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Daily News Round UpBack

NFDA issues dealer hotline for GAP concerns

NFDA logo

The NFDA has published a hotline number for dealers with concerns over the new GAP rules that come into effect on 1 September.

“The NFDA is urging all dealers to ensure that they can comply with new regulations set out by the Financial Conduct Authority, to the way in which GAP is sold to consumers”, said NFDA director Sue Robinson.

Under the new rules dealers will have to explain to customers that, if they want GAP insurance, they will have to return to the dealership four days after purchasing their car.

The NFDA has argued that this will be damaging to car dealers’ business and create unnecessary delays for consumers.

“The new rules taking effect on 1 September will have a major impact on the way in which a motor dealer sells GAP insurance.

It represents a significant change to the industry, whereby we have to change the way this product is sold, which for most dealers generates an important revenue stream.”

The NFDA said that dealers with questions or concerns ahead of these new rules can contact the NFDA hotline on 01788 538 303.


Car dealer Perrys buys GK Group

Perrys Group has acquired GK Group Ltd for an undisclosed sum.

Perrys already operates 46 showrooms in 26 locations across the country and the addition of GK Group brings the total to 53 dealerships.

Chesterfield-based GK Group runs five Ford showrooms, one Mazda showroom, one Kia showroom and an accident repair centre in Worksop.

The company employs 400 members of staff and has a turnover of circa £175 million.

GK Group was owned by George and David Kenning and their families. George and David will be retiring after the sale and Paul Rogers, the GK managing director, will be joining Perrys.

George Kenning said: “Perrys are a strong, highly successful, privately owned business with a reputation for excellence. We are delighted that this sale offers our staff enhanced security and better opportunities for the development of their future careers.”

This will be the largest acquisition that Perrys have made since its management buyout in 2001.

Chairman Ken Savage said: “We are very happy to announce the acquisition which extends our relationship with Ford, Mazda and Kia.

“The addition of GK Group will make a great fit for Perrys with our new dealerships located just south of our existing sites in Yorkshire.

“The group’s ongoing success can be credited to its commitment to the core values of customer care, high-quality vehicles and staff retention. I am sure everybody will welcome the GK staff into Perrys and make them feel part of the team.

“Alongside the arrival of new franchises in the last few years, such as Nissan in 2013 and Hyundai in January of this year, the addition of GK Group Ltd will add considerable scale to the group.”

The deal was brokered by UHY Automotive partner David Kendrick who represented GK Group.

He said: “GK Group is one of the oldest Ford dealer groups in the country and has a very strong reputation. We are delighted to have assisted the shareholders with their exit and I have no doubt that the acquisition will add significant value to Perrys group moving forward.”

Perrys will now operate seven Ford businesses, six Mazda and four Kia in England, in addition to their existing 15 Vauxhall, one Jaguar, a Land Rover, six Peugeot, three Citroen, two Fiat, one Hyundai, one Nissan, one Renault, one Dacia and one Seat dealerships.

This news follows last week’s announcement that work has started on Perrys’ new £7m, multi-franchise development in Preston.

Expected to open in April 2016, the move from their Blackpool Road premises will see new Mazda, Kia and Vauxhall showrooms off junction 13a of the M6.


Stability in used van prices to remain for the rest of 2015, says Shoreham Vehicle Auctions

Minimal price fluctuations of used LCVs in all age brackets throughout the first six months of 2015 has led to a prolonged period of stability in the market, according to Shoreham Vehicle Auctions.

Average prices in June of used LCVs between four and six-years-old have remained within £20 of January figures, while the difference in prices of the eldest units was just £35 between January and June.

Average prices reached their long-predicted ceiling in 2015, peaking in January at £4,783. In June, average prices remained within £106 of the figures at start of the year, with a June average of £4,677. Year-on-year prices fluctuated a maximum of 3.3% in the first six months of 2015, compared to 2014, with May the only anomaly, where Shoreham saw a spike of 6.6% compared to May 2014.

Alex Wright, Shoreham managing director, said: “This long-awaited stability in the used LCV market is encouraging for SMEs, who are able to confidently invest in older, used vehicles, despite their average age increasing.

“At this stage, we predict prices will remain stable, creating a strong and prosperous market.

“However, with only 69% of vehicles over six-years-old being sold first time in June – compared to 76% in January – buyers remain selective. Vendors should remember that buyers are looking to source the right stock in good condition, at the right price.”

Wright said the stability in the market is being driven by the balance of supply and demand for used LCVs; with a rise in supply levels being met with strong demand for high quality used LCVs.

He said: “An influx of stock from utility companies, who are retaining vehicles for longer periods, is entering the market, giving buyers more choice of vehicles over two-years-old, in good condition and at more competitive prices.

“This has turned buyer focus away from the newest used LCVs – despite rising year-on-year volumes – and towards older units, leading to decreasing prices of units under two-years-old. Prices of used LCVs over four-years-old have, by comparison, remained incredibly stable.”

Shoreham has seen decreasing overall mileage of all used LCVs throughout the first six months of the year which has led to increased demand for vehicles over two-years-old, helping to keep average prices at their ceiling, while ensuring that overall volumes have continued to rise.

Volumes increased 17% year-on-year in June, with substantial rises in the mid-market helping to push volumes upwards, as buyers become increasingly confident in used LCVs in these sectors. January aside, year-on-year volumes have increased substantially throughout the year. This has been largely due to rising volumes of mid-market LCVs.

Source: launches monthly payment search has launched a new monthly payment search functionality and is promoting it to consumers with a television campaign later this week.

The search by payment functionality, which launched onsite at the end of July, allows consumers to refine their search results to show only those cars which meet their financing needs in terms of deposit and monthly payment.

Andy Coulthurst, managing director of, said: “With more than three quarters of consumers using dealer sourced finance to purchase their new car, we believe that a monthly payment search is vital to improving the efficiency of the car search process and we will drive its adoption through TV advertising.”

The finance prices are all set individually by the dealer ensuring they control of the rates advertised. The technology is powered by dealer software companyiVendi.

The new advert introduces Miss Smart Finger using the monthly payment search to find her ideal car within her monthly budget.

Miss Smart Finger is the latest addition to the campaign launched in March, which has been shown over 5,000 times and seen 272 million times across major channels such as Sky Sports, Channel 5, Comedy Central, Sky Atlantic and Dave.


Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles offers free roadside assist to attract aftersales customers

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is offering a year’s free roadside assistance in the UK to any van owners that bring their three to 10 year old vehicle in for a full or interim service.

VW says the AA roadside assistance is worth £99 and stats from the organisation show 95% of repairable issues were fixed at the roadside and the service boasts an average response time of 42 minutes.

VW says this is essential in minimising commercial vehicle downtime.

The roadside assistance includes recovery to home or an appropriate repairer if their vehicle is not able to be fixed at the roadside, onward travel for up to seven passengers, European cover and AA Home Start.

VW CV recently appointed Tracey Perry as its new national fleet manager and put in place a new 10 point customer service programme to make sure dealers are delivering on the brand’s servicing promises.

A highlight from the new customer promise list was to replace any customer’s vehicle with a like-for-like replacement, even going as far as sourcing a car out of brand if it means getting a customer back on the road.


Service history can add “up to 10%” on LCV values

New data released by BCA has highlighted the importance of a service history in the light commercial vehicle sector.

BCA recorded improvements in performance against guide price of more than ten per cent.

BCA researched price performance over a basket of 5,000 vehicles earlier this year, from a variety of sellers. The sellers included corporate and dealer sources, split by mileage.

For lower mileage vehicles, (sub-50,000 miles) BCA saw a 3.5% uplift in performance against CAP. This rose to nearly 4.0% for vehicles that had covered 50- to 100K and rose again significantly to a 10.4% uplift on vehicles that had covered over 100K.

BCA’s head of commercial vehicles, Duncan Ward said: “In an increasingly competitive used van sector, vendors need to make sure they present their vehicles in the best possible way to attract the buyers. Put simply, if a service history that could be present is missing when the van is sold, the seller is potentially sacrificing up to ten percentage points on the return to the company’s bottom line.

For commercial vehicles reaching the used sector for the first time, it is critical that the service history is present when it is sold. On older vehicles that may have been resold several times, even a partial history is better than none at all and can help to improve sale performance.”

Ward added: “A service history shows the vehicle has been well maintained by the previous owner and confirms that a warranted mileage is correct as declared. And it is the latter that can have a real, tangible effect on the potential prices vehicles might achieve.

Building buyer confidence is hugely important, particularly with the rise of digital selling and even hardened trade buyers value the comfort of knowing their judgement is supported by a comprehensive history file.”


HGV levy brings in huge sums for treasury coffers

An HGV road user levy, which all vehicles weighing 12 tonnes or more have to pay, has generated revenues of £192,000 since it was introduced on April 1, 2014.

The levy, which costs £10 per day or £1,000 per year, has helped ensure that all HGVs at or over 12 tonnes, (including overseas hauliers) contribute to the cost of maintaining UK roads.

Around a quarter (24%), or £46.5 million of the total revenue raised was generated by HGVs not registered in the UK.

For most UK registered HGVs, the amount of vehicle excise duty (VED) they pay has been reduced by the same amount as the levy, which is payable alongside VED.

The figures were released in a written statement by Andrew Jones, parliamentary under secretary of state for transport.

He said: “I am pleased to announce that the HGV levy has proved to be a great success in its first year of operation. Receipts from foreign vehicles are significantly ahead of the projected £21m.”

Jones attributed that to the fact that 91% of more than 160,200 foreign HGVs registered on the levy system were paying daily rates for only one or a few days at a time, despite discounts being available for long duration purchases.

He said that 3% of levies purchased were weekly, 5% were monthly and 1% were annual.

Nearly one fifth (18%), or £8.5m, of revenue raised came from annual levies compared to £22.3m (48%) from daily levies.

Jack Semple, director of policy at the RHA, welcomed the figures.

“It’s a big success that we support. It was certainly one of the big successes of the last Government – it was timely and well executed,” he said.

The RHA played a role in seeing the levy implemented, taking part in discussions with the Department for Transport and the Treasury before its introduction last year.

Jones said the levy “removes some of the inequality UK hauliers feel when paying to use roads abroad”.

“There was a lot of complaint from those within the industry and the general public that overseas hauliers were paying nothing towards contributing to the cost of maintaining the UK’s roads, before the levy was introduced,” he said.

The largest overseas contributor to the levy was Poland, making up 27% of the payments, followed by Romania at 12% and Spain at 9%.

Jones described the levy as a success in terms of digital delivery and customer service, too. Almost all levy purchases were carried out via an online portal, using registered accounts.

Overseas operators have also been able to make use of a multi-lingual customer service call centre to support them in purchasing the levies.

In addition, Jones reported a high level of levy compliance from overseas vehicles, and claimed that effective roadside checks from the DVSA had contributed to a levy compliance level of 95%.


UK fleets face challenges in dramatic shift from trucks to vans

The number of light commercial vehicles (LCVs) on UK roads is on the rise, with the current vehicle parc of 3.4 million forecast to almost double to six million by 2020, according to the Government.

That growth is being driven by fleets downsizing from light trucks – to smaller, cheaper, less CO2/NOx-emitting, more manoeuvrable and less regulated vans (Commercial Fleet, May 2015) – and the home delivery sector, which is fast becoming shoppers’ preferred option for everything from groceries to electrical items to general goods.

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) 2014 figures report that the annual average weekly spend online was £718.7m, of which 15% was food retailing, 37% non-food stores (e.g. department, household goods) and 48% non-store retailing. This was an increase of 11.8% compared with 2013.

Home delivery from department stores is the fastest growing sector, rising 53% since 2011, according to the ONS. However, just 10% of total sales are made online, suggesting this level of growth will continue to accelerate.

Likewise, food retailing. Less than 4% is sold online (3.7%), but the growth since 2011 is 37%.

The van parc trend – which has already seen the national LCV fleet rise from about 2.5m in 2002 – is broadly supported by the Fleet200, the listing of the 200 biggest fleets in the UK. The van parc within the Fleet200 has risen from 233,861 in 2010 to 250,908 this year.

However, while rising annual van sales are contributing to the growing van parc, the number of older LCVs on the road is also on the increase, according to finance provider LDF.

Its figures, sourced from the DVLA, show that one in three vans is at least 10 years old, which it claims is evidence of SMEs putting off investment in their fleets. In 2007, before the recession, 10-year-old-plus vans accounted for about one in five (22%) of the van parc. Consequently, the number of older vans on the road has risen from 690,000 to more than one million.

Peter Alderson, LDF managing director, said: “A lot of small businesses are pushing their vans and other parts of their commercial vehicle fleet to the absolute limit, with many often well beyond their useful economic life.

“It’s not just the repair costs and efficiency of these older vans that create problems – there’s also the very substantive negative impact on the business’s brand of using tired, dated vehicles and, additionally, the environmental factors to consider.”

Almost half of the UK van park (47%) is registered in the name of a business. The remainder are privately owned, although many will still be used for work purposes.

For company-owned vehicles, the majority of time (35%) is spent collecting and delivering goods, according to analysis by AECOM in its Van Travel Trends report published this year, of which 36% occurs between 6am and 10am and a further third between 10am and 2pm.

However, that is narrowly ahead of commuting, at 32%. Meanwhile, almost one fifth (19%) of their time on the road is spent travelling between jobs, and 3% is personal use. A further 11% is classed as ‘other’.

Why are LCV numbers on the rise?

Van activity is forecast to almost double between 2010 and 2040, with evidence that they are being used to replace larger trucks as fleets look to downsize. AECOM suggests that pay may be one reason: a van driver may earn £15,000 while an HGV driver could make £25,000.

Congestion, emissions zones and increasing urban use for home delivery also contribute to the preference for vans over trucks. Fleets are being far more analytical about their needs, which has seen many downsize their vehicles.

AECOM research also says 39% of vans are poorly used as they are less than a quarter full. The average load factor is 38%, which equates to about 300kg (interestingly, each 300kg load adds about 5g/km in CO2 emissions). Just 34% of vans operate with more than half a load while 14% run at more than three-quarters capacity.

However, the type of load has a significant influence on a van’s use and, in many instances, it is not possible for an LCV to be 100% used.


Security experts dismiss car hacking concerns

A real attack by hackers using a security flaw in Fiat Chrysler’s cars is “slim”, according to IT security experts.

The manufacturer issued a safety recall affecting 1.4 million vehicles in the US after security researchers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek demonstrated how hackers could take control of a Jeep Cherokee by using the car’s entertainment system.

The demonstration for a Wired magazine article saw the Jeep Cherokee which was being driven by reporter Andy Greenberg forced off the road.

A security hole in Fiat Chrysler’s on-board internet-enabled software allowed Miller and Valasek to affect everything from windscreen wipers and GPS, to steering and braking.

The system, which is called Uconnect, has been installed in vehicles since late 2013, and is designed to allow the doors to be unlocked and the car to be started with the tap of an app.

However, the successful hack due to this particular flaw should not be overstated, according to Ken Westin, senior security analyst at Tripwire. “Although the hacking of the Jeep by Miller and Valasek seems quite scary, the actual possibility of this vulnerability being used in a real attack is slim,” he told Fleet News.

“As the researchers in this case worked closely with [Fiat] Chrylser to provide detailed information regarding the vulnerability, they were able to develop a patch to fix the security vulnerability in the vehicle systems.”

Fiat Chrysler said exploiting the flaw “required unique and extensive technical knowledge, prolonged physical access to a subject vehicle and extended periods of time to write code”.

It added that manipulating its software “constitutes criminal action”.

Nevertheless, it has announced a voluntary recall to update the software in affected vehicles, while Miller and Valasek are due to reveal further details about their work at the Def Con hacker conference this month.

Westin warned: “As this is still a relatively new area of security research, we will begin to see more vulnerabilities in vehicle systems. Car manufacturers will need to develop safe and secure methods of updating software in these systems, either through dealerships or possibly even remotely, however the latter could introduce more vulnerabilities into these systems.”

The risks of the connected car lie in the ability to affect the operations of the vehicle from the outside world.

However, Tim Erlin, director of security and product management at Tripwire, says the good news is that secure software development isn’t a novel concept.

“There are known best practices that can be applied to automotive software as well,” he said. “Fiat Chrysler has an opportunity to use this incident to pioneer software security for the automotive industry.”

Fiat Chrysler said that no vehicles sold in the UK were affected, but a separate piece of research from the UK’s NCC Group has shown how it could be possible to hack a car’s control systems through its digital radio.

Andy Davis, NCC’s research director, explained that an attack rig could be put together using cheap components connected to a laptop.

The infotainment system of a targeted car, once compromised, could be used as a stepping stone to attack more critical systems, including steering and braking.

“If you had a vulnerability within a certain infotainment system in a certain manufacturer’s vehicle, by sending one stream of data you could attack many cars simultaneously,” he told the BBC.

Davis has previously hacked into a real vehicle’s automatic braking system through manipulating its infotainment system. A similar approach could be replicated through a digital radio broadcast, he suggested.

Westin concluded: “The automotive industry understands the importance of security and they are not only working with researchers, but also each other to help develop standards and best practices for more secure vehicles. “The work that researchers like Miller and Valasek are doing is actually helping to make our vehicles more secure in the future.”


Chargemaster launches monthly membership scheme

Electric charging point operator and installer Chargemaster has announced a new subscription scheme which will allow users to borrow vehicles including BMW i8s.

The subscription is priced at £7.85 a month, and includes access to Chargemaster’s network of 4000 UK charging points.

More than 80% of the charging points are free to use, with the remainder costing around 9p per unit of electricity.

Chargemaster said pay-as-you-go instant access rates will also be available for non-members.

Members accrue usage points, which can be redeemed against various electric vehicle loans. Users receive 10 points each time they charge in a town or city across the country each month.

Chargemaster said 100 points results in a loan of a BMW i8 for a week, while 10 points will allow users to borrow a Renault Twizy.

Members go into a lottery each month, with the person accruing the most points getting the first choice on cars.

Other models included within the scheme are Nissan’s Leaf and the Tesla Model S.

Chargemaster claimed forthcoming models from Tesla, Audi and Mercedes will be available for members to sample after they are introduced to the UK market.

“Polar Plus is a hugely attractive proposition to the growing population of electric motorists across the country and in particular the heavy user,” said David Martell, chief executive of Chargemaster “Electric vehicle usage has more than trebled over the last year and now is the time for there to be an expanding robust nationwide charging network.”

“Not only will EV motorists gain access to a national network of serviceable, state of the art charging points but they will be able to sample all the latest in electric car technology,” Martell added.

Polar Plus membership will be available from 17 August.



It is with sad regret that bodyshop magazine has learned of the untimely passing of John and Amanda De Courcy’s daughter.

Having worked in and around the accident repair industry for 44 years, John has many colleagues and friends with whom he wishes to notify of the sad news. Amanda also knew many of the same people John did via her sales experience within the sector.

bodyshop sends its deepest condolences to John, Amanda and Adam, as well as all family and friends.



Thatcham Research hosted a visit from a high profile Saudi Arabian delegation last week, as the group embark on a partnership to bring improved standards in vehicle assessment and crash repair to The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The group, which was led by Engineer, Hani Dahhan from the Saudi Authority for Accredited Valuers – Taqeem, also included representation from the motor insurance industry through the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency – SAMA and Saudi accident management specialist company Najm.

Thatcham’s Repair Technology Centre and Academy provided the main backdrop for the three day visit, where the group learnt more about cutting edge repair techniques, materials, equipment and processes. They also saw how personnel development through training and accreditation has helped to maintain technicians’ skill levels in the UK and will be evaluating how a similar approach could help to develop the industry in Saudi Arabia.

As part of the week long programme, the group also took in a visit to locally based, kitemarked repairer Newbury Crash Repair, as well as the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI).

The Saudi group are looking to invest in the development of standards and professionalism in vehicle crash repair in their own country and view Thatcham Research, as a highly credible global research centre, to be the perfect partner in helping them achieve their long term aims.

Hani Dahhan, VP Planning & Business Development at Taqeem, said, ‘We’ve been hugely impressed with both the facilities at Thatcham Research and the knowledge of those we have met, who demonstrate their extensive experience in all aspects of vehicle repair. The visit has been a real eye opener and we realise that there is a lot of hard work ahead. However, we’re delighted to be going down that road with Thatcham Research as our partner.’

Strategy and development director, Neale Phillips at Thatcham Research added, ‘As a research organisation it’s absolutely key that Thatcham are at the forefront of best practice. We’ve worked hard to establish our reputation as a thought leader in the UK and I’m particularly pleased that we are now able to help with developing a strategy for repair assessment and standards in The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – a great reflection of our credentials and growing global influence.’



National Windscreens, the UK’s largest independently owned windscreen repair and replacement specialist, is pleased to announce that it has retained its preferred supplier contract with Amlin Insurance.

Specialty insurer and reinsurer, Amlin, has worked with National Windscreens for the past three years and renewed its preferred supplier contract on the strength of the service it has received during this time. Matt Woraker, claims manager – Motor at Amlin comments, ‘National Windscreens has proved that it can deliver the level of service our customers expect from Amlin and all of our preferred suppliers.’ Amlin offers a range of motor insurance policies for both individuals and fleet operators, covering a wide variety of vehicles.

National Windscreens proven track record in servicing fleet customers and its specialist glazing division are both key factors in the contract renewal, Matt explained, ‘We provide insurance cover for a diverse array of vehicles including commercial and agricultural fleets, HGVs and tankers.’ ‘We therefore need to be certain that our suppliers have the ability to service our policy holders, irrespective of what type of vehicle the claim is for. National Windscreens has proved that it can deal with vehicle glazing repairs and replacements throughout the UK in times that more than meet our service level agreement.’

National Windscreens has more than 30 years’ experience of working with the UK’s leading insurance providers and fleet operators and is delighted to have retained its preferred supplier status with Amlin Insurance.

Martyn Bennett, regional sales and marketing director at National Windscreens said, ‘The ability to provide a quality, truly national service in the quickest time possible is highly valued by all of our clients. We are delighted that our relationship with Amlin has resulted in the renewed contract.’



A dashboard camera uncovered a dangerous crash for cash scam, a Manchester court heard.

The on-board footage showed Audi driver Alina Khan, 30, from Oldham, brake heavily to stage an accident.

She was given a suspended jail sentence at Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court after admitting fraud by false representation at an earlier hearing.

The crash took place in Chester Road, Hulme, in June 2011. The court heard the victim’s vehicle was fitted with a dashboard camera. The incident was passed to fraud investigators after co-defendant Yasin, 32, gave details of the crash to accident management firm boss Ahmed, 31, who put in a fraudulent claim for up to £30,000 damages to insurers LV (Liverpool Victoria).

Judge Angela Nield told Khan, of Eric Street, Oldham, she had committed a ‘wicked and dangerous’ act which usually merited an immediate custodial term, but she could suspend the sentence after reviewing medical evidence involving her disabled daughter.

The court heard Khan had breached the terms of another suspended sentence given to her in 2010 for benefit fraud.

Martin Callery, defending Khan, said it was a ‘single isolated incident’.

Judge Nield said: ‘The public interest is undoubtedly served on the face of it by an immediate custodial sentence, however, the public interest is also balanced in a case of this importance and it is balanced in this case in the monetary and, perhaps more importantly, the emotional terms of being placed in custody.’

Khan was given a 14-month sentence suspended for two years and will also be supervised by the Probation Service for six months.

Co-defendants Kamran Yasin, 32, of Brook Lane, Oldham, and Sarafaraz Ahmed, 31, of Cambridge Road, Oldham, who both admitted the same offence, are due to be sentenced next month.



Online insurance firm Esure has said its premiums are set to rise after an increase in small injury claims.

Shares in the firm fell more than 9% after half-year underlying pre-tax profits slid 21.3% to £46.5m.

The drop was in part due to profits in the firm’s motor insurance business falling 80.7% to £3.3m.

Chief executive Stuart Vann said, ‘The claims environment in the motor market continues to deteriorate.’

‘As a consequence we will seek to implement further rate increases in the second half of the year as we look to mitigate against these trends.’

The group has more than 1.4 million motor insurance policies and about 570,000 in home insurance.

A recent AA report showed car insurance premiums rose for the first time in three years during the second quarter of 2015, with the average cost of annual comprehensive car insurance up 5.2%.

Although Esure’s premiums are set to rise, the company’s pre-tax profits actually increased by 84% to £105.4m, but the firm said this was largely due to a gain from its acquisition of GoCompare.


Continued growth in LCVs fuels van conversion demand

Increased LCV sales follows fleet requirements to meet environmental targets

Ring Automotive, a leading European brand in vehicle lighting, auto electrics and accessories, report an increased demand in quality vehicle conversions – the process of taking a factory LCV and turning into a mobile work unit fitted with storage and equipment needed.

Widely used for motorway maintenance staff, Welfare Vehicles allow field workers to use the van as a rest area following a specialist conversion.

They come with a breakfast bar and seats and have a small kitchen area that includes a microwave, sink, storage and toilet facility.

Explaining the process of producing such vehicles, Paul Galvin of Lyndon Systems told Ring Automotive that the first requirement is a complete understanding about the needs of the vehicle.

Power supply

Galvin said: “You have to think about electrics for power supply, plumbing for the sinks and toilet.

“You also have to think about the environment it is going to be used in, so beacons and work lights may need to be fitted.

“You will also require lining the van with our Speedliner, which a tough thick polymer coating to protect surfaces from the tough everyday use.”

Ian Hay from Ring, explained that to make any vehicle truly mobile as a work unit, it must have mains power.

“Our Pure Sine Wave inverters are clever little boxes that take a vehicle’s 12v power supply and turns it into mains power.

“After listening to customers such as Lyndons, the range has recently been re-engineered to include hard wired options complete with RCD circuit boards for greater user safety.

“These inverters can then be hard wired to the microwave and water heater to provide those creature comforts needed in Welfare vehicles.”

Following this year’s CV show, Lyndon Systems reported an immediate order of 20 van conversions.

Galvin added: “To ensure we supply the finished vehicles to highest spec we work with approved suppliers.

“Ring is an invaluable supplier for equipment that utilises the vehicle electrical systems to generate power.”


New DPF cleaner sells out within 24 hours

Solution is poured into the removed DPF and left overnight to break down and clean residues

Initial stocks of GSF’s new Vetech Professional DPF Cleaner sold out on the first day, the 70 strong UK branch network reports.

The non-flammable cleaning solution is a unique alternative for garages looking to profitably develop business from the growing demand for diesel particulate filter (DPF) regeneration work.

The liquid cleaner gently breaks down and removes soot, ash and other trapped contamination, when the DPF is removed and filled with the solution overnight.

GSF Car Parts say it’s a perfect alternative for garages to turn to, where pour-in additives haven’t worked, before resorting to the cost and delay of DPF replacement, or specialist cleaning services.

John Wright, Garage Essentials Manager at GSF Car Parts said: “Vetech Professional DPF Cleaner has had a 100 per cent success rate so far on problem vehicles.

“It’s working on even stubborn DPF blockages, and garages don’t need any specialist workshop capital equipment either.”

GSF say stock shortage was temporary, with more deliveries due to arrive during early August.

The Vetech DPF Professional Cleaner, exclusively available through GSF Car Parts, is still available to order at the launch price of £28.95 + VAT for 5 litres.


Workshop offers win-win solution for Saab owner

Enthusiast saves a ‘fortune’ thanks to garage expertise and the ongoing availability of Saab Original Parts

Cambridgeshire-based driver, Dr David Warner feared his 15 year-old Saab 9-5 SE 2.3 litre automatic was coming to the end of its life cycle and believed he had no alternative but to switch brands.

Despite being fifteen years old, it had only covered 105,000 miles, and Andrew Ballard – Cambridge Saab Managing Director was quick to realise that any issues were actually minor and mainly cosmetic.

Despite Saab no longer manufacturing vehicles, Orio UK – the sole distributor of Saab Original Parts – ensures the continued availability of parts for all 180,000 Saabs still on the UK roads.

It meant Ballard could confidently offer to extend the life of Dr Warner’s vehicle quickly and competitively – ensuring workshop income and preventing an expensive and unnecessary vehicle replacement for the customer.

Dr Warner said: “I spoke with Andrew Ballard and when I listed all the minor problems with our car he assured me that he could fix all these if we left it with him for a week, saying: ‘I can present the car back to you in excellent condition, prepared for another 15 years of happy motoring!’ He followed this up with a very reasonable quote which we were pleased to accept.”


Erik Buell to remain as EBR president

Erik Buell will be staying on as president of EBR following bankruptcy

EBR president, Erik Buell is to stay on as company president, following the company’s assets being picked up by Atlantic Metals Group LLC, it has been announced.

The company’s new chief executive, Bruce Belfer, explained the surprise move, indicating that he wants to reinvent EBR’s core business of making motorcycles. he said: “In my opinion, what was a viable manufacturing operation had become distracted by a single-customer consulting operation.”

Belfer’s statement refers to the work EBR did for Indian company Hero MotoCorp, who then bought it for $2.8 million (£1.84 million) during EBR’s receivership. But it was EBR’s consulting work with Hero MotoCorp, as well as the company’s equity purchase and race team sponsorship, that had fuelled EBR’s operations.


Bultaco Motors reveals big UK plans

Bultaco Motors aims to have at least 19 shops open in the UK by 2017

Exciting times lie ahead for Bultaco Motors, following the announcement of securing an importer in Urban Moto, who look set to bring its electric mountain bike to the UK after relaunching an all-new Brinco for 2015.

Urban Moto already works with 120 other UK dealers, but after teaming up with the Spanish manufacturer, they will be importing and distributing Bultaco products before the end of this year, starting in London and Lincoln.

By the end of 2017, Bultaco Motors, in collaboration with Urban Moto, plans to have at least 19 outlets, with additional locations set to include Liverpool, Birmingham and Manchester.

“It is a truly exciting period for Bultaco Motors,” said an enthusiastic José Antonio Garvía, general director of Bultaco.

“With France and the United Kingdom we have entered two of Europe’s future key markets for us and we have managed to bring on board experienced retail partners who will help to increase our presence in those markets,” he continued.

“The amazing response we have received from the media thus far has seen us take a significant number of customer orders already and we intend to add to that through a number of dedicated activities in the months to come.”


Royal Enfield looking global

Royal Enfield has undergone a dramatic domestic turnaround in the past fifteen years; from flagging arm of parent company Eicher Motors Ltd, to a firm with a five month waiting list on its ‘Classic’ model, Enfield is now looking beyond home shores.

Siddhartha Lal, 42 ,CEO of Eicher, has carved a niche in the Indian market for the mid-weight bike, 250cc to 750cc, priced between £2000 and £4500. It is this vehicle which he believes can fill a void in the market between the 50 million commuter and one million large leisure bikes sold each year.

Lal projects between five and ten million mid-sized motorcycles to be sold annually by 2030, a market in which he wants Chennai based Royal Enfield to have a 50 per cent share.

The first stop towards worldwide expansion has been a return to Royal Enfield’s spiritual roots. Lal is basing a technical centre of 30 people in London, a number which is expected to rise. The British capital, he says, “is a nerve centre for us.”

Royal Enfield arose through the domestic market from a particularly low ebb in 2000, when Lal’s father, Vikram, then Eicher CEO, was approached by the board, who wanted to dissolve Royal Enfield in order to fund the parent company’s tractor business.

It was Lal junior who altered the waning company’s fortunes. He dropped all discounts, stripped their infrastructure bare and made engineering changes in a successful bid to reduce overheads and increase customers beyond their cult following.

The figures, by and large, speak for themselves. In 2000, Royal Enfield sold 24,000 bikes and Eicher had a net profit of 235 million INR (£2.4 million) and revenue of 3.9 billion INR (£39.6 million).

In 2013, Royal Enfield sold 178,000 units and in 2014, 331,000, doubling Eicher’s profits to 5.6 billion INR (£56.5 million) and increasing total revenue by 78 per cent to 33 billion INR (£333.5 million). Sales are predicted to soar higher in 2015, with 445,000 expected sales of Continental GT, Thunderbird, Classic and Bullet bikes.

Siddhartha Lal believes this is just the beginning for Royal Enfield: “When I look at it personally, I have spent 15 years in the first phase and I say I have a maximum of 15 years left now for phase II. So, phase II is a longer-term idea of making Royal Enfield a global brand. That’s what we want to do.”

As part of phase two, Lal has brought in considerable executive clout. Rod Copes, former sales and customer service head at Harley-Davidson. Rudratej Singh, erstwhile Unilever vice-president for South Asia home and personal care, has become Royal Enfield’s new president. Pierre Terblanche, earlier of Ducati, is fronting Enfield’s industrial design division, whilst industrial desginer, Mark Wells is the new head of global product strategy.

Lal though, is focused on the long term, putting in place the framework to ensure not necessarily immediate worldwide success, but the fulfilment of his “phase two” and a significant share of the market in fifteen years.


Posted by Lois Hardy on 11/08/2015