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Daily News Round upBack

Nama Report June 2015

Car auction

The National Association of Motor Auctions (NAMA) published its monthly market report today for June 2015.

The report shows that the average sale price in June increased by £98 on the May 2015 figure from £5,400 to £5,498. This is also the case for the year-on-year value with June 2015 increasing by 2.2% on the June 2014 average sale price of £5,381.

Sales volumes for June 2015 are up by 2.1% in comparison to the May 2015 figure. In terms of a year on year comparison, vehicle auction sales were also up by 2.3% from 106,485 in June 2014 to 108,950 in June 2015 selling 2,465 more vehicles in June 2015.

The percentage of vehicles sold first time in June 2015 is static at 73% in comparison to May 2015, however in comparison to June 2014 the percentage is down from 77% a decrease of 4%.

The price premium for vehicles sold first time also remained static £275 and the average days on site increased to 8.8 days.

Sale Price by Age Profile in May 2015 compared to June 2014

2014 2015 Diff %
Late & Low £14,575 £14,575 0.0%
Fleet £8,575 £8,925 4.0%
PX (Young) £5,175 £5,625 8.7%
PX (Old) £2,525 £2,725 7.9%
Budget £750 £875 16.7%

Despite increased total volumes from May 2015 to June 2015 and increased volumes compared to June 2015, sale prices have increased in four out of five categories with Late Low remaining static.

Paul Hill, NAMA chairman said, ‘Continued low interest rates combined with favourable exchange rates, new models, advanced technology, and improved safety features are helping to support manufacturers with their growth objectives for new car sales.

‘At the wholesale level conversion rates have dropped slightly in June with increased volumes in the auction halls and the wholesale trade in general including digital and alternative channels. Prices have remained buoyant in June and this is likely to continue throughout July and August as used vehicle stock levels are likely to fall during the holiday season and prior to the September plate change.’

‘The increase on Late Low and Fleet Profile stock is likely to continue in July, and as a consequence of record registration figures in June as fleet returns and overage stock enter the market, we are likely to see another realignment of pricing in line with volume in this particular sector.’

‘July will again need the vendors’ remarketing partners to guide and advise on market conditions and levels of vehicle preparation to achieve the best results in terms of price and conversion rate achievement combined with minimal days to sell.’

Source: bodyshopmag.com

NFDA: FCA GAP study ‘flawed’

The Financial Conduct Authority’s study on GAP insurance was flawed and got the result the FCA was looking for, according to Louise Wallis of the National Franchised Dealers Association.

Speaking at the Used Car Cross Industry Forum, Wallis said that the FCA had overlooked the added benefit to the consumers of dealing with a dealer rather than online, and a lack of appetite by insurers to sell GAP away from dealers.

In addition, she said, the FCA overlooked recent changes to the GAP market, such as enhanced cancellation rights, and different insurance premium tax rates for dealers compared to stand alone.

The resulting regulation contained flaws including a short timeframe until implementation (the new GAP regulation is due to come into force in September 2015), and problems evidencing customer instigated sales.

However the new rules were unlikely to kill off the GAP market, and Wallis pointed to dealer adaptability as a way for the market to develop. In addition, she said the NFDA was working on GAP sales process guidance for dealers.

Other speakers included Derren Martin, senior editor of CAP Black Book, who told those present to expect an increased pressure on prices, though not to expect anything as severe as 2010 and 2010 prices, and Miles Trower, from TLT Solicitors who spoke about the Consumer Rights Act.

Rupert Pontin, head of valuations at Glass’s, also took to the stage, to provide an overview of the market, while Jonathan Higham from British Car Auctions told dealers about the vehicle grading system the National Associations of Motor Auctions uses.

Source: motorfinanceonline.com

Newbury car dealer fined for breaches in trading standards

Newbury car dealer Daniel Stokesberry was fined more than £20,000 after selling five unroadworthy vehicles.

Stokesberry, who traded as 3D Car Sales in Bone Lane, admitted at Reading Magistrates’ Court exposing for sale five unroadworthy vehicles and two counts of breaching consumer protection.

Trading Standards prosecuted after inspecting his premises and finding a number of defects in the cars offered for sale.

A Renault Clio had two tyres below the legal limit, a BMW had a securing bolt missing from the wheel and one tyre below the legal limit, and another BMW and a Vauxhall Insignia had illegally dark tinting on the front side windows.

The court was also told that a Carmarthenshire resident had bought a car in April this year and had been instructed by the salesman to write ‘Car Sales’ after his name on the invoice as he was taking out a third party warranty.

Within a few days of collecting the £8,995 BMW, the car wouldn’t start and the resident was told that the warranty did not cover the fault.

When the resident contacted 3D Car Sales, he was told that it was nothing to do with them any more as he had signed a document to say he was a trade dealer.

Stokesberry’s defence said that he had resolved one complaint and was committed to resolving the other.

He also stated he was committed to “professionalising” his business, including improving staff training.

Stokesberry was fined £3,400 for each offence, a total of £23,800, and ordered to pay costs of £1,279 and a victim surcharge of £340.

Source: am-online.com

Continued focus on salary sacrifice to grow Tusker risk fleet to 26,000 by 2017

In a leasing landscape dominated by bank and manufacturer-owned contract hire companies, private equity-owned Tusker is plotting a course for success.

It has trebled its risk fleet in the past 10 years and over the past three years has reported year-on-year increases in excess of 20%.

It’s a rate of growth that has only been bettered in the FN50 by acquisition and has propelled Tusker from a top 40 leasing company to one well inside the top 20.

Last year’s risk fleet of 12,201 cars and vans now stands at 14,500 and the company is conservatively predicting in excess of 26,000 units by 2018.

Growth will predominately come from salary sacrifice, but Hosking also expects the contract hire fleet to double over the same period.

That’s despite what he describes as a “pretty flat” company car parque. “The growth that seems to be coming out of the top of the FN50 is predominantly from the SME and broker sectors – and that’s a race to the bottom,” says Tusker’s chief executive David Hosking.

“The companies that are doing well in the traditional contract hire space are stealing it off the companies that aren’t doing so well.

“The one shining light in the fleet market at the moment in terms of growth is salary sacrifice and, as more companies realise its benefit, it will become the norm.

“When we started doing it, back in 2008, we had to evaluate the market as much as sell the concept; we’re not having to do that now.”

Source: fleetnews.co.uk

MT Interview: Paul Philpott President and CEO Kia UK

Kia UK president and CEO Paul Philpott is aiming for 100,000 sales a year for the brand by 2020

It’s a good time for Kia and its dealer network. Registrations for the half year were 42,200, a record, and Kia wants to exceed 80,000 units in 2015 for the first time and grow to 100,000 units by 2020.

In recent years it has performed strongly. In 2007 it sold just 29,372 cars in the UK. The scrappage scheme subsequently helped it rocket to 50,636 units in 2009 and 2012 saw the next big leap to 66,629 units.

Kia UK president and CEO Paul Philpott argues that there is room for further growth in the UK for Kia as less than half of buyers are aware of the brand.

“Our brand awareness is 40%. Sixty per cent of buyers are not aware of the Kia brand. But that has come up from 25% five years ago. Our strategy is to go to 100,000 sales by the end of the decade,” he said.

Kia is growing awareness with a £20m a year investment in media, including sport sponsorship of the Kia Oval and Surrey County Cricket Club. Separately, there is a 13-year global relationship with FIFA, which has been sorely tested in recent months by allegations of corruption within football’s governing body.

Like so many brands the sales are being driven by finance deals. PCPs account for 58% of Kia dealers’ retail sales and 85% of all finance deals. Kia’s finance house provides dealers with contact hit lists 24 to 30 months into the finance contracts to get in touch with prospective buyers and flip them into a new Kia car.

“Each quarter dealers get a pot of customers to follow up. They are between 24 and 30 months

or approaching end of contract. The finance companies manage the data but they provide the customer name and contact and what car and payment they have right now to make it easier for the dealer to sell them another new car. Timing is important.

“Those with a good equity position in a finance contract are more likely to be able to renew than wait until the end of the contract,” said Philpott.

If Kia is having a good time, so are its dealers. In the most recent NFDA Dealer Attitude Survey Kia was the second highest rated franchise behind Mercedes-Benz. It also performed well on current and future profitability.

In fact the Kia network achieved a return on sales of 1.6% in 2014 with the average Kia dealer making a profit of £148,000 for the year. This compares with ASE figures for the average UK dealership in 2014 of 1.46%. In the survey dealers also expressed their satisfaction in the products being sold.

Photo of Kia forecourt 620

Kia has completed the roll-out of its new look showrooms

The image of the Kia brand was transformed when Audi TT designer Peter Schreyer joined the Korean carmaker in 2006 as chief design officer. Schreyer gave the Kia range a modern look which established a fresh image for the brand that has found particular favour in Britain, Kia’s largest market in Europe.

There’s more on the way, the Optima in late 2015, to compete in the D-segment while the new Sportage comes in 2016. A new version of the Cee’d arrives in 2017 with a GT-badged version to follow. And Philpott raises the prospect of a sports car for the range by the end of the decade, which would sell in small numbers but would provide a halo car for the brand.

The UK Kia network has been growing. The number of dealers now stands at 185 from the 181 rooftops it had at the beginning of the year. Philpott believes it will finish off the year at 187 outlets.

However, Kia is pushing ahead with plans to fill nine open points. Vacant slots include Wandsworth, in south London, Stratford and Chester. And there are other smaller points to fill as well.

New moves in the network include the opening a dealership in Enfield to be run by Brayleys. Kia is also moving ahead with its flagship dealership located on the Great West Road on the elevated section of the M4. Mercedes-Benz and Audi have flagships close by.

The 41,000 sq ft dealership has been designed to showcase Kia’s line-up to the 75,000 people that are estimated to pass by every day. The property is over four storeys with Norton Way serving its Brentford constituency, running the dealership while Kia retains the top floor to advertise the brand. The total bill for the enterprise is undisclosed but Philpott said, in terms of media bang for your buck, the investment makes commercial sense.

As sales have grown in the UK, dealers have also had to invest in the brand. Kia has now completed the roll out of the new corporate identity across the network. Since 2010 around 90 Kia dealers have invested over £25m in significant upgrades to their facilities which has also resulted

in 30 flagship red cube sites.

On the retail side while Philpott expects dealers to make use of the growing arsenal of digital tools, Kia will not follow sister brand Hyundai with a version of the Rockar digital dealership at Bluewater shopping centre in Kent.

“There are no plans for Rockar 2,” he said.

Source: motortrader.com

New research backs LPG case in London

The re-introduction of the London congestion charge exemption for vehicles powered by autogas LPG and incentives to convert to vehicles to the alternative fuel, could help to save the lives and improve the health of thousands of Londoners.

The claim comes from Autogas Limited following research by King’s College London which revealed that 9,400 people die each year in London as a result of long-term exposure to air pollution, more than twice as many people as previously thought.

The premature deaths are caused by two key pollutants, nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and fine particulates (PM2.5) which are both significantly lower in vehicles powered by autogas LPG compared with both petrol and diesel. Autogas says NO2 emissions from autogas vehicles are up to 80% lower than diesel and particulates are up to 98% lower than diesel.

“These latest figures are incredibly worrying and show that immediate action is required by the Mayor’s office to protect the health and save the lives of those living and travelling into the city,” said Linda Gomersall, general manager, Autogas.

“In the past, incentives were available to those converting to LPG. Motorists travelling into the Capital on autogas LPG were also rewarded for taking the cleaner option by receiving a 100% discount from the congestion charge. However, since the Mayor’s office removed this discount and the wider conversion incentive was withdrawn, many drivers fail to consider this cleaner alternative, often going back to more heavily polluting diesels. By re-introducing the discount for LPG powered cars and offering conversion incentives once again, many motorists will be encouraged back to the cleaner fuel and we can start making an immediate improvement in London’s air quality.

“Autogas has a vital role to play in helping clean up our environment. Earlier this week the London Assembly announced a number of recommendations to help improve air quality but treating LPG in a similar manner to other low polluting fuel sources with discounts and incentives would help make an immediate improvement.”

Source: forecourttrader.co.uk

Six arrests in tobacco smuggling raids

Six men have been arrested as part of an investigation into a suspected £22m tobacco smuggling, tax evasion and money laundering fraud.

Officers from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) carried out simultaneous searches of 11 premises in Essex, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, London and the West Midlands on July 15, in an investigation codenamed Operation Nipper. During the operation a number of vehicles and paperwork were seized.

Sandra Smith, assistant director, criminal investigation, HMRC, said: “This is a wide ranging investigation into suspected tobacco excise duty and VAT evasion, and associated money laundering.

“The smuggling, transport, storage, or sale of illegal tobacco will not be tolerated by HMRC. Disrupting criminal trade is at the heart of our strategy to clampdown on the illicit tobacco market, which costs UK taxpayers around £2.1bn a year.

“We encourage anyone with information about suspicious tobacco or cigarette products to contact the Customs Hotline on 0800 595000.”

Source: forecourttrader.co.uk

Clampdown on supermarket promotions

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has announced a clampdown on misleading supermarket promotions.

Its decision was a response to a “super-complaint” by Which? on 21 April 2015, raising concerns about confusing and misleading promotions and a lack of easily comparable prices because of the limitations of unit pricing.

CMA said its investigation found examples of pricing and promotional practices that have the potential to confuse or mislead consumers and which could be in breach of consumer law. However, it concluded that these problems were not occurring in large numbers across the whole sector and that generally retailers were taking compliance seriously to avoid such problems occurring. The CMA also found that more could be done to reduce the complexity in unit pricing to make it a more useful comparison tool for consumers.

In its work following up on the investigation the CMA will work with businesses to cut out promotional practices which could mislead consumers. This includes the practice of running ‘was/now’ promotions where the discount price is advertised as a promotion for longer than the higher price applied.

To improve compliance the CMA also recommends that, in its ongoing review of the ‘Pricing Practices Guide’, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute clarifies how the legislation applies to certain promotional practices.

The CMA also recommends that the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) publishes best practice guidelines on the legibility of unit prices, and looks at ways to simplify and clarify legislation, including how the law requires items to be unit-priced when they are on promotion. The CMA has also published ‘at-a-glance’ guidance to help consumers make better use of unit pricing.

Nisha Arora, CMA senior director, consumer, said: “We welcomed the super-complaint, which presented us with information that demanded closer inspection. We have gathered and examined a great deal of further evidence over the past three months and are now announcing what further action we are taking and recommending others to take.

“We have found that, while supermarkets want to comply with the law and shoppers enjoy a wide range of choices, with an estimated 40% of grocery spending being on items on promotion, there are still areas of poor practice that could confuse or mislead shoppers. So we are recommending further action to improve compliance and ensure that shoppers have clear, accurate information.”

Source: forecourttrader.co.uk

GROWING FEAR OF KEYLESS CAR THEFT

Stolen vehicle recovery expert TRACKER has revealed that 70% of people would not consider purchasing a keyless car due to fears over its security. The research follows recent Met data which found a 6.5% rise in the number of UK car thefts in the twelve months up to March 2015.

As the technology required to circumvent security systems in keyless vehicles is openly available and inexpensive to purchase online, TRACKER has echoed police calls for car owners to take added precautions when protecting their vehicle. Whilst traditional security methods, such as a steering wheel lock (30%) and a clutch pedal lock (22%), remain popular amongst vigilant car owners, the emergence of connection protection devices, essentially a steel box which covers the OBD port to prevent diagnostics access, is being recognised as a worthy security measure (25%). However, stolen vehicle tracking devices have significantly become the number one consideration (40%).

‘Car hacking has been an issue for a long time but the recent surge in cases of this nature have much to do with the accessibility of these devices, which can be freely purchased online for as little as £20,’ explains Andy Barrs, police liaison officer at TRACKER. ‘Whilst the evolution of car technology has made everyday life easier for car owners, its sophistication is not outsmarting thieves, indeed it could be making their lives easier.’

‘Whilst a tracking unit won’t prevent your car from being stolen by thieves in the first instance, it does increase the chances of your car being located and returned to you by up to 95%. Furthermore, with 86% of stolen cars returned to their rightful owner within 24 hours of being stolen, TRACKER’s own product could prove the difference between a vehicle being found and returned or never seen again. It is for this reason that ours is the only SVR product used by all the UK’s police forces,’ concludes Andy Barrs.

Source: bodyshopmag.com

BMW WORLD FIRST WITH NEW HYDROGEN STATION

The BMW Group has installed the first hydrogen station worldwide with two types of refuelling technology. The latest move by the BMW Group and TOTAL will take forward the development of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

It is now possible to drive by fuel cell-powered car all the way from southern Germany to Lake Garda in Italy. The opening of the hydrogen station in Munich’s Detmoldstrasse completes the European HyFIVE project’s South Cluster, which comprises Stuttgart, Munich, Innsbruck and Bolsano. ‘This new form of mobility, based on hydrogen, offers private and commercial users zero-local-emission long-distance electric mobility with no concessions on comfort, space and refuelling times,’ is how Matthias Klietz, head of research powertrain at the BMW Group, sums up the advantages of hydrogen.

The TOTAL multi-energy filling station on Detmoldstrasse marks an important milestone. It is the world’s first public filling station where the two pumps dispense hydrogen using two different types of refuelling technology, namely:

Industry-standard 700 bar CGH2 hydrogen storage technology. This refuelling technology for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles is already up and running.

Cryo-compressed hydrogen storage technology (CCH2). This technology, developed by the BMW Group, involves storing gaseous hydrogen at low temperature on board the vehicle at a pressure of up to 350 bar. It is currently at the advanced development stage and will only come on stream for general use over the longer time frame. CCH2 tanks offer up to 50% more hydrogen storage capacity than 700 bar tanks and can support a driving range of over 500 kilometres.

In order to research and develop both types of tank system and their integration in the vehicle, it is important for the BMW Group to have both systems available for testing in the real world and not just in the laboratory. Much more realistic test scenarios can be achieved if lab tests are supplemented by testing at a public filling station.

Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles offer:

Fast and convenient refuelling in less than five minutes – which is about the same time it takes to refuel a conventional petrol or diesel vehicle.

Long driving ranges in excess of 500 kilometres due to the high energy density of the hydrogen.

All-electric, zero-local-emission driving.

Since fuel cell electric vehicles are particularly suited to longer-distance trips, they are the ideal complement to the BMW i models, and to the future plug-in hybrid production models from the BMW brand, which will be based on the already proven eDrive technology. The fuel cell converts the gaseous hydrogen in the vehicle’s fuel tank into electricity and water. Since the high-voltage battery only serves as a power buffer, a much smaller and lighter battery can be used than on a battery-electric vehicle.

In the long run, hydrogen fuel cell drive will become an integral part of BMW’s Efficient Dynamics programme, adding to the diversity of the BMW Group’s powertrain portfolio. This portfolio can be flexibly tailored to different vehicle concepts, customer requirements and legal and regulatory requirements in the international automobile markets.

However, a basic requirement for the successful introduction of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles is the development of a hydrogen refuelling infrastructure in the relevant automobile markets. In important initial markets for hydrogen, such as Japan, California/USA and Europe (particularly Germany, the United Kingdom and Scandinavia), it is realistic to assume that the current infrastructure initiatives will lead to the establishment of an initial hydrogen refuelling infrastructure by around 2020. Unlike Japan, which as an island has little or no need to make allowances for cross-border traffic, Europe faces much more challenging requirements in terms of ensuring a transnational infrastructure.

The BMW Group is therefore actively contributing its expertise as a partner in important initiatives for the development and planning of a hydrogen infrastructure, such as the H2 Mobility and CEP initiatives in Germany, and also as an active member in the EU’s Fuel Cell Hydrogen Joint Undertaking. On the technology side, too, cooperation with strong partners makes good sense in order to speed development. The BMW Group is therefore collaborating intensively with TOTAL Germany and the Linde Group on refuelling processes and technology.

Over the long term, moves are afoot to use power-to-gas electrolysis to store surplus renewable electricity in the form of hydrogen. Production of hydrogen from surplus electricity would offer a realistic long-term prospect of ensuring a cost-efficient supply of green hydrogen for use in fuel cell electric vehicles.

Source: bodyshopmag.com

 

KEY LEADERSHIP APPOINTMENTS AT RAA

After celebrating a tremendous first decade in January 2015 as an influential automotive consortium, the Retail Automotive Alliance has announced two new appointments; John Matthews and Paul Knight, who are ready to steer the group through its next decade.

John Matthews has been appointed as the new Business Development Director for the Retail Automotive Alliance and will head up the company’s growth plans. Matthews has over 20 years’ service in the Automotive Industry, working as part of Management Teams with companies such as Audatex, Fix Auto and more recently AutoRestore, a sister company of Autoglass, who pioneered mobile accident repair in the UK.

Paul Knight, previously finance director of Ford Britain and Ford France, has been newly appointed to chairman of the RAA. Knight, who worked at Ford Motor Company from 1970 to 2002 commented, ‘I joined the RAA at its inception in 2005 as the first CEO and saw it through its formative stages to become a successful buying group having achieved savings of over £5million annually. I finally retired that post in April 2009’ he went on to say he was ‘delighted to take RAA through its next stage of development.’ The RAA looks set to take huge steps securing further proficient deals for its member by drawing on Paul’s extensive 45 years of motor industry knowledge and connections.

The Retail Automotive Alliance (RAA) is a collective of 21 Privateer Dealer Groups with 209 locations and 30 brands spread across the UK. The alliance allows partners to benefit from hugely significant purchasing power and to negotiate agreements with major suppliers. The alliance was launched in January 2005 following research by The Cardiff Business College in March 2004 with the 9 founder members establishing the JV in August 2004. The alliance is now notionally the UK’s fifth largest retail motor group in the industry league tables and has a combined turnover of £2.7 billion. The collective is headed by a board of directors including Paul Knight, the rest of whom are members and are some of the industry’s leading executives and entrepreneurs.

‘The Retail Automotive Alliance has just celebrated its 10 year anniversary and the huge success it has achieved with its many purchasing contracts which deliver a great return on investment to all of its 21 Members” said Matthews commenting on his appointment. “We are now ready to look beyond purchasing alone and deliver other business benefits to the Group, so part of my role will be to identify and exploit new opportunities as well as target growth of the network. A very exciting challenge for me and the team and I’m really looking forward to it!’

Matthews will be working closely with the recently appointed chairman, Paul Knight and the group purchasing manager Dean Bradford. He will also be responsible for expanding the range of agreements that has made the RAA the UK’s leading retail automotive purchasing group whilst exploring new trading opportunities outside the procurement arena and growing the RAA membership.

Source: bodyshopmag.com

Expanding Wessex Garages to open new Renault and Dacia outlet

WESSEX Garages in Newport will be joining the Renault and Dacia franchise with the opening of a new hi-tech dealership in the city – creating up to 12 jobs.

The expanding car company will open a purpose-built 3,831 sq ft Renault and Dacia showroom in August alongside its current Kia, Fiat and Hyundai outlets at Newport Retail Park.

Keith Brock, managing director of Wessex Garages, which also has dealerships in Bristol, Cardiff and Gloucester, said: ‘We are extremely proud to be a part of Renault and Dacia’s expanding dealer network.

‘It is an exciting time not only for Renault and Dacia but for us too as we have seen sales across all of our dealerships increase over the past 12 months.

‘Our new £500,000 refurbed, hi-tech dealership will look absolutely fantastic. It will be modern and fully interactive, catering to customers’ needs and enhancing their experience.

‘People will be able to watch videos about the cars and services available and can make use of a digital lounge, including free wi-fi, to help them select the perfect new car for them. It will be a relaxed environment where customers can make their own choices.

‘Renault and Dacia’s range of cars is the best it has ever been and there are lots more exciting models to come in the future. I am looking forward to a successful partnership with the brand and hope the Newport showroom is the first of many.’

Source: cardealermagazine.co.uk

Land Rover Defender production to be extended

Jaguar Land Rover could extend production of its current-generation Land Rover Defender into early next year as it mulls where to build the iconic SUV’s successor.

Defender production may continue at JLR’s factory in Solihull, England, until the end of January, the company said in a statement. Defender production had been scheduled to finish at the end of this year.

JLR has also added a second production shift at Solihull to meet increasing demand for the rugged off-roader that has kept its utilitarian look and features since its 1948 launch.

Last year, JLR sold 17,781 Defenders. JLR said worldwide sales of the Defender increased by 29 percent to 11,511 in the first half, with volume rising 40 percent in mainland Europe and 25 percent in the UK. .

Jaguar Land Rover is looking to expand production outside its UK home base as it seeks to double vehicle sales to about 800,000 by 2020.

The company signed an agreement this month for Magna Steyr to build so far unnamed models at the contract manufacturer’s factory in Graz, Austria. Separately Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister Janusz Piechocinski said earlier this month that the central European country is competing with Slovakia to provide a site for a new JLR plant that would build 350,000 vehicles a year starting in 2019, he said.

JLR unions in England have expressed concern that the automaker is seeking to move Defender output from England to a country with lower production costs.

JLR said in 2013 it would end production of the current Defender by the middle of the decade.

The automaker is planning a new generation of the Defender that will keep the SUV’s multi-purpose functionality and meet the latest engine emission and safety standards. The new model could launch in 2018, Autocar reported.

UK newspaper Birmingham Post reported that Defender production may be extended beyond February.

Source: europe.autonews.com

Nissan passes Toyota to become Europe’s top-selling Asian brand

Nissan passed Toyota to become the top-selling Asian brand in Europe in the first six months.

Nissan’s European sales were boosted by the latest-generation Qashqai compact crossover and by gains in key markets such as the UK, France and Germany. Toyota, meanwhile, has been hit by a slump in Germany, Europe’s biggest market, where demand is weak for the brand’s aging lineup.

Nissan Europe sales and marketing boss Guillaume Cartier said in a statement that the brand’s rise to become the region’s No. 1 Asian brand is a “historic moment for everyone connected to the Nissan business.”

Cartier had told Automotive News Europe in an interview published in June that besides passing Toyota to become Europe’s top-selling Asian brand by 2016, his aim is to remain profitable and to be Europe’s “most desirable Asian brand” in terms of products, in-car features and service.

Toyota declined to comment directly on the results. “We would like to refrain from comparing our results with those of other companies. We pay no attention to rankings of this nature,” a Toyota Europe spokeswoman told Automotive News Europe.

Toyota surpassed Nissan as the best-selling Japanese brand in Europe in 1998, but Nissan vowed to win back the title. Nissan’s European sales have been growing for the past five years

Nissan’s registrations in the EU and EFTA countries increased 21 percent to 303,507 through June, with market share rising to 4.1 percent from 3.7 percent a year earlier, according to data from industry association ACEA. Sales of Toyota brand cars rose 4.2 percent to 293,968. Its market share dropped a one-tenth of a percentage point to 4 percent.

In the UK, Nissan achieved its best market share to date — 6 percent — with a 17 percent rise in volume through June to 83,423 units. Toyota’s UK sales grew by 4 percent to 53,945 for a 3.9 percent share.

In France, Nissan’s sales increased by 12 percent to 40,383 for a share of nearly 4 percent while Toyota’s sales rose by 8 percent to 37,235 for a 3.7 percent share.

In Germany Toyota’s registrations plunged by 7 percent to 32,712 for a 2 percent share while Nissan’s volume rose nearly 10 percent to 35,422 for a 2.2 percent share.

Nissan’s second-generation Qashqai, which launched last year, has been a sales success. The crossover accounted for 101,579 of the brand’s 249,164 sales in the first five months, according to market researchers at JATO Dynamics.

Volkswagen brand is Europe’s top-selling marque with 901,452 sales through June, up nearly 9 percent for a 12.1 percent share of the market.

Source: europe.autonews.com

Suzuki issue GSX-S1000 recall

Suzuki have confirmed a recall of its GSX-S1000 and GSX-S1000F models. The recall affects 174 registered motorcycles in the UK, and has been instigated due to a radiator hose clearance concern.

Despite no reported issues in the UK, customer safety and satisfaction is the highest priority, and Suzuki has elected to commence a recall to fit a new component to avoid any potential issues in future.

Customers affected with officially imported and registered machines will receive a letter from Suzuki shortly after the modification parts arrive, advising them to contact their local authorised Suzuki dealership, who will carry out the fitment of the new component free of charge. The work will take less than one hour to complete.

For further enquiries, you can find your local Suzuki dealer at www.suzuki-gb.co.uk

 

Posted by Lois Hardy on 17/07/2015