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Daily News Round UpBack

New GAP rules have major blind spot

NFDA logo

The new GAP rules created by the Financial Conduct Authority that come into effect in September have a major blind spot.

Under the rules dealers will have to explain to customers that, if they want GAP insurance, they will have to return to the dealership four days after purchasing their car.

The FCA has pushed ahead with the rules despite the National Franchised Dealers Association’s (NFDA) pleas to consider the impact they will have on dealers.

The blind spot by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is extraordinary, given how severely the new GAP rules could inconvenience consumers wishing to purchase GAP insurance.

Perfectly legitimate candidates for GAP insurance who have bought a car on a finance plan could now see it denied, due to the second round of credit checks the new system dictates.

Two requests for significant amounts of credit in the same week could send alarm bells ringing in banks, and credit refused for customers who want or need it. This could also affect any future finance agreements for the customer.

We are increasingly seeing that customers want ‘packages’ when buying cars, much like a mobile phone contract.

Covering things like servicing, insurance and cost of the car in one monthly payment is becoming more and more popular.

I do feel that the new GAP insurance rules are in fact doing the opposite of what the FCA says about ensuring customers get the best deal, while affecting dealers at the same time.

Sue Robinson is director of the NFDA


Pair conned consumers into buying written-off cars with forged histories

Two motor traders who made up to £100,000 buying insurance write-offs and selling them to consumers ‘sold as seen’ face a potential jail sentence.

The pair had been advertising and selling hundreds of cars that had been written off by insurance companies via Autotrader and Gumtree under a range of different trading names in a scam thought to be worth £100,000.

West Sussex County Council’s trading standards team discovered the pair were systematically selling vehicles without declaring that they had been written off to unsuspecting customers, they were also falsifying service histories in order to make the vehicles appear more attractive to buyers and giving customers the impression that they were dealing with a private seller.

The court was told that the pair also described the vehicles as “sold as seen” on purchase invoices to try and avoid liability under civil legislation for the sale of faulty or misdescribed goods, reported ITV News.

Linda Atrell of Railway Approach, East Grinstead was convicted at a Brighton Crown Court trial of breaching the Fraud Act, Forgery and Counterfeiting Act and Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations Act.

Lucien Munn of Beechey Way, Copthorne had previously pleaded guilty to similar offences.

A Proceeds of Crime Act application was made to confiscate money made from the criminal activity. The pair will be sentenced on July 31 and have been warned that they could face a jail sentence.


Car owners able to rent their vehicles to other drivers in Ford pilot scheme

Car owners are going to be able to rent their vehicles to other drivers in a pilot scheme launched in London.

Ford Motor Credit Company has invited 12,000 of its London customers to join the peer-to-peer scheme that will provide extra income to owners; and for pre-screened renters, a convenient, cost-effective way to rent a vehicle.

Ford Credit is exploring how innovations in vehicle financing could help create a convenient service to meet the changing demands of younger drivers.

The company is working with easyCar Club in London.

Renters search the easyCar Club site for a nearby car and book online.

The keys are collected from the owner, or accessed from a safe, and members drop the car back to the same location.

Surveys show that ‘millennials’ – those born between 1980 and the mid-1990s – are open to car-sharing opportunities that can save them money and make increased use of resources. A recent report identified that people typically use online platforms to find extra income and flexibility.*

“There is consumer interest in sharing the cost of vehicle ownership, and this programme will help us understand to what extent that interest extends to customers who are financing a Ford vehicle,” said David McClelland, vice president, marketing, Ford Credit.

“Realistically, most vehicles are parked and out of use much of the time. This pilot will help us gauge our customers’ desire to pick up extra cash and keep their vehicles in use.”

Ford Credit customers in London can enroll to participate in the six-month pilot on the easyCar Club website now. The offer closes on August 1.

London participants must be a Ford Credit customer with a with a replacement value of £25,000 or less at the date of joining. In addition, the car must have fewer than 120,000 miles on the clock, be less than 10 years old, and be in insurance group 1 to 35.

Ford Motor Company recently announced it will begin making its London-based GoDrive car-sharing service available to the public.

The service offers flexible, practical and affordable access to a fleet of cars for one-way journeys with easy parking throughout the city.


Speed cameras target class restricted vehicles in Devon and Cornwall

Speed enforcement operations, aimed specifically at class restricted vehicles, will be carried out on the main national speed limit roads across Devon and Cornwall.

A vehicle’s class determines the speed at which it can be driven on roads subject to the national speed limit.

Latest data, released by the Department for Transport showed that, despite being class restricted, light goods vehicles (LGVs) had the highest average speed of all vehicles on motorways and dual carriageways in free-flowing conditions.

These vehicles, such as the Ford Transit or the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, are restricted to a legal maximum of 50mph on a single carriageway and 60mph on a dual carriageway.

In addition, organisations with more than one company vehicle detected may be subject to follow up investigation to see whether the violations detected indicate an organisational culture of non-compliance with road traffic legislation.

Intelligence gathered from these operations will be used to deliver further similar exercises and will include specific tactics to tackle persistent and extreme violators.


LowCVP launches good practice guide

The Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership have launched their own good practice guide to encourage take up of low emission vehicles. A key recommendation is that policy measures implemented at local government levels should be consistent with each other, that common definitions and vocabulary for low emission vehicles should be established.

With the twelve cities shortlisted for the £35m Go Ultra Low City scheme now preparing their final bids, the guide provides a wide range of options that bidders may employ. Released to coincide with the LowCVP’s 2015 annual conference which features a discussion on mobility in future cities, the LowCVP has identified five ‘P’s from the guide – points that LowCVP hopes local authorities can use to influence low emission vehicle uptake at the local level. They are: parking (discounts for LEVs or dedicated bays), permits (discounts for LEVs to operate in low emission zones and for residents and preferential permits for LEV taxis), planning (embedding consideration for LEV fuelling infrastructure into local development), procurement (local authorities specifying LEVs for their own fleets and setting leading standards for their service providers) and promorion (promoting the benefits to business and via educational activity within the local community).

The five ‘Ps’ are a powerful to local policy makers as levers to stimulate local LEV uptake, say LowCVP.

Examples of successful private public partnerships are explained in the guide, in combination with case studies of good practice in the UK and internationally. The guide also outlines challenges local authorities face in adopting LEV policies, and provides recommendations for how these can be overcome.

Gloria Esposito, LowCVP head of projects, said “The Guide can help local authorities to offer consistent benefits to individuals and companies which will give LEV drivers the peace of mind and confidence they need to make the switch.”

Derek McCreadie, low emission officer, City of York Council, also commented: “City of York Council recognises the importance of using local policy measures to support the adoption of low emission vehicles. The new LowCVP ‘good practice guide’ offers a broad range of case studies and innovative policy ideas that can be replicable across any local government context.”


Renault-Nissan Alliance sells its 250,000th Electric Vehicle

The Renault-Nissan Alliance have sold their 250,000th electric vehicle. The white Renault ZOE was sold to a French customer, said the company.

The Alliance reached the milestone in early June, four and a half years after the launch of the Nissan Leaf EV, which has sold in numbers in excess of 180,000. From January through May, the Alliance sold around 31,700 EVs.

“Demand for our electric vehicles continues to grow thanks to government incentives and the expanding charging infrastructure,” said Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of the Renault-Nissan Alliance. “The positive response of our customers is also driving demand. These vehicles enjoy some of the highest levels of satisfaction rates from our customers around the world.”

The 250,000th owner is Yves Nivelle, a computer engineer, who traded in his 21-year-old diesel car for the subcompact Renault ZOE. Nivelle bought his EV after the French government introduced an environmental bonus in April to allow owners of older, polluting diesel cars to trade them in and get a rebate of €10,000 on a new EV.

“The government’s environmental bonus was a big factor in my decision to get an EV,” Nivelle said. “But I have to say, I was convinced the first time I drove the car. It’s a real pleasure to drive and it feels good to do my part for the environment.”


Ford rules out UK dealer involvement in car share schemes

Ford has no plans to get its dealer network involved in car sharing schemes in the UK.

In Germany Ford Carsharing has been running for two years as a factory-backed nationwide car-sharing programme with 40 dealers in 67 cities and 135 locations.

It’s run with car share company Flinkster. The service allows Ford Carsharing customers to use 3,600 Flinkster vehicles.

But while dealers are not involved in the UK, the BlueOval is pushing ahead with innovative new car share schemes.

Ford Motor Credit today launched a new car‑share pilot that enables customers to rent out their vehicles to other drivers.

The company has invited 12,000 London customers to join the scheme that will provide extra income to owners and for pre-screened renters a way to rent a vehicle.

A further 14,000 retail customers in the US will be able to join car share programmes.

The company will work with easyCar Club in London, and in the US with Getaround.

Renters search the easyCar Club site for a nearby car and book online. The keys are collected from the owner, or accessed from a safe, and members drop the car back to the same location.

Separately, Ford recently announced it will begin making its London-based GoDrive car-sharing service available to the public.


BCA purchase of SMA probed by competition body

BCA said it continued to perform well and in line with the Board’s expectations, in a statement released prior to its AGM.

The auction group, which was bought by Haversham in March in a deal valuing it at £1.2bn said its purchase of SMA Remarketing this month is currently subject of a probe by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

“BCA is currently responding to standard enquiries from the CMA and will complete the integration of SMA into BCA according to the outcome of this process,” it said.

As previously released BCA said the group’s adjusted EBITDA for the 12 months ending 31 December 2014 is expected to be not less than £80m after adjusting operating profit to exclude depreciation and amortisation of approximately £11 million and significant and non-recurring items of approximately £47m. This includes the cost of BCA’s aborted IPO in late 2014, which cost it £13m.

Joint house broker Zeus Capital noted the SMA probe but said given the size of the deal in the context of the group he believed there was “minimal risk” and he awaited the outcome.

“Overall, this is a solid update, and we continue to believe the growth prospects for BCA are significant against a backdrop of solid market fundamentals at present,” said analyst Mike Allen.


Environment Agency issues F-gas law change reminder

Following our story in PMM’s March 2015 issue, regarding changes to the laws governing the purchase/sale of F-gas refrigerants for MAC systems, the Environment Agency’s Chemcial Compliance Team have been in touch with our newsdesk to ask us to remind operators of the changes to the laws, how they can ensure compliance and potential punishments for not doing so.

A selection of the key points are listed below:

Since 2009: Technicians who recover F-gas from Mobile Air Conditioning (MAC) systems of cars and light vehicles (e.g. vans lighter than 3.5 tonnes) have been legally required to hold a personnel qualification in refrigerant recovery. Failure to hold the appropriate qualification for this activity is an offence.

From 01 January 2015: Any person purchasing F-gas for use in a MAC system must prove to the person they are purchasing from that the technician who will use the gas holds a recovery qualification. It is an offence to sell F-gas for use by an unqualified technician.


Website ‘scrappage scheme’ launched

Smart phone and tablet shopping is growing at nearly four times the rate of overall online spending in the UK and many garages are missing out on bookings, as their websites are not mobile compliant, according to The Motorist’s Organisation, a leading provider of digital services to garages. (Source: Research from PayPal and Ipsos, April 2015).

It is estimated that 2015 will see the amount of time that UK adults spend online via mobile devices surpass the amount of time spent online, via desktop and laptop computers, according to eMarketer’s estimates of media consumption among UK adults.

To help independent garages optimise their websites for mobile access and increase online bookings, The Motorist’s Organisation has launched a new scrappage scheme, which will provide garages with highly creative and impactful websites, fully mobile compliant and embedded with a unique, online booking widget.


Charging points barely used says report

The Government and local councils have invested millions of pounds on building thousands of electric car charging points that barely anyone uses, according to the Independent.

It said ministers confirmed that public money had been used to construct a network of 57,567 publicly-funded charging points as of the end of the last financial year.

But this figure is roughly double the number electric cars actually registered in Britain – around 24,500 as of December 2014, according to the Office for Low Emission Vehicles.

Despite the rarity of electric cars, there are now more than six times as many charging points in Britain as there are petrol stations.

In 2013 the Government unveiled a £37m grant package to build the charging stations, with cash-strapped local councils forking out even more money to install the points.

The grant was part of a £400m commitment towards encouraging the take-up of similar cars.

“This investment underlines the Government’s commitment to making sure that the UK is a world leader in the electric car industry,” transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said at the time.


Tesla announces first motorway charging sites

Electric car manufacturer Tesla will be opening its first Supercharger stations at UK motorway sites.

The company has revealed seven Supercharger stations will be added at motorway services with additional UK motorway locations in the works to be announced soon.

It said that in one year, Tesla Superchargers throughout the United Kingdom have powered more than two million electric miles. Starting with the first Tesla supercharger location in Royal Victoria Docks, London, there are now 68 Superchargers at 22 Supercharger stations across the country. It adds that they have enabled drivers of its Model S vehicle to save more than 350,000 litres of petrol and 1,000 tons of CO2.

The Model S has a range of up to 310 miles. Supercharging is free for long distance travel on any properly equipped Model S and provides half a charge in as little as 20 minutes.


Fuel prices causing drivers to cut back

Motorists are cutting back on car use because of fuel price increases, according to the AA.

In its monthly Fuel Price Report it says average UK petrol prices have reached a six-month high after climbing above 117ppl for the first time since mid December.

The motoring organisation said AA-Populus research shows that 37% of 28,080 AA members have already started to cut back on car use – increasing to 48% among lower-income motorists.

Petrol, on average, costs 117.19ppl, up from 116.42ppl a month ago. Diesel averages 121.00ppl, up from 120.70ppl in mid May. The AA commented: “Although the diesel pump price increase looks small, the fuel’s cost to the trade has been less than petrol’s for a month – representing a 3ppl, or more than 3%, extra mark-up at the pump before VAT.”

Looking ahead to the Chancellor’s summer budget on July 8, the AA warned that he may announce future increases in duty, but it pointed out the Government was already receiving more tax per litre due to increased prices

AA president Edmund King commented: “This month’s AA Fuel Price Report illustrates vividly the power of pump prices on consumer spending.

“It sends out a clear message to government on fuel tax: don’t be mistaken into thinking that because pump prices are 13ppl lower than this time last year that drivers are ripe for another fuel duty increase. It won’t mean so much to some wealthier drivers, 28% of whom say high fuel prices don’t affect them, but up to 87% of less well-off drivers say it does.

“Since the war, governments have ratcheted up motoring taxes so much that 10% of the UK’s entire tax-take comes from drivers. Fuel duty is not a means-related tax but a mileage-related one, which discriminates against poorer drivers.”



A new specialist collision parts service is being opened by Euro Car Parts at The Point, Saracen Street in Glasgow in June.


The dedicated centre introduces a team of highly experienced collision experts that will provide bodyshops in Scotland with an improved service supported with expert product knowledge on a wide range of collision repair products including OE (original equipment) equivalent panels and lighting..


Bodyshops call one central telephone number to place their collision parts orders. The Collision Centre team will then arrange delivery to customers when they need it via their local branch located in Ayr, Bellshill, Dundee, Dunfermline, Edinburgh, Edinburgh East, Falkirk, Kilmarnock, Kirkcaldy, Paisley or Perth.


Euro Car Parts Collision Centre manager Scott Aitken said, ‘This is the first dedicated Collision Centre of its kind in the area and it brings together the best of the best in collision repair products, knowledge and expertise all under one roof. With our staff boasting over 90 years’ experience in the collision repair market, we’re confident bodyshop customers in Scotland will benefit from our fast and efficient collision parts service via our local branch network.’


Ford enters car-sharing, electric bike markets in mobility push

Ford Motor Co. is getting into the car-sharing and electric bike businesses as part of CEO Mark Fields’ effort to transform the automaker into a more holistic provider of transportation options.

The company lannounced a pilot car-sharing program that invites 26,000 Ford Motor Credit Co. customers in six U.S. cities and London to offer their vehicles for short-term rentals. It also unveiled a new battery-powered bike aimed at urban commuters. The bike folds and can be recharged while being stored inside any Ford vehicle.

“My great-grandfather helped put the world on wheels so everyone could enjoy the benefits of mobility,” Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford said in a statement Tuesday. “Our vision today is to expand that same thinking using advanced technology and new business models, and addressing the mobility challenges people face around the world.”

The Peer-2-Peer Car Sharing program and MoDe:Flex bike represent the next phase of the Ford Smart Mobility plan Fields introduced in January. Ford has been conducting 25 experiments on topics related to helping consumers get around in the future.


Posted by Lois Hardy on 24/06/2015