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“A move to allow private HGV-MOT Testers could only be a step in the right direction”, said Sue Robinson Director of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle retailers across the UK.
Following David Cameron’s recent Cabinet reshuffle, the NFDA has written to new appointee, the Rt Hon. Andrew Jones MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Transport (DfT) to discuss the pressing need to allow private testers to carry out MOTs on HGVs.
“This would not only bring the HGV-MOT service in line with the current system for car and van MOTs, but create greater flexibility for business”, continued Robinson.
“Whilst the introduction of new private Authorised Testing Facilities throughout the country has enabled vehicles to be both prepared and checked at the same time, ministry testers are still restricted to their standard working hours. Businesses are also hindered by the travel time it takes to reach testing stations, which unnecessarily increases the time a vehicle is out of action and reduces a business’s operational abilities. The government is also losing money paying for travel costs.
“New private testers would allow businesses to operate 24 hours per day, throughout the year, whilst maintaining a high level of safety standards on UK roads. Although some have claimed private testers are less likely to fail vehicles, this is not reflected by Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) figures. In 2013/14, 40% of all cars, vans and passenger vehicles were failed; the number rose to 50% for Class 7 Goods Vehicles. These tests are done by private authorised garages. I see no reason why this cannot be applied to HGVs.”
The carmaker is promoting an air-con and brake fluid service fixed at £89, which it says is a £35 saving of the cost of the two jobs being carried out separately.
Warren Richards, Skoda’s head of service and parts, said: “It’s important for us to ensure that once Skoda cars are out on the roads, regular aftersales checks are in place to maintain the efficient running of our vehicles.”
He said the aircon and brake fluid deal is a great way to ensure a vehicle is prepped for the coming months, so that you can enjoy hassle-free motoring all summer.
As part of the offer, Skoda’s trained technicians will check pollen filters and systems for leaks and decontaminate them to reduce bacteria and pollutants. The service will also include extensive checks and a change of refrigerant and lubrication oil, to maintain vehicle efficiency.
To ensure Skoda drivers are kept safe on the roads, the service will include an inspection of the car’s brakes and a change of brake fluid. This will help maintain optimum braking efficiency, while protecting the whole braking system against wear and corrosion. Skoda’s technicians will then run a final check to ensure everything is working correctly.
It has also revamped its website and produced an enhanced mobile app.
The new technology will ensure that the online bidding system runs to maximum capacity during the fortnightly auctions.
The new look website (www.cityauctiongroup.com) has improved navigation and functionality and will be live on Monday. It features a new auction calendar and is designed to make it easier for dealers to see upcoming auction events. The website is also mobile friendly.
The improved mobile app will enable buyers to view vehicle data in a more uniform manner to enhance pre-sale event activity and the online bidding opportunity.
Michael Tomalin, City Auction Group managing director, said: “We have invested heavily in leading-edge technology to improve the service we offer to our vendors and buyers. It is vital that our customers have a good experience when they interact with the group and that is why these improvements are so important.
“In a technology driven world every business relies heavily on their IT infrastructure. For us at City Auction Group Rockingham, it’s even more crucial as our online bidding platform constitutes 30% of all of our sales.
“We will continue enhancing the website, as well as developing and improving other parts of the business through continued investment in technology.”
Following the opening of a new parts distribution centre in Hatfield, Orio UK, the sole supplier of Saab original parts, now guarantees free overnight delivery on all orders placed before 3pm.
Over 1,100 Saab parts are now available in the UK and each with a three-year warranty, and technical support.
Parts are available to all Saab service centres and garages and bodyshops can order from their nearest site.
Products include more than 100 crash repair items such as bumpers, lighting, sheet metal, mirrors and grilles .
The range covers most Saab models over the past 15 years including 9-3, 9-5 and 9-5 new generation models.
There are more than 180,000 Saab vehicles on UK roads.
Owned by the Swedish Government, Orio provides spare part availability for the majority of Saab vehicles on the road today.
Skoda has announced an estate version of its Superb model.
Škoda has offered an estate version of its top model since 2009. To date, the company has delivered more than 200,000 Superb Estate models to customers worldwide – 35 per cent of all Škoda Superbs sold since 2009.
“With the new Superb Estate, we have further developed the existing strengths of the Superb and once again set a benchmark. With its expressive, dynamic design, we are emphasising and complimenting Škoda’s expertise in the estate segment,” said Dr Frank Welsch, board member for technical development.
“The combination of aesthetics, top-of-the range technology and the highest practical benefits makes the new Superb Estate an outstanding vehicle within its segment. With the new flagship, we will attract new customers to our brand,” said Welsch.
Based on MQB technology, with a wheelbase that has been extended by 80mm to 2,841mm. The track width has increased to 1,584mm at the front and to 1,572mm at the rear. The result: even more interior space. In the latest model, driver and passenger have 39mm more elbow room than before.
Headroom in the front is 995mm and 1,001mm in the rear – more than in any other model in the segment. Rear knee-room is 157mm – around twice as much as the next-best competitor. Elbow room in the rear has been increased by 70mm.
The boot volume is now 660 litres, representing an increase of 27 litres compared to the previous model. When the back seats are folded down, the boot volume reaches 1,950 litres.
The new model will be launched into the first markets in the September, while UK retailers will start taking orders from June.
Hyundai Motor UK has today officially handed over an example of the world’s first mass-produced fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV), the ix35 Fuel Cell, to global diversified mining business Anglo American.
The handover took place at a brand new hydrogen refueling station at Sainsbury’s supermarket in Hendon, which is the latest Smart Fuel Hydrogen Fuelling facility to be built within the UK by hydrogen supplier, Air Products.
Headquartered in London, Anglo American will use its hydrogen-powered ix35 Fuel Cell for general business use and special events.
“As society adopts ever more challenging emissions targets, we expect the use of zero emissions Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles to increase significantly.
“We are actively supporting the development of this new technology, which will stimulate future demand for platinum, which is a key ingredient to this innovative vehicle technology,” said Andrew Hinkly, executive head of marketing, Anglo American Platinum.
Robin Hayles, sustainable fuel development manager, Hyundai UK, said: “Anglo American is an important customer for Hyundai and one of the first outside of the hydrogen industry.
“The company understands the need to promote Fuel Cell as a viable alternative to internal combustion and increase the demand for this clean and sustainable technology.”
The official handover to Anglo American takes place just weeks after Hyundai Motor UK announced official pricing for ix35 Fuel Cell – £53,105 OTR, which includes part-funding from the Europe-wide HyFive project.
The handover also follows the announcement of the British Government’s £6.6 million investment in the UK’s hydrogen infrastructure.
The investment will see an initial network of 12 hydrogen refueling stations, including a pledge to fund the construction of two new stations in the Greater London area, a new mobile refueling station for the south of England and upgrades to existing stations in Sheffield, Swindon, Wales and London.
The Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell is the world’s first mass-produced fuel cell electric vehicle and has been sold through central Hyundai channels to selected trial partners since 2013.
Already on the road in 15 countries around the world, including 11 in Europe, ix35 Fuel Cell demonstrates the brand’s technical expertise and commitment to ultra-low emission motoring.
The ix35 Fuel Cell is available for immediate order directly from Hyundai Motor UK.
The second-hand commercial vehicle industry is now global thanks to the entrepreneurial spirit of used buyers, according to Autorola.
UK vendors who sell their used vans and trucks via online or physical auction should not be surprised if their vehicles are purchased and then exported from the UK to the Middle East, the Caribbean, Africa as well as other European countries, particularly eastern Europe.
“Used buyers are prestigious at finding alternative markets for commercial vehicles in particular,” said Jon Mitchell, Autorola UK’s sales director. “Pick-ups, trucks and ex-public utility assets such as refuse collection vehicles and tippers are all in demand.
He continued: “With commercial vehicles it doesn’t matter which side of the vehicle the steering wheel is, it’s all about supplying specific used models to markets that can’t afford to buy new, or who don’t have access to that make or model of vehicle or body conversion in their own country.”
Autorola’s only word of advice to vendors is to ensure their vehicles are professionally deliveried before they are sold to protect their brand from being compromised by the new owner.
The Autorola Group sells vehicles to buyers in 36 countries via its online remarketing portal with vans and trucks proving popular with buyers for export, or cross border supply to other European countries.
The cross border European market for used cars in particular is growing with high volumes of stock moving from one country to another; however it’s not something the UK vendors can benefit from.
“Eastern Europe is importing healthy volumes of used vehicles from the west as its motoring population grows, as are Spain and Portugal where current demand for used cars exceeds supply,” said Mitchell.
“However, UK cars are not usually popular with buyers because they have the steering wheel on the wrong side.”
The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has issued a warning to its members that the Chancellor could announce increases in fuel duty in his Budget Statement on July 8.
FTA has also renewed its support for the successful FairFuelUK campaign that it founded with the Road Haulage Association (RHA) in 2011.
James Hookham, FTA’s deputy chief executive, said: “During the election campaign, the political parties ruled out increases in just about every other tax except fuel duty.
“We know there will be no rise in income tax, National Insurance or VAT. That leaves fuel duty looking vulnerable to future increases but that would be a huge mistake for the Chancellor to make at this stage in the economic cycle.
“With crude oil prices expected to reach $70 a barrel in the next few weeks and the UK economy not growing as quickly as anticipated in the first quarter of 2015, it would be wrong for George Osborne to believe that business transport users and millions of van owners were potential sources of new tax revenue. The Government must not raid road users to fund its election promises.”
FTA, together with its partners in the FairFuelUK campaign, is renewing its call for a 3p a litre cut in duty to help sustain the fragile economic recovery. This would put an extra £360 million into thousands of businesses that rely on commercial vehicles and boost their cash flows and investments, particularly in small and medium-sized companies.
Hookham concluded: “Recent falls in the cost of crude oil have had only a limited impact on UK fuel prices. That’s because over 60% of the bulk diesel price is fuel duty and the UK has had to pay more for its oil as the pound has weakened against the dollar since last summer.
“The reality is that a 40% drop in crude oil prices has only resulted in an 11% decrease in bulk diesel prices paid by a majority of truck fleets and even lower reductions at the forecourt as retailers have sought to increase their margins.
“The Chancellor needs to understand that fuel duty is still off-limits as he considers his Budget Statement in July.”
A survey conducted by Volvo Trucks reveals that incidents of unplanned downtime can be cut by 80 per cent.
In the long term, Volvo’s aim is that unscheduled downtime should become a thing of the past, thanks to the continued growth of online connectivity in trucks, a development that creates entirely new scope for working with preventive maintenance.
Unplanned downtime is perhaps one of the most problematic issues that can affect a haulage operator. Apart from the inconvenience for the driver, it creates extra costs for repairs, lost revenue and, in worst-case scenarios, damage to a customer’s reputation.
“Since much of the transport industry operates on tight margins, any unplanned downtime can hit a haulage company hard. We therefore have to be better at understanding why these unscheduled incidents happen, then help both customers and drivers increase their vehicle uptime and therefore their profitability,” said Hayder Wokil, director quality and uptime, Volvo Trucks.
In order to increase our knowledge on how to help haulage companies boost their uptime, Volvo Trucks recently conducted a comprehensive survey based on real-life user data from 3,500 Volvo trucks gathered over a five-year period. Using this data, the company conducted advanced simulations and generated a variety of possible service situations to analyse how, why and when trucks suffer from unexpected downtime. The aim was to find out how this can be avoided.
“The study clearly showed that by being able to monitor the truck’s usage and the current status of the vehicle’s various key components, it is possible to plan maintenance better. We think we can reduce the amount of unplanned downtime by around 80 per cent if the truck is serviced in time and in response to actual needs,” explained Wokil.
“For instance, a service technician can remotely monitor exactly how the truck is being used in real time, schedule maintenance well in advance before something breaks down, or order replacement parts in advance. What’s more, a scheduled service can also be postponed if the workshop technician can see that the truck’s various components are subject to less wear than expected, thereby saving time for both the haulage operator and the driver.”
Although Volvo Trucks has made considerable progress in this area, Hayder Wokil feels that the development of the use of truck connectivity allied to preventive maintenance is still in its infancy.
“We see considerable potential in this area and see that connected vehicles are the route to zero unplanned downtime in the future,” concluded Wokil.
Carmakers are increasingly incentivising franchise dealer service departments to sell service plans in a bid to reach second and third vehicle owners.
That’s the view of The Warranty Group which said service plans appeal to owners of older cars who want to control their outgoings.
Serkan Obuz, head of corporate sales and training, explained that the strategy allowed access to a market that manufacturers often found it difficult to reach and retain.
He said: “If someone comes into your service department to buy a part for a five or six year old car, it is probably the only time that they ever have any contact with the manufacturer or the franchise network.
“Manufacturers are increasingly recognising this and seeing it as an opportunity to try to build a long term relationship with that person through a service plan.
“The fact is that service plans have strong appeal for owners of older cars who often have tighter budgets. They like the idea of being able to spread the cost of maintaining their car across monthly payments.”
Obuz said success depended on getting the basics right, gaining support from management and training staff.
“It is a question of making a proper commitment to selling service plans through the service department. This means training staff appropriately, providing them with appropriate marketing materials, getting buy-in from management with regular oversight and paying incentives.
“Where manufacturers and dealers are putting this kind of infrastructure in place by working with us, very worthwhile results are being achieved and we expect to see more of this trend developing across all kinds of franchises.”
Welsh Motors has increased business by around a fifth with its MOT and service reminders alone
Vehicle technicians can use CarVue under the bonnet to record vehicle information.
Almost one year after installing cloud-based workshop management system CarVue, the Basingstoke-based independent service and repair garage has been transformed from a paper-based operation to a highly efficient online system.
Owner Michael Hewitt and General Manager Lorna Mosley are able to keep track of accounting, profitability and customer relationship management (CRM) in one place.
Lorna said: “We had never undertaken MOT and service reminders because it was too time consuming. Now all we need to do is run reports around a month in advance to identify any up and coming MOTs or services.
“We send out around 20 a week and we have a fantastic response, it isn’t unusual for 18 to book.”
The online management system provides the business with powerful performance insights as well as everyday workshop management functions.
Employees log onto the system to record the work undertaken on the vehicle, mechanics can even log in using laptops and connect their diagnostic equipment whilst under the bonnet.
Lorna added: “CarVue has enabled us an independent business to adopt efficient processes more likely to be associated with much bigger businesses.”
Public sector fleets that don’t cover long distances should opt for regular cleans to avoid blocked DPFs.
Following news that London’s ultra-low emissions zone (ULEZ) will come into effect in 2020, reconditioning specialist, DPF Clean Team are urging operators investing in new Euro 6 vehicles to pay attention to diesel particulate filters (DPFs) in order to avoid heavy fines.
Many dealerships do not cover DPF maintenance under standard warranties but they will offer to replace a DPF at a cost of 20 times more expensive than DPF cleaning.
The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association is currently leaning on the new UK Government to provide a national framework for ultra-low emissions zones as part of its five point strategy to tackling transport-based air pollution.
With this is mind, Managing Director of DPF Clean Team, Cameron Bryce, insists that the performance of DPFs has never been more important.
Mr Bryce said: “DPFs are gaining importance in the public sector as Euro 6 engines become more common through routine fleet replacement, and via retrofits, to satisfy London’s emissions zone.
“To replace a DPF outside of a warranty agreement can be expensive when compared to the small cost of cleaning a filter, which can get a vehicle back on the road and compliant with the ULEZ very quickly.
“This is not just an issue for public sector fleets travelling through London, but to the entire country if ULEZs are to be rolled out on a national scale.”
Cameron Bryce, whose company already works with major public sector fleets in the UK including Leicestershire and Metropolitan Police Forces, said that too many public sector fleet operators are neglecting their DPF filters.
He added: “We get many calls from drivers who get in touch once they see a warning light on their dashboard, by which point, it could be too late.
“Blocked DPF doesn’t just affect performance levels, it can cause a vehicle to be off the road, incurring greater expense to public sector fleet operators, which they just cannot afford.”
70 per cent of the UK’s ten best-selling models registered in April 2015 boasted Euro-6 tech.
From September 2015, all new car models sold in the EU must meet new Euro 6 regulations, making them the cleanest cars in history.
The latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that UK vehicle manufacturers are ahead of the game, with around half of new car buyers opting for a Euro 6 car last month.
In April, almost one out of every two new cars registered boasted next-generation Euro 6 technology, compared with fewer than one in five in September 2014.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “New car buyers are shifting to these next-generation vehicles. This is the result of huge investment from manufacturers in clean technology – and the quicker we get these Euro 6 cars onto the roads, the quicker we’ll see improvements in air quality.”
Next-generation Euro 6 technology vehicles not only boast the lowest CO2 emissions on record, but they emit virtually zero particulate matter, while nitrogen oxides emissions are more than half those of previous generation motors built in the past five years.
Chief executive of the Institute of the Motor Industry welcomes the ambitious target of the new Government – but questions whether it’s achievable
Steve Nash, CEO of the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), welcomes the ambitious goal of the new Government to see more apprenticeships created than ever before. But, with data from the Skills Funding Agency suggesting that apprenticeship starts in the motor retail sector alone have plateaued in the last 12-18 months, he wonders whether new Minister for Business, Sajid Javid has been set a task too great to achieve.
‘If the Government wants to achieve its goal of three million additional apprenticeships in five years, 50,000 new apprenticeships need to be created every single month – and the clock’s already ticking!’ said Steve Nash. ‘Making the task even more challenging is the fact that young people will soon have to be in education or training until they are 18, which means that schools will inevitably be reluctant to release all but the least academically able students into vocational training, which is not what business needs. Furthermore, the desperate lack of careers advice in schools will make it extremely difficult for candidates and their families to make reasoned choices.
‘In their manifesto, the Conservatives promised to give employers much more control of apprenticeships so that they can ‘teach in the workplace’. The IMI is encouraged by this because we firmly believe that employers need to be able to tailor apprenticeships to their specific needs. We do, however, still have some concerns about the plan to replace job seekers allowance for 18-21 year olds with a ‘youth allowance’, limited to six months and then requiring the young person to take on an apprenticeship, traineeship or community work to continue to receive benefits. Is there a risk this will create a significant number of trainees or apprentices that are not actually in it for the training but just to secure their benefits? High quality apprenticeships of the type that the government are exhorting businesses to create require high quality candidates, not conscripts….!’
Overall the government’s clear commitment to apprenticeships is extremely positive. The IMI has many decades’ experience in delivering apprenticeship programmes and it welcomes the opportunity to talk to Sajid Javid and minister for skills, Nick Boles, to identify ways to help the Government’s achieve its ambitious goals.
Toyota Motor kept its title as the most valuable car brand in 2015 despite recent airbag recalls denting its worth, according to a study.
BMW remained No. 2, according to the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands study released today by market researcher Millward Brown. Mercedes-Benz was third.
Toyota’s brand value fell 2 percent to $28.9 billion, according to the study.
“When you look at the trust the Toyota brand generates from car owners, there is little dent from the airbag issues,” Peter Walshe, Global BrandZ director at Millward Brown, told Automotive News Europe. “The customer experience, the good value, and the quality that customers trust see the brand through.”
Honda was the only other top 10 brand to have its value drop besides Toyota, as it also suffered from the effects of airbag recall issues. Its brand value fell 5 percent to $13.3 billion.
Toyota and Honda are among automakers forced to recalls millions of vehicles, mainly in the U.S., fitted with airbag inflators supplied by Takata that can erupt with too much force, spraying shrapnel inside the car.
Toyota has been No. 1 in eight of the 10 years the study has been carried out.
Second-ranked BMW’s value increased 2 percent to $26.4 billion. BMW received a boost from its innovative i8 plug-in hybrid sports car and i3 battery-powered hatchback. Mercedes’s brand value rose 1 percent to $21.8 billion.
Audi was the fastest-rising car brand, overtaking parent Volkswagen for the No. 7 spot. Audi’s brand value increased 43 percent to $10.1 billion compared to 2014, according to the study.
“A lot of Audi’s success has much to do with what the brand stands for and what it means to consumers,” Walshe said. “It really stresses in a consistent way and communicates what is different and special about the brand: technology, safety, and the benefit to consumers, with good advertising supporting it.”
Ford Motor’s value increased at the second-fastest clip by 11 percent.
Land Rover overtook Chevrolet for the No. 9 spot by appealing to customers’ demand for SUVs while surpassing expectations with the luxury driving experience it offers, Walshe said. “Land Rover is not worried about being worth the premium price it charges, because that is what makes the brand desirable,” Walshe said.
Land Rover is also doing particularly well in China where it now has production, Walshe said. “Land Rover’s success in China is a big step, because up until now, the brand has mainly been about quality in the UK,” he said.
Toyota’s Lexus brand overtook Hyundai to rank No. 10 thanks to its association with luxury and reliability, Walshe said. “While Lexus is oriented towards the U.S., the brand is about absolute quality and complete differentiation, leadership and being very well managed,” Walshe said.
Source: Automotive News Europe
Android smartphone users with a 2015 Sonata sedan can now ask car dealers to download the system for free if they have a vehicle with navigation.
It connects to the driver’s smartphone and allows them to access apps like Google Maps by voice, steering wheel controls or a touchscreen on the dashboard.
The plan was first announced in 2014.
In January last year, Google said it was working with automakers including Hyundai, Audi and Honda to integrate the system in to their dashboards.
The tech giant said the system would be offered in 28 different brands by the 2016 model year.
Apple, its main rival, had also signed similar deals with BMW, GM and Honda.
Hyundai, which is the world’s fifth largest auto group with affiliate Kia Motors, said it planned to offer the android system in other models, along with Apple’s version of the system called CarPlay soon as well.
It added that the “high technology experience” also improves the driver’s safety.
“The smartphone’s screen becomes locked, so drivers are not tempted to look down and interact with their phones directly while Android Auto is in use,” the carmaker said in a statement.
Source: BBC News