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Kia has highlighted the importance of a test drive with research which found 47% of Brits “hate” their car – but just one-in-five drives before they buy.
Almost half of Brits feel genuine hatred towards their car according to the study – carried out by third party research company Gingercomms – with one in ten of the 2,000 respondents admitting they have lost their temper and physically lashed out in a Basil Fawlty-style attack.
Despite this, one in five still don’t take a test drive before buying.
Kia said that a fifth of motorists who bought a new car said they wished they had taken it for a test drive, often regretting their purchase within just seven miles of leaving the showroom.
Kia Motors UK President and chief executive, Paul Philpott, said: “The research has brought up some interesting findings around the UK’s relationship with their cars, which could have been avoided if the customer invested time into a test drive.
“At Kia we understand the importance of a test drive, and this is why we have introduced an incentive which offers £1,000 off for customers who have taken a test drive at any one of Kia’s 188 dealerships.”
Kia said that it takes Brits an average of seven days to make a decision on a new car purchase but a test drive could prompt a decision in just seven hours.
A new report from the parliamentary Transport Committee claims the Government should investigate and consider prosecuting Volkswagen for its emissions deception, but it has been far too slow to act.
On the Volkswagen scandal, chair of the Transport Select Committee Louise Ellman MP said: “Volkswagen Group has acted cynically to cheat emissions tests which exist solely to protect human health. Volkswagen’s evidence to us was just not credible but the Government has lacked the will to hold VW accountable for its actions. There is a real danger that VW will be able to get away with cheating emissions tests in Europe if regulators do not act.
“Vehicle owners have been refused goodwill payments. That is despite VW inflicting a great deal of uncertainty on its own customers along with the prospect of declining residual values and the inconvenience of having to undergo repairs.
“We are concerned that VW’s fix was developed at the lowest possible cost which might lead to increased costs for motorists down the line.
“We have called upon the Vehicle Certification Agency to do everything in its power to ensure that does not happen.”
The committee welcomed the planned introduction of ‘real driving emissions tests’ and a stricter lab test for measuring fuel consumption.
It was disappointed that legal emissions limits were not set lower given the scientific evidence that shows dangerous NOx emissions could be cut much faster.
Ellman said: “Many of the European type approval reforms will reduce the opportunities that manufacturers have to cheat emissions tests. That is to be welcomed.
“But as vehicle technology becomes more advanced, what is most urgently needed is a robust regulator who can keep ahead of developments in technology. That regulator does not exist today.
“The VCA must make scrutinising manufacturers for non-compliance and questionable practices its first priority.
Three quarters of SMMT members say remaining in Europe is best for their business, according to the results of a new independent survey.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which represents the breadth of UK automotive businesses, from car and CV makers to parts suppliers and aftermarket companies, set out its members’ position on EU membership at a press conference in London this week.
Some 77% of SMMT members surveyed said that if a referendum were held tomorrow, a ‘remain’ outcome would be best for their business, according to ComRes, who were commissioned to carry out the independent poll. It’s a sentiment shared by 88% of large automotive companies who are SMMT members and 73% of SME members, with small and medium-sized businesses making up around three quarters of respondents (72%). Only a minority (nine per cent) said leaving would be best, less than the proportion who are uncertain (14% don’t know). Notably, no large companies surveyed said an exit would be in their business’ best interests.
Delving into the reasons why the EU is important to them, SMMT members are most likely to say that access to EU automotive markets has a positive impact on their business (66%). This is followed by a majority saying that access to a skilled workforce (55%) and the ability to influence industry standards and regulations (52%) also have a positive impact on their business. When asked to provide open-ended feedback, some of the key reasons given for staying in the EU included the importance of economic and market stability, securing the UK’s global competitiveness, and access to the single market’s free trade opportunities.
Looking ahead to the threat of a potential Brexit, 59% of SMMT members say it would have a negative impact on their business in the medium- to long-term, with a further one in five uncertain about the nature and extent of that impact (18% don’t know). When those foreseeing a negative impact were asked why, fears included becoming uncompetitive and losing business to EU rivals, while the risk of future investment being diverted to the continent also featured highly.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, ‘The message from UK Automotive is clear – being in Europe is vital for the future of this industry and to secure jobs, investment and growth. UK Automotive is thriving, with record car exports, new registrations and the highest manufacturing levels for a decade. Our industry supports 800,000 jobs across the UK and contributes more than £15 billion to the UK economy – our members have clearly stated that pulling out of Europe could jeopardise this.’
The Freight Transport Association (FTA) would like Highways England to provide a better flow of information on forthcoming roadworks so that operators can plan ahead.
FTA’s comments followed publication of the Office of Rail and Road’s (ORR) first annual assessment of Highways England’s performance and delivery of its investment plan, covering the period April 2015 to March 2016.
FTA has supported the long-term certainty of £11.4 billion of funding for roads investment during the first road period, of which £1.8 billion related to 2015-16, but equally freight operators need the certainty of reliable information on the works that go to improving the road network.
Unreliable journeys can cost a truck operator £1 per minute for each vehicle standing idle in congestion and that cost has to be borne by the freight industry. More certainty of plans going forward will provide the industry with important information and allow companies to make informed decisions on how they operate their fleets as these investments in the network are made.
Malcolm Bingham, FTA’s head of road network management policy, said: “It is good to see that Highways England has made a positive start within its first year. We can see that satisfaction in the performance of the network will improve if motorists and businesses are better informed as to how the road system will operate.”
Three US states have filed lawsuits against Volkswagen, in relation to the carmaker’s emission-cheating scandal.
The attorneys general from New York, Massachusetts and Maryland filed lawsuits on Tuesday.
The lawsuits allege Volkswagen (VW) violated state environmental laws and defrauded regulators.
Last month, VW announced a settlement with federal regulators, several states and owners of the affected vehicles valued at $15.3bn (£11.65bn).
It also reached a “partial settlement” with New York and 43 other states worth $603m.
Volkswagen admitted last year to installing “defeat devices”, which disguised the level of emissions from its diesel cars when the vehicles underwent environmental testing.
The New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will announcement more details of the case later today.
BCA has acquired vehicle storage, processing and refurbishment firm Paragon Automotive.
The deal includes an initial £105m and a further £30m subject to meeting financial and market share targets over the next two years.
Paragon provides vehicle services to carmakers and fleets, processing and storing new vehicles and also refurbishing used cars. It employs 1,250 staff and processed 600,000 vehicles from its facilities last year.
BCA already provides a wide range of remarketing services and wants to offer a one-stop service solution across the automotive supply chain.
Paragon’s unaudited revenue and normalised EBITDA were £158.2m and £11m respectively for the 12 months to March 2016.
BCA has been expanding since it was bought by Haversham Holdings from private equity owners Clayton Dubillier & Rice (CD&R) in March last year.
Haversham was set up by Avril Palmer-Baunuck as a vehicle to buy companies. Since buying BCA it has added SMA Vehicle Remarketing, car preparation firm Ambrosetti while also announced a two-year expansion of its UK facilities.
Palmer-Baunack, executive chairman of BCA, said: “The acquisition of Paragon gives us a key component in our transformation of BCA to the pre-eminent managed vehicle services provider to the UK and ultimately European automotive industry.
“Following this transaction BCA will manage over 1.5 million cars a year in the UK and the company sees significant potential to grow this new division organically as well as delivering operating synergies.”
Analyst Mike Allen at Zeus Capital said the Paragon acquisition was an “exciting transaction” with potential for growth although he noted that was some crossover with BCA existing capacity.
Financial regulators in the USA are taking interest in carmakers’ practices of recording their revenues based on shipments to their franchised dealers rather than on the sales to end-users.
The Securities and Exchange Commission and The Department of Justice are undertaking investigations into Fiat Chrysler Automobiles over its reporting of quarterly and annual results.
The BBC reports that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has reported record sales since 2014 when Fiat took full control of US-based Chrysler.
The probe comes after a Fiat Chrysler dealer, Napleton Automotive Group, began legal action against the carmaker and accused it of racketeering and fraud.
Napleton’s boss claims the carmaker offered it $20,000 in exchange for falsely reporting the sales of 40 new vehicles. He claimed the carmaker would regularly report sales at the end of the month but then cancel them later.
FCA said it is cooperating with The Securities and Exchange Commission and The Department of Justice.
It said it will defend itself against Napleton’s lawsuit.
In the UK, despite the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders monthly publishing of overall market figures, there continues to be a lack of public transparency over the volume of each car brand’s actual sales to private and corporate customers and the proportion of other sales to their own operations such as management cars, demonstrators and courtesy cars.