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Fiat Chrysler’s European unit sees first profit in eight years – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles yesterday struck a bulish tone on Europe after the Italian-American carmaker recorded a quarterly operating profit in the region for the first time since the financial crisis. “We have now no regions which are bleeding,” said Sergio Marchionne, chief executive, as he expressed confidence that FCA would stay in the black in Europe in 2015, achieving full-year profitability in that arm 12 months ahead of schedule.
China’s WeChatters suffer status anxiety as BMW ads target select few – Target ads may be the bane of social network users the world over but in China it seems they are an object of desire. Users of WeChat, the hit Chinese chat app, this week protested again “discrimination” after they were not targeted by an advertisement for BMW, the luxury carmaker. “I’ve been refreshing over and over again but still no BMW ad…today my spirits are in the dumps,” said one WeChatter. “Do I not even qualify to see the BMW ads?”
Fury at jammed roads will drive down car ownership – The number of people owning their own car is likely to drop over the next 50 years of growing anger over the state of Britain’s traffic-clogged roads, research suggests. A rising number of adults – principally in the inner cities – will shun car ownership in favour of club-style rental deals and greater us of taxis, the Independent Transport Commission suggest. The think-tank adds that the number of miles driven by each car may fall dramatically as people seek alternative modes of transport.
Banks on the hook over rip-off interest rate caps – Thousands of small businesses will be told that they may have been mis-sold interest rate caps by their lenders potentially putting the country’s largest banks on the hook for at least £1billion in new compensation payouts. The surprise move by the City watch-dog could come as early today. The Financial Conduct Authority is expected to say that between 5,500 and 6,000 businesses will be allowed to join its redress scheme for swap mis-selling, having been overcharged tens or even hundreds of thousands of pounds on ceilings to protect them against interest rate rises.
Saga buys insurer for the older easy rider – Motorcycling’s growing appeal to the middle-aged rider such as Hugh Laure, was underlined when a leading specialist insurance broker was snapped up by Saga, the over-50’s services provider. Saga said that Bennetts, which boasts 200,000 biker customers was a good fit for its demographic and its strategy of expanding further into insurance broking.
BP sells off large stakes in Gulf of Mexico – BP has moved closer to achieving its target of around $10bn (£6.5bn) of divestiments in 2015 after it sold a big share in two of its prospects in the Gulf of Mexico to US oil major Chevron. The company said it had sold roughly half its interest in the Gila and Tiber fields and relinquished its role as operation in the concessions discovered offshore in the past decade. A BP spokesman declined to comment on how much capital was raised.
Get your motor running: the Saga crowd going for two-wheel retirement burn-ups – It’s not so much a case of Born To be Wild as born to be mild; a new generation of bikers is taking to the road, and they are not twentysomething speed freaks but sensible fiftysomethings. The number of over-50 silver0riders climbing aboard a motorbike is roaring ahead; they now account for some 30% of all spending on bikes – a total of £340m last year – up from 17% just seven years ago…Stephen Latham, head of the National Motorcycle Dealers Association, said: “People who are riding for enjoyment tend to go for a racing bike, something that they can enjoy the trill of, or they go for the ‘cruiser market’ such as the Harley Davidson or Triumph where riding is more about companionship.”