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FTThe Financial Times

Manufacturers rein in spending plans in face of slowing trade

Manufacturers are scaling back their hiring and investment plans for the first time in almost six years as their confidence buckles in the face of slower global trade. Manufacturers have been struggling all year with falling output and orders, but until now they have stuck to their plans to continue to invest and hire. The latest quarterly survey from the EEF manufacturers’ association shows that, for the first time since the start of 2010, more respondents replied “no” than “yes” when asked whether they planned to hire and invest more in the next 12 months. The survey did not ask whether they planned to cut jobs or investment.

Jaguar Land Rover parks new factory in Slovakia

Jaguar Land Rover has reached an agreement to set up shop in Nitra, the Slovakian home of the flying car.

The UK-based carmaker on Friday confirmed plans to set up a £1bn factory in central Europe — a facility that will become its third overseas assembly plant, underlining the company’s rapid growth under Indian ownership.

The plant will employ 2,800 workers and build a range of all-new aluminium vehicles. The FT has previously reported that the replacement for the cherished Land Rover Defender 4×4 is likely to be produced at the factory, though the Discovery Sport SUV will be one of the first models off production lines.

The Daily Telegraph

Business rates revaluation adds to pressure on Britain’s struggling high street retailers

British retailers are expected to face a further headache as they process the business rate changes they will face in the next couple of years. The business rates review in 2017 is expected to bring the largest change to business rates for high street retailers in a generation. However, only retail centres in London and the south east are expected to suffer from an increase in business rates, according to a report by Colliers International, the commercial property agency.

While the government should have assessed three-quarters of properties in the first rate review since 2010 by January, retailers will only be informed of their new bill next October.

Volkswagen suspended from FTSE ‘ethical’ index following emissions scandal

Volkswagen has been suspended from the index of socially responsible investments after it was found to have cheated on emissions tests. FTSE Russell, the London Stock Exchange’s index provider, has removed the German carmaker from its FTSE4Good list and barred its re-entry for at least two years. “The company is deemed to have misled government agencies and consumers over vehicle emissions through the application of software designed to circumvent test requirements,” FTSE Russell said. The index maker said its decision was based on an assessment of the significance of the crisis, how Volkswagen responded and the extent to which the controversy impacts the wider industry.

The Times

Bosses ‘back introduction of national living wage’

More than nine out of 10 bosses support the introduction of a national living wage next year, according to research for the Government. Ministers welcomed the backing from industry and urged firms to start preparing now for the new rate of £7.20 an hour for over 25-year-olds from next April. The survey of 1,000 bosses showed that 93% supported the initiative, with majority believing it will boost productivity and help to retain staff.

Apprenticeship levy ‘will lead to pay cut

The chancellor’s apprenticeship levy will force companies to cut wages, the government’s independent fiscal watchdog has warned. Speaking to the Treasury select committee yesterday, members of the Office for Budget Responsibility said that the levy was effectively a payroll tax and would result in companies trimming some wages rather than taking a hit to profitability.

Minimum wage: employers positive, but unprepared

A big majority of employers are positive on the new higher minimum wage coming from next April, but most have done little to prepare for its impact. A survey of more than 1,000 employers conducted on behalf of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills found more than nine in ten (93 per cent) thought the new national living wage was “a good idea”. A similar number said it would help them boost staff productivity, while more than eight in ten said it would boost morale and make staff more loyal. The national living wage is a new minimum wage for over-25s, which is being phased-in from next April. It will initially be set around £7.20 an hour, but will rise each year towards a target of 60 per cent of median earnings by the end of this parliament, which should be well in excess of £9.

The Daily Mail

It’s not a profit, honest! As councils rake in a record £693m from parking, we reveal the ten that make the most

However, the RAC Foundation urged councils to reveal ‘exactly where this huge excess ends up’. The organisation analysed parking data in financial reports from English councils. The five authorities with the largest surpluses were all in London, led by Westminster with a whopping £46.4million raked in from parking.

Why those low-cost car loans aren’t as cheap as they seem

NFDA Coverage, quote from Sue Robinson

Car buyers are being hit with hidden charges and penalty fees after being lured to take out loans by commission-hungry salesmen. Sales of new and used cars are at a record high, spurred on by a glut of cheap ‘forecourt finance’ deals, including 0 per cent loans. Nearly eight in ten of the 1.2 million new cars bought in the 12 months to the end of August were via dealer finance — an increase of 10 per cent compared to a year ago.

Volkswagen says UK owners of dieselgate cars will be ‘attractively’ compensated and recall will have ‘negligible effect’ on performance

Volkswagen has said UK owners of cars affected by the dieselgate scandal will be ‘attractively’ compensated and recalls will have a ‘negligible effect’ on vehicle performance. Chief executive Matthias Mueller said drivers of recalled 1.2, 1.6 and 2.0-litre diesel cars ‘won’t be able to feel it’ when their vehicles are refitted with software updates from March next year. Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch confirmed that nine managers linked to the scandal had been suspended and all VW Group cars will have real-world emissions figures in the future.

BBC News

Bank of England votes 8-1 to hold rates at 0.5%

UK interest rates have been left unchanged again at 0.5% by the Bank of England’s rate-setters. The nine rate-setters on the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted 8-1 for no change, predicting that inflation would stay below 1% until the second half of next year. Ian McCafferty, one of four external members of the MPC, was the only one to vote for a rate rise. He also voted for a quarter-point rise at each of the previous four meetings. It is the 81st meeting in a row at which rates have been left unchanged at 0.5%.




Posted by Sue Robinson on 11/12/2015