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A 2.5% fall in private new car registrations in April has been offset by increased activity in the fleet and business markets.
New car registrations in the UK made a modest gain of 2.0% overall in April, according to Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) figures.
The market growth in April was led by the fleet and business sectors, with respective increases of 6.1% and 2.8%.
A total of 189,505 cars were registered in the month, the most in April since 2003, when 194,312 new vehicles found homes.
Sue Robinson, National Franchised Dealer Association director, said: “Various factors such as inflation experiencing only a minor growth, interest rates held at 0.5% as well as low cost finance offers encouraged consumers to commit to buy new cars.
‘Employ more women or risk missing out on millions of pounds’, dealers told
Dealership bosses need to work harder to diversify their workforce and make their business female friendly, says IMI chief executive Steve Nash.
The results of a survey commissioned by the Institute of the Motor Industry found that 96% of female drivers want to see more females in dealership in order to arrest a trend which sees 31% of women uncomfortable about organising maintenance work.
Just 1% of vehicle technicians are currently female, according to the IMI, yet the number of women drivers set to outnumber men.
What impact has the reduced government grant had on EV and hybrid sales?
Carwow looks at the impact using consumer selection and configuration of electric vehicles and hybrids on the new car buyers’ website.
Since 2011, the Government has provided a £5,000 grant on the purchase price of every new electric or hybrid vehicle registered in the UK. However, from March 1 the grant was reduced to £4,500 on fully electric vehicles, and £2,500 on plug-in hybrid vehicles.
Alex Rose, its head of trading, said: “The results are pretty revealing. In the graph above, we’re comparing weekly Outlander PHEV sales (the blue line) with overall sales on Carwow (the black line.)
“However it’s the Outlander PHEV sales pattern that really grabs the attention.
“It’s immediately clear that buyers rushed to buy their Outlander PHEVs before the grant on this model changed from £5,000 to £2,500, as sales on Carwow reached previously unseen levels for this particular model (30 sales in the final week of February), quickly dropping away thereafter.”
The average dealer turned in a record performance in March with profits up 6.5% to £98,900, according to the latest composite figures from dealer profitability specialist ASE.
The first quarter saw profitability increase 8% compared to last year. Despite the increase profits dealers experienced a continued decline in return on sales compared to the prior year as a result of rising turnover.
Dealers also saw an increase in new car sales with pre-registrations less of a problem than in March 2015.
Emissions Analytics has successfully completed its part of a three-year, Innovate UK funded, project to help understand the benefits of low-carbon commercial vehicles.
The Evaluation of Natural Gas Trucks and Refuelling in Swindon (ENTRIS) project required Emissions Analytics to provide its expertise and laboratory-grade testing during the trial, which evaluated 55 heavy duty vehicles retrofitted with a Prins dual-fuel diesel/compressed natural gas system.
The testing was carried out in real-world, on-road conditions covering more than 11,374 miles over 246 hours. In total the trial showed a 6% average reduction in fuel operating costs although this was sensitive to the changing relative price of diesel and gas. The analysis of the data collected also found that on average there was a 9% reduction in CO2, along with 16% reduction in NOxemissions and lower NO2.
Hybrid and electric vehicles have been an increasing feature of UK workshops since Toyota launched the Prius in October 2000 and vehicle manufacturers have been careful to make information available to technicians about the electrical safety considerations of battery technology. However, there are concerns that the sector may be in danger of overlooking a weighty potential hazard associated with hybrids and EVs.
Lee Kennedy, Director of health and safety experts KVF Consultants says, “Because of the size and shape of the batteries, it is not always practical to use existing lifting equipment such as transmission jacks or engine cranes. Snap-On in America provides a Hybrid Battery Lift for $740.00 but I have struggled to find anything in the UK.”
Source: Automotive News
Trucks that carry equipment designed to cut emissions, such as aerodynamic flaps, will soon be allowed to run up to 45-tonne GVW, the DfT – Department for transport – has confirmed.
An updated EU weights and dimensions directive will come into effect on 7 May 2017, and will allow HGVs powered by alternative fuels or fitted with aerodynamic equipment to run at an increased weight and length.
A DfT spokesman told Commercialmotor.com that it is still unknown when the changes to UK law will be made.
IAM RoadSmart, formerly the Institute of Advanced Motoritsts, found that 65% of drivers thought a human should always be in charge of a vehicle. 34% of drivers thought driverless cars were a bad idea and over half said that driverless cars would never be the norm on UK roads. Only 16% thought driverless cars were an ‘exciting proposition’ and 20% believed that it is a good idea.
One autonomous technology which did prove popular was an automated system which stopped tailgating. 92% of respondents said they’d welcome this.
The results were found in a poll of 1,000 British motorists and a separate poll of 92,000 IAM RoadSmart members
Reports from multiple sources, including Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal, have suggested that the deal could result in Fiat Chrysler production models from brands such as Jeep, Alfa Romeo and Maserati using autonomous technology developed by Google.
The American technology giant is widely acknowledged as being at the forefront of autonomous systems development, so this deal could help FCA – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles – produce one of the world’s first autonomous vehicles.
It is thought the cars will be developed by FCA to incorporate Google’s tech, which could be sold as an off-the-shelf product to other brands as well, much in the same way Apple already supplies its CarPlay software to a large number of car makers.
Fiat Chrysler Reports Best April Sales Since 2005
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV started Tuesday strong, with its best April sales in 11 years. The automaker reported sales of 199,631 cars and trucks last month, a 5.6 percent increase compared with sales in April 2015 of 189,027 units — in line with analyst expectations.
Source: The Detroit News
New data protection rules have been adopted by the European Parliament with the aim of protecting the privacy of drivers as the connectivity of company cars and vans increases. There will be a much higher standard for consent, the definition of what constitutes personal data will change and there will be tougher sanctions for anybody falling foul of the rules.
Experts predict that 90% of new cars will be connected by 2020, sharing real-time information on a massive scale will soon become the norm. Businesses have been given two years to comply with the new, stricter regime.
Source: Fleet News
BMW AG’s profit slipped 2.5 percent in the first quarter as car prices dropped amid a battle with Mercedes-Benz to retain its status as the world’s biggest maker of luxury vehicles.
The average price of BMW’s vehicles declined 5.9 percent to about 33,700 euros ($39,100) in the quarter as demand for cheaper cars like the X1 hatchback overwhelmed growth for the revamped 7-Series sedan, according to Bloomberg calculations based on data released Tuesday.