Standard Motor Products Europe (SMPE), one of the UK’s largest independently owned automotive parts manufacturers and suppliers, is celebrating its 50th anniversary in business, confirming its status as one of the UK aftermarket’s biggest success stories.
Established in 1968 as Intermotor by founders Stuart Copson and George Paris, the business began by selling contact sets and condensers to small retail and trade outlets.
It was incorporated as a company on 10 June, 1969 before moving to Nottingham a year later, where the business has remained since.
From its base in the East Midlands, the business began to develop a manufacturing base, purchasing machinery to make ignition contact sets and condensers, and established the manufacturing capability for distributor caps and ignition coils.
By the late 1970s Intermotor had grown into a major trade supplier, with the introduction of switches and sensors to its programme strengthened the company’s aftermarket offering, where its proposition was expanded further still during the 1980s.
The 1990s saw business expansion and further investment, with the development of the site in Hucknall, Nottingham, including an extrusion line to facilitate the manufacture of an ignition lead range in 1993.
Over this decade, sales continued to grow and a successful export business developed, where Intermotor began to sell into OE markets and enter into a partnership with Standard Motor Products of the USA in ECU remanufacturing called Blue Streak Europe.
Not long after, the business was re-branded as SMP Europe, with Intermotor retained as the company’s main brand.
Major acquisitions heralded the end of the millennium and the start of another, including Webcon UK, Lemark and Carol Cable, all boosting the company’s dominance in the market.
In 2005 SMPE applied their electronics expertise to take a leading position in the market, through the in-house development of a range of Air Mass Meters, which has been the company’s core focus ever since.
A move to Sherwood Business Park, Annesley two years later gave SMPE the benefit of having all operations on a single site with the room to expand manufacturing and warehousing operations.
This coincided with another acquisition, this time of Kerr Nelson, manufacturers and distributors of ignition leads.
Fuel Parts UK, a distributor of engine management, fuelling, catalytic converters, and rotating electrics was acquired in 2011, significantly increasing SMPE’s fuelling and engine management parts portfolio.
Over the past half a century, the company credits a sharp focus on new product development and keeping up with the latest vehicle technologies, alongside providing customers with a proposition that is high in quality and value, as key factors behind its success.
Ignition, engine management, switches & sensors and fuelling have become SMPE’s four main product areas, with Intermotor still very much a core brand for the business, along with Lemark, Fuel Parts, Kerr Nelson, and the High Volt, Electrospark and ProSpark ignition lead brands.
Richard Morley, SMPE Commercial Director, said: “SMPE has grown into not only one of the UK’s biggest parts manufacturers and suppliers, but into one of the industry’s strongest success stories, surviving and often thriving during many difficult economic periods the era has witnessed.
“Still going strong today, it’s extremely humbling to be a part of the SMPE legacy.
“The latest string to its bow is of course the securing of the rights to supply its engine management programme under the iconic Lucas brand in Europe, proving that the company’s growth and development show no signs of abating.”
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