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Is Tesla heading for trouble?
Tesla is facing more questions about its financial viability ahead of its latest results on Wednesday. The electric car-maker is facing a cash crunch, caused by a combination of a major debt load and heavy spending. Tesla boss Elon Musk says the firm could be profitable this year and dismissed concerns with an April Fool’s Day joke about bankruptcy. However, analysts are less jovial and say Tesla’s problems are serious.
Brexiteers send customs ‘ultimatum’ to Theresa May
Senior Brexiteer MPs have delivered an “ultimatum” demanding Theresa May drops one of the government’s preferred post-Brexit customs options. A 30-page document passed to the BBC says a “customs partnership” would make meaningful trade deals “impossible” to forge and render the UK’s International Trade Department “obsolete”. It comes ahead of a key meeting of senior ministers on Wednesday. They will discuss the different options to replace customs union membership. The issue threatens to split the meeting of the Brexit sub-committee and could have long-term implications for the government.
Shocking numbers work while ill, report says
Employers are seeing more staff turning up to work while ill, according to a report from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). It surveyed more than 1,000 organisations this year and found that 86% had observed staff attending work while ill, or “presenteeism”. The rise compares with a survey in 2010 when just 26% of employers observed the behaviour. The CIPD also found high numbers of staff willing to work while on holiday. The scale of the problem is “shocking” according to Rachel Suff, Senior Employment Relations Adviser at the CIPD who said “people feel under even more pressure to work”. She said employers need to do more to tackle the issue.
Ford and Chrysler US new vehicle sales hold strong in April
Ford and Fiat Chrysler, two of the three biggest Detroit automakers, reported stronger than expected April US new vehicle sales as consumer demand appeared to be holding up in the face of higher petrol prices and interest rates. Fiat Chrysler sales came in stronger than expected up 4.5 per cent at 184,149, thanks largely to strong Jeep sales despite higher petrol prices that might depress demand for larger vehicles that use more fuel. Analysts had forecast FCA sales would fall year on year in April. Ford US new vehicle sales fell 4.7 per cent for the month to 204,651, less than analysts had predicted based partly on the fact that April this year had two fewer selling days than the same month a year ago.
Consumer borrowing collapses as nervous households take cover
City analysts have warned that the economy is facing a “credit slump” after the amount that consumers borrowed on credit cards, overdrafts and car loans collapsed in March. The Bank of England said that high street lenders had provided £300 million of credit to consumers in March, down from £1.7 billion the previous month and below the monthly average of £1.5 billion since December. The figure was the smallest since 2012 and pushed the annual growth rate in consumer credit down to 8.4 per cent, from 9.4 per cent in February. Sterling fell to the lowest level against the dollar since January on the back of the consumer credit figures and a drop in manufacturing output. Traders believe that the Bank of England will respond to the weak economic data by holding off raising interest rates next month.
Businessman Stephen Winyard donates thousands to fix potholes
A businessman has given £10,000 to his local council to fix the potholes and pavements in his home town. Stephen Winyard, managing director of the Stobo Castle health resort near Peebles, handed over the cash to Scottish Borders council to kick-start repairs on the area’s crumbling roads. Mr Winyard, 68, said: “In no way should this be construed as a criticism of the council’s roads department. They have done a Herculean job in keeping our roads clear during the most extreme weather conditions we have experienced for many years. The reality is such that they have been left with an unprecedented backlog of repairs, all to be addressed within the constraints of a finite budget.” Motorists from across the Borders regularly use social media to air their anger at the state of the roads in the region.
Young drivers are ‘priced off the roads’ by motoring taxes
Stealth motoring taxes risk pricing young drivers off the road, according to a report to be published today. Without government action to help to bring down costs, the economy could suffer as young workers become unable to afford their journey to work, the study by comparethemarket.com says. The Young Drivers report found that the cost of running a car for those aged 17 to 24 had risen by £180 over the past two years because of higher insurance and fuel prices. On average such a driver will now pay £2,381 to run a car in their first year of driving, more than half of which goes on insurance. Insurance premium tax has doubled to 12 per cent in three years, with young drivers badly affected because they already pay higher premiums.