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General News UpdateBack

AmOnlineNewbury car dealer to appeal against £24,000 fine

Newbury car dealer Daniel Stokesberry is set to appeal against his £24,000 fine for selling unroadworthy cars.

Daniel Stokesberry, who traded as 3D Car Sales in Bone Lane, was fined nearly £24,000 by magistrates after admitting five counts of exposing unroadworthy vehicles for sale and also two counts of breaching consumer protection regulations.

Stokesberry is now appealing against the sentence, stating on court documents that he feels the punishment was “massively excessive”.A hearing at Reading Crown Court is planned for August 26.

Stokesberry’s operation came to light after an investigation by trading standards officers revealed that the dealer had a number of vehicles for sale that were not fit for the road, including two cars with tyres below the legal limit and two vehicles with excessive tinting.

Source: am-online.com

251012 bca logoFour killed as plane crashes into BCA Blackbushe site

A private jet crashed into the compound of BCA’s Blackbushe motor auction on Friday, killing four people.

The Saudi-registered jet was attempting to land at neighbouring Blackbushe Airport but overshot and exploded as it hit BCA’s compound, killing the four people on board and destroying a number of cars being stored.

Staff and customers at the BCA site were evacuated from the area while emergency services brought the resultant fire under control.

The four dead were the pilot and three members of a family, which media reports suggest may have been linked to the Bin Laden family.

At least 20 cars in the compound are believed to have been destroyed by the fire, and at least one BCA employee was treated for shock.

A police and Air Accident Investigation Bureau inquiry is under way.

Source: am-online.com

EPYXLarge jump in fleet car disposals, reports Epyx

Epyx is reporting a 40% year-on-year volume increase for its 1link Disposal Network e-commerce platform.

The rise has been largely prompted by fleets and manufacturers using the product to manage and control the flow of stock onto the used market as pressure has increased on residual values, said David Goodyear, head of business development.

He said: “There is a high level of awareness that ex-fleet stock, whether coming from leasing companies or manufacturers, could potentially underperform as general supply continues to improve.

“However, there is also a determination to offset this effect as much as possible by using the technology available to gather information and control how and where stock is sold.

“As a strategy, this does work, with disposal through the platform beating the overall market by an average of 2% so far in 2015.”

The 1link Disposal Network is used by major fleets to manage online the selling of defleet stock to traders and dealers through a wide variety of channels including online and auctions.

Source: am-online.com

NokiaAudi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz buy Here digital mapping business from Nokia

Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz have struck a deal with Nokia to acquire its mapping and location services business Here for £1.9 billion.

The acquisition is intended to secure the long term availability of Here’s products and services as an open, independent and value creating platform for cloud-based maps and other mobility services accessible to all customers from the automotive industry and other sectors.

The three partners will each hold an equal stake in Here, but it has been agreed that none of them will seek to acquire a majority interest.

Subject to the approval of the relevant antitrust authorities, the transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2016.

“High-precision digital maps are a crucial component of the mobility of the future,” said Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the board of management of Daimler AG.

“With the joint acquisition of Here, we want to secure the independence of this central service for all vehicle manufacturers, suppliers and customers in other industries.”

Here is laying the foundations for the next generation of mobility and location based services.

For the automotive industry this is the basis for new assistance systems and ultimately fully autonomous driving.

Extremely precise digital maps will be used in combination with real-time vehicle data in order to increase road safety and to facilitate innovative new products and services.

On the basis of the shared raw data, all automobile manufacturers can offer their customers differentiated and brand-specific services.

“Our environment is constantly changing. That’s why the information in digital maps has to be continually updated so that maximum utility can be offered,” said Rupert Stadler, chairman of the board of management of Audi AG.

“The high-precision cameras and sensors installed in modern cars are the digital eyes for updating mobility data and maps; in this way, information such as speed limits or critical driving situations are already recognized today.”

All data gained will be processed in compliance with strict data-protection rules.

Harald Krüger, chairman of the board of management of BMW AG, said: “Here will play a key role in the digital revolution of mobility, combining high definition maps and data from vehicles to make travel safer and easier for everyone. This knowledge will be to the benefit of all carmakers and their customers.”

High-precision maps are important for autonomous driving and many other forms of assistance systems, as these technologies require an up-to-date plan of a vehicle’s surroundings exact to the nearest centimetre, in order to react in real time.

While Here already produces extremely precise static maps, they can be verified more exactly and continually updated with a constant flow of data from vehicles’ surroundings.

Here provides mapping and location intelligence for nearly 200 countries in more than 50 languages and is one of the main providers of mapping and location services.

The company will continue to develop its position as a strong and independent provider of maps and location-based services, will expand its product offering and continue to make it available to all customers across industries.

The management of Here will continue to be independent – with the goal of moving the Here business case forward as a platform, open to all customers. The consortium says it will not interfere into operational business.

Source: fleetnews.co.uk

FTA‘Green truck fund’ called for by FTA

The FTA is calling for a ‘green truck fund’ to help operators adopt environmental technologies.

The call has come following the release of the latest figures from the Government’s Low Carbon Truck Trial.

The association said the fund would support operators in adopting alternative fuels and low carbon technologies, to reduce carbon emissions and air pollutants.

It said the high costs of vehicle conversions or purchasing ultra-low emission vehicles, plus a lack of public refuelling infrastructure are significant barriers to putting greener trucks on the road.

Rachael Dillon, th FTA’s climate change policy manager, said: “The majority of funding to date has been allocated towards cars and vans.

“If the Government is serious about supporting green vehicles, it must ensure that freight receives a fair share of funding particularly given its key role in delivering the goods and services vital for the UK economy.”

She added: “Based on the results to date from this trial, we would urge the OLEV, which is providing an overall £500 million funding package for ultra-low emission vehicles (2015-2020) to seriously consider a ‘green truck fund’ to enable more operators to utilise alternative fuels and low carbon technologies when the current trial ends in 2016.”

Source: fleetnews.co.uk

DvlaDVLA unlikely to meet other licence check requests after lengthening code lifespan

The decision to extend the licence check code’s lifespan from 72 hours to 21 days has been described as a “victory for common sense”.

However, several other recommended changes to the DVLA driving licence-checking service look less likely to succeed.

The authority’s online licence checking service was officially launched on June 8, when the paper counterpart to the photocard driving licence was abolished.

Fleets can now view up-to-date driving licence information using the DVLA’s Share Driving Licence service, which is accessible via the View Driving Licence website.

To share their details, motorists must generate a code, which can then be redeemed just once by a third party.

Dudley Ashford, drivers’ services manager at the DVLA, told Fleet News: “For some, the 72-hour validity period is not long enough, particularly for those who may need it when travelling. That is why we have extended the validity period to 21 days.

“We originally set the validity of the check code to 72 hours to provide a balance between the practicalities for those who need the code and minimising the risk of unauthorised access to potentially personal data.

“Security is maintained as the code can be cancelled at any time, putting the user in control of when their record can be accessed and by whom.”

Critically, each code can still only be used once, maintaining privacy.

The move has been welcomed by the RAC and the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA).

RAC head of external affairs Pete Williams said: “This is a dramatic U-turn from the DVLA which feels very much like a victory for common sense.

“The move to three weeks is sensible as it provides sufficient flexibility for people hiring a car in the second or third week of a holiday or business trip.”

Gerry Keaney, chief executive of the BVRLA, continued: “We’re pleased that the DVLA has listened to industry feedback that the code lifespan was too short.”

However, the BVRLA is calling on the DVLA to make other changes that it says would benefit fleets.

“We think that the DVLA should extend the opening hours of its call centre, because not all renters have access to the internet,” said Keaney.

“The agency should also waive the cost of the premium line telephone service that is used to check endorsements when motorists turn up without a code.”

The BVRLA also thinks that the DVLA could make it easier for people to access the website by being more flexible on the ID required, using a passport number rather than a national insurance (NI) number, for example.

The DVLA said that not everyone holds a passport, but everyone is issued with a NI number when they get to 16 years of age. It is, however, looking to introduce Gov.uk Verify as the authentication means for View Driving Licence in the future.

“As for the premium rate line, this is something that we set up many years ago in response to calls from the car hire industry,” said Ashford.

“They wanted a facility that would allow them to check a driver’s details if they forgot or didn’t have the paper counterpart.

“At their request, we’ve kept the service since we got rid of the counterpart to help them carry on their business if a driver can’t go online and needs to generate a code.

“We know that the average cost of this service to car hire companies is less than £1, but we also know that car hire companies can charge customers significantly more than that for using the service.”

The telephone enquiry line is available from 8am to 7pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 2pm on Saturdays.

Ashford concluded: “Our experience is that these times can cover the vast majority of enquiries. And, while we’re not currently considering extending opening hours, as always we’ll keep this under review.”

Source: fleetnews.co.uk

EV1European alternative fuel vehicle registrations up by 17.4% in Q2

Alternative fuel vehicle registrations in Europe increased by 17.4% to 143,595 units in the second quarter of 2015, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association has said.

Electric vehicle registrations increased by 53.0%, rising from 18,024 units in Q2 2014 to 27,575 units in Q2 2015, while demand for hybrid vehicles increased by 22.6% totaling 53,443 units.

ACEA said the UK saw the largest increase in AFV registrations during the quarter (+ 64.2%), followed by France and Spain

Source: businesscar.co.uk

AlfaRAlfa Romeo completes prep work on new SUV

Alfa Romeo has finished preparation work on its first SUV and the model is on track to launch next year.

Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Alfa parent Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, said the sporty brand’s second new model after the Giulia midsize sedan will go into production at the end of the first half or beginning of the second half of 2016.

“All the preparation work” in connection with the launch of the second Alfa is done, Marchionne told analysts on a conference call Thursday to discuss Fiat Chrysler’s second-quarter results. “Alfa’s plan is progressing as we told you it will go,” he said.

Marchionne did not say on the call what type of vehicle the second model is, but supplier sources say it will be a midsize SUV, code-named project 949, that will be a rival to the Audi Q5 and BMW X3.

The SUV will be based on the Giulia sedan, the sources said. Its European sales launch likely will be in September or October in 2016 with a U.S. launch following about three months later.

Marchionne said Alfa has already spent almost 2 billion euros of the 5 billion euros allocated by Fiat Chrysler for the brand’s revival. The money has been used to develop the Giorgio rear-wheel-drive platform used by the Giulia, as well as its powertrains and on production startup costs.

Fiat Chrysler Chief Financial Officer Richard Palmer confirmed that the Giulia will enter production in the fourth quarter. The sedan was unveiled to selected journalists in June and will have its public debut at the Frankfurt auto show next month.

Source: europe.autonews.com

PendragonJump in sales and profits at UK’s top car dealer Pendragon

Pendragon has achieved a 17% rise in operating profit year-on-year in the first half of 2015, while revenues have grown by 10.7%.

The UK’s largest car dealer group reports that turnover for the period stood at £2.29 billion from £2.07bn in the first half of 2014.

Operating profit was up to £56.3 million from £48.1m. Underlying profit before tax was at £40.3m, a 22.9% rise on the £32.8m of H1 2014.

Gross margin declined from 12.9% to 12.4%, but operating margin strengthened from 2.3% to 2.5%.

Pendragon’s anticipated trading result for the full year is “comfortably ahead of expectations,” said the company, which retails cars and commercial vehicles under Stratstone, Evans Halshaw, Chatfields and Quicks brands.

Trevor Finn, Pendragon chief executive, said: “Our business continues to perform strongly across all sectors, owing to a combination of our strategy, market leading initiatives and favourable market conditions.

“We continue to be excited by the initiatives launched last year, ‘Sell Your Car’ and ‘Move Me Closer’, which appeal to customers from our key brands of Evanshalshaw.com and Stratstone.com.

“ We plan to expand our footprint, by adding sites particularly in areas where we have no representation, which will provide further convenience to our customers.

“The group has had an encouraging start to the year and our anticipated outturn for the full year is comfortably ahead of expectations.”

Highlights from trading include a record used vehicle performance with an 8.3% rise in gross profitability and revenues up 11.8%, a 6.7% lift in aftersales gross profit and revenues up 5%, and a 11.3% jump in new vehicle gross profit with revenues 16.5% up.

Visits to its Evanshalshaw.com and Stratstone.com websites increased by 3.1 million (+39.7%), from 7.8 million to 10.9 million, as the group has invested in TV advertising to promote its Sell Your Car and Move Me Closer market initiatives.

The group’s net debt was £53.1 million at June 30, 2015, a reduction of £55.7 million from December 31, 2014. Within the period Pendragon received proceeds of £22.4 million with respect to the disposal of the King Arthur Property S.a.r.L property investment of £10.0 million.

“As a consequence of this lower debt level and strong EBITDA performance, the debt : underlying EBITDA ratio has reduced from 0.8 at 31 December 2014 to 0.4 at 30 June 2015 and remains below our target range of 1.0 to 1.5.

“This reflects the appropriate balance of capital efficiency and growth potential, providing both a strong balance sheet and, with our strong cashflow generation and realisations from low performing assets, the ability to invest for the future,” said Pendragon.

Source: am-online.com

LeasingCompany car drivers shunning responsibility for car maintenance

Only 42% of company car drivers see maintenance of their vehicle as their own responsibility, according to a survey by Venson.

58% of company car drivers think it’s their employer’s responsibility to get the car serviced at the appropriate times, even though the employee is accountable.

The leasing company says fleet managers need to ensure their drivers know exactly what needs reporting and where responsibilities lie, in order to stay in control of their costs.

When asked if they undertake any vehicle maintenance, company car drivers are least likely to top up water coolants (52%) with only 53% checking oil levels. 66% check their tyre pressures and inflate if necessary.

Almost one in three drivers (28%) ignore warning lights on the dashboard.

Gil Kelly, operations director at Venson said: “Only 42% of the company car drivers we surveyed see maintenance as their responsibility, which could see fleet managers facing hefty charges at the end of the vehicle’s lease. This could be avoided if fleet managers, with the support of their fleet provider, communicate about service and maintenance responsibilities, not only at the time of handing over the keys of the car to an employee, but throughout the term of the lease to reduce wear and tear costs.

“In addition, by encouraging regular maintenance checks, businesses can identify issues early. This should include pre-collection inspections, prior to the end of a contract, to allow any damage to be identified and rectified. Fleet managers could also consider implementing a policy whereby company car drivers are fined as a result of issues not being reported, and result in unnecessary costs being incurred by the business for persistent offenders.

“We also advise firms to ensure their fleet provider has provided a clearly defined end of contract damage process so it is transparent what is acceptable. There should also be room for a firm to challenge their fleet provider about the cost breakdown, to ensure there are no hidden charges. By going into a lease with a clear understanding of the procedures regarding damage and making them clear to their drivers, businesses can stay on top of damage and/or maintenance issues, as they happen.”

Source: am-online.com

CAPCAP warns used car trade values about to come under pressure

Used car prices may be under pressure from the end of August, according to valuation experts at CAP.

However, CAP says steady consumer demand has kept the wholesale vehicle market fairly buoyant and dealers are keen to keep their forecourts stocked up.

With volumes in the used car market high, and ahead of the same time last year, values in general edged down in Black Book Live during July, but only resulting in a month-end drop of 1.2% at the 3-year, 60,000 mile mark.

Derren Martin, senior editor, CAP Black Book said: “Depreciation over the last two months has been slightly lower than anticipated. So, will the market catch-up with where many expected it to be?

“We have reported many dealers are seeing margin compression. When accounting for high volumes in the used car market, and a likely increase in the long-term, there is the potential for some pressure on trade prices.

“August is likely to lead to a small drop off in consumer footfall, so the supply and demand balance may promote further price erosion. Longer term, there could be added pressure with a new registration plate looming, resulting in more fleet returns and retail part-exchanges.”

Of the main volume sectors, SUVs were the hardest hit, due to large volumes in the market and partly the time of year. The Nissan Juke and Skoda Yeti saw values drop in July due to high volumes in this ever-growing SUV sector – which has seen 125% increases in used car sold volumes over the last five years – is likely to remain under pressure in the long term, according to CAP.

Upper medium, or “D” Sector cars fared slightly better than the average in July and this could be due to stable volumes in the used car market. Used car sales volumes in this sector are down 2% since 2010. Values of common ex-company cars such as diesel variants of the non-current BMW 3 Series, Ford Mondeo and Vauxhall Insignia all stayed level in July, showing they remain a popular choice for the used car buyer, and represent good value when priced against many of the SUVs.

Values of convertibles declined in July, particularly from the middle of the month onwards. The worst affected were those cars that appeared in higher volumes, such as the previous version of the Audi A3 Convertible and the current Volkswagen Golf Convertible.

The pace of convertible depreciation has steadily increased over the past three months in Black Book Live, moving from just 0.2% during May, to 0.8% in June and then 1.6% in July. The window of opportunity is rapidly closing for these cars, if a dealer is looking to buy wholesale in August, by the time the car is prepared and on the forecourt, summer will more than likely have passed.

“We are entering an interesting few months for the used car market. At this time last year, contract hire and leasing companies reported a drop off in their sales. What followed later in the year was high supply and low demand and this led to not insignificant pricing realignments. Black Book Live reported these movements on a daily basis last year, keeping subscribers updated real-time. Whatever happens over the next few months, CAP will be analysing the sold data real-time and moving any values accordingly,” added Mr Martin.

CAP has reported a positive response from the market to its “little and often” movements that reflect changes as they happen. This is seen infinitely more accurate than large monthly value drops.

Source: am-online.com

CarAlarn99% say they would ignore a car alarm

The car alarm is possibly the most ignored sound in Britain, with 99% of drivers and householders saying they wouldn’t go to investigate if they heard one sounding, research suggests.

A survey by Flexed.co.uk has found that the constant beep of a vehicle alarm tops the list of late-night annoyances in suburban living.

The car leasing company has instead turned to drivers and householders to come up with alternative sounds for car alarms that deter criminals and get people coming to investigate.

“It’s one of those facts of life that nobody does anything about a late-night car alarm,” said Mark Hall from Flexed.co.uk.

“You might get the odd twitch of a curtain, but the huge majority think it’s somebody else’s problem, even if the horn doesn’t stop for several hours.

“We end up with a ‘boy who cried wolf’ thing. Genuine thefts go unnoticed simply because there have been so many false alarms.”

Flexed.co.uk asked 3,000 people whether they would investigate a car alarm at certain times and locations. The results showed a huge apathy toward the unrelenting horns, whistles and sirens:

In a public car park: 98% said ‘no’

In their street at night: 99% said ‘no’

In their work car park: only 5% said ‘yes’

At home, and they knew it was their own car: Only 26% said they’d go and look

“Most people now consider the sound of a vehicle alarm to be a false alarm,” said Hall, “and even most owners say their most likely reaction would be to reset the device using the remote control and go back to bed.”

Hall puts this lack of reaction down to the simple fact that car technology has moved on in recent years.

Most cars now have immobilisers, which mean alarms are only set off by vandalism or break-ins. “Or, as some cynics might suggest, a leaf falling off a tree two streets away,” said Hall.

What would get people paying attention to car crime would be if alarms made a more natural noise that would prompt people to investigate.

Flexed asked the same 3,000 people what sounds would improve vehicle alarms enough for them to be taken more seriously. Some, we think, would be more effective than others:

Baby crying
Sound of a police siren
Dog barking
Ice cream van jingle
Heavy metal guitar
Classic FM (“It keeps me out of my mum’s kitchen at any rate”)
A Nigel Farage speech
Air raid siren
The white noise that some emergency vehicles now use
A human voice that calls out for help
Flexed.co.uk says that human voices have been tried before for car alarms, with limited success.

“The problem was that they used voice artists that sounded like they were in a studio,” said Hall. “Alarms need a number of different voices that sound natural, that invite people to investigate. We’d certainly investigate a realistic cry for help.”

However, the one suggestion that every householder and car owner can support is a simple one: a short burst of sound while the alarm sends an alert to the car owner’s phone.

“Surely that’s not beyond the minds of alarm developers?” asked Hall. “This will have the desired effect and let the rest of us have a good night’s sleep for once.”

But the one suggestion that Flexed.co.uk likes the most is the ice cream jingle. “Who can resist the sound of an ice cream van?” said Hall, “Even at three in the morning, I’d be out there waiting for a 99 with sprinkles.”

Source: fleetnews.co.uk

Glass'sGlass’s appoints new commercial vehicle and leisure valuations manager

Vehicle valuations experts Glass’s has appointed Jayson Whittington to the newly-created role of commercial vehicle and leisure valuation manager.

The creation of his role coincides with the departures of George Alexander and Randal Thomas, who have both retired. They held the roles of chief editor of commercial vehicles and chief editor of leisure vehicles.

Glass’s said the two positions had been combined as part of enhancements in the way that Glass’s handled and processed its data.

Whittington joined Glass’s in March 2014 as the editor of leisure vehicles, and has a 20 year track-record in the motor industry, including roles at Manheim, Carshop, Robins & Day and Arval.

“Glass’s is the market leader for valuations in commercial and leisure vehicles and I am looking forward to maintaining and building on the reputation that we have for fairness and accuracy,” Whittington said.

“We have been making changes to our management structure and data processes for some time and are now in a position where we believe that our team and our valuations are market-leading. This is an exciting time for Glass’s,” said Rupert Pontin, head of valuations at Glass’s.

Source: businesscar.co.uk

AutoTraderBlurred lines: Buyers are more open-minded when planning a purchase

EVIDENCE from Auto Trader suggests that the lines between buying a new car and buying a used car have become increasingly blurred.

Today, consumers are far more likely to consider both, rather than starting from the premise that they want either one or the other.

Covering the period April to June 2015, the company’s quarterly market tracker traced the views of more than 1,000 motorists. Seventy-two per cent of those who’d recently bought a used car said they had also considered new, while 75 per cent of those who’d recently bought new, said they’d considered used.

That compares with 43 per cent and 61 per cent respectively for the same period a year earlier.

‘The lines we once drew around buying a new car or used car have become less relevant in today’s marketplace,’ said Nick King, Auto Trader’s insight director.

‘That may have something to do with the changing face of ownership in the new car market. The new car market is increasingly driven by PCP deals where monthly payments, rather than outright price is key. It would certainly explain why there has been such a dramatic increase in those considering new cars, before buying a used model.’

Once again, the research revealed that not getting the asking price was the biggest obstacle for consumers in trying to sell their cars. Forty-two per cent cited this as an issue, compared with 27 per cent for the same period in 2014.

Source: cardealermagazine.co.uk

salesRecovery in European cars sales continued in July

The recovery in European car sales continued in July as sales rose in the major markets of Germany, France, Italy and Spain. The monthly increases ranged from 2 percent in France to 24 percent in Spain.

Passenger car registrations in Germany increased 7 percent last month to 290,000, industry sources said today. The increase extended the seven-month gain in car sales in Europe’s biggest auto market to about 1.9 million units. It follows an increase of 13 percent in June.

French car sales rose 2 percent to 147,132 in July, the CCFA industry association said on Monday, with automakers PSA/Peugeot-Citroen benefiting from the launch of new or refreshed models.

Sales in Italy rose 15 percent last month to 131,489 vehicles while volume in Spain increased 24 percent to 102,922 cars, marking 23 straight months of growth as a recovering economy and a renewed scrappage program encouraged purchases.

The UK, Europe’s second-largest car market after Germany, reports sales later this week.

Reuters contributed to this report

Source: europe.autonews.com

Toyota2Toyota profit jumps 10% to quarterly record on cost cuts, currency gains

Toyota Motor Corp. today posted a third straight year of record profit for its first quarter as cost cuts and currency gains made up for slightly weaker vehicle sales.

April-June net profit jumped 10 percent to 646.39 billion yen ($5.22 billion). Operating profit rose 9.1 percent to 756 billion yen on revenue that grew 9.3 percent, Toyota said in an earnings release.

Toyota’s sales growth continued to be held back by a self-imposed halt on increasing production capacity aimed at preventing quality problems. Toyota’s global retail sales slipped 0.4 percent to 2.502 million vehicles during the quarter.

Sales in China, the world’s biggest auto market, have been hit by intensifying price competition, especially for the RAV4 SUV as automakers seek to capitalize on a vogue for SUVs. Toyota’s sales with its Chinese joint ventures declined 0.1 percent in January-March. That featured in today’s earnings as Toyota reports Chinese income one quarter later, and books them at net level under U.S. accounting rules.

The Japanese automaker left its net profit forecast for the year ending March unchanged at 2.25 trillion yen, and raised its revenue guidance slightly to reflect higher-than-expected currency gains.

With its sizable production base in Japan, Toyota benefited from a yen that is 17 percent lower against the dollar a year earlier. That boosts the value of models exported from home and softens the blow from weak demand in Japan and Southeast Asia.

Slumping sales in those markets led to Volkswagen AG’s global deliveries inching ahead of Toyota’s in the first six months. The automaker said last week that it sold 5.02 million vehicles in the six months through June, trailing the 5.04 million that Volkswagen reported. Deliveries declined 1.5 percent for Toyota and 0.5 percent for Volkswagen.

Toyota cut its full-year volume sales forecast to 10.12 million units from 10.15 million. The company told workers in Japan in June that it would be “very difficult” to meet its annual sales target due to weak demand in emerging markets. In a union newsletter, Managing Officer Yoichi Miyazaki said the company must make up for the shortfall by boosting sales in developed markets.

While Volkswagen may have surpassed Toyota by sales during the first half, the Japanese carmaker still leads the industry in profits. Analysts project the company may earn about $26 billion in operating profit for this financial year, almost double the $14.8 billion estimated for Volkswagen.

Toyota has lifted the three-year freeze on new factories. The company said earlier this year it will spend about $1.4 billion to build factories in Mexico and China, adding about 300,000 vehicles of production capacity by 2019.

Bloomberg contributed to this report

Source: europe.autonews.com

AALogoNew survey on street lights contradicts the AA’s findings on road traffic accidents

The AA believes that unlit streets play a role in night-time accidents, despite studies revealing no evidence of a link

The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has revealed its findings of research conducted into the impact of street lights being switched off and the impact unlit streets have on road casualties, much to the AA’s surprise.

The school’s findings have stated there is no evidence of a link between street lights being switched off and road deaths and other casualties, which contradicts the growing death toll according to recent study by the AA.

The AA has been left surprised at the survey’s conclusion, as AA analysts found evidence in their own research attributing six road deaths between 2009 to 2012 to where street lights could have been a contributing factor in death according to coroner reports. In the six road deaths highlighted, police claimed the drivers would have had little to no chance avoiding the crash.

The Department for Transport has also recently suggested there is a connection between roads being lit and a reduction in night-time accidents on roads with lighting, versus town and city streets that remain unlit.

The AA’s president Edmund King wants road lights to be switched on, especially along 40mph roads. King also notes the AA wants its members to drive on full beam on residential roads where the street lights are switched off. Of course drivers should do so carefully, as not to distress other motorists. The AA wants roads lit to prevent death and injury of other motorists, and pedestrians and cyclists.

The AA cites a number of instances where unlit roads could have resulted in the death of drivers or pedestrians. Just last week a teenager died after she was hit by four cars, as well as a double-decker bus, on an unlit road. The coroner on the case requested street lights be installed on the road where the incident occurred.

Over the past several years, since 2008, accidents on 40mph roads have dropped 24 per cent with the use of street lights. When the lights on 40mph roads are turned off, or not present at all, the accident toll is down just ten per cent, implying that faster, unlit roads leave motorists and pedestrians at a much higher risk.

King said: “Although part-night lighting on 30mph roads has yet to show a problem in road casualties, it is the 40mph and faster roads that are the problem. Crash experts say there just isn’t enough time to react, even when driving at the speed limit with the headlights on.”

Source: motorbiketimes.com

Posted by Sue Robinson on 07/08/2015