to get advice on how to scrap my car. I did this in the guise of an ordinary car owner.

Unfortunately the guy at the DVLA defaulted immediately to the classic DVLA line "Just fill out section 9 and send it to us"
I quoted what it said on the new V5c where it says You cannot use the V5c to tell us that you have scrapped your vehicle.
He advised me to fill out section 9 and the DVLA would remove me as owner of the vehicle and "put it to trade".
This appears to be a state of limbo where vehicles go, many of which may be scrapped.

I asked him about a COD .
He said "Well you could get one of those if you wish"
I asked" where from ?"
He went away for a while and came back to inform me that "there was a list on the Internet somewhere."

I asked if getting a COD would end my responsibilities as owner.
He said "not necessarily and the only way to to do this was to fill out section 9 and tell us that you are no longer the keeper.

I asked him why?, given that it said on the V5c that the DVLA were not allowing the use of the V5c to tell of a scrapped vehicle.

He infomed me "well not all scrapyards issue these certificates and in any case the certificate does not always immediately end your responsibility for the vehicle".

To hear this from someone who is there to inform the public as to the correct procedure for legally scrapping ones motor vehicle was to say the least disheartening.

To sum up.
The tick box is gone and this is a good thing, but the filling in of section 9 and the strange wording on the back of the new V5cs will maintain some of the Non CoD loopholes.
If all you have to do is put any name on section 9 of the V5c then the unlicensed will continue to find ways around the system and the UK will end up with millions of un recorded scrap vehicles which the DVLA have put "out to trade"

If my phone call is anything to go by we are far from home and dry with the DVLA.
They continue to send out confusing messages to vehicle owners. Granted it will take time for the full effect of the new V5c but perhaps we should be looking for further assurance form the DVLA that their staff at least understand the law re ELVs.

Wednesday 11 August 2010

New to the UK – End-of-Life Cars for Charity

A new service called Giveacar, launched earlier this year, organises the donation of end-of-life cars to charity. Giveacar is spearheaded by the young social entrepreneur Tom Chance and is aiming to capture a large part of the end-of-life vehicle recycling market through its unique selling point.
Though Giveacar’s primary aim is raise money for registered charities, the service is keen to promote effective vehicle recycling in order to reduce the environmental impact of end-of-life cars. Giveacar only uses the salvage operators Cartakeback and Bluecycle to collect vehicles.
We had a few words with Tom Chance to see his views on the salvage market:
“Having only known this market for six months, I have still got a huge amount to learn, but it seems there is an unnerving knowledge gap in the car recycling industry. Household recycling is so well publicised, yet given the potential damage of an end-of-life car, I find it strange that the general public seems misinformed. We compete with the kind of companies that advertise on lampposts, and we need more help from the government and DVLA to ensure that the public is informed of how to properly dispose of a vehicle.”
Giveacar is using its environmentally-friendly ethos to market the concept. Major environmental charities such as Keep Britain Tidy and Keep Scotland Beautiful, as well as many local councils, have recently started promoting the scheme. Car donation is therefore gradually gaining momentum in the UK salvage industry, adding another pocket to an already-congested marketplace.

Thursday 5 August 2010

Hazardous Waste Consignment Notes

The Environment Agency has determined that all Category A and B salvage is hazardous unless de-polluted. As a result movement of these vehicles needs to be accompanied by Hazardous Waste Consignment Notes (HWCN).

There are some specific issues relating to Cat B vehicles moving across the Scottish or N Irish borders.

For Cat B’s purchased in England and Wales a HWCN downloaded from the Environment Agency web site can be used. It is then the responsibility of the carrier/receiver of the vehicle to complete the quarterly returns to the E Agency and pay the fees requested.
This applies if the carrier/receiver is based in Scotland or N Ireland.

Where the vehicle is purchased in Scotland the carrier/receiver of the waste must purchase the Special Waste Code from SEPA (Scottish Environmental Protection Agency) prior to collection of the vehicle.

For vehicles purchased in N Ireland the HWCN must be purchased from N Ireland Environmental Services (NIES), and they MUST be given 3 working days notice of vehicle movement.
Note – Category B’s purchased in England or Scotland and moved to N Ireland can be moved on E Agency HWCN or SEPA Special Waste Notes, but 3 working days notice must be given to N Ireland Environmental Services.

Cat B’s purchased in England or Wales and moving to:
• England and Wales require E Agency HWCN
• Scotland require E Agency HWCN
• N Ireland require E Agency HWCN and 3 working days notice of movement

Cat B’s purchased in Scotland and moving to:
• Scotland require SEPA Special Waste Notice
• England or Wales require SEPA Special Waste Notice
• N Ireland require SEPA Special Waste Notice and 3 working days notice of movement

Cat B’s purchased in N Ireland and moving to:
• N Ireland requires NIES HWCN and 3 working days notice of movement
• Scotland requires NIES HWCN and 3 working days notice of movement to NIES
• England and Wales requires NIES HWCN and 3 working days notice of movement to NIES

This is for guidance only, it is imperative that all producers, carriers and receivers of hazardous waste fully understand their responsibilities.
Additional information can be found at:

Tuesday 3 August 2010

New look V5 log book from DVLA

From the 15 August 2010 all V5C's that are issued by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) will have a new look. The new V5C will make it clear that the registration certificate is not proof of ownership and will provide details of where you can get advice on buying a used vehicle.

The ‘scrap’ box has also been removed because all cars, light vans and three-wheeled motor vehicles- excluding motor tricycles, must be taken to an Authorised Treatment Facility, who should issue a Certificate of Destruction (CoD). Vehicles other than those already mentioned, should still be taken to an ATF to ensure they are destroyed to environmental standards. Anyone keeping the vehicle but breaking it up for parts, etc, should make a Statutory off Road Notification (SORN) to let DVLA know that the vehicle is being kept unlicensed and off the road.

Anyone with the existing blue version need not do anything as both types of document are still valid.

DVLA’s ‘Buyer Beware’ message advises that the V5C is only one of the things that buyers of used vehicles need to check. By making buyers aware of the risks, our aim is to help them to protect themselves and reduce the risk of getting caught out by criminals.

For more information on the V5c and our Buyer Beware consumer protection initiative, go to for your information.

Wednesday 28 July 2010

More ELV questions and answers

Following on from the previous blogs we asked more questions of the Department for Business, Innovations and Skills. Our questions, and their responses are below:

Question: From the data given, we have 1 million vehicles de-registered during 2009 where certificate of destruction or notification of destruction has not been issued. I would be surprised if 1 million vehicles have had a cherished transfer or been exported, so what has happened to these vehicles, and if they have been scrapped why have they not gone through the ELV process as demanded by the EU End of Life Vehicle Regulations, the EU Waste Directive or even by Environment Agency guidelines?

Answer: First, the CoD requirements only apply to those vehicles stipulated under the ELV Directive (cars and light goods to 3.5 tonnes). Anything above this is not subject to CoD requirements. The Home Office were considering introducing a mandatory NoD requirement for vehicles over 3.5 tonnes, but there is no guarantee that this will proceed. Around 260,000 used vehicles are permanently exported annually. BIS, through its responsibility to collect information on ELV recycling and recovery performance is aware that there are vehicles passing through ATFs where a CoD has not been raised. In the 2008 report to the European Commission, the UK reported on a total of over 1,259,000 vehicles of which a CoD or other related notification to DVLA had not been raised on some 130,000 vehicles.

Question: What is DVLA policy when a vehicle owner attempts to scrap their vehicle? Do they accept the notification of scrapping from the owner (probably through the tick box on the V5), or do they refuse and insist on a Certificate of Destruction being issued?

Answer: We understand that DVLA does update the vehicle database where the tick box on the V5 is returned. However, in this case it does not deregister the vehicles from the database. You may be aware that the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport has recently announced the introduction of a new vehicle registration document. The new document will not include the scrapping tick-box and will be available for newly registered vehicles from the middle of next month and for all vehicles from July 2011.

Question: Is it possible to obtain full details on the numbers of vehicle notified as scrapped through the tickbox on the V5 and by personally scrapped de-registrations?

Answer: We will check with DVLA and get back to you separately on this. One complication is that there can be overlap between CoDs and vehicles notified as scrapped through the V5 tick-box.

Tuesday 27 July 2010

End of Life Vehicle Answers

We received a response from Peter Cottrell - Department for Business, Innovations and Skills

Thank you for your enquiry about end of life vehicles (ELVs) and Certificates of Destruction (CoDs). The enquiry has been passed to me for reply; the Environment Agency have provided some of the background information on enforcement of permitting requirements.

The total number of vehicles de-registered from 1 January 2009 to 31 December 2009 in the UK is estimated at 2,320,046. This covers all vehicle types including those not covered by the CoD requirements.
Vehicles are de-registered (i.e. removed from the vehicle register) for a number of reasons. Those reasons include:

a. vehicles that have been exported :

b. vehicles that have been scrapped (i.e. a CoD has been issued) and :

c. vehicle records that have been closed because the vehicle registration mark no longer relates to the vehicle concerned (cherished transfer) .

There were 1,202,593 CoDs issued from 1 January 2009 to 31 December 2009. In addition, 55,720 "unidentified" CoDs, and 24,024 Notification of Destructions (NoDs).

Although the Government has, in the past, considered the option of extending CoD requirements to other categories of vehicles, DVLA is not looking to extend the current CoD requirements . Vehicles presented to an ATF not covered by the ELV Directive can be updated on the DVLA vehicle record with an NoD.

The UK has over 1,500 licensed treatment facilities for ELVs. Last year, the Environment Agency organised four national workshops for site operators and in September provided each operator with a comprehensive information pack giving further guidance on the treatment of ELVs, preventing pollution, and compliance with environmental controls.

In April 2008, the Environment Agency launched a coordinated national campaign to tackle illegal ELV and scrap metal sites. In the first 12 months they closed or brought into regulation almost half of the 370 illegal sites that had been identified in England and Wales.

A few prosecution examples:

November 2008: illegal ELV site operator Malcolm Grange prosecuted and fined over £18,000 and made subject of a 12-month Community Order with 60 hours’ unpaid work

December 2008: illegal ELV site operator Daniel Power prosecuted and ordered to pay almost £190,000 by Swansea Crown Court under Proceeds of Crime Act legislation.

September 2009: illegal ELV site operator Christopher Brian Williams, 57, convicted at Caernarfon Crown Court in August and jailed for six months at Mold Crown Court in September.

Working in collaboration with local authorities, Police and the car recycling industry, the Environment Agency will continue to target illegal ELV sites.

In January 2010 the Environment Agency arrested four men in a raid on an Essex industrial estate. The raid was one of 30 operations the Agency was mounting to target illegal waste sites.

The estate, in Rettendon, Essex, had a history of illegal waste activities, including the unlicensed storage, deposit and treatment of scrap metal and scrap cars. Following a surveillance and intelligence gathering operation, Environment Agency officers and Essex Police visited the site, and found unlicensed skips full of waste, several hundred scrap vehicles still containing hazardous substances such as oil and brake fluid, and piles of other scrap metals.

End of Life Vehicle Questions

With the change of Government we recently approached the Business Secretary, Vince Cable with the following questions relating to ELV's

Over the last few years the EU End of Life (ELV) Regulations has come into full use. The Environment Agency (for England and Wales) and SEPA (for Scotland) enforce ELV standards on all licensed businesses involved in the dismantling of motor vehicles of any type. However, DVLA, who administer the Certificate of Destruction process (another part of ELV regulations) only apply to the limit of the regulations – cars and light vans. please can we ask the following questions:

• How many vehicles were de-registered from Jan 1 2009 to Dec 31 2009?

• How many Certificates of Destruction were issued in that same period?

• If, as suspected, there is a discrepancy between the two, what happened to the vehicles where a Certificate of Destruction was not issued, where they treated at Authorised Treatment Facilities as the law requires?

• When is the DVLA going to extend Certificate of Destruction to cover all vehicles, closing the current loophole that means people can take a vehicle out of use and dismantle it without having to have the vehicle treated by authorised treatment facilities?

• What action is your government going to take to ensure that un-licensed operators are either taken out of business or forced to comply with those businesses that have invested in their facilities, staff and equipment to achieve, or maintain the standards required as ELV licensed operations?

The answers received will be posted in another entry

Thursday 22 July 2010

International Round Table on Auto Recycling

International Roundtable on Automotive Recycling (IRT) runs from September 19-21, 2010 in Quebec City, at Quebec Canada Hotel Plaza Quebec
Hosted by Automotive Recyclers of Canada

Features include:
- Auto recycling facility tours (3)
- Welcoming reception
- Country reports (10 countries committed at this time)
- Global Presentations
- Roundtable interactive discussions (Green marketing; Engaging media, governments and industry stakeholders; Scrappage schemes around the world; International movement of ELVs; Extended Producer Responsibility schemes and the effect on auto recyclers; Enhancing used auto parts usage, Global computer technologies in sales and inventory management, etc)

For more information

Thursday 15 July 2010

Home of Dylan Thomas

Recently travelled to the home of Sir Tom Jones, Catherine Zeta Jones, Aled Jones and Dylan Thomas – no, not the great Welsh poet, but the son of Ivor Thomas – car dealers and dismantlers from Lampeter.

A typical, local garage, serving the community around them and it is probably one of the most traditional, family owned and run sites that I visit during the course of the year.
Developed by Ivor over 50 years, the second generation of the family head the operation with the third generation being heavily involved, even more so following the sudden and very sad death of Ivor at the start of 2010.
What more could you want from your local garage, large supply of parts in stock, friendly and knowledgeable staff, sensible labour rates, vehicles for sale at affordable prices, and exemplary customer service.
Many businesses could do worse than take a look at Ivor Thomas and Sons, their no-nonsense, honest approach has served them well over many years, and will continue for many years to come.
Their web site ( is well worth a look, and if you are ever in Ceredigion, take an hour out and pay them a visit.

Tuesday 22 June 2010

Making body repair easier

How can we save money on vehicle body repair whilst raising repair standards? well i was at Thatcham (the motor insurance industry research and repair centre) last week to see some really good demonstrations of cost and efficiency savings for all those involved in motor vehicle body repair.
Power Tec body repair tools and equipment ( have a whole catalogue of tools where time and money can be saved repairing vehicles, from hand tools, to heavy duty vehicle lifts and body alignment equipment, they have the ability to equip a repair shop.
They were demonstrating their latest plastic repair system, this can repair cracks, fractures and deep scratches in almost all plastic body panels, including bumpers, and you only require one type of plastic welding rod for all plastics rather than the numerous different types of the recent past. You can see more detail and an online demonstration at the web site where you can also order a DVD and info pack for even more information.
Mini also had a vehicle there demonstrating the new 'cold' joining technique, instead of spot welding panels on you can now utilise bonding and riveting techniques to fit various panels, including rear panels, quarters and chassis legs.
In both cases these developments represent much increased opportunities for the salvage repair market to increase standards whilst saving costs - got to be good for all of us.

New Bluecycle website

I see that Bluecycle have updated their web site again, looks good and much easier to use then the last one. Just got to get used to where all the buttons are, but the basics are just as good as previously and I think I could get used to using this site much easier than after previous changes.
Well Done!

Thursday 10 June 2010

European Vehicle Theft Database

Recently heard about a couple that paid in excess of £30,000 for a top of the range motorhome. The vehicle was under 1 year old, left hand drive on a Peugeot chassis, beautifully appointed and ideal for their summer plans to tour Europe.
Unfortunately they will now not be able to go as the vehicle has been impounded because it was stolen.
The purchasers completed all the usual checks that one should when buying such an expensive vehicle, all the paperwork, including import and registration documents were in order, and the vehicle identity was correct. Nothing was flagged on the car data check they completed either.
The theft occurred in Europe and the vehicle was imported to the UK using original documents that happened to be in the vehicle at the time of the theft.
Vehicle data checks that are completed by consumers regularly fail to highlight vehicles stolen from other countries; it appears from my research that the only organisation able to get reliable theft data from other parts of Europe is the police.
It is time that the European Union force member states to make this data easily available across the whole of Europe so that consumers are protected from fraudulent acts that have the potential to ruin someone’s life.

Technically Competent Management

England and Wales based metal recycling and ELV sites are affected by changes in statutory requirements that dictate management standards.
All licensed or permitted waste management facilities must have Technically Competent Management (TCM) on site.
Managers are required to hold the following qualifications:
For low risk Metal Recycling Facilities, 4 appropriate NVQ’s or completing an Environmental Permit Operators Certificate (EPOC) at an approved training centre.
For medium risk ELV sites, 6 appropriate NVQ units or completing a Vocationally Related Qualification (VRQ) course at an approved training centre followed by a work related project.

Following successful qualification all TCM’s must keep their knowledge updated and will have to show continuing professional competence. All current TCM’s must pass a new competency test before the end of Feb 2011 – note, this includes anyone deemed to be competent under ‘grandfather rights’ – and all TCM’s will be reassessed bi-annually.
You can find more details through the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management at, or through local training centres/colleges.

The Environment Agency have told me that the TCM needs to be present on site for 20-25% of the week, so one self-employed TCM could work with 4 or 5 yards.

My opinion:
This could be seen as more attacks on the ELV industry, with additional cost in an increasingly tough economic environment, but the regulations did come into force in April 2008 so there has already been two years to complete this. These qualifications mean another step up in professionalism for this industry and show that we are serious about protecting the environment, the health and safety of our workers, and give environmental agencies more opportunities to root out and control illegal operations that bring the car salvage industry into disrepute.

Scrapyard Safety

I can remember going into scrap yards as a teenager looking for parts for my Ford Escort, and having to climb three vehicles high to strip out the cylinder head that I wanted, there was no health and safety or environmental concerns, if you dropped your spanner it could have killed anyone unfortunate enough to be underneath, hi-viz was completely unknown and if oil was leaking out you just kicked some more mud over it!
Guard dogs roamed freely and if they didn’t like you they bit first. In fact I can remember one yard where the dog was chained to the back half of a car (an Austin Allegro was one of the sections used) that had no rear suspension, and he dragged this around the yard after him. Slowed him down a bit, but he could still bite you.

Nowadays you cannot get into many yards, and if you do you are dressed in safety boots, hi-viz and hard hats, and accompanied by a member of staff. Is this a sign of progress, or political correctness gone too far?
Those of us who are a certain age can all remember being driven in our parent’s cars, no seat belts, air bags or anti lock brakes, metal dashboards, hard plastic steering wheels, drum brakes and cross ply tyres. As car design and safety has increased dramatically since the 1970’s so has our recognition of unsafe practices at work. Some of the practices of generations past need to be consigned to the crusher, but have we gone too far?
I agree, the safety of employees and members of the public are of utmost importance, and we need to take all possible precautions to make working environments as safe as possible, but there seems to be too much reliance upon personal safety clothing than focusing on safe practices.
Formula 1 is recognised to be an unsafe sport where death and injury used to be regular occurrence, the steps taken over many years have made the operating environment - the cars and the tracks much safer, and then the driver’s safety equipment has been proved to be fit for purpose in preventing further injury in the event of an accident.
Motor salvage yards need reflect on Formula 1 experience, and make the operating environment as safe as possible – look at the condition of the yards, the vehicle handling and storage, the safe keeping of hazardous fluids and the de-pollution and vehicle repair environment, and then ensure that their employee’s safety equipment is fit for purpose.

This year, yes 2010, I have visited over 100 salvage yards, I deliberately leave my hi-viz equipment in the car when I arrive, and only 3 of the yards I have visited have asked me to wear any safety equipment as I complete site inspections. Of these yards, a number are open to customers, some stack vehicles two high, and I have seen vehicles being de-polluted whilst hanging from fork lifts. Standards are improving, but there is a long way to go.

Wednesday 26 May 2010

Rental Car Frustration

Working away this week and getting really frustrated with car rental companies again. Picked up a car at the airport terminal, it had more damage on it than some of the vehicles we de-fleet after three years, and a dangerous brake judder, so it was returned, they replaced the car, stated that it had 'nil' damage - wrong! Wheels damaged, bumpers scratched, doors scratched and more.
What is it with rental companies, I know that the cars are used by lots of different drivers, and they can get abused, but is it about time that they complete full appraisals of damage so that innocent drivers are not accused of causing damage to the vehicles that was there before they collected the car.
Rant over, feel better now!

Monday 24 May 2010

ELV Questions for the new UK Government

The questions below were sent to the UK political parties fighting the recent General Election. I am sad to report that none of them responded in any way. We are now re-framing the questions and will be sending them to the new Government, and the answers we receive will be posted here.

Over the last few years the EU End of Life (ELV) Regulations has come into full use.

The Environment Agency (for England and Wales) and SEPA (for Scotland) enforce ELV standards on all licensed businesses involved in the dismantling of motor vehicles of any type.
However, DVLA, who administer the Certificate of Destruction process (another part of ELV regulations) only apply to the limit of the regulations – cars and light vans.

As we approach the general election, to assist the Motor Salvage Industry make their decisions on who to vote for, please can you ask the following questions.

• How many vehicles were de-registered from Jan 1 2009 to Dec 31 2009?
• How many Certificates of Destruction were issued in that same period?
• If, as suspected, there is a discrepancy between the two, what happened to the vehicles where a Certificate of Destruction was not issued, where they treated at Authorised Treatment Facilities as the law requires?

• When is the DVLA going to extend Certificate of Destruction to cover all vehicles, closing the current loophole that means people can take a vehicle out of use and dismantle it without having to have the vehicle treated by authorised treatment facilities?

• What action is your party going to take to ensure that un-licensed operators are either taken out of business or forced to comply with those businesses that have invested in their facilities, staff and equipment to achieve, or maintain the standards required as ELV licensed operations?

These questions have been sent to the following:
Gordon Brown: Prime Minister
Hilary Benn: Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
David Cameron: Conservative Party Leader
Nick Herbert: Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Nick Clegg: Liberal Democrat Party Leader
Tim Farron: Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Alex Salmond: SNP Leader

Friday 21 May 2010

Technical Competence for UK ELV Sites

Metal recycling and ELV sites in the UK now have to meet Technical standards under statutory legislation.
Managers must be qualified as Technically Competent Management (TCM), and this applies to all ELV and Waste Management sites
For low risk Metal Recycling Facilities, 4 appropriate NVQ’s or an Environmental Permit Operators Certificate (EPOC).
For medium risk ELV sites, 6 appropriate NVQ units or completion of a Vocationally Related Qualification (VRQ) course at an approved training centre followed by a work related project.

Following successful qualification continuing professional competence is necessary to keep registration as TCM valid. All current TCM’s must pass a new competency test before the end of Feb 2011 – note, this includes anyone deemed to be competent under ‘grandfather rights’ – and all TCM’s will be reassessed bi-annually.
You can find more details through the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management at, or through your local training centres/colleges.

Friday 14 May 2010

More on New South Wales

Discussions with a number of people have highlighted that the NSW Government do not want to enact expensive legislation to control motor salvage, so have started on this ill conceived attempt to stop insurance write off's being re-registered. The Association of British insurers Code of Practice for Motor Salvage is not legislation either, it is a voluntary code of practice that the UK insurance industry, the UK salvage industry, fleet and hire car companies, and the police have all signed up to. the important factor, is that it works - it controls salvage, vehicle documentation, prevents fraud, and ensures that vehicle history is available for consumers to see.
Surely now is the time for the Australian insurers, salvage federations and national government to take a step back and take a fresh look at this issue, review what other countries are doing, take the best of all the codes and regulations, and put their own code of practice into place, a code that can be supported by all involved in the motor salvage industry, a code that will increase the professional standing of the industry, improve consumer protection, prevent fraud, reduce theft and ultimately save money for insurers and consumers.
Don't forget, if insurers are not receiving a lower level of revenue from their motor salvage than 12 months ago then insurance premiums will rise, hitting the consumer even harder in difficult financial times.

Friday 23 April 2010

Australian ban on repairing motor salvage

The New South Wales Government intend to introduce legislation that bans all insurance write offs from being re-registered, effectively condemning all motor salvage in NSW to the crusher.
Mr David Campbell, Minister for Transport and Roads has said that the legislation will prevent vehicles being ‘re-birthed’ with stolen parts.
This has major implications for much of the industry, and shows that Government initiatives are being implemented without full investigation of the consequences.

Currently many insurers will use the salvage value of a vehicle to ‘construct’ a total loss scenario for high value vehicles with heavy damage. As an example, a $40,000 Mercedes with $30,000 worth of damage would probably achieve $12,000 return as repairable salvage, but would struggle to get $4,000 under the proposed NSW laws, so the customer and insurer are faced with 3 options.
Repair the car – would you want your $40k vehicle repaired?
The insurers pay the market value and sell the vehicle as damaged repairable, with no mention of total loss or write off – thus hiding the history of the vehicle or:
Pay the owner the repair cost on a cash in lieu basis and then let the owner decide on the next course of action, many of whom will sell the vehicle as damaged, but with all the vehicle documentation. Fuelling the possibility of fraudulent activity, including vehicle cloning that the legislation is trying to stop.
Message to NSW, look at the current Code of Practice in force in the United Kingdom, it has been in force since the early 1990’s, and it successfully controls the decision on vehicle repair or scrap, and also specifies information that must be made available through data check services, and the release of vehicle documentation to the purchasers of motor salvage. These controls give the insurers the opportunity to sell salvage; to construct total loss cases for the benefit of their customers; gives legitimate salvage companies the chance to continue buying and repairing vehicles; makes life much more difficult for those that are operating outside of the law; and improves the professionalism of the whole motor salvage industry.

Thursday 1 April 2010

How clean is the operation?

Over many years of working in the salvage industry I have seen a discernable increase in the environmental standards of the sites that I visit.

I visited a yard last week in the UK that took me back 6-8 years, the storage area was ankle deep in mud, vehicles were being stripped in the open, and the working area was covered in oil, mud and other vehicle fluids. Vehicles stored had obviously not been de-polluted, still had wheels and tyres on and fluids were visibly leaking.

This yard is licensed by the Environment Agency, and is also registered with their local council, yet they still continue to operate whilst appearing to ignore many of the standards set by End of life Vehicle Regulations.

The UK salvage industry needs to work very closely with the various government departments and agencies to raise professional standards and increase the public perception of the industry. Yards like the one detailed above bring the industry into disrepute, and must be encouraged to improve within a defined timescale otherwise their licences need to be revoked.

I am very fortunate; my role takes me to many yards all over the world, with some of the best being in Germany and Holland. Most of these have got there through rigorous enforcement and in some cases grants from local and national government. They set the standard that the salvage industry worldwide needs to aim for, and this includes how they work with their environment agencies locally and nationally.

We need to get over the ‘them and us’ attitude that I see too often from many UK yard owners and managers when they talk about the various environment agencies they deal with, we need to have a collective effort from all salvage professionals to continually increase standards, and a passion to help others in the industry improve. This can only be completed by the industry coming together, putting aside the differences that many have to enable progress.
As the UK moves towards a General Election, what do the various political parties say about this, what questions should we be asking the local candidates and what should the party leaders be asked?
I have my own ideas about the questions that need to be asked, what about yourselves, comment on this blog and add your own questions, and I will collate them and put to the various parties on your behalf.

Saturday 16 January 2010

2020 and all that!

As we start a new decade, what can the motor salvage market expect over the next 10 years, and how different will the marketplace be in 2020?

In the short term, I do not expect too many changes, vehicles will remain fairly conventional and the need for ‘green’ parts will increase as more companies see the need to reduce their carbon footprint and increase their use of recycled parts in vehicle repair and maintenance.

2015 will be a critical point in the decade for a number of reasons.
Firstly, EU ELV legislation means that 95% of each car scrapped in the EU will have to be recycled, an increase over the current 85%. By then, many other countries will have followed the lead set by the EU and have similar legislation.
By 2015 there will have been significant increases in the production of hybrid, electric and alternative fuelled vehicles, including Fuel Cell and Bio-Fuel. The conventional fossil fuel vehicle will be less popular and values of these will decrease with more coming to salvage, and with less demand more of each vehicle will have to be scrapped and the waste recovered, rather than parts being sold to meet recycling targets – and this problem will grow for a few years as the global vehicle market changes to fit the new - low carbon - world order!

So what opportunities can we see for the salvage market during the decade?
China and India are the fastest growing car markets in the world, with an incredible demand in both countries for cars – there could be many opportunities for switched on businesses able to gain a foothold in either country for the supply of vehicles, or the supply of parts. With the incredible growth of vehicle ownership in both countries there will be the inevitable incidents and accidents that occur with new drivers, and with an infrastructure that is unable to grow as fast as vehicle ownership – supply of parts for vehicle repair in these countries may be a very profitable option.

The global credit crisis may also have helped the motor salvage industry; many of the motor manufacturers are investigating or developing ‘global’ models, so they sell the same vehicle in all countries of the world – so the parts coming off a car in the USA could be fitted to a vehicle in China, and parts from China could be used in India – and so-on.. This opens up the whole world to the supply of parts from motor salvage.

Another opportunity could be to specialise in the new technology, become a salvage specialist for hybrid, or fuel cell vehicles. It sometimes takes a few years to develop an idea, and build a reputation in a new area, why not start now and be ahead of the rest of the market?

I think that by 2020 the global salvage market will be looking a very different place, much more regulation and recycling targets will be in place, but with some fantastic opportunities for those that have been prepared to take a risk and develop new markets and build their reputation as a global operator.
Salvage wire could assist you in developing your business to take advantage of the opportunities that this decade will bring, see our web site for more details of how we can help you.

Thursday 7 January 2010

10 new years resolutions for 2010

10 New Year resolutions for the motor salvage industry:

10 suggested improvements that the majority of motor salvage operators need to look at in 2010 – for some all of these will be applicable, for others you could select one or two of them and see what a difference they make.

These are not in any particular order, as all 10 are important.

1. Licences and Registrations: I know ‘red tape’ is time consuming and laborious, but it is here to stay, so if you cannot deal with it, employ someone who can.

2. Computer Skills: we now live and work in an internet society, from purchasing of vehicles, applying for licences, through parts and vehicle sales, to scrapping and certificates of destruction – too many are still ‘employing’ their children to keep this important part of the operation up to date - learn how to use a computer and recognise the benefits this can bring to your business; increased exposure, more enquiries, more sales, efficiencies in purchasing, licence renewals etc.

3. Stock Control and Inventory: Knowing what is in the yard and the condition of the parts will become increasingly important over the coming year – you cannot afford to lose a sale because you have to check what is in the yard; give a swift answer to any enquiry and there is less chance of the customer going elsewhere.

4. Compliance to Standards: There are many standards and contracts in force, from sellers terms and conditions, to codes of practice and salvage association standards – learn them and comply, they are there for the protection of individual businesses and to increase the professionalism of the industry.

5. Customer Service: The difference between getting and not getting a sale is sometimes very small, and not always related to the price charged as many think. If you give great customer service then the customer will come back and may recommend a friend or relative – if you give poor service that customer will probably not come back and may tell many more people about the experience. Learn how to exceed your customers expectations it will benefit you and your company.

6. Environmental Awareness: We work in a highly regulated industry, and all environmental offices have a difficult job at times, let’s make life as easy as possible for them by ensuring that all of our operations work to the highest of standards at all times – then those officers can shift their focus to the businesses that are not compliant or licensed.

7. Image: We know that our industry is very environmentally friendly, recycling 85% of each vehicle, ensuring that hazardous materials are dealt with correctly and so on. What is the perspective of the general public? Many have images of vehicles stacked 5 high, dripping oil and water – we need to change this by projecting a clean, smart, professional image. This can be through the appearance of the yard, paperwork, web site, and staff work wear – for example, make sure that all delivery notes/invoices attached to parts are clean and do not have dirty fingerprints on them. Look at the clothing worn by staff on site, where they meet customers do they portray a good image to the customer, or are they just plain grubby?

8. Join a Trade Association: Yes, I know it costs money, but making a good choice of trade association could pay dividends in coming years. The stronger your trade association the more benefits they can give you - This could include a voice at Government level, support in your dealings with local authorities, regular liaison with environmental agencies, and much more. The only way these associations can have this influence is if more salvage businesses join them.

9. Training: Too many businesses neglect training their staff, and many will only provide the bare minimum. The danger for some is the risk of investing in the employee to find that they then leave to join a competitor. Well trained staff bring many benefits to any business, and the investment in training could be a reason for them to stay with that business because the staff can see that they are valued.

10. Ideas: Do not dismiss ideas and suggestions from your staff (or family), sometimes they can see problems and solutions better than you can. In fact, encourage ideas and improvements as this is a good way of retaining and developing employees, and this could improve your business as well as increasing staff loyalty as they then ‘own’ that part of the operation.