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Volkswagen’s senior board is meeting this week with the company’s works council to agree on its future investment and production capacity in the wake of the emissions scandal.
Matthias Müller, VW chief executive and Bernd Osterloh, chairman of the group works council will be in talks over the next 10 days “in order to find a common path for the future of the company”.
Müller said: “In the present difficult situation we must jointly make decisions that factor in economics just as much as employment.
“I attach great importance to the views and experience of our works councils. In light of the changed circumstances, we are facing an ambitious task. We will be prioritizing forward-looking products and technologies. Osterloh and I agree that this is the key factor for reliably safeguarding both the future success of our company and employment.”
It is currently unclear whether the crisis the company is facing will mean redundancies and cancelled model launches in order to save money. VW is currently offering affected customers in the US up to $1,000 in vouchers as a way of compensation and the scandal is expected to cost the company billions of pounds. VW has already set aside £1.4bn due to the discovery of CO2 irregularities on 800,000 vehicles, an issue separate to the US NOx emissions scandal.
Germany’s transport ministry has said Volkswagen is also likely to need to make more than just software changes to nearly a quarter of the 2.4 million diesel cars being recalled in the country. The ministry told the Associated Press on Monday that of the vehicles being recalled for fixes in Germany, the Federal Motor Transport Authority “currently expects that approximately 540,000 will also need hardware changes”. Some analysts estimate the total cost of the scandal to come to over £23.2bn.
The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association say new tests will phase out diesels earlier than planned.
European Union countries have agreed a compromise deal that would still allow diesel vehicles on the road to emit twice the level of toxic nitrous oxides (NOx) permitted by official limits measured in laboratories after the VW emissions scandal put ‘real world’ emissions into the spotlight.
Currently some diesels are emitting four to five times more NOx than official limits.
By 2020, the emissions from all new models must not be greater than 1.5 times the technical limit – the same rule will apply to all new vehicles from 2021.
Responding to the news, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) which represents firms including Volkswagen, said the deal was ‘challenging’.
In a statement, the ACEA said: “As a direct consequence, a substantial number of diesel models will have to be phased out earlier than planned.
Car servicing has now overtaken the MOT as the biggest driver of customers to workshops.
All-round servicing and ongoing maintenance now accounts for 26% of all workshop bookings to both franchised and independent outlets, representing an increase of two percentage points over 2013.
In contrast, the number of MOT workshop bookings has dropped, with the annual test of roadworthiness for older vehicles slipping to second place and now accounting for just 21% of bookings down four percentage points on 2013.
Workshop activity solely for tyre changes is also down one percentage point to 21%.
The research found that the total number of workshop bookings has declined by 2.4%, from 35.2 million entries in 2013 to 34.36 million in 2014.
The average frequency of workshop visits is now just 1.15 visit per car per year.
Renault Retail Group has appointed Barry Jones as managing director of its UK operations, replacing Richard Hemming who takes on a new role outside the group.
Jones will oversee all of the Renault Retail Group’s activities across its Renault, Dacia and Nissan sites in the UK.
He joined the Renault Retail Group in 1999 as general sales manager at Renault Manchester.
Following a period of time as regional director for the group covering the North West and the Midlands, he has been operations director across the UK for the last six months.
Renault Retail Group is the second largest Automotive Group in Europe, with 19 outlets in the UK including 18 Renault sites, six Nissan and one used car supermarket.
Jones said: “Having worked for the Renault Retail Group since 1999, I am very proud to be appointed as managing director, especially during a time of great growth for our manufacturer partners.
“I’ve always been committed to achieving such a position within the group and I look forward to driving the company towards the next level of volume in line with Renault, Nissan and Dacia’s aspirations.”
The BVRLA is urging the Government to support its call for businesses to be able to reclaim 60% of the VAT on hire or lease payments.
Having surveyed a wide variety of companies for their leased business cars’ mileage data, the BVRLA has been able to provide clear evidence that more than 60% of the total miles travelled annually by leased cars is for business use.
At present, businesses can reclaim 50% of the VAT incurred on the finance element of a company car lease or hire, and the European Commission has to approve this ‘derogation’, which requires the UK Government to justify and renew it every three years.
The 50% rate has been set since 1995, and the current arrangement comes to an end on December 31, 2015.
Gerry Keaney, chief executive of the BVRLA, said: “The results of our 2015 survey provide robust evidence that the UK Government should now renew the VAT derogation to ensure UK firms leasing cars are able to lawfully and fairly reclaim 60% of the VAT paid on the finance element of hire or lease payments.”
The BVRLA has provided HM Revenue and Customs with the evidence from more than 61,000 leased vehicles used for business and private use.
Between them, these drivers had covered more than 795 million miles in the past calendar year.
Hundreds of MPs and the campaign team FairFuelUK have called for a 3p cut in fuel duty, telling the Chancellor that ‘such a cut has been proven will benefit the economy and the Exchequer’.
MPs, together with representatives from FairFuelUK, Freight Transport Association and Road Haulage Association, have today delivered a letter to George Osborne calling for the fuel duty cut.
The letter contained the results from last week’s FairFuelUK survey which shows 75% of drivers said they want a real cut in duty with 92.4% supporting a cut or, as only a last resort, to continue Osborne’s freeze in this levy.
Howard Cox, founder of the FairFuelUK campaign, said: “The Chancellor knows very well through our extensive empirical evidence that cutting fuel duty is proven to accelerate growth in GDP, it also creates more jobs, helps inflation, increases consumer spending and business investment.
“These benefits have been acknowledged by the Treasury itself plus economic experts such as NIESR, CEBR, IMF and the Bank of England.
“In fact, in April 2014 the Treasury said that low fuel duty actually helps the wider economy and that GDP will rise by 0.5% by not enacting Labour’s previously planned fuel duty escalators, giving drivers more to spend.
“It’s no coincidence the current economic renaissance is as a result of the recent sustained period of lower pump prices.”