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China’s carmakers trim quality gap with foreign rivals – Chinese carmakers have narrowed the quality gap with their foreign rivals to the smallest gap in a study’s seven-year history. Geoff Broderick, of J.D. Power – who conducted the research – said it was ‘testament to the improvements that [Chinese] brands have been making’.
Keyless cars at risk of theft – Range Rover owners who park their cars in the street in London are struggling to get insurance because so many of the cars are being stolen. Specialist insurer Quantum says underwriters are refusing to cover the cars because despite hi-tech security systems the vehicles suffer from a catastrophic flaw: they feature keyless entry and keyless ignition technology that thieves have found ways to bypass.
Unless high-end cars with such technology are parked in secure garages, the only way to get insurance for then is to combine it with household insurance to spread the risk, Quantum says. The car industry is at last waking up to the problem, after years of denial. Later this month Edmund King, AA president, will inform an emergency summit hosted by the Institution of Engineering and Technology, that car crime figures are likely to rise for the first time in 20 years.
Manufacturers blamed EU competition laws that force them to allow third parties access to the diagnostic port and the freedom to program new keys. However, one expert says the blame lies with crack coders from Eastern Europe who can reverse-engineer to identify weaknesses and then develop devices to exploit the loophole.
British inventors lead the world in carmakers’ drive for efficiency – Though addressing diverse parts of the automotive landscape, the six companies shortlisted for the annual innovation award of the SMMT are all aiming at the industry’s biggest issue; making vehicles more efficient. The shortlisted entries are diverse from Jaguar’s new Ingenium engines that feature ultra-low friction parts to increase energy efficiency, to the Dearman Engine from the Dearman Engine company, which uses compressed-air-powered engines to keep the trailers of refrigerated lorries cool.
The Daily Telegraph
Mercedes in recall row – Mercedes-Benz is at the centre of a row over safety after the discovery of an electrical fault that causes wiring in the boot of some saloons to burn out. The company received more than 400 complaints, including five about the fault causing fires. America’s motoring safety watchdog ordered the firm to recall cars deemed to be at risk, warning that it could ‘increase the risk of a crash’. In the UK however, despite Mercedes’ confirmation that British models were also affected, no recall has been implemented.
Small businesses get £10m pot to boost engineering skills – Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, is read to release £10m to help small companies develop the engineering skills of their workforce. The funding is the final instalment from the £30m being contributed by the government to establish partnerships with employers for innovative skills training programmes.
VAT reform founders after Britain objects to red tape – Plans to impose a standard VAT return on all European companies have hit a brick wall after the UK and other countries refused to introduce extra paperwork for businesses.
The Daily Mail
Prius tops the list of fasting selling used cars – Last-month’s fastest selling used car was the Toyota Prius. Glass’s guide said that they sold in higher numbers than even the Audi A1 and Range Rover Evoque. The Prius is also California’s bestselling car, and with used models in the UK being available for under £5,000 the car makes ‘huge financial sense here too’.
A Milestone motor for Nissan workers – British car workers have made the 2millionth Nissan Qashqai and broken a production record. The Sunderland plant has reached the milestone in less than eight years of making the popular crossover car, quicker than any other make and model in the history of UK car manufacturing.
10,000 new drivers banned every year – More than 10,000 newly qualified motorists are taken off the roads each year – more than half of them young, uninsured drivers, DVLA figures show. Since 2010, 40,481 motorists were banned within two years of passing a test. Of those 21,148 cases were for driving without insurance.