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Daily News Round UpBack

July new car registrations show ‘steady’ growth as market cools

new car

New car registrations saw steady growth in July, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

A total of 178,420 cars were registered – an uplift of 3.2% on the same month last year – while registrations in 2015 so far have risen 6.5% to surpass 1.5 million.

Private registrations in July were up 1%, fleet 6.4% and business registrations down 12.2%.

For the year-to-date private registrations are up 2%, fleet 12.3% and business down 6.2%.

July marked the 41st consecutive month of increases thanks to “prevailing economic confidence combined with low interest rates and attractive finance deals”, said the SMMT.

“While the first six months of 2015 represented an all-time record high for registrations, the more modest increase in July is suggestive of a more stable second half of the year as demand levels.”

The top-selling segments so far this year have been supermini, lower medium (small family cars) and dual purpose (SUVs and crossovers).

“Volume growth in all three segments reflects a shift in buying habits over the past decade, with the supermini and dual purpose segments enjoying the biggest gains.”

Demand for superminis has grown 22.7% since 2005 – a result of consumers downsizing to smaller cars that offer significantly improved refinement, comfort and specification than their equivalents a decade ago.

The market for dual purpose vehicles, meanwhile, has seen an 88.5% leap over the past decade as manufacturers have introduced new models to cater for buyers seeking more versatility.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “While more moderate than in recent months, July’s rise in new car registrations is good news, and indicative of what we expect for the remainder of 2015. With demand having reached a record high in the first half of the year, we anticipate more stable growth in the coming months.”

“It is positive to see the new car market has now achieved 41 consecutive months of growth – increasing 3.2% in July,” said Sue Robinson, director of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA).

“It is encouraging to see that vehicles are still being sold and consumers are taking advantage of strong finance deals and competitive offers.

“The market is appearing to be levelling off as the cycle now matures, however, there continues to be speculation that registration figures may not reflect the real number of cars actually being sold.”

Richard Jones, Black Horse managing director, said: “The UK automotive industry continues its success story with this month’s results demonstrating continuing growth albeit at a more modest level than prior months.

“Clearly the finance deals offered by manufacturers and dealers continue to attract consumers keen to buy the latest model cars and with continued low interest rates this is likely to continue.

“However, the market is expected to grow at a slower rate in the second half of the year, albeit the September data should show strong registration levels due to the plate change.

Source: am-online.com

UK car dealers back EU proposals to ban mileage correction firms

UK car dealers are backing EU proposals to introduce legislation outlawing mileage correction firms by May 2018.

The findings follow a survey from HPI, which showed that 71% of car dealers support the EU decision.

A further 92% of those said that dealers, who are actively adjusting odometers without declaring the act to buyers, should be sought out and prosecuted.

The support by used car traders to address the issue of clocking follows industry calls to the Government to regulate the registering of mileages adjustments, as well as introducing more mandated occurrences of when mileage information should be collected and recorded.

Neil Hodson, managing director for HPI, said, “It’s clear from our survey, that most dealers are eager to see stricter measures be put in place to tackle clocking, beyond outlawing mileage correction firms.

“Interestingly, 93% of dealers we surveyed said they have never had cause to adjust or correct a car’s mileage, confirming that fraud is driving this activity. The risks to traders and consumers alike are significant,” said Hodson “A dealer who unwittingly buys and sells a clocked car could face hefty fines and prosecution, not to mention damaging their reputation.”

Sue Robinson from the RMI ( Retail Motor Industry Federation) said, “We completely agree that there is a need for legislation to tackle the issue of mileage adjustment, better known as ‘clocking’.

“This issue is detrimental to reputable vehicle dealers and consumers alike. The Government needs to send a clear message that this behaviour is unacceptable and legislation must be changed to prevent clocking.”

Hodson said: “Currently, criminals out to make a fast profit can hide behind the label of legitimacy that mileage correction firms provide.

“Closing these firms down will ultimately reduce the number of clocked vehicles on the UK’s roads, but the changes in law are some way off and more needs to be done now to send a clear message to fraudsters that the net is closing in on them.”

Source: fleetnews.co.uk

Car dealer Perrys to outline at AM event how its award winning digital strategy will progress from being ‘average’

Perrys Motor Group’s digital manager Lee Manning is to tell dealers how its website has so far only made the transition from ‘poor’ to simply ‘average’, despite winning a haul of awards for its digital strategy.

Perrys won Best Social Media Campaign and Best Use of Television and/or Video, a new category for 2015, which led to AM judges also awarding the group Digital Initiative of the Year.

Manning’s assessment is a reflection of the target the group has set themselves to create the optimum online consumer experience. He will share the group’s vision at the AM Digital Dealer Conference at Silverstone on September 15.

Manning (pictured at the 2015 AM Awards), who heads up the group’s digital strategy which resulted in the impressive wins, is probably also its harshest critic.

When he speaks at AM’s conference he will explain how the group’s website and digital communications have been transformed as well as the group’s goals for the future.

Manning said: “Two years ago we revaluated our website and came to the conclusion that whilst it was on a par with many other automotive retailers it was actually a ‘me too’ website, and for consumers conversant with the highly sophisticated yet easy-to-navigate websites of High Street retailers, it was actually poor.

“We set ourselves the task of improving our digital presence and focused on the way we communicate with our customers.

“We established an in-house team and worked collaboratively with Denison Automotive to create a website which was user-friendly, informative, authoritative and engaging.

“Alongside this, we developed our social presence, particularly on YouTube, and by dovetailing all our digital strands as well as sharing our assets across all platforms, we created a digital presence which won us the AM awards, of which we are justly proud.

“However, as retailers we have to understand consumer online behaviour and benchmark ourselves against the best of retail and not just our own sector as well as evolve our website by grasping the nuances of our own visitors.

“By so doing, we can move our digital presence way beyond reasonable to something very special.”

Source: am-online.com

Stolen tractor recovered in 20 minutes thanks to Tracker

Tracker (part of the Tantalum Corporation) helped lead police to the location of a New Holland tractor stolen in Milton Keynes in record time, highlighting the value of its tracking technology in the fight against crime.

Summer sees a rise in rural plant theft, putting many farming businesses under pressure, according to the National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (NaVCIS).

Chris Piggott, rural vehicle crime, field intelligence officer at the NaVCIS, explained: “We’ve recently seen a spike in thefts in Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire, with all sorts of equipment being targeted since the beginning of April.

“From quad bikes, up to larger tractors, implements and plant equipment, owners need to be vigilant when it comes to security.

“In this case it was a New Holland tractor, but fortunately, for the owner, it was fitted with a Tracker device, which proved crucial in helping officers locate and return the vehicle within 20 minutes.”

Adrian Davenport, police liaison manager for Tracker, added: “Without having a tracking device fitted, the tractor could have been hidden and sold on or broken down for parts by thieves.

“Thankfully, Tracker’s strong relationship with UK police means we were able to help officers catch the thieves red-handed and return the tractor to the owner.”

Tracker supports the Construction Equipment Security & Registration Scheme (CESAR), which is supported by the Government and major players in the industry.

Plant owners who mark equipment with the CESAR database registration, and fit a Tracker stolen vehicle recovery unit, can save up to 12.5% discount on their insurance premiums.

“Rural thefts continue to plague farmers and businesses, leaving them without vital machinery, not to mention the financial losses,” continued Davenport.

“It’s clear from the latest NaVCIS reports that criminal gangs aren’t that picky, when it comes to stealing agricultural vehicles and machines.

“From ride-on lawn mowers to high value tractors, we advise businesses with plant machinery to up their game when it comes to security.

“Installing a Tracker device can significantly increase the chances of recovery, stopping thieves in their tracks.”

Tracker can locate stolen plant anywhere, even when they are hidden in a barn, warehouse or shipping container.

Designed specifically for construction and agricultural vehicles and equipment, Tracker Plant works like an electronic homing device.

A covert transmitter is hidden in one of several dozen places around the vehicle. There is no visible aerial, so the thief won’t even know it’s there.

Source: fleetnews.co.uk

Dealers warned of new 30-day refund rule from 1 October

Legal firm Lawgistics is drawing dealers’ attention to the Consumer Rights Act 2015 that comes into force on 1 October 2015.

The new rules mean a customer can reject a car within the first 30 days after purchase

“From 1 October the Sale of Goods Act 1979 will become largely redundant for all ‘business to consumer’ sales which will then be covered by the new Act,” said Legal advisor Nona Bowker.

One of the new rules is the ‘short term right to reject’ covered in Section 22 of the Act. By virtue of this Section, if a consumer complains of a fault with the vehicle in the first 30 days, they will be entitled to bring it back to you for a refund.

“They can ask for a repair but they are not obliged to accept a repair and can simply insist on a refund which you will be legally obliged to give”, she said.

“The slight saving grace for dealers is that it is down to the consumer to show there is a fault and that it was present at the time of delivery,” said Bowker.

Lawgistics is recommending that dealers review their pre delivery processes before the new rules come into being to ensure they put themselves in a position to argue that any fault was not present at the time of delivery.

Source: motortrader.com

Glass’s predicts smarter remarketing strategies in 2016

Manufacturers and vendors such as leasing companies will need to implement smarter remarketing strategies if they are to be successful in the used car market next year, Glass’s has warned.

The valuations experts said the volume of vehicles reaching the used car arena will grow in 2016 as PCP returns and the effects of a strong new car market filter through.

According to Rupert Pontin, head of valuations at Glass’s, vendors and car makers will try to sell vehicles as quickly as possible for the most effective disposal turnaround. “Going into 2016, we see more use of technology to make fast sales happen.”

“Online trade sales of all kinds are becoming more and more effective and efficient, especially through use of the National Association of Motor Auctions’ grading system and improved online images and video,” Pontin added.

Source: businesscar.co.uk

ONE IN 10 UK IMPORTS PREVIOUSLY WRITTEN OFF

New research from consumer car-history check experts MyWheels.ie, carried out on behalf of the Irish Independent, shows that one in 10 vehicles imported this year had previously been written off. The investigation also found that the number of imported write-offs is rising month on month.

Sources claim that unscrupulous sellers, not legitimate businesses, are increasingly using Ireland as an easy route to ‘wash’ cars with dubious histories.

The study, covering the first six months of 2015, found that out of 33,486 vehicles imported, 2,963 (8.85 per cent) had previously been written off.

These cars had been in crashes so serious that, at best, they required major repairs and, at worst, they should never have been allowed back on the road.

The risk for buyers lies not just with older vehicles. A number of two-year-old cars with potentially dangerous defects had been brought in for sale too.

All classes of vehicles are included – cars, vans and even motorcycles.

A total of 22 cars reported stolen in the UK were also imported and registered here in the first six months.

The report is based on an analysis of the complete database of UK market write-offs – providing an extensive insight into the movement of cars to the Irish market.

It is believed that it is much easier to sell a used import under the regulatory radar here than it is with Irish-based cars.

Niall Kavanagh, spokesperson at MyWheels.ie said, that while there were good controls to manage Irish write-offs, those for imports were not nearly as effective. He said, ‘We are seeing a disproportionate number of vehicles (that were) written off in the UK being imported into Ireland.’

He urged the Government to bring in strict, mandatory cross-checks. Mr Kavanagh said he was worried at the rate and level of imported write-offs.

‘We are concerned about the safety of some of these cars for those who buy them. Many category C and D write-offs are back on the road, but anyone planning to buy needs to take precautions to avoid ending up with an unsafe or uninsured vehicle.’

When an Irish car is written off, insurers notify the National Vehicle and Driver File office in Shannon, a ‘lock’ is put on those vehicles and the registered owner is told the vehicle needs a major mechanical check-over before being passed.

With used imports, cars go through an NCT test if they are four years or older. The NCT (the Irish equivalent of the MOT) test is reckoned to do a good job, but by its nature it is not designed for detecting all write-offs.

According to the Department of Transport’s own memo, detecting write-offs requires specialist engineers taking a lot of time to assess a vehicle’s repair history and structure.

Source: bodyshopmag.com

BRITISH MOTORISTS URGED TO GO ELECTRIC

British motorists are missing out on savings of almost £24.5 billion every year by not taking advantage of ultra-low emission motoring, according to new research released today.

The figures, from the government and industry-backed Go Ultra Low campaign, show that – while the average cost to fuel a petrol or diesel car is around 12p-per-mile – the equivalent cost for an ultra-low emission vehicle is just 2p-per-mile.

With the average car travelling around 7,500 miles each year, the difference in annual spend between the two options is a substantial £7505 – equating to tens of billions of pounds across the nation’s 32.6 million cars.

To help promote cost-efficient motoring even further, Go Ultra Low has enlisted the support of a raft of experts to provide consumers with handy hints and tips such as winding up windows, de-cluttering car boots and smooth acceleration. They have been put together with the aim of helping consumers enjoy the thrill of driving, but on a tighter budget.

Led by the nation’s newest favourite money-saver, Ashleigh Swan, Go Ultra Low’s panel also includes automotive journalists, senior industry figures and current electric car owners.

Mother of three, Ashleigh commented, ‘Like millions of other parents across the UK, I know that ferrying the kids around can be an expensive business. Fuel bills are the most noticeable regular outlay, and every time we pull up at a petrol station, my husband and I wince at the price of a full tank. Discovering the thrill of travelling in an electric car, as well as the extremely low running costs that come with it, has been a real eye-opener.’

Hetal Shah, head of the Go Ultra Low campaign added, ‘After buying a house, a car is the second most expensive purchase that most of us will ever make. Consumers are therefore looking for an option that gives them better value for money on an ongoing basis. With fuel costs from just 2p-per-mile, no road tax, no congestion charge and free parking in many locations, electric cars certainly present a compelling proposition. Put simply: the more you drive, the more you save.

‘Added to that, there is now a whole host of electric vehicles available to suit any lifestyle, from city run-arounds and family hatchbacks to 4x4s and sports cars.’

Source: bodyshopmag.com

DIRECT LINE PROFITS RISE AS CLAIMS DECREASE

Direct Line has reported a big increase in profits for the first half of 2015, after improved weather conditions led to fewer claims.

The group said it saw lower costs due to fewer claims being made and reported a pre-tax profit rise to £315m, up 49% from £211.7m a year earlier.

The company also reported a 5.9% increase in the price of motoring in the last year. Direct Line’s share price increased nearly 2% on news of the results.

It said ‘motor and home markets remain highly competitive’ but that cost-cutting during the period helped profits.

Over the past two years the car insurance industry has seen insurance premiums fall as regulators have clamped down on false insurance claims. According to Direct Line, its own ‘efficient claims management is contributing to the group’s aim to beat claims inflation.’

Source: bodyshopmag.com

Bad customer service puts off nearly half of new-car buyers

A NEW UK-wide survey by carwow – the site for Britain’s new-car buyers – has found that four in 10 have been so disappointed with the customer service at a dealership that they’ve taken their business elsewhere.

The survey data reveals that 39.3 per cent of people have decided to buy a different car because of poor customer service in a dealership, with a larger percentage of men – at 43.1 per cent – taking their business elsewhere, compared with 35.6 per cent of women.

The survey also found that 69.7 per cent of people would prefer that dealers competed over buyers, rather than the traditional process of visiting multiple dealerships to try to find the best price.

James Hind, CEO of carwow said: ‘The car-buying process hasn’t really changed much in 100 years. These days you can have your weekly shop delivered to your door and stream films straight to your TV but you still have to awkwardly haggle face-to-face when you buy a new car – normally the second-biggest purchase you’ll ever make.

‘carwow brings the process bang up-to-date by putting consumers first and having the dealers compete over you. And because we accept only Britain’s best dealers and keep all your details private, the transaction is as relaxing and transparent as it should be.’

Since its launch a couple of years ago, cars worth more than £300 million have been sold through carwow.

Source: cardealermagazine.co.uk

RAC BuySure upgrades used-car package to customers

THE RAC has enhanced its BuySure used-car proposition with a promise to provide ‘further peace of mind’ for customers.

The breakdown recovery element of the package has been extended from three months to a year on all vehicles bought from an RAC Approved Dealer.

Mario Dolcezza, RAC Head of Dealer Propositions, said: ‘BuySure is all about providing customers with a used-car purchase that is as worry-free as possible.

‘This new move will give further peace of mind and provide our Approved Dealer network with an even more competitive proposition.’

He added the Approved Dealer network was continuing to grow and had now reached 165 – an increase of more than 90 per cent since the start of 2015.

He said: ‘We are at a point in time where the Approved Dealer network and RAC BuySure are really picking up momentum, aided by a high level of recent marketing activity designed to increase consumer awareness.

‘Our policy has always been to allow only the right dealers, those who share our commitment to delivering the very best customer experience, to join the programme and we have increasingly seen interest from businesses of this calibre over the past few months.

‘During the rest of 2015, our aim is to create genuine national coverage for the Approved Dealer Network and we continue to invite applications from committed dealers that believe they can meet our standards and therefore become part of the programme.’

Source: cardealermagazine.co.uk

AUTO WINDSCREENS ACQUIRES AA AUTOWINDSHIELDS

Automotive glass company Auto Windscreens has announced its acquisition of AA AutoWindshields, the AA’s automotive glazing business, for an undisclosed sum.

The deal will see AA AutoWindshields’ Preston offices and its 200 staff and technicians integrated with Auto Windscreens and, under a ten year partnership arrangement, the AA will continue to use Auto Windscreens to deliver glass services for AA members; its business-to-business and insurance customers.

Chris Thornton, Managing Director of Auto Windscreens commented: “This marks the beginning of a new and exciting chapter for Auto Windscreens and further reinforces our position as a leader in the industry.”

Auto Windscreens has had a turbulent recent past. Following a sale in 1998 by the-then parent company Heywood Williams, it passed through a number of hands over the next decade including HSBC Private Equity, Arques Industries and RAC plc. However it went into administration in 2011 while in the hands of Moguntia Invest. A deal with Markerstudy Insurance-owned investment group Trifords established a newco under the same name, albeit without the OE glass production facility of the original company.

Source: catmag.co.uk

Is a new Norton electric motorcycle is in the works?

Norton’s latest press release teases new electric motorcycle

It looks as though big plans are currently being put into place by Norton, which could see the UK manufacturer entering into the production of a new electric bike soon.

Although not officially confirmed, the British company’s latest press release all but states it will begin production on an electric bike, following making reference to a “new green motorcycle”.

There have been other Chinese whispers spreading around the internet, claiming that Norton is planning to develop an up-to-date, more efficient and higher performing engine. However, we at MotorbikeTimes can’t help but notice that every time a manufacturer plans on creating an electric bike, the word “greener” always manages to creep in.

If that’s not enough to convince you, Norton will be spending £7.5 million for the purpose of development, creating jobs and a “green motorcycle”.

A huge £4 million has been awarded to Norton from the government, through the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI), following George Osborne’s visit to the Norton factory last week, as reported by MotorbikeTimes previously.

According to the press release, along with its 11 supply chain partners, Norton has been making exciting arrangements for the coming years. Together, they aim to build a 10,000 square feet manufacturing facility, develop a new clean motorcycle engine technology in the UK which will power a new green motorcycle within two years and set up a new British Motorcycle Manufacturing Academy (BMMA) to train and supply the next generation of engineering apprentices.

Of the new project, Norton motorcycle chief executive, Stuart Garner, said: “Norton is an iconic British brand revered around the world. We’ve worked steadfastly in the last six years to bring Norton back with an authentic British built motorcycle. Training and skills are key to our industry. Putting down a dedicated Academy for the British motorcycle industry finally gives us a sustainable future.”

The new plans put in place by Norton are set to create an estimated 159 jobs over the next two years, along with another 600 jobs that should become available within the next five years, including around 200 engineering apprenticeships, so that motorcycle manufacturing can be boosted in the UK.

It wouldn’t be a massive surprise if Norton releases an electric bike in the near future, press release or not. Another incentive would be Norton’s ambitious plans to get there before the other big name in British motorcycling: Triumph.

Don’t start raiding your piggy bank just yet though – Norton has indicated that the “green bike” won’t be ready for another two years.Norton’s latest press release teases new electric motorcycle

It looks as though big plans are currently being put into place by Norton, which could see the UK manufacturer entering into the production of a new electric bike soon.

Although not officially confirmed, the British company’s latest press release all but states it will begin production on an electric bike, following making reference to a “new green motorcycle”.

There have been other Chinese whispers spreading around the internet, claiming that Norton is planning to develop an up-to-date, more efficient and higher performing engine. However, we at MotorbikeTimes can’t help but notice that every time a manufacturer plans on creating an electric bike, the word “greener” always manages to creep in.

If that’s not enough to convince you, Norton will be spending £7.5 million for the purpose of development, creating jobs and a “green motorcycle”.

A huge £4 million has been awarded to Norton from the government, through the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI), following George Osborne’s visit to the Norton factory last week, as reported by MotorbikeTimes previously.

According to the press release, along with its 11 supply chain partners, Norton has been making exciting arrangements for the coming years. Together, they aim to build a 10,000 square feet manufacturing facility, develop a new clean motorcycle engine technology in the UK which will power a new green motorcycle within two years and set up a new British Motorcycle Manufacturing Academy (BMMA) to train and supply the next generation of engineering apprentices.

Of the new project, Norton motorcycle chief executive, Stuart Garner, said: “Norton is an iconic British brand revered around the world. We’ve worked steadfastly in the last six years to bring Norton back with an authentic British built motorcycle. Training and skills are key to our industry. Putting down a dedicated Academy for the British motorcycle industry finally gives us a sustainable future.”

The new plans put in place by Norton are set to create an estimated 159 jobs over the next two years, along with another 600 jobs that should become available within the next five years, including around 200 engineering apprenticeships, so that motorcycle manufacturing can be boosted in the UK.

It wouldn’t be a massive surprise if Norton releases an electric bike in the near future, press release or not. Another incentive would be Norton’s ambitious plans to get there before the other big name in British motorcycling: Triumph.

Don’t start raiding your piggy bank just yet though – Norton has indicated that the “green bike” won’t be ready for another two years.

Source: motorbiketimes.com

Posted by Lois Hardy on 06/08/2015