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Daily news round upBack


PRA slams claims of profiteering

The PRA has reacted furiously and accused the RAC of an alarming lack of research after it claimed retailers are profiteering on diesel and taking high margins because much of the diesel sold goes to business users who are less price sensitive.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “It’s hard not to think that business is being taken for a ride by the fuel retailers.” He suggested retailers had maintained a higher margin on diesel, perhaps to subsidise petrol sales. He said the gap between the wholesale price of diesel and petrol was 1ppl but average forecourt prices were currently 6ppl apart, and he called for a 4ppl cut to diesel prices.

PRA chairman Brian Madderson said: “They haven’t done their homework at all. These comments fail to acknowledge the increasing impact of fuel cards, which are used by a significant number of businesses, and that means they are complete nonsense. This highlights the alarming lack of research by some motoring organisations.”

He said that transactions made on fuel cards in the UK are now worth over 8 billion litres per annum.

And he added: “Currently the margin available on petrol is extremely low and so higher margins may be taken on diesel after adjusting for the severe margin depressing effect of fuel cards to the independent retailer sector.”



Call for rates to be waived on ATMs

The PRA has joined the ATM Industry Association (ATMIA) in calling for ATMs to be exempt from business rates.

PRA chairman Brian Madderson sees business rates exemption as a crucial matter. He said: “The economics of running petrol forecourts are very fragile. That is why thousands have closed in the past few years with Experian Catalist confirming 900 independents had to withdraw from the sector in just five years from 2009 to 2013. A sensible concession by local authorities in relation to business rates on ATMs can help secure both the future of the forecourt and of local banking services.”



Paragon extends vehicle refurbishment contract with General Motors UK

Paragon has signed a new long-term deal with General Motors UK to refurbish more than 30,000 vehicles a year.

The renewal of the contract will lead to further investment at Paragon’s Corby site as its facilities are expanded and upgraded.

The company has also been appointed to handle logistics for vehicles delivered out of the site to Vauxhall dealers.

Toni Sozzo, national used car sales manager at Vauxhall Motor, said: “Paragon continues to prove an efficient partner for our used vehicle supply chain.

“It shares our passion for innovation and continually strives to improve the service it provides.”

Paragon is the UK’s largest supplier of end of life and PDI services for vehicle manufacturers, handling more than 750,000 vehicles last year.



Disagreement over whether HGV speed limit rise will improve road safety

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) says that the change to the speed limit for HGVs will improve road safety for all road users.

It supports the HGV national speed limit on single carriageway roads being increased from 40mph to 50mph, which came into force yesterday (Monday, April 6).

The Department for Transport (DfT) revealed in July 2014 that the change to the national speed limit on single carriageways in England and Wales would come into force this spring.

FTA supported the decision to change the speed limit for HGVs, stating that it would mean an improvement in road safety as the differential between HGVs and other road users would be reduced.

The Association added that the changes would allow single carriageway roads in the UK to be used more effectively and safely.

Malcolm Bingham, FTA’s head of road network management policy, said: “This is a move to improve safety for all on single carriageway roads where the 20mph speed differential between cars and trucks can lead to hasty overtaking manoeuvres that sadly often result in casualties.



86% of fleets have experienced an accident in past year, IAM Drive & Survive finds

The majority (86%) of fleets have experienced an accident in the past 12 months, according to research from IAM Drive & Survive.

It surveyed fleet professionals within 100 businesses on their approach to, and experience of, accidents involving their fleet and found that:

  • Only 14% of fleets had not had any vehicle incidents in their fleet in the past 12 months.
    • Every fleet had suffered on-road incidents that were caused by their driver, i.e. an ‘at fault’ incident.
    • Nearly half of all fleets said the average cost of repair per vehicle was more than £1,000.
    • Only 33% of fleets said at-fault drivers faced some sort of punitive measure, i.e. fine, excess payments, etc.
    • Over half said they didn’t offer any post-incident driver training as a means of reducing the risk of repeat incidents.

The report on the findings An analysis of bent metal amongst company fleets stated: “The research shows that many companies are not addressing correctly this significant and avoidable overhead by putting in place sufficient measures to reduce the risk of incidents happening, or more worryingly, happening again to the same drivers.



CDK Global demonstrates profit potential of the connected car

“With the rollout of connected car technologies gathering pace, franchised dealers need to prepare for a big a shift if they are to profit from the ‘connected age’,” said Mike Norridge, Senior Aftersales Product Manager at CDK Global.

Mike will set out how dealers can adapt their procedures to take full advantage of the connected car in “Connected Car – How OEM initiatives are supporting Service Retention, ” a workshop session running as part of the AM Aftersales Conference 2015.

It is already clear that cars equipped with advanced telematics are beginning to shape the aftersales landscape. The connected car could be game changer, but there are pitfalls for the unprepared:

“A car that is fully communicative with its external environment, mobile devices and local businesses means greater opportunity for interaction between dealer and customer,” Mike explains.

“A car could conceivably book itself in for a service, but if dealers are not able to receive, store, process and act on this new level of communication, profits and customers will effectively be handed to their competitors.”



Online used car prices increase in Q1, according to Autorola UK

The average price of used cars sold online in the first quarter of 2015 through Autorola UK’s remarketing portal was at £8,624, £140 higher than in quarter four 2014 (£8,484).

This is the highest average used price in Q1 since Autorola started its online price survey in 2012.

Typically the average age of stock in Q1 2015 was 33 months (compared with 34 months in Q4 2014) while mileage reduced slightly to 21,407 miles in Q1 compared with 22,811 miles in Q4.

Autorola UK’s sales director Jon Mitchell (pictured): “Part exchange volumes were slower to come to market on the back of the 15-plate change this year. Combine that with stock sold on our portal getting slightly younger and with reduced mileages than in Q4 2014, this has also helped prices increase.


Paragon extends Vauxhall relationship

Paragon has extended its relationship with General Motors UK Ltd t/a Vauxhall in a new long-term contract.

As the sole provider of vehicle refurbishment to the manufacturer, Paragon will refurbish over 30,000 vehicles a year.

The renewal of the contract will lead to further investment at Paragon’s Corby site as its facilities are expanded and upgraded. Paragon has also been appointed to handle logistics for vehicles delivered out of the site to Vauxhall dealers.

Paragon has a 10 year relationship with Vauxhall that has seen a number of innovations developed to create efficiencies in the de-fleet process. The company’s own fleet management system, iSight will be deployed on the contract, and will enable real time access to inventories to ensure the efficient management of vehicles.

Commenting on the contract, Toni Sozzo, Vauxhall Motors’ national used car sales manager said, ‘Paragon continue to prove an efficient partner for our used vehicle supply chain. They share our passion for innovation and continually strive to improve the service they provide.’

Paragon is the UK’s largest supplier of end of life and PDI services for vehicle manufacturers, handling over 750,000 vehicles last year.

Commenting on the development Mike Pilkington, managing director at Paragon Automotive said, ‘Vauxhall is one of our largest customers and we’ve put a focus on quality and innovation at the heart of this partnership. The contract will see our team use the latest production methods and technology to ensure the seamless delivery and transport of over 30,000 vehicles a year, through our operation in Corby.’



JLR to launch ‘innovation incubator’

Jaguar Land Rover has announced a new initiative to support the development of future infotainment technologies in the US.

Jaguar Land Rover will now launch an ‘Innovation Incubator’ project in Portland, Oregon, to encourage, promote and support new software-based automotive technologies that are being developed by US technology start-ups.

The focus will be on finding innovators who have great potential ideas, but need Jaguar Land Rover’s technical help to make these concepts a reality. The Innovation Incubator project begins in May 2015 with an outreach program to US universities. It will select around 120 start-up companies for Jaguar Land Rover to work with over the next decade.

Nick Rogers, engineering director, Jaguar Land Rover, said, ‘As well as pioneering new ideas and developing our own technologies in-house, we want to develop even more collaborative partnerships with the world’s leading technology businesses. We want to cast a wide net and invite technology start-ups to pitch us their ideas, rather like TV’s Shark Tank or Dragon’s Den. If we think they’ve got something innovative that could enhance the experience customers have in our vehicles, we want to support them and help develop their ideas.’

This support includes a space in a new ‘Innovation Incubator’ centre that will be developed in Portland specifically to accommodate these technology start-ups. Jaguar Land Rover will also recruit 50 experienced engineers who will work directly with these start-ups in Portland to help them make their ideas a reality.



Zipcar enters Turkish market

Zipcar, a US based car rental company, has entered into the Turkish market in cooperation with a prominent auto firm to provide car sharing services to Istanbulites.

Speaking at a press conference, Massimo Marsili, the firm’s head of European operations, said Zipcar was excited to enter the Turkish market. ‘We are happy to contribute efforts to ease traffic congestion in Istanbul and to provide an alternative mode of transportation in the city,’ Marsili added.

Founded in 2000, the company has recently increased its activities in European countries such as the UK and Spain. It offers an hourly car rental system. For a fixed fee, registered customers can pick up and drop off vehicles at designated locations in a city. Zipcar provides car insurance and gasoline. Zipcar entered the Turkish market with Otokoç Automotive, which has been providing a car rental service for 41 years. Görgün Özdemir, the chairman of Otokoç Automotive, said the service would ease city life and transportation. “There is no parking problem. Also, this system is budget- and environment-friendly,” he added. Istanbul, Turkey’s biggest city with a population of 15 million suffers from chronic traffic congestion. A newly released study by Dutch navigation firm, TomTom, shows that the city has the worst traffic congestion in Europe.


Riverside Motor Group buys Peter Stockill in Hull

Riverside Motor Group has bought Peter Stockill, which represents Seat and Chrysler Jeep in Hull, for an undisclosed sum.

Riverside, which operates Volvo, Seat, Isuzu and Mitsubishi franchises in Yorkshire, has been trading since 1982.

The acquisition from owner Pat Stockill, who is retiring, takes their number of franchised trading outlets to five.

Mark Denton, director of Riverside said: “We are delighted to have purchased Peter Stockill which is a hugely well-known and respected business in the Hull area.

“The business fits perfectly for us geographically and we are excited about the prospect of a second Seat dealership in the group.

“I look forward to welcoming our new colleagues into the group and driving the business forward.”

David Kendrick, partner at UHY Hacker Young, which advised on the sale, said: “I am glad to have been able to assist Pat with the sale of her company.

“This is the third automotive sale we have completed in the past week and it appears that the transactional activity levels are set to continue.

“There is a pent-up demand of buyers out there, enabling dealers looking for an exit path to maximise value and achieve strong sale values.”



Posted by Lois Hardy on 07/04/2015