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Daily News Round UpBack

Gloucestershire car dealer jailed for tax offences

prison

A second-hand car dealer has been jailed for four years and eight months after being caught paying not tax despite having traded millions of pounds worth of cars for at least 14 years.

An HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) investigation discovered that although millions of pounds had passed through the bank accounts of 71 year old Ambrose Smith, he was not registered for Income Tax, VAT or National Insurance.

He had no specific business premises, but bought and sold cars as a middleman, buying from dealers and auction sites and selling vehicles to other dealers.

Smith, of Norton, Gloucestershire, kept no annual accounts, business records or stock books, but investigators found diaries containing handwritten records of car sales in a car transporter parked on his driveway.

He was also found to have an offshore bank account in the Channel Islands. HMRC officers also secured sales invoices from car dealerships that had traded with Smith.

Colin Spinks, assistant director criminal investigation, HMRC, told the Gloucester Citizen: “Smith was a ghost to the tax system, committing calculated fraud over a number of years and deceiving not only HMRC, but also the thousands of businesses who operate honestly and within the law.”

Source: am-online.com

Online car sales business CarSpring to come to UK

CarSpring, an online marketplace for used cars, has received a new investment of about 3 million Euros and is now expanding to Europe.

Its expansion will start in Germany but it already has a small operation in the UK covering London.

The company is supported by Rocket Internet, the world’s largest internet platform outside the US and China.

CarSpring aims to provide the easiest and most convenient solution for people who want to sell and buy pre-owned cars. To receive an initial quote owners just need to enter their cars’ licence plate number on the company’s website, when satisfied with the initial quote the seller can directly book an inspection with one of the company’s professional inspectors.

Once the car has passed its thorough 200-point inspection CarSpring will list the car on its website free of charge and will find the best match between buyers and sellers.

If CarSpring cannot find a buyer for a car within 30 days it will offer to buy the car itself.

For buyers, the cars will be delivered right to the customer’s doorstep. Instead of a regular test drive, every car can be tried by the new owners for 14 days with a money-back guarantee.

If the buyer isn’t happy with his car, CarSpring will also pick it up from the doorstep – free of charge.

CarSpring’s co-founder, Maximilian Vollenbroich, said: “Buying and selling a car can be a tremendous effort in terms of research and purchase. The selection on the market is huge and not everybody is honest about the facts. We want to provide a solution to a trusted, safe, convenient and full-service package.”

CarSpring’s core service are its professional inspectors, who visit every seller’s home to evaluate the car. Every car undergoes a strict examination by licensed mechanics who check every vehicle through their paces with a 200-point checklist.

Source: am-online.com

Motors.co.uk in tie up with Car Magazine and FirstCar

Car search network Motors.co.uk has extended its network again with partnerships with the FirstCar and Car Magazine websites.

It comes just months after launching its high profile partnership with Confused.com, which has seen the growing car classifieds site power the search function for the money saving website’s portal at Carfused.com.

Motors.co.uk started working with FirstCar and Car Magazine in May 2015. A key reason for Motors.co.uk working with FirstCar is to provide young drivers with a choice of cars within insurance groups 1-7 to suit their new driver status. The primary benefit for Motors.co.uk’s dealer customers is the increased exposure to new drivers and first time car buyers (and their parents), potentially creating a loyal customer for years to come.

Car Magazine’s website is the third most visited automotive recreation site in the UK, according to Comscore, and is an ideal host for Motors.co.uk’s search tool which allows car lovers to choose the exact specification that suits their needs.

The search integration is one of a series of innovations designed to increase visibility for Motors.co.uk dealers, boost overall stock volumes and create new ways for advertisers to target car buying audiences.

Andy Coulthurst, managing director of Motors.co.uk, comments: “These exclusive new partnerships are a fantastic added benefit for our dealers. We are massively excited to once again invest for the benefit of our dealers. The new partnerships coincide with a record level across the Motors.co.uk Network and our strong TV spend across Q3, our existing dealers will benefit from this increased exposure at zero additional cost.”

Charlie Calton-Watson, Digital Director for Bauer Specialist, said: “It’s a fantastic development to be able to offer the dedicated readers of our site the ability to purchase the vehicles they’ve been reading about. The search platform provides a far smarter way to search and is perfect for motoring fans who want to get their news, reviews and shop all in the same place.”

James Evans, publisher at FirstCar, added: “We are pleased to announce the new car sales search function in association with Motors.co.uk. We think our readers will massively benefit from the new search tool – pairing new car buyers with the ideal car to match their needs. This includes targeting insurance groups to the buyers’ needs to ensure both the sale price and ongoing costs are affordable.”

FirstCar and Car Magazine join Motors.co.uk’s existing network which includes: Confused.com, Sun Motors, Sunday Times Driving, Parkers, HonestJohn, Carsite Network, Autovillage, Desperate Seller, Drive24, Carvillage and more than 300 regional newspapers and classified sites.

Source: am-online.com

Freight Transport Association calls for all HGVs to be subject to same regulations

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) wants all HGVs operating on public roads to be subject to the same regulations.

The organisation specifically supports the removal of the testing exemption for volumetric concrete mixers, and opposes the Department for Transport consultation proposal to allow them to operate outside or in excess of ‘Construction and Use’ weight limits.

The FTA also said that it believes that these vehicles should be incorporated within the Operator Licencing requirements.

Christopher Snelling, head of urban logistics atthe FTA, said: “FTA believes that in general if a vehicle is operating on the public roads and has the same risk profile as an HGV it should be subject to similar levels of regulation.

“We are working with our members in the construction logistics sector to try to improve road safety, especially that of cyclists.

“It is right that vehicles involved in this work, using public roads, should be incorporated into the regulatory regimes.”

The FTA has also stated that it believes regulation, used correctly, can be an effective and efficient tool for improving the road safety record of HGVs.

Along with extensions of regulations to cover this type of heavy duty commercial vehicle, the FTA wants to see increased targeted enforcement of vehicle and driver regulations in higher risk areas such as London – as regulations are of no use if they are flouted.

Snelling added: “Maximum improvement in road safety can never achieved by addressing just one set of road users, but we all have our part to play in reducing the number of injuries and fatalities on our roads.

“These improvements in regulation of large commercial vehicles that FTA is supporting here are part of what the freight industry believes is the best route to taking road safety forwards.”

Source: fleetnews.co.uk

Royal Caribbean expands fleet with Pendragon

Pendragon Vehicle Management is supplying Royal Caribbean with seven Nissan Qashqais which will be used for promotional work in the UK as part of a 60 strong fleet.

Ben Bouldin, sales director for Royal Caribbean, said: “Over the course of the last six months we have doubled the size of our regional sales team. Mobilising them with a fleet of brand new Nissan Qashqais is the final piece of the jigsaw. Our regional sales managers are our brand ambassadors around the country and hence we’ve taken the opportunity to brand their cars for the first time.”

Pendragon Vehicle Managemen has supplied cars on contract hire to Royal Caribbean since 1998.

Neal Francis, divisional managing director for Pendragon Vehicle Management, said: “We are delighted that Royal Caribbean chose to expand its fleet with us. After reviewing the company’s specific requirements, we recommended the Qashqais.”

Source: fleetnews.co.uk

Welcome Break introduces Tesla Superchargers electric vehicle charging points to motorway network

Welcome Break has announced it is becoming the first service station operator to introduce Tesla Superchargers electric vehicle charging points to UK motorway network sites.

It will install Superchargers across seven of its UK sites. Three have already opened, including South Mimms, which initially has two charging bays, and Hopwood Park and Oxford services, which both have six bays. Other sites will be announced in due course.

The Tesla Model S has a range of 310 miles and the Superchargers can provide 50% of range in 20 minutes.

The new installations will take the total number of Superchargers in the UK to more than 100 at 29 locations.

Source: fleetnews.co.uk

Consumer demand keeps used car depreciation steady, says CAP

Consumer demand is keeping depreciation steady at 1.2%, according to CAP.

With volumes in the used car market high, and ahead of the same time last year, values in general edged down in Black Book Live during July, but only resulting in a month-end drop of 1.2% at the three-year, 60,000 mile mark.

Of the main volume sectors, SUVs were the hardest hit, due to large volumes in the market and partly the time of year. The Nissan Juke and Skoda Yeti saw values drop in July due to high volumes in this ever-growing SUV sector – which has seen 125% increases in used car sold volumes over the last five years – is likely to remain under pressure in the long term, according to CAP.

Derren Martin, senior editor, CAP Black Book said: “Depreciation over the last two months has been slightly lower than anticipated. So, will the market catch-up with where many expected it to be?

“We have reported many dealers are seeing margin compression. When accounting for high volumes in the used car market, and a likely increase in the long-term, there is the potential for some pressure on trade prices.

“August is likely to lead to a small drop off in consumer footfall, so the supply and demand balance may promote further price erosion. Longer term, there could be added pressure with a new registration plate looming, resulting in more fleet returns and retail part-exchanges.”

Upper Medium, or D Sector cars fared slightly better than the average in July and this could be due to stable volumes in the used car market. Used car sales volumes in this sector are down 2% since 2010. Values of common ex-company cars such as diesel variants of the non-current BMW 3 Series, Ford Mondeo and Vauxhall Insignia all stayed level in July, showing they remain a popular choice for the used car buyer, and represent good value when priced against many of the SUVs.

Values of convertibles declined in July, particularly from the middle of the month onwards. The worst affected were those cars that appeared in higher volumes, such as the previous version of the Audi A3 Convertible and the current Volkswagen Golf Convertible.

The pace of convertible depreciation has steadily increased over the past three months in Black Book Live, moving from just 0.2% during May, to 0.8% in June and then 1.6% in July. The window of opportunity is rapidly closing for these cars, if a dealer is looking to buy wholesale in August, by the time the car is prepared and on the forecourt, summer will more than likely have passed.

Martin added: “We are entering an interesting few months for the used car market. At this time last year, contract hire and leasing companies reported a drop off in their sales. What followed later in the year was high supply and low demand and this led to not insignificant pricing realignments. Black Book Live reported these movements on a daily basis last year, keeping subscribers updated real-time. Whatever happens over the next few months, CAP will be analysing the sold data real-time and moving any values accordingly.”

Source: fleetnews.co.uk

Oxford considers workplace parking levy scheme

A workplace parking levy could be introduced for businesses across Oxford by 2019 after proposals were approved by the council.

The charge on parking spaces was included in Oxford County Council’s Local Transport Plan for up to 2030.

It says it wants to press ahead with developing a workplace parking levy to help battle chronic congestion in the city.

And it argues the levy – which would charge firms for the number of parking spaces they own above a set threshold – could generate millions to spend on major transport schemes.

However, Oxfordshire Town Chamber Network director Keith Slater said a workplace parking levy would force businesses to choose between absorbing the extra costs or passing them on to employees.

“This would be tantamount to increasing business rates for firms in the city,” he told The Oxford Times.

“It is a big extra cost and could act as a disincentive to firms looking at whether they should base themselves there.”

The levy would be similar to that used in Nottingham, where businesses with 11 or more parking spaces are charged £375 per space each year, the county council said.

Source: fleetnews.co.uk

Auto Express reveals top dealers in Driver Power 2015 survey

Auto Express has revealed what it describes as the best and worst dealers in its Auto Express Driver Power 2015 survey.

Lexus once again retained the number one position with high scores in helpfulness and attitude, standards of workmanship, cleanliness, technical knowledge, progress and cost of work and value for money.

Lexus has topped the Diver Power dealer survey every year since the survey was launched in 2002.

“It’s an impressive record and 2015 was Lexus’ best year yet as it also won top car and top manufacturer,” said Auto Express.

Toyota was in second slot, rising four places and posting “exceptional results” for work standards and staff.

Jaguar was in third position, rising four places. It would have been in second place except for a low “value for money “ score.

Honda and Peugeot were in fourth and fifth places respectively.

At the bottom end of the table the worst performing franchise was Suzuki, which fell 15 places with the network recording bottom-of-the-table results in four categories. The biggest complaint was for non-identification of faults.

Volkswagen was in 30th slot, moving up one place to be second from bottom. Lack of communication was a serious criticism of the network.

Nissan, Chrysler-Jeep and Seat made up the remaining worst performing five neworks.

Best Dealer Networks 2015

Brand Overall Score %

  1. Lexus 93.56
  2. Toyota 91.44
  3. Jaguar 90.91
  4. Honda 90.65
  5. Peugeot 90.2
  6. Subaru 90.15
  7. Skoda 90.01
  8. Porsche 88.92
  9. Citroen 88.9
  10. Mini 88.65

Source: motortrader.com

Dealer margins come under increased pressure in first half

Dealer margins are coming under increased pressure, according to a survey from CAP looking at the first half of 2015.

The majority of dealers, 88%, said retained margins had been squeezed or remained the same in June compared to the previous month, the highest it has been in 2015.

“Through the entire first half of 2015, there was only April where the market felt they had seen an increase, with just over a third stating; they had improved,” said Cap Black Book editor Philip Nothard.

“June was the worse month, where nearly 90% had either experienced further compression or little change from May.

“This is certainly something that could be a concern for some time forward, with rising costs and increased retail competitiveness,” he said.

The majority of dealers, 51%, also recorded a decline in footfall in June compared to the previous month while just 15% said it had improved and 33% said it had remained the same.

Online activity also declined for 44% of dealers in June according to May while 29% said it had increased and 27% remained the same.

“Physical Footfall has experienced a switch in dealer’s sentiment from 70% reporting an increase in January, through to 51% now expressing a decline in June

“Unlike the physical footfall, on-Line activity has experienced a stronger performance throughout the initial four months during the period; however, this strength didn’t continue, as in both May and June, the majority sentiment switched to either a decline or little change,” said Nothard.

The survey revealed falling demand from consumers with 58% of dealers saying demand was worse than in May.

Source: motortrader.com

India’s Mahindra to enter UK with sub-£10k EV in 2016

Indian car manufacturer Mahindra is planning to enter the UK car market during the first quarter of 2016 with an electric vehicle costing less than £10,000, BusinessCar can reveal.

Known as the E2O, the model has been on sale in India for two years.

The company is known in India for its rugged SUVs and pick-ups, while it also owns Ssangyong and Reva, which produced the G-Wiz.

“Our UK market plans are only with electric vehicles,” Dr Pawan Goenka, group president of Mahindra’s automotive sector, told BusinessCar. “We have been speaking to the UK Government for quite some time and they are keen for the car to come to the UK.

“The reason why they are keen is because they’d like to have sub-£10,000 electric vehicles on sale in the UK and we believe we can do that with the current Government subsidy.”

In India, the Government’s subsidy equates to around £1200 off the purchase price of electric vehicles, which Goenka said is nothing like what the UK offers.

“The desire of the British Government to make electric vehicles mainstream is very serious. We have had a lot of interaction, all the way up to the prime minister. Half a billion pounds to incentivise the uptake of electric vehicles is very serious,” he added.

While he couldn’t give any specific details, Goenka said the car would have a “sensible” range. In India, the E2O has a maximum range of 120km (62 miles) between charges.

Goenka was quick to distance the vehicle from merely being a rebadged second-generation G-Wiz: “The G-Wiz was a quadricycle, whereas the E20 is a fully fledged vehicle, which meets all the requirements a modern vehicle has to meet,” he said.

“It [the E2O] is a car that has space like any other hatchback and is a comfortable four-seater, with good range and speed. Therefore, it is not a second-generation G-Wiz – it’s a new car.”

It will be marketed as a second car for families, which Goenka said will work because the purchase price is low: “It is almost perfect as a second car, because you have one car for going up the country, and a second car for going around town.”

Goenka claimed his product received “very good feedback” when the firm conducted market research in the UK. “That encouraged us a lot and we think it should be here by the first quarter of next year,” he said.

Source: businesscar.co.uk

Chargemaster to take over Plugged-in Midlands charging network

Cenex, the Centre of Excellence for Low Carbon and Fuel Cell Technologies has appointed Chargemaster to run its Plugged-in Midlands network.

The network consists of 870 charging points that will be merged with Chargemaster’s existing network of 4000 points across the country.

Developments for the Midlands network includes access to charging stations via smartphones and a choice of tariffs, with many charging points remaining free to use.

Chargemaster said around 80% of its network is currenty free to use.

“We will be investing in many new chargepoints and back-end server technologies. We will also be working closely with existing stakeholders to make the Midlands a showcase that facilitates and promotes the ownership and operation of electric vehicles,” said David Martell, Chargemaster CEO.

Source: businesscar.co.uk

Survey finds 25% of cars have underinflated tyres

Tyre pressure monitoring expert WheelRight has discovered that a quarter of the UK’s cars have at least one tyre that is dangerously underinflated. This follows on from research by Tyre Safe which found that up to 10 million cars on Britain’s roads have illegal levels of tread depth.

Meanwhile, the average HGV is driving on Britain’s motorways with at least one dangerously underinflated tyre at any one time, according to WheelRight’s data.

WheelRight’s survey of the nation’s tyres took place at Keele Services on the southbound M6 during March to June 2015. The scheme is being run by UK company WheelRight in association with Highways England and Welcome Break.

John Catling, CEO of Wheelright, said: “We’ve been offering a free pressure check to motorists and HGV drivers using our drive-over tyre pressure system at Keele Services on one of Britain’s busiest stretches of road – the M6.

“We have taken thousands of tyre pressure readings and have collated some pretty shocking statistics which reveal the true extent of our tyre neglect. Every year, the UK sees approximately 25 deaths and nearly 1,500 serious accidents attributed to poorly inflated or defective tyres. We believe that lack of awareness on the impact tyre pressure can have on road safety is putting drivers at risk.”

He added: “The lowest tyre pressure reading we’ve taken for a motorist on our system was a very low, and very dangerous, score of just six psi (pounds per square inch), when it should have been closer to 30 psi to be safe. An accident waiting to happen.”

Catling concluded: “We’ve seen first-hand that motorists are keen to learn more about what action they can take to keep their vehicles and themselves safe. If a motorist using our system receives identifies a low pressure reading, our on-site support team at Keele Services will direct drivers to the air machines located a few metres away and provide advice on how to inflate tyres correctly and to what level.

“We believe that regular tyre pressure checks offer significant cost and safety benefits to all drivers – not to mention, peace of mind.”

Source: forecourttrader.co.uk

HMRC introduces roadside testing of diesel

Treasury minister Damian Hinds demonstrates the new kit

HMRC has started the roll-out of new road-side fuel testing equipment across the UK to tackle the trade in illicit diesel. It will be used to check fuel both at the roadside and on dealers’ forecourts.

Treasury minister Damian Hinds visited Belfast and Newry as HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) unveiled the new equipment.

It has been introduced to allow officers to test vehicles at the roadside for the presence of the new fuel marker, which was introduced into supplies intended for use in agriculture and construction industries in April. HMRC says the new marker is resistant to laundering techniques known to be used by criminal gangs and significantly improves its capability to detect fraud.

Previously, the test for the new marker was completed at a laboratory, leading to a delay in identifying illicit fuel and further action being taken. The new equipment will now be installed in HMRC Road Fuel Testing Unit vehicles throughout the UK and used to analyse fuel samples taken at the roadside and at retail premises, starting in Northern Ireland.

Six of the vehicles are due to be operating in Northern Ireland by the end of the summer. It is planned that the entire UK RFTU fleet of 49 vehicles will be fitted with the new roadside analyser by early 2016.

Exchequer secretary to the Treasury, Damian Hinds, said: “I am delighted to see first-hand the new roadside testing equipment in action. Together with the new marker it will play an important part in the fight against fuel fraud.

“At a time when the government’s priority is cutting the deficit, it is unacceptable that criminals are cheating the system. The new marker and testing equipment are part of the significant investment we have made in HMRC to tackle avoidance, evasion and fraud to make sure all businesses and individuals contribute to the tax revenue that is used to fund vital public services.”

Illicit diesel is estimated to make up 13% of the market share of diesel in Northern Ireland and costs the taxpayer around £80m each year in lost taxes.

The government will monitor the success of the marker during the first six months, to make sure it is delivering results in the fight against fuel fraud. HMRC will publish an evaluation in the autumn.

Source: forecourttrader.co.uk

Average diesel pump price falls below unleaded

The average price of diesel at the pumps has fallen below the average price of unleaded petrol for the first time in more than 14 years.

According to Experian Catalist, which monitors dealers’ prices across the UK on a daily basis, the average price of diesel on July 28 fell to 116.28ppl compared with the averaged unleaded price of 116.64ppl.

The falling diesel prices have been reflected by the supermarkets over the last fortnight with Morrisons, Sainsbury and Tesco each cutting their prices and Asda setting a national price ceiling of 112.7ppl for diesel, compared with 113.7ppl for unleaded petrol.

Fiona Cincotta, a senior market analyst at www.finspreads.com said: “The good news for the public is these cuts could deepen further in the coming weeks as the supermarkets are actually passing on savings that they have been making since May. One such figure being thrown around is that the supermarkets could still afford to cut a further 4ppl on top of the latest announcements.”

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams commented: “RAC Fuel Watch records show diesel was last cheaper than petrol on 17 July 2001 so it’s great news for the 10.7 million diesel car drivers. When this happened last diesel was cheaper than petrol for two and a half months, but with a new supply of diesel being produced from Saudi Arabia there is a real chance that we may see the diesel price staying below petrol for some considerable time.”

Source: forecourttrader.co.uk

Moves to get school pupils behind the wheel to learn basics of driving

DEALERS could be getting more young drivers on to their forecourts if a pressure group gets its way…

Moves are being made to include driving on the school curriculum. And that would mean more young people experiencing the thrills of getting behind the wheel, and wanting to learn to drive and buying a vehicle of their own as soon as they’re old enough.

The school curriculum idea is being supported by several motoring organisations.

The petition was launched in a bid to help cut the high number of accidents involving newly-qualified drivers on the UK’s roads. Launched by Young Driver, the UK’s largest provider of pre-17 driving lessons, the petition already has backing from the Institute of Advanced Motorists, the RAC, the Driving Instructors Association, the Association of British Insurers, the Motor Schools Association of Great Britain, Admiral, Goodyear and TV presenter Quentin Willson.

A Young Driver behind the wheelOne in five new drivers has an accident within six months of passing their test and road traffic accidents account for 25 per cent of the deaths of 15-19 year olds in the UK, compared to just 0.5 per cent of the overall adult population. Every year 400 people are killed in accidents involving young drivers.

The petition does not propose lowering the age at which people can take to the roads, but instead suggests youngsters should start to be taught about driving at school, via both practical and classroom-based lessons.

Independent research undertaken on behalf of Young Driver showed past pupils of the scheme, which takes students from age 11, are half as likely to have an accident when they do pass their test. Pilot studies in Europe have also shown a 40 per cent reduction among novice driver groups who trained at school.

Source: cardealermagazine.co.uk

Uber faces legal action over cab drivers’ rights

The union said drivers should not be denied the right to minimum wage and paid leave

App-based taxi booking service Uber is facing legal action over claims it is failing to provide basic rights to its drivers.

The GMB union will challenge the company’s claim that its workers are partners rather than employees.

The union says Uber is breaching its duty on pay, holidays, and health and safety.

The firm says making drivers employees would mean losing their flexibility, which makes the job appealing.

‘Substantial pay outs’

GMB, the union which represents professional drivers, has instructed the law firm Leigh Day to take action on behalf of members driving for Uber.

Nigel Mackay from the firm believes legal action could result in “substantial pay outs” for drivers: “We believe that it’s clear from the way Uber operates that it owes the same responsibilities towards its drivers as any other employer does to its workers,” he said.

“In particular, its drivers should not be denied the right to minimum wage and paid leave.”

Source: bbc.co.uk

Peugeot profit surges, meets recovery goals early

PSA Peugeot Citroen (PEUP.PA) posted positive first-half net income on Wednesday for the first time in four years, meeting most of its recovery goals early while warning that it faced tougher market conditions in the rest of the year.

Paris-based Peugeot recorded net income of 571 million euros (404 million pounds) for January-June, after a 114 million euro loss a year earlier, the company said in a statement. Revenue rose 6.9 percent to 28.9 billion euros.

Core manufacturing earnings surged to 975 million euros, lifting the divisional operating margin to 5 percent, a level not seen for more than a decade, according to the company.

Operating free cash flow rose by two-thirds to 2.792 billion euros for the period, Peugeot said.

The company nonetheless stuck to medium-term recovery goals it has already surpassed in the first half, including a 2 percent auto division margin and 2 billion euros of cumulative cash flow by 2018.

A weaker euro, falling raw material costs and other seasonal tailwinds accounted for about one-third of the operating income of 1.08 billion euros, Chief Financial Officer Jean-Baptiste de Chatillon said, adding that conditions would get tougher.

Challenges include the slowing of demand in China, he told reporters, where the company now sees full-year market growth of just 3 percent.

Source: uk.reuters.com

Volkswagen second-quarter profit grows on Europe, cost cuts

Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) posted higher quarterly profit on a strengthening European autos recovery and cost cuts but lowered its sales guidance as demand in China slows.

Operating profit at Europe’s largest carmaker rose to 3.49 billion euros (2.46 billion pounds), VW said, in line with the average estimate of 3.48 billion in a Reuters poll of analysts.

Full-year deliveries may be flat on last year’s record 10.1 million sales, VW said on Wednesday, after previously guiding for a “moderate” increase.

Six-month sales eased 0.5 percent to 5.04 million cars, reflecting an accelerating decline in China though that was just enough to overtake Toyota (7203.T) as the world’s largest carmaker.

“The difficult market environment and fierce competition, as well as interest rate and exchange rate volatility and fluctuations in raw materials prices all pose challenges,” finance chief Hans Dieter Poetsch said.

VW stuck to its outlook for profit and revenue, saying the operating margin may come in 5.5 to 6.5 percent this year, after 6.3 percent last year.

Annual revenue may rise as much as 4 percent from 202.5 billion euros in 2014, VW said. Its second-quarter revenue rose by a bigger-than-expected 10 percent to 56 billion euros, benefiting from a weaker euro and other seasonal tailwind

VW’s second set of upbeat quarterly earnings since a leadership wrangle in April forced the ouster of patriarch Ferdinand Piech contrasts with a power vacuum at the top of the group which is looking for a new chairman and revamping the company’s structure.

Source: uk.reuters.com

Car dealer donates vehicle to air ambulance

A CAR dealer has donated a brand new vehicle to be raffled off by the region’s air ambulance service.

The Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) is giving one lucky ticketholder the chance to win a VW Move up! worth £9,295, after it was handed over by motor group, Benfield, who have a number of successful dealerships throughout Cumbria.

GNAAS chief executive Grahame Pickering MBE, air medics and Matthew Squires of Benfield Motor Group launched the raffle at the charity’s North East airbase at Durham Tees Valley Airport this week.

The epic fundraising campaign has raised £545,000 in its previous four years, which has helped save lives throughout the Cumbria, the North East and North Yorkshire.

Mr Pickering said: “We hope lots of people get involved and buy tickets for just £1 to be in with the chance of driving away with this brilliant prize.

“The money will be spent on flying missions throughout the region, and will make a real difference to the vital work of the Pride of Cumbria. We are entirely dependent on donations to survive.

“Five years after kick-starting the raffle, Benfield have once more pledged to support us by supplying this year’s top prize. Since 2011, the annual fundraiser has raised a phenomenal six figure sum for the charity and we are so grateful.”

Second prize is an overnight stay for two at Wynyard Hall, near Stockton, and third prize is £100 cash.

Last year’s car raffle winner was Anne Duffield, from Ripon in North Yorkshire.

Matthew Squires, brand manager at Benfield Motor Group, said: “The service that GNAAS provides to people throughout the region is absolutely fantastic. It is staggering how much money the charity has to raise each year in order to keep this emergency service operating.

“We are a family business, with family values, so we are therefore delighted to donate this Volkswagen car, through our Charitable Trust, to GNAAS to help with their fundraising.”

The car will be at events and shows throughout Cumbria.

Raffle tickets are £1 each and books of 12 can be purchased from the GNAAS website gnaas.com/shop or call 01325-487263.

Books of tickets have been sent to GNAAS supporters already on its mailing list. The closing date to get ticket stubs to the charity is November 27, with the draw taking place on December 3.

Benfield donates 5 per cent of its operating profits to worthy and local causes through the Benfield Charitable Trust.

Source: cumbriacrack.com

Posted by Lois Hardy on 29/07/2015