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EuropcarEuropcar to launch car share subsidiary Ubeeqo in the UK

Rental giant Europcar is to launch its business-to-business car share subsidiary Ubeeqo in the UK in the second half of 2015.

Ubeeqo already operates in France and Belgium, is being set up in Germany and Ken McCall, managing director, Europcar UK Group, has confirmed that “it is expected that the first Ubeeqo operations in the UK will roll out during the course of the second half of 2015”.

The move towards what Ubeeqo calls “corporate car fleet pooling” is reflective of what the company says is a trend for employees and directors to book a car from a central stock rather than having exclusive use of one.

Car sharing demand is also reflective of changing trends from one of car ownership to car usage.

McCall said: “With Ubeeqo and other developments in the pipeline, our focus is on car usage. We think that fits with an overall change in behaviours, from car ownership to car usage, with ride-sharing particularly appealing for those living and working in cities.”

However, he disputes that the move by the world’s largest daily rental businesses into car sharing is a departure from their traditional business model.


Europcar introduces Chapter 8 fleet

Vehicle rental company Europcar has announced it has created a fleet of Chapter 8 compliant light commercial vehicles.

Chapter 8 specifies the colour of vehicles and the reflective markings needed for vehicles that carry out inspections or work on public highways. The guidelines apply to firms with large or small vehicles.

Although Chapter 8 is not yet legilised, many highway organisations – including the RAC, AA and Highways England – have adopted the guidelines as best practice. According to Europcar, some companies will only allow Chapter 8 compliant vehicles to work on sites.

“Understanding this requirement, we wanted to give our customers a cost-effective solution that means they can book Chapter 8 compliant vehicles whenever they need them – indeed we can deliver to anywhere in the UK with as little as four hours notice,” said Stuart Russell, van fleet specialist at Europcar UK.

“Unlike other rental providers, our customers don’t have to pre-order these vehicles or commit to specific volumes. We have also created a network of six Supersites across the UK, offering nationwide access to these vans,” said Russell.

Europcar branches offering Chapter 8 vans include the Europcar Mobility Centre at London ExCeL, London Park Royal, Newport, Gateshead, Nottingham and Birmingham East. Deliveries within 50 miles of these locations can be ordered nationwide within four working hours. Deliveries outside the 50-mile radius will be fulfilled within eight hours, Europcar claimed.


TaxDisc02Tax disc confusion hits motorists

Thousands of motorists are having their cars towed away and are being charged fines after unwittingly falling foul of car tax rule changes introduced by the DVLA, The Guardian has reported.

Figures obtained by Guardian Money reveal that DVLA clampings have risen dramatically since October, when the agency did away with paper vehicle excise duty discs.

Before the changes DVLA was clamping about 5,000 vehicles a month, but this has surged to more than 8,000 – with motorists horrified to discover their cars being towed away without even a warning letter from the agency. In total, more than 100,000 vehicles are likely to be clamped this year compared with 60,000 the year before.

While most motorists know that tax discs are no longer required, what is catching out many is that vehicle excise duty is automatically cancelled if a car changes ownership – even if there is a valid disc in the window.

Previously, anyone selling a used car could post adverts saying ‘Taxed and MOTd’ until a certain date. But now when a car is sold the tax, even if it has many months to run, automatically expires and the new owner has to tax it again. It is this change that is exposing drivers to clamping by the DVLA and large fines.

The DVLA says it has worked with motor traders and written to new owners to make them aware of the change, but plenty of motorists have found their vehicles clamped or towed away after being given a taxed car by a relative, or even swapping cars within a family. Those who are caught out have no right of appeal to an independent body and say that the DVLA is acting unfairly.


NHTSAU.S. Wants Dealers to Do More to Fix Recalled Vehicles

The head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wants the nation’s automakers and more than 17,000 new car dealers to do more to ensure unsafe vehicles are repaired. In a speech Friday at the World Traffic Safety Symposium, NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind challenged auto dealers to do more. Under federal law, new-car dealers are only required to complete repairs for recalled new cars — but not for recalled used cars.

Source: The Detroit News

MazdaMazda launches employee recruitment programme

Mazda has launched a new programme to help attract and retain top staff in dealerships.

The new Talent@Mazda scheme gives dealers the services of a consultant and offers a ‘Talent Toolkit’, which provides advice to dealers in eBook format.

The Mazda Academy, run by learning and development agency RTS Group, is delivering the programme, which is being offered across the brand’s UK network.

“To help the dealerships find, appoint and retain those people, we’ve developed Talent@Mazda which gives them the tools they need,” said Stephen Casey, Mazda Network talent consultant.

“Talent@Mazda has only just been launched but feedback so far from the dealerships has been very positive.”

One dealer which has used Talent@Mazda techniques to help run an assessment day is Coventry Motor Company. Its group aftersales director, Adam Dodds, said: “This has changed the way Coventry Motor Company look at recruiting new staff, to give us more of a professional look to our business with any future employees.”

Alex Goddard, Field Programmes and Training Manager for Mazda Motors UK, said: “We are already seeing the impact that Talent@Mazda is having within the network from our dealers changing their whole recruitment processes. One of the biggest successes to date is through the growth of our apprenticeship programme.”


FleetNewsFleets run vans for longer and further than five years ago but are worth more when defleeted, says Manheim

Fleets are keeping vans for 12 months longer having covered around 8,200 miles more than they were five years ago, figures from Manheim have shown.

Comparing Q1 2015 to the same quarter in 2010, these vans also sold for 9.5% or £384 more.

In the first quarter of 2010, the average van sold was 54 months old, with a mileage of 73,853. It achieved £4,048 at auction.

Fast-forward to Q1 2015, and Manheim’s five-year Market Analysis report shows a 9.5% increase in average value, to £4,432, and significantly increased age and mileage, 54 to 66 months and 73,853 to 82,102 miles.

James Davis, head of commercial vehicles at Manheim, said: “Our latest analysis reveals that over the past five years, despite being a year older with eight thousand more miles, vans have seen their average selling price increase by nearly 10%.

“We’ve also seen between 40% and 50% of all vans sold from the three major volume segments sporting an average age of between seven and eight years.

“We’ve never observed this profile shift previously.

“Small panel van is a revelation all of its own, this segment is now the new workhorse of the van world, stealing the crown from the 3.5t panel van sector. Clearly the influence of older vans in the UK parc will be felt for many more years to come.”


RangeRoverEvoque2016 Range Rover Evoque priced from £30,200

The 2016 model year Range Rover Evoque (pictured) will be priced from £30,200 on the road.

It features the Euro 6-compliant diesel Ingenium engine delivering up to 68mpg in the eD4 two-wheel drive model.

The range has a number of new features as standard including lane departure warning, autonomous emergency braking, heated eight-way adjustable front seats, powerfold door mirrors, automatic headlamps, rain sensing wipers and automatic climate control in addition to the previous 15MY specification.

Revisions to the exterior include a new front bumper, two new grille designs, all-LED headlamps (optional), tailgate spoiler and three new alloy wheel designs.

Inside, a new seat design is among a refreshed interior scheme available in a selection of new colours and materials.

Land Rover’s new infotainment system, InControl Touch, is also introduced from September, and features an eight-inch touchscreen, with a range of new applications and driver aids available.


VolvoLogoVolvo launches dealership initiatives

With the imminent launch of the all-new XC90, Volvo Car UK is introducing two new initiatives to its dealerships, Volvo Personal Service (VPS) and Volvo Retail Experience (VRE).

The new concepts are designed to remove some of the perceived barriers between dealers and their customers and improve trust, customer service and overall impressions of the brand.

New to the Volvo network is Volvo Personal Service, which streamlines aftersales functions to improve workshop efficiency, job throughput and revenue opportunities for dealers, while delivering a much more personal service to Volvo customers via a dedicated service technician.

VPS, the new name for Volvo’s ‘One Hour Stop’ service, is shaped by trust, transparency and respect for a customer’s time. It works by utilising teams of Personal Service Technicians (PST) working on cars as groups rather than individually. This allows for work to be carried out twice as fast, nearly halving customer wait times.


CarInsuranceClassic car insurance scheme introduced

Ernest R Shaw in conjunction with LV= has introduced a new insurance scheme for bodyshops and garages dealing with classic cars.

Ernest R Shaw and LV= Insurance have launched an exclusive motor trade insurance scheme for bodyshops, restoration/service, repair and car sales services to the classic car sector.

Some of the cover available includes; agreed values on own classic vehicles, road risks protected, no claims bonus, low claims rebate clause and track day cover.

Graham Meacher, sales and marketing director at Ernest R Shaw explained, ‘We identified the classic car sector had not seen any new insurance product offerings for several years, therefore in conjunction with LV= we have now launched a new classic car insurance scheme.

‘We have seen over 20 bodyshops and all of them have taken up the new policy, either on premium, cover, or on the fact we assess every risk.’

Ernest R Shaw, based on Birmingham, has been trading for over 100 years.


RenaultTwizyAutoparts takes on electric Renaults to deliver parts

Autoparts UK has added two Renault Twizy models to its fleet as it aims to reduce its carbon footprint.

The cars will operate out of the firm’s branches in Glasgow and Dundee and will be used to deliver parts to its customers.

A spokesman said the company could take on many more Twizys but it depends on the take-up.

“The Renault Twizy has a 62-mile range on a full battery and it only needs £1 worth of electricity to complete a full charge. We have a large number of customers in central Glasgow and Dundee so using a vehicle like this to complete our rapid deliveries makes perfect sense,” said Craig McCracken, Autoparts UK group factor manager.

“By using electric power, we can deliver the high-quality service that our customers expect – and significantly reduce our carbon footprint at the same time. That gives us and our customers the best of both worlds,” said McCracken.


LeasePlanTalks over LeasePlan sale terminated

Talks between LeasePlan’s owners and an unnamed consortium over the sale of the leasing giant have been terminated.

The company confirmed that talks were ongoing with a group of investors interested in buying the leasing giant for more than £2 billion just a few weeks ago.

But now it says it’s been unable to reach an agreement on the change of ownership of LeasePlan and negotiations between parties have been ended.

LeasePlan’s owners Global Mobility Holding said it has no plans to pursue further options leading to a divestment of LeasePlan in the near future and confirmed that it will continue to support the company’s existing successful business approach.

“LeasePlan remains focused on its long-term strategy and growth plans, and on providing leading fleet management and driver mobility services to its clients worldwide,” it said, adding no further comment would be made at this stage.

The consortium is believed to have included private-equity firm TDR Capital LLP, Dutch pension fund PGGM, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) and the Government Investment Corporation of Singapore (GIC).

During the past 50 years, LeasePlan has grown to become one of the world’s leading providers of fleet management services. It is active in 32 countries, operates a global fleet of 1.42 million vehicles and employs more than 6,800 staff.


LYTXLytx launches DC Protect video safety programme

Lytx has launched the DC Connect camera system, for fleets with fewer than 350 vehicles and limited safety resources.

The system uses simple, self-service tools that help smaller fleets efficiently and easily improve safety and protect drivers.

Using the Lytx Safety Score, which represents a driver’s probability of being involved in a future collision based on their driving patterns, DC Protect helps identify and manage the coaching of those drivers who would benefit most from performance improvement.

“Lytx believes that one size does not fit all, which is why we are delighted to now offer DC Protect in the UK to allow smaller fleets the opportunity to utilise our industry-leading driver safety technology,” said Damian Penney, Lytx general manager.

“The DC Protect Programme is a tailor-made solution for managers of smaller fleets who need to focus their efforts on the most risky drivers, yet still protect all their drivers. Similar to our flagship programme, DC Protect uses predictive analytics through a streamlined experience that focuses on those drivers most likely to benefit from coaching, which is extremely important to help protect against false claims,” added Penney.

“We’re proud to offer an easily managed programme that provides important safety benefits, while also delivering significant ROI for entire mid-sized fleets.”


HondaLogoHonda retains ‘most reliable used car’ title

Honda has retained its status as the most reliable used car manufacturer in the UK for the ninth consecutive year, according to research by What Car? and Warranty Direct.

The Japanese manufacturer topped the annual survey of 37 manufacturers, which analyses 50,000 live Warranty Direct policies on three to eight-year old vehicles.

Once again, Japanese and South Korean manufacturers dominated the annual study of the most reliablebrands, with Suzuki and Toyota claiming second and third place. Encouragingly for other manufacturers however, Chevrolet, Ford, Skoda, Peugeot and Fiat also fought their way into the top 10.

At the opposite end of the scale, luxury and prestige marques Bentley and Porsche are the most likely to break down.

What Car? editor Jim Holder said, ‘Honda’s success in the reliability index is chiefly down to low failure rates. However, when things do go wrong, the cars are also relatively cheap to fix.

‘Reliability is always one of the key attributes buyers look for when considering a used car purchase, so manufacturers that consistently demonstrate durability will always do well with the consumer.’

KeeResourcesKeeResources develops company car tax calculator

Automotive data experts KeeResources has developed a new online company car tax calculator for Peugeot’s UK website.

The tool helps customers compare the range of cars with a four-year breakdown for tax, while the personalized tax calculator enables the customer to see the impact of regular contributions for private use.

“The Peugeot Company Car Tax Calculator is a useful tool designed to help company car drivers and fleet managers make better informed decisions when considering buying a new Peugeot car,” said Cathryn Hancock, head of fleet marketing at Peugeot.

“Once again, we teamed up with KeeResources, the developers behind our online car comparator, Peugeot Compare, to deliver this added for website visitors,” said Hancock.


Posted by Sue Robinson on 17/04/2015