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Daily News Round upBack

European new car market sees largest increase since 2009


New car registrations in the EU increased 14.6% in June compared to 2014, marking the largest monthly increase since December 2009.

(ACEA EU registration data)

June also marked the 22nd month in a row of growth, according to industry association ACEA.

All major markets significantly supported the overall expansion, with Spain (+23.5%), France (+15.0%), Italy (+14.4%), Germany (+12.9%) and the UK (+12.9%) posting double-digit growth. Across the region, new passenger car registrations totalled 1,364,009 units.

In the first six months of 2015, new passenger car registrations increased 8.2% surpassing seven million units (7,169,984).

All major markets posted growth, contributing to the overall upturn of the EU market over the period.

Registrations in Spain (+22.0%), Italy (+15.2%), the UK (+7.0%), France (+6.1%) and Germany (+5.2%) increased compared to the same period one year ago

ACEA more than doubled its 2015 EU car market growth forecast a week ago. ACEA is now forecasting it will grow 5% this year, versus an earlier prediction of 2%.

Commenting on the figures, automotive intelligence provider IHS Automotive warns the influence of the two extra calendar days should not be underestimated, and explains why growth rates went into double-digit territory in many markets – but the market put in a very robust performance even once this calendar effect was factored in.

IHS Automotive’s Carlos da Silva said: “In trend terms, the EU has been on a positive path for months now and this first semester performance has been one of the most robust growth wise for a long time too.

“June is an end-of-quarter month meaning it is typically stronger than normal: dealers (and OEMs) work with quarterly targets and made their possible to reach or pass said targets (often by rushing registrations as much as possible).

“Usually, strong promotions and commercial operations take place on such months.

“This was the case this June with quite convincing effects as, for once, private buyers seemed to react.

“In countries like Germany or France, where Individual buyers had been quite shy (to say the least) so far, a neat improvement was witnessed in this respect.

“This is all good news if this trend continues, above all this much awaited comeback from private buyers.”

Da Silva said the market’s recovery is still fragile, even more so as a result of the ongoing turmoil in Greece.

“The deal that appears to have been reached over Greece’s debt restructuring appears to make a Greek Eurozone exit look less likely, but the situation is fluid.

“Therefore it is a fact that the level of uncertainty and risk has increased substantially in the recent week.”

As such IHS Automotive considers that some hints of fear and/or relative destabilisation might be visible in the car sales numbers in the very short term – mostly in August and above all September given that we are following registration numbers.

“Yet we assume the impact should be limited and will not derail the general growth trend (the case of the Greek market itself is of course different). If there is a major setback during the current negotiations and the various votes in the national parliaments (which could trigger a dramatic turnaround in consumer and business confidence), we anticipate that Europe should keep on its positive rhythm, maybe only slowing down a little in the coming months.”

Sue Robinson, director of the National Franchised Dealers’ Association, said: “The growth in the European car market demonstrates that European economies are experiencing a gradual recovery from the economic downturn.

“It shows European consumers are feeling more confident as their employment prospects improve and household budgets come under less pressure. We are hopeful this trend will continue as European economies grow and make up for the lost sales of the recession years.”


Values of de-fleeted vehicles rise in June, according to Manheim

Used fleet vehicle values rose by 4.2% (£303) and were just above the same month in 2014, according to Manheim.

The figures show that the average de-fleeted vehicle was worth £7,461 in June, with an average age of 47 months – four months younger than the average vehicle sold in May, and three months below June 2014.

It says that while much of the increase in values can be attributed to younger stock, there are other factors. Mini MPV values, for example, are 4.8% (£231) up on figures from June 2014, despite the stock age profile being exactly the same, at 61 months.

Compared with May, average mileage for de-fleeted stock fell by 5.4% (3,313 miles) and it was also 1.4% (796 miles) down on the same month last year.

Average mileage of de-fleeted supermini and medium family cars was 12.6% (4,150 miles), and 3.5% (2,079 miles) down on June 2014, whereas average mileage for compact executive and executive models was up 7.4% (5,204 miles) and 5.2% (3,605 miles), respectively.

Valuation services manager at Manheim Daren Wiseman said: “The quality of de-fleeted stock remains high and vehicles in all segments are attracting selling prices to reflect that fact. Younger cars with lower mileage add even more appeal for buyers, who are keen to snap up the best stock.”


Volvo XC90 T8 qualifies for UK Plug-in Car Grant

Volvo’s first ever petrol plug-in hybrid, the XC90 T8 Twin Engine, has qualified for the UK Plug-in Car Grant (PICG) scheme from the Office of Low Emissions (OLEV).

The car grant means that the model is available with an on-road price of £54,955.

PICG encourages manufacturers to decrease the level of outputted CO2 exhaust emissions. To achieve this, hybrid vehicles must emit less than 75g/km, a minimal travelling range of 10 miles, and must reach a speed of at least 60mph.

With a combined output of 401bhp, this seven-seat SUV emits 49g/km of CO2, and has a 0-60mph of 5.3 seconds.

The XC90 T8 Twin engine allows the driver to choose from three drive modes; Pure, which is fully electric, Hybrid, which combines the petrol and electric to reduce CO2, and Power, allowing the driver to use the full power available.

Companies choosing the XC90 T8 Twin Engine can benefit by writing down as much as 100% of the cost against their income tax liability.


Part-exchange used car values rise in June, says Manheim

The average value of used cars coming into the market through dealer part-exchanges rose by 2.6% (£88) in June from the previous month, according to Manheim.

The figures show that values rose despite average mileage rising slightly to 76,354.

Average values in the supermini and MPV segments were up by 4.9% (£112) and 8.9% (£321) on May, and by 14.5% (£302) and 25% (£782) year-on-year, respectively.

It says a significant factor in the higher values is likely to have been average vehicle age, which dropped by two months for superminis and by three months for MPVs, to 91 months and 101 months.

Part-exchange executive segment stock last month was significantly younger and with lower mileage – by six months and 2,791 miles – than in the same month in 2014. As a result, year-on-year values rose by 24.6% (£1,344).

Compared to the same month in 2014, the average value of part-exchange used cars was up 8.3% (£261). The average age and mileage of stock was down by just 0.4% in both cases.

Valuation services manager at Manheim Daren Wiseman said: “Our data shows that demand for good quality, part-exchange cars remains robust. Recent SMMT figures showed June to be the 40th consecutive month of growth in new car registrations, and demand for new cars is being echoed in the used market.

“With the general election behind us, the mood in the market appears highly positive. Indeed, the market research company GfK recorded consumer confidence at a 15-year high in June.”

In June, eight out of 10 vehicle segments analysed by Manheim saw growth in average values from May, with mini MPVs and 4x4s dropping slightly – the latter of which is predictable for this time of year.

Wiseman said: “While announcements in the government’s ‘Summer Budget’ will not impact used cars in the market today – besides the tax exemption for those registered before 1st January 1976. Chief executive Michael Buxton said: “It is likely that the £310 VED supplement for new cars with a list price of over £40,000 kicking in from 2017 will not just affect the car’s first owner, but in many cases its second and third owners, too.”


Audi supercar taken during dealer test drive recovered thanks to tracker

A £100,000 supercar stolen on a dealer test drive in Derbyshire has been found in Birmingham.

The Audi RS6 belonged to Tom Hartley, based in Overseal, dealer in high-end luxury and classic used cars.

Thanks to an on-board tracker, the car was found just hours after it had been taken.

Hartley told the Derby Telegraph: “It was a very unusual incident. In my 34 years of selling luxury cars it has never happened before.

“Within our grounds we have better security than many banks have, but we can’t take that with us on a test drive.

“Thankfully there was a Navtrack device in the car and it was tracked down within 40 minutes of being stolen.

“The car is worth £100,000 and although not one of our most expensive, we’re glad to have it back.

“The member of staff who was on the test drive is a bit shocked but unhurt.”

The theft took place at 4.20pm yesterday and the car was carrying trade plates.


LGV test centre in Norwich to be moved next year

By March 2016, the LGV test centre at Jupiter road in Norwich will stop testing. The exact date of its closure is still to be confirmed.

The announcement was made by the DVSA, who are now looking for privately owned sites to deliver vocational (bus, lorry and car+trailer) tests in the Norwich area.

The DVSA said this is part of its strategy to provide more tests at local, third-party sites, helping to reduce travel time and fuel costs.

It has asked sites interested in hosting the tests in the future to contact for more information.


Plug-in car registrations pass 2014 total in first six months of 2015

More plug in cars have been registered in the first six months of 2015 than the whole of last year.

From January to June, 14,586 new registrations of ultra low emission vehicles (ULEV) were made, a significant year-to-date increase on the 4,096 of the same timeframe in 2014.

The volumes exceed last year’s 14,498 annual total registrations of vehicles eligible for Government’s Plug-in Car Grant, the highest volume ever at the year’s halfway point. The same comparison of January-June registrations for 2014 against 2013 saw an increase of 163%.

Transport Minister Andrew Jones said: “Soaring demand across the UK shows that more and more people view ultra low emission vehicles as the right choice for them. Plug-in cars are green, cheap to run and benefit both families and businesses.”

Government expectations that 5% of new car registrations (around 100,000 units) will be ultra low emission by 2020 look to be achievable at the current rate of growth. With 35 plug-in cars and vans currently on the market, the variety and scale of choice is contributing to the rapid growth.

“Being just six months in to 2015 and having already exceeded last year’s total plug-in car registrations is testament to consumer confidence in this capable and cost-effective technology,” said Hetal Shah, head of Go Ultra Low.

“The year-on-year rises give us great confidence in the future of electric cars as we move towards an ultra low emission future.”

Mitsubishi leads the new registrations charge, with 7,255 of its Outlander PHEV sold since the start of 2015. Nissan follows with its all-electric LEAF racking up 2,964 registrations, almost twice the 1,760 recorded at the same stage in 2014, and BMW’s i3 is the nation’s third most popular ULEV, also nearly doubling its registrations tally with 1,111 registrations.

At least £200 million has been made available to continue the Plug-in Car Grant from 2015-2020. Government is currently reviewing how the plug-in car grant is structured. Following this review, new levels of grant will be available based on each car’s CO2 emissions and the electric range of the vehicle.


‘Sluggish’ electric car residuals come under fire

Three electric cars are among the worst first year depreciators in a listings released by Glass’s.

The Renault Fluence, Citroen C-Zero and Nissan Leaf E have all lost more than three-quarters of their value after covering 12,000 miles during the last 12 months.

Rupert Pontin, head of valuations at Glass, said: “The motor trade and the used car buying public remain interested in electric cars but are still reticent to actually buy them in numbers and these depreciation figures reflect that fact.

“To be fair, these three EVs are among some of the least attractive on the market – the Fluence and C-Zero both have a ‘last generation’ feel while the Leaf E is on the bottom rung of the LEAF range but their presence does reflect the fact that the EV sector remains sluggish.”

Other models in the list include the lowest-powered, entry level versions of some generally popular but ageing models such as the Vauxhall Insignia and Renault Megane.

“There is very little enthusiasm in the market generally for poorly-equipped cars and if those cars are also becoming dated and have an older power unit, it really hits their prospects in the used market.”

But Pontin said highly depreciating cars could be excellent value for money.

“It would be difficult to recommend a new Renault Fluence costing more than £22,000 but one that is around £5,000-£6,000 at 12 months old is arguably a good buy for someone looking to try EV,” he said.


1. Renault Fluence E Z.E. (95bhp) Expression+ saloon four door auto
2. Vauxhall Meriva 1.4 16v (99bhp) Expression MPV five door (2010 MY)
3. Chevrolet Cruze 1.4 (100ps) 4X4 LS station wagon five door 1398cc (2014 MY)
4. Citroen C-Zero E hatchback five door auto
5. Nissan Leaf E hatchback five door auto
6. Renault Megane 1.6 (100bhp) Extreme estate five door
7. Vauxhall Insignia 1.4i 16v Turbo (140ps) SRi saloon 4d 1364cc (2012.5 MY)
8. Peugeot 207 SW 1.4 8v (75bhp) Access estate five door
9. Chevrolet Orlando 1.4 Turbo (140ps) LS five door 1364cc (2014 MY)
10. Peugeot 308 1.6VTi (120bhp) Access hatchback five door 1598cc (2013.5 MY)



Euro Car Parts is investing over half a million pounds in a major technical training programme that will deliver around 300 events by the end of 2015 involving 225 nationwide branch locations. The company anticipates the initiative will attract in excess of 300 technical representatives from workshops and bodyshops across the UK, enabling them to stay abreast of new developments, keep their skills up-to-date and maximise potential new business opportunities.

Over 12 business partners including Bosch, Denso, INA, Klaurius, Lemforder, LUK, MSI and TRW are joining forces with ECP to deliver the technical training modules effectively to customers to support areas such as diagnostics, diesel engines, EPS coding, electronic braking and electronic power assisted steering. The events will take place at local branches, colleges or other venues.

Martin Gray, chief executive officer for Euro Car Parts, says, ‘This considerable investment in the first technical training programme of its kind in the industry demonstrates our robust commitment to ensure ECP in conjunction with our dedicated business partners are determined to offer our customers all the help and support they need to develop their skills and grow new business opportunities that will ensure their future success.’



AW Repair Group has launched a mobile device app which includes on-the-scene crash data capture.

More than a year in development, the group’s AW Accident App is now available to download free from the Apple and android market. It offers a range of services including claim tracking, repair process updates and the QuickQuote calculator for minor repairs, which includes the option to send images direct to AW Repair Group’s VDAs for expert help and guidance.

The app also helps guide users through the mind-numbing moment of being involved in an accident. On-the-scene data capture allows users to note accident circumstances, location, weather, other party details, witnesses and photographic evidence.

One touch dialling and the ability to provide feedback and interact via push notifications are also included.

Jade Johnson, AW Repair Group business development, marketing and communications, said, ‘We’re very proud to launch the app. This is part of streamlining our whole customer liaison process.’

Managing director, Andrew Walsh added, ‘Putting AW Repair Group at our customers’ fingertips is another example of how we continuously strive to be innovative and give our customers, and future customers, an all-encompassing holistic approach to accident repair services.’



The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) looks set to delve further into F-Gas regulation compliance over the next six months.

Following concerns raised, the Environment Agency has issued information documents to all sellers and buyers of R134a refrigerant, to remind them of their record keeping obligations. James McClean, managing director of Motorclimate UK, said, ‘As long as those involved are maintaining the end user F-Gas handler’s qualification records, there is little to be concerned about but it does act as a timely reminder.’

Mobile air conditioning (MAC) obligations fall under the Regulation (EU) No 517/2014 which cites that 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.

The Environment Agency plans to make routine checks of MAC service centres to ensure that technicians are suitably qualified. Those found to be operating illegally will face regulatory action which may include prosecution.

The qualifications in Regulation (EC) 307/2008 set-out the training requirements to recover F-gas from the MAC systems in cars and light vehicles. Existing Level 3 qualifications achieved prior to 2015 are still valid. Specific F-gas MAC training course details can be found via City and Guilds of London Institute – or IMI Awards –


The Environment Agency has an F-gas support helpdesk available for further advice. The new Defra approved guidance relating to F-gas in the MAC sector is available on the


Jaguar Land Rover criticizes new UK tax aimed at expensive cars

Jaguar Land Rover said premium automakers will be unfairly penalized by a new UK vehicle tax scheme that is expected to hit sales of large SUVs and big sedans.

Starting in 2017, drivers of cars with a list price above 40,000 pounds (56,000 euros) will have to pay a 310-pound supplement on top of the 140-pound standard annual vehicle tax.

Industry insiders said the tax hike will hit domestic demand for expensive cars. Besides JLR, the UK is home to high-end brands such as Bentley, Rolls-Royce, McLaren Automotive, Aston Martin, Lotus and Morgan.

“It sends a very negative message to the UK’s premium automotive industry,” JLR said in a statement. “The UK should be proud of its premium car manufacturers, which support huge numbers of jobs and investment, not specifically penalize them.”

The UK’s auto industry association, the SMMT, said the new tax regime came as a “surprise and is of considerable concern.”

The introduction of a surcharge on premium cars “risks undermining growth in UK manufacturing and exports,” the lobby group said.

“British-built premium cars are in increasing demand at home and globally, and the industry helps to support almost 800,000 jobs in the UK. Leveling a punitive tax on these vehicles will almost certainly impact domestic demand,” SMMT CEO Mike Hawes said in a statement.

Colin Couchman, IHS Automotive’s director for light vehicle sales forecasts, said buyers of large sedans and SUVs may now choose smaller vehicles, which typically that yield lower margins. This would affect the bottom line at a number of automakers. If the premium tax was applied today, it would affect 6 percent of vehicles sold in the country, Couchman said, quoting figures from analyst firm Polk.

Plug-ins to pay more

The government’s vehicle tax reforms also will strip away a key incentive to buy a low-CO2 vehicle.

Currently, cars that emit less than 100 grams of CO2 per kilometer are exempt from vehicle tax. Starting in April 2017, however, only vehicles that emit less than 50g/km of CO2 will be exempt from paying the 140-pound tax. Only electric cars and the most efficient plug-in hybrids will qualify for the tax break.

Today, the owner of a 56,545-pound BMW X5 plug-in hybrid SUV that produces 75g/km of CO2 pays no vehicle tax, but starting in 2017 that driver’s annual tax bill would rise to 450 pounds.

“The new regime will dis-incentivize the take up of low-emission vehicles,” the SMMT’s Hawes said.

The extra money raised from the new tax regime will be used to improve the UK’s roads, the government said.

UK car sales reached their highest level ever in the first six months, hitting 1.37 million, according to SMMT figures. The country is the second-largest car market in Europe behind Germany.


KTM recalls 1290 Super Duke R

A threaded insert in fuel tanks has led to KTM recalling 1290 Super Duke R 2014 models

KTM is recalling a selected number of 1290 Super Duke R 2014 models in a global recall programme, including an estimated 248 bikes in the UK.

The recall is due to deviations in the manufacturing process, where an internal overflow pipe within the motorcycle’s fuel tank may not be completely enclosed within its plastic sheath. This mistake could result in fuel penetrating a threaded insert, which would lead to fuel leaks – as well as a nasty accident on the road.

KTM have already started writing to owners of the estimated 248 motorbikes in the UK that are being recalled, requesting their bikes are brought into their local KTM dealership in order for essential work to be carried out – obviously at no cost to the owner.

To check if your 1290 Super Duke R is one of those unlucky enough to be recalled, the manufacturer is also urging riders to contact their local authorised KTM dealer to quote the last six digits of their Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).

KTM UK has expressed its regret for any inconvenience the recall has caused, but customer safety is of monumental importance.


Motorbike road trip from Cardiff to Kortrijk to raise £10,000 for SSAFA

Motorcyclists ride from Cardiff to Kortrijk in aid of UK’s oldest military charity

In aid of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families (SSAFA), the oldest military charity in the UK, masses of motorcyclists will be embarking on a huge challenge this September. The challenge involves the inaugural Ride For Heroes event: a road trip from Cardiff to Kortrijk, Belgium.

The journey across Europe is expected to take four days, bringing the riders, who aim to raise at least £10,000, home on 14 September. Every rider is expected to raise at least £250, with all of the proceeds going straight to SSAFA.

The charity ride will begin on 11 September and the motorcyclists will be joined by ex-military Neil Jones. Jones is from Bridgend, and he has served in Afghanistan, Iraq, western Africa and Northern Ireland. But sadly, he lost everything just two years after leaving the Army in 2006. Last year, with the help of the SSAFA charity, he was able to find his feet.

While talking about the challenge, Jones explained why the team are going to Belgium: “We’re riding to Belgium to visit the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing; a memorial to the missing British and Commonwealth soldiers killed in Ypres. We plan to pay our respects to those soldiers who have fallen and it reinforces why we’re raising money for SSAFA, who provide support to servicemen and women and their families, past and present.”

“The visit to the Memorial of the Missing is a fitting tribute and reflects the commitment that SSAFA makes to all those who have served their country, to ensure they are given the care and respect they deserve,” Jones continued.

SSAFA’s Head of Regional Fundraising, Jim Morrison, said: “We are delighted that Neil and his team have taken on this challenge for SSAFA. The money they raise will help continue the vital work we do with current serving personnel, veterans and the families of both.”

Last year, Jones went on to create Rags Textiles, a clothing bank that supports SSAFA and aims to provide jobs for former military workers. Rags Textiles are working on setting up textile banks all over the UK, with £150 from each tonne of textiles recycled going to SSAFA.

“The business was set up to ensure those who leave the military get the support they need,” Jones explains. “I know from my own experience how difficult the transition can be, so if we’re able to make a difference by donating profits to SSAFA and offering job opportunities to those transitioning into civvy street, then I can sleep well at night.”


SWM back in business

Reborn Italian brand SWM – Speedy Working Motors – last week restarted production with the first of six new models, which will go on sale in September.

SWM emerged from the shadows at the 2014 Milan Motorcycle Show, now under Chinese ownership, but with an Italian engineer heading up the mechanical side of the business.

Production began last week at the newly-built production facility in Varese, Northern Italy, with the RS650R. SWM are aiming to get all of the models into production within weeks, with deliveries starting in Europe, then spreading out globally.

SWM was founded in 1971 but, as with many small European manufacturers of that era, it was a short-lived existence and the firm finally collapsed in 1984.

Now enjoying a new lease of life with Chinese funding, Italian engineer Ampelio Macchi is heading the comeback. He has previously worked with Aprilia, Cagiva and Husqvarna and is working on the engineering side of the bikes along with parent company Shineray, which already builds a number of motorcycles and quads.

The model range includes the retro-inspired Gran Milano 440, RS 300R, RS500R, Silver Vase 440, SM500R and the RS650R, which use a mix of air/oil-cooled and liquid-cooled engines.

Macchi said: “I’m glad to celebrate once again a great achievement. In just eight months we have been able to re-establish a company from scratch, thanks to Shineray Group. At SWM we don’t speak too much but we work lots, because we are used to demonstrating the facts with the result of our work.”

After the debut of the RS650R, the production plan foresees the arrival of the SM650R at the end of July, followed at the end of September by the RS300R, RS500R and SM500R models. Then, in the second half of October, production of the retro-styled bikes called the Silver Vase 440 and Gran Milano 440 will commence.

Details of pricing and a UK distributor have not yet been released, but there is a company website with more details at


Posted by Lois Hardy on 16/07/2015