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There has been little impact of the Brexit vote on the UK economy so far, says the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
“The referendum result appears, so far, not to have had a major effect,” its chief economist Joe Grice said. Official figures have not yet reflected the collapse in confidence predicted by some surveys since the referendum. But the ONS warned that we have not yet had official figures for the service sector, which are due next week.
Volkswagen is facing €8.2bn ($9.1bn; £7bn) in damages claims from 1,400 German investors over its emissions scandal, a state court has said. The regional court in Braunschweig near VW’s Wolfsburg headquarters said it received 750 lawsuits on Monday alone. A year ago, an investigation in the US found that VW had cheated emissions tests for diesel cars by using special software.
VW faces a flood of actions and has set aside €16.2bn to cover the lawsuits.
Foreign demand for British cars has helped push automotive manufacturing to its best August for 14 years as the industry reported a boom in exports following sterling’s post-Brexit plunge. UK car plants produced 109,004 new cars last month, a 9.1pc increase from the previous year, with the majority of cars destined overseas. In the past 12 months, 1.13m vehicles have been made in the country, up 12pc from last year. Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which collates the figures, said they were “welcome news for the UK economy” amid concerns that Brexit would put the brakes on new car sales.”
Confidence among small businesses is at a four-year low because of concerns among companies that the economy will weaken as Britain prepares to leave the European Union. A survey by the Federation of Small Businesses has revealed that confidence has fallen for the third consecutive quarter. Those who are pessimistic about their prospects outweighed those feeling optimistic for the first time since 2012. The lobby group described the study as a wake-up call for politicians to act to “avoid an economic slowdown”. The gloomy sentiment came despite several relatively positive economic indicators in the wake of June’s vote.
Volkswagen Group pledged to fix all cars equipped with illicit engine software in Europe by autumn 2017, the European Commission said on Wednesday after talks with the carmaker to ensure it is doing enough for affected clients. At a meeting with consumer Commissioner Vera Jourova, VW board member Francisco Javier Garcia Sanz committed to a plan to inform customers by year’s end of the need for a technical fix to bring diesel cars into line with EU caps on toxic nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, Jourova’s spokesman said. The automaker also committed “to have all cars repaired by autumn 2017,” spokesman Christian Wigand said, adding the company would offer clients “proof of conformity.”
VW has admitted that it installed improper software that deactivated pollution controls on more than 11 million diesel vehicles sold worldwide.
Apple’s possible acquisition of McLaren Technology Group, first reported in the Financial Times, could be just what the company’s troubled self-driving car effort, code-named Project Titan, needs to get back on track. The loss-making British automotive group is far more than just a Formula 1 team and supercar manufacturer. It has a tradition for innovation stretching back decades, including the first carbon fibre car in Formula 1 and the first carbon fibre-bodied road car, the McLaren F1.
If Apple intends to market a high-end, self-driving electric vehicle, the low weight and high strength of carbon fibre make it an ideal construction material. McLaren’s entire current range is engineered around a carbon fibre chassis. McLaren also has expertise in electric propulsion, having developed a high performance electric drive system for the hybrid McLaren P1 road car. McLaren’s P1 electric motor was subsequently used in the inaugural season of the FIA Formula E in 2014, and McLaren continues to provide components for cars in the championship.