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New car buyers are increasing the rate at which they replace their cars according to research by Paragon Car Finance.
The Paragon Car Finance Headlight Survey of market trends noticed by finance brokers found that 55% of new car buyers plan to change their cars once every two to three years, compared with 48% in Q2 2015 when the first survey was conducted.
Car buyers are also now prepared to increase their monthly payments to secure the car of their choice. Over Q4 2015 four out of ten brokers (44%) reported an increase in monthly payments compared with just 9% in the previous quarter.
The quarterly research polls the views of 30 motor finance brokers who supply dealers and arrange finance direct with customers.
The research also found that most brokers (72%) expect the 2016 new car market to be on a par with 2015.
“After several years of strong growth, the broker community is clearly expecting to see a gradual cooling off in the rate of new car sales growth,” said Julian Rance, head of Paragon Car Finance.
“Encouragingly, car buyer confidence remains high and with expectations that UK interest rates will now stay lower for longer, we should continue to see healthy levels of activity across the new and used car market in the UK for the foreseeable future”.
David Peel, chief executive of Peugeot Citroen Retail (PCR) Group UK, has been appointed managing director of Peugeot UK.
The move comes as Neil Moscrop, brand director Peugeot UK, retires at the end of March 2016.
Peel will report to PSA UK director General, Stéphane Le Guével. He will be replaced as CEO at the retail group by the current sales director James Weston who will report to Jean-Philippe Imparato, head of PCR.
Weston has worked within Robins & Day since 2001, having joined the group as assistant sales manager at Robins & Day Chiswick before progressing to general sales manager at the site. He has been in his current role for the past three years.
Peel said: “I am both proud and delighted to be Peugeot UK’s new managing director. The Peugeot product range has recently completed an accelerated invigoration phase, and today has its most appealing line up.
“I am really excited and passionate about the opportunity to lead Peugeot in the UK and will draw from my considerable retail experience to drive the brand forward.”
Data from the major motor auctions shows that ex-fleet stock is failing to match the prices of a year ago, although dealer part-exchanges are faring better.
Overall, the national value of the average used car was up by £155 in January from December, according to data from the National Association of Motor Auctions (NAMA).
Its report shows that the average sales price rose by 1.7% from £5,534 to £5,689. Compared to January 2014 there was also a rise of 1.7% from £5,592.
Sales volumes for January rocketed 57.5% from December 2015, in the usual seasonal pattern, however year-on-year January’s vehicle auction sales volume was 0.5% down at 110,322 units.
The proportion of vehicles sold first time in January was 84%, 2ppts higher than both a month and a year previously.
Road safety and breakdown breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist has added its support to calls for a new European target to reduce serious road injuries.
GEM is also calling for also targets to be re-introduced as part of the UK’s road safety policy.
GEM chief executive David Williams MBE said: “We know that targets have been a successful driver of reduction in road deaths. That’s why we are in favour of setting a tough long-term target for reducing serious injuries on our roads by 50%.
“It’s worrying to observe that more than 200,000 people suffer life-changing injuries on Europe’s roads every year, and numbers increased by three per cent in 2014. The UK saw a small reduction in injuries for the year ending September 2015.
“Bear in mind that there have been significant advances in potentially life-saving vehicle safety technology over recent years, so there is the potential for substantial reductions in the number of people being seriously injured on our roads.
“However, technology alone cannot solve the problem. We believe setting tough targets for serious injury reduction would help road safety professionals, the police and the courts to address the human factors and the pressing issue of driver behaviour.
“Consolidated action here to crack down on the worst offenders would play a significant role in reducing injuries”.
Road casualty reduction targets were introduced by Conservative roads safety minister Peter Bottomley in the 1980s. They have been credited with galvanising effort across the board to drive down deaths and injuries on the roads. However, they were abolished in May 2011 under transport secretary Philip Hammond.
Leading carmakers ignore disclosure requests from investors on CO2 emissions
Renault/Nissan, Peugeot Citroen PSA and Ford have dismissed the views of investors with over £625bn of assets under management by failing to respond to their requests for more information on lobbying and on compliance with CO2 and efficiency standards in both the EU and the US.
In the wake of the VW emissions test cheating in October 2015, a group of investors wrote to the largest automotive manufacturers asking for more information about lobbying on tailpipe emissions standards in the US and Europe, and on compliance with those standards.
As well as writing to Renault/Nissan, PSA and Ford, who never responded at all, investors wrote to VW, BMW, Daimler, Honda, Toyota, GM, and Fiat Chrysler, who each provided varying degrees of detail.
Charlotta Dawidowski Sydstrand, ESG Manager at Swedish fund AP7 said: “We notice that several big companies have failed to respond to the request and conclude that there is a transparency problem in the industry. From a long term investor’s perspective this is bad news. Lack of transparency impairs the ability of the market to price risks properly. AP7 wants to be reassured that carmakers’ political lobbying activities are contributing to a safe climate, in turn protecting the long term value of our portfolios.”
Volkswagen lost over 15 billion euros of investor’s money when the scandal broke last year. The company chose not to disclose its opposition to more ambitious EU vehicle emissions standards post-2021. Rumours that Renault was raided as part of the investigation into emissions testing resulted in a 20% drop in its share price in early 2016. Renault ignored the investors’ requests for disclosure and VW made no mention of the scandal and its implications in its response.
Daimler offered a one-line assurance that “there is no reason to be concerned” about the company’s involvement in the legislative process. This is despite the fact Daimler has routinely paid fines to the US government for not complying with CAFE efficiency standards. Daimler also ranked very poorly for CO2 fleet emissions in 2015 the EU.
By contrast, Japanese carmakers Toyota and Honda, both leaders in fleet emissions and efficiency offered a good degree of information, as did General Motors and BMW.
The results have been published in a report drawn up by ShareAction and InfluenceMap, together with recommendations for investors.
Catherine Howarth, CEO, ShareAction said: “The investors who came together to question global automakers on their lobbying activities have done the wider market a service in helping identify those car makers that remain unwilling to come clean about this murky and increasingly risky aspect of their business. Shareholders should continue to press for answers in the interests of having greater visibility on car markers’ lobbying activities.”
Dylan Tanner, Executive Director, Influence Map said:
“The one line ‘trust us’ style response from Daimler to investor requests for detailed disclosures in the wake of the Volkswagen scandal will not sit well with shareholders; let alone the ones who ignored the requests altogether. Fiat-Chrysler’s comprehensive and fairly positive response does not tally with recent statements on US regulations from its CEO on the difficulties in complying with future US standards. Compliance with ever stringent CO2 and efficiency standards are key business risks for these companies and investors have a right to understand what they are doing.”
Seb Beloe, Head of Research at WHEB Group said: “The Volkswagen debacle has firmly established the relevance of vehicle emissions performance for automotive companies. Leading businesses are able to demonstrate coherent product strategies that underpin premium valuations in the sector. The lack of response from other companies including Nissan/Renault, Peugeot, Citroen and Ford raises real questions about the approach these companies are taking to this issue and potentially undermining their ability to maintain share in markets that are characterised by rapidly strengthening emission standards. ”