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Daily news round upBack


Motor insurers face shortfall in crash repair capacity, warns Trend Tracker

Trend Tracker has warned insurance companies of a predicted rise in the number of accident claims, brought on by the recent drop in fuel costs.

The company’s latest UK Car Body Repair Market report warns that insurance company profits will be dented by a repair capacity deficit.

The number of repairs is forecast to rise from 4.2m in 2014 to 4.3m in 2020, with the average repair cost to rise from £1,115 to £1,157, as lower fuel costs encourage greater car use.

The number of car body repair workshops (bodyshops) has declined by 32% over the last decade and Trend Tracker predicts a further 9% decline, to just 3,020 by 2020.

Bodyshop owners have long bemoaned the lack of profit in insurance-funded repairs. Based on an average insurance accident repair cost of £1,380, a large insurer-approved bodyshop, operating on modern factory flow-line repair principles, will typically earn just £13.52 net profit on a job taking 15.7 hours to complete (source: ABP Club). This equates to a profit of just 86p per hour per repair.



IMI to take lead on car dealer sales accreditation

The IMI has launched a new accreditation for automotive sales personnel.

IMI Sales Accreditation will act as the professional standard for vehicle sales, sitting alongside IMI’s existing Customer Service Accreditation as the IMI leads a new drive to improve public perceptions of the industry.

Early adopters of the new sales accreditation route include Mercedes-Benz and Vauxhall, and with a number of other manufacturers and large dealership groups also in discussion with the IMI about its routes, as many as 5,000 registrations are expected in the coming months.

The new accreditation is available at two levels, sales executive and senior sales executive.

To be successful, employees need to demonstrate competence in the areas of communication, product and technical knowledge, objection handling, complaints, and business processes.

The higher level requires additional competence in the areas of workload management, warranty, coaching and supervision.

All individuals who are successful achievers of IMI accreditations are placed on the public facing IMI Professional Register.



Royal Enfield back in the UK

Royal Enfield have confirmed that they have given the green light to the development of a new technology centre to be based in Leicestershire, which is intended to support the brand’s long term product strategy. The UK centre will focus on R&D in partnership with a larger tech centre based in Chennai, while there are no plans at this stage for any manufacturing to take place at the new site.

Speaking about the announcement, Siddhartha Lal, managing director and CEO of Eicher Motors Limited, said: “Royal Enfield continues to grow at a phenomenal pace and this year we have achieved our best ever sales of over 300,000 units. In 2015, we plan to manufacture 450,000 units.

“With a view to becoming the leader in the global mid-sized motorcycling, Royal Enfield will build two new technology centres. The larger will be at a new 4.5 acre property that we have acquired on Old Mahabalipuram Road in Chennai, and will be operational by Q2 2016; a smaller satellite centre is being set up in Leicestershire, UK, and will be operational by the end of 2015. These technology centres will significantly enhance our capability to execute our long term product strategy.

“Our immediate business outlook is strong and we will be investing £50 million in 2015 in all strategic areas for long term growth”

The firm is already well underway with recruiting key staff from the UK to help drive this venture, including ex-Triumph staff. Most significantly, it gives the firm a hotbed of talent based in the spiritual home of the firm which left these shores for India way back in 1956, and saw the complete closure of the UK business in 1971.



Females are more likely to speed

A nationwide study of driving habits in rental cars has revealed that female customers are considerably more likely to exceed the speed limit than their male counterparts.

Telematics technology provider, In-Car Cleverness, which monitored the hire of more than 10,000 rental vehicles over a six-month period, recorded the surprising findings.

Analysis using a device increasingly fitted to private vehicles to lower insurance and company fleets to manage costs showed that women exceeded the speed limit 17.5% more on average. Despite that, they returned far fewer cars to the rental company with damage than men.

In-Car Cleverness found that 84% of the cars returned with dents, scratches and punctures had been rented by male drivers. It also recorded a rather more expected link between damage to rental cars and the number of speeding incidents recorded in those vehicles.

Overall, the average number of speeding incidents was 57* for men and 67* for women. Female drivers who damaged cars sped more often – averaging 90 speeding cases. Men who returned vehicles with damage exceeded the speed limit 82 times on average.



Men and Londoners demand driverless cars

New research published today by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) shows demand for driverless cars is most likely to come from men and those in London.

The Government has confirmed that changes to road regulations and car maintenance checks will be necessary to accommodate driverless cars, but new research published today by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) shows that an even bigger shift will be required in public acceptance of driverless cars.

The IET surveyed 2,023 adults online aged 16-75 to assess current appetite for, and understanding of, driverless vehicles. It found that demand for driverless cars is most likely to come from men and those in London.

But even then public acceptance is not high as the survey shows that just a quarter of men (25%) would definitely consider using a driverless car, while only 16 per cent of women would do so.

In terms of age, over 45s are the least likely to embrace driverless cars (42% of 45-54s and 42% of 55-75s). This is worrying given it is the older generation that stand to benefit more in terms of increased mobility.

The survey shows that younger drivers are the most undecided about driverless cars.

People in London are the most likely to be interested in driverless cars (25% would definitely consider one), compared to 18% in the Midlands.


Asda buys 15 sites from Rontec

Asda has purchased 15 petrol stations from Top 50 Indie Rontec in the latest move towards its aim of opening 100 standalone petrol stations by the end of 2018.

Asda intends to close and convert the 15 petrol stations over a number of weeks and will re-open the sites under the Asda brand by summer 2015. The first five sites are expected to re-open from mid-March (Staines, Tottenham White Hart Lane, Tilehurst, Plymouth and Woodville).

In addition to the fuel offer, customers will have access to a selection of everyday essentials in the site’s stores as well as the full Asda range through its online click and collect service. Shoppers can complete a full weekly shop by ordering online and collecting it at the site free of charge.



Posted by Lois Hardy on 19/02/2015