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By clicking on ‘Dealer Look Up’, customers will be able to leave a star rating and comments based on their experience with the dealer. There is a seven day grace period before these are posted, giving the dealer the opportunity to resolve any issues.
As part of the introduction of customer reviews, RAC Dealers will also have improved visibility on the RAC Route Planner, being clearly marked on maps and with their star rating shown. Visitors can click through these to the dealer’s own web site.
A key feature for dealers is the ability to track their customer satisfaction score, which is an essential way of gauging their business performance through the eyes of their customers.
RAC head of dealer propositions Mario Dolcezza said: “The new review system will give RAC Dealers the opportunity to build their brand equity online by delivering a satisfying customer experience, while the improved route planner presence will improve their visibility.
“Today, online customer reviews and how you manage them are a key indicator to potential car buyers that you are a trusted dealer selling high quality used cars, giving them the confidence to buy from you. These new features are very positive developments.”
Customers get an improved online experience when researching and buying new or approved used vehicles on the new website – designed and developed by GForces Web Management. The next-generation automotive web platform is now fully responsive and fast loading for ease of use on any digital device, whether it’s a mobile phone, tablet or laptop.
Group marketing director Matt Brown said: “After having identified the web trends of mobile use and looked at the analytics of our ‘old’ online properties, we decided to move to the GForces NetDirector Auto V10 website from our previously separate mobile and desktop sites. This has been the speed of digital evolution in recent years – in 2013 we won Motor Trader’s Mobile Website of the Year Award.
“While our mobile and desktop websites have been going from strength to strength, we felt it was important to tailor our content so that our customers do not have to compromise at all when it comes to perusing and using it.”
Around 45% of web visits are now being made via smartphones and tablets. During the last Christmas period GForces reported that just over 50% of visits to their clients’ websites came from mobiles – up 8% from the previous year.
NetDirector Auto V10 was created after analysing millions of visits to GForces client websites to enhance performance and user experience. Functionality includes: live chat, part exchange valuations, updated vehicle data via CAP Valuations, online service bookings, deposits can be put down online on used vehicles, ‘shortlists’ to save and compare vehicles, independent reviews about our service and products from Reevoo, and 360-degree interior and exterior high-quality imagery, alongside 3D vehicle renders and video clips.
Land Rover has shelved plans for a 2WD Ingenium-powered Discovery Sport in the UK.
The company’s new range of efficient diesel engines are now available to order for the Freelander replacement, although a 2WD 119g/km edition slated for launch will now not go on sale in the UK market.
A Land Rover spokesman told Fleet News: “Land Rover drivers really relish the 4WD capability of the Discovery Sport, and with emissions for this model now below 130g/km, there are no immediate plans to launch a 2WD model in this country.”
The company’s most economical 4WD ‘E-Capability’ 148bhp six-speed manual, five-seater SE model claims fuel economy of 57.7mpg combined and 129g/km CO2.
Price and Fretwell has improved driver behaviour across its fleet, after deploying a next-generation telematics solution from Mastenaut.
The Derbyshire-based butcher is using Masternaut Connect for driver behaviour improvements across its fleet of ten vehicles, which includes refrigerated transit vans and company cars, with the aim of reducing speeding, and cutting incidents of harsh braking, acceleration and cornering.
Masternaut provides Price and Fretwell with reports on driver behaviour across the fleet, to identify areas of improvement, which allows the company to better educate drivers on how to improve their driving and road safety in the future.
In the three months since installation, the firm has achieved a decrease in harsh driving events in excess of 60% and a 73% reduction in speeding.
Masternaut Connect provides a real-time view of Price and Fretwell’s fleet at any time, giving fleet managers full visibility of all vehicles.
Providing routing capabilities, Masternaut Connect also helps drivers and fleet managers to find the fastest route to customer locations across the UK. This helps to provide Price and Fretwell with better vehicle utilisation and reduced fuel costs.
Kevin Chappell, general manager at Price and Fretwell, said: “Masternaut Connect has helped us to improve how we operate, by improving our driver’s road safety and also ensuring we can give our customers 100% accurate information on when to expect their orders.
Marshall Motor has been named a Great Place to Work For, entering the annual national survey’s large company category at number 26.
The company was acknowledged as has having a high trust and high engagement workplace culture which attracts and retains talent and helps drive business success.
Entrance into the listing is the result of both an employee survey and an audit conducted by the Great Place to Work Institute into an organisation’s management and HR practices.
“Following an extensive audit of our management and HR practices, in addition to our survey results, I am extremely proud that we were named by the Great Place to Work Institute as one of the UK’s best large workplaces,” said Daksh Gupta, Marshall’s CEO.
“A significant number of major UK companies participate in this programme including Microscoft, Hilton Hotels, Admiral Group and Cisco. We are therefore delighted to have achieved a ranking.”
New car registrations in Western Europe rose 6.9% in April to 1,166,482 units, the 20th consecutive month of growth and the best April since 2009.
Figures released by the European carmakers association ACEA show that all major markets showed growth, particularly Italy, which rose 24.2% for the month, followed by Germany (+6.3%), the UK (+5.1%), Spain (+3.2%) and France (+2.3%).
In the year to April, the market grew 8.2% to 4,695,058 units with registrations in Spain up 23.9%, Italy (+16.2%), the UK (+6.4%), Germany (+6.4%) and France (+5.6%).
The Spanish market was stimulated by a joint government and industry scrappage scheme which expired in April but has subsequently been renewed.
HIS Automotive analyst Carlos Da Silva said most of the increase in private sales across Europe was coming from consumers who had to replace their ageing cars but overall fleet sales were outperforming the private sector.
“Private demand shrank 5% year on year in France in April and nearly 1% in Germany. This is not necessarily such a bad thing if business or corporate demand compensates for this loss, and this indeed this happened in both these markets, with a 7% gain in France and 9% improvement in Germany,” he said.
He raised concerns over the number of registrations made through “tactical channels” including rental fleets, dealer self-registrations and carmakers.
“In April, these were up 11% in Germany and 13% in France, which is way above the overall growth of these markets,” he said.
“Until private buyers really come back into the market and businesses pass the point where they are merely renewing past car contracts and leases, it is hard to consider Europe as a sustainable place for both long term volumes and long term profitability,” he said.
Land Rover has quietly abandoned plans to sell a fleet-friendly front-wheel drive 119g/km CO2 version of the Discovery Sport.
Last year, it announced the model would be powered by one of the new Ingenium family of Jaguar Land Rover engines. The vehicle, badged eD4, was clearly targeted at business users and was due to go on sale in the middle of this year.
However, although technical details for the car are still on Land Rover’s website – albeit with a revised on-sale date of late 2015 – BusinessCar has learned that this car will no longer be sold in Land Rover’s home market.
Land Rover recently confirmed the widely anticipated launch of four-wheel drive versions of the Discovery Sport powered by Ingenium engines, with deliveries starting in September. The company no longer believes there is any need for the 2WD car.
“As we have been able to bring to market a 4WD Discovery Sport under the crucial 130g/km CO2 threshold we believe there will be little demand for a 2WD variant in the UK, so for now it does not form part of our product portfolio,” said a Land Rover spokesperson.
The lowest-CO2 Discovery Sport will be the 129g/km 150hp 2.0-litre diesel. The new Euro6 engine replaced the current Euro5 190hp 2.2-litre diesel engine, which emits 162g/km of CO2 and returns 40.4mpg.
Fuel card provider FuelGenie has expanded its network of filling stations network thanks to a partnership with supermarket Sainsbury’s.
From 26 May, FuelGenie’s customers will be able to use their fuel cards at the supermarket’s nationwide network of 298 filling stations. FuelGenie already has agreements in place with Tesco and Morrisons.
The firm claimed it does not charge fees or “hidden surcharges” and offers unlimited free cards with no minimum monthly spend.
“The addition of Sainsbury’s to the fuelGenie network will have a fantastic benefit to our business users. Sainsbury’s offers great value fuel pricing across the UK at easily accessible locations, adding further value and convenience to our customers,” said Claire Alderson, sales and marketing manager at FuelGenie.
Symach has sold the first bodyshop in Burlington (Toronto) to CARS of Nick DiLuca, partner of CSN, a group with more than 330 bodyshops in Canada.
The new bodyshop will be operational in November and will be built entirely with the Symach equipment and with the FixLine formula. The process of preparation, painting and drying are automated with Symach robots.
The new bodyshop will repair 50 cars a week, reducing the cost of repair around 25% and reducing the key to key time to 1.5 days on average for more than 80% of the repairs.
Osvaldo Bergaglio said, ‘I know well Nick and I would say that we also became friends in the past three years; in fact, Nick spent last three years, comparing our equipment and our formula of bodyshop with those available on the market.
‘Once all the checks done, Symach is resulted the best in knowledge in design of the repair process, as well as for quality, cost and aesthetic design of the equipment.
‘I personally started a little over a year ago to promote Symach in North America and this first result is very important to guarantee us a bright future, which is why I am investing in Toronto with the opening of a Symach store for the sale of products and for maintenance service because I want to do the best for my friends because from several years i have not only customers but friends…. Much more difficult to please them…..’
Nick DiLuca commented, ‘We are very excited about being the first shop in Canada to install the Symach system in our shop. The product is light years ahead if it’s competitors. We at CSN Cars are confident it will reduce are key to key time drastically, and enhance our customers experience.’
Volkswagen has been praised by Thatcham Research Centre, who have seen a 45% drop in third party personal injury insurance claims thanks to the fitment of auto-emergency braking systems.
The latest generation Golf went on sale in the UK in January 2013. All except for the entry-level S models have Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) as standard, with ACC including the radar sensor controlled distance monitoring system Front Assist, as well as city emergency braking and cruise control. Since launch, third party injury claims on the latest Golf are 45% lower than for the equivalent ‘Small Family Car Control Group’.
Matthew Avery, director of safety at Thatcham Research, said, ‘These findings are based on the equivalent of more than 7,000 Mk VII Golf models insured for a full 12 months on the road, and come from claims data from our insurance members. When we saw figures based on an initial small sample, we were surprised, as they exceeded our own performance testing. However the figures held up, even after almost doubling the sample group, and have therefore given us a glimpse of what safety on UK roads could look like in the future.’
Although such systems are not new, it was the Golf that ’democratised safety’ and brought ACC to a wide audience. The system operates over a speed range from 30 to 160 km/h (approx. 18 to 99 mph) with a manual gearbox and with DSG. In vehicles with DSG, it can intervene to such an extent that the car may be slowed to a complete standstill. In normal driving ACC maintains a preselected speed and a defined distance to the vehicle ahead, and it automatically brakes or accelerates in flowing traffic. Front Assist continually monitors the distance to the traffic ahead and assists the driver in critical situations by preconditioning the brake system and alerting the driver to any required reactions by means of visual and audible warnings. If the driver fails to brake hard enough, the system automatically generates sufficient braking force to help avoid a collision. Should the driver not react at all, Front Assist automatically slows the car so that the speed of any impact is minimised. The system also assists the driver by an alert if the car is getting too close to the vehicle in front. The city emergency braking function is also part of Front Assist and operates at speeds below 30 km/h (approx. 18 mph).