UK automotive car manufacturing June 2016

UK car production in 16-year high but Brexit means future uncertain

UK automotive car manufacturing June 2016Car production in the UK rose more than 10% in June 2016, to 158,641 vehicles, helping make the first six months of 2016 a 16-year high.

But the SMMT has warned that, with Britain’s post-Brexit future position in Europe still far from clear, the future may not be so rosy.

Indeed, a survey by the trade organisation shows 57% of members believe Brexit will be a bad thing for their business; just 8.3% say it will be positive.

More than 3 in 4 cars built in the UK are exported and the majority go to Europe; what’s more, nearly 60% of parts fitted to UK-built cars are imported from Europe.

Uncertainty over trade deals between the UK and EU are thus a huge headache for automotive business leaders.

Built in Britain, sent overseas

UK automotive car manufacturing June 2016

The production figures show that although UK-market demand was up 7.1%, demand from export markets, predominately the EU, swelled 14.9% – 695,139 of the 897,157 cars built in Britain in 2016 were exported.

“The latest increase in production output is the result of investment decisions made over a number of years, well before the referendum was even a prospect,” said SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes.

“These decisions were based on many factors but, primarily, on tariff-free access to the single market, economic stability and record levels of productivity from a highly skilled workforce.

“To ensure the sector’s continued growth, and with it the thousands of jobs it supports, these must be priorities in future negotiations.”

Brexit concerns from UK automotive business leaders include:

  • 68.4%: Tariffs or other barriers between the UK and EU
  • 66.4%: Losing access to EU trade deals
  • 66.1%: Being bound by EU regulations in which they have no say
  • 59.7%: Uncertainty over EU workers in the UK
  • 63.6%: Losing access to EU skills market
  • 52.7%: Drop in sales
  • 46.1%: Fall in investment

The SMMT adds that, of its members surveyed, a quarter are still unsure about what impact the European Referendum results will have on their business. For them, it’s too early to say – meaning the developments in post-Brexit Britain in coming months will be significant.

Drivers warned NOT to stop for unmarked police cars

Drivers warned NOT to stop for unmarked police cars

Drivers warned NOT to stop for unmarked police cars

Essex Police are warning motorists not to pull over if requested to do so by an unmarked police car, following a spate of vehicle thefts by fake traffic cops.

Officers have been told not to pull over drivers in unmarked cars, unless it’s an emergency.

It comes after two vans were stolen by thieves dressed as police officers – with one reportedly carrying a handgun. Both thefts are believed to have taken place on Essex motorways – one on the M25, the other on the M11.

It’s thought that a silver Ford Mondeo equipped with blue lights was used in both incidents.

Det Ch Insp Stuart Smith said: “We have taken this decision to safeguard motorists in Essex while these offenders remain outstanding.

“Our victims have told us that the suspects are purporting to be police officers and are wearing body armour to further enhance this deception in order to steal these vans.

“Anyone who is signalled at to stop by someone in a car which may appear to be an unmarked police is asked not to stop but to call 999 immediately to verify whether the vehicle and its occupants are genuine.”

Anyone with information about the bogus unmarked police car are requested to phone 101 urgently.

You can now test drive a supercar at Salon Privé... but it'll cost you

You can now test drive a supercar at Salon Privé… but it’ll cost you

You can now test drive a supercar at Salon Privé... but it'll cost you

Ever visited a car show and wish you could drive the cars on display? Visitors to this year’s Salon Privé supercar show and concours d’elegance will be able to do just that – as it’s just announced a new ‘see it, drive’ programme.

Open to all visitors to the exclusive car show, members of the public will be able to get behind the wheel of new cars from Bentley, Lamborghini, Morgan and Tesla, amongst others.

But there’s a catch – tickets to the show, which is held at Blenheim Palace, cost a hefty £295 – something that will ‘pre-qualify’ customers, organisers say, meaning only suitable clientele will be able to get behind the wheel.

Event co-founder David Bagley said: “Salon Privé strives to combine all elements of the lifestyle that owning and buying some of the most important luxury cars offers. It makes sense that we put our guests in the driving seat during the event, especially when you consider the location at Blenheim Palace and the manufacturers’ cars on display.

“You won’t find this engagement with luxury brands anywhere else. So far the take-up for test drives has been amazing, as a large percentage of guests already confirmed for the event have reserved cars to drive. I am sure that this initiative will deliver sales leads for our manufacturer partners, and our guests will enjoy the experience.”

The event follows in the footsteps of the Goodwood Festival of Speed which introduced its Moving Motor Show in 2010. Held on the Thursday ahead of the main show, the Moving Motor Show allows potential customers to test drive a variety of cars up the legendary Goodwood Hill Climb.

The Salon Privé ‘see it, drive it’ programme will differ from Goodwood’s Moving Motor Show as it allows punters to drive the cars on public roads.

Confirmed plug-in cars include the BMW i8, Tesla Model S and Morgan’s EV3 three-wheeler. Other highlights include the Lamborghini Huracán (both the LP 580-2 and its drop-top equivalent, the LP610-4 Spyder), as well as Bentley’s new Bentayga SUV.

The event will take place from 1st to 3rd September.

You can now test drive a supercar at Salon Privé... but it'll cost you

You can now test drive a supercar at Salon Privé… but it'll cost you

You can now test drive a supercar at Salon Privé... but it'll cost you

Ever visited a car show and wish you could drive the cars on display? Visitors to this year’s Salon Privé supercar show and concours d’elegance will be able to do just that – as it’s just announced a new ‘see it, drive’ programme.

Open to all visitors to the exclusive car show, members of the public will be able to get behind the wheel of new cars from Bentley, Lamborghini, Morgan and Tesla, amongst others.

But there’s a catch – tickets to the show, which is held at Blenheim Palace, cost a hefty £295 – something that will ‘pre-qualify’ customers, organisers say, meaning only suitable clientele will be able to get behind the wheel.

Event co-founder David Bagley said: “Salon Privé strives to combine all elements of the lifestyle that owning and buying some of the most important luxury cars offers. It makes sense that we put our guests in the driving seat during the event, especially when you consider the location at Blenheim Palace and the manufacturers’ cars on display.

“You won’t find this engagement with luxury brands anywhere else. So far the take-up for test drives has been amazing, as a large percentage of guests already confirmed for the event have reserved cars to drive. I am sure that this initiative will deliver sales leads for our manufacturer partners, and our guests will enjoy the experience.”

The event follows in the footsteps of the Goodwood Festival of Speed which introduced its Moving Motor Show in 2010. Held on the Thursday ahead of the main show, the Moving Motor Show allows potential customers to test drive a variety of cars up the legendary Goodwood Hill Climb.

The Salon Privé ‘see it, drive it’ programme will differ from Goodwood’s Moving Motor Show as it allows punters to drive the cars on public roads.

Confirmed plug-in cars include the BMW i8, Tesla Model S and Morgan’s EV3 three-wheeler. Other highlights include the Lamborghini Huracán (both the LP 580-2 and its drop-top equivalent, the LP610-4 Spyder), as well as Bentley’s new Bentayga SUV.

The event will take place from 1st to 3rd September.

Driver Power 2016 car dealer satisfaction

Britain’s best car dealers 2016

Driver Power 2016 car dealer satisfactionThe Driver Power car satisfaction survey has ranked the most pleasing cars of 2016, but what about the dealers that sell and service them?

A strong performance here is key to long-term satisfaction – and Driver Power has now revealed which are Britain’s best car dealers in the eyes of owners.

Dealer satisfaction was ranked in seven categories: how helpful staff are, showroom cleanliness, the standard of work, value for money, technical knowledge, dealer attitude and the overall dealer experience.

Read on to see where your car brand sits… and let us know if you agree or disagree.

1: Renault

Driver Power 2016 car dealer satisfaction

For the first time ever, Renault takes the crown for having the most satisfying car dealers in the UK. The French brand has jumped a full 12 places in 2016: several years of refocus by its UK operations, helped by the roll-out of an all-new line-up of cars, has been rewarded with this major honour. Dealers were rated best of all for helpfulness and attitude, while value for money was also praised. And that’s not all…

2: Dacia

Driver Power 2016 car dealer satisfaction

Renault’s value-led sister brand, Dacia, is second in the dealer satisfaction rankings! Many Renault dealers also run Dacia franchises and it seems the bargain-hunting buyers of Sanderos and Dusters are enjoying the same league-topping improvements in customer service as the parent Renault brand.

3: Lexus

Driver Power 2016 car dealer satisfaction

The serial winner of UK dealer satisfaction, Lexus, is thus relegated to third place. On the face of it, this could indicate Lexus dealers are becoming a teeny bit complacent, although Driver Power 2016 does still rank them best of all for standard of workmanship and technical knowledge. And there is only 0.04% splitting the Dacia and Lexus results…

4: Toyota

Driver Power 2016 car dealer satisfaction

The parent brand of Lexus, Toyota, is next up, with a 91.71% dealership satisfaction score. That’s 2% behind Lexus but still ahead of 27 other brands in the UK. Since the big recalls of a few years back, Toyota has developed a strong reputation for excellent customer service, with some forward-thinking new innovations helping it lead many other brands.

5: Alfa Romeo

Driver Power 2016 car dealer satisfaction

The surprises in Driver Power 2016 keep on coming: 5th place is an extraordinary result for Alfa Romeo, a brand that’s been pilloried for dealer service in the UK. It’s improved a whopping 11 places in 2016 and this rewards the monumental effort by its retailers and comes just at the right time – the launch of its crucial Giulia BMW 3 Series rival is imminent…

6: Fiat

Driver Power 2016 car dealer satisfaction

Fiat dealers used to have a reputation as unenviable as Alfa Romeo, but it seems things are changing for this famous Italian brand too. New models such as the pretty 500X help, but while the ongoing success of the 500 city car is a given, it’s the strong service of the dealers that really helps keep customers coming back for more.

7: Suzuki

Driver Power 2016 car dealer satisfaction

Suzuki has leapt up the Driver Power rankings this year. In moving from rock-bottom 31st to 7th, it’s the biggest single climber in the survey. Owners are particularly impressed with the sheer value for money offered by the Japanese brand. Well done, Suzuki dealers!

8: Honda

Driver Power 2016 car dealer satisfaction

There are people who buy Hondas not because they’re Hondas, but because of the Honda dealer. Big outlets such as former Formula 1 driver Derek Warwick’s operation in Jersey are known for miles because of the great service they offer: a satisfaction score of nearly 91% is proof of that.

9: Kia

Driver Power 2016 car dealer satisfaction

Kia’s class-leading seven-year warranty is a unique proposition: those who want to fully keep it up are encouraged to visit their local dealer much longer than the new car norm. But with a top-10 satisfaction rating, it seems Kia owners are more than happy to do so.

10: Peugeot

Driver Power 2016 car dealer satisfaction

Another French brand in the top 10 for car dealer satisfaction. Peugeot’s undergone a brand revolution of its own, with the fine 308 being one of the key turnaround cars, so it’s good to see the dealer network has upped its game in support of this.

But what’s the worst car dealer work in Britain?

31/31: SEAT

Driver Power Dealer Satisfaction 2016

This is a truly terrible result for SEAT. The brand has plummeted to the bottom of the table for dealer satisfaction, with owners criticising every aspect of the experience, from helpfulness and attitude, to standard of workmanship, to cleanliness and atmosphere… the only slight consolation is a 25th-place ranking in value for money, but this is a rare not-bottom highlight in an otherwise depressing set of results for SEAT dealers.

50 Cent: 'I could save Top Gear... but it would cost them'

50 Cent: ‘I could save Top Gear… but it would cost them’

50 Cent: 'I could save Top Gear... but it would cost them'

US rapper 50 Cent has revealed he wants to replace Chris Evans on the new Top Gear – but has said it would come at a price.

Speaking to the Daily Star, the car enthusiast said: “I would love to work on Top Gear, I could save that show for sure, but it would cost them.

“There ain’t a car I haven’t owned over the years, my car collection is as good as anybody’s out there.”

The 41-year-old, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, owns a number of Lamborghini Murcielagos, a Ferrari FF and a Bentley Mulsanne.

It seems that the In Da Club singer is missing the old Clarkson, Hammond and May trio, adding: “Top Gear was one of the world’s iconic shows and it’s a shame it came to this.

“The show since the old team left has been unrecognisable and if it don’t get back to where is should be soon then it may never recover.”

Chris Evans quit Top Gear when ratings slumped to a record low of 1.9 million at the end of his first series.

BBC bosses are not expected to replace the lead presenter, with the rest of the crew, including Matt LeBlanc and Sabine Schmitz, carrying on as before.

50 Cent: 'I could save Top Gear... but it would cost them'

50 Cent: 'I could save Top Gear… but it would cost them'

50 Cent: 'I could save Top Gear... but it would cost them'

US rapper 50 Cent has revealed he wants to replace Chris Evans on the new Top Gear – but has said it would come at a price.

Speaking to the Daily Star, the car enthusiast said: “I would love to work on Top Gear, I could save that show for sure, but it would cost them.

“There ain’t a car I haven’t owned over the years, my car collection is as good as anybody’s out there.”

The 41-year-old, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, owns a number of Lamborghini Murcielagos, a Ferrari FF and a Bentley Mulsanne.

It seems that the In Da Club singer is missing the old Clarkson, Hammond and May trio, adding: “Top Gear was one of the world’s iconic shows and it’s a shame it came to this.

“The show since the old team left has been unrecognisable and if it don’t get back to where is should be soon then it may never recover.”

Chris Evans quit Top Gear when ratings slumped to a record low of 1.9 million at the end of his first series.

BBC bosses are not expected to replace the lead presenter, with the rest of the crew, including Matt LeBlanc and Sabine Schmitz, carrying on as before.

Funeral cortege

How should drivers deal with a funeral procession?

Funeral cortegeMost drivers have no idea what to do when they encounter a funeral procession and risk showing grieving families a hurtful lack of respect, a survey has revealed.

The CEO of Wilcox Limousines, Paul Wilcox, has thus produced an etiquette guide to help the 91% of motorists who admit their not fully sure what to do when they come across a funeral procession.

  • More advice on Motoring Research

“People tend to be in a great hurry to get where they need to be,” said Wilcox.

“Funeral directors can certainly appreciate this, (but) does it hurt too slow down for a few minutes out of respect for a life once lived?

Some may find it surprising that such instances occur, but nearly 200 funeral directors polled say otherwise: 59% believe Brits are simply unaware of good funeral cortege etiquette.

Wilcox has thus written a five-point guide to help motorists refresh the good etiquette appreciated in funereal corteges:

  1. Grant a funeral procession right of way when driving
  2. All funeral corteges move at a slow pace. Never overtake or cut into a procession
  3. Wait until all the cars in the procession have passed before using a pelican crossing
  4. Turn down any in-car musing as a cortege passes
  5. Roadside workers should try to bring all work to a temporary stop as the procession passes

“Put yourselves in the shoes of a grieving family,” added Wilcox. “Would you like a beeping car horn or an aggressive overtaking manoeuvre to interrupt your mourning if you were in their place?”

Driving at night

Overtired drivers admit they have dozed at the wheel

Driving at nightA staggering 4 in 10 British drivers admit they have fallen asleep at the wheel – despite more than a quarter of serious car crashes being tiredness-related.

Indeed, over half of motorists say they ignore official guidance to take a break every two hours on long journeys: 1 in 5 drivers instead carry on even when they know they’re overtired.

More than a third have knowingly put themselves or others in danger because of this.

“Tired drivers are a huge danger to not only themselves but other drivers and passengers on the roads,” said Debbie Kirkley, co-founder of OSV vehicle leasing, who carried out the research.

Drivers “should always plan their journeys carefully to include regular rest breaks. A minimum of 15 minutes every two hours.”

Sadly, in reality, 81% only stop because they need the loo or are hungry: a mere 25% actually stop because they feel they’re tired.

More than three quarter of drivers counter tiredness behind the wheel by other means: drinking coffee or water, turning up the radio or eating. Solutions that are usually ineffective, says Kirkley.

It’s men who are more likely to driver overtired than women – although the research also shows it’s female drivers who are more likely to nod off or fall asleep at the wheel. Luckily, women are more sensible than men and, suggests research, are more likely to take regular breaks.

Best of British: homegrown classic cars to buy now

Best of British: homegrown classic cars to buy now

Best of British: homegrown classic cars to buy nowIf you fancy owning a British classic, what are your options? We’ve assembled a list of homegrown classics that are relatively affordable and in good supply. So while you won’t find a Jaguar E-Type or McLaren F1 on our list, you will find some classic gems. We’ve also included a price guide, with values ranging from a restoration job to a concours winner.

Range RoverBest of British: homegrown classic cars to buy now

It might not have been the original luxury SUV — that honour belongs to the Jeep Wagoneer — but the Range Rover is arguably the most iconic. Launched in 1970, the Range Rover ‘Classic’ was more ‘hose-down and wipe-clean’ than today’s super-posh versions, but it was one of the first vehicles to combine off-road ability with on-road poise.

Practical Classics price guide: £1,000 – £20,000

MiniBest of British: homegrown classic cars to buy now

One of Britain’s finest exports and the car that defined the Swinging Sixties. The original Mini conjures up images of Twiggy, The Beatles, Carnaby Street and The Italian Job – a vision of Britain’s yesteryear. Production started in 1959, before the Mini bowed out in 2000.

Practical Classics price guide: £300 – £30,000

Rolls-Royce Silver ShadowBest of British: homegrown classic cars to buy now

To many, this is the archetypal Rolls-Royce. Launched in 1965, the Silver Shadow’s stock rose like a Spirit of Ecstasy from the bonnet of a new Phantom, before plummeting as oversupply and depressed values led to Rolls-Royce’s most successful model falling into the hands of unsavoury characters and end-of-the-pier entertainers.  Today, the Silver Shadow is acceptable once again and could be yours for the price of a Ford Focus diesel. Just don’t expect diesel running costs…

Practical Classics price guide: £1,750 – £18,000

TVR TasminBest of British: homegrown classic cars to buy now

The Tasmin presents the most affordable entry into the world of TVR. Its wedge-like styling defined the Blackpool company throughout the 1980s, with the ultimate incarnation being the Tasmin SE, powered by a Rover V8 engine. The rarest of all is the SEAC – a composite-bodied version complete with huge rear wing.

Practical Classics price guide: £1,100 – £5,250

Lotus Elan M100Best of British: homegrown classic cars to buy now

A front-wheel-drive Lotus is a rare thing, so at least you’ll have exclusivity on your side. At the time, the Elan M100 represented the biggest investment in Lotus history, with £35 million spent on buildings, tooling, equipment and engineering facilities. It’s for this reason that Lotus reportedly lost money on every Elan it sold. The turbocharged SE is the most desirable of the breed.

Practical Classics price guide: £1,750 – £9,000

Bond BugBest of British: homegrown classic cars to buy now

If you enjoy the feeling of stability as you make your way along a British B-road, the Bond Bug might not be for you. But if you fancy a three-wheeler with a tilting cabin roof and a bright orange paint job, you’ll love it. If it was any more 1970s it would be wearing a vinyl jumpsuit and dancing to Stayin’ Alive.

Practical Classics price guide: £1,500 – £7,950

MGBBest of British: homegrown classic cars to buy now

Predictable? Absolutely, but this was once the world’s most popular sports car. In its day, the MGB was the sports car to own – fuelled by memorable ad lines, such as ‘your mother wouldn’t like it.’ A love of warm beer and beards is optional.

Practical Classics price guide: £450 – £15,000

Rover SD1Best of British: homegrown classic cars to buy now

‘Tomorrow. Today’ proclaimed the press adverts of the day. The Rover SD1 promised so much and in another world it could have delivered. Stunning Ferrari Daytona-esque styling and a European Car of the Year award delivered the best of starts, but quality control problems and the standard BL struggles ensured it could never fulfil its potential.

Practical Classics price guide: £300 – £6,500

Austin SevenBest of British: homegrown classic cars to buy now

The Austin Seven was one of the most significant cars of the 20th century, earning it a place in the Design Museum’s book Fifty Cars That Changed The World. Herbert Austin said: “the Seven has done more than anything previously to bring about my ambition to motorise the masses’. This was Britain’s Ford Model T.

Practical Classics price guide: £2,000 – £30,000

Lotus Elise S1Best of British: homegrown classic cars to buy now

Twenty years ago, a classic was born. A modern interpretation of Colin Chapman’s “Simplify, then add lightness” approach, the Lotus Elise was little short of a revelation. Initial plans to limit production were soon thrown out of the window, as Lotus set about meeting demand for the car that delivered a purity of drive lost in the majority of new cars.

Practical Classics price guide: £6,000 – £12,000