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Daily news round upBack


Motorists face £20 fines for leaving engines idling while stationary in West End

Motorists who leave their engines idling in central London could face a fine of £20 under plans to improve air quality.

Traffic marshals from Westminster City Council will patrol the streets of the West End, approaching motorists who sit in stationary cars with the engine running.

The penalty charge, which will go up to £40 if not paid within 28 days, will be a “last resort” if drivers refuse to turn off their vehicles on request.

High levels of pollution from vehicle emissions are linked to the deaths of thousands of Londoners each year.

Green campaigners welcomed the policy, which comes into force on May 1, saying it would help raise awareness of the pollution produced by idling.

But motoring groups warned it would be seen as a money-raising exercise unless it was properly enforced. Several councils, including Wandsworth and Camden, already have policed no-idling zones and information campaigns.

Boris Johnson brought in a number of no-idling zones in 2011, with traffic marshals targeting “hot spots” including taxi ranks outside major stations and coaches on Park Lane.



Motorparks’ infographic looks at the alternative fuel market

Motorparks has explored the current market for alternative fuel vehicles in an infographic, to establish that petrol or diesel are far from the only choices available when purchasing a car today.

While the popularity of electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles have peaked over the past few years, the piece reveals that both concepts actually date back to the early 19th century.

Francois Isaac de Rivaz created a prototype vehicle that was powered by a combination of oxygen and hydrogen in 1807. A few years later in 1828, Hungarian Ányos Jedlik revealed a model car that functioned using an electric motor.

The graphic includes a detailed timeline of both electric and hydrogen vehicles, as well how each concept works and what consumers can look forward to in regard to each market in the near future.

Vehicles powered by biodiesel, compressed natural gas (CNG) and ethanol are also detailed.


Better communication needed to reduce GAP complaints

Following the latest Financial Ombudsman Service data showing a drop in GAP insurance complaints; the ombudsman and Auto Trader say more could be avoided with improved dealer / customer communication.

As the FCA considers its final remedies for the insurance add-ons market, taking the time to fully explain what policies cover, as well as the benefits of each product, will help boost transparency and customer satisfaction.

Head of outreach at the ombudsman Caroline Wells said: “We are urging dealers to take a little extra time to explain the product at the point of sale, or at the point of claim. Often it’s simply a question of explaining something in plain English, why exclusion is relevant in a policy for example. But, too often the people who contact us talk about a ‘computer says no’ approach, and that leads to understandable concern on the part of the policy holder.”


Councils spend £275m a year on grey fleet

UK councils are spending more than a quarter of a billion pounds a year keeping hundreds of thousands of grey fleet drivers on the road.

Local authorities in England foot three-quarters (76.3%) of the annual bill, reimbursing £209 million to more than 267,000 employees who drive their own car in the course of their work.

In Scotland, some 43,000 grey fleet drivers cost council coffers £32m, which was slightly more than the £28.9m paid out by Welsh local authorities to their 30,000-plus grey fleet drivers. Northern Irish councils have 3,106 grey fleet drivers – 1.4% of the UK total – costing £3.9m.

The figures, revealed as part of a Fleet News investigation, provide a unique insight into both the scale and cost of grey fleets operated by councils across the UK.


April update due for MG6 saloon

MG is to launch an updated MG6 model in the UK next month.

The original MG6 was launched in 2011, and the company says the 2015 update offers improvements across the board.

The 1.9-litre DTi-TECH diesel engine has been updated to offer lower CO2 levels and improved mpg figures. Exact figures will be revealed at the car’s launch.

Updates have been made to the body styling of the car, with interior upgrades and enhanced equipment levels.

The company claims the infotainment and navigation system rival others in the class.


Rolls-Royce names its top dealers worldwide

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Palm Beach won three awards, including Global Dealer of the Year.

Regional dealers included Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Brussels; Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Palm Beach; Cornes motors KK (Japan); Ali Aghanim & Sons Automotive (Kuwait) and Rolls-Royce Motors Cars Shenzhen.

The Global Sales Dealer Award went to Rolls-Royce Cars Osaka, Japan and the Global Aftersales Award was won by Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Palm Beach.

The Rolls-Royce Provenance Award went to Rolls-Royce Rancho Mirage (USA).

The dealers will be presented with their awards at the company’s World Dealer Conference in May.

Torsten Müller-Ötvös, chief executive officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, said, “Every aspect of the ownership experience of a Rolls-Royce motor car must be effortless, and it is the role of our dealers across the world to deliver on this promise.”

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars sold a record 4,063 cars in 2014 through a network of 127 dealers, which has increased in size by 50% in just five years.



Mitsubishi Motors reveals its top UK car dealers

Devonshire Motors in Barnstaple, Devon, and Firs Garage in Hook Norton, Oxfordshire have both been named Mitsubishi Dealer of the Year.

The awards were held as part of Mitsubishi Motors’ annual conference for its UK dealers, at The Grove Hotel in Hertfordshire.

It was the second year in a row that Firs Garage was awarded the title.

Meanwhile, Humphries and Parks in West Malling, Kent, and Luscombe Motors in Leeds, West Yorkshire, both received New Dealer of the Year accolades.

Mitsubishi Motors’ UK managing director Lance Bradley said: “All these dealerships can be justifiably proud of their awards. They are shining beacons for the Mitsubishi brand and I’m delighted that they’re getting this recognition, which they richly deserve. My congratulations to them all.”

Cheltenham and Gloucester and North City Autos dealerships, in Staverton and Chingford, were also given long-service awards for 30 years with Mitsubishi, while Gallaghers of Warrington and Devonshire Motors each received long-service awards for 25 years.



US investigates Nissan problem

US safety regulators are investigating complaints that two Nissan recalls didn’t go far enough to fix a problem with front-seat airbag seat sensors, the Associated Press has reported.

The probe covers nearly 990,000 vehicles in the US that were recalled in 2013 and last year because computer software may not detect an adult in the passenger seat.

The recall affects the Altima midsize car, Leaf electric car, Pathfinder SUV and Sentra compact models from the 2013 and 2014 model years, as well as the NV200 Taxi van and Infiniti JX35 SUV from 2013. Also covered are the Infiniti QX60 and Q50 SUVs from 2014.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has stated that 124 people have complained about the problem happening after repairs were made. Nissan maintains the fixes took care of the problem.


General News

£3.9m Boost for greener transport

A £3.9 million package to boost environmentally-friendly transport and improve accessibility for disabled people has been unveiled by transport minister Baroness Kramer today.

The money will be invested in improving journeys from ‘door to door’, including support for car clubs, an electrically-powered-cycle scheme pilot, and a campaign to increase the number of children walking to school.

12 mobility centres will also be revamped to provide support for disabled or elderly drivers.

Transport minister Baroness Kramer said, ‘This government is making journeys greener, easier and safer. Today’s announcement will help children enjoy healthier journeys to school, provide a greater variety of sustainable transport and will give a helping hand to improve mobility for elderly or disabled people. There is something here for everyone.

These schemes will improve the lives of hardworking people across the country and are further demonstration of our commitment to improving access for all.


Would-be Tory MP Afzal Amin resigns as parliamentary candidate over EDL row

A Tory General Election candidate suspended by his party over an alleged plot with the English Defence League has resigned with immediate effect, according to a party source.

Afzal Amin, who was seeking to become Tory MP for Dudley North, claimed he was the victim of “a year-long sting operation” after being accused of encouraging the EDL to announce a march against a new “mega-mosque” so he could take credit for defusing tensions when it was called off.

But this afternoon it emerged he has decided to stand down as prospective parliamentary candidate for the Midlands constituency.

The Conservatives will now move “swiftly” to appoint a new candidate, who must be in place by the time nominations close on April 9, a source said.

A Conservative spokesman said: “Afzal Amin is resigning as Conservative candidate for Dudley North with immediate effect.

“Conservative Chairman Grant Shapps has welcomed Mr Amin’s decision and thanked him for his work in the past.”


Posted by Lois Hardy on 23/03/2015