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Daily news round upBack

NFDA Grey logo April 2012

NFDA hits out at FCA four-day GAP proposal

The NFDA has hit out at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) proposal to give customers a four day cooling off period when buying GAP products.

The FCA has proposed a deferred opt-in programme of four days for GAP insurance but the NFDA believes dealers should be able to offer buyers GAP insurance on the spot and says the proposals could leave consumers financially exposed with a negative impact on their credit rating.

The NFDA’s submission to the FCA consultation argue that imposing deferred opt-in procedures is often impractical for consumers and doesn’t take into account the fact that just 2% of car sales are same-day purchases.

Sue Robinson, director of the NFDA said: “The FCA says it is looking to protect consumers and ensure they get value for money, but delaying GAP insurance could ultimately leave motorists in a vulnerable position without the full protection of their car and equity that they need.

“The NFDA has already brought deferral times down from the FCA-recommended 30 to 40 days to a more reasonable four days, but we feel more needs to be done,” said Robinson.


MoT and VED added to HPI Checks

HPI has added MoT and road tax information to its provenance checks for dealers.

The expanded HPI Checks will confirm whether a vehicle has been taxed or when the due date is. Dealers will also be provided with a breakdown of the cost to tax the vehicle for six or 12 months.

The checks will also confirm if a vehicle has a current or expired MoT, its expiry date or if no details are held by the DVLA.

“The addition of MoT and tax data, means HPI continues to bring dealers the fullest possible picture of a used vehicle, helping them understand the financial implications of investing in or part exchanging stock,” said Neil Hodson, Managing Director for HPI.

“As margins are squeezed tighter and tighter, dealers need to take advantage of the wealth of data now available to them. By listening to the needs of used car dealers, HPI delivers the data they need to ensure they can protect their bottom line against unexpected costs and boost sales, in a tough market.”


Connected cars will shift the balance of power from dealers to manufacturers

The article, entitled ‘How Smart, Connected Products are Transforming Competition’,was written by Harvard Business School’s Prof Michael Porter, who has for many years been regarded as the leading academic in the area of strategy. His famous ‘Five Force Model’ has been used by industry since the early 1980s.

In the piece, Porter looks at the potential impact embedded technology could have on industry structure.

Embedded technology has been used in the car industry for a number of years, in engine diagnostics or boosting fuel efficiency, for example, but Porter says this only goes so far. The real change, he argues, comes with the ability of the technology to be connected to not only other parts within the same vehicle, but to other vehicles and the manufacturer.

This is already happening in other industries. Rolls-Royce, the aircraft engine manufacturer, monitors the performance of its engines as they fly anywhere in the world, to predict when an engine needs servicing. It can then arrange parts and specialists to be in place to do it.

Porter’s article, however, analyses the likely impact of this embedded technology on the bargaining power of buyers and suppliers in the supply chain.

Knowledge of car buyers is power, but who gets it?

The concept of ‘big data’ is not new, but its exploitation is still at an early stage of development.

Manufacturers now have the capability of knowing all about the car’s performance, how it is being driven, when it needs servicing, but on top of that can know everything about the customer. With PCPs being commonplace, it gives the manufacturer a range of options to develop the financial services part of the business. Connected cars also give manufacturers the option of moving into areas such as insurance in a much bigger way than previously attempted.

Porter argues that this technology has the potential to move the balance of power within the supply chain from the retailer/distributor to the manufacturer. This raises the issue of who will own the customer in the future?


John Clark Motor Group expands to three Nissan car dealerships

John Clark Motor Group has expanded its representation of Nissan to three car dealerships in Scotland.

Having begun Nissan representation with its takeover of the Stratstone Aberdeen site from Pendragon in 2013, John Clark Motor Group has now opened two new Nissan franchises in Dundee and Perth, creating up to 40 jobs. Both trade under its Specialist Cars brand.

Andrew Simpson, dealer principal of both new dealerships, said: “This is another demonstration of our commitment to growth. We are investing heavily across the region and see the Nissan brand as the ideal partner in keeping our business booming.”

The Dundee Nissan dealership is set on a prominent site at Specialist Cars’ existing base in Myrekirk Road.

The Perth Nissan dealership, in Strathtay Road, is on a brand new site for Specialist Cars, with significant investment made to turn the building into a top of the range showroom.




Siemens launches new electric vehicle charging solution

Siemens has launched a new DC rapid electric vehicle charger, which can charge a vehicle from zero to 80% in less than 60 minutes.

Designed to conform to all industry standard charging protocols and interfaces, the new single-outlet, wall-mounted QC24S rapid charger provides a DC output at 24kW and can be supplied with a CCS or CHadeMO connector on a tethered lead, capable of charging all compatible vehicles.

The QC45 charger can be supplied with an integrated SLD4 loop detector such that inductive loops can now be used to monitor the occupation status of the charging bay. This data can be combined with the charger status and transmitted back to the back office via the OCPP protocol or be transmitted to other third-party back offices using cloud-based technology.

Siemens is rolling out a firmware upgrade to all networked EV chargers that allows the chargers to be monitored, controlled and upgraded remotely. This interface can run independently of, or in parallel with, conventional back office interfaces.



Budget chooses Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles for launch of new rental service

Budget UK has chosen Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles as its sole light commercial vehicle supplier for a new van rental service in London.

The service will comprise 100 Volkswagen Transporters and will cater for businesses and consumers.

As part of Budget’s wider fleet restructure, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles will supply a further 300 Transporters and 100 Caddys to bolster its national rental fleet.

Budget UK selected Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles as its preferred partner due to the brand’s strong residual values and desirability.

Mark Servodidio, managing director, Northern Europe, at Avis Budget Group, said: “We’re confident the new service, which will offer small and medium businesses across the capital a truly flexible and cost-efficient alternative to a permanent fleet of vehicle, will further strengthen our position as a partner to London’s businesses using Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.”



Shell to build City Car

Shell, in collaboration with race and road car designer Professor Gordon Murray and engine specialist Osamu Goto, will co-engineer an ultra-compact, efficient car for city use based around the internal combustion engine.

The Shell car is scheduled to be unveiled in November 2015 and people will be able to follow the development of the car through the website.

The Shell concept is intended to be a simple, practical global city car; drawing together innovative aspects of light-weight engineering, streamlining, and driveline efficiency which work whether you are in a city where mass-motoring is a relatively new thing or already a century-old. Once built, the car will be tested on-the-road.

The concept is intended to inspire thinking about maximising personal mobility while minimising energy use, helping people get around the world’s ever-more congested cities where, by 2050, up to three quarters of the world’s estimated nine billion people could be living.

Initiated by Shell, the collaboration, which is called Project M, brings together Shell’s Lubricant’s Technology Team, The Gordon Murray Design Group and engine specialist Geo Technology. This technically intimate co-engineering relationship between the three expert teams means that the development of the lubricants, engine and vehicle will be completely integrated.

Shell provides the fluids for the car specifically ‘designing’ the motor oil that complements and enhances the overall efficiency of the vehicle. Most people would naturally assume that oil, greases and fuels are simply added at the end of a concept-car build project like this, but the Shell car aims to show what can be achieved when its products are integrated into the design, right from the start.

Selda Gunsel, vice president of Lubricants Technology said, ‘Since working with the Gordon Murray Design team on the T.25 car in 2010, we have given further thought on how to deliver a complete rethink of the car, using as little energy as possible. We believe this Shell car will demonstrate how efficient a car can be when Shell works in harmony with vehicle and engine makers during design and build, supplying fuels and lubricants technical expertise. Shell is excited to be working with such top calibre partners and invite others to join us for the remaining part of this exciting journey.’



Hastings sees strong growth

Hastings Insurance Group has today released its full 2014 results, with the company witnessing strong growth in customer numbers and gross written premiums.

Gross written premiums increased by 19% to £496.2m (2013: £415.7m), largely driven by higher sales volumes to both new and existing customers.

Customer numbers as at 31 December 2014 were up 20% to 1.71m (2013: 1.42m). Group gross written premiums increased by 19% to £483.4m (2013: £407.2m), whilst group net revenue was up 17% to £400.9m (2013: £342.4m).

Adjusted Group profit before tax increased by 29% to £69.3m (2013: £53.6m) whilst adjusted Group EBITDA increased by 18% to £106.4m (2013: £90.3m).

Adjusted EBITDA for the retail business increased by 35% to £69.9m (2013: £51.8m), as adjusted EBITDA for the underwriting business too increased by 12% to £37.4m (2013: £33.4m).

Net revenue increased by 17% to £400.9m (2013:£342.4m), reflecting the increase in live customer policies of 20% to 1.71m as at 31 December 2014 (2013: 1.42m).

Net insurance claims increased by 19% to £152.4m (2013: £127.7m), primarily reflecting increased volumes and claims frequency.

Adjusted Group EBITDA (EBITDA after adding back restructuring costs arising from the transaction with Goldman Sachs, and other one off costs in 2013) increased by 18% to £106.4m (2013: £90.3m).

In its annual presentation the group stated:

  • Following a long period of premium deflation, we have seen small premium increases in the market in H2 2014
  • We have also observed increases in claims frequency in 2014. Our disciplined approach to pricing, including targeted rate increases during the year, puts us in a strong position. Our average premium in H2 2014 was higher than the same period in the prior year
  • In early 2015, we have continued to implement targeted rate increases. We continue to see some market wide premium inflation
  • We remain well prepared for the implementation of Solvency II
  • We continue to engage positively with regulators and remain well positioned to comply with all known and anticipated regulatory changes which affect the industry. We support all changes aimed at benefitting consumers and creating greater transparency




Road safety still a concern

The next government must make road safety a top priority with more than 50% of motorists believing the current administration had not made the issue enough of a concern, according to a survey conducted by the IAM.

A total of 2,156 people took part in the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) survey throughout March 2015. The number one gripe amongst those who answered the poll said reducing the number of potholes should be the government’s number one action point, with 70% of respondents voting for this.

With the backlog of repairs now topping £12 billion according to the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA), the organisation stated funding a long term action plan must be an early priority for any new government.

The AIA also said at the end of March that money spent on filling 2.7 million potholes in the past year had been ‘wasted’.

The next biggest concern for road users was that of general road maintenance, with more than 64% of those surveyed stating this needed more attention.

Third in the list was reducing the number of road accidents and casualties for all age groups, with 52% of respondents saying it should be a greater government concern. Road crashes still cost the UK economy £15.6 billion every year.

According to the Department for Transport the number of those killed or seriously injured on UK roads has increased by 4 per cent as of September 2014 in comparison to 2013 (reference 3).

Neil Greig, IAM director of policy and research, said, ‘No government can be complacent about these figures and we all need to do more to reduce the numbers killed and injured on our roads.

‘Cuts in visible policing and road safety spending have had an impact. While these figures cannot be regarded as a trend, they are a major concern that the new Parliament must address.’

The fourth aspect of motoring life respondents wanted to see changed was the current driving test. The survey revealed over 41% of motorists thought the UK driving test is not fit for purpose and would like to see the government make it more relevant to today’s driving landscape.

And rounding out the top five, respondents wanted to see an increase in sentences for those guilty of serious motoring offences, with 39% of people wanting to see this happen.



Ssangyong Tivoli priced from £12,950 in UK

Ssangyong has confirmed its Tivoli will cost from £12,950 when it goes on sale this summer. It is powered by a 128hp 1.6-litre petrol and a 115hp 1.6-litre diesel engine.

The petrol emits 149g/km of CO2 and returns 44.1mpg in manual format while automatic versions emit 167g/km of CO2 and return 39.2mpg. Manual diesel versions emit 113g/km of CO2. Ssangyong has not confirmed the diesel’s mpg figure yet.

There are three trim levels – SE, EX and ELX. The base SE models cost from £12,950 and include a grey cloth trim, 16-inch alloys, cruise control and Blueto§oth as standard.

EX models feature grey or leather upholstery, 18-inch wheels, a seven-inch touchscreen and rear view camera, while the top of the range EXL models include parking sensors, privacy glass, a rear spoiler, a TomTom navigation system and keyless entry as standard.

“This is a car that will really put Ssangyong on the map and change brand perceptions,” said Paul Williams, chief executive of Ssangyong UK.




MG 6 facelift reduces emissions and prices

MG has improved the efficiency of its 6 saloon and has added higher levels of standard equipment including LED daytime running lights.

The firm’s diesel engine develops the same 150hp as it does in the current version, but it now emits 119g/km (10g/km of CO2 less than the current model) and returns 61.4mpg compared to 57.6mpg.

MG has cut the price of the entry-level 6 by £1600 despite adding what it says is £3000 worth of extras.

Styling tweaks include a new grille, a lower vent and daytime running lights. MG said the changes give the 6 more presence than before.

Three trim levels are offered – S, TS and TL.

The entry-level S trim model is priced from £13,995 and features heated front seats, 16-inch alloys and an electronic parking brake as standard, while TS models adds rear parking sensors, cruise control, auto dimming mirrors and a infotainment system.

The range-topping TL trim level includes leather seats, a rear camera, dual zone climate control and electric seats. The TL models are fitted with a chrome grille, which MG says distinguishes it.

“The substantial advances we have introduced on the new MG6 make the car even better value-for-money,” said Matthew Cheyne, MG head of marketing.



Posted by Lois Hardy on 09/04/2015