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FTThe Financial Times

Peugeot on road to recovery after rescue deal – PSA Peugeot Citroen reported its first annual operating profit in three years thanks to an upturn in European sales, strong demand in China and sharply reduced costs. Peugeot swung from a Eur364m loss in 2013 to a Eur905m operating profit in 2014.

Volkswagen gets government approval for Thai plant – Volkswagen has won approval from Thai authorities to build a factory for fuel efficient cars near Bangkok ending months of delays. A spokesman for the carmaker said that it had received the go ahead, but the carmaker hasn’t yet decided whether to actually build the factory. According to previous reports, the Eur1bn plant is intended to build 1.4 litre cars and would be capable of making 300,000 units a year.

Fiat and VW face legal action over fuel efficiency claims – Italian consumer group Altroconsumo has launched a legal challenge against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Volkswagen, for allegedly overstating fuel economy performance. The group last year completed an investigation that it claimed showed consumers were being misinformed by advertised fuel efficiency information.

Daimler welcomes Apple’s drive – Chief financial officer of Daimler, Bodo Uebber, has supported Apple’s recent plans to enter the automotive market claiming that it shows that the automotive industry has “major growth potential.” Mr Uebber also highlighted that the German carmaker is “well positioned” to combat the emerging competition.

The Times

Mercedes recalls cars over fire risk – Mercedes-Benz is recalling more than 147,000 mid-sized saloons and estates from 2013-2015 to check for risk of engine fire, the U.S. safety regulator said on Saturday. The cars have a rubber seal in the engine compartment that can fall onto the exhaust system and increase the risk of under bonnet fire, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Mercedes said U.S. dealers will begin notifying owners and repairing the cars in mid-March.

Teaching morality to driverless cars – A scientist at the University of Stanford has brought in a philosophical team to help him solve the problem of teaching cars to make ethical judgements. The questions are being raised as autonomous cars may one day have to make tough ethical choices in the real world. If, for example, a driverless car is carrying four passengers, and it can avoid a fatal crash by mounting the pavement and killing one pedestrian, is that the right thing to do?

‘Living rooms’ on wheels putting drivers in danger – Motorists are becoming increasing oblivious to the dangers of the road because cars are being turned into ‘living rooms’ on wheels, experts say. A rise in the numbers of safety features such as ABS and stability control is creating a sense of complacency among drivers, who are increasingly isolated from the driving experience. The Institute of Advanced Motorists chief executive Sarah Sillars said that cars were now almost too easy to drive, which means motorists spend more time fiddling with technology on the dashboard than concentrating on the road. The comments come following figures showed a sudden rise in the number of serious accidents after a long-term decline.

Honda chief ousted over airbag fiasco

Honda’s chief executive, Takanobu Ito, stepped down yesterday, in the aftermath of a loss of share in the key US market and concerns that the company’s reputation for quality had been damaged after it was forced to recall products five times in the same year over an airbag scandal. Mr Ito will be replaced by Takahiro Hachigo, who will take up the role in June. The carmaker will seek to regain ground in the US market with the Pilot model and the Acura NSC supercar.

Thousands more pensioners stripped of licence to drive – figures from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency that have found that the number of pensioners losing their driving licences has risen by nearly a third over the past four years. The figures reveal that almost 14,000 people aged over 70 were banned from driving on health grounds last year, up from just over 10,000 in 2011, despite claims that pensioners are the safest drivers on the road.

The Daily Mail

1 in 20 drivers ask pals to take points – Research that has revealed that thousands of drivers admit they have paid someone to take their penalty points or been asked to take the punishment for a friend or relative. Figures showed that those who trade points are more likely to be aged up to 24 and nearly three-fifths have done so three times or more.

Get off the phone Mr white van man – It may be illegal but white van man doesn’t care. When not wolf whistling at women, he’s twice as likely to be using his mobile phone as other drivers. Some 2.7% per cent of van drivers in England and Scotland were spotted using hand-held mobile phones at the wheel in 2014, compared to 1.4 per cent of other motorists.

Is Silicon Valley the future of US car – Although Apple remains silent on the project, the technology firm is rumoured to be working on an electric car with a 2020 target date. The reports were partially backed up by a lawsuit filed against the company by battery maker 123 Systems. The big three automakers in the US are taking the treat seriously, GM spokesperson Dan Flores said: ‘Given the company’s tremendous capabilities, it is no surprise to anyone.’

The Independent

Above inflation increase takes minimum wage to £6.70 an hour – The national minimum wage is set to rise by 3 per cent from £6.50 to £6.70 an hour in October, well above the 1.1 per cent inflation rate. The move was recommended to the government yesterday by the Low Pay Commission.

The Daily Telegraph

VW camper sells for £67,500 – A rare example of the Volkswagen Type 2 Samba Microbus sold at auction for £67,500. The car was never officially imported into Britain, and as a result the bus sold at auction is thought to be the only example of its type in the country.

Better finance deals help drive UK car sales – The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has revealed that new car registrations in the UK increased by 9.3 per cent last year to reach almost 2.5 million. The surge was way above the SMMT’s forecast a year earlier of a 1 per cent rise, and it was the best performance for the industry since 2004. SMMT figures also showed that the second-hand car business was healthy last year, as sales were up 3.5 per cent to 6,980,595. Separate data from the Finance and Leasing Association supported the SMMT’s numbers, showing the percentage of private new car sales financed through dealerships by FLA members reached a new high of 76.1per cent in the 12 months to December 2014.

Drivers’ mobile madness – An official survey conducted by the Department for Transport which revealed that about half a million motorists a day are using mobile phones illegally while driving, an increase of almost 50 per cent since 2008. The survey found that young people aged between 17 and 29 are four times more likely to use their mobile phone while driving, as the “addiction” to social networking websites seems to be the reason for the rise of offenders.


Posted by Sue Robinson on 27/02/2015