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Companies and Markets
VW reports leap in earnings after leadership crisis
Volkswagen yesterday reported a sharp rise in first-quarter earnings in the aftermath of a tumultuous weekend that culminated in the resignation of group chairman Ferdinand Piech. The German carmaker, which ranks second in global sales behind Toyota, has been reeling from two weeks of boardroom turmoil that led Mr Piech to quit after signalling that he no longer supported chief executive Martin Winterkorn.
Gazprom profits down 86% amid rouble woes
Gazprom’s net profit fell 86 per cent last year amid heavy foreign exchange losses, a protracted dispute with Ukraine and mild weather. Russia’s state-controlled gas group, however, also reported record cash flow for 2014 as it cut capital expenditure and trimmed operating costs, in similar moves to other large energy companies hit by the sharp fall in oil prices.
Diesel drivers face curbs on entering city centres
Drivers of diesel cars face higher road taxes and daily charges if they enter city centres after the Supreme Court ordered the government to strengthen its plans for cutting air pollution. The unanimous ruling by five judges requires the government to submit new air quality plans to the European Commission “no later” than December 31.
Cars of future will run on air and water
The fuel of the future could just have been revealed – and it almost looks identical to the fuel of the past. However, if the synthetic diesel created by Audi is successful, there would be one crucial difference – rather than coming out of the ground, it will be made from air and water.
Unite warns of industrial action at Rolls-Royce
Discontent at Rolls-Royce over the cutting of 2,600 jobs during a time of record orders could lead to industrial action, trade union leaders warned. Days after John Rishton, Rolls’ chief executive, announced that he was leaving, a letter from Unite, the trade union, accused him and the company of sending jobs to its overseas operations.
Weir sheds more jobs in oil slump
Slumping orders for oil and gas projects in the wake of the oil price collapse have forced the engineer Weir to cut another 125 jobs. Since the start of the year, the US oil-rig count has more than halved, sending orders in Weir’s oil and gas division down 23 per cent in the first quarter.
UKOG told to clarify search licences
UK Oil and Gas Investments (UKOG) was asked by the London Stock Exchange earlier this week to issue a clarification over the Horse Hill oil well following questions that were raised over its regulatory approvals and licences to search in the area, The Daily Telegraph revealed.
Rolls faces strikes
Rolls-Royce is facing industrial action because it hasn’t ruled out compulsory redundancies, the Unite union warned last night. Unite claimed the workforce is angry that the engine-maker, down 8p to 1030p, is going ahead with plans to cut 2600 jobs, including some highly skilled posts in its UK aerospace operations, despite a record £6bn order from Emirates Airlines.
Major fossil fuel companies hit back at keep it in the ground campaign
The world’s biggest fossil fuel companies are taking a defiant stance against warnings that reserves of coal, oil and gas are already several times larger than can be burned if the government are to meet their pledge to tackle climate change.
There are some really interesting reports out this week that are well worth taking a look at in a bit more detail. The (ONS) Office for National Statistics is the first one that caught our attention this week, having had firsthand experience of car theft myself in early 2000 I was surprised at how the number of stolen vehicles has dropped significantly in just over a decade. Vehicles stolen in England & Wales have fallen by an incredible 70% since 2004 that’s a yearly reduction of nearly 162,000 vehicles. This decrease would appear to be a direct result of vehicle manufacturers simply making cars more secure, cars are just more difficult to steal now than they were 10 years ago.
As cars have become more secure over the last decade consumers have also been more inclined to change their perceptions and buying patterns away from petrol engines to more efficient and lower CO2 producing diesel engines. In a report by (NAMA) National Franchised Dealers Association out this week they highlight the switch to diesel with petrol sales now the lowest in 25 years.
The final report by BRAKE gives an insight into the disregard for road traffic laws by motorists within the UK 49% of drivers admit to breaking traffic laws. Take a look at the report as it highlights the risks drivers are taking and their justification for doing so.
Switch to diesel leads to lowest petrol sales in 25 years
Petrol sales fell 10% in March to a record low of 1.31bn litres following a 4% growth in February when drivers took advantage of prices 22p a litre lower than the year before.
Sue Robinson, Director of the National Franchised Dealers Association, comments: “This March has seen the lowest petrol sales in 25 years due to rising pump prices.
Business drivers and commercial vehicles are dominating diesel engines which is why diesel’s share of new car sales has been increasing steadily with figures published for 2014 showing more than half of new car sales were of diesel vehicles. Diesel sales have overtaken petrol due to the increased number of commercial vehicles on the roads facing increased journeys due to internet sales and delivery.
Robinson continues: “The decline in petrol sales has been apparent for several years as motorists switched to diesel for better fuel economy and lower carbon dioxide emissions. Diesel fuel sales overtook petrol sales in 2007 (diesel 25.5bn v petrol 24bn litres) and have continued to grow to 27.9bn litres in 2014 in contrast to just 17.6bn litres of petrol.”