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General news updateBack

ElectricMotorcyclesMotorcycle registrations continue to grow

The motorcycle market continues to grow with dealers reporting a 10.7% increase in registrations in May, according to Stephen Latham, head of the National Motorcycle Dealers Association (NMDA) which represents motorcycle retailers across the UK.

Registrations in May closely resemble the average market increase of 11.3% through the first quarter of 2015.

“The 50cc scooter/moped market continued its downward trend with registrations down -14.4% last month. However on a more positive note the 51-125cc market showed a healthy 20% growth – and 13.7% overall increase this year, totalling 16,500 small bikes on the road. A rise in sales of these models suggests that employment figures are improving, as these bikes are generally purchased for commuting purposes,” said Latham.

“The 651-1000cc sector also showed a 14.2% increase in May – 2769 bikes were registered. The year-to-date growth for this sector is 23%, showing over 11,000 bikes have been put on the road so far this year. These particular models are used mainly for leisure and sport purposes.

“Honda and Yamaha were market leaders in May. In third place was Triumph with 915 motorcycles registered in the month. Triumph also led the market in the over 500cc sector – which is where a high proportion of the market growth is.

“Value motorcycle brand Lexmoto is now selling higher volumes and recorded sixth position with 604 bikes registered, – indicating strong demand for simple budget machines for new and ex-bikers re-entering the market.

“The overall outlook for bike registrations look s positive and is steadily improving compared to previous years. The NMDA are hopeful that the summer months will bring more good news for the motorcycle market”.



The NFDA is to launch a recruitment portal to encourage young people into the auto retail sector and improve the quality of entry-level staff in sales and managerial roles.

Similar in concept to graduate programmes offered in other sectors, the initiative will be a one-stop-shop for young people considering a career in the auto retail industry and will be backed by an NFDA working group made up of HR directors from large franchised dealer groups.



Citroen had the greatest decline in score, down 1.8 to 4.8. It was followed by Jaguar declining 1.5 points and Land Rover declining 1.0 points. Land Rover’s decline is quite significant as its score of 6.8 is the first time it has been beneath a score of 7.0 for a number of surveys. It would also suggest that although profit return is seen as good and investment levels give little cause for concern, dealer standards for Land Rover are becoming more of an issue.


Dvla1DVLA reminds car buyers not to buy a vehicle without a V5C logbook

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is reminding car buyers not to buy a vehicle that doesn’t come with a V5C log book.

Buying a car without a log book comes with a greater risk of it being stolen, and you may be unable to tax it, resulting in a V62 application which can take up to six weeks and costs £25.
Director of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) Sue Robinson said: “The DVLA has confirmed that the V5C is an important document that is necessary in order to tax a vehicle. It is also a good indication that the vehicle was not stolen, as the V5C records the registered keeper of the vehicle.

“The NFDA has always maintained that a reputable dealer will ensure that the V5C is present, whether buying or selling a car. It’s encouraging to see that the DVLA wants to raise awareness of this issue. This will help protect consumers from untrustworthy individuals who give responsible car dealers an undeserved bad name.”


HMRCSalary sacrifice ‘boosts’ tax revenues for Treasury

The Government could benefit from salary sacrifice for cars, just as much as employers and employees, a report suggests.

It’s long been established that a salary sacrifice car scheme can help boost an employee’s disposable income and mitigate an employer’s exposure through tax and national insurance (NIC) savings, as well as provide added benefits to staff, some of which might switch out of grey fleet.
However, a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), seen exclusively by Fleet News, argues that car schemes provide a net financial benefit to HM Treasury, and deliver a range of benefits to the wider society.

That’s vitally important when the Government’s tax take has come under the spotlight, as it attempts to cut the deficit, and should cement its status as an employee benefit in the eyes of HM Treasury and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

“It is quite clear: an individual salary sacrifice scheme is tax-positive in itself,” said Mark Sinclair, chief operations officer at leasing salary sacrifice provider Tusker, which commissioned the PwC report.

“There is such a misconception in the market place around the net effect of salary sacrifice. There is concern from employers as to whether schemes are sustainable for the long term and, in the last few years, there has been a lot of focus on tax planning. We wanted to demonstrate that, from a tax perspective, salary sacrifice car schemes benefit the UK as a whole.”


GAPInsuranceMotor industry ‘can now move forward with confidence on GAP’, says The Warranty Group

The motor industry is now in a position to “move forward with confidence” on GAP following this week’s FCA competition remedies announcement, says The Warranty Group.
The company says that while some aspects of the FCA’s findings are disappointing, GAP remains a valuable product to both consumers and dealers, and it is still an essential part of the dealer products portfolio.

Ciaron Whelan, divisional director at The Warranty Group, said: “Today, the main point is that the FCA’s final announcements mean that we all now know exactly where we stand and our view is that GAP remains a very worthwhile product for almost all dealers and a valuable purchase for many, many car buyers.

“We are already in the process of talking to dealers and our partners about how to manage the changes.

“It is important to underline that, in our experience, the vast majority of dealers were already selling GAP in a responsible fashion, so they have little to make in the way of changes.
“The key adjustment is that dealers will need to ensure that they have a consumer focused solution. This means changing their GAP sales structure in order to meet the FCA’s desire to provide customers with a period of time during which they can consider the merits of purchasing the product.

“Really, the main impact will be that dealers will need to be able to provide clear retrospective evidence that they are adhering to the rules.”



Janet Wilkinson honoured for a career at the SMMT

SMMT’s communications manager, Janet Wilkinson, has been awarded an MBE for services to the Motor Industry and Charity in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for 2015. Janet, who has spent virtually all her career at the SMMT, has been responsible for many of the activities and events the organisation runs to help promote the industry to media and other stakeholders. She has also mentored dozens of young people who have gone on to enjoy successful careers in the industry.


Euro6Euro 6 truck drivers urged to pay attention to DPFs

DPF Clean Team say truck breakdowns at the height of a nationwide skills shortage could be detrimental

The advice comes from national automotive parts reconditioning specialist, DPF Clean Team, who say drivers should have their DPF filter cleaned rather than replaced when clogged, returning vehicles to the road quickly, and at a lower cost than a full replacement.

DPF Clean Team Director, Cameron Bryce said: “At a time when logistics companies are updating their fleets with the latest Euro-6 trucks in order to benefit from reduced emissions, sustainability, and lower fuel costs, they need to make sure that they are making the most of this investment.

“The cost benefits and efficiencies that these trucks deliver can be wasted if operators need to take vehicles off the road for days to purchase and fit a replacement DPF, in the event of them becoming blocked.

“With an industry-wide driver shortage, every day a driver is not in a cab means lost capacity, unhappy customers, and lost business.”

Should drivers be alerted to the DPF warning light, the advice from DPF Clean Team is to have a filter cleaned rather than replaced.

A DPF clean can be completed and a vehicle returned to the road in a matter of days, which is considerably faster than the time associated with sourcing a new DPF, ordering and receiving the part, and then having it fitted.


DashCamVideo: dashcam footage captures technician’s pricing conversation

Owner secretly films from his car’s dashcam and decides to never return again

This dashcam footage, which has been viewed more than 3,000 times on YouTube, was filmed while work on the wheel bearing was being carried out, unbeknown to the technicians working on the vehicle.

Two technicians can be heard discussing cost, margins and quotes in an unprofessional manner that could easily cause issue to the watching public.

In the YouTube comments the owner said that he had no particular issue with the conversation, only with the way in which his car was “mistreated by unnecessarily revving the engine.”

The owner also complains in the edited video that the technicians deliberately moved his car to make it difficult for him to move before claiming that he “will not be going back there again.”


PetrolPumpFuel efficiency standards benefit economy and environment

Ambitious new vehicle emissions targets could save European drivers €350 per year, and pay back the cost of the technology within three years.

Campaigners have warned that the European Union is on track to miss its CO2 emissions reduction targets, unless new EU efficiency standards for all road vehicles are introduced by 2025.

Transport is Europe’s second most carbon intensive sector after energy. It produces almost a quarter of the EU’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. More than 70% of these emissions are produced by road vehicles.

William Todts, transport policy manager at Transport & Environment (T&E) said, “Our research shows one simple fact; without fuel efficiency standards for cars, vans and lorries, EU countries will struggle to meet their 2030 climate obligations.”

As part of its contribution to the UN climate change negotiations, the EU has committed to cutting its overall domestic GHG emissions to at least 40% below 1990 levels by 2030.


DieselNewsIs this the start of a diesel tax?

Islington Council charges drivers extra £96 annual parking permit fee from today

• Labour-run council targets diesel drivers with added permit fee
• More than 9k drivers hit by the move which net the council £1m a year
• Experts fear this could see other councils also punishing diesel drivers
• Moves comes as there is pressure on government to bring in diesel charge

Source: (the Daily Mail’s online financial website)

RangeRoverEvoqueThieves targeting keyless Range Rovers

TOP-END Range Rovers with keyless ignition systems are being targeted by thieves.

It is believed gangs can unlock the cars using a hand-held device, and are stealing the high-end cars to order.

According to the Metropolitan police, more than 300 RangeRovers have been stolen in London since January. That compares to 63 BMW X5s and Series 3 models.

In Brighton, 10 Range Rovers have been stolen recently.

Some insurers are so worried by the spate of thefts they are making off-road parking a provision when they agree to cover these vehicles.

The Times is reporting that an owner of a £100,000 Range Rover was refused insurance cover unless he had underground parking.

This is likely to make secure parking even more attractive to wealthy homeowners in central London, says The Times. Two underground lock-ups were recently on the market for £400,000.

In a statement, Jaguar Land Rover said vehicle theft through the re-programming of remote-entry keys was an on-going problem which affected the whole industry.


CarReg1Passenger car registrations up by 1.3% in May

Demand for new passenger cars in the EU increased for the twenty-first consecutive month in May, by 1.3% (1,109,893 units).

However, it was the lowest percentage increase since the beginning of this period of consecutive growth.

Major market statistics showed France (-3.5%) and Germany (-6.7%) faced a downturn, while Spain (+14.0%), Italy (+10.8%) and the UK (+2.4%) contributed positively to the overall expansion. Demand for new passenger cars was largely supported by the EU’s new member states (EU12), especially Poland (+11.0%) and the Czech Republic (+17.6%).

Five months into the year, new passenger car registrations increased (+6.8%) totalling 5,805,367 units.

Registrations in Spain (+21.7%), Italy (+15.2%), the UK (+5.7%), France (+3.8%) and Germany (+3.6%) increased compared to the same period one year ago.


Fight you parking ticket!

Fight you parking ticket!

Supreme court to rule on parking fines

A legal battle over how much drivers are charged when they overstay a parking space time limit on private land is to go to the supreme court.

The court of appeal has ruled that an £85 parking charge imposed on a driver who had overstayed a permitted two-hour period of free parking in a shopping centre car park was not “extravagant or unconscionable”.

The motorist, Barry Beavis, who had parked in the Riverside Retail Park in Chelmsford, overstayed the time limit by almost one hour.

As a result, Parking Eye, which manages the car park on behalf of retail park owners the British Airways Pension Fund, levied the charge.

Beavis has now decided to take the case to the supreme court, the UK’s highest court. He is being supported by the Consumers’ Association.

Richard Lloyd, editor of the association’s Which? publication, said: “We are concerned this decision waters down the law on penalty charges and may encourage excessive default charges across a wide range of consumer markets.

“Given the possible ramifications of this case for all consumers, we will be looking to intervene again in the supreme court hearing.”


EDTAutomotiveEngine detox company claims £1m aftersales boost for dealers

A company which supplies engine decontamination machines to dealers claims to have generated an additional £1m aftersales turnover for major groups including Inchcape, Sandicliffe and Hendy.

EDT Automotive was launched in 2013 and is the sole UK importer of the machine which cleans oil waste left behind during an oil change, along with any deposits that naturally build up within the engine.

“To reach the £1 million mark in terms of turnover for our UK franchised dealer partners is an important milestone. We are well on the way to establishing a true nationwide network and the fact we’ve done that from scratch in under two years tells you everything you need to know about the quality of the product,” said David Holmes, managing director of EDT.

ADT said the machine’s action is comparable with descaling a dishwasher and can be used on both petrol and diesel engines, with the process taking 15 minutes to remove up to half a litre of sludge including carbon and metallic particles.

Family-run Kia dealer, Victor Wood (pictured), of Grantham in Lincolnshire said the machine is currently generating up to £50 per workshop job.

“We are lucky that our workshop is always at maximum capacity, but we were looking for extra profit. You plug the machine in and leave it. The technician gets on with his work and it earns an extra £40 or £50 per job. It pays the mechanic’s wages for a couple of hours, so the service is 100% profit for the business,” said general manager Andy Doyle.

EDT operates a pay-as-you-go model similar to a vending machine company, providing the unit, sales and technical training, the consumables and ongoing support. The minimum contract requirement is five treatments per week.


SurveyLease firms lead the charge on ULEV sales

The majority of the UK’s top leasing companies have reduced their average total risk car fleet emissions below 120g/km, while all are ramping up their share of ultra-low emission vehicles.

BusinessCar’s CO2 and ULEV survey of the country’s leading leasing companies by size of fleet, who between them have a total risk fleet of over 610,000 vehicles, has revealed that Arval has the lowest average CO2 at 117g/km and the highest share of ULEVs – vehicles with a CO2 output of below 75g/km – at 3.7% within the top leasing companies in the UK.

Even companies outside the top five such as Hitachi Capital are also heavily increasing their share of ULEVs, matching Arval for lowest CO2 output at 117g/km and increasing its ULEV share to 4.4%. The average across the four leading lease firms that supplied figures was 121.8g/km, while the BVRLA’s most recent quarterly leasing survey suggested the average CO2 emissions figure for new vehicles across all UK fleets registered was 119.5g/km.

The reduction in CO2 has been in part due to the massive increase in alternative-fuel vehicles being taken on by fleets.


EV3The answer to the lack of electric vehicle charging points is… lamp posts

EVERYONE knows that one of the big drawbacks to having an electric vehicle is the lack of charging points. There just aren’t that many around, so if you’re travelling more than just a handful of miles, you have to plan your journey with military-type precision.

But Mini may have the answer…. street lights and lamp posts.

Their plant in Oxford has been showcasing a high-efficiency street lighting system that doubles as a charging station for electric vehicles (EVs).

Known as Light & Charge and demonstrated for the first time in the UK, this innovative system is the outcome of a pilot project developed by the BMW Group and is a state-of-the-art LED street light that combines energy-efficient lighting with affordable EV charging.

Allowing cities to significantly reduce energy consumption, its integrated charge point also provides a cost-effective and simple solution which can be grafted straight on to the existing local authority street lighting infrastructure, substantially increasing the number of public charging stations.

EV charging stations can be set up at any location where suitable parking is available, simply by replacing conventional street lights with Light & Charge systems.

Frank Bachmann, the managing director of Mini Plant Oxford, said: ‘Light & Charge is a simple and innovative solution which aims to integrate a charging station network into the urban landscape and this is essential if we want to see more electric vehicles on the road in our cities in the future.’

Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council are currently working in partnership to increase the uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles such as electric cars as part of their bid for funding from the Office of Low Emission Vehicles, Go Ultra Low City Scheme.

The two local authorities said in a statement: ‘Combining energy-efficient street lighting with a re-charging station for electric vehicles is a neat solution to the problems of on-street charging stations.’

With its modular LED design, the Light & Charge street light is more energy-efficient than conventional street lighting and provides more effective illumination.

The EV charging cable connects to a standard connector on the Light & Charge street light and the integrated control panel allows drivers to start charging with the swipe of a card regardless of vehicle model.


RenaultLogoRenault becomes first car company to enter the UK savings market

RENAULT has become the only car company to compete in the UK savings market as its financing company RCI Banque has launched a UK savings arm, creatively named RCI Bank.

It enters the market today with an easy access account called the Freedom Savings Account. The account is available exclusively through MoneySuperMarket with a Best Buy rate of 1.5 per cent AER.

The straightforward account has a starting balance of £100, with a maximum balance of £1 million, no penalties, notice periods, tiered rates, gimmicks or small print. RCI Bank plans to launch a suite of additional products later in the year.

CEO of RCI Bank Steve Gowler said: ‘We’re really excited about entering into the UK savings market, and importantly entering the market with an innovative and competitive product. Saving money should not be difficult, which is why we have developed our simple Freedom Savings Account with a rate of 1.50 per cent.

‘We believe we have a product that people will love. Over the next 12 months we plan to follow this up with further product launches.’

He added: ‘We also have the added benefit of being part of a global group, working for Renault and Nissan brands, and we are committed to using our strength to deliver the very best savings accounts and security for our customers in the UK.’


AudiLogoAudi’s engine chief quits, adding pressure amid rising competition from Mercedes

Audi’s engine development chief, Stefan Knirsch, is leaving the company just as the brand is pushing into electric cars and faces growing competition from rival Mercedes-Benz.

Knirsch, a former Porsche executive, has led Audi’s powertrain development since late 2013. He will leave the company at his own request, Audi said on Tuesday, confirming a report in Germany’sAuto Motor und Sport magazine.

Audi did not say whether he had found new employment.

Knirsch was Porsche’s head of quality management and engine development before joining Audi. He leaves Audi as the brand is broadening its range of electric cars and exploring self-driving vehicle technology.

Having boasted in its advertising slogan of “Vorsprung durch Technik” – advancement through technology – since the 1970s, Audi drew criticism a few years ago from some motor industry analysts for its reluctance to embrace innovative technologies and develop new vehicles.

Four years after Audi surpassed Daimler’s Mercedes in luxury car sales worldwide, its lead over its Stuttgart-based rival is shrinking.

Mercedes’ sales surged 14 percent in January-May from a year earlier to 729,000 cars, narrowing the gap to Audi, whose volume rose 4.3 percent to 745,000 cars.

By comparison, Audi outsold Mercedes by 91,000 cars in 2014, which saw BMW take the luxury car sales crown for a 10th year.


Toyota2Toyota expands Takata U.S. air bag recalls by 1.37 million vehicles

Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) will recall almost 1.37 million more vehicles in the United States due to potentially deadly front passenger-side air bags made by Japan’s Takata Corp (7312.T), Toyota said on Tuesday.

The expansion pushes the total number of Toyota vehicles recalled in the United States because of dangers posed by Takata air bags to more than 2.9 million.


Posted by Sue Robinson on 19/06/2015