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Nissan1Ten thousand mystery shoppers needed to test Nissan network

Ten thousand car enthusiasts are being sought to take part in an evaluation of Nissan dealers in the UK.

Customer experience improvement firm Bare International is looking for motorists here and in 16 other European countries to measure service levels.

“Our customised automotive services improve results for even the most savvy and demanding industry leaders,” said Guy Van Neck, of Bare International Europe.

“Customer experience is increasingly becoming the competitive advantage of car manufacturers. As customers demand more personalisation and connection with the product, manufacturers strive to deliver the ultimate service experience during the car purchase and in aftersales service.

Customized research will help Nissan to create a strong long-lasting relationship with the customer.

Mystery shoppers, or ‘evaluators’ must be between 21-65 years old and have a valid driving license.

Those interested can register here.

Once registered they can find dealers’ locations and schedule a visit.

Each visit is rewarded with a payment and it is possible to make multiple visits.

There are three scenarios to choose from:

• Act as a potential customer who is interested in buying a Qashqai, Juke, Pulsar, Note or Micra and want to take a test drive
• Act as a potential customer who wants to buy an electric car, and want to take a test drive with the Nissan Leaf
• They have a Nissan and need to get it serviced.

The programme is available in the UK, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Russia, Poland, Sweden and Norway.

A Nissan spokeswoman said: “Across Europe, we are looking to significantly increase the number of mystery shops with the aim of obtaining more detailed and better customer insight into dealer handling of Nissan customers and potential areas of improvement.

“We will use the information to work with dealer network and improve the quality of service dealers provide to Nissan customers.”


AddisonLeeAddison Lee acquires Climate Cars

Addison Lee has acquired Climate Cars, a London-based eco-friendly car service, which has a fleet of 115 hybrid cars.

The acquisition follows the launch of Addison Lee Eco in February 2015, which added 350 hybrid vehicles to the Addison Lee fleet.

Climate Cars’ petrol hybrid cars will join Addison Lee’s existing fleet of 4,800 vehicles and will sit alongside Addison Lee’s corporate, VIP and international divisions.

Climate Cars, which was formed in 2007 and has more than 650 customers throughout Greater London, is Addison Lee’s second acquisition within the last month, following the purchase of Camden-based Cyclone VIP Cars & Couriers.

Liam Griffin, chief executive officer of Addison Lee, said: “We are very pleased to announce Addison Lee’s acquisition of Climate Cars. This deal will boost our Add Lee Eco offering, providing more variety for our passengers but with the same best-in-class experience they expect. This comes in addition to the upgrades we’ve made to our App, the 4G Wi-Fi we’ve implemented into our vehicles and the new customer loyalty scheme we’ve just launched. All of which are designed to enhance the Addison Lee passenger service even further.”

Nicko Williamson, founder of Climate Cars, said:“We are delighted with the deal with Addison Lee. Their AddLee Eco service is in line with our original goal for Climate Cars, to push for mainstream adoption of hybrid and electric cars in the private hire sector.”


SMMT100-day countdown to launch of cleanest-ever Euro-6 vehicles

This weekend begins the 100-day countdown to the official launch of the strictest-ever European vehicle emissions regulation, Euro-6. From September 1, 2015 all new car models sold in the EU must meet this low emissions standard, making them the cleanest vehicles in history.

With three months still to go before the new standard becomes mandatory, the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that UK vehicle manufacturers are ahead of the game, with around half of new car buyers opting for a Euro-6 car last month.

In a show of commitment to the latest standards, car manufacturers demonstrated their latest Euro-6 cars yesterday (Thursday, May 22) at SMMT Test Day.

Consumers have already been buying these low emission vehicles in increasing numbers. In April, almost one out of every two new cars registered (45.9%) boasted next-generation Euro-6 technology, compared with fewer than one in five (18.7%) in September 2014. Meanwhile, a staggering 70.4% of the UK’s top 10 best-sellers registered last month met the standard, said SMMT.

Next-generation Euro-6 technology vehicles not only have the lowest CO2 emissions on record, but they emit virtually zero particulate matter, while nitrogen oxides emissions are more than half those of previous generation motors built in the past five years.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, “With 100 days still to go until the new Euro-6 standard becomes mandatory, new car buyers are shifting to these next-generation vehicles. This is the result of huge investment from manufacturers in clean technology – and the quicker we get these Euro-6 cars onto the roads, the quicker we’ll see improvements in air quality.”


BVRLABVRLA welcomes agreement on ‘real world’ air pollution test

The European Union has come a step closer to introducing ‘real world’ air pollution tests for cars and vans after agreeing a more accurate procedure for measuring driving emissions.

The BVRLA has welcomed the agreement and looks forward to the new ‘on the road’ tests for NOx emissions being introduced in 2017 alongside a more accurate CO2 emission test cycle.

The new procedure agreed by EU regulators this week will require vehicles to be tested on the road and in traffic, rather than in laboratory-like conditions as is currently the case. This should provide more accurate, ‘real world’ NOx emission figures for diesel cars under the Euro 6 air quality standard.

The European Commission and member states still need to agree what the limits for the real world tests will be and whether they can be introduced by 2017. The Commission already has plans to bring in a new, more accurate CO2 test cycle in 2017 – the World Light Duty Test Procedure (WLTP).

“Air pollution is a major threat to public health so it is vital that we can accurately measure the part played by road transport, particularly diesel vehicles,” said BVRLA Chief Executive, Gerry Keaney.

“Over the years, the fleet sector has made excellent progress in driving down CO2 emissions. I am convinced that it can have a similar impact on NOx emissions if it is given accurate information and an appropriate tax regime.

“This agreement is an important milestone in helping Europe get to grips with the issue of road transport based air pollution.”

The BVRLA has already provided UK policymakers with a list of five measures they could take to help address road transport-based air pollution:

• Help regional authorities to use their newly devolved transport powers by providing a national framework for ultra-low emission zones
• Adopt the current tax regime to include NOx emissions, ensuring that any changes are well-signposted and non-retrospective
• Re-introduce 100% first-year allowances for companies renting or leasing ultra-low emission cars
• Provide better in-life incentives – for example freedom from tolls, congestion charges or parking fees – to encourage greater uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles
• Do more to support car clubs, car sharing and other alternatives to car ownership, and provide more low-emission public transport


Glass'sPre-reg activity makes Astra GTC fastest selling used car

Vauxhall’s high performance Astra GTC is the current fastest used car off the forecourt taking just 11 days to sell.

The average mileage of each Astra GTC sold is just 541, according to Glass’s monthly Hot Five survey for May.

“Having the Astra GTC as the fastest selling used car is a bit of an anomaly as this reflects the pre-reg activity that is supporting the new car market at the moment,” said Glass’s head of valuations Rupert Pontin.

The number two and three slots were taken by the Lexus RX450H and Chevrolet respectively.

“The Lexus RX450H should not really come as a surprise as these are generally in short supply. The Chevrolet Orlando represents great value and is in short supply. The withdrawal of Chevy from the UK market appears to be having little impact on its popularity.”

And in fourth place and fifth place were the Hyundai i20 and Peugeot 407 respectively. Pontin said the Hyundai placing made sense but the Peugeot 407 was a surprise.

“The Hyundai i20 represents fantastic value for money and the retail buyer seems to be beginning to realise just how good this car is. The average profile for the cars sold is 25 months old with 16,000 miles, so many could be ex-PCP cars reaching the market.”

“Finding the Peugeot 407 in fifth place is a bit of a surprise – not because they are bad cars but because that are usually found to be in oversupply. This does not seem to be the case at the moment and, at an average asking price of £3,279, they offer super value for money.”

Glass’s Hot Five is based on 300 models, which have been subject to more than 50 price observations over a four-week period. The set is then split by range, and an average is determined by the number of days that cars have been advertised on web portals.

Glass’s Hot Five for March

1. Vauxhall Astra GTC
2. Lexus RX450H
3. Chevrolet Orlando
4. Hyundai i20
5. Peugeot 407


KwikFitKwik Fit apprenticeship scheme gets top Ofsted rating

The Kwik Fit apprenticeship scheme has been rated as “outstanding” by Ofsted, the government inspection body.

The performance is a marked improvement since the last survey when it received a “required improvement” rating.

The publication of the inspection report comes as Kwik Fit announces that it is opening applications for 100 apprentices to join the company in August.

It has already taken on 100 employees on its apprenticeship programme earlier this year. Kwik Fit has four training academies in Derby, Harlow, Reading and Broxburn. A Kwik Fit Apprenticeship lasts around two years and provides a total of 91 Learning credits.

In the Ofsted report the overall effectiveness of the Kwik Fit apprenticeship scheme received a Grade 1, an improvement on the Grade 3 score it received last time.

The inspectors reviewing Kwik Fit found that “apprentices benefit from high but realistic expectations and are well challenged by tutors and assessors to produce work to high levels of accuracy and quality, with a strong focus on customer needs and safe working practices.”

The report also highlighted the outstanding information and guidance apprentices receive about their training and career progression.

Paul Binks, head of learning and development at Kwik Fit, said: “This grading is a resounding endorsement of the huge investment we have made in our learning and development programme and our commitment to be a leader in the sector. Apprentices are vital to our business as they develop into the future leaders of the company.”


AudiLogoAudi researching new diesel fuel

Audi has started producing its own synthetic diesel as part of a research project into creating CO2-neutral fuels for the future.

The new fuel, titled e-Diesel, is created through a chemical process using CO2 and water, and has powered an A8 3.0-litre diesel test vehicle.

Audi’s lab tests have show the e-Diesel is suitable for mixing with fossil diesel or for use as a fuel in its own right.

Reiner Mangold, head of sustainable product development at Audi, sees it as an important step to complement the brand’s electric vehicle development.

He said: “In developing Audi e-Diesel, we are promoting another fuel based on CO2 that will allow long-distance mobility with virtually no impact on the climate.

“Using CO2 as a raw material represents an opportunity not just for the automotive industry in Germany, but also to transfer the principle to other sectors and countries.”

A spokesman for Audi UK told BusinessCar the pilot plant in Dresden is set to produce more than 3000 litres of Audi e-Diesel over the coming months.

He said: “Industrial-scale production is technically possible, but is currently dependent primarily on legal parameters and on cost-effectiveness.

“We will definitely continue to promote the e-Diesel as it could help us to realise CO2-free mobility for all distances.”


GMLogoGM Likely to Face Criminal Charges Over Ignition Switches

Federal prosecutors still need to discuss issues with auto maker, including size of potential fine

Federal prosecutors are likely to bring criminal charges against General Motors Co. over an ignition-switch defect linked to more than 100 deaths, but they still have to hash out key issues with GM including whether the auto maker will need to plead guilty and how big a fine it will have to pay, people familiar with the matter said.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Posted by Sue Robinson on 29/05/2015