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LotusCompanies and Markets – Lotus pins its hopes in rising sales and a new model to shift up a gear

It is turning into an auspicious car year for Lotus. The Norfolk sports car maker has released its sales figures for the year to the end of March 2015, and the number is strangely appropriate – 2,015.

Paragon extends vehicle refurbishment contract with General Motors UK

Paragon has signed a new long-term deal with General Motors UK to refurbish more than 30,000 vehicles a year.

The renewal of the contract will lead to further investment at Paragon’s Corby site as its facilities are expanded and upgraded.

The company has also been appointed to handle logistics for vehicles delivered out of the site to Vauxhall dealers.

Toni Sozzo, national used car sales manager at Vauxhall Motor, said: “Paragon continues to prove an efficient partner for our used vehicle supply chain.

“It shares our passion for innovation and continually strives to improve the service it provides.”

Paragon is the UK’s largest supplier of end of life and PDI services for vehicle manufacturers, handling more than 750,000 vehicles last year.

Source: fleetsnews.co.uk

FTADisagreement over whether HGV speed limit rise will improve road safety

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) says that the change to the speed limit for HGVs will improve road safety for all road users.

It supports the HGV national speed limit on single carriageway roads being increased from 40mph to 50mph, which came into force yesterday (Monday, April 6).

The Department for Transport (DfT) revealed in July 2014 that the change to the national speed limit on single carriageways in England and Wales would come into force this spring.

FTA supported the decision to change the speed limit for HGVs, stating that it would mean an improvement in road safety as the differential between HGVs and other road users would be reduced.

The Association added that the changes would allow single carriageway roads in the UK to be used more effectively and safely.

Malcolm Bingham, FTA’s head of road network management policy, said: “This is a move to improve safety for all on single carriageway roads where the 20mph speed differential between cars and trucks can lead to hasty overtaking manoeuvres that sadly often result in casualties.

Source: fleetnews.co.uk

FleetNews86% of fleets have experienced an accident in past year, IAM Drive & Survive finds

The majority (86%) of fleets have experienced an accident in the past 12 months, according to research from IAM Drive & Survive.

It surveyed fleet professionals within 100 businesses on their approach to, and experience of, accidents involving their fleet and found that:

• Only 14% of fleets had not had any vehicle incidents in their fleet in the past 12 months.
• Every fleet had suffered on-road incidents that were caused by their driver, i.e. an ‘at fault’ incident.
• Nearly half of all fleets said the average cost of repair per vehicle was more than £1,000.
• Only 33% of fleets said at-fault drivers faced some sort of punitive measure, i.e. fine, excess payments, etc.
• Over half said they didn’t offer any post-incident driver training as a means of reducing the risk of repeat incidents.

The report on the findings An analysis of bent metal amongst company fleets stated: “The research shows that many companies are not addressing correctly this significant and avoidable overhead by putting in place sufficient measures to reduce the risk of incidents happening, or more worryingly, happening again to the same drivers.

Source: fleetnews.co.uk

JaguarLandroverJLR to launch ‘innovation incubator’

Jaguar Land Rover has announced a new initiative to support the development of future infotainment technologies in the US.

Jaguar Land Rover will now launch an ‘Innovation Incubator’ project in Portland, Oregon, to encourage, promote and support new software-based automotive technologies that are being developed by US technology start-ups.

The focus will be on finding innovators who have great potential ideas, but need Jaguar Land Rover’s technical help to make these concepts a reality. The Innovation Incubator project begins in May 2015 with an outreach program to US universities. It will select around 120 start-up companies for Jaguar Land Rover to work with over the next decade.

Nick Rogers, engineering director, Jaguar Land Rover, said, ‘As well as pioneering new ideas and developing our own technologies in-house, we want to develop even more collaborative partnerships with the world’s leading technology businesses. We want to cast a wide net and invite technology start-ups to pitch us their ideas, rather like TV’s Shark Tank or Dragon’s Den. If we think they’ve got something innovative that could enhance the experience customers have in our vehicles, we want to support them and help develop their ideas.’

This support includes a space in a new ‘Innovation Incubator’ centre that will be developed in Portland specifically to accommodate these technology start-ups. Jaguar Land Rover will also recruit 50 experienced engineers who will work directly with these start-ups in Portland to help them make their ideas a reality.

Source: bodyshopmag.com

Glass'sGlass’s chooses Experian as data partner

A new data provision deal has been agreed between information services company Experian and Glass’s.

Experian has won the contract to provide the vehicle information which enables Glass’s, publishers of a trade pricing guide, to link its data and propositions to a specific vehicle via the vehicle registration mark (VRM).

The VRM data will also be used internally by Glass’s for project work and its growing consultancy activities.

Source: am-online.com

Mechanify offers motorists self-diagnosis of faults and mechanic finder

Motorists are being offered a new website that puts them in touch with a mechanic in the event of a breakdown.

Mechanify.com also allows drivers to first ‘self-diagnose’ the problem before it reaches the repairer.

Mechanics who sign up to ‘Mechanify.com’ on a monthly subscription are able to price themselves against other mechanics in the local area.

A ‘mechanics area’ on the website enables them to manage business information, appointment, bookings, and get customer feedback.

The fee is described as “less than a Yellow Pages ad”.

Source: am-online.com

VauxhallVauxhall appoints Allianz as warranty provider for Network Q

Vauxhall’s Network Q has appointed Allianz Global Assistance as its sole supplier of warranty services.

Under the new agreement, Network Q retailers can make use of a Vauxhall branded Warranty Extranet, which aims to speed up warranty registrations and claims submissions for the network which retails up to 70,000 used cars a year. The approved used car programme was the first in the UK when it was created 25 years ago.

Allianz said the system will also reduce administration workloads for Network Q staff.

“The experience and professionalism of Allianz Global Assistance, coupled with its focus on providing a bespoke scheme that reflects our brand values and customer expectations, made it a clear partner of choice,” said Derek Wilson, operations director, rental, used cars and company vehicles for Network Q.

“The introduction of a new platform to aid our retailers in processing warranties has also been a welcome addition, along with support from a dedicated Field Team which is delivering product knowledge and system training, so that our Retailers can sell with the highest degree of confidence.”

Source: motorttrader.co.uk

LeasePlanIn the spotlight: LeasePlan

Last year, LeasePlan registered its second biggest growth on record, consolidating its position at No2 in the FN50. It has occupied that spot since 2008.

LeasePlan’s risk fleet increased from 134,115 vehicles to 139,698, although that’s still around 150,000 vehicles behind market leader Lex Autolease.

Within the LeasePlan group, which funds vehicles in 32 countries, the UK division experienced the biggest growth in terms of asset value.

“We grew our asset base by over £150 million, which is 10-11%,” says managing director Matt Dyer, who took charge in May last year when former MD David Brennan joined Nexus Vehicle Management as chief executive officer.

Dyer has worked for LeasePlan for 19 years in a number of roles, including managing director of LeasePlan International and, latterly, commercial director at LeasePlan UK.

“In 2014 there was a lot of change for us,” he says. “At board level we’ve got a number of new appointments, not just myself. We’ve got a new commercial director, Jo Elms, and a new finance director, Patrick Steenvoorden, who came from LeasePlan Corporation to work in the UK.

“We also created a business development division, which is looking to take the way we develop, market and innovate our products to the next level. Finding new market segments, and products for those segments, is going to be crucial for LeasePlan’s success in the future.”

Source: fleetnews.co.uk

TeslaTesla to launch new entry level Model S 70D

Electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla is to launch a new entry-level Model S in the UK priced from £54,500 after the £5000 plug-in car grant.

The Model S 70D replaces the previous entry-level Model S 60 and increases the entry price into the brand from £51,315 by 6.2%, but the new model has an extended range from 230 to 275 miles and buyers get all-wheel drive and free use of Tesla’s network of supercharger charging stations as standard.

Tesla has 20 superchragers in the UK and they can charge the Tesla’s battery from empty to 50% capacity in 20 minutes, or to 80% in 40 minutes.

The new car comes with a 70kwh battery with a 0-60mph time of 5.2 seconds. The higher powered 80kw Model S is priced from £59,115 after the plug-in car grant.

Standard equipment includes Tesla’s new Autopilot system, sat nav, lane departure warning system, automatic emergency braking and parking sensors.

Due to legislation in the UK, only the speed limit and lane assist features will be included with the Autopilot system, however a Tesla spokeswoman explained to BusinessCar in October last year that Tesla is “future-proofing” its cars and that more features will be available as when legislation on automated driving is passed.

Source: businesscar.co.uk

BudgetCarRentalSiemens launches new electric vehicle charging solution

Siemens has launched a new DC rapid electric vehicle charger, which can charge a vehicle from zero to 80% in less than 60 minutes.

Designed to conform to all industry standard charging protocols and interfaces, the new single-outlet, wall-mounted QC24S rapid charger provides a DC output at 24kW and can be supplied with a CCS or CHadeMO connector on a tethered lead, capable of charging all compatible vehicles.

The QC45 charger can be supplied with an integrated SLD4 loop detector such that inductive loops can now be used to monitor the occupation status of the charging bay. This data can be combined with the charger status and transmitted back to the back office via the OCPP protocol or be transmitted to other third-party back offices using cloud-based technology.

Siemens is rolling out a firmware upgrade to all networked EV chargers that allows the chargers to be monitored, controlled and upgraded remotely. This interface can run independently of, or in parallel with, conventional back office interfaces.

Source: fleetnews.co.uk

BudgetCarRentalBudget chooses Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles for launch of new rental service

Budget UK has chosen Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles as its sole light commercial vehicle supplier for a new van rental service in London.

The service will comprise 100 Volkswagen Transporters and will cater for businesses and consumers.

As part of Budget’s wider fleet restructure, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles will supply a further 300 Transporters and 100 Caddys to bolster its national rental fleet.

Budget UK selected Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles as its preferred partner due to the brand’s strong residual values and desirability.

Mark Servodidio, managing director, Northern Europe, at Avis Budget Group, said: “We’re confident the new service, which will offer small and medium businesses across the capital a truly flexible and cost-efficient alternative to a permanent fleet of vehicle, will further strengthen our position as a partner to London’s businesses using Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.”

Source: fleetnews.co.uk

ShellLogoShell to build City Car

Shell, in collaboration with race and road car designer Professor Gordon Murray and engine specialist Osamu Goto, will co-engineer an ultra-compact, efficient car for city use based around the internal combustion engine.

The Shell car is scheduled to be unveiled in November 2015 and people will be able to follow the development of the car through the website.

The Shell concept is intended to be a simple, practical global city car; drawing together innovative aspects of light-weight engineering, streamlining, and driveline efficiency which work whether you are in a city where mass-motoring is a relatively new thing or already a century-old. Once built, the car will be tested on-the-road.

The concept is intended to inspire thinking about maximising personal mobility while minimising energy use, helping people get around the world’s ever-more congested cities where, by 2050, up to three quarters of the world’s estimated nine billion people could be living.

Initiated by Shell, the collaboration, which is called Project M, brings together Shell’s Lubricant’s Technology Team, The Gordon Murray Design Group and engine specialist Geo Technology. This technically intimate co-engineering relationship between the three expert teams means that the development of the lubricants, engine and vehicle will be completely integrated.

Shell provides the fluids for the car specifically ‘designing’ the motor oil that complements and enhances the overall efficiency of the vehicle. Most people would naturally assume that oil, greases and fuels are simply added at the end of a concept-car build project like this, but the Shell car aims to show what can be achieved when its products are integrated into the design, right from the start.

Selda Gunsel, vice president of Lubricants Technology said, ‘Since working with the Gordon Murray Design team on the T.25 car in 2010, we have given further thought on how to deliver a complete rethink of the car, using as little energy as possible. We believe this Shell car will demonstrate how efficient a car can be when Shell works in harmony with vehicle and engine makers during design and build, supplying fuels and lubricants technical expertise. Shell is excited to be working with such top calibre partners and invite others to join us for the remaining part of this exciting journey.’

Source: bodyshopmag.com

SsangyongSsangyong Tivoli priced from £12,950 in UK

Ssangyong has confirmed its Tivoli will cost from £12,950 when it goes on sale this summer. It is powered by a 128hp 1.6-litre petrol and a 115hp 1.6-litre diesel engine.

The petrol emits 149g/km of CO2 and returns 44.1mpg in manual format while automatic versions emit 167g/km of CO2 and return 39.2mpg. Manual diesel versions emit 113g/km of CO2. Ssangyong has not confirmed the diesel’s mpg figure yet.

There are three trim levels – SE, EX and ELX. The base SE models cost from £12,950 and include a grey cloth trim, 16-inch alloys, cruise control and Blueto§oth as standard.

EX models feature grey or leather upholstery, 18-inch wheels, a seven-inch touchscreen and rear view camera, while the top of the range EXL models include parking sensors, privacy glass, a rear spoiler, a TomTom navigation system and keyless entry as standard.

“This is a car that will really put Ssangyong on the map and change brand perceptions,” said Paul Williams, chief executive of Ssangyong UK.

Source: businesscar.co.uk

MGlogoMG 6 facelift reduces emissions and prices

MG has improved the efficiency of its 6 saloon and has added higher levels of standard equipment including LED daytime running lights.

The firm’s diesel engine develops the same 150hp as it does in the current version, but it now emits 119g/km (10g/km of CO2 less than the current model) and returns 61.4mpg compared to 57.6mpg.

MG has cut the price of the entry-level 6 by £1600 despite adding what it says is £3000 worth of extras.

Styling tweaks include a new grille, a lower vent and daytime running lights. MG said the changes give the 6 more presence than before.

Three trim levels are offered – S, TS and TL.

The entry-level S trim model is priced from £13,995 and features heated front seats, 16-inch alloys and an electronic parking brake as standard, while TS models adds rear parking sensors, cruise control, auto dimming mirrors and a infotainment system.

The range-topping TL trim level includes leather seats, a rear camera, dual zone climate control and electric seats. The TL models are fitted with a chrome grille, which MG says distinguishes it.

“The substantial advances we have introduced on the new MG6 make the car even better value-for-money,” said Matthew Cheyne, MG head of marketing.

Source: businesscar.co.uk

Posted by Sue Robinson on 10/04/2015