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CBI calls for softer regulations as Europe tries to woo City’s banks

The head of the CBI has urged the government to allow the banking industry “off the naughty step” if the City of London is to fend off post-Brexit challenges  to its position as Europe’s leading financial centre.

Pay-for-perks agreements face shakeup

Experts have warned that employers tax bills could rise after ministers launched a consultation paper on salary sacrifice deal with employers covering cars, healthcare, phones and computers.

Post-Brexit partnership plan mooted to keep market access

Britain should continue paying into the EU budget as part of a post-Brexit deal that would allow it to maintain access to key areas of the single market, according to a paper prepared by a group of five senior policy makers and scholars.

The group, which includes Norbert Rottgen, the chairman of the German parliament’s foreign affairs committee, and Jean Pisani-Ferry, who heads a think-tank reporting to the French prime ministers, advocated a grand bargain in which Britain would join EU countries in a new, looser, organisation known as the Continental Partnership.

UK’s poor electric car sales hit climate change targets

Motorists are shunning electric cars despite a generous subsidy, leaving MPs with “no confidence” that Britain will meet its climate change targets by the middle of the century. Britain has a legally binding obligation to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 compared with 1990 levels. To meet these targets, about 60 per cent of the cars and lorries on the roads must be electric by 2030. But MPs on the environmental audit committee on Thursday warned that a “lack of strategy” in the Department for Transport on how to ensure the public buy low or zero-emission vehicles will leave the country “playing catch up” to meet its goals.

Mood of caution emerges from mixed signals on economy after Brexit

Britain’s households and companies resisted the urge to borrow and spend in July as the vote for Brexit created a new mood of caution among home buyers, purchasers of vehicles and corporate treasures.

At the same time as the Bank of England’s borrowing data for July showed a new reluctance to splash out, there were tentative signs yesterday that the central bank’s interest rate cut in early August had been effective in persuading some consumers to reject saving and instead spend money before prices of imported goods go up.

The combined economic evidence suggests that Brexit will cool the economy, but the full short-term economic effects of the vote to leave the EU will remain uncertain for some time.

Brexiteers have been cheered in August in retail sales figures by showing consumers still spending money without signs that the EU referendum had any effect on their intentions. But official lending data suggested such optimism was premature, with declines in borrowing for mortgages and new cars.

Global shortage presents dilemma for carmakers

A global shortage of batteries – and factories to make them –  threatens to keep the price of electric cars high for the being. Battery costs need to fall significantly before electric cars will be cheap enough to convince consumers to ditch petrol. But carmakers are reluctant to build their own batteries. Except Telsa, which is building its own gigafactory in Nevada, most of the major manufacturers buy batteries from third-party suppliers such as Samsung, Panasonic and LG Chem.


Jobless rate for young adults hits 25% in deprived regions

Economists warn that youth unemployment could become worse in the aftermath of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union. Despite the overall unemployment rate failing to an 11-year low in the three months to June, a report by EY has revealed that many young people are struggling to find work. Bradford, Middlesbrough, Swansea and Wolverhampton, all have an unemployment rate of more than 25 per cent for those aged between18-24.

Emissions from new diesel cars 12 times higher than legal limit

New diesel cars are still emitting harmful pollutants at 12 times the rate allowed by European Union rules almost a year after the Volkswagen scandal, it has been claimed.

Higher taxes for company car drivers as perk removed

Half a million company car drivers are facing higher tax bills under government plans to close a loophole that allows employees to buy cheap vehicles. The Treasury is planning to crack down on salary sacrifice schemes that allow workers to give up a chunk of taxable pay in return for perks such as cars and gym membership. The number of schemes, which also allow employers to pay less national insurance, has risen by a third in the five years to 2014-15, figures suggest. An analysis by Deloitte, the accountancy firm, warned that the reforms could cost company car drivers the most, with those driving low-emissions vehicles potentially paying up to £1,800 more.

Living wage hits small businesses

Small businesses are struggling to pay staff the new national living wage, with many taking a hit to profits to meet obligations.

After the introduction in April of a compulsory minimum wage of £7.20 an hour for over-25s, the Federation of Small Businesses said that nearly half its members cited higher salaries as their biggest cost increase. One in five said that labour costs had risen “significantly” as a result of the policy, FSB research found. The lobby group warned that some had reduced prices or cut investment plans “in order to stay afloat”. Of those that reported increased costs from the living wage, 59 per cent said that they had absorbed the expense through reduced profitability. The retail, wholesale, hospitality and accommodation industries said they were particularly badly affected.


SUV demand heralds new era for Jaguar Land Rover

Jaguar’s new F-Pace SUV has become the fastest-selling car in the company’s 94 year history, fuelling expectations that parent company JLR may finally be able to break nearly a decade over-reliance on sales of Land Rover cars. 30,000 models of the marque’s first ever SUV have been sold globally since it hit British roads in mid-April before going on to be sold overseas. JLR is having to secure additional cars to satisfy customer demand, raising the prospect of a new production line having to be built at its Solihull factory if interest continues at the current pace.


Australia sues Volkswagen unit over alleged emissions fraud

Australia is suing the local arm of Volkswagen for allegedly misleading customers by selling modified vehicles that covered up emissions fraud. Its consumer watchdog claims Volkswagen intentionally sold more than 57,000 such vehicles over a five-year period. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is seeking a public declaration of misconduct, financial penalties and corrective advertising. Volkswagen Australia said it is reviewing the ACCC claims. In a statement, the firm said it does not think that the court action “provides any practical benefit to consumers because software solutions for cars affected by the voluntary recall are expected soon”.

UK manufacturing activity rebounds in August

Activity in the UK’s manufacturing sector rebounded sharply in August, a closely watched survey has indicated, as the weakening of the pound following the Brexit vote boosted exports. The Markit/CIPS purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for the sector rose to 53.3 in August from July’s figure of 48.3. A figure above 50 indicates the sector is expanding. However, the survey also indicated that the weaker pound had pushed up companies’ costs.




Posted by Sue Robinson on 02/09/2016