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BentleyLogoBentayga SUV to give Bentley dealers a 50% boost in new car sales volume

Bentley is expecting its new Bentayga SUV to increase its dealers’ sales by up to 50% over the next few years, while the model has a full order bank for its first 12 months of production.

The £160,000 Bentayga (more pictures) will enter production in late November, with some early examples of the car already on a tour of UK dealers.

Bentley registered almost 1,500 cars in the UK in 2014, but is currently running slightly behind that total for the year to date in 2015.

However, with first Bentayga deliveries reaching customers early in 2016, initially with a new 6.0-litre W12 TSI engine, but later with diesel and plug-in hybrid variants, Bentley sales in the UK could comfortably exceed 2,000 units within a few years.

Paul Jones, product line director for Continental and Flying Spur, said: “We’ve confirmed that we expect to grow our volume by 50% over the next few years, and the Bentayga will be an important part of that growth.”

The 608hp 6.0-litre TSI engine is already more fuel efficient in the Bentayga than the 4.0-litre V8 in the Continental GT. But Bentley will also launch a diesel version of the Bentayga late in 2016, expected to be a version of the 4.1-litre V8 engine found in the Porsche Cayenne.

It would be Bentley’s first diesel model and open up the brand to more customers in addition to those who were choosing a Bentley for the first time with the Bentayga W12 TSI.

The SUV uses the same flexible platform as the latest Audi Q7 and just as Audi is about to launch an e-tron plug-in hybrid Q7, Bentley will introduce a Bentayga using a plug-in hybrid powertrain in 2017. This model is expected to offer CO2 emissions substantially below 100g/km.

While some customers had placed deposits on the Bentayga before seeing the car in the metal, Bentley Motors has been hosting dealers with customers who preferred to learn more about the car and view it close up before deciding to buy one, according to a spokesman.

Staff from retailers have also visited headquarters in Crewe for specific training on the new model, which is being touted as a capable 4×4 as well as a practical luxury express. The Bentayga will have a maximum wading depth of 500mm, as well as a towing limit of 3,500kg for braked trailers.

The spokesman added: “We decided that if we were going to produce an SUV it would have to be ‘the Bentley of SUVs’.”

Source: AM Online

AALogoSupermarkets gaining market share says AA

The AA has praised the supermarkets for keeping fuel prices low and says their policy has helped them win market share from other fuel retailers.

In its latest monthly fuel price update it says average unleaded petrol prices fell for the fourth month in a row, dropping from 111.16ppl in mid-September to 109.21ppl in mid-October, compared with a peak of 117.28ppl on June 22.

Diesel began to edge up slightly from 11.41ppl to 110.96ppl, but the AA says retailers have cut their margins on diesel. It points to the current 2ppl differential with petrol, which reflects the differential at the wholesale level, compared with a 5ppl differential at retail level in the winter when the wholesale differential was only 3ppl.

The report adds: “Strong competition among supermarkets has helped to keep the lid on prices. The Big Four have now put significant price distance (an average 2p a litre on both petrol and diesel) between them and their non-supermarket rivals.”

AA president Edmund King commented: “Supermarkets have done a good job this summer in keeping the pressure on pump prices and, so far, they don’t seem ready to ease up. There again, with UK petrol sales depressed and fuel a clear advantage over low-cost supermarkets, the battle to keep forecourts busy is intense.

“Drivers have responded by keeping supermarket petrol sales steady between April and June this year, down only 0.2% compared to minus 4.8% for non-supermarket retailers.”

Source: Forecourttrader.co.uk

Speed cameraSPEED CAMERAS MAY CREATE BAD BEHAVIOUR

Using more than 1 billion miles of driving behaviour data, Wunelli, has revealed the most frequent braking black spots across the UK created by speed cameras, based on motorists braking excessively just before speed cameras to avoid being caught.

Around 80% of all the UK speed cameras investigated had hard braking activity, with braking increasing six fold on average at these locations. Wunelli defines a hard braking event as a change in speed of 6.5+ mph over a 1-second time period, which is enough to propel a bag on the passenger seat into the footwell.

Wunelli’s key findings relating to speeding:

• 80% of the UK speed cameras investigated are creating braking black spots
• Motorists hard braking activity increases on average by 689% at these locations
• Women exceed the speed limit 12% less than men and hard brake 11% less
• Motorists are most likely to speed at 5:59 am and least likely to speed at 5:16 pm
• Motorists driving in 30 mph zones are found to be speeding 12% of the time and at least 18% over the speed limit
• Motorists in Caithness speed 36% of the time, whilst motorists in Greater London only speed 8% of the time
• A 30% reduction in speeding is achieved by those provided with feedback via personal dashboards or smartphone devices

The Wunelli analysis also identified that drivers of 4WD gold estate cars are typically the safest drivers as determined by fewest speeding, braking and claims events.

Source: Bodyshopmag.com

VWLogo3VW CRISIS HIGHLIGHTS GOVERNANCE PROBLEMS

A new report published by Moody’s has stated that the VW emissions crisis highlights serious corporate governance problems at Volkswagen, and that while the ongoing management reshuffle is positive, the high turnover creates risks.

Yasmina Serghini-Douvin, vice president and senior credit officer at Moody’s said, ‘VW’s emissions crisis has brought to light serious corporate governance issues within the company that we view as a credit negative. These deficiencies include ineffective internal controls to uncover improper activity and poor risk management by VW’s management and supervisory boards. The emission crisis might cause lasting damage to VW’s once-solid reputation with adverse effects on its future earnings and cash flows.’

‘The management shake-up will empower VW’s brands and improve regional coordination across the organisation. These changes should also help address the company’s organisational complexity, which we have viewed as a long-standing credit negative. However, a turnover of this magnitude creates risks, and additional changes following the conclusion of an internal investigation may put added stress on the quality and depth of the senior management team.’

Overview of report:

• Emissions crisis points to serious shortfalls in oversight. These deficiencies include ineffective internal controls to uncover improper activity and poor risk management by VW’s management and supervisory boards. Sweeping governance reforms could limit the damage to VW’s once-solid reputation, which threatens to hurt earnings and cash flows.
• Management changes are positive to date, but high turnover creates risks. In our view, the management shake-up will empower VW’s brands and improve regional coordination. For example, key production functions will be de-centralised at both a brand- and regional-level, in an effort to enhance the company’s agility. The management changes could also help address the company’s organisational complexity, which we have viewed as a long-standing credit negative. However, given the magnitude of the changes, we think it will take time for the new management framework to take shape and become an integral part of the company’s corporate culture. There may be further changes following the conclusion of the internal investigation, which could put additional stress on the quality and depth of the senior management bench.
• Lack of independent voices persists on supervisory board. The relative lack of independent voices on the supervisory board is a governance weakness for VW because it can result in less diversity of opinion and weaker management supervision than in other large, rated diversified global corporations. Of the 10 supervisory board members who represent shareholders, there is only one independent director.
• Three controlling shareholders to determine extent of corporate governance reforms. VW’s relatively complex corporate governance structure is dominated by three controlling shareholders: Porsche Automobil Holdings SE (which is wholly-owned by the founding Porsche/Piëch families), the state of Lower Saxony and Qatar Investment Holdings. These parties play the most active roles in VW’s governance. In the past, we have viewed the ownership as a potential source of stability for creditors, allowing the company to take a longer-term view on strategy and operations. But their interests may not always be totally aligned with each other or those of the company’s creditors and are therefore a source of potential conflict.

Source: Bodyshopmag.com

Posted by Sue Robinson on 30/10/2015