This week’s news for company executives March 01, 2012
This Week’s Briefing The Editor’s View
New AFR rates published TAX expert Alistair Kendrick is right that company
car tax bills will rise in 2012/13 and beyond with
Lex Autolease puts £900m drivers of low emission models facing the heaviest
increases. However, his prediction that the size of the
behind small firms
UK company car parc will reduce by 50% to around
500,000 units by the end of 2015 fails to take into
Motorists slated over missing account many attributes that company cars deliver to
brake lights employers and employees alike. Company cars
equipped with the latest engine technology and safety
Honda Civic impresses in features help employers more easily meet their
crash tests corporate ‘green’ and duty of care responsibilities than
staff driving their own cars and they remain a vital
GM and PSA to link up? people recruitment and retention tool. Unless choosing
a gas-guzzler, for all employees it remains
Toyota reveals new Prius significantly cheaper to pay tax on a company car than
to run their own - more than £6,600 per year to keep
the average car on the road, according to the RAC.
Finally, from the Government’s perspective if
Mind the pitfalls of incorrect tax Kendrick’s forecast becomes reality and tax becomes
reporting, says HMRC too punitive then it will have to raise taxes elsewhere
to account for the demise of revenue from company
Vehicle Type Approval rules cars.
threaten bodybuilders’ future
Tax expert forecasts halving of UK company car parc
THE size of the UK company car market could shrink to less than 500,000 vehicles by the
end of 2015, according to a gloomy prognosis by tax expert Alastair Kendrick.
The employment tax director at MHA MacIntyre Hudson believes that a further tightening of
the company car benefit-in-kind tax system will be announced in the forthcoming Budget on
March 21 and it will be the trigger for employees to give up their company car.
Kendrick said: ‘My expectation is that this Budget will see the Government announcing an
aggressive plan for company car taxation, which will be implemented from 2014.
‘This creates huge uncertainty over the future of company cars and the leasing industry as a
The number of company cars on the road has reduced in the last decade. In 2003-04 there
were, according to official HM Revenue and Customs’ figures 1.31 million on the nation’s
roads. However, by 2007-08 the number had dropped to 1.12m with an estimate further fall to
1.08m in 2008-09 - the last year for which official figures are available.
Anecdotal industry evidence suggests that the number of company cars on the UK’s roads has
remained largely stable since then, although Kendrick claims the number has in fact reduced
to a low of around 900,000.
He continued: ‘I predict, following changes to be announced in the Budget, this number will
drop to 500,000 by the end of 2015.
‘It simply won’t be economical to offer cars to employees. There is an incentive to encourage
manufacturers to devise ‘greener’ cars which produce lower carbon dioxide emissions but we
will see the benefit-in-kind on a 120g/km car increase from the current level of 10% (13% for
diesel) to 16% in 2013 (19% for diesel).
‘Many businesses have already stopped company cars as a benefit and I predict this trend to
Referring to the previously announced rise in company car tax for 2012/13, Kendrick said:
‘Unfortunately, numerous employees will only be aware of these changes when they receive
their April pay packet and it will just be another blow during hard pressed times.
‘The group likely to be most affected is those who have taken low emission cars via a salary
sacrifice car scheme and are, in addition to the taxable benefit, taking a salary reduction to
cover the employer’s cost of leasing the car.’
Fleets should push for faster adoption of anti-congestion technology
THE fleet industry should be pushing manufacturers and Government to accelerate
availability of advanced road technology designed to beat congestion and improve efficiency,
says CFC Solutions.
The fleet software specialist points to increasing convergence between a wide range of
technologies surrounding smart phones, satellite navigation devices, onboard sensors and data
loggers such as the ideas presented by the recent Team Hermes winners of the Microsoft
Imagine Cup - as well as specific developments such as Volvo’s ‘car trains’ of vehicles that
are designed to make more efficient use of motorways.
Neville Briggs, managing director, said: ‘It is clearly in the interest of all fleets to back
measures that will reduce the congestion affecting company cars, vans and trucks. Better use
of vehicles in this way means everything from lower costs for operators through to reduced
‘We are now at a point where there are all kinds of breaking technologies becoming available
that could potentially have quite a dramatic effect on congestion. These range from very
advanced ideas such as Volvo’s car train through to more accessible solutions such as in-
cloud links between smart phones, telematics and data loggers.
‘However, there needs to be debate and co-ordination at a national or even international level
about which of these technologies should be adopted and how. Government, motor
manufacturers and technology providers clearly have a role to play but the fleet industry
should also have input into the discussion.’
Briggs pointed to the Automotive Council’s Summit on Intelligent Mobility, planned for
April, as a potentially important first step.
He said: ‘The facts are that the fleet industry is likely to be at the leading edge of adopting
any new technologies as well as the biggest user, and should aim to have a voice about which
are adopted in addition to aiming for their rapid implementation.
‘There is a strong argument that the industry should be starting to discuss how to make the
best of these developments and working out which technologies it believes will provide the
best balance of cost and benefit.’
TR Fleet serves up new fleet solution to SSP Group
TR Fleet has secured a major deal to provide a range of fleet and vehicle-related services to
SSP - The Food Travel Experts.
SSP, which operates a mixed fleet of 45 company cars along with cash allowance drivers, has
signed an agreement that will see TR Fleet:
Source funded vehicles using their tailored multi-bid tendering solutions;
Deliver a comprehensive review, and the on-going management of fleet
services, including vehicle maintenance, vehicle rental, accident management,
fuel card provision from its bank of tier one suppliers;
Provide fleet management support utilising its bespoke online system,
Provide support for all 200 cash allowance and grey fleet drivers;
Carry out a complete strategic review of fleet which will include reviewing
longer term opportunities such as a salary sacrifice for cars scheme to almost
1,400 employees across the UK to go alongside SSP’s current salary sacrifice
SSP Group’s fleet is predominantly composed of BMW, Vauxhall and Volkswagen cars
operated on a three-year/75,000 mile replacement cycle.
The company, which operates restaurants, bars, cafés, food courts, lounges and convenience
stores predominantly in airports and train stations, is switching its fleet management
arrangements to TR Fleet from a contract hire and leasing company.
Andrea Laing, UK Head of HR for Shared Services and IT, said: ‘We wanted a more pro-
active partner in terms of both the management of our current vehicle fleet and one that could
provide long term strategic fleet services provision such as the possible deployment of a car
salary sacrifice scheme that would prove attractive to our employees.
‘In discussions, TR Fleet has already identified a number of cost-saving opportunities that
will be pursued and which had not been brought to our attention previously.’
SSP Group will also further improve its occupational road risk management strategy with the
utilisation of TR Fleet’s DriveSecure solution, which embraces online policy document
management, driver licence checking, online driver risk profiling, in vehicle driver training,
E-learning, accident analysis, fuel data analysis and journey mileage capture.
SSP operates a portfolio of over 200 international, national, local and speciality brands. These
include Upper Crust, Starbucks, Caffè Ritazza, Burger King, M&S Simply Food, Millies
Cookies, O’Learys, Caviar House & Prunier, and leading Asian brands Ajisen Ramen and
New AFR rates published
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has published new advisory fuel rates (AFRs) with a 1p
per mile increase for diesel fuelled cars dependant on the size of the engine.
The rates, which businesses use to repay drivers for fuel used on business mileage, take effect
from Thursday (March 1) and are reviewed on a quarterly basis.
HMRC increased the rates in June and changed how often they would be reviewed after
pressure from ACFO and a backdrop of rising pump prices. However, the rates from
September to December stayed exactly the same apart from a 1p per mile decrease for LPG
fuelled cars with an engine size from 1401cc to 2000cc.
The rates from December to present again stayed the same apart from a 1p per mile decrease
for LPG fuelled cars with an engine size 1400cc or less. The new rates are shown below (old
rates in brackets):
1400cc or less 15p (15p)
1401cc to 2000cc 18p (18p)
Over 2000cc 26p (26p)
1600cc or less 13p (12p)
1601cc to 2000cc 15p (15p)
Over 2000cc 19p (18p)
1400cc or less 10p (10p)
1401cc to 2000cc 12p (12p)
Over 2000cc 18p (18p)
Ogilvie Fleet in the running for top awards
EXPANDING vehicle leasing and fleet management company Ogilvie Fleet is in the hunt for
a string of top industry awards.
Stirling-headquartered Ogilvie, parent company of Ogilvie Fleet, has already seen its
customer service focused approach rewarded by being a finalist in the Scottish Business
Awards, the nation’s premier cross industry business awards programme.
The Scottish Business Awards were held at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre
last Thursday (February 23).
Ogilvie Fleet, which also has offices in Sheffield, Birmingham and Northern Ireland, has also
achieved Reader Recommended accreditation from leading industry publication Fleet News
for the third consecutive year.
Additionally, Ogilvie Fleet is a finalist in the annual Fleeteye CSI survey, which is conducted
by specialist international automotive research and consulting company Experteye and
recognises outstanding customer service based on feedback from fleet decision-makers
benchmarked against competitors. The company, which operates a fleet of 10,500 vehicles,
won the award last year for being the top vehicle leasing and fleet management supplier for
service to customers running 25 to 250 vehicles.
Finally, Ogilvie Fleet, which is aiming to expand its fleet to around 12,000 vehicles through
organic growth over the next two to four years, has been short listed for two industry ‘Oscars’
at the annual Fleet News Awards, which recognise industry excellence.
The winners of the almost 30 awards will be announced at a glittering ceremony at the
Grosvenor House Hotel, London, on March 21. Ogilvie Fleet is one of four businesses
battling for the Customer Service Award and one of five in contention for the New Product or
Service Award with its sophisticated MiFleet Showroom - an online fleet manager portal that
securely delivers critical live fleet operational data in real-time to the desktops of fleet chiefs.
Nick Hardy, sales and marketing director Ogilvie Fleet, said: ‘Awards recognition is vital
because it raises the company’s profile and highlights that the business is at the forefront of
delivering industry-leading fleet solutions aligned with service excellence.
‘Winning the Fleeteye CSI survey last year, which was Ogilvie Fleet’s first major industry
award, provided a significant springboard for the company along with huge credibility that
has triggered business wins.’
He added: ‘We may not have won a Scottish Business Award, but to be a finalist was a
fantastic achievement and is testimony to every single member of staff who day after day
works incredibly hard to deliver a range of fleet solutions to our clients.
‘With the 2012 awards season in full swing we look to the future with confidence as an
increasing number of businesses recognise the solutions Ogilvie offers will deliver improved
fleet operating efficiencies.’
Lex Autolease puts £900m behind small firms
LEX Autolease – the UK’s largest supplier of company vehicles – wants to increase its
funding to small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) by 20% over the next three years.
The firm currently leases over 75,000 vehicles to SMEs, to a value of around £750m. Lex
Autolease anticipates that its overall SME funding level will rise to £900m by 2014/15.
In renewing its commitment to the SME market, Lex Autolease is matching a similar
commitment to its parent company, Lloyds Banking Group, which has pledged to increase
business support and lending via an SME Charter.
Andrew Kirby, director of SME sales at Lex Autolease, said: 'In line with our ongoing
commitment to SMEs, we’re actually looking to grow our core small fleet business by at least
20% over the next few years.
'We recognise that transport is one of the key building blocks of growth and want to help
mobilise more SMEs and their employees. We intend to play an active part in lending to
smaller firms, especially those with a similar approach to business as ours.
'We’re interesting in acquiring a customer, not a one-off transaction, so it’s important our
relationship will be a long term one and that we both share the same mutual interest in quality
Lex Autolease has a total fleet size of approximately 280,000 vehicles with 25% accounted
for by the SME market alone. It provides a range of financial products enabling firms to run
tax-efficient company vehicles via funding methods such as contract hire, contract purchase,
personal contract leasing and salary sacrifice, as well as cash optimising sale and leaseback
Unscrupulous sellers remain a threat
ANALYSIS of over 10 million HPI checks carried out in 2011 reveals that unscrupulous
sellers continue to be a genuine threat for thousands of trade used car buyers cars – one in
three cars checked by the UK’s leading vehicle information expert HPI have something to
As profit margins continue to tighten for secondhand car dealers, the last thing they need to
discover is that they’ve made a bad decision, warns Daniel Burgess, managing director for
HPI: 'It’s alarming to see our dealer community is still exposed to such a high level of
danger when looking to part exchange or invest in new stock for their forecourts. Yet, with an
HPI report, there’s no need to take that risk.
'We support dealers by arming them with the facts so that they can make an informed
decision, and buy with confidence. This in turn enables them to avoid the danger of losing
their money on a car that has a murky past.'
Outstanding finance remains the number one threat to used car traders, with one in four cars
checked by HPI still on a finance agreement. However, a dealer could be liable for any
outstanding finance on the vehicle, so they could lose both the vehicle and the money they
paid for it if the finance company decides to reclaim the vehicle.
More than 19 stolen vehicles are uncovered every day by HPI. Buying a stolen vehicle is a
‘lose-lose’ situation. Yet, with criminals using tricks like ‘cloning’ (disguising the identity of
a stolen car by using the identity of another, legitimate, car), it’s easy for unsuspecting buyers
to be duped.
Using information from the Police National Computer (PNC), HPI will reveal if the vehicle
has been stolen, protecting the dealer and safeguarding their money. What’s more, HPI is the
only company to defend dealers against being a victim of car cloning with its HPI Data
Some 4% of the vehicles that are checked with HPI are recorded as an insurance ‘total loss’,
or write-off. Most dealers know to look beyond shiny paintwork, but they still need to be
aware - just because they can’t see damage it doesn’t mean it isn’t there. While some
damaged cars can be safely repaired and returned to the road, others will only be fit for scrap.
HPI uses data from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and the Motor Insurance Anti
Fraud and Theft Register (MIAFTR) to help buyers spot the difference between a bargain and
a death trap on wheels.
One in 20 cars checked with HPI has had their mileage altered. Sellers are increasingly seeing
clocking as an easy way to push up the price of their vehicle, so dealers need to watch out for
cars with mileage that’s going backwards. Not knowing the true mileage could also mean
there’s a risk of missing critical maintenance tasks, such as full servicing that include
important part replacements.
HPI uses the National Mileage Register (NMR), featuring over 130 million records, to ensure
that a car’s mileage is accurate. One in five cars checked by HPI has had a plate change.
Many owners simply want to personalise their car. But there are some people who will use a
new plate to hide the truth about a vehicle. It could be stolen or an insurance write-off. HPI
matches the vehicle registration number (VRM) with the vehicle’s chassis number (VIN) to
uncover any hidden truths.
New enhancements made to fleet software by CFC
NEW tools aimed at improving fuel consumption and keeping better track of driver skills are
among the latest enhancements made by CFC Solutions to its range of fleet software.
The first update release of 2012 for Fleet Plus, Fleet Plus Lite and Fleet Horizon – together
used by more than 1,000 fleet operators – includes a range of changes made in response to
requests from users.
A new MPG tool allows fleet operators to generate a report on expected MPG for a vehicle
against real world figures for any given period, allowing fuel consumption targets to be set
for any length of time.
The driver skills search allows an active search to be generated from among driver records to
see, for example, which classes of vehicle a driver is qualified for. This is especially useful
on commercial vehicle fleets.
Other changes made in the release include updates to P11D legislation covering 2011-2012
and 2012-2013, a new postcode module update, and the ability to handle different suppliers
for Road Fund Licences.
Neville Briggs, managing director, said: 'We work regularly with our users to ensure that our
software packages are updated and revised to meet their changing needs, and this latest
release is part of that ongoing process.'
Motorists slated over missing brake lights
MORE than 11% of UK vehicles are missing one or more brake lights, significantly
increasing the risk of accidents with other road users and classifying them ‘un-roadworthy’
by VOSA standards. Worryingly, the number of missing brake lights has also increased 68%
since 2010, according to new research by TescoCars.com.
The study, conducted by the online used car retailer, shows one in nine, or around 3.7 million
of the 34 million licensed vehicles on UK roads , would fail the MOT test because of non-
functioning brake lights. Drivers would also be eligible for a £60 fine and penalty points.
Data was gathered during the busy rush hour periods and highlights a significant increase in
the number of light failures – up 68% from one in 15 vehicles in 2010, in the case of brake
lights. The survey also included commercial vehicles, which made up 8% of total brake light
failures. Four percent of all the vehicles spotted with missing brake lights had no bulbs
working at all.
The research also found that just over one million vehicles (3%) had at least one non-
functioning headlight, reducing both the driver’s view of the road and the vehicle visibility to
other road users. Despite headlight failure being a more obvious fault to identify, the results
show many UK drivers are not making regular checks or solving the fault quickly enough.
Tesco Cars is urging motorists as a matter of safety, to regularly check both front and rear
lights to ensure their vehicles are as visible as possible.
Rebecca Ryan, marketing manager for Tesco Cars commented: ‘Our research demonstrates
an alarming number of cars are missing important safety features - it’s a major concern for
road safety and a potentially fatal fault in low light conditions. We urge solo-commuter
drivers to regularly check their lights are clean and functional, perhaps with the help of a
colleague or family member. ‘Be seen be safe’ applies directly in this situation. With
commercial vehicles there really is no excuse for not having all brake lights 100% functional.
They should be checked before every trip as a matter of course.’
In 2010, around 15% of vehicles failed the MOT test due to light problems, according to the
Vehicle Operating Standards Authority (VOSA).
Cut fuel duty and boost business, says FTA
INITIAL findings from an independent report by the Centre for Economics and Business
Research supports the Freight Transport Association’s assertion that cutting fuel duty would
be good for business, promote economic growth, create jobs and have only a negligible
impact on the Treasury’s fuel tax take.
The initial findings of the report, based on Office of National Statistics modelling, were
presented to Treasury Minister Chloe Smith this afternoon by FTA and its partners in the Fair
Fuel UK Campaign.
James Hookham, FTA’s MD of policy and communications, said: 'This report is proof
positive that cutting fuel duty would be a ‘win win’ for business and the Government. A cut
in fuel duty of 2.5 pence per litre would save truck operators £300 million a year – a welcome
respite from serious commercial pressure – but more than this, it would create 180,000 jobs
in the first year in the UK and increase our gross domestic product by 0.3%.
'If the Chancellor went a step further and cut fuel duty by 5ppl it would create a further
30,000 jobs; the short-term hit to Treasury coffers would be relatively small beer in
comparison with the stimulus it would provide the economy in the longer term.'
The CEBR’s key initial findings:
Cutting fuel duty by 2.5p per litre would:
• Create 180,000 jobs in the first year
• Represent no net tax loss
• Boost GDP by 0.33%
Cutting fuel duty by 5p per litre would:
• Create 210,000 jobs in the first year
• Cost the Exchequer c£1bn, a figure offset by intangible benefits of increased business and
Hookham concluded: 'This evidence shows that the power to stimulate the economy, actually
creating real growth and jobs, is well within the Chancellor’s gift. The parlous state of the
UK economy demands bold and decisive action, we now know that being bold with fuel duty
cuts supports the Government’s objective of stimulating growth. We urge him to extend the
logic he used in last year’s Budget and cut fuel tax to bind the economy.'
New Hyundai i30 estate breaks cover
THE first official pictures of the all new Hyundai i30 estate have been revealed ahead of the
load-lugger’s world debut at next week’s Geneva Motor Show.
The model is the second member of the new generation i30 family, and joins the five-door
hatchback to broaden the appeal of Hyundai’s C-segment range.
The wagon shares engines and running gear with the five-door model, but has a longer body
to create a significant increase in trunk space.
The i30 wagon’s overall length is increased by 185 mm to 4,485 mm over its five-door
sibling, making it10 mm longer than the original i30 wagon.
Compared with the five-door, the wagon expands trunk space from 378 litres to a best-in-
class 528 litres - and with the rear passenger seats folded down, cargo volume increases more
than three-fold, to 1,642 litres.
The new i30 wagon will be available across Europe with the same three petrol direct injection
engines and three diesel engines as the five-door, producing 95 to 135 PS. The full UK
specification will be confirmed at a later date.
Upgraded Mazda3 range enters UK showrooms
THE upgraded version of Mazda’s best-selling model worldwide, the Mazda3, is now on sale
from £14,995 on-the-road for the 1.6 S rising to £23,395 for the performance orientated 2.3
The five-door hatchback has more muscular visual appeal with a new face, new rear bumper
and new twist-spoke alloy wheels.
Inside, there are new materials and colours, improved ease-of-use for the driver, new
equipment and a quieter cabin.
Fuel economy across the range is enhanced thanks to the new model’s aerodynamics which
cut Cd to 0.29. Handling is improved with the upgraded Mazda3 delivering a more consistent
and linear driving feel.
New models include Sport derivatives - powered by 1.6 litre petrol and 1.6 and 2.2 litre (150
PS and 185 PS power options) diesel engines - and new equipment includes a gear-shift
indicator (excludes 2.3 litre MZR DISI Turbo engine).
‘We anticipate that the upgraded Mazda3 will enable us to increase sales of our C-segment
contender during 2012,’ said Peter Allibon, sales director, Mazda UK.
‘Mazda3 was already a great car and the changes to the upgraded model are subtle but every
one makes a difference to either fuel economy or driving feel.
‘The outgoing Mazda3 was the second-best selling Mazda model in the UK and took us into
different segments of the retail and fleet markets. The 1.6 diesel has been hugely popular and
the 2.2 diesel with 185 PS is still the highest power C-segment diesel model of any brand
available in the UK market place.
‘The introduction of the more sporty exterior, more premium interior and two new Sport
models with the 1.6 diesel powertrain for 2012, plus worthwhile fuel consumption and
emissions reductions, means we are confident that the upgraded Mazda3 will attract a
growing number of consumers to our brand.’
Specification on the entry-level S model includes manual air-conditioning and electric front
windows; TS models have dual-zone climate control; TS2 specification adds a heated
windscreen and integrated Bluetooth hands-free system; Sport derivatives are fitted with 17-
inch alloy wheels and a Bose® audio system with 10 speakers; and Sport Nav models have a
fully integrated, satellite navigation system.
Honda gives a clue to new CR-V
HONDA has revealed images of the European CR-V Prototype ahead of its public debut at
next week’s Geneva Motor Show.
The preview model highlights the exterior styling direction of the all-new fourth generation
European Honda CR-V, which is set to go on sale in autumn 2012.
Compared to the previous generation, the Prototype adopts a more aggressive stance with
deeper sculpting of the body lines and a bolder front fascia.
The lower front bumper wraps upward to convey SUV capability, while the lower front
bumper design now integrates more smoothly into the fascia for improved aerodynamics.
New Mercedes SL 63 AMG Roadster set for summer launch
THE new Mercedes-Benz SL 63 AMG Roadster will be launched in late summer with UK
specification and pricing confirmed closer to the model’s showroom arrival.
Fuel economy and emission levels have been improved on the new model due in part to an
all-aluminium bodyshell, similar to that of the SLS AMG super sports car, that has resulted in
a weight reduction of 125 kgs to a kerb weight of 1,845 kgs.
The car is powered by a 5.5 litre V8 engine delivering the option of 537 bhp and 800 Nm of
torque or 564 bhp and 900 Nm - more power than any other competitor in the segment.
The result is acceleration from 0 to 62 mph in 4.3 or 4.2 seconds, and to 125 mph in 12.9 or
12.6 seconds respectively. Top speed is 155 mph (electronically limited), although this rises
to 186 mph (likewise electronically limited) with the AMG Performance package on board.
Combined cycle fuel economy comes in at 28.5 mpg for both power outputs - a 30%
improvement over the outgoing model. Emissions are 231 g/km.
Subaru reveals BRZ specification
SUBARU’S new BRZ 2+2 coupe will be available in three trim levels when it goes on sale in
the UK in July.
The car makes its European debut at next week’s Geneva Motor Show and the top-
specification model will come with 17-inch alloy wheels, a torque-sensing LSD, front, side,
curtain and knee airbags, MP3 connectivity, dual-zone climate control and LED daytime
The driver-focussed BRZ will also come with Subaru’s VDC (Vehicle Dynamic Control) and
can be fitted with either a six-speed short-shift manual or paddle-operated automatic
A second, lower-spec model will also be made available a little later in the year, as will a
third ‘stripped out’ version.
The BRZ is powered by Subaru’s horizontally-opposed 200 PS 2.0 litre Boxer engine.
Toyota gears up to launch UK’s most affordable hybrid
THE new Toyota Yaris Hybrid is available to order now with first customer deliveries due in
July at a starting price below £15,000 on-the-road.
That, says Toyota, makes the model, which has emissions of 79 g/km and fuel economy of
80.7 mpg, the most affordable hybrid in the UK market.
Honda Civic impresses, while Jeep Compass disappoints in crash tests
THE variance in occupant and pedestrian crash protection between models has been exposed
in the latest results from the European New Car Assessment Programme.
The crash test organisation praised the new Honda Civic for achieving a top five-star rating,
while the recently refreshed Jeep Compass achieved only two stars, underachieving in most
areas of Euro NCAP’s assessment.
Michiel van Ratingen, Euro NCAP secretary general, said: ‘The results show clearly that a
five star these days means a lot more than a five star some years ago. Many car makers have
moved on and so have we.
‘Cars based on older technology, brushed up and marketed as new are not providing the same
levels as safety as the newest models developed against the new targets. Consumers
interested in a fair comparison will not be fooled by these results.’
Since the revamp of Euro NCAP’s rating in 2009, the safety organisation has upped the ante
in safety by raising its criteria for five stars annually. In 2012, any car awarded five stars
should achieve an overall score of at least 80%, while scoring at least 80% of the available
points in adult protection, 75% in child protection, 60% in pedestrian protection and 60% in
That translates into significantly safer vehicles, in particular on pedestrian protection offered
where the average five-star car barely exceeded the 25% limit just a few years ago, said Euro
The Jeep compact SUV was tested with an optional side thorax airbag but its test results
showed a poor protection levels, particularly in the side pole test.
In pedestrian protection, the Compass scored, what Euro NCAP called a disappointing 23%.
In a statement the organisation said: ‘Compact SUVs are the most popular sport-utility
segment in Europe, but the Jeep Compass did not demonstrate itself as strong contender on
safety in comparison to other tested competitors in the same category.’
Meanwhile the ninth generation Civic family hatchback achieved high scores in all areas of
assessment, putting it on a par with its rivals in this competitive market segment.
The car scored well in safety assist and is also fitted as an option with Honda’s Collision
Mitigation Brake System (CMBS), a radar-based autonomous emergency braking technology
rewarded by Euro NCAP Advanced in 2010.
Geneva debut for all-new Volvo V40
VOLVO Car Corporation will reveal the all-new Volvo V40 at the Geneva Motor Show on
March 6. The V40 has sharpened features and characteristics from larger Volvos.
'The all-new V40 is the first new model that is fully developed according to our human-
centric, Designed Around You strategy. Charged with an outstanding set of high-tech features
it definitely will give our toughest competitors a headache,' said Stefan Jacoby, president and
CEO of Volvo Car Corporation.
The V40 features a class-leading safety and driver support package, including Volvo Car
Corporation's groundbreaking Pedestrian Detection with Full Auto Brake and several other
Among the new features are a world-first pedestrian airbag, Lane Keeping Aid with auto
steering and an ingenious Park Assist Pilot that makes parallel parking easy.
The City Safety low-speed collision avoidance system has been further developed and it now
operates at speeds up to 31 mph (currently 19mph on other models).
Volvo Car Corporation expects to sell 90,000 units per year of the all-new Volvo V40. Some
85% of the total volume will go to European customers.
B-MAX features new voice activation
FORD'S all-new B-MAX made its first public appearance at a technology event in Barcelona.
The B-MAX will be the first vehicle in Europe to feature SYNC, Ford’s voice-activated in-
car connectivity system powered by Microsoft Windows.
This is especially fitting for Ford’s all-new compact multi-activity vehicle that heralds the
European introduction of SYNC; a voice-activated in-car connectivity system that takes the
integration of mobile devices, voice control and convenience to a new level with extensive
device compatibility and voice command.
Developed in partnership with Microsoft, SYNC already features on four million cars in the
US, and its introduction to Europe in one of the most affordable vehicles in Ford’s European
range will help take the company a significant step further towards its target of 13 million
SYNC customers by 2015. In total, Ford expects to have more than 3.5 million SYNC-
enabled vehicles on the roads of Europe by 2015.
“The all-new Ford B-MAX is at the forefront of Ford’s plans to deliver SYNC to customers
in Europe for the first time, and is the perfect vehicle for the job,” said Stephen Odell,
chairman and CEO, Ford of Europe.
Ford’s Emergency Assistance feature alerts local emergency services operators after an
accident, in the correct language for the region, and is the most advanced system of its type. It
will be available in more than 30 countries across Europe and beyond.
During the development of the Emergency Assistance feature Ford worked with the European
Emergency Number Association (EENA), gaining valuable input into the system design. The
EENA aims to ensure a consistently high level of response to 112 emergency number calls
'We are pleased that Ford has consulted with the EENA and European emergency call centres
in the development of the Emergency Assistance feature,' said Gary Machado, executive
director of the EENA.
'We are confident that solutions enabling vehicles to be connected to emergency call centres
will contribute to saving lives in Europe.'
SYNC can also read aloud incoming SMS text messages from compatible mobile phones. It
works with a variety of digital music players, including iPod and USB flash drives. The
system automatically updates phonebook entries, while audio files can be browsed by genre,
artist, album, song and playlist using simple voice commands. The USB port also enables the
implementation of software upgrades for future enhancements and features.
Citroen showcases new models at Geneva
CITROEN is showcasing its bold creativity at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show with a range of
stylish and innovative new models. The New Citroën C4 Aircross makes its world debut and
will be shown alongside the newly-restyled C1 and Berlingo Multispace. A production
version of the C3 Red Block, which made its debut in concept form at Geneva in 2011, will
also be on display.
Visitors to the Citroën show stand will be able to view the complete DS line, along with a
new DS4 Racing concept and new special editions - DS4 and DS5 Paris Rendez-Vous and
DS3 Racing S. Loeb.
Committed to improving the ecological performance of its vehicles, Citroën will also
highlight the reduced average CO2 emissions of its range - by 5g/km in a year - thanks to the
use of e-HDi micro-hybrid, full electric and full hybrid diesel technology, among other
Subaru upgrades Legacy Tourer for 2012
SUBARU'S Legacy Tourer has received a number of technical improvements and equipment
upgrades, lowering running costs and environmental impact.
The most important change is the fitting of Subaru’s next-generation Boxer diesel engine.
This Euro 5-compliant power unit features a more efficient turbocharger, new exhaust-
camshaft timing and lighter connecting rods, and is mated with new oxidation catalytic
converters and Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF).
The result is an improvement (compared to the previous Boxer diesel Legacy) in fuel
economy of over 7%, to 49.6mpg (combined), while CO2 emissions are cut by up to 7.5%, to
149 g/km. Importantly, the latter drops the car’s VED band down to level F, saving
customers £35 per year.
All 2012 Legacy Tourer diesel models now have a CO2 rating below 160 g/km which ensures
they will qualify for tax savings by the hirer (of 15%) and the leasing company / business
users (10%) – enhancing the vehicle’s appeal to a wider audience.
The improvements in economy and emissions haven’t undermined the diesel-powered
Legacy Tourer’s performance. Generating 147bhp at 3,600 rpm and 350 Nm between 1,600
and 2,400 rpm, the diesel unit powers the car from zero to 62 mph in 9.6 seconds and on to a
top speed of 120 mph.
The Legacy’s six-speed manual transmission (standard fit for diesel models) has been refined
to improve its fuel efficiency, shift feel and its ease of operation. Wider gear teeth, new
synchromesh, lower friction bearings and low-viscosity transmission oil combine to deliver
improved performance and refinement, while also helping to maximise the improvements
made to the diesel engine.
Suspension modifications for all 2012 Legacy models include new bushes for the front anti-
roll stabiliser bar mounts to improve ride comfort, new pressed upper rear suspension arms to
reduce weight (saving 2 kg per car), and new pillow-ball bushes in the rear wishbones to
reduce friction and provide a smoother ride.
With the introduction of the 2012 models, the Legacy Tourer line-up in the UK offers buyers
a choice of five versions with a diesel or petrol engine and three trim levels – depending on
model. New Legacy Tourer prices start at £26,865 (OTR) and cover a £4,510 range. Each
model is so comprehensively equipped that the only factory-fitted option will be special paint
finishes, priced at £500.
Exterior changes are limited to new, aerodynamically smoother door mirrors, a higher-
resolution rear view camera (SE NavPlus only) and the availability of a fresh new colour –
Ice Silver Metallic.
Inside, the 2012 Legacy sports a single-CD unit featuring a large LCD display screen
together with USB and iPod connectivity and steering wheel-mounted controls. On diesel
models (with manual transmission) the instrument cluster now has a ‘shift-up’ indicator to
encourage an economical driving style.
Toyota reveals new Prius figures
TOYOTA has announced the official EU CO2 emissions and economy figures for the new
Prius Plug-In Hybrid. The car will emit 49g/km of CO2 on the combined cycle and travel
134.5 miles on one gallon of petrol, making it the most efficient Toyota ever on British roads.
Following feedback from an extensive customer trial in the UK and across Europe, Toyota’s
engineers have improved the car’s EV driving range to 15.5 miles, an improvement of 24%
versus the customer trial vehicle. And, at only 90 minutes using a conventional plug,
recharging is quicker than any other electric vehicle on the market today.
When the EV battery is depleted, the Prius Plug-In Hybrid automatically switches into HV
mode, delivering CO2 emissions of 85 g/km and economy of 76.4mpg, an improvement on
the emissions and fuel economy of the standard Prius.
This leading performance helps to deliver a total driving range of 769 miles. The car
continues to offer the same interior space as the standard Prius, with seating for five and 443
litres of bootspace.
The latest addition to Toyota’s Prius family will be launched in the summer of 2012, with
starting prices below £30,000 OTR, inclusive of the UK government’s Plug-in Car Grant.
Jaguar shows off new XF Sportbrake
THE new Jaguar XF Sportbrake has been unveiled ahead of its public debut at the Geneva
Sharing its underpinnings with the XF saloon, the Sportbrake's overall length grows by just
5mm, its weight by less 70kg and its chassis structure matches the strength of the
conventional XF. These characteristics mean the Sportbrake can closely match the acclaimed
handling of the XF saloon yet offers a large load space.
Every panel on the XF Sportbrake, from the B-Pillar rearwards, is new. The strong silver
signature line running the length of the car is extended while the C-Pillar is finished in gloss
black, a trait shared with the XJ saloon. Slim rear light units extend into a strong chrome
crossmember that dominates the rear of the car. The result is a car that blends style and
function with the rear seat occupants benefitting from 48mm of extra rear headroom.
The tailgate can be specified with power struts, opening to reveal a wide and highly versatile
load space. Measuring 550-litres with the rear seats up, the boot is framed by a set of useful
cubby compartments. With the seats folded, the total volume grows to 1,675-litres.
Practical touches are prevalent – and standard equipment – on the XF Sportbrake. Remote
fold levers are mounted within the boot area to lower the rear seats – negating the need to
stretch into the boot. Powerful LEDs throw a pool of light onto the ground when the boot is
open while the tailgate itself features a soft close function, avoiding any requirement for it to
be slammed. Set into the boot floor is a panel that splits into three sections to allow smaller
loads to be neatly wedged and avoiding a precious or fragile cargo being thrown about. A
tray mounted under the boot floor helps protect valuable items.
Beneath the car there are extensive changes to the rear suspension. Self-levelling air
suspension aids driving dynamics and means the Sportbrake can serve as an accomplished
Powering the XF Sportbrake will be a range of efficient yet powerful diesel engines in 2.2-
litre four cylinder and 3.0-litre six-cylinder form, each directing drive through the rear wheels
via an advanced eight-speed automatic gearbox.
Prices and specifications will be announced nearer the time of the launch of the Sportbrake,
set to take place in the third quarter of 2012.
New Golf is most powerful Cabriolet yet
THE most powerful production Golf Cabriolet ever is set to be unveiled next week at the
Geneva Motor Show.
The Golf GTI Cabriolet packs in all the performance and practicality of the GTI hatchback,
and adds the pleasures of open-air motoring for four, thanks to an electrically powered fabric
roof which can be folded away in just 9.5 seconds, even while travelling at speeds of up to 18
Visually, the Golf GTI Cabriolet has all the classic GTI design cues. The radiator grille has a
honeycomb structure with red edging and the GTI badge, while the front bumper incorporates
a deep honeycomb air dam and distinctive vertical fog lights. Side sill extensions help give
the GTI a wide, well-planted stance, while a bespoke rear diffuser is framed by a chrome
tailpipe on either side. Smoked LED tail lights complete the look. As on the GTI hatchback,
standard wheels are 17-inch ‘Monza’ alloys.
Under the insulated fully automatic roof are four individual seats covered in the classic tartan
‘Jacara’ cloth upholstery; ‘Vienna’ leather upholstery is optional. The bespoke GTI
multifunction steering wheel is wrapped in leather, as are the handbrake and gear lever gaiter,
all finished with contrasting red stitching. The pedals have brushed stainless steel caps, while
there are black ‘Edge’ decorative inlays on the doors and facia. The hood lining and roof
pillar trims are all finished in black.
Under the bonnet is the same 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine found in
the GTI hatchback, mated to either a standard six-speed manual gearbox or optional six-speed
dual-clutch DSG gearbox and producing 210bhp. The benchmark zero to
62 mph sprint is covered in 7.3 seconds with either transmission (versus 6.9 seconds for the
hatch), while top speed is 147 mph (146 mph for the DSG).
Maximum torque of 206 lb-ft (280 Nm) is available from 1,700 rpm to 5,300 rpm, at which
point maximum horsepower is achieved. This broad torque band helps to make the GTI an
excellent cruiser – even at low revs in a high gear, the reserves of torque make the GTI’s
performance easy to tap in to. A standard EDS electronic differential lock and XDS
transverse differential lock help to ensure that the power is easily transferred to the road.
Safety is every bit as much a priority as performance. As with all Golf Cabriolet models, the
GTI comes with automatically deploying rollover protection, front and side head/thorax
airbags and a driver’s knee airbag as standard, all of which helped it to achieve a five-star (96
per cent) rating for adult occupancy in Euro NCAP crash tests.
The Golf GTI Cabriolet goes on sale in the UK in the second half of the year. Prices and
further specification details will be announced closer to the on-sale date.
GM and PSA to link up?
GENERAL Motors is close to buying a small stake in Peugeot Citroen, reports say.
The two companies are discussing a strategic alliance in Europe where GM's Opel brand lost
$747m (£472m) last year.
As part of that deal GM is ready to buy a stake of about 7% in Peugeot, according to
Last year, Peugeot's car-making business reported a loss due to tough conditions in the
European car market. It is thought that the two companies are discussing a plan to develop
vehicles together. They would then sell those cars under their own brands.
The deal could be announced in the next few days, Reuters reports, adding that GM is likely
to buy a stake of less than 5%.
A deal would require the approval of the Peugeot family, which still holds 30% of the
company's shares, and because of the way those shares are structured, the family has 48% of
voting rights among shareholders.
New smart brake for Mazda
MAZDA has developed a new advanced safety technology called 'Smart City Brake Support'
(SCBS), which helps a driver to avoid a frontal collision when driving at low speeds in the
city or in slow moving traffic. The SCBS system will make its first appearance fitted as
standard on the all-new Mazda CX-5 compact crossover SUV, which goes on sale this spring.
The SCBS system uses a laser sensor to detect a vehicle or obstacle in front of the Mazda
CX-5 and if the driver fails to slow his/her vehicle appropriately, or to take avoiding action,
SCBS automatically activates the brakes and reduces the engine output at the same time. In
this way, SCBS helps to avoid collisions or mitigate the damage from rear-end collisions at
low speeds, which are among the most common accidents.
When driving at speeds between 2.5 and 19mph, a laser sensor mounted at the top of the
windscreen detects a vehicle or obstacle in front of the car and monitors the gap and the
closing speed. If the SCBS calculates that there is a risk of a collision occurring - if the driver
were to take no action - it pre-pressures the braking system.
This ensures a faster response when the driver activates the brakes or, if the driver fails to
perform any avoidance manoeuvre or apply the brakes, an automatic braking operation is
activated. Effective when the speed difference between the driver's car and the vehicle in
front is less than 19mph, the system is designed to avoid or mitigate the damage from a
Mazda Motor Corporation is intensifying its safety-related research and development efforts,
aiming for the ultimate goal of realising an accident-free and safe motorised society. Mazda
intends to extend its advanced safety technologies, such as SCBS, to future new models,
following its debut on Mazda CX-5, to contribute to provide all customers with driving
pleasure together with outstanding environmental and safety performance.
Light commercial vehicles______________________________________
GreenRoad signs new deals with commercial vehicle fleets
DRIVER performance and safety management technology specialist GreenRoad has won a
number of new customers through its partnership with Towergate Underwriting
Under the terms of the agreement, the insurance specialist markets GreenRoad to its clients.
Among those organisations that have introduced GreenRoad are: DLR Transport, Pharmacy
Plus, Clive Cowern Transport Services and Goldenville.
The companies, which operate fleets of light and heavy commercial vehicles, say they chose
GreenRoad with the goals of reducing crashes, increasing MPG and potentially reducing
Pharmacy Plus runs nine depots across the UK and now uses GreenRoad in its fleet of 38
vans collecting and delivering prescribed medication to nursing homes and care homes.
Operations director Steve Wells said: ‘Our initial objective was to change driver behaviour
with a view to reducing our insurance premium. The first obstacle is that if you don’t know
what the problem is you can’t tackle it. We chose GreenRoad because it could provide the
information both drivers and managers need to understand driver behaviour. This way we can
ensure that our professional drivers have a good reputation in the business.’
The programme has already delivered on its promises with driver risk dropping 75% to an
average of seven in the first six months.
‘We started using GreenRoad as a tool to focus our team of drivers on preventing accidents
but we are now going to use GreenRoad to help drivers understand techniques that increase
their MPG,’ added Wells.
By offering GreenRoad’s services, Towergate hopes to help its clients cut their accident
claims rate and possibly negotiate more favourable insurance premiums. It also gains new
intelligence about risk and safety levels leading to more effective risk management strategies
and tailored insurance offerings that reflect the reduced risk.
Residual value update_________________________________________
New BCA data reveals the colour of money
SILVER is the most popular used car colour followed by black and blue, according to new
research by auction giant BCA.
Analysis of a sample of 40,000 vehicles sold at auction during January reveals that silver cars
account for 29.5% of the total, ahead of black at 25%. Ever popular blue cars accounted for
20%, with grey in fourth place at 13%. Red cars represented 8% of the total, with white and
green each accounting for just under 3%.
More esoteric colours such as yellow, orange, bronze, mauve, turquoise and even pink also
featured in the sample but with very low volumes.
The BCA Car Colour Chart - February 2012
Colour % of total Months Avg Mileage Avg Value
SILVER 29.5 65 61,893 £5,346
BLACK 25 54 57,392 £7,124
BLUE 20 65 60,513 £4,967
GREY 13 54 58,007 £7,523
RED 8 61 53,454 £5,041
WHITE 3 37 43,114 £9,752
GREEN 3 87 71,415 £3,186
Average n/a 60 58,780 £6,040
Of the more popular colours, white cars achieved the highest value on average, selling for
£9,752, compared to the overall average of £6,040, reflecting that white is a fashionable
choice on higher value executive cars. The white cars in the sample were also younger (37
months) and lower mileage (43,000) than the average of 60 months and 58,000 miles.
The current high-impact white finishes are extremely popular but relatively limited, selling in
the hundreds, compared to the many thousands of black, grey, blue and silver cars sold, says
Supply and demand could also, therefore, be a factor, with white cars achieving the best
performance against guide prices. On average white cars sold for 103% of the guide price at
BCA sales at the start of the year, compared to silver cars which, on average, sold for 96.88%
of guide price and black which averaged 97.6%.
A BCA spokesman said: ‘Anyone who has ever bought or sold a used car very quickly learns
to appreciate the importance of colour and the effect it can have on the price when you sell it.
‘There’s reliable silver - looks good on most cars - and black, which is often favoured for its
menacing looks on performance models and for a sleek understated look on luxury
saloons. There are also value differences between metallic colours - very saleable - and flat,
non-reflective colours which are usually less desirable.
‘Colour may not be the first thing motorists think about when choosing their next car, but it is
definitely one of the key factors. The BCA data underlines this and shows that colour really
Vendor Online connects all vendors to all auctions
VENDOR Online, a new initiative by Manheim Remarketing, enables vendors to attend
auctions even if they are not there.
The latest use of online technology allows vendors to log on and ‘attend’ more than one
auction at once to represent their vehicles as if they were standing on the rostrum with the
The service is designed to increase participation of vendors who find it difficult to attend
auctions, and also improve buyer satisfaction thanks to quicker decisions and a reduction in
Vendor Online provides audio and video of the auction as it happens and gives the vendor the
option to click ‘On Sale’ once the bidding has reached an acceptable level.
Mike Pilkington, managing director, Manheim Remarketing, said: ‘This enhancement to
Simulcast is another first from Manheim and places us a step ahead of the competition. It has
been designed to integrate with existing sale day operations so that auctions with attending
vendors and auctions with remotely attending vendors operate in the same fashion.’
Politics and regulation_________________________________________
Mind the pitfalls of incorrect tax reporting, says HMRC
INCORRECT reporting on company cars, company vans and travel allowances are among
the most commonly problems recorded by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
The taxman has issued a reminder about the various ‘toolkits’ it has developed to assist
employers in making tax returns.
The toolkits highlight common errors and the steps that can be taken to reduce those
While, HMRC emphasises that the main risk area in each toolkit is record keeping - or lack of
it - main categories of risk highlighted in its ‘Expenses and Benefits from Employment
Toolkit’ relate to company cars and vans and travel and subsistence.
In relation to company cars common errors include: quoting the wrong list price, failing to
include the cost any qualifying accessories, using the wrong emissions figure and
‘mechanical’ calculation errors.
In relation to company vans errors include a failure to keep records relating to mileage
to support claims that a vehicle was not used privately and therefore benefit-in-kind tax was
The rules for travel and subsistence are the most common ‘benefit’, but also the most
Payments for travel and subsistence to a permanent workplace or round sum subsistence
payments are all broadly taxable. However, relief may be available by exemption or
deduction for the cost of business travel where the expense is incurred in the actual
performance of the duties of employment, says Peterborough-based tax advisers
However, if round sum payments are made, the full amount should usually be added to
directors’ or employees’ earnings and PAYE and National Insurance deducted.
BulleyDavey added: ‘The most important easement in this area is a dispensation to
effectively exempt approved travel costs. Have you got one and is it up to date?”
Time to put brake on UK’s exorbitant legal bill, says ABI
UNAFFORDABLE, unsustainable and unacceptable that’s legal fees in settling motor
personal injury claims, which now cost UK consumers £1,666 every minute, it is claimed.
Now the Association of British Insurers is calling for a reduction in the UK’s ‘exorbitant’
legal fees, which would also trigger a reduction in motor insurance premiums.
It says that UK consumers are now paying £2.4 million a day through their motor insurance
premiums - the equivalent of £1,666 every minute - in legal fees incurred in settling low
value motor personal injury claims of up to £10,000.
On top of that, legal costs often exceed compensation payments, says the ABI:
One insurer’s average claimant legal costs in 2010 represented 142% of the
sums received by injured victims.
A recently reported compensation claim for a work-related injury for £12,750
settled out of court attracted legal costs of £74,000. After hearing about the
case, Lord Neuberger, the Master of the Rolls, said of the case that there was
something ‘out of kilter’ in the civil justice system.
Between 2004-2011 there has been a 5% rise in NHS legal costs, but a 130% increase in
claimant legal costs, says the ABI. In the financial year 2010/2011 the NHS paid out £257
million in lawyers’ fees following claims.
James Dalton, the ABI’s head of motor and liability insurance, said: ‘Since its introduction in
2010 the fast track process for settling lower value personal injury claims has led to
significantly quicker compensation pay outs. But the fixed costs in the process remain too
‘The UK’s compensation system is riddled with disproportionate and excessive legal costs,
often exceeding compensation awards. This means higher insurance costs for motorists and
businesses and a heavy cost burden on local authorities and the NHS.
‘The Government must press ahead with the much-needed reform of our dysfunctional
compensation system, which, together with the ban on the selling on of personal details of
potential claimants, will enable solicitors’ fixed fees to be reduced to more realistic levels.
Lower legal costs will help bring down the cost of motor insurance for all drivers.’
New Vehicle Type Approval rules threaten bodybuilders’ future
HUNDREDS of commercial vehicle bodybuilder businesses are under threat if they do not
adequately prepare for new European Whole Vehicle Type Approval rules that come into
force later this year.
According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), small and medium-
sized businesses could shut down overnight if they do not act now to meet complex new
SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt said: ‘Whole vehicle type approval is a hugely important
part of getting a vehicle on the road as it ensures that technical and safety standards are
consistently met across Europe, but businesses could be at risk if they don’t prepare now.’
The SMMT has created ‘SENTA’, a interactive guide that helps vehicle manufacturers and
bodybuilders to achieve Type Approval, allowing them to continue to sell their products
across Europe and protecting valuable UK businesses and jobs.
European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval (ECWVTA) collates hundreds of
individual Type Approval elements to ensure manufactured vehicles meet strict safety and
From April 29, manufacturers, converters and bodybuilders of Special Purpose Vehicles
(category M1) will have to seek Type Approval to register vehicles across Europe.
Bodybuilders making a wide cross section of vehicles from motor-caravans, ambulances and
hearses to armoured vehicles and wheelchair accessible vehicles (up to eight seats) will have
to adhere to the new rules.
From October 29 the same set of rules will also apply to the manufacture of complete and
incomplete trucks (over 3.5 tonnes), all complete and incomplete trailers and new types of
Special Purpose Vehicles.
Type Approval became mandatory in October 2011 for all minibuses, buses and coaches,
plus single-stage built trucks (mass under 3.5 tonnes).
The SMMT’s European and National Type Approval (SENTA) guide streamlines the process
of applying for type approval. Further information is available at http://senta.smmt.co.uk.
HMRC to launch tax crackdown on motor trade
THE motor trade is to be targeted by one of 30 new taskforces to be launched by HM
Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to cut down on tax dodgers in 2012/13.
The taskforces will target specific business sectors in specific locations where there is
evidence of tax evasion. Apart from the motor trade other targets include the rag trade
and indoor and outdoor markets.
HMRC expects to collect more than £50 million as a result of 12 taskforces launched in
2011/12 and, with 13 criminal investigations under way, this figure is set to rise.
The Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury David Gauke said: ‘The Government is committed
to tackling tax evasion and avoidance. HMRC’s taskforces are cracking down on people who
choose to break the rules and creating a level playing field for the majority who play by them.
‘It is completely unacceptable, at a time when we are trying to bring down the deficit that,
while most hard-working people pay the right tax, there are others who try to get out of
contributing their fair share.’
General motor industry news___________________________________
Driving with a heavy cold is nothing to sneeze at, says AA
ALMOST one fifth of drivers take to the road whilst unfit, many due to flu or heavy colds,
according to an AA/Populus poll of 20,000 AA members.
A total of 19% said they knew someone who had driven whilst unfit, with the highest reason
likely to be due to suffering from a cold or flu.
Safe driving demands good reactions and concentration which can both be compromised
when the driver is unfit, says the AA.
The dangers posed include driving blind for 70 yards when sneezing at 70 mph - and possibly
further if sneezing more than once.
Drivers also suffer from an inability to drive straight and suffer severe distraction. These
dangers can exist even while a driver is trying not to sneeze.
Meanwhile, cough and cold remedies, if not properly monitored, may also impair a person’s
ability to drive safely
If a driver has a heavy cold or flu then their reaction times and concentration behind the
wheel can be affected
The other symptoms of a cold all tend to cut a driver’s concentration and awareness -
headaches, runny noses, and irritation and pain around the face, nose and eyes. They can also
greatly increase tiredness on long journeys.
AA president Edmund King said: ‘We often take our health and driving for granted. If a
driver has a heavy cold or flu then their reaction times and concentration behind the wheel
can be affected. People will still need to drive when they are unwell but they should be aware
of the added dangers and adapt their driving accordingly.’
Sneezing has been implicated in road accidents, according to the AA, and the penalties
imposed on the drivers vary considerably.
For example, a lorry driver was jailed for four years for causing death by dangerous driving,
but a woman was cleared of careless driving after a collision that left one man injured.
People on the move____________________________________________
Wise joins epyx as director of tyre programmes
MIKE Wise has joined motor industry e-commerce experts epyx in the newly created role of
director of tyre programmes.
His career in the tyre industry includes spells as managing director of fleet at Kwik Fit
Group, managing director of ATS Euromaster Service and Development, and managing
director of Euromaster BV Netherlands.
At epyx, he will be working on a variety of new tyre initiatives for both the fleet and retail
markets based around the market standard 1link Service Network e-commerce platform.
Further details are expected to be announced in due course.
He said: ‘epyx has an unrivalled track record in bringing new e-commerce initiatives to the
fleet sector and already has a user community of more than 16,000 franchise dealers,
independent garages and fast fits, all of whom supply and fit tyres.
‘It makes enormous sense to look at new ways of harnessing this advanced technology and
huge user base to create new tyre processes that bring benefits for everyone in the supply
chain, both in the UK and in Europe.’
His immediate brief is to focus on further developing the market for epyx products in the tyre
sector throughout Europe, working in both the fleet and supply chain areas.
New jobs and promotions at Northgate Vehicle Hire
LIGHT commercial vehicle rental and associated fleet solutions provider Northgate Vehicle
Hire is increasing its presence in the North East by adding 80 administrative jobs to the 300
people already employed at its Darlington headquarters.
The jobs boost comes as the company continues to centralise many operational functions with
the aim of bringing more efficient fleet management to the business.
The newly appointed administrative teams have been put in place to serve the increased flow
of fleet management tasks, while attention has also been given to colleagues at depots and
workshops to reinforce their part in ensuring the smooth running of customer related tasks.
The team will focus on three key areas for Northgate: damage recharge management,
scheduling and compliance and asset administration.
Jonathan Pearce, recently promoted from campaign manager to marketing manager for
Northgate Vehicle Hire, said: ‘An honest reflection on the existing administration tasks
pointed to the need for change in order to ensure that this area of the business delivered
service levels congruent with those in other areas of Northgate.’
The business function of the new administration team will deliver consistency across the UK
as well as helping relieve workshops of their admin tasks, freeing up their time to concentrate
on other aspects such as customer service.
Northgate Vehicle Hire has also announced new promotions in the North East and a new
appointment with the recruitment of a new head of accident management.
Previously head of central operations, Nora Curry has been promoted to operation manager -
customer support centre (CSC) at Northgate’s head office. Campaign Manager, Pearce has
been promoted to marketing manager, and former head of fleet management, Colin Wilson, is
now commercial manager non rental in Gateshead.
Steve Granger has also been appointed as head of accident management for Northgate
Vehicle Hire and Fleet Technique. His appointment follows six and a half years with BT
Fleet as operations manager and 16.5 years with AXA Insurance.
Additionally, Northgate Vehicle Hire sister company Van Monster has promoted former sales
executive Mark Hughes to the post of sales manager.
INCREASED demand from customers in the West of Ireland has resulted in
Northgate Vehicle Hire opening a new site in Limerick. As a result of the
depot opening, Northgate has taken on two new local staff and is looking to
recruit for five new positions in the next 12 months.
Andrews joins SEAT as operations chief
SEAT UK’s management team has returned to full strength with the appointment of Ashley
Andrew as head of operations.
Andrews (40) will officially take over the running of the Spanish brand’s UK dealer network
on Monday (March 5) and joins from super-luxury British car maker Rolls-Royce where he
worked, most recently, as director for Europe and South Africa.
He has a 20-year motor industry career behind him and has worked in domestic and
international markets with Ford Motor Company and BMW Group.
New managing director for Porsche Cars GB
CHRIS Craft has been appointed as the new managing director of Porsche Cars Great Britain,
effective from April 1 2012. He succeeds Geoff Turral, who leaves the company at the end
The Reading-based 100% subsidiary of Porsche AG is responsible for the Porsche business in
Great Britain and Ireland, as well as owning the Porsche Retail Group which operates five
Porsche Centres in the south of England.
Felix Bräutigam, director region Europe, said: 'Great Britain is the fourth biggest market for
Porsche and a very important sports car market for us. We are happy to have found an
experienced automotive manager with an in-depth knowledge of this market.'
Following responsibilities at Rover, 52-year-old Craft has held various senior management
positions at Volkswagen Group UK including his current role since 2008, as director of the
Volkswagen brand in the UK.
Changes at the top for Arval
ARVAL UK, the vehicle leasing and fleet management company, has announced a number of
changes to its executive management team in a move designed to further develop its business
across all existing segments and channels and support plans for future growth.
Following the successful divestment of the AllStar fuel card business, Robert Pieczka has
returned to Arval UK as business development and marketing director. His international
experience gained during five years at Arval in Paris will support the continued
implementation of best practices from across the Arval countries within the UK, including
Meanwhile Fiona Hall, formerly commercial director, has left Arval and her role has been
segmented to reflect the very different needs of Arval’s corporate and SME customers. As a
result, Mike Curtis will lead the corporate sales division and Elliott Woodhead will lead the
SME division and third party partnerships. Both are internal appointments and share more
than 25 years of experience and success within the Arval UK business.
These new appointments join the existing Arval UK executive team members, reporting into
Bart Beckers, managing director of Arval UK.
Martin Lone joins epyx as trade member account manager
MARTIN Lone been appointed by motor industry e-commerce specialist epyx to the role of
trade member account member for the North of England and Scotland.
He will be working with users of the 1link Disposal Network e-commerce platform, which is
designed for large fleets to efficiently manage car and van disposal online, selling to both
franchised and independent dealers who are able to quickly and easily find the used stock that
Lone joins from Toyota GB where he worked as a training consultant. Previously, he has
fulfilled a variety of motor industry roles covering sales, management and business
He said: 'Both the number of users and the number of vehicles being sold through 1link
Disposal Network are increasing rapidly, so it is an exciting time to be joining the team here
1link Disposal Network forms a component in the 1link range of e-commerce platforms,
designed to cover the whole company vehicle life cycle - which includes e-commerce
platforms providing car and van procurement, service and maintenance, taxation and rental.
Bentley appoints new marketing and product director
BENTLEY Motors has announced the appointment of Stefan Büscher as marketing and
product director. He reports directly to Alasdair Stewart, member of the board for sales and
marketing, at Bentley’s world-wide headquarters in Crewe.
Büscher is responsible for all marketing and product activities, including brand strategy and
development, digital marketing and CRM, live marketing, event management and the Bentley
A German native, Büscher was also educated in France and the UK and has established an
international career in marketing. After an initial spell within sales and marketing for
Dresdner Bank, he has pursued a career within the automotive industry and since 1997 has
been with the Dr. Ing. h.c. Porsche AG in Stuttgart, latterly as the general manager for
marketing communications. During this time Büscher was instrumental in the creation of a
number of film and ground-breaking digital campaigns which received numerous accolades
and awards culminating in the team winning the German Marketing Award in 2004.
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