Auto Industry Digest

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1

Auto Industry Digest

Issue no. 413



This week’s news for company executives




March

17
,

2011




























Fleet file_____________________________________________________


Fuel set to overtake depr
eciation and become highest fleet car cost


FUEL
could become the highest pence per mile cost of running a company car in less than
five years, says CFC Solutions.


The fleet software
company says
that petrol and diesel prices have risen by roughly 50% in
the last five years and there is every reason to expect that they will increase by the same
amount before 2016.


Currently, depreciation is the most expensive cost for a typical 2.0 litre upper medium
petrol
company car at around 25p

per mile with
fuel cos
ts around 16p per mile
.


CFC says that vehicle d
epreciation is unlikely to change substantia
lly within the next five
years
so it is very likely to be overtaken by fuel costs.


Soaring oil costs have pushed the UK

s average pric
e of petrol above 132p a lit
re
-

the £6
gallon
-

for the first time ever.




Fi
nancial directors fear fuel
price rises
over
VAT hike


National Insurance rise to cost
firms £1.25m for ‘free’ fuel perk


Vehicle supplies could be hit
by Japan’s devastation


BVRLA chairman ‘bemused’ at
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A quarter of LGVs fitted
with
‘wrong’ tyres


Conflicting data from auction
giants on car residual values


Budget should back business
says UK automotive industry


Model update: BMW, Lexus,
Nissan, Saab, Volvo




THIS week’s news agenda may be dominated by
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The Editor’s View

This Week’s Briefing


2


The £6 a gallon wa
s not just another milestone along the road

to higher fuel prices it marked

the point at which the wheels start to come

off mobility in 21st century Britain, according to
the AA
.


The pump p
rice

of petrol now averages 132.12p per
litre while the average price of diesel
also hit a new record at 137.92p.


Neville Briggs, managing directo
r at CFC Solutions, explained: ‘
Depreciation has been by far
the highest cost in company cars since anyone s
eriously started measuring whole life costs on
a pence per mile basis in the 1970s.



Being overtaken by fuel would represent a complete change in fleet economics and could
cause a paradigm shift in flee
t management thinking.’


Briggs added that continuin
g increases in the cost of petrol and diesel could mean a change in
priorities when it came to management priorities.


He said: ‘
There could be a number of effects. Firstly, there could be an increased accent on
reduced fuel use through active journey mana
gement including car sharing, and on improved
driving techniques.



Secondly, there could be a much higher than anticipated degree of take up for the new wave
of alter
native fuel vehicles, such as electric vehicle
s. They have a completely different cost
pr
ofile compared to a conventional vehicle with a higher upfront cost but the pence per mile
fuel costs are much reduced.



Also, the continued political pressures felt in the Middle East could shorten this cycle by an
amount which is nearly impossible to pr
edict. Those able to reduce fuel use within their
business operations should do so as soon as possible and consider additional fleet investment
to lessen the impact.



NI rise to cost firms £1.25m for ‘free’ fuel perk


A LEGACY of firms still providing

fr
ee


private fuel to employees will boost Treasury
receipts by £1.25 million whe
n National Insurance rises on
April

1
.


Lex Autolease,
the UK’s large
st supplier of company vehicles,
estimates that 3% of firms in
the UK currently fork out
for the ‘
outdated


benefit, despite the growing impact of fuel and
tax rises.


The firm calculates that the National Insurance hike from 12.8% to 13.8% will cost these
firms an additional £1.25m.
However, the calculation

excludes the underlying increase in fuel
costs incur
red at the pump.

This too is scheduled to rise on April 1 as a further fuel duty
increase is planned that will add up to about 4p to the price of a
litre of petrol and diesel.


Taken together, private
fuel and National Insurance contributions

will cost UK

firms, on
average, £6 per driver, per day
-

which equates to over £2,200 annually.


Andrew Hogsden,
head of f
inanci
al c
onsultancy at Lex Autolease,

said
:

Private fuel is one of
the most expensive perks a company can provide. It falls into the same categ
ory of benefit as
a final salary pension scheme which many org
anisations have withdrawn from.’



3

Lex Autolease
claims that
the

free


fuel benefit is tantamount to firms putting a cap on pump
prices, which is highly appealing to employees. The driver’s tax
contribution remains the
same, but the firm continues to subsidise the spiralling fuel costs.


Hogsden
said: ‘
Offering free fuel might seem like a nice sweetener to retain or attract
employees, but it can be a bitter pill to swallow as it exposes the empl
oyer to an ever
-
increasing fuel bill and National Insurance contributions.




From a cost control perspective it’s almost always better to pay off these employees with an
increase in salary or, better still, a one off bonus which will keep down costs in th
e long
term.




Top tips for removing

free


private fuel:



Cease giving

free


private fuel to new recruits immediately



Encourage existing recipients to opt out by educating them about the personal
tax cost



Buy out the remaining drivers through a non
-
pe
nsionable, one off lump sum



Set a date by which the benefit will cease to be provided by the company
.



Financial directors fear

fuel price rises more than VAT hike


MORE than half of UK financial d
irectors
(53%) say they are
more concerned about rising
fu
el costs than the
January 2.5%
rise in the VAT rate
.


Additionally, one in 10 financial d
irectors expect their business to make redundancies if the
fuel price reaches £1.70p a litre

-

the average price of a litre of petrol is currently 132.75p
with a litre

of diesel costing 138.88p



Those are two of the headline findings from an ALD Automotive survey of 132 financial
directors carried out in conjunction with
YouGov, revealing the levels of concern amongst
UK financial directors in respect of the rising pri
ce of fuel.



Of th
e financial
directors surveyed
37% said that they were not concerned
about the fuel
price rises
and 10% of respondents stated that they were unsure.



Keith Allen, managing d
irector of ALD Automotive
, said: ‘T
he increasing cost of fuel
is a
big worry for UK businesses. At ALD, we work with companies by having them outsource
the management of their company vehicles and can recommend strategies to help them
reduce their fuel bill. A change in a business’s fleet policy, or the implementatio
n of
telematics can have a significant impact on fuel consumption

and a business’s bottom
-
line.




Finance directors may not be able to influence petrol or diesel prices, but through the careful
selection of company cars, driver education policies and tele
matics, fuel bills can be
effectively managed while leaving alternative technologies in the showro
om.’


Fleets lead low emissions drive reveals new SMMT report


NEW cars with carbon dioxide emission levels below 130 g/km now account for almost 40%
of the m
arket compared with less than 1% in 2000
-

with fleets leading the way
-

according
to a new report from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.


Emissions of new cars fell 3.5% in 2010 and
have fallen by more than 20% since 2000,
according to the
SMMT’s
10th annual
‘New Car
CO
2

Report’
.



4

The report reveals that last year average emission levels for new car sales dropped by
3.5%
on
2009
to 144.2

g/km
-

equivalent to about 50

mpg
.

Additionally, nearly 40,000 vehicles
were exempt from Vehicle Excise D
uty
(VED)
with emissions under 100

g/km
-

equivalent
to about 70

mpg
.


However, the report highlights that average emissions across new fleet cars last year were
143.5 g/km
-

a drop of 4.8% on 2009 (150.8 g/km) and an 18.2% reduction compared to 2001
(175
g/km). Meanwhile, new cars registered to the business sector (sub
-
25 vehicle fleets) last
year averaged 146.9 g/km
-

a 4.7% decline on 2009 (154.2 g/km). A decade ago average
sector new car emissions were 24.7% higher at 195 g/km.

Last year average new car

emissions in the private sector were 144.8 g/km
-

2.1% down on
2009 (147.9 g/km) and 17.9% down on 2001 (1764. g/km).


Reductions in average emissions were m
ade across all model segments in the new car market
versus

2009 levels, contributing to the signif
icant drop over the past decade.


Luxury saloons and MPVs made the biggest reduction over the

past year, falling 6.4% and
6
% re
spectively on 2009 figures and executive (
-
28.1%) and m
ini (
-
25.8%) segments
recorded the biggest improvements against the level
s of 2000.


SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt said: ‘
New technology has delivered impressive
reductions in
CO
2

emissions but coordinated action, to support research and development,
new infrastructure and consumer incentives, is critical to securing signif
icant future advances
.



The economic and political challenges of high fuel prices, energy security and climate
change are shared issues that must be addre
ssed at an international level.’


Each of the
four lowest emitting VED bands
-

ranging from 0 to 130

g/km
-

increased in
popularity representing almost 38.2% of the new car market, compared to less than 0.9% in
2000.


This
, said the SMMT, marked

a positive move for industry as all manufacturers must reach a
Europe
-
wide average for their vehicle fleets of

130

g/km by 2015.

There is an ultimate target
of 95

g/km by 2020, subject to impact assessment.


The full
report
is free to download from
www.smmt.co.uk
.


Leasing firm u
rges Chancellor to scrap fuel duty escalator idea


THE Government’s annual fuel duty escalator
-

currently set at 1p above the rate of inflation
-

should be scrapped in next week’s Budget, according to Mark Sinclair, d
irector of leasing
company Alphabet


C
hancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne is coming under mounting pressure to cancel
the 1p above inflation rise in duty in his Budget statement on Wednesday (March 23) as
pump prices continue to soar.


Sinclair claimed that there was now ‘
no longer any r
ationale for the escalator’
saying: ‘
The
justification given for escalating fuel duty faster than inflation was to curb pollution, traffic
levels and congestion. But these problems have all worsened from 1979 to 2007 even though
Governments twice imposed t
he escalator on businesses and motorists in that time.



In 2007 the price of oil almost doubled from $50 to over $90 a barrel and it is now anchored
at over $110. Since 2007, traffic, congestion and carbon emissions from vehicles have all

5

fallen. In fact,

the Government has recorded consecutive annual declines in traffic and
congestion for the first time since the Second World War.



Meanwhile, fuel duty in real terms is now actually lower than it was 10 years ago. Obviously
the escalator is not working an
d isn’t needed. It’s time for the Chancellor to admit that
enough is enough, and cancel the duty increase scheduled for April

1
, taking the opportunity
to aband
on the escalator in the Budget.’


Alphabet has warned that the rise in fuel prices is set to con
tinue with the cost of diesel, the
main fuel for company car and van fleets, set to
exceed £1.50 per litre before the summer
.


Sinclair said that
the company’s
analysis
suggested

that firms and drivers could be facing a
repeat of 2008, when oil prices spik
ed to $147 a barrel b
efore falling briefly below $40
.


Prices could fall quickly back toward £1 a litre but the respite would ag
ain be short
-
lived, he
warned. ‘
The world has entered an era of structurally higher energy costs. Competition for
scarce oil is

d
riving up the cost of motoring.’


As a result,
Alphabet has been advising its customers to tackle the problem by encouraging
company car drivers to choose lower
-
carbon vehicles

and collectively save around
£3
million
.




Our account management and strate
gic consultancy teams have championed the value

of
focusing on lower emissions’
, said
Sinclair. ‘It’s

something
we consistently communicate.
We’
ve demonstrated time and again that fleets save much more money when they adopt
CO
2

-
driven wholelife c
ost polic
ies rather than focusing solely o
n list prices or lease rentals.’


The fuel efficiency of cars supplied by Alphabet
has
increased by over 16% during the last
five years.


The company estimates that the shift to lower
carbon cars will save its customers £3

million
at the fuel pumps over the next three years, despite rising fuel prices. As well as saving on
fuel costs, the cleaner cars supplied by Alphabet will cut emissions by an estimated 13,000
tonnes of
CO
2

between now and 2013.


LeasePlan calls on the C
hancellor to provide long
-
term clarity


CHANCELLOR
of the Exchequer George Osborne must
provide greater clarity on long
-
term
tax policy towards company vehicles in the Budget

on Wednesday (March 23), according to
leasing and fleet management company LeaseP
lan.


At the same time, the UK division of the world’s
largest
vehicle fleet management company,
warned that stealth taxes could damage business mobility and jeopardise the nascent success
of salary sacrifice schemes.


David Brennan
, managing d
irector, Le
asePlan UK, said:


It is vital to the health of the British
economy that the Government focuses on aiding rather than obstructing business mobility.
The Chancellor should do everything he can to keep the economy moving.


‘At the moment, benefit
-
in
-
kind ta
x changes have only been confirmed until 2012/13 for the
vast majority of vehicles and this creates a climate of uncertainty for fleet managers. They
need certainty from the tax regime to allow them to take long
-
term planning decisions.



6


Soaring fuel pri
ces are already placing a severe strain on businesses and adding significantly
to costs. At this time, there can be no new hidden stealth taxes which would add to the cost of
mobility. This includes localised parking taxes, tolls and the like.



LeasePlan

calls on the Chancellor not to introduce taxation measures that would penalise
company vehicles. Business travel is a necessity, not a luxury and in the vast majority of
cases these vehicles are essential business tools, not perks.





We’re seeing positi
ve signs that salary sacrifice is encouraging more employees to drive
safer and greener vehicles and this trend could be jeopardise
d if the tax regime is changed.’



LEASEPLAN has held its annual suppliers’
conference and awards
ceremony.

A total of

125 of L
easePlan’s key local and national suppliers
attended
the event, which had the theme of
‘we grow: you grow’
. Six
awards
were
presented to the best suppliers in recognition of their outsta
nding service
in the past year. The winners were: b
reakdown
and

recov
ery
,
The
AA
;

mileage capture and

management
,
Vertivia
; driver sales and warranty
sales,
JTK
; c
aterers
,
Blue Apple (Slough)
; employee b
enefits partner
,
Lorica
;
IT test partners
,
FD
M
.




Historically, because fuel usage can be difficult for an employer to mo
nitor it can provide
an easy target for some business drivers. The best thing that businesses can do is to
implement a fuel card policy which takes the uncertainty out of fuel claims.



The research also showed

that 41% of mileage claims were approved with
out a receipt, which
means that businesses failed to recover £124 million in VAT in 2010.


Fuel cards eradicate this problem because one consolidated invoice is produced, making it
easy to recover 100% of business VAT on fuel purchases. This means that dr
ivers are not
required to collect and retain individual VAT receipts every time they make a purchase.


Powley
added: ‘
Managing costs has never been more important and companies can’t afford
to take a laissez
-
faire attitude. VAT is a prime example, where r
etrieving and collating large
numbers of driver receipts provides a significant administrative task. Fuel cards totally
remove this burden, delivering a single consolidated invoice which makes it easy for business
to claim all of the business fuel VAT that

they are entitled to.

New survey reinforces the value of fuel cards to UK business


NEW

research shows that in 2010, companies not only lost large amounts of money to
fraudulent fuel expense claims, they failed to recover millions of pounds in VAT;
unnece
ssary costs that could be avoided with the use of fuel cards
,

according to Arval.


The research from expense management provider GlobalExpense was published in
The Times
on Friday

(March 11)
. It

showed

that last year businesses lost £1.3 billion of the £9.
9 billion
paid in expenses to fraudulent and out
-
of
-
policy claims. Of this £9.9 billion, 35% was made
up of business travel, making fuel a significant area to address.


Arval, which provides fuel cards to more than a million UK drivers, says that fuel card
s are
the best way to address
the

issue. This is because they allow employer
s

to accurately monitor
driver fuel spend and reimburse them th
e

exact amount; something that according to
the

national survey could save business millions of pounds.


Jenny Powle
y,
sales director
-

C
ard at Arval
, said: ‘
When reimbursing employees for fuel
expenses it is important to have controls in place to protect both the employer and the

7

claimant. This survey demonstrates that without a fuel card policy in place, the temptatio
n to
exaggerate fuel expenses, or to make an honest error in submitting a claim, will remain.




It is essential for any company to reimburse employees fairly but without overpaying
expenses. With fuel making up a quarter of the cost of vehicle ownership
it remains

a crucial
cost to control.’


BVRLA chairman ‘bemused’ at banks attitude to leasing


THE chairman of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA)

Kevin
McNally

says he is ‘bemused’ by
the short
-
sighted approach some banks have taken

in either
ignoring the vehicle finance sector or treating it with an attitude that verges on contempt
.


As a result, he told the annual BVRLA dinner that one
of the key tasks
he had
set the
organisation
during
his tenure was to
challenge the misconception

that
the vehicle leasing
industry

wa
s

too risky
-

or offers insufficient returns
-

for funders
.



Speaking about
the financial abyss the industry had faced i
n the wake of the credit crunch and
the green shoots of recovery, he
said: ‘2010 saw both our ind
ustry and the wider economy
pulling back from the financial abyss that we were all staring into during the dark days of the
credit crunch.



It was a year of recovery
-

in terms of used vehicle prices, new registrations, business
confidence and economic gr
owth. But I am left wondering whether we have just witnessed
the first year of a slow recovery
-

or a temporary reprieve before the feared double
-
dip
recession?


‘The latest estimates tell us that the economy actually shrank in the final quarter of 2010, a
nd
inflation is stubbornly inching its way ever higher. We live, it’s clear, in uncertain times. But,
at least, the coalition is taking action to address what many would say is this country’
s most
pressing economic issue
-

its huge budget deficit.


‘The me
dicine is tough. But we all may need to get used to public
spending cuts and higher
taxes
-

not just this year but for several years to come.



Unfortunately, as yet, the G
overnment has failed to produce an effective strategy for dealing
with one of the bi
ggest issues facing UK busin
esses
-

the lack of funding.


‘I am more and more bemused with the short
-
sighted approach some banks have taken in
either ignoring the vehicle finance sector or treating it with an attitude that verges on
contempt. This is despi
te the fact that it continues to provide an excellent return on capital
with a good risk profile.



Eyecare specialist calls for compulsory checks on company drivers


COMPULSORY
eye

tests
-

particularly for company vehicle drivers
-

are
more essential than

ever
, according to
Specsavers

responding to the
Driver Vehicle and Licensing Agency

ongoing consultation on reforms
to
minimum
driver medical standards on eyesight, epilepsy
and diabetes
.


Proposals on eyesight include a reduction in the minimum distance

from which a motorist
must be able to read a car number plate by around eight feet from 20 metres
to 17.5 metres

(Digest: February 10, 2011)
.


8


Specsavers says that the neither the current or proposed test
does not even begin to take into
account the need
for good peripheral vision and the ability to refocus between different
distances, such as from driving instruments in the car to objects on the road.


As a result,
Specsavers Corporate Eyecare is calling for an obligatory eye

test to be
implemented for al
l who drive in the course of their work and repeated as often as directed by
their optometrist.


Without a change to the regulations it is compa
ny drivers who are most at risk, says
Specsavers pointing to research by the Royal Society for the Prevention of

Accidents

that
company car drivers are 49% more likely to be involved in an accident than
other
drivers,
even after their higher mileages are taken into account.


Specsavers Corporate Eyecare believes that it is essential for safety on
UK
roads that
obl
igatory eyesight tests are implemented at least for company drivers.


The current onus of responsibility is on the employer, and with the Corporate Manslaughter
Act in place, theoretically this could mean high penalties if employees do not have eyesight
f
it for driving.


While the DVLA states that ‘m
any employers have their own procedures in place to e
nsure
medical fitness to drive’

research by Specsavers Corporate Eyecare in January
revealed

t
hat
the majority of companies did

not offer eyecare to their d
rivers.



Over half (53%) of companies did

not offer eyecare to those employees who
drive in the course of their work



14% of companies only offer
ed

eyecare to some drivers



Less than a third (32%) offer
ed

eyecare to all company drivers



Jim Lythgow, director

of strategic alliances at Specs
avers Corporate Eyecare, said: ‘
We
welcome the fact that the driving laws are being reviewed if they are going to improve the
safety on our roads, however we would like more emphasis on the ability to actually test
eyesight.





While we understand that the DVLA does not want to burden drivers with unnecessary
hoops to jump through, good eyesight is surely an essential prerequisite for driving. We feel
that company drivers are at particular risk and that with eye examinations

available for less
than £20, it is a co
st that is easily justifiable.’


The consultation runs until April 28.


New white paper on wholelife vehicle cost best practice available


A WHITE

paper on

Vehicle Whole Life Costs: Best Practice for Fleet Managers’

has been
published by
KeeResources, a leading provider of automotive data to vehicle manufacturers,
retailers and the fleet industry



Author Mark Jowsey, commercial d
irector at KeeResources, said: ‘
The white paper
investigates key tactics to pursu
e to co
nsistently lower costs.

It advises on how to avoid
decisions that will increase future costs, as well as to how to factor in broader HR and duty of
care considerations.





The white paper is aimed at fleet managers s
eeking an introduction to whole
life cos
ts as well
as experienced users looking for new tactics.


9


‘Wholelife c
osts are a forecast, and optimally fleet managers need to use a tool that allows
adjustments to be easily made to reflect changing individual circumstances governed by key
factors such a
s disposals’ performance, SMR arrangements
, fuel policy and supply terms.’


The whit
e paper looks at the impact of employers’ National Insurance
, tax liabilities for
drivers, fleet insurance
, company car and fuel policy.



It advocates:



Reviewing car polic
ies
often as reviews will avoid getting caught out by
escalating end of life vehicle running costs and take account of new mod
els
and specification changes



Establishing minimum standards of specification to help meet duty of care
responsibilities as well c
areful consideration of SMR an
d disposal route
arrangements



Leveraging whole
life costs as a negotiation tool with suppliers and amortising
optional extra costs over the operating life of vehicles.


Free copies of the white paper are available to download a
t
http://kwikcarcost.com/downloads/?action=signup


Inchcape Fleet Solutions invests in customer service

with Accelerator



VEHICLE leasing and fleet management specialist
Inchcape Fleet Soluti
ons’ 60 client
-
facing
staff have

completed a two
-
day training course led by customer service specialists
Accelerator Solutions

that is

accredited by the Institute of Customer Service

(ICS).



Evaluation of the training, carried out before and then six week
s after, has shown improved
team

working, communication skills and quicker turnaround of

‘b
usiness
a
s
u
sual


activities
,
says Accelerator Solutions
.



Jenny Cranfield,
h
ead of

c
ustomer
s
ervice

at Inchcape Fleet Solutions,
said: ‘
These
improvements represe
nt real benefits to our clients, and we’re excited about seeing the impact
on the wider business in coming months
.’



Accelerator Solutions
says it
is the

UK’s leading provider of ICS
-
accredited training courses
and continues to support Inchcape

Fleet Solu
tions

in maintaining service excellence.


Free app finds service stations


STRUGGLING

to find a fuel station can now be a thing of the past for fuel card customers
thanks to the UK’s first free
iPhone
application which uses GPS location data to find nearby

service stations and identify which fuel cards can be used.



Launched by Fuelcards.net, one of the UK’s first fuel card providers to offer customers a
diesel price fixed to the bulk market, the new fuel station locater app works across the
Ke
yfuels, Tex
aco Fastfuel, Shell and

Esso fuel card networks.


Using the

app, drivers can find local service stations reducing the risk of running out of fuel.
Drivers have the option of setting location via GPS or manually inputting a town, city or
postcode meaning j
ourneys can be planned via appropriate fuelling stations while en
-
route or
at the final destination.




10

The app links to over 5,000 service stations across the UK which carry all major cards
including Shell, Esso, Texaco and Keyfuels and include popular br
ands such as Morrisons,
Somerfields
, Murco, Total and Jet. Using an
interface, us
ers can set preferences such as

proximity to location in either miles or kilometres, 24 hour service or HGV access.




This is the first totally free iPhone app of its kind a
nd will be a revolution to drivers who
travel the country on a daily basis,


said Sarah Adams of Fuelcards.net.

Our main aim is to
provide UK businesses with useful tools and solutions to make re
-
fuelling around the UK as
cheap and simple as possible.




The Fuelcards.net fuel station locater iPhone app can be downloaded free of charge through
the

Apple store.



Sharp rise in fleet maintenance e
-
commerce


MORE

use of menu pricing and manufacturer programmes designed to increase franchise
dealer
aftersales

have prompted a sharp rise in fleet maintenance e
-
commerce.



The number of transactions processed through the industry standard 1link Service Network e
-
commerce platform has increased to more than 12,000 per day.



The platform is used by almost all of th
e UK’s top 50 vehicle leasing companies working
together with 15,000 franchise dealers, independent garages and fast fit centres to manage
service and maintenance for around two million company cars and vans.



Ken Trinder, head of business development at
epyx, the company behind 1link, explained:

Over the last year, we have seen a concerted effort on the part of several major
manufacturers to use e
-
commerce to drive up aftersales in their franchise networks.




These manufacturers are aware that, over a p
eriod of time, they have been losing fleet
service and maintenance business to independents and fast
-
fits and this is their way of
fighting back.




Trinder said that there were a number of e
-
commerce too
ls being used by manufacturers
-

including menu pric
ing, service booking desks and improved customer service through CSI
tools.



He sai
d:

E
-
commerce lets the menu pricing principle be applied to hundreds or even
thousands of typical fleet SMR actions and lets manufacturers respond quickly to changing
cond
itions.




Specialist service booking desks based around e
-
commerce have also been successful,
largely in the area of ensuring that company car and van drivers are able to book their vehicle
into a franchise dealer at convenient time through a fast and eas
y process.




Finally, manufacturers are also using e
-
commerce to drive up franchise dealer service
standards. The CSI tools available within 1link enable drivers to rate the dealers they use and
manufacturers to identify those that they don’t believe are
performing well.









11

New speed awareness course launched


COMPANY

drivers caught speeding can now access an immediate online ‘Speed Awareness


course to help them improve their driving, by reducing the need and desire to speed in the
first place.


The o
nline course, which
it is claimed
will hopefully save drivers a fine, penalty points and
even their job in the future, is one of the new modular programmes launched this year by fleet
risk assessment and training company E
-
Training World to tackle specific

driving traits
which can prove costly for companies and their drivers.



As well as being a danger to other road users, drivers penalised for speeding are a real
concern to companies,


said Jonathan Mosley, E
-
Training World’s
d
irector of
sales and

m
arketi
ng.

Because too many points on their licence ultimately means they could be
suspended from driving and unable to carry out their duties.



Whether it’s a sales person, field engineer or delivery driver this is catastrophic because
either you are left payi
ng a salary to someone who cannot fulfil their work obligations or, if
you are contractually allowed to, you dismiss them and have to endure the costly and time
-
consuming recruitment and training process.



Drivers speed for many reasons. This can be down
to poor time management and advance
planning which results in them trying to catch up on lost time, attempting to cram too much
into one day, being put under too much pressure by their boss, a lack of speed awareness
which means they drift over the legal l
imit, or simply because they enjoy driving fast and
don’t believe they’ll be caught.



As well as providing training, the new system therefore assesses drivers’ attitudes and
knowledge making it a quick and simple way of reducing the chances of drivers’ sp
eeding in
the first place, and pinpointing those at greatest risk from speeding. It then combines this
assessment process with immediate education and training.



We’ve often been asked by companies what they should do when drivers get points on their
lice
nce and this is the perfect solution,


concluded
Mosley
.

Better still, it has the flexibility
for companies to include some of their own policy questions in too making it an effective
resource for fleet operators.



Model update___________________________
_____________________


First luxury hybrid hatchback goes on sale


THE world’s
first luxury full hybrid hatchback
, the Lexus CT 200h, has gone on sale with the
entry
-
level SE
-
I costing £23,485 on
-
the
-
road, the SE
-
L £25,200 and the flagship SE
-
L
Premier £30
,635.


The CT 200h
has carbon dioxide emissions of 94 g/km and standard equipment includes 16
or 17
-
inch alloy wheels,
dual
-
zone climate control, a USB port and Aux socket for
connecting portable music players, Bluetooth for mobile phone connection and aud
io
streaming, front fog lights, automatic wipers and dark
-
tinted rear privacy glass.


Lexus says that the
CT 200h’s class
-
leading cost of ownership profile is underpinned by its
low emissions performance, which qualifies it fo
r a zero annual Vehicle Excise

D
uty charge,
plus the bonus of exemption from the London congestion charge.



12

Company car drivers will be taxed at 10% and businesses benefit from a first
-
year 100%
write down allowance against corporation tax.


Factor in the CT 200h’s fuel economy (68.9

mpg official combined cycle figure), and
, says
Lexus: ‘D
esigned
-
in low service, maintenance and repair costs, and you have a package that
offers a clear cost advantage over its segment rivals.



Saab reveals new prices and specification for 9
-
3 range


SAAB

has refreshed the exterior and interior of its 9
-
3 range for the 2012 model year with
vehicles going on sale next month.


The raft of changes also extend to the introduction of
two new petrol turbo engines, enhanced
specification, lower emissions and impr
oved performance.


Standard features across the range include alloy wheels, leather trimmed interior, heated front
seats, park assist and Bluetooth phone integration system along with a host of safety systems
including electronic stability programme, six a
irbags
and Saab Active Head Restraints
.


All
model years 2012
9
-
3 models
also
now come with automatic dimming mirrors inside and
outside the vehicle, electric folding mirrors and automatic rain sensor wipers as standard, a
customer saving of £400.

There a
re two levels of specifications, SE and Aero.


The range receives a fresh face and is distinguished by new front bumpers, ‘ice block’
headlamps and a new grille. At the rear, the Saab wordmark replaces badg
ing on the chrome
trim and all s
aloon variants rec
eive a boot
-
mounted aerodynamic spoiler.


Inside, the cabin features titanium metallic
-
effect trim around the instrument panel, gearshift
moulding, doors and glove
box. SE models are fitted with leather a
ppointed comfort seats,
while Aero models feature new

graphite
-
fibre around the instrument panel, gearshift
mo
ulding, doors and glovebox and leather s
port seats with contrast stitching.


The two new 2.0
litre petrol turbo engines produce 163

b
hp and 220

b
hp and include direct
injection, variable valve timing

and twin
-
scr
oll turbocharging. Both of the

engines will be
available with a six
-
speed manual and automatic transmission.


In terms of
emissions
per unit of horsepower, the new manual 220

bhp 2.0 litre petrol 9
-
3
Aero s
aloon and SportWagon raises the bar
for efficient performance and is the most
powerful sub 160

g/km petrol engine vehicle on sale in the UK

at 155 g/km, according to
Saab
.


Like its sibling, the 9
-
3 1.9
litre manual twin turbo diesel line
-
up also offers class
-
leading
emissions of 119g/km in
both the s
aloon and SportWagon.


Saab also says that the revised
9
-
3 SportWagon can now claim the title of being the most
p
owerful zero first year Vehicle Excise Duty

estate car available in the UK.


On
-
the
-
road prices start at £21,495 for the 2.0t 163 ma
nual SE.








13

Revised BMW 6 Series Coupé set for autumn arrival


A REVISED
BMW 6 Series Coupé
will go on UK sale on October 15 with drivers having the
choice of the 320 bhp 3.0 litre 640i or 407 bhp 4.4 litre 650i.


Prices for the third generation of
the

luxury 2+2
model will be announced closer to the car’s
on
-
sale date.


Both turbocharged petrol engines have an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph

with
the 640i returning 36.7 mpg on the combined fuel cycle and emissions of 179 g/km and the
650i
27.2 mpg and 243 g/km.


Longer, lower and wider, the new car is larger in every dimension than its predecessor except
height, where it now stands half a centimetre closer to the ground.



An eight
-
speed Sport automatic gearbox is s
tandard fitment on both
models and the
Coupé
comes with the highest ever level of standard specification on a

‘6’
.


Standard for the 640i Coupé are 18
-
inch light alloy wheels, while the 650i Coupé comes as
standard wit
h a 19
-
inch light alloy wheel.
Both derivatives feature Dakot
a leather upholstery,
electric seat adjustment with memory, BMW Professional Multimedia Navigation system,
Xenon headlights, LED front fog lights and front and rear Park Distance Control
as well as
the m
ost advanced a
udio system ever to grace a BMW
-

a
Ban
g & Olufsen High
-
End
Surround Sound System
.



Volvo announces pricing for C30 sports
-
coupe


VOLVO has announced that the C30 sports
-
coupe will cost from £14,995 on the road.



The C30 ES 2.0 petrol (145

PS) comes with a multitude of standard features, incl
uding
electronic climate control, 16in alloys, leather stee
ring wheel and gearlever, Volvo’
s stability
system (DSTC), power windows, information centre, floor mats, CD player with auxiliary
input and passenger airbag cut
-
off switch.


The C30 is now offered

with a choice of petrol and diesel engines ranging from the 2.0 petrol
to the T5 (230

PS) and D2 (115

PS) to the D4 (177

PS).


The C30 also comes with varying
levels of specification from the ES to the SE Lux, including the sp
orts derived R
-
Design trim
an
d London congestion charge
-
beating
range of
DRIVe fuel economy
engines
producing
emissions of
99

g/km
.


Exchange rate changes force Nissan Leaf price rise


EXCHANGE rate fluctuations have forced Nissan to increase the price of its electric Leaf by
£2,000.


The increase means that the car now costs £30,990 on
-
the
-
road

excluding the Government’s
£5,000 grant to support the buying of zero carbon models
, an increase from £28,
990 when
prices were announced in July last year
.


A Nissan spokesman said sterling’s v
alue against the y
en had fallen by 14% since prices were
first announced, and that the incre
ase of less than 7% showed the manufacturer w
ould not be
passing on the entire extra cost to customers.




14

Kia C’eed wins value for money top car award


THE Kia C’ee
d has been

named as the overall winner in
price guide
Parkers’
inaugural New
Car Awards.


The Awards
were
developed with the purpose of helping the UK
’s car buyers to identify ‘
the
cars that make you
r cash go further’
.

The winners were
based on hard facts,

powered by
Parkers
’ all
-
new cost of motoring tool, which can be
accessed at
www.parkers.co.uk


Amongst this year’s winners, the Renault Twingo 1.2 16v Bizu walked away with the best
value
city c
ar award, while Aud
i wins the
small h
atchback category with its A1 1.6TDi SE.




In the
sports and premium e
xecutive categories, accolades
were awarded to the Volkswagen

Scirocco
1.4TSi 122 and the BMW 520d SE (Business Media)
.


The Kia
C’eed 1.4 VR
-
7

also won the medium ha
tchback category with the family hatchback
segment being won by the
Skoda Octavia 1.2 TSi S
.



The best value MPV was named as the
Ford C
-
Max 1.6TDCi Titanium

with the
Vauxhall
Insignia Sports Tourer 2.0CDTi 160 ecoFLEX Exclusive

winning the family estate
category,
the
Mini One Countryman 1.6D

the crossover segment, the
Honda Jazz 1.3 IMA HE Hybrid
CVT

the eco car category and the
Land Rover Freelander 2.2 TD4S

the 4x4 segment.


Manufacturer news___________________________________________


Vehicle supplies
could be hit by Japan’s devastation


SUPPLIES of cars and vans produced in Japan could be severely disrupted following the
earthquake and tsunami

that hit the country on Friday (March 11).


Production at Honda, Nissan and Toyota plants in north
-
eastern Jap
an, which was hit by the
devastation, has been interrupted and there are also likely to be problems with the sourcing of
vehicle components over the coming weeks.


While there is currently no reported disruption to production at plants outside of Japan
-

s
uch
as those operated in the UK by Honda, Nissan and Toyota although the latter has banned all
overtime
-

there could be an impact
if shutdowns become prolonged, as core components
are
sourced from Japan.


Currently all manufacturers say vehicle stock leve
ls are sufficient to meet demand. However,
while there is no real short
-
term effect the long
-
term view is unclear.


Toyota suspended production
at all
its
Japanese facilities to assess the situation and
to
see if
the supply chain could still operate
.


Hond
a said it number one priority wa
s to help and support the affected areas in whatever
capacity
it had at its
disposal.




A statement from Honda in the UK confirmed that

there has been one fatality at
a research
and development facility and 30 injuries had
been reported.

However, the company added
that while production at its
Saitama factory
had been suspended until further notice
production at its Suzuka factory had

resumed.



15

Mazda
has
suspended production
at its Hiroshima and Hofu
until Sunday (March 20) b
ut said
in a statement that
t
he availability of
vehicles in Europe wa
s ensured for the time being,
because production and transport of vehicles at Mazda’s Japanese assembly plants
we
re
several months ahead of supply.


Meanwhile, Mazda, a
s an interim resp
onse,

has donated
30

million yen
to support recovery
and relief efforts in the region. The company
says it
will continue to monitor the
situation

and
will provide goods or personnel as required.


Other manufacturers including Mitsubishi and Suzuki have als
o temporarily suspended
vehicle production.


A statement from Mitsubishi in the UK said: ‘
At present there are no known delays in vehicle
production or supply from Japan however this situation is being monitored closely by the
team based in the UK. Mitsubi
shi Motors can
confirm that there is at least four

months of
vehicle supply across the Mitsubishi range on the ground in the UK.



But it is not just Japanese motor manufacturers that could be hit by a breakdown in the supply
of vehicle components as many
producers use electronic components sourced from the
country in their models.


Meanwhile,
BMW has flown all 40
of
its Japan
-
based ex
-
pat employees and their families
back to Germany.


BMW has 800 employees in Japan and
added: ‘
We have a subsidiary in the c
ountry and
while we have brought home a number of our German employees we are also offering local
staff the opportunity to move to the south of Japan for safety.



Volkswagen celebrates its most successful year

ever


VOLKSWAGEN is looking for sustained gro
wth in 2011 and beyond following its
most
successful year in its history
.



Our new models, environmentally friendly technologies and modular toolkits are now laying
the best possible foundations for profitable growth
.’

said Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, CE
O
of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft,
during the presentation of the c
ompany’s 2010 financial
results in Wolfsburg.



Our multibrand group has the technological expertise, the necessary financial strength and
the right team. These allowed us to move
into the

fast lane in 2010
-

and that is where we
intend to stay in the current year.



The past fiscal year has brought the Volkswagen Group a good deal closer to implementing
its

Strategy 2018

, as well as being the most successful year in its history.


The Gr
oup’s unit sales, market share, image ratings, earnings and financial strength all
improved.


CFO Hans Dieter Pötsch

said: ‘
This is further impressive proof of our Group’s robustness
and competitiveness. We significantly increased our profitability, which

shows that our
decision to continue our policy of disciplined cost and investment management was the right
one.




16

The Volkswagen Group’s
sales revenue increased by 20.6%

in the past fiscal year to €126.9

billion (previous year: €105.2bn). Roughly €19.8bn
of revenue growth of €21.7bn was
attributable to the company’s automotive d
ivision.


Consolidated operati
ng profit rose to a record €7.1bn, up €5.3b
n on 2009. Volume, mix and
price effects were the strongest driv
ers (€4.6b
n). To this were added pos
itive e
xchange rate
effects (€1b
n) and increased earning
s contributions by Scania (€1.1b
n) and the Volk
swagen
Financial Services (€0.3b
n). In additio
n, product cost savings of €1.6b
n had a positive effect;
the a
mount originally planned was €1b
n.



This shows how

systematically we are working on our cost structures and how we are
continuously optimising our processes
,’

said Pötsch.


Light commercial vehicles______________________________________


A quarter of LGVs fitted with ‘wrong’ tyres


MORE t
han a quarter (2
5.7%)

of inspected LGVs in the 3,000
-
3,500 GVW category were
running on tyres unfit for purpose
, according to the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency
(VOSA).


The finding in its

‘Effectiveness Re
port for 2009/10
’ was a ‘
worryingly high figure

,
according
to Steve Blackburn, European vice
-
p
resident of
Navman Wireless
, who claimed
that telematics could help with legal enforcement
.


Whether deliberate or ignorant, running on old tyres is a risky business. Blackburn
highlighted the far
-
reaching implications, w
hich range from ‘financial costs of prohibition
notices, through to potentially life threatening and legally disastrous consequences.’


Both employers and employees are responsible for the condition of their vehicles and a safety
check must be performed ev
ery day. Any defects, including unsatisfactory tyre condition,
must be reported.


‘Instilling, assessing and reinforcing good practice is vital to ensuring the safe operation of
fleets,’ added Blackburn. ‘It is important that employers implement strong po
licies supported
by reliable technology to ensure that defects don’t go unreported.’


Some of the more advanced vehicle tracking systems compel drivers to carry out a vehicle
c
heck in line with their company’
s health and safety policy, every day, before th
ey start work.
Tracking systems can also ensure safer con
ditions on the job
-

including reminding drivers to
take appropriate breaks and allowing fleet managers to react when drivers exceed their
stipulated working hours, in accordance with the Working Tim
e Directive.


Blackburn concluded: ‘Conscientious companies can make conscientious drivers, with some
assistance from safety
-
focused technology. Telematics providers can help operators to create
and
maintain a culture of diligence

that starts before the ke
ys are turned and continues
throughout the day.’









17

Citroën expands Nemo range


CITROËN has expanded the newly launched Euro 5 Citroën Nemo range

with the addition of
the
HDi 75 EGS Stop & Start 660 LX
model promising better fuel economy and lower
emis
sions
.



In addition, the standard specification of the range
-
topping Nemo HDi 75 manual Stop &
Start 660 Enterprise has been
boost
ed with a new dual
-
function Connectin
g Box, which
includes Bluetooth

and a USB

socket. The
new equipment replac
es the previou
s solus
Bluetooth

mobile ph
one connectivity feature on the model.

The Connecting Box is also
available as an option on all Nemo LX vans.


The Nemo HDi 75 EGS Stop & Start 660 LX features Citroën’s Electronic Gearbox System
-

an advan
ced automated manual ge
arbox.

It
combines the fuel efficiency of a manual ’box
with the driver ben
efit of a two pedal automatic.

The EGS gearbox enables the driver to
select automatic mode, or manual mode using the sequential shift facility of the central gear
selector.


As a re
sult the model delivers
better fuel economy and lower emission figures than those
achieved by the Euro 5 Nemo HDi vans with fiv
e
-
speed manual transmission.


E
missions for
the EGS model are reduced by 3.54% to 109

g/km from the manual transmission Euro 5
mo
del’s 113

g/km.

Its
fuel economy figures are also

better than those of the manual
transmission van
achieving
68.9

mpg on the c
ombined
fuel cycle
(+4.64%).


The
Nemo HDi 75 EGS Stop & Start 660 LX

costs £11,765 excluding
VAT, delivery to
dealer
s, number
pla
tes, Government First Registration Fee and VED

-

£400 more than the
manual version.


Hyundai to debut at CV Show


HYUNDAI
is making its debut at the
Commercial Vehicle Show
this year and will be
exhibiting the
iLoad Panel and Crew van
s.


The
iLoad
is
now a
vailable with a Euro 5 engine re
sulting in 10.4% reduction in emissions

and an 8.4% improvement in fuel economy
.


The event takes place
at the NEC in Birmingham

from April 12
-
14 and also making
an
appear
ance will be the first working p
olice converted versi
on of the iLoad, provided by
Cambridgeshire Constabulary.


Mark Baxter, Hyundai U
K’s product manager, said: ‘
Hyundai is committed to increasing the
awareness of the iLoad and sees the CV show as an ideal opportunity to demonstrate the
iLoad’s capabilities

to the wider light co
mmercial vehicle user audience.’


The 2.5CRDi iLoad Classic Panel van starts at £13,840 (basic retail) and to make the vehicle
more ap
pealing, Hyundai is offering a

‘Trade and Upgrade’ scheme on iLoad.


Similar to the Government Scra
ppage Scheme, ‘Trade and Upgrade’ allows owners of seven
to 10 year old cars

and vans
in Britain to
obtain an allowance of between £1,500
-
£3,000

towards a brand new Hyundai vehicle.

iLoad, c
ustomers

would save £2,300 on the list price
when trading in their

old van.





18

Nissan NV400 set for CV Show debut


THE
Nissan commercial vehicle range will get even bigger at the
CV S
how
in Birmingham
next month

with the UK premiere of the
company’s new large van, the NV400.


The all
-
new NV
400, a big brother to the NV2
00, adopts Nissan’
s new naming strategy for its
light commercial vehicles.


The

NV400 will be joined by a

host of vehicles from Nissan’s commercial vehicle range.


The Nissan LEAF will also make its commercial vehicle show debut. Electric vehicles are
in
creasingly relevant for all businesses due to their extremely low running costs and zero
benefit in kind taxation, in addition to the obvious environmental benefits.



Nissan’s LCV sales and marketing dire
ctor Francis Bleasdale said
:

The NV400 adds the
finishing touch to the top of our ever
-
increasing commercial vehicle range and the LEAF,
Nissan’s purpose
-
built 100% electric family car is expected to prove a real talking point at
the show.




Biggest hydrogen trial starts


BRITAIN’S biggest ever trial o
f hydrogen vehicles has been launched at Stansted Airport.


Dubbed HOST

-

Hydrogen On
-
Site Trials
-

the year
-
long study involves 21 companies,
which will be taking delivery of a hydrogen refuelling station and two hydrogen
-
fuelled
Transit vans.


The likes

of DHL, Center Parcs, Camden Council, Amey, Autoglass, Stansted Airport and
UPS will take it in turn testing the technology for a week each.


Speaking at the launch Dr Andy Jefferson, Stansted Airport’s head of health, safety and
environment, said: ‘The p
rimary purpose of the trial for us will be to determine the options of
using this technology for our existing airside vehicle fleet.


‘The airport’s average a
ir quality is well within the European Union

limits but we’re always
keen to seek and explore new
opportunities that will further reduce our emissions and our
carbon footprint.


‘This project with ITM Power is just part of the on
-
going work to reduce the environmental
impact of operations at the airport.’


The trial is being organised by ITM Power and
features its HFuel station, and the company
will be revealing its findings in 2012.


Residual value update_________________________________________


Fleet v
alues boost used car prices say

Manheim



OVERALL
average wholesale used car values increased by 2%

(£137) to £6,984 in February
when compared with the previous month

with fleet models leading the way as both d
ealer
part e
xchange prices and m
anufacturer stock values fell during the month
, according to
Manheim Remarketing
.



19

The f
leet sector experienced
an increase in average values of 4.4% (£270) to £6,394.
Meanwhile both
d
ealer part exchange
and m
anufacturer stock values fell by 0.7% (£17) to
£2,474 and 0.3% (£31) to £11,891 respectively.


However, the average age and mileage of f
leet vehicles has reac
hed the highest ever level
reported in
Manheim’s monthly market a
nalysis
-

50 months and 61,305 miles.


The auction giant says that trend is
likely to continue

meaning that

the shortage of three
-
year
-
old f
leet stock with reasonable miles should keep prices

healthy.


When compared with February 2010, with average age up by two months to 52 months and
mileage up by 5,079 miles to 54,699 miles, average wholesale used car values are down by
3.1% (£224).


Examples of increases in values for the
f
leet sector in F
ebruary include
small h
atchbacks up
2.9% (£128) to £4,458,
medium f
amily vehicles up
4
% (£222) to £5,749,
large f
amily up
2.2% (£109) to £4,957,
c
ompact
e
xecutives up 4.9% (£413) to £8,
810 and e
xecutives up by
6.5% (£674) to £11,042.


Notable examples of
decreases in average values in February in the
f
leet sector include
s
upermin
is down 6.3% (£235) to £3,487, m
ini MPVs down 3.1% (£
151) to £4,744 and MPVs
down 6
% (£423) to £6,605.


Mike Pilkington, m
an
aging d
irec
tor, Manheim Remarketing said: ‘
The positive

start to 2011
has continued into February with high attendances both online and in the auction halls and is
a reflection of the traditional levels of high demand at this time of year as well as the in
herent
stability in the market.’


…but at BCA fleet use
d car values fall due to price pressure


FLEET and lease used car values fell marginally last month although
BCA’s latest
market
analysis

shows that average values rose
overall.


Values across the board increased by £11 compared to January’s figure to rea
ch £5,985 and
are at the highest point recorded since December 2009.
The rise, said BCA, was due to
a
richer model mix in the nearly
-
new sector
.


Fleet and

lease values fell on average by £186 (
-
2.4%) while the part
-
exchange sector fell by
£39 (
-
1.3%). In

the more volatile nearly
-
new sector where mix is critical values improved
notably over January, rising by £2,208 (12.5%).


Performance against CAP

‘c
lean


dropped by over a point to 97.4%, down from the 98.6%
achieved

across the board in January.
Year
-
on
-
year, February 2011 is ahead of the sam
e
period last year by just £26
-

less than half of one percent.


Fleet values fell by £186 to £7,553 in February, with CAP performance dropping b
y just
under a point to 97.7%.
Year
-
on
-
year values are ahead by £189, eq
uivalent to a 2.5%
rise.

Model mix will undoubtedly have had a part to play in the average value decline,
says BCA,
with a lower percentage of higher value premium cars sold in February compared to the
previous month.


There was a smaller decline in the pa
rt
-
exchange sector, which fell by £39 to £2,798, halting
a run of three consecuti
ve monthly value improvements.
Despite the fall, February’s average
value was the second highest on record, underlining the relatively high levels of demand in

20

the budget car
sector. Performance against CAP fell back by nearly three points over the
month to 92.7%. Year
-
on
-
year, the February 2011 average value was £140 (5.2%) ahead of
last year.


The nearly
-
new sector saw values rise sharply, with over £2,200 added to the Ja
nu
ary figure
to reach £19,827.
Model
-
mix was largely responsible for the increase with sold volumes of
higher
-
value premium cars increasing by nearly 20%, while the number of volume models
sold decreased by around 8%.


BCA’s
c
ommunications
d
irector Tony Gann
on
sai
d
:


Following a very strong start to the year
in January, used car demand has eased off a little in February thanks to a combination of
increasing volumes and a reported softening of retail interest in the past two or three weeks.



While that slowin
g in demand has yet to manifest itsel
f in the overall average price
-

largely
thanks to a changing model mix that saw a greater number of high value

premium cars sold in
February
-

it is likely that we will see more tangible evidence in the next few weeks
as
volumes start to rise in late March.



Although it is early days, we would expect to see defleet volumes ramp up in

late March and
this will possi
bly result in some more price pressure in the fleet/lease used car sector.



CAP launches short
-
term foreca
sting tool

for fleets and dealers


A
PART
-
exchange and fleet disposals valuation tool offering real time short
-
term used car
trade price forecasts has been launched by CAP.


Black Book+ reveals short term used car pricing risk by providing a
one
-
three
-
mont
h forecast
to assist anyone who buys or sells used cars in a trade environment.


For fleet disposers the availability of forecast valuations, from one to three months, enables
‘fine tuning’ of the time to take vehicles back to market, to help ensure the be
st residual value
returns.


For dealers Black Book+ reduces the risk around valuing cars for part
-
exchange before deals
can be finally completed. This is especially valuable in the increasingly common case of long
lead times on new cars creating the risk o
f additional depreciation for the part
-
exchange
vehicle
, says CAP
.


This has become an increasingly serious issue for dealers over the past year by seriously
eroding profit on previously agreed part
-
exchange deals. Black Book+ will significantly
reduce tha
t risk by offering a clearer view of the vehicle’s value when the deal is completed
,
says the organisation
.


The research and evidence
-
based methodology behind Black Book+ has delivered
consistently accurate forecasts during recent months of piloting the s
ystem
, claims CAP The
most recent one
-
month outturn revealed an average Black Book+ under
-
fore
cast of 0.8%
-

or
£14 per unit
-

at the three
-
year
/70,000 benchmark.


Black Book+ forecast valuations apply to vehicles over 12 months old, at mileage points
from

1,000 to 250,000 miles and up to five years old. Forecasts are produced on a constant
basis in real time, providing the most up to date intelligence possible, together with a brief
narrative explanation of each forecast rationale
, says CAP
.



21

Product

devel
opment director Anthony Doherty said: ‘
By introducing short term forecasts,
published in real time instead of once a month, Black Book+ will help operators in car retail
and fleet disposals to be more nimble and effective in maximis
ing profit and residual
values.’


Online bidding doubles in first two months of 2011


TRADE buyer activity on Simulcast, Manheim Remarketing’s online link to physical
auctions has got off to a flying start in the first two months of the year with 70,000 online
bids, almost double

the number achieved in the same period in 2010
, it is claimed
.


So far this year the total number of vehicles sold online has risen by 9.3%, the number of
dealer part exchange vehicles sold online has gone up by 12.4% and the number of registered
online
buyers has increased by a massive 16.3%.


Results from 2011 also dispel the myth that Simulcast is restricted to a niche group of
vehicles
, according to Manheim
. The oldest vehicle sold on Simulcast so far this year was a
1990 ‘H’ plate Mi
ni; and t
he lowes
t price vehicle sold online this year was a ‘N’

plate
Volkswagen Polo for £100;
while, at the other end of the spectrum, Manheim Auctions,
Mansfield sold a Porsche Panamera for over £70,000.


Commenting on Simulcast’s latest
success, Mike Pilkington, m
an
a
ging d
irector, Manheim
Remarketing
,

said:

Most trade buyers, from the large car supermarkets to the small
wholesale trader, now consider online buying as a par
t of their acquisition strategy.’


1link fleet users can sell cars and vans online through ‘live
’ auctions


FLEET users of the 1link Disposal Network e
-
commerce platform can now dispose of c
ars
and vans through real time ‘live’

online auctions held by CD Auction.


The new integrated link also means that 1link users can access CD

Auction
’s full range

of
back office facilities including vehicle movement, storage, inspections, photography and
preparation.


Ken Trinder, head of business development at epyx, the company behind 1link,
said: ‘
This
represents a key new addition to the disposal routes availab
le to fleets that use 1link for
defleeting. CD Auction’s ‘live’ online sales are very popular and are used by many major
fleets for selling and by a wide range of dealers fo
r buying.’


CD Auction Group managing

director Roger Woodward added: ‘
1link Disposa
l Network has
been rapidly gathering in momentum in the last couple of years and now has a very wide user
base among major fleets. We believe that having access through the p
latform to this
com
munity of fleet managers will see an increased amount of high q
uality, ex
-
fleet stock
disposed
of through our online auctions.’


The CD Auctions integration follows an announcement in February by epyx that 1link
Disposal Network could be used to sell vehicles to dealers at a variety of live independent
auctions includ
ing Aston Barclay, Fleet Auction Group, Scottish Motor Auctions and
Wilsons.








22

Manheim Remarketing

sets the standard in customer satisfaction




MANHEIM Remarketing has become the first auction company in the UK to introduce the
award
-
winning apd 360o
si customer satisfaction programme as it strives to enhance further
its vendor and buyer experience.


The Manheim Remarketing 360osi will measure vendors’ and buyers’ satisfaction levels with
their experience within 24 hours of an auction, using online qu
estionnaires.


The online 24/7 web dashboard is ‘live’; meaning vendor and buyer responses are
immediately available for analysis by Manheim Remarketing staff and reporting is
continually updated. The Manheim Remarketing 360osi has a built
-
in alert system

that
automatically notifies staff if a vendor or buyer has registered dissatisfaction.


The 360osi platform developed by apd Group has won awards from both
Fleet News

and
Fleet World

for supporting a pro
-
active approach to managing customer satisfaction.



Paul Turner, managing d
irector of apd
, said: ‘
apd has provided independent customer
research to Manheim Remarketing for several years and the 360osi platform will put it at the
forefront of the sector in its ability to measure satisfaction levels acros
s all aspects of the
remarketing process and use the in
formation to drive improvement.’


Mike Pilkington, managing d
irector, Manheim Remarketing
, said: ‘
Having real time, ‘live’
research results ensures that we can react quickly at an auction centre, proce
ss specific or
client level. The 360osi platform ensures that at the click of a mouse my fellow directors,
management teams and I are never far from our customer
s’ perspective of our business.’


Manheim extends fleet auction programme


MANHEIM Remarketing
has
expand
ed

its auction programme with the introducti
on of a new
Monday sale for ex
-
fleet and d
ealer part exchange vehicles, in addition to its regular
Wednesday auction

at its Bruntingthorpe super centre
.


Up to 400 vehicles will be offered each week fr
om ALD

Automotive
, Inchcape Retail, Lex
Autolease, UKcgr.com and Vindis Group.


The first auction, took place on Monday (March 14) and was
exclusively on behalf of Lex
Autolease and feature
d

more than 100 convertibles.


Manheim Remarketing launches mobile

website


MANHEIM Remarketing has launched a mobile version of its website to allow all buyers
access to auction information on
-
the
-
go.


Users
can
view and search the latest stock available with full vehicle details, condition
information and images as we
ll as access catalogues and their personalised search and stock
information.


Buyers will also be able to view the sales calendar and specific auction centre information.
The site
can be accessed at www.
mobile.man
heimremarketing.co.uk



The launch of th
e mobile website follows the introduction of the Manheim Remarketing
website last year and is a major focus for future development and innovation as the company
responds to the significant increase in the use of smart phones to access the internet.


23


Manhe
im Remarketing’s mobile website is optimised for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad but
also works on
Android and

Blackberry (OS 6) platforms.


Jonathan

Holland, director of o
nline, UK and Europe at Manheim Group
. said: ‘W
orking on
-
the
-
go is fast becoming a neces
sity for our customers and the rise of smart pho
ne technology
facilitates this.’


Politics and regulation_________________________________________


AA renews call for fuel duty rise to be axed as
VAT
take soars


SOARING
fuel
prices and the 2.5% increase in

VAT on

January 4 have added almost 5p per
li
tre in a year to the Government’
s tax
-
take
from VAT on petrol and almost 6p per litre on
diesel, says the AA, which has renewed its pre
-
Budget call for the scheduled April 1 rise in
fuel duty to be axed.



A lit
re of pe
trol costing on average 132.61p per litre, generates 22.1
p in VAT
, says the
motoring organisation
. A year ago petrol cost 115.25p and

with 17.5% VAT produced 17.16p
per
litre tax for the Government.


Even if VAT had stayed at 17.5%, the tax
-
take o
ver

the year would have been 2.76p per
litre
higher for petrol and up 2.89
p

for diesel, courtesy of soaring prices.


The Government is enjoying an extra 2.18p a litre from petrol and 2.92p from diesel,
following the VAT increase at the start of the year.


The AA argues that stock market and Middle East
-
boosted oil prices are already bringing in
substantial additi
onal income for the Government
-

£1.34 million extra a day from petrol
sales alone.


With rising pump prices bringing in even more additional VA
T income, the Government
would still enjoy the significant boost to national finances without pushing ahead w
ith the
fuel duty increase on
April

1, says the AA
.


Edmund King, president of the motoring organisation, said: ‘
With many drivers already
forced
to cut back on car use and petrol sales down by at least 3.4%, the fuel duty increase
will not only push more drivers into road fuel poverty b
ut undermine fuel duty revenue
.




Dr
ivers hope that the coalition G
overnm
ent will recognise in next week’s (Wedne
sday,
March 23) B
udget that a further fuel duty increase on top of soaring pump prices will weaken
demand and hit the economy
.’


Budget should back business says UK automotive

industry


THE

UK motor industry’s submission to Chancellor
of the Exchequer Geor
ge Osborne ahead
of Wednesday’s (March 23) Budget
calls for measures to encourage recovery, assist business
growth and boost consumer confidence.


The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders
expects consistent growth across the
automotive sector by 201
2 but to ens
ure and sustain this, positive G
overnment action is
essential
, it says
.



24


The manufacturing sector is

leading economic recovery and G
overnment must use this
Budget to sustain and enhance this position,


said SMMT
c
hief
e
xecutive, Paul Everitt.



This Budget comes at a critical time for
UK automotive and we’re urging G
overnment to
deliver the right mix of supportive policies to secure sustainable growth and strengthen the
role of the UK as leading developer, producer and exporter of automotive p
roducts. Better
targeted and strategic use of existing policies, funding
instruments and business taxation will
help automotive manufacturers and suppliers in the UK realise their potential and position the
UK at the forefront of future technology developm
ent.



The
SMMT called for certainty on motoring taxes, a freeze on fuel duty In its submission, the
SMMT also set out a series of
measures to support business investment and access to finance
:



Continue to put pressure on banks and the finance community to

improve access to
working capital, investment finance and credit guarantees.



Restructure the research and development

tax credits regime to make it work better
for high value manufacturing and incentivise increased
research and development
spending
by the

automotive industry in the UK.



Enhance the capital a
llowances system to acknowledge the capital intensity, global
footing and cyclical risks of the automotive sector.



Review business r
ates to ease regulatory costs on the manufacturing sector and make
UK o
perations internationally competitive.



Provide greater clarity on how environmental taxes and commitments are applied to
businesses to retain competitiveness.



Realise the growth opportunities from international trade, exports and inward
investment by adopt
ing a consistent trade policy that supports manufacturing.



Attract international investment and help UK
-
based businesses to compete on a global
playing field by making sure tax regulations are globally competitive.



Build on UK engineering and academic exce
llence by working to integrate university
and industry research and development.



Support the work of the Automotive Council by improving coordination of public and
private activities and supporting its recommendation for the sector in policies and
programm
es.


Drivers ‘satisfied’ with digital radio


DRIVERS who
tune in to in
-
car DAB digital radio

say they are satisfied with the technology,
according to new research.


The research, conducted among car owners across the UK with digital radio fitted as
standar
d, shows that the vast majority of people have good DAB

reception
-

86% say that
reception is very good to fair; 85% are content with their in car digital radio; and 63% say
reception is better or the same as FM.


The research also showed

the importance of

good DAB reception to the cus
tomer experience,
and reinforced

the importance of the work that Government and the BBC is doing to
strengthen and extend DAB

coverage
-

13% of survey respondents said that reception wa
s
poor, due to reception and coverage iss
ues as they travel
led
.


The Government
-
Industry Digital Radio Action Plan
is aiming to address that issue with
the
BBC

confirming

that it has committed to reach DAB national

coverage for 93%

of
households

by the end of 2011 and to continue building out na
tional DAB

coverage towards
FM equivalence over the next few years.



25

In the research, 68% say that they would be disappointed if they didn't ha
ve digital radio in
their car and m
ost said they would only get a car wi
th digital radio in the future.


The
Soc
iety of Motor Manufacturers and Traders expect
s

all new cars to have digital radio
fitted as standard by the end of 2013.


What drivers like most about their in
-
car digital ra
dio is the ‘great sound quality’

(68%), and
more/better stations to choose from
(44%). 31% liked the fact that it was easy to change
stations, and 30% the scrolling text. Particular reference was made by DAB users about their
positive experience listening

to sports such as Premiership football and test c
ricket on digital
radio due to
the better sound quality for BBC Radio 5 Live and TalkSPORT and the
availability of BBC 5 Live Sports Extra and Absolute Extra.


SMMT chief executive
Paul Everitt

said: ‘
This is an encouraging piece of research which
highlights the importance of the in
-
car

digital radio experience in delivering real benefits to
listeners. Consumer demand is key to the speed at which digital radio progresses and the
results of this initial study show how important strong coverage and quality content are in
driving t
his.’


80

mph motorway speed limit ‘highly dangerous’


A MOTORWAY speed limit of 80 mph
-

up from the current 70 mph
-

would be ‘a highly
dangerous strategy’, according to road safety charity brake.


The organisation made its comments following reports that Transpo
rt Secretary Philip
Hammond was considering the increase in an effort to boost the nation’s productivity.


He is said to believe that an increase in the motorway speed limit could shorten journey times
and support the economy.


It has been suggested that a
n
increase in motorway speed limits to 80

mph could be made law
before MPs take their summer leave in July.


But Brake says that such a rise
would undermine progress in reducing the number of people
killed and seriously injured on UK roads.


Research, it
said, showed

that raising the limit from 70 to 80mph would result in a 5
-
10%
increase in motorway casualties.

Put simply, the faster

vehicles travel
, the less time
drivers
have to react to hazards, such as stationary traffic ahead, and the harder
they
hit

the vehicle in
front
.


A rise in motorway speeds would also increase UK fuel consumption and carbon emissions,
both of which are of keen concern to the public
, said Brake
. At 80

mph, a petrol car emits
14% more
carbon dioxide
per kilometre than driving at
70

mph
, while d
iesel cars emit 25%
more
.


In the past few weeks,
the Spanish Government
announced a decrease in
its
motorway limit
to 68

mph in a bid to cut the country’s reliance on oil in an increasingly unstable market and
help consumers manage the pric
e hikes they are experiencing at the pumps.


Ellen Booth, Brake’s campaigns officer, said
: ‘
It would be simply
immoral to raise motorway
speed

limits when research indicates it would lead to more deaths and serious injuries, which
cause devastating trauma
to families, and which are a considerable economic burden. It
would also fly in the face of this Government’s commitment to lower carbon emissions. In

26

short, a decision to raise the motorway limit would go against safety, env
ironmental and
financial sense.



199 ‘action measures’ to improve road safety in Northern Ireland


A TOTAL of 199 ‘action measures’ that if implemented could save 418 lives and prevent
2,750 serious injuries over the next decade on Northern Ireland’s roads have been revealed in
a new s
afety strategy.


Northern Ireland’s
road safety s
trategy to 2020

has been published by the province’s
Department of Environment and
outlines the key road safety challenges t
o be addressed over
the next 10

years.



The 199 measures are focused on making r
oads, vehicles and road users safer with the
Department’s vision being ‘
to make a journey on Northern Ireland’s roads as safe for all road

users as anywhere in the world’
.



‘Road Safety Strategy to 2020’

identifies four
key casualty reduction targets

to
2020
(measured

against a baseline of th
e 2004
-
2008 average figures). They are
:



To reduce the number of people killed in road

collisions by at least 60%
by
2020



To reduce the number of people seriously injured in

road collisions by at least
45%
by 2020



To r
educe the number of children (aged 0 to15) killed

or seriously injured in
road collisions by at least 55%



To reduce the number of young people (aged 16
-
24)

killed or seriously injured
in road collisions by at least

55%.


The single biggest cause of death a
nd serious injury on

Northern Ireland’s roads is excessive
and inappropriate

speed. This is followed by driver/rider alcohol/drugs and a

range of 26 different causation factors (such as inattention/attention diverted, wrong course or
position and emerging

from a minor road) categorised under the general heading

of driver
carelessness. Be
tween 2004 and 2008 all of the
causation factors together resulted in 78%
(4,850) of all

the de
aths and serious injuries on the province’s

roads.


Overall, on average, 126 p
eople were killed and 1,111

seriously injured on Northern Ireland’s
roads each year

between 2004 and 2008.


A key focus of the strategy is to reduce death and injury among young drivers and there
passengers. Therefore, the Government is consulting on the p
ossible introduction of a

Graduated Driver

Licensing
scheme that could place
restrictions on some
or all newly
qualified drivers,
for example by preventing them from driving
at night or carrying
passengers.


In Northern Ireland a
lmost a fifth of new drive
rs has some kind of collision within the
ir first
six months of driving; y
oung car drivers are twice as likely to be responsible for a fatal or
seriou
s collision than older drivers; and between 2004 and 2008, 17 to 24
-
year
-
old drivers
were responsible for
o
ne in four
road fatalities and
one in five of all road serious injuries.
That
amounts to 163 deaths and 1,237 serious injuries.


The UK Government is expected to publish its own road safety strategy shortly and
Ellen
Booth, campaigns officer

at road safety

charity Brake
, said:

Brake would urge Westminster
to look to this example and include dedicated casualty reduction targets fo
r young people in
the upcoming strategic framework for road s
afety. Graduated Driver Licensing has the

27

potential to save many you
ng lives, as it has done in a number of other countries. We will be
advocating its introduction and pressing for a similar move throughout the UK.




Government urged to cut drink
-
drive limit to zero


THE G
overnment
is being urged
to radically change the d
rink
-
driving law, reducing the limit
to effectively zero, after research revealed the difficulty in judging drink
-
drive limits.


What Car?

magazine
used a driving simulator at the Transport Research Laboratory to
measure four adults’ reactions when ‘drivi
ng’ under the influence of alcohol.


While reaction times slowed by 8% at the current legal limit of 80mg/100ml of blood, what
was most alarming
, said the publication,

was the different amounts of alcohol required to get
the individuals to that level. One

tester needed an alarming 12 shots of vodka to reach the
legal drink
-
drive limit.


What Car?’s

research follows official figures that show
ed

a 14% rise in positive breath tests
between December 1, 2010, and January 1, 2011, alongside a 24% reduction in te
sts carried
out over the same period.


Drivers are clearly confused by the contradiction of the Government’s ‘don’t drink and drive’
message and the presence of a law that allows them to drink ‘some’ alcohol before driving
,
said the publication
.


In a wh
atcar.com poll, 50% of respondents still drive their car after drinking, and 10% do so
after the equivalent of two or more pints of beer.



Most people have a rough idea of what the drink
-
drive limit is, but no accurate
understanding of how much alcohol th
ey can drink and still be legally fit to,


said Steve
Fowler,
What Car?’s

editor
-
in
-
chief.

The simple solution is to cut the drink
-
drive limit to
effectively zero, to cut out any confusion and to reduce the number of accidents and deaths as
a result of dr
ink
-
driving.



The current law was introduced almost half a century ago and really needs to be reviewed.
An effectively zero limit of 20mg/100ml of blood level removes the possibility of alcohol in
food or medication taking you over the legal limit, but do
es not allow the drinking of alcohol.


The publication has set up a online petition at
www.whatcar.com/drinkdriving

which will
be
present
ed

to the Department for Transport to illustrate the wealth of publ
ic concern.


The committee also highlighted

the merry
-
go
-
round of

referral


payments made to or by
insurance and law firms, rescue truck drivers, vehicle repairers, credit hire firms, claims or
accident management companies and medical experts in connecti
on with motor insurance
claims. MPs
want
the insurance industry to take steps to introduce much more transparency.



Consumers are largely unaware of how much money moves around the insurance industry in
this way when they make a claim. They deserve to s
ee

where their money is going.
If
insurance companies cannot agree a method by which to improve transparency around
referral fees, then the Government should step in, with legislation if necessary
,’ said
Ellman.


MPs also call
ed

on the Government to do more
as a matte
r of urgency to bring down the
appalling casualty rate among young drivers, including
making the driving test more
rigorous.



28


Insurers must do more to tackle fraudulent injury claims


FRAUD

is one of the main factors driving up the cost of moto
r insurance,
according to
the
cross party transport committee at the House of Commons.


Wider access to justice should not provide a licence to make false personal injury claims
under car insurance policies
, say the MPs, who want to see a
dedicated police

unit
-

paid for
by the insurance industry
-

established to tackle the

escalating problem.


Launching a report about ‘
The cost of

motor
insurance’ (Fourth Report of Session 2010
-
11),

Louise Ellman,
c
h
air of transport committee said: ‘
Wider access to justic
e is to be welcomed,
but it has come at a significant cost, with far more personal injury claims being made than in
the past.



The police ma
de plain to the committee that ‘
staged accidents


are on the increase and that,
so far, we have been lucky there ha
ve been no fatalities resulting from such incidents. That
luck may run out unless the insurance industry acts rapidly to help the police target this kind
of insurance fraud.





If we are to curb the casualty rate, especially

amongst young drivers, then it

s essential that
the driving test properly prepares drivers for motoring.

We welcome the Minister’
s
commitment to make the driving test more rigorous but proposals for change have been
around for years. What matters now is that the Government publishes fo
r consultation the
changes it wants to make, with a timetable for implementing them before the next election,

added
Ellman.


Dealer news__________________________________________________


Aston Barclay celebrates contract win


THE

hammer of success came d
own for the c
ar auction group Aston Barclay after it signed a
12
-
month exclusive contract to remarket vehicles on behalf of the WR Davies Dealer Group.


Primarily utilising Aston Barclay’s Prees Heath site in Whitchurch, Shropshire, the contract
,

which wil
l see the disposal of up to 1,500 vehicles, will also encompass Aston Barclay’s
auction houses in Chelmsford, Essex, and Westbury, Wiltshire.


WR Davies is a family
-
owned business with Ford, Renault, Toyota, Citroen and Nissan
dealerships in mid and North
Wales and Staffordshire.


General motor industry news___________________________________


Mass adoption of electric vehicles ‘some distance away’


DESPITE

rising fuel prices, the mass adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) is still some
distance away,
accordi
ng to
a new study by Deloitte, the business advisory firm.


According to the survey of 4,760 European consumers, only 16% see themselves as potential
first movers to buy or lease an electric vehicle, while 53% say they might be

willing to
consider it, and
31% s
ay they are not likely to consider purchasing or leasing an EV.



29

David Raistrick, automotive partner and head of manufacturing at Deloitte UK, commented:


There is no doubt that electric vehicles are the future of the automotive industry. However,
w
h
ile interest in electric vehicles is growing, with 69% of respondents willing
to consider

an
EV today,

current market offerings generally fall far short of consumers’ expectations for
driving range, charging time, and purchase price.




More than 80% of Eu
ropean consumers surveyed said that convenience to charge, range, and
the cost to charge were all key considerations when buying or leasing an EV.


Raistrick added:

Range, price and charging concerns need to be addressed. Our research
shows that there are

specific design targets that manufacturers must reach in order to entice
car buyers.



Three
-
quarters of European consumers surveyed (74%) said that before they would consider
purchasing an EV, they would expect it to be able to travel 300 miles between
charges
-

much
higher than what is currently available
-

and 67% said the battery must take no longer than
two hours to charge.



In the UK, however, consumers consider the ability to travel at least 200 miles between
charges to be the tipping point, espec
ially in London and
the South East.



The automotive industry con
tinues to invest in high end research and development

to devise
the cutting edge technology required for electric vehicles. It is clear that this innovation is a
priority for car manufacturer
s. I believe there is potential for green vehicles to represent 10%
of the new car market within 10 years, although the road to get there will be bumpy.
Manufacturers face many challenges, both in terms of actual design elements, as well as
changing the mi
ndset of consumers toward electric vehicles.



The majority (57%) of respondents who say they may be willing to consider an
e
lectric
vehicle expect to pay the same or less for an EV than they do for a regular car. Only 24% of
the same group say they would
be willing to pay a premium.


Currently, hybrids and battery electric vehicles represent a tiny fract
ion of total cars on the
road.

The adoption of all forms of green vehicles will
be significantly influenced by
G
overnment policies

concludes the report
.


Drivers ‘clueless’ without road markings


DRIVERS are often left ‘clueless’ when trying to read the road because markings are so worn
out thus jeopardising their safety, according to a report by the
Road Safety Marking
Association (RSMA).


Nearly a third o
f the length of Britain’s single carriageway A roads have white lines so worn
out that they do not meet recognised standards, according to the
‘LifeLines Report’
, an
assessment of more than 1,500 miles of the network.




Two
-
thirds of all UK road deaths an
d serious injuries are on rural A
-
roads.

Yet, of more than
60 single
-
carriageway A
-
roads surveyed, totalling more than 1,000 miles, on average 14% of
road markings are completely worn out; and a further 15
fall into the ‘amber’

zone and
immediately should
be sch
eduled for replacement. Just 29%
of lines reach the acceptable
level of visibility
, says the report
.




And, Britain’s most dangerous roads have the most worn
-
out centre
-
line markings of all
.



30

On one of

the worst roads in the survey
-

a five
-
mile sec
tion of the A6135 between
Ecclesfield and j
unction 36 of the M1 (Hoyland)
-

three
-
quarters of the markings we
re either
barely visible or need
ed

an immediate schedule for replacement and just
1% made
the grade.

Two other sections of road had

nearly half the
ir marks worn out: the A645 in
Yorkshire/Humberside and the A509 in Northamptonshire.



However, t
wo
single carriageway A
-
roads stood

out in the

report
: a 14
-
mile stretch of the
A1133 in the East Midlands, where three
-
quarters of the road markings we
re up
to the
standa
rd (although the figure was 93%
two years ago); and 10 miles of the A63 between
Leeds and Hull

came

a close second.



The quality of markings on major A
-
roads is in line with those on motorways. Of the 470
miles of A roads and motor
ways survey
ed, one in five fell

below the minimum specifiable
standard and should be scheduled for replacement while
8% had
centre line

markings so worn
that they we
re barely visible
, said the report
.


A high proportion of markings
-

39% dual carriageways and 38% mo
torways made

the
recommended rating used by the industry but there has been a significant drop in the quality
since 2008, when 6
9%
o
f markings on duals reached the grade and 49%
on motorways.



Top marks
went
to the A303 dual carriageway, which
had 86%
hig
h quality markings; and
the M65 in Lancashire with 91
%
.



At the

bottom of the motorway league wa
s the M61 in the north
-
west, with more than a
quarter of the motorway having barely visible markings; and one
-
fifth of markings on dual A
-
road, the A27, fail
ed

to make the grade.



George Lee,
national director of the RSMA, said: ‘
Two years ago, just
2%
of our major road
network had markings that rated virtually non
-
existent. This figure has risen at an alarming
rate, and now, nearly a tenth of the centre lines
our trade routes are dangerously worn.





The high risk of head
-
on collisions on single
-
carriageways means centre
-
line markings are
critically important to guide road
-
users safety on these roads.




Road markings provide the best, most simple navigation
aid to drivers, who must to be able
to ‘read’ the road at every turn. Without this most modest of investments, motorists are
driving blind when we can, in fact, save lives
for the cost of a pot of paint
.



IAM director of policy

and strategy Neil Greig add
ed: ‘
White lines are such a cheap and
effective way to assist drivers that it is unbelievable they are not being given much higher
priority.



People on the move____________________________________________


New MD for Drive Software Solutions


LEASING
a
nd
vehicle management software provider Drive Software Solutions has
appointed Andrew Burns
as managing d
irector. He takes over from Martin Drake with the
brief to accelerate the growth of the company.


Prior to joining Drive Software Solutions,
Burns
headed
the JBA Consulting business serving
application software developers and technology providers. He has worked in the IT industry
for 20 years in quality management, professional services and international business
development roles both in the UK and USA.



31


Drake and Lorrie Rodia, co
-
founders of the company, are remaining as directors
.
Drake
is
taking on the role of product d
irector with specific responsibility for ensu
ring that the
company’s flagship product Drive

conti
nues to meet customers’ need, while Rod
ia
remains
responsible for the financial and administrative functions.



GM finance head quits


GENERAL Motors’ (GM) finance head, Chris Liddell, has resigned after taking the company
through its first profitable year since 2004.


At a press conference, Li
dd
ell said he did
n’t want to be a chief financial officer any more. He
was passed over for the top job at GM last year.


His resignation renews concerns over leadership at the company, which has seen top
executives change four times in the last two years
.
Li
d
dell
has been
replaced by Treasurer
Dan Ammann, GM said in a statement.


Moran promoted at Leasedrive Velo Group


DOMINIC Moran
(46)
has been promoted from head of strategic and corporate accounts to
the newly
-
created position of account management dire
ctor at the Birmingham office of the
Leasedrive Velo Group.


The move follows the change of ownership of Masterlease UK last year and the appointment
of Leasedrive Velo to manage the operation.


In his new role,
Moran will play

a major role in maintaining
continuity with Masterlease
UK’s portfolio of blue chip contract hire customers and integrating the business within the
vehicle ma
nagement division of the group.


Moran has been with Masterlease UK for 18 years and held the position of head of strategic
an
d corporate accounts

for five years.

He joined Masterlease UK from a market research
agency after gain
ing a Business Studies degree.



SEAT strengthens its fleet team


SEAT’S

ongoing programme of investment in its fleet and business sales operation has
re
ceived another boost with the news of two more key national appointments.


The Spanish brand’s head of fleet and business s
ales, Nick Andrews, has further strengthened
his team by adding both a new key account manager and a dedicated fleet aftersales manag
er.


Former Audi area fleet sales manager
Sam Ragheb (36)
joins as key account manager,
after
more than
five years
with SEAT’s sister brand Audi.


Meanwhile Perry Clarke (49)
a five
-
year veteran of SEAT fleet sales, moves into another
newly
-
created
pivotal

role in the b
rand by taking on the job of dedicated fleet aftersales
manager.





32

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-
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