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Daily News Round UpBack

Free gap insurance rule change roadshows


Automotive Compliance will be holding free Gap Rule Change Roadshows for retail motor dealers to cover the forthcoming regulation change in September.

The company is offering an open invitation to dealers who want a greater understanding of the new ruling which takes effect from September 1.

Paul Guy, managing director of Automotive Compliance, said: “The new rules taking effect on September 1 will have a major impact on the way in which a motor dealer sells gap insurance and represents a significant change to the industry. We have to change the way in which this product is sold, which for most dealers generates an important revenue stream.

“The most significant of these changes leading to the most confusion is around the understanding of the four-day deferred period between prescribed information being given out and the order being taken, which will mean every dealer having to change their sales process and procedures.

“Anyone who dies not will fall foul of the regulator, [which has] already confirmed additional field staff will be in place to ensure rules are followed.”

The roadshows will be a two-hour session, where the changes will be outlined in motor trade terminology that can be translated directly into the showroom process.

Three dates have been announced so far:

August 18 at the Holiday Inn, Bristol Filton, at 10.30am-2.30pm and 2.30-4.30pm

August 19 at the Holiday Inn, Stoke-on-Trent, at 10.30am-12.30-pm and 2.30-4.30pm

August 20 at the Holiday Inn, Bexley Heath, at 10.30am-12.30pm and 2.30-4.30pm

It is aimed at directors and dealership management involved in dealership FCA activity, and registration can be found via the company website at


Dealers urged to improve finance presentation online

Dealers need to pay more attention to how they present finance online, according to finance software company Codeweavers.

The growth in personal loans as well as more use of online banking means dealers who want to offer their own finance need to ensure it’s clear and visible to customers viewing their websites, says Codeweavers.

The company’s sales director Shaun Harris said: “Having a total finance offer online, complete with pricing that the consumer can adjust to create their own perfect finance package must now be considered an entry-level requirement for all dealers.

“A simple ‘finance available’ statement of data capture form is very short of what customers expect.

“For years dealers have been aware that showroom merchandising is important; the light and the positioning can make a difference. This is absolutely true for the online experience.

“Areas such as presenting stock low to high in monthly payments can make a difference and it’s something we are spending more time working with dealers to develop.”

The company is running a webinar on August 26 at 1pm. Dealers can register to take part here.

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Kia ‘geniuses’ graduate from academy

The first Kia ‘geniuses’ have graduated from the company’s academy and will be taking part in a trial in the dealer network.

Kia is currently trialling its new Kia Genius programme with six dealerships across the country taking part – each employing a ‘Kia genius’.

Kia identified a shift in its customers’ habits with the increase in digital and mobile technologies that in some cases can remove the personal aspect from the buying process. This new scheme, which has been developed to address the changing nature of how customers buy cars, hopes to help Kia’s dealers achieve that goal.

Working to bridge the gap between the online experience and what is delivered in the showrooms, the Kia genius will focus on matching what the customer wants from their next car – whether that is fuel efficiency, the latest technologies or having a boot big enough to fit their two dogs in – to the correct model.

The Kia genius will be able to provide a personal and informative service without pressurising customers into a sale further enhancing the customer experience within dealerships, and in turn, increasing customer satisfaction.

“We are constantly striving to improve the service in our dealerships,” says Ian Goswell, academy manager at Kia. “We hope that the current six Kia geniuses will inspire our customers and build commitment to the brand and we are actively looking to expand the scheme wider across the dealer network.”

Kia is continuing to actively recruit ‘geniuses’ for another seven dealers who have volunteered to be part of the pilot programme. The bespoke training that will ensure all recruits are able to continue to develop their knowledge, so that they can assist the customer through product presentations and test-drives.

The Kia geniuses will become the ultimate Kia experts, responsible for matching the customer’s requirements to the correct model.

Kia Geniuses are now employed at the following dealers:

Bolton Kia – Lee Clayton

Gravells (Narberth) – Ieuan Griffiths

Gravells (Swansea) – Adam Williams

Park’s (Bathgate) – Brian Thomson

Hendy (Cosham) – Harry Bell

Victor Wood (Grantham) – Mikhail Clarke


Skoda has ‘most dependable’ cars in new JD Power survey

Škoda has come out of top in a new survey by JD Power of car dependability in the UK.

The Vehicle Dependability Study measures problems experienced during the previous12 months by original owners of vehicles in the UK after 12-36 months of ownership. The study examines 177 problem symptoms across eight categories: engine and transmission; vehicle exterior; driving experience; features/controls/displays; audio/communication/entertainment/navigation (ACEN); seats; heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC); and vehicle interior. Overall dependability is determined by the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100), with a lower score reflecting higher quality.

Škoda ranks highest with a score of 77 PP100, Kia ranks second with 83 PP100, followed by Suzuki with 86 PP100; Nissan with 87 PP100; and Toyota and Mercedes-Benz in a tie with 88 PP100 each.

The overall industry average is 114 PP100. Mercedes-Benz and Volvo, which ranks sixth (93 PP100), are the only premium brands to rank above industry average.

Five of the top 11 problems in the industry are related to technology in the ACEN category. The most often reported ACEN problem is with built-in Bluetooth mobile phone/device frequent pairing/connectivity issues.


Van market dips in July with registrations down 0.9%

The van market dipped in July with registrations down 0.9% to 24,546.

Year to date registrations were 17% ahead of the same period in 2014 at 210,950 units.

Truck sales rose 39.7% in July t0 4,434 units and year to date registrations are ahead 40.5% to 27,545 units.

“The commercial vehicle market’s record performance in the first half of the year has been followed by a more sedate July, underpinned by a slight fall in van registrations,” said Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive.

“This is not surprising given a particularly big uplift in the same month last year on the back of the launch of several new key models.

“Demand is still at a very high level, with year-to-date van registrations up 17% as confident businesses continue to invest in their fleets and capitalise on the ongoing trend for home deliveries.

“Registrations of trucks, meanwhile, saw another robust month in line with the sector’s performance in the year so far. Once again, the principal gains were made by the heavier vehicles in each market segment.”


July % change Year-to-date % change Rolling year % change
Vans 24,546 -0.9% 210,950 17.0% 352,340 17.5%
Trucks 4,434 39.7% 27,545 40.5% 49,404 -2.6%
Total 28,980 3.7% 238,495 19.3% 401,744 14.6%


New car finance sales rise 15% in June

The number of new cars bought by consumers on finance provided through dealerships grew by 15% in June, compared with June 2014.

This was the strongest growth seen this year according to the Finance & Leasing Association (FLA).

The percentage of private new car sales financed by FLA members through dealerships in the twelve months to June 2015 increased to a new high of 78.1%.

Point-of-sale consumer used car finance volumes also continued to grow, increasing by 7% in June compared with June 2014, and by 9% in the twelve months to June 2015.

Geraldine Kilkelly, head of research and chief economist at the FLA, said: “As we forecast at the beginning of the year, point-of-sale consumer car finance volumes have continued to grow in 2015, but at a slower rate than in 2014.

“ The first half of 2015 saw growth of 8% in new business volumes compared with 17% growth in the first half of 2014,” she said.

Cars bought on finance by consumers through dealerships
New business Jun 2015 % change on prev. year 3 months to Jun 2015 % change on prev. year 12 months to Jun 2015 % change on prev. year
New cars
Value of advances (£m) 1,400 +20 3,860 +16 14,984 +14
Number of cars 84,526 +15 234,114 +11 931,439 +9
Used cars
Value of advances (£m) 1,040 +14 3,070 +13 11,324 +14
Number of cars 97,616 +7 291,553 +8 1,090,152 +9


Table 2: Cars bought on finance by businesses
New business Jun 2015 % change on prev. year 3 months to Jun 2015 % change on prev. year 12 months to Jun 2015 % change on prev. year
New cars
Number of cars 47,187 +25 145,137 +23 514,647 +16
Used cars
Number of cars 2,846 -23 9,408 -19 39,591 -17


Transport minister opens south west rapid charging network

The transport minister, Andrew Jones, has opened a rapid charging point at the Eden Project in Cornwall as part a 16-point network being installed across Devon and Cornwall this summer.

The public will be able to use the network to charge plug-in vehicles in as little as half an hour.

The Department for Transport provided grants totaling £765,000 for the network to ensure residents and tourists can have access to fast and convenient charging points.

“The new rapid chargepoint network continues our commitment to improving journeys in the south west, with a record investment in roads,” said transport minister, Andrew Jones. “This is part of our long-term economic plan to improve transport infrastructure and support jobs and opportunities in this beautiful area.”

The new locations are:

  • Newquay Cornwall Airport – will go live on 6 Augus
  • Eden project
  • Chiverton Cross (live date tbc)
  • Cornwall Gateway Services, Saltash (tbc)
  • Churchfield Car Park, Camelford – August
  • Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service, Tolvaddon – September
  • County Arms, Truro – August
  • Holbush Inn, St Austell – August
  • TIC Car Park, Bude – August
  • Whitehouse Services, A30, Okehampton – September
  • New Road North Car Park, Callington – August
  • Millpool Car Park, Looe – August
  • West End Motors, Bodmin – 6 August
  • Albany car park, Newquay – August
  • Quarry Car Park, Falmouth – September
  • Theatre Royal, Plymouth – August


Vehicle delivery times hit Pendragon leasing results

Pendragon Vehicle Management, the leasing arm of the UK’s largest dealer group, has seen turnover and profits fall dramatically for the first half of 2015, but maintains it is on course for fleet growth by year-end.

The leasing division reported a drop of 46% in revenue and a 58% fall in profits.

In the first six months of this year turnover was £4.7 million, against £8.7m for the same period last year. Profits dropped from £3.3m to £1.4m, over the same period, according to the firm’s interim results released to the London Stock Exchange last week.

Speaking exclusively to BusinessCar, Neal Francis, the firm’s managing director, said the results were “purely a matter of timing” and blamed long delivery times on new cars, which in turn pushed disposal income into the second half of the year.

“We have a very loyal customer base and a good order bank for the second half of the year. A significant proportion of our revenue is derived from returned vehicles,” he said.

“This half year has only seen rental income not the expected disposal income as customers extend their contracts waiting for the exact new cars they want.”

When pressed on the current fleet size, Francis said that Pendragon did not give monthly updates, but promised: “The second half performance will show a significant improvement and the fleet size will be larger than last year due to growth.”

The company currently sits at number 16 in the BC50 listing, issued in 2014, with almost 14,000 vehicles, up 1000 from the year before. Francis went on to promise a greater figure in the next BC50 which is due out in October.

The leasing division was rebranded as Pendragon Vehicle Management earlier this year from Pendragon Contracts with a new website aimed at attracting more customers.

Pendragon plc, the leasing firm’s parent company, reported much improved half-year results with pre-tax profits for the six months to 30 June up £7.5m to £40.3m. This is a 22% rise on the same period last year. Half-year revenue was also up (10.7%) at £2.29 billion.

Meanwhile, Lex Autolease, the UK’s largest leasing company, achieved fleet growth of 6500 vehicles equating to a 2% increase during the first half of 2015, the firm’s first half-year results have revealed. The 6500 vehicle hike represents a year-on-year rise in registrations of 6%.

Lex said it delivered 37,500 cars and 10,500 commercial vehicles during the first half of this year. It also added 8000 new customers during the same period.

“Our customers continue to upgrade their fleet and have shown strong interest in our new products and services.” said Tim Porter, managing director of Lex Autolease. “Our focus on expanding into the small and medium sized business market and helping these businesses see the benefit in leasing rather than buying vehicles outright, is also reaping dividends.

“We will continue to invest heavily in our business to ensure that we continue to meet evolving business needs,” Porter continued.


Average used car values up by £154 in July, says BCA Pulse

The average price of used cars sold at auctions reached £7912 in July, the monthly BCA Pulse report has revealed.

It is an £154 (1.9%) increase on June’s headline value, while year-on-year values are ahead by £206 (2.6%) compared to July 2014.

Used fleet and lease vehicles averaged £9662 in July, dropping by £65 (0.6%) compared to June, the remarketing giant said, however, average values are up by £251 (2.6%) in comparison to a year ago.

BCA claimed that the last six months have wielded the six highest average values on record for the fleet and lease sector, while average values for dealer part-exchange cars fell slightly by £10 to £4268 with year-on-year values remaining ahead by £203

“Sellers have generally been receptive to market sentiment in July, setting sensible reserves that have seen sale conversion rates at healthy levels,” said Simon Henstock, BCA’s UK operations director. “There is little to be gained by over valuing cars, particularly when there is increasing competition for the buyer’s wallet.”


Asda cuts diesel to 108.8ppl

Asda has announced a new round of price cuts on fuel with 2ppl off diesel and up to 1ppl off unleaded petrol.

Its new national price cap on diesel will be 108.7ppl, its lowest price since early 2010. Unleaded petrol will be 111.7ppl at all of its 272 petrol stations.

Andy Peake, Asda’s senior director for petrol, said: “It’s the summer holidays and we know families will be getting out and about all across the country which is why we’re cutting yet more cost off the price of filling up your car. They will pay no more than 108.7ppl for diesel and 111.7ppl on unleaded at any Asda forecourt, and every single one of our customers knows this is the maximum price they will pay at the pump regardless of where they live.”

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “July was a bumper month for diesel vehicle drivers with the average price falling by 5ppl, saving £3 on a fill-up. Now August is off to a flying start with another substantial cut which will help shave another couple of pounds off a tank of diesel, just as millions of people head off on holiday by car.

“Returning to a diesel price last seen in 2010 is probably something the country’s 10.7 million diesel car owners never thought they would see.

“With oil prices just under the $50 a barrel mark, there’s every chance even more cuts are just around the corner. And, if oil stays low and wholesale diesel remains abundant, we could even have a chance of seeing £1 a litre diesel.”


Enlarged Rontec signs £1bn fuel deal with BP

Rontec has signed a £1bn supply deal with BP following its merger with Snax 24.

The merger formally brings together Gerald Ronson’s two fuel retailing businesses, although for the purposes of the Forecourt Trader Top 50 Indies, they have chosen a united listing since 2014, and are currently ranked third with a total of 210 sites.

The enlarged Rontec group has entered into a five-year supply deal with BP based on delivery of 250 million litres of fuel a year to its 51 BP-branded sites, and with a potential value of £1bn over five years. The group, most of which is owned by Gerald Ronson, his family and charitable trusts, will operate under the Rontec name.

Rontec’s retail outlets operate under the ‘Shop n Drive’ brand through which it sells its own ‘Eat Me’ food range. In March 2014, it also incorporated 30 Subways and is scheduled to add a further 20 by the end of this year.

Gerald Ronson, chairman of Rontec, said: “The addition of Snax 24’s portfolio strengthens what is already a formidable company run by one of the most professional and experienced teams in the sector, and enables us to sign major deals with suppliers such as BP, with whom we have a 30-year relationship.”


Smartphone pay systems rolled out

Two new ways for customers to pay using their smartphones have been rolled out on UK forecourts. A customer at BP Boreham Connect in Chelmsford, was one of the first consumers to use Apple Pay in the UK when they bought £15-worth of diesel a short while after the system went live on Tuesday July 14.

The new payment system allows for up to £20 of goods to be purchased without the need to use a debit card or enter a PIN. Retailers that have confirmed their support include BP, Spar, The Co-op, Costa, Starbucks, Subway, Waitrose and M&S Simply Food.

Apple Pay allows users of an Apple iPhone 6, 6 Plus or Watch to enter their card details into Apple’s ‘Passbook’ app and present their device to contactless card terminals.

Meanwhile, Shell and PayPal announced the roll out of their new Fill Up & Go mobile payment service shortly after the Apple launch, following a successful pilot with invited members of the Shell Drivers’ Club. The new service, which enables mobile payments at the pump, will now be available at hundreds of Shell sites nationwide. Customers will be able to pay quickly and securely using the Shell Motorist app a free download on any Android or iOS device registering their PayPal details and then checking the station finder for details of which stations have the service.

Shell’s retail marketing manager, Michael Hominick, said: “We’ve listened to our customers and know they will benefit from this innovation. They will have the flexibility and convenience of paying without having to leave their car. Those who want to go in store and pay or purchase other items will still be able to, with the benefit of reduced queues.”


ACS claims case for Sunday Trading is flawed

Figures released by Government as part of a consultation on changes to Sunday Trading regulations have been dismissed as out of date and misleading, by the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS).

In the consultation, Government uses the following statistics to justify its decision:

• Benefits equivalent to £1.4bn a year: Figures taken from a 2006 report, which include money saved by companies through the reduction in a “Sunday premium” on wages

• Spend increased 12.5% as a result of deregulation: Figures reference potential sales change in a country that has no Sunday opening moving to a fully deregulated system. Sales change in the UK is estimated to be 0.14%, but the authors of the report question whether this could be “simply a redirection [of trade] from other segments”.

• 15% of individuals would shop later on Sunday at a supermarket: Figures reference a 2005 ONS report, which also states that 77% do not plan to change their shopping habits.

• 450,000 foreign tourists stayed in London during the Games in 2012: No figures included on sales performance during this period. BRC/KPMG figures suggest sales fell 0.4%

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Every figure that the Government has put forward to justify the case for changing Sunday Trading regulations is significantly flawed. Half of the evidence that they have used is from a decade ago when the retail market was markedly different, and the other half has been misinterpreted beyond recognition. There was no robust case for changing Sunday Trading hours in 2006, no case in 2012 after the Olympic Games and there remains no case in 2015.

“Not only is the consultation a mess, Government itself is in chaos over these proposals. We have been given no details about which Bill the plans are set to be taken forward in and whether they’ll receive proper parliamentary scrutiny. It appears as though neither the Department for Business nor the Department for Communities and Local Government want it, and are playing hot potato with this controversial and unnecessary change to legislation.”

Questions have also been raised about the Prime Minister’s commitment to the legislation. In a letter from the Prime Minister’s office earlier this year, it was stated: “We believe that the current system provides a reasonable balance between those who wish to see more opportunity to shop in large stores on a Sunday, and those who would like to see further restrictions.”


UK leads Europe as alternative fuel vehicle sales soar

Demand for alternative fuel vehicles is soaring across Europe, with the UK leading the way with the biggest year-on year increase in the EU’s major markets.

Alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) registrations rose by 17.4% across Europe in the second quarter of 2015, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA), while demand for AFVs in the UK surged 62.4%.

Significant growth was also seen in France and Spain, where AFV registrations rose 59.7% and 58% respectively, while heightened demand in EFTA (European Free Trade Association) countries was largely driven by Norway where an 77% of the 11,614 vehicles registered were electrically powered.

In terms of sales the UK was third with 17,123 AFV registrations in the second quarter, after Italy with 60,121 and France with 20,420.

Pure electric vehicle registrations grew by more than half (53%) in the second quarter of 2015, with hybrid vehicle registrations rising by 22%. The number of propane and natural gas vehicles registered also increased slightly. A total of 143,595 AFVs were registered across Europe in the second quarter of 2015.

Figures for the first half of 2015 further highlight the buoyant AFV market in Europe, with demand rising 24.6% to almost 300,000 (298,463) registrations in the EU. The UK once again led the way with the biggest growth (62.6%) of Europe’s major car markets.



Japanese car parts manufacturer Takata saw a 3 billion yen (£15.4m) net profit in the three months to June, compared with a 38.65bn yen loss a year earlier.

The company has been at the centre of a huge global recall over faulty airbags it supplied to numerous car companies.

The airbags have been linked to six deaths in the US. Despite the recalls, the company achieved higher sales in the US, India and South East Asia and maintains its profit forecast for the full year at 20bn yen.

Faulty Takata airbags has led to 34 million cars being recalled in the US, the biggest vehicle safety recall in US history.

Globally, the number of vehicles affected is thought to be more than 50 million.

Addressing the safety concerns, Takata told the BBC that the company had taken ‘broad actions that go well beyond the scope of the safety risk suggested by the current science and testing data, and will continue to do everything we can to ensure uncompromised safety for our customers and the success of the recall efforts.’



In an effort to encourage bikers to take their skills to the next level, the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) is launching its biggest ever giveaway promotion in England and Wales geared exclusively to bikers.

Any bike licence holder will be entitled to a free one hour taster session with an IAM qualified instructor in one of 12 locations around England and Wales.

The taster sessions are part of the IAM’s ongoing goal to improve the riding and driving standards of road users across the country and cut the numbers of those killed and seriously injured on our roads.

The IAM also wants riders to enjoy their riding more as a result of gaining those extra skills.

But anyone wanting to take advantage of the taster sessions, normally worth £45 a person, needs to move fast – they must be booked by the end of September.

To take advantage of the free sessions visit the webpage

Sarah Sillars, IAM chief executive officer said, ‘This is also a great opportunity for people to do something they have no doubt been putting off for a long time. Everyone gets into a few bad habits in their riding over the months and years, and this is the perfect opportunity to put that right.’

‘The free taster is an enjoyable low-pressure way of sharpening up those skills, pointing out any areas that need attention, and perhaps pave the way for taking part in one of our other courses.’

‘This is an unprecedented opportunity for riders, wherever they are in the country, to get a very valuable taster session by an acknowledged expert in the field.’


New rules coming – which mean a customer can reject a car within the first 30 days after purchase

LAWGISTICS today warned dealers to be aware of the new regulations coming in on October 1 when The Consumer Right Act comes into force.

And one regulation will be a game changer for dealers whenever they sell a vehicle.

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

Dealers can say they will repair the vehicle for them, but the consumer is not obliged to accept that – and can simply insist on a refund, which dealers will be legally obliged to give.

Lawgistics say: ‘The Consumer Right Act 2015 comes into force on October 1, 2015. From that date, 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.

‘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.

‘We strongly recommend dealers take the time before October 1 to review their pre-delivery processes to ensure they do all they can to put themselves in a position to argue that any fault was not present at the time of delivery.

‘Putting a new independent MOT on a car can never be a bad idea nor can using one of our visual safety checklist/estimate pads.’


Western Europe car sales rise 9%, boosted by strong Germany and recovering Italy, Spain

Western European new-car sales jumped 8.8 percent to 1.09 million in July, boosted by higher demand in Germany and recovering Italian and Spanish markets, analysts LMC Automotive said.

The market researchers said July’s strong result reflects the improving economic backdrop and a more positive consumer sentiment.

LMC raised its forecast for annual sales in the region to 12.92 million, a rise of 6.7 percent. Its previous forecast was for sales of 12.8 million. The July numbers amounted to a seasonally adjusted annualized selling rate of 13.15 million cars, LMC said, slightly below June’s 13.28 million rate but more than a million vehicles ahead of last year’s total.

The forecaster said the German market was a strong performer with July sales up 7.4 percent and an annualized selling rate of 3.5 million, the best selling rate since July 2009 when a scrappage program inflated sales.

Italy and Spain continued on their recovery path. Italian sales surged 15 percent, helped by the country’s exit from recession and improved consumer confidence. In Spain, sales grew 24 percent as the economy outperformed the rest of the eurozone and a scrappage program continued to boost demand.

France, however, saw its sales growth slow to 2.3 percent for the month with an annualized selling rate of 1.83 million cars, down from 2.07 million in June.

The UK’s booming car market slowed last month, with sales up 3.2 percent, mainly due to fleet sales. The annualized selling rate is still near 2.6 million, LMC said.

Last month LMC had lowered its outlook for 2015 in light of the deteriorating situation in Greece and potential repercussions a Greek exit from the euro zone. Greek car sales fell 6 percent to 7,157 last month.

With the Grexit crisis averted, at least for the immediate future, and taking recent market results into account, the market could exceed 13 million units this year, the analysts said.

But, it added, risks to economic growth, both in Europe and elsewhere, remain skewed to the downside. “Bearing this in mind, 12.9 million units represents a balanced outlook,” LMC said.


Scotlands Route 66 is named one of the top coastal road trips in the world

Scotland’s brilliant answer to Route 66, the North Coast 500 (NC500), is already receiving acclaim and positive feedback despite only being launched in June

Scotland’s answer to America’s Route 66 has been named one of the six top coastal road trips in the world, just two months after its official launch.

The development of the NC500, covered by MotorbikeTimes back in March, aims to boost Scotland’s economy, as well as providing easy access to local food, drink, accommodation and sightseeing for travellers from all over. And now Travel Magazine has named NC500 fifth in a list of ‘six of the best’ coast road trips in the world.

The North Coast 500, known as NC500 and spanning 500 miles covering the entire coast of Scotland, emphasises the beauty and history of the Highlands. The idea for the trail comes from the North Highland Initiative (NHI) which was set up by Prince Charles to attract car and motorcycle enthusiasts.

Scotland’s NC500 is in good company with Cape Overberg in South Africa, the Amalfi Coast in Italy, The Atlantic Road in Norway, The Pacific Coast Highway in America, and the Coral Coast in Australia also making up the list.

The 500-mile route runs from Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh on the west coast, going up through the north coast to John O’Groats and then heading down the east coast to loop back in Inverness.

Motorcycle enthusiasts get the opportunity to take in all the beauty of the Scottish Highlands for a long weekend or a more leisure weeks long trip. Some key points along the route include the stunning mountain ranges, Ben Hope and Suilven, Dunrobin Castle, Kylesku Bridge, and so much more.

NHI Chairman, David Whiteford said: “We have, in the north Highlands, an opportunity to create a globally significant route that captures the essence of the wonderful landscapes and seascapes, people, stories, culture, history, adventures, food and drink and much more.”

All the grandeur of the scenery can be viewed and celebrated by anyone willing to put in a little time on the route that Travel magazine says has “rugged romance.”

Whether you’re planning to see the route in one long go or would rather take it in bits and pieces, know you’ll be in for an adventure either way.


Posted by Lois Hardy on 08/08/2015