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Daily news round upBack

The HM Revenue and Customs’ (HMRC) willingness to challenge sales values used in VAT calculations has been highlighted in a VAT appeal judgement, according to ASE.


ASE’s tax director Michelle Malone said: “The N & M Walkingshaw case considered whether prior to 1992 an over allowance on a part exchange vehicle could be treated as a discount on the sale of the new vehicle. This would have led to a reduction in the amount of VAT that had to be declared by dealers in those years, and substantial refunds for a number of businesses standing behind the case.

“Unfortunately the appeal Tribunal upheld HMRC’s position, which was ‘that the part exchange valuation could not be linked to the sale of the new vehicle for VAT purposes’. Dealers will need to ensure that they make no adjustment in their VAT calculations for over-allowances.”

The ASE Tax team say they are aware of an increased number of VAT visits taking place this year and HMRC continue to look closely at transactions to ascertain whether the values used for VAT purposes remain consistent across all documents.

This is particularly true for finance transactions where many dealers have received VAT assessments when the finance sales value appears to differ from that shown on the invoice; value manipulation or ‘bumping’.


Audi launches website to draw apprentices to its car dealer network

Audi has launched a website designed to attract apprentices for its car dealer network.

The website site at shares a wealth of information on the Audi apprenticeship programme, from real-life case studies and career development opportunities to insights into the overall apprenticeship journey.

The online portal supports 200 vacancies within the 127-strong Audi dealer network in 2015 for apprenticeships in service technician, part advisor and service advisor roles.

“The new website will guide people through the programme and give them an understanding of what it is like to be an Audi apprentice,” said James Frost, service and parts quality manager for Audi.

“We are looking forward to welcoming more apprentices than ever before into Audi and giving them the life skills and technical skills to build a career with us.”

As part of the site’s interactive new layout, a host of videos share the experiences of apprentices who are already enrolled on the course, and there is also plenty of useful insight from successfully established Audi employees who have used the apprenticeship programme as a springboard to develop their career.

A sub-section created specifically for parents offers detailed answers to FAQs such as progress monitoring and standards of accommodation, and careers advisors can download resource sheets for each of the vacancies to share with their students.


Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles supplies 41 Caravelles to Acromas Travel

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles will supply an additional 41 Caravelles to escorted travel firm, Acromas Travel, parent company of Saga Holidays, Saga Cruises and Titan Travel.

Acromas Travel runs a fleet of more than 150 Volkswagen vehicles which covers more than seven million miles and nearly 80,000 journeys annually.

The Caravelle fleet is equipped with BlueMotion technology and rail-mounted seating to transports up to seven people while still providing room for holiday luggage.

Andy Creba, head of transport at Titan Travel, said: “We have always considered the transfers to and from the airport to be amongst the most important aspects of our customers’ holiday. Done right, they can preserve that delightful sense of anticipation at the start of the break and offer relaxation at the end. Titan never compromises on quality; the Volkswagen Caravelle not only offers this but delivers excellent reliability and outstanding residual values.”

The current contract will see Titan Travel purchase its 595th Caravelle from Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.


Garmin launches portable sat-nav with built in dashcam

Garmin has launched the NüviCam, a portable sat-nav, which includes a built-in dash cam and advanced alerts to enhance driver awareness on the road.

The NuviCam offers driver assistance technology such asForward Collision Warning, which alerts drivers if they’re driving too close to the car ahead; Lane Departure Warning, which alerts will appear and sound if the driver drifts off the road or into oncoming traffic; and Garmin Real Vision, which takes the guess work out of deciphering hard-to-see house numbers by displaying the camera view along with a bright arrow to direct drivers where to go when approaching destinations.

“The nüviCam goes beyond helping drivers get from Point A to Point B,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin vice president of worldwide sales.

“The intuitive driver-assist features not only lessen the stress of getting you to your destination, but the nüviCam also provides peace of mind in knowing that your commute is being recorded and can be referenced should you need it.”

The nüviCam comes preloaded with detailed maps of Europe and free lifetime map4 updates are included. The sat-nav also includes hands-free Bluetooth connectivity.


Mitsubishi attacks “irresponsible” Which? mpg report

Mitsubishi has branded a new Which? survey, attacking carmakers’ official fuel consumption figures, as “irresponsible”.

The report challenged the accuracy of the combined fuel consumption figures which carmakers are obliged to publish in their technical and marketing material.

“We’ve found that official fuel-economy figures are economical with the truth and we each spend an average of £133 more on fuel a year than we expect to,” said the survey.

The report showed Mitsibishi’s plug-in Outlander PHEV having a 120% discrepancy between its claimed figure of 148mpg and the Which? figure of 67.3mpg.

The brand defended its official combined figure saying it reflected the requirements of the official New European Drive Cycle (NEDC), introduced in the 1970s, which it said was outdated and did not take into account plug-in hybrid technology.

“Manufacturers are required by law to put every new model through the NEDC test and to publish the results. Most manufacturers, including Mitsubishi Motors, make clear that the figures are for comparison purposes and are not intended to reflect what customers might actually achieve, as this will depend on many factors including driving style,” said Lance Bradley, the UK managing director of Mitsubishi.

“The current test regime for emissions and fuel consumption test is outdated and does the industry no favours but the suggestion that we in some way are misleading car buyers is well wide of the mark and irresponsible.”


PCP car clocking on the rise

The incidence of clocking is on the rise as a result of car buyers on PCP schemes avoiding excess mileage penalties, according to Glass’s.

The company said drivers are using mileage adjustment firms with specialist equipment to reduce the number of miles showing on the odometer. Glass’s said the most frequently tampered with vehicles have been sourced from new and are less than three years old, so have yet to have their first MoT. Typically they also only have one service stamp.

“Some drivers facing a PCP returns charge may consider clocking as an easy way of avoiding payment but their actions are illegal,” said Rupert Pontin, Glass’s head of valuations.

“The issue tends to come to light when the car is prepared for sale either by the original dealer or another who has subsequently bought the car, probably at auction. When they plug the vehicle into their diagnostic rig, as part of their standard vehicle preparation procedure, an error code will show what has occurred.

“This places the dealer in a very difficult position because it is next to impossible to prove when the clocking took place. It is often too late to take any action against the driver because the PCP returns paperwork has already been processed and they will usually just deny that they have clocked the car.”

Glass’s said it had come across several cases of clocking in recent months and recommends that dealers build in clocking checks as part of their PCP return process.

“One solution is for dealers to check vehicles for clocking as part of their standard PCP returns procedure. This would effectively ‘prove’ that the vehicle had been clocked during the contract period, placing the onus on the driver for what is, after all, a form of fraud and quite a serious crime.”



Next-generation Mazda MX-5 priced from £18,495

Mazda has confirmed its fourth-generation MX5 will cost from £18,495 when it goes on sale in the summer.

The firm’s 131hp 1.5-litre Skyactiv petrol engine and a more powerful 160hp 2.0-litre petrol unit power the MX-5.

The lower powered petrol emits 139g/km of CO2 while the 160hp version emits 161g/km. Monthly BIK payments stand at £67 in the 20% bracket and £134 in the 40% bracket for the lower-specification engine and £89 and £179 for the more powerful option.

Five trim levels are offered – SE, SE-L, SE-L Nav, Sport and Sport Nav. All models feature alloy wheels, LED headlights, a leather steering wheel and a fabric roof, while SE-L models add daytime running lights, climate control and air conditioning, DAB radio and Bluetooth connectivity and the firm’s MZD-connect infotainment system with seven-inch touchscreen.

Sport trim models feature rain sensing wipers, rear parking sensors, keyless entry, a Bose surround sound system and heated leather seats, while versions of the car fitted with the navigation unit come with three years of free European map updates.

“The MX-5 is Mazda’s brand icon and it embodies all that is great about our products. Its fun to drive character has strengthened the bond between Mazda and its customers for 25 years,” said Jeremy Thomson, Mazda UK managing director.



SMMT urging authorities to collect more theft data

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders is calling for authorities to collect more detailed data about how vehicles are being stolen.

Currently the SMMT says there is little understanding of trends in types of theft because a small number of police forces collect and analyse data.

The SMMT claims this can lead to “skewed public perceptions” about the regularity of the types of vehicle theft across the country.

According to data released by the Office for National Statistics, the number of vehicles stolen in England and Wales fell by 70% in the last decade from 231,323 thefts in 2004 to 69,547 in 2014. According to the ONS, this is the lowest figure since 1968.

The SMMT said the reduction in vehicle theft follows an effort by car makers to make vehicles more secure by investing billions of pounds each year, and the introduction of advanced security systems as standard has helped make vehicles harder to steal.

“Thanks to significant investments by car manufacturers in the latest security systems, vehicle thefts across England and Wales are at the lowest levels for decades,” said Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive.

“We are, however, calling for better tracking of how different vehicles are stolen so that we have an accurate understanding of how criminals are operating and can develop future technology to eradicate vehicle crime,” said Hawes.



EVS offer the quiet life

According to new research, 70% of motorists believe that a quieter cabin would help improve their mood and reduce stress during the time they spend in the car.

The findings suggest that making journeys in an electric vehicle – renowned for the quietness of their interiors compared with road cars powered by internal combustion engines – can help keep driver and passengers happier.

The findings are the result of new research released today by the Go Ultra Low campaign, set up by the UK automotive industry and the public sector to highlight the benefits of ultra low emissions vehicles (ULEVs).

Tests performed by car manufacturers in the Go Ultra Low consortium showed that interior noise levels of electric vehicles and their conventionally-powered equivalents can vary by up to 6dB(A) – a significantly audible difference.

The new research also found that 74% of the UK’s car-driving population above 30 years-old desire ‘more ‘quiet time’ in everyday life’, with 83% of the same group believing that ‘Britain is a much nosier place compared with 10 years ago’.

Commenting on the findings, motoring journalist Quentin Willson said, ‘When you start driving an electric vehicle the first thing you notice is the quietness of the cabin. Rather than it being a novelty, this can have a positive effect on your well-being. We all know how stressful car travel can be – I’ve found the electric motor can turn journeys into a zen-like experience!’




Stolen vehicles down 70%

The number of vehicles stolen in England and Wales has fallen by 70% in the past decade, according to data released today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Latest figures show 69,547 vehicles were stolen last year, compared to 231,323 in 2004. Vehicle theft fell by 1.2%, or 842 incidents, compared with 2013 and the crime is now at its lowest point since 1968. With more than 36 million vehicles on the road, today’s figures show that just 0.2% of all vehicles were stolen in 2014.

The continued reduction in vehicle theft follows a tireless effort by manufacturers to help make vehicles ever more secure. The industry invests billions of pounds each year to ensure it remains at the cutting edge of technology and stays ahead of criminals. The introduction of advanced security systems as standard equipment is also helping to make vehicles harder to steal.

To reduce theft rates further, the automotive industry is urging authorities to collect more detailed data about how vehicles are being stolen. There is currently little nationwide understanding of trends in types of vehicle theft because only a small number of police forces collect and analyse this data. This can lead to skewed public perceptions about the regularity of certain types of vehicle theft across the country.


Posted by Lois Hardy on 24/04/2015