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Slowing demand for new cars caused a slowdown in growth at Pendragon in the first half of the year, but the UK’s largest car dealership said it is performing “strongly” and believes uncertainty after the UK’s Brexit vote is not affecting consumers’ desire for large purchases. The FTSE 250-listed group, which operates the Evans Halshaw and Stratstone brands, increased revenues by 1.5 per cent to £2.3bn in the first six months of the year, compared to growth of 10.7 per cent in the same period last year.
Pre-tax profit declined 31.3 per cent compared to the same period last year, but underlying profit, the company’s preferred measure of performance, grew by 9.7 per cent to £44.2m. The previous year’s non-underlying figures benefited from the £23.8m disposal of Pendragon’s investment in a subsidiary property company.
Supermarkets have cut petrol and diesel prices by up to 2p per litre but motoring organisations said that the reductions should have come sooner and campaigners said that petrol companies were hiding behind the EU result to keep margins high. Asda has announced a national cap on prices, so motorists will not pay more than 105.7p for unleaded petrol and 106.7p for diesel at its 272 filling stations. Andy Peake said: “We always pass on any savings we can make to our customers, so it’s great to see that costs have dropped despite early predictions that the cost of fuel would increase following the EU referendum.”
Fresh signs of falling demand and job cuts in Britain’s manufacturing sector have raised pressure on the Bank of England to soothe post-referendum jitters with an interest rate cut this week. Factory activity shrank at the fastest pace for more than three years in July as uncertainty about the political and economic outlook hit domestic orders and a weaker pound drove up the cost of imported materials for manufacturers, according to a closely watched survey. News that the decline in manufacturing activity last month was steeper than first thought echoed other reports of a hit to business and consumer confidence from the Brexit vote and sparked fresh calls for government action to shore up economic growth.
10-month investigation finds a large number of diesel cars emit much higher levels of pollution than their manufacturers claim. French investigators have found a large number of diesel cars emit much higher levels of pollution than their European manufacturers claim.
The claims were revealed by France’s environment ministry after a 10-month investigation ordered following the “Dieselgate” scandal over Volkswagen’s use of software to cheat emissions tests. According to the independent committee’s report, around a third of the 86 diesel vehicles tested produced levels of toxic nitrogen oxides (NOx) well above European limits. The results echo similar findings in tests by the UK’s Department for Transport.
The worst offenders were the Fiat 500X, Volvo V40, the Renault Talisman and Espace models, the Nissan Qashqai and the Ford Kuga, Opel Astra and Mokka.
Environment ministry revokes certification of models that had fabricated documents for emissions and noise-level tests. South Korea is suspending sales of 80 Volkswagen models as part of a widening investigation into the German carmaker’s emissions cheating scandal.
The environment ministry said most of the models had been showcased for sale until recently, and added that the problem vehicles had fabricated documents for emissions and noise-level tests.
“As of August 2 we have revoked the certification of 83,000 vehicles of 80 models,” said a ministry statement.
The House of Lords could delay Brexit and help trigger a second referendum, a Conservative peer has suggested. Baroness Wheatcroft said peers could withhold their approval of invoking Article 50, the process which triggers a country’s exit from the EU. In an interview with The Times, she said: “If it comes to a bill, I think the Lords might actually delay things. There is still debate over whether the Government can trigger Article 50 without the approval of Parliament. But Baroness Wheatcroft, who campaigned to remain in Europe, said she would back peers delaying the move. She went on: “I would hope, while we delayed things, that there would be sufficient movement in the EU to justify putting it to the electorate, either through a general election or a second referendum.” Meanwhile, Lord Heseltine has said the country may need a general election in order for Parliament to approve Britain leaving the EU.