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Daily news round upBack

Mazda aims for 25% growth in fleet sales

mazda CX3

The company believes its model range is key to the growth, with the Mazda CX-3, which will take the brand into the small SUV sector for the first time, launching this summer.

The new Mazda2, which is expected to attract demand from public sector fleets and employees opting for company cars through salary sacrifice schemes, launched earlier in spring, with continuing corporate demand for the Mazda3.

In the 12 months to March 31, 2015, Mazda fleet sales totalled 11,876, up 43% on the prior year’s 8,319 units.

In the last three years Mazda has seen fleet sales as a share of April to March financial year total new car volumes rise from 16% in 2012/13 to 23% in 2013/14 and 30% in 2014/15.

Head of fleet Steve Tomlinson said: “The launch of the all-new Mazda2 and Mazda CX-3 coupled with rip-roaring success of the Mazda3 and further enhancements to the Mazda6 and Mazda CX-5, which have both been long-time fleet favourites, gives the brand a powerful model line-up in the corporate sector. I am confident that we will see a further major increase in fleet sales in 2015/16, potentially a 25% increase.”



Audi reveals 600bhp Audi TT clubsport turbo

Audi has revealed the concept for a 600bhp TT, the clubsport turbo.

It is powered by a 2.5-litre petrol engine with two electric turbochargers.

The result is a whopping 600 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque, driving all four wheels through a six-speed manual transmission. Weighing in at 3,078 pounds and with those electric turbos spooling up quick, it’s said to reach 62 in 3.6 seconds en route to a top speed of over 192 miles per hour.

Audi calls it the “most extreme TT to-date” reminiscent of the thoroughbred Audi 90 IMSA GTO race car of the late 1980s,

It is being shown at Austria’s annual meeting for Volkswagen Group enthusiasts, at Wörthsee.

“The electric biturbo signifies a new dimension in driving enjoyment; it boosts sprinting ability and torque and enables high peak power,” said Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Audi board member for technical development.

“In our TDI engines, we are close to production readiness with this technology.

“We are now presenting it in a TFSI – here too, we are the first automaker in the world to do this. For our fans at Wörthersee, we have packaged the electric biturbo in a very sporty show car.”



Ford introduces SMR and help app for smartphones

Ford has introduced a new service app designed to benefit drivers of Ford vehicles within the UK and across Europe.

The Ford service app, available to download for free on Apple iOS and Google Android devices, provides the user with local information and useful tips, including an ability to locate the nearest petrol station or Ford dealer.

A number of safety provisions are also available to the user. Using GPS, the app can identify the location of an accident anywhere in Europe and connect to the emergency services through the Ford Helpline. The app also provides first aid tips, including how to rescue someone from a vehicle and correctly place them in the recovery position, and safety instructions for what to do at the scene of an accident.

The service app enables the user to:

  • Connect to the Ford Assistance Helpline in an emergency, using GPS to provide a location anywhere in Europe.
  • Locate the nearest Ford dealer within the UK, providing an address, contact number and option to book a vehicle service.
  • Identify international traffic signs and rules when driving abroad, and the function of vehicle warning lamps on the instrument panel. It also includes a Ford Technology guide with videos explaining Ford vehicle technologies.
  • Browse Ford’s range of vehicle accessories.
  • Find out more about Ford’s BlueService package, including Motorcraft 4+.
  • Create a road trip or holiday checklist of what is required while travelling, including a ‘Park Me’ feature, which logs the location of where a vehicle is parked, and tracks the time elapsed since a parking ticket was issued.
  • Create a ‘damage report’, which can generate a PDF report at the scene of an accident



Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles launches 13 day used van sales event

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has launched a 13 day Das Welt Auto used van event.

Running across the Volkswagen Van Centre network from May 11 – 23, customers can apply for finance offers including 0% APR on 12 month contracts available with hire purchase, and servicing deals from £49.

Kirsten Stagg, head of marketing for Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, said: “Our nationwide Das WeltAuto event offers the perfect opportunity to take advantage of some fantastic deals on vehicles you can rely on. Available across our van centre network, the event is part of our ongoing commitment to strengthening our business partnerships.”

Any commercial vehicle, Volkswagen or otherwise, up to six years old which is under 100,000 miles can now be sold as an approved Das WeltAuto van (subject to achieving the required standards), broadening the range of vehicles available and enhancing the choice available to customers.



Pre-registrations swell nearly-new volumes

The number of nearly-new cars in the retail market has nearly doubled in the last six months, indicating a rise in pre-registrations warns Glass’s.

The firm used its Glass’s Radar sales tracking tool to monitor the number of sub-one year old cars sold in the UK during March and found it was 91% higher than six months ago.

“While you would generally see an increase in sales of this type between October and March, this is much higher than we would expect,” said Rupert Pontin, head of valuations, said:

“While some of these are early PCP returns, the unavoidable conclusion, based on what we are seeing in the market, is that the vast majority of these are pre-registrations.

“It is no secret that most manufacturers have set some very ambitious new car sales targets for this year and, while the market remains strong, there is simply not enough demand to make them attainable in many cases. Hence the number of pre-regs that we are seeing.”

Pontin warned the affordability of new cars on PCPs was impacting sales of nearly-new models.

“The conversion rate at manufacturer and closed auctions for late-plate cars is falling quite noticeably. Demand for any almost any model at less than two years old is weakening by the day.”

Pontin warned the situation was unlikely to rebalance in the short-medium term as pressure to continue to pre-register would continue.

“The new car sales targets that have been set are high throughout the whole of 2015 and, unless demand increases, which seems unlikely, the only way to meet them will be to continue to pre-register.

“The likelihood is that pressures on values of this kind of car will remain for some time to come. Only if and when more realistic targets are set by manufacturers will the situation change.”



Cambria sees profits rise 64% to £3.3m as LR acquisition kicks in

Cambria turned in a strong performance in the six months to 28 February with pre-tax profits up 63.8% to £3.3m on turnover up 18.6% to £242.8m.

The company has been growing its business, buying a Jaguar Land Rover dealership in Barnet in July 2014 and adding another Land Rover operation last month in Swindon.

On a like-for-like basis, excluding the Barnet operation, new car sales rose 8.8% for the periodjust ahead of the overall market, which was up 8.2%. Overall Cambria new car sales rose 15.6%.

Like-for-like used vehicle sales were static for the period at 6,905 units but profit per unit rose by 7.7%. Overall used car sales rose 2.8% with an 8.2% improvement in profit per unit.

In aftersales like-for-like service hours were in line with last time. Total service hours rose 4.4% and aftersales contributed 42% of the group’s overall gross profit.

Cambria said it was looking to grow and was “actively pursuing acquisition opportunities” in luxury and premium brands.

Cambria said the outlook looked positive for new car sales with the combination of low interest rates, favourable exchange rates and strong finance deals on offer from carmakers.

“Manufacturers continue to have both vehicle availability and strong consumer offers and so we expect that volumes in the new car market in the UK will remain robust,” said Cambria chief executive Mark Lavery.

“The group’s performance in the all-important month of March was both ahead of our business plan and the previous year.

“The board is confident Cambria will maintain this momentum and continue to deliver an improved performance across all its activities.”

Analyst with Zeus Capital Mike Allen said Cambria had achieved a lot during the last six months, showing strong growth and achieving a strong set of results.



Vertivia updates online mileage capture system

Mileage capture company Vertivia has upgraded its online mileage system with a new design, which it says will increase the feel and functionality of the service.

Vertivia also claimed it has witnessed a 13% increase in the number of drivers using the system in the first third of the year following new client wins.

The upgrade also incorporates a series of traffic lights so that users can see the status of any outstanding tasks relating to issues such as submitting mileage claims, driver declarations regarding vehicle conditions and line manager authorizations.

Tasks given a green light require no further action, those with an amber light mean an upcoming action is needed and those with a red light indicate action is needed immediately.

“We have made a series of significant improvements to our mileage management system that will bring a number of benefits to users and will enhance our system’s grey fleet management capabilities,” said Paul Chater, Vertivia sale director. “The new traffic light system allows fleet managers and other users to see at a glance, in a more readily identifiable way, the status of the system and recognise quickly and easily any outstanding tasks that still require completing.”



Audi reveals new petrol engine for next A4

Audi has revealed a 190hp 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine which it says can emit “in excess” of 56mpg. It is expected to be installed in the new A4 by the end of the year.

BusinessCar contacted Audi to confirm the engine’s CO2 emissions, but they are not available at this stage. Currently the most powerful petrol A4 – a 170hp 1.8-ltre engine – emits 142g/km of CO2 and returns 49.6mpg.

“We’re now taking a crucial step further with rightsizing,” said Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, member of the board of management for technical development at Audi. “The reduction in displacement and engine speed can be optimally effective only if reasonably related to the vehicle class and the customers’ everyday use.

“Rightsizing thus involves the optimal interplay of vehicle class, displacement, output, torque and efficiency characteristics under everyday conditions. Our new 2.0 TFSI is a prime example of Vorsprung durch Technik.”


Posted by Lois Hardy on 12/05/2015