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FTThe Financial Times

Electric Cars – The Lex Column in the Financial Times highlights the increasing desire by carmakers to target upscale buyers of electric and hybrid cars, as BMW announced this week it plans to roll out follow-up models to its i3 electric car. The article also notes that Tesla is finding increasing competitiveness by carmakers such as BMW and Porsche, as Tesla owners are demanding reliability that other carmakers can provide with more specialist service centres and dealers.

City fears loss of influence in EU – The number of British officials working in the European Commission is heading for a “cliff edge” as top bureaucrats approach retirement, with no pipeline of UK nationals to replace them, according to a report. While Britons are prominent in senior ranks now, holding 13 of the top 128 positions, many are heading towards the end of their careers at a time when Britons are scarce lower down the ranks, analysis from the British Bankers’ Associations shows. For example only 3.5 per cent of the officials in DG Market, which oversees the single market, come from the UK.

Insurers face block on pensions advice – Britain’s biggest insurers will be barred from providing the government’s free advice to millions of pension customers, under changes unveiled today. In March the government announced it would give savers the right to free, impartial, face-to-face guidance on their financial choices at retirement when pension rules are over hauled next April. The reforms, the biggest in nearly a century, will allow savers in a defined-contribution pensions to take their savings in cash – instead of having to buy an annuity from their pension provider.

GM in European no-frills push – General Motors is to target Europe’s entry-level car market with a line of low-cost models as it looks to claw back market share lost to budget rivals. GM, which is fighting to return to profitability in Europe, covets the entry-level segment carved out by budget brand Dacia, which has taken advantage of demand from austerity-hit Europeans to become the continent’s fastest-growing carmaker.

Champagne on ice for Europe’s carmakers – Europe’s carmakers have been taken aback, after European car sales over the first months demonstrated an overall growth of 6.5 per cent. Sales in China are still growing, while demand in Brazil and Russia has “fallen off a cliff and should continue to disappoint,” according to at Exane BNP Paribas

BAC is motoring with single seater supercar Mono – When Stuttgart-based automotive designers and brothers Neill and Ian Briggs wanted to build their dream car in 2007 they moved back home to northwest England. Four years later the BAC Mono was born – and now rich petrol heads from across the world are heading there, too, to buy the car. Alexandre Gama, the Brazilian chief creative officer of BBH, the advertising agency, is the latest, collecting his Mono in person in Liverpool last week.

The Daily Telegraph

Osborne appoints high-profile bosses to Bank’s governing body – George Osborne has picked three of Britain’s best known bosses to be directors of the Court of the Bank of England, even though two are at the centre of corporate governance rows and one is suing the Government. Don Robert, chairman of Experian, who last week was lambasted by an investor revolt and criticised by a raft of industry bodies, will join the Bank’s governing body in August. The City veteran has been appointed along with two of Britain’s most se4nior business women – Dorothy Thompson, chief executive of Drax, and Dido Harding, boss of TalkTalk.

Skoda reveals plans for future models – Skoda intends to introduce five new cars by Christmas 2016. The releases will begin with the new Fabia hatchback, followed by a Fabia estate, hatchback and estate versions of an all-new Superb and will finish with a seven-seat SUV. The new models are designed to look sleeker and more dynamic as part of a plan to increase Skoda’s sales by more than 1.5m by 2018.

GM issues further recalls – 717,950 vehicles in the US are affected by further recalls from motoring giant General Motors. The recalls are not related to the potentially lethal ignition switch issues which have plagued GM throughout this year and required the recalling of nearly 15m vehicles. The biggest recall announced yesterday is down to a potentially loose bolt in the power adjustable front seats of several models from 2010 and 2012.

Rise in speed limit for lorries to prevent dangerous overtaking – Ministers will today announce that the speed limit for lorries on rural roads will be raised from 40 to 50mph. The increase is a move to improve road safety by dissuading car drivers, for whom the limit is 60mph, from attempting ‘dangerous overtaking manoeuvres’. New transport minister Claire Perry also believes the increased limit will ‘save our haulage industry millions’ by reducing congestion.

Study announces worst roads for tailgating – A study conducted by the Transport Research Laboratory, which used data from the Highways Agency to determine which sections of motorway were the worst for tailgating. Direct Line car insurance who commissioned the study announced that a mile-long southbound section of the M1 near Leeds, the northbound section of the M42 between junctions six and seven, and the M1 junction one northbound suffered the highest incidences of tailgating.

Record result for Daimler – Daimler enjoyed a sharp rise in underlying profit as a result of record luxury car sales in the second-quarter. There was an increase of 12% to Eur2.46bn in earnings before taxes and interest compared to last year for its luxury car division. Group revenue rose 6% to Eur31.5bn over the same period.

Daily Express

Mobiles are main cause of death crashes – Drivers admit their concentration is disturbed by passengers but the deadliest distraction is the mobile phone. The biggest in-car cause of fatalities is motorists texting, tweeting and taking calls. An AA poll of 18,000 members found 38 per cent had been distracted by other people, radios, phones and sat-navs in the past 12 months. Of the nearly 7,000 who admitted losing concentration, 548 reported a near-miss and 106 had

The Guardian

Hammond: unless Brussels reforms I will still vote for Britain to leave EU
Philip Hammond, last week appointed as foreign secretary, has confirmed that he would vote for Britain to leave the European Union unless there was significant reform in Brussels.

The Times

Luxury car owners told to lock up to beat hi-tech gangs – You might have thought they went out with the manual chokes, but owners of top-of-the-range cars are being told by police to buy old-fashioned steering locks to stop thieves outwitting their sophisticated alarms.

Smart seatbelts aim to prevent road deaths – Scientists are hoping to prevent hundreds of deaths each year with the development of smart devices which will wake up drowsy drivers. The devices which can be inserted in seatbelts and seat covers monitor the driver’s breathing and heart rate to ascertain when drivers are tired, and then set off an alarm before the risk of an accident becomes critical.

Fiesta is UK’s best-selling car – According to Ford, the Fiesta, which debuted in 1976, has overtaken the Escort to become the UK’s best-selling car of all time. Sales of the popular model have topped 4.1 million in its 38 year lifespan. The Sun (staff) quotes Mark Ovenden of Ford Britain who says the Fiesta has gone ‘from strength to strength’.

The Daily Mail

Summer chaos on Britain’s roads – Traffic information company Inrix has warned of a summer of chaos on Britain’s roads, beginning with the school holiday getaway on Friday. This weekend and the four following Saturdays will be the most congested days, it predicts, warning that journeys usually taking an hour will last about 90 minutes on Friday. Saturday traffic will be 25% heavier than usual, with August 9 the busiest. Kwik Fit has claimed that motorists will drive 15.7bn miles this holiday.

The hidden fees in your insurance bill – A survey from Which? that found two out of three policyholders are angry over having to pay hidden fees for their insurance and other financial products. This comes amid evidence that companies are putting a raft of charges in their small print for the cancellation or amendment of policies. Which? said nearly half of car insurers had imposed swingeing administration fees over the past three years while eight out of the 28 major brands had introduced new charges. One of the key reasons for introducing or raising the charges was out of a wish to keep the headline figure down so they appear at the top of price comparison tables. Which? found Churchill, LV, More Th>n, Nationwide, Privilege and Saga had increased fees by at least half when customers made amendments to a policy, such as changing their address, job or marital status.

The Independent

No link between phone use in cars and crashes – Banning the use of mobile phones whilst driving has no impact on the amount of crashes, according to new research. The study analysed more than half a million road accidents before and after the introduction of the mobile phone ban in California in July 2008 to determine its success. The study, which took into account a wide range of factors such as traffic patterns, traffic volume, rainfall and number of miles travelled, found ‘no evidence of a state-wide decrease in accidents as a result of the ban’.

Nissan announces new hatchback – Nissan is aiming to take on the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf with its new Pulsar hatchback. The car, which Nissan says has been designed with the European buyer in mind, marks a return for the brand to the hatch sector, from which it has been absent for eight years. The £15,995 car is already available to order, and is expected to be delivered from September.

Posted by Sue Robinson on 25/07/2014