Ford and Amazon Key In Car Delivery

Amazon can now deliver packages directly to your Ford car

Ford and Amazon Key In Car DeliveryOwners of Ford and Lincolns in a number of American cities will no longer need to worry about waiting around to accept delivery of bulky Amazon packages.

The Blue Oval has announced a partnership with Amazon, expanding its Key In-Car delivery service to include certain Ford and Lincoln models.

Similar to the In-home service already offered by Amazon for customers with smart locks on their home, Key In-Car delivery aims to eliminate parcel anxiety with connected technology.

Ford and Amazon Key In Car DeliveryIn order to use the Key In-Car service, owners will need either a 2017 or later model year Ford, or 2018 and later model year Lincoln, equipped with FordPass or Lincoln Connect.

By downloading the FordPass or Lincoln Way app, owners can then activate their car as eligible for In-Car deliveries.

Once setup as a delivery option within Amazon Prime, Fords and Lincolns will then be ready to wait around for packages to turn up – letting their owners do other things.

Ford and Amazon Key In Car DeliveryAmazon will send notifications leading up to the delivery, and owners must park their vehicles within two blocks of their listed delivery address.

Once the delivery drivers arrives at the car, it will automatically unlock, allowing the package to be placed inside. Notifications are also sent to confirm that the car has been relocked after the delivery is made.

Owners can also change their mind on the day of delivery, blocking access to their car and having their items delivered to their property instead.

Ford and Amazon Key In Car DeliveryFord’s is the latest manufacturer to team up with Amazon for Key In-Car delivery.

The service is already offered for certain connected Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac vehicles, whilst Volvo also offers it as part of the On Call account.

In the Czech Republic, Skoda has also begun trials of online deliveries in partnership with two of the biggest online retailers in the country, alaz.cz and roklik.ch.

The worst car recalls ever

The worst car recalls ever

The worst car recalls ever

In 2019, years on from the original problems and recalls, the Vauxhall Zafira is getting some heat once again – no pun intended. Melting plugs rather than outright fires are the problem this time, so it’s not quite as severe. A safe move on Vauxhall’s part, nonetheless. Do the fiery chronicles of the Zafira match other big recalls? Here, we have some more significant recalls from recent years.

Takata: airbag disaster

The worst car recalls ever

This is the most famous and destructive recall saga of all time. Countless marques, from Ford to Ferrari, that used Takata airbags, were recalled for potentially fatal faults that could see them randomly erupt in occupants’ faces. It all began in 2013 but the latest round of recalls sees the total affected airbag units rise to near-on 70 million. It won’t surprise you to read that this has led to the downfall of Takata…

Ford F150: Transmission issues

The worst car recalls ever

When you have a problem with the best-selling vehicle on the planet, first of all, there will be a lot affected, and secondly, everyone is going to know about it. Last year, over 350,000 vehicles in North America (F150s and Expeditions) were recalled for gearbox trouble. 2019 started even worse for the American giant, with nearly 1.5 million 2011-2013 F150s with six-speed ‘boxes recalled for a propensity to shift randomly into first.

BMW: diesel fire risk

The worst car recalls ever

As many as 1.6 million diesel BMWs were set to be recalled as of late 2018, because of a fire risk. The initial recall was mooted for 480,000 cars throughout European and Asian countries but was expanded a few months later. Both 2.0-litre and 3.0-litre four-cylinder and six-cylinder diesels built between August 2010 and August 2017 were affected. The issue was caused by exhaust gas recirculation coolers leaking coolant, which becomes combustible when mixed with engine soot and subjected to heat.

Ford GT: fire risk

The worst car recalls ever

Money can’t buy perfection: even supercars at the heady heights of the Ford GT suffer stumbles that need to be corrected post-release. Like with the Zafira, fires have plagued the GT. In this case, wing actuator hydraulic fluid leaks onto the exhaust. Around 200 cars were affected on the American continent.

Toyota Hybrid: fire risk and power failure

The worst car recalls ever

Toyota hybrids have had a selection of issues, with the most recent being fires and a loss of power. Over the course of September and October 2018, we reported on fire risk and then power loss risks on Toyota hybrid cars. Models from no earlier than 2014 were affected, with the fire recall only affecting plug-in models.

Mercedes-Benz G65 AMG: too fast in reverse

The worst car recalls ever

Some recalls are serious, some are just plain hilarious. The Mercedes G-Wagen feels a bit sketchy when you’re going fast in the right direction. The recall pertained to being able to go fast… in reverse. Just 20 G65 AMGs sold in North America were affected, given that they didn’t have software to limit reverse speed. All were amended before any Kardashians were harmed.

Mercedes Benz: starter motor fires

The worst car recalls ever

A massive one million Mercedes-Benz cars built between 2015 and 2017, including E-Classes, GLAs, GLCs and C-Classes, were recalled for fire risk a couple of years ago. Starter motors were prone to combusting, as repeated start-up attempts cause them to heat up. There were as many as 30 fires in the US alone, with 21 elsewhere around the globe. No fun for the three-pointed star…

Porsche 911 GT3: fire risk

The worst car recalls ever

Porsche had a bit of bother following the release of the 991-generation GT3, with its rev-happy 9,000rpm engine. The very thing that was receiving a lot of love began catching fire. Unlike with many recalls where there’s just a ‘risk’, there were, in fact, many examples of customer GT3s going up in flames. The situation was so severe, Porsche advised owners to not drive their cars until they could be recalled for a fix. Those owners included one Richard Hammond…

Porsche 918: fire risk, chassis problems and seatbelts

The worst car recalls ever

Further to our point back there about how money doesn’t buy perfection. Whether it’s the near £500,000 Ford GT, or the near £1,000,000 (when new) Porsche 918, no amount of money can buy absolute fire resistance. The worst thing is that the dodgy wiring harness that posed a fire risk was the second of three separate recalls. The others were chassis parts concerns and mixed-up screws for seatbelt mounts and seatbelt reel mounts.

VW group: emissions recalls

The worst car recalls ever

One of the most high-profile recalls in automotive history owes its fame to the most famous scandal: the infamous ‘Dieselgate’ of 2015. A fix was mandated by governments the world over to bring cars in line with quoted emissions figures, as achieved by test cars with ‘defeat devices’. Famously, there were questions as to whether owners would want to, given that power decreased in some cases. Likewise, monetary compensation was also an option for U.S. owners. The costs to VW for recalls, buybacks and fines are in the tens of billions.

Fiat-Chrysler: infotainment hack

The worst car recalls ever

Some recalls are dangerous. Some are funny. Some, like this, are just downright frightening. Fiat-Chrysler had to recall 1.4 million cars from the U.S market, over fears they could be hacked via the Uconnect infotainment system. This “would reduce the driver’s control of the vehicle increasing the risk of a crash”. Science fiction-levels of scary stuff…

Ford: Door latch issues

The worst car recalls ever

Here’s a biggy: how about near-on 2.4 million Fords with door latches that don’t work? That was what the marque was facing in 2016, with affected models including 2013-2015 C-Max, Escape, 2015 Mustang, 2014-2016 Ford Transit, 2015 Lincoln MKC and the big-seller 2012-2015 Focus. The issue would prevent doors shutting properly and more dangerously, meant they could pop open at speed.

Toyota RAV4: seatbelt troubles

The worst car recalls ever

Around three million RAV4 models, including over 48,000 in the UK, were recalled by Toyota in 2016 given a risk that belts could be severed in an accident by seat cushion frames in the rear seats. Just two crashes in North America could have potentially been linked to the issue, but Toyota wasn’t going to take any risks. Better safe than sorry… This following Toyota’s 2014 ordeal recalling 6.5 million cars for seat and steering wheel issues.

Nissan/Infiniti: airbag sensor

The worst car recalls ever

In 2016, Nissan began a recall of 3.1 million US cars because of a problematic airbag sensor. No, this isn’t related to the Takata fiasco. The issue began back in 2013, but continued to persist beyond the initial 500,000-car recall. There were also steering wheel issues at the time, including for over 130,000 UK-based Nissan Micras.

General Motors: Airbag and seatbelt software

The worst car recalls ever

Turbulent times again in 2016, this time with General Motors. As you’ll see further down the list, GM has bad recall luck. This is small pickings by comparison, though, with just 3.6 million vehicles recalled due to an airbag and pretensioner software defect. Models including Chevrolet’s Corvette, Tahoe, Suburban, Silverado and SS were affected throughout the 2014-2017 model years, as well as many related vehicles from other GM-owned marques.

Toyota and Lexus: brake problems and fire risk

The worst car recalls ever

A collective ‘oh dear’ for Toyota. 2015 saw the marque pull 6.5 million cars because of potentially combustible power window switches – an issue that extends to as many as 14 million cars going further back. In 2014, it announced recalls of 1.67 million cars amid concerns over faulty brake and fuel components. In a separate issue, sister company Lexus announced a recall of 759,000 cars across the world after discovering a fault with the fuel pipes.

Mercedes C-Class: steering issue

The worst car recalls ever

A total of 8,145 Mercedes-Benz C-Classes were recalled in the UK in 2015. The issue – which affected cars built between January and September 2014 – surrounds a faulty steering system.

Aston Martin: accelerator pedal

The worst car recalls ever

Aston Martin recalled 17,590 cars due to a potential problem with the accelerator pedal back in 2014. You can’t escape a pursuing Jaguar if you can’t accelerate. 007 wouldn’t be impressed.

General Motors: ignition defect

The worst car recalls ever

It’s easy to pick recall fights with GM. If recalls were pimples, GM is a teenager’s face. So here’s one of the juiciest, and we’ll call it quits for generic GM recalls. 2014 was a terrible year for General Motors, with millions upon millions of cars recalled across the world. In total, more than 20 million vehicles were affected in 2014 alone, with a faulty ignition switch the chief headache for the beleaguered American giant.

Saab 9-3 Convertible: seatbelt retractor

The worst car recalls ever

Yes, this is still GM, but it’s interesting. Proving you don’t need to be active to be affected by a recall, General Motors recalled nearly 29,000 Saab 9-3 Convertibles in the US to replace a driver’s side seatbelt retractor.

Porsche Cayenne: loose headlights

The worst car recalls ever

In 2012, Porsche issued a recall for 2011-2012 Cayenne models amid fears “the headlamp may come loose” and detach from the bumper. Not ideal if you’re driving in the dark.

Toyota: defective pedals

The worst car recalls ever

In one of the most famous cases of all time, Toyota was forced into recalling millions of cars because of a faulty accelerator pedal and – later in 2010 – millions more because of slipping floor mats. To cap it all, thousands of Toyota hybrids were also recalled to rectify braking issues.

Mazda 6: Yellow Sac spiders

The worst car recalls ever

You couldn’t make it up – in 2014, Mazda had to recall 42,000 Mazda 6s because of the Yellow Sac spider. Apparently, the spider has a love of petrol (don’t we all) and became rather keen on weaving webs inside the Mazda engine. This would result in blockages and, in turn, an increased risk of a fire.

MINI: fire risk

The worst car recalls ever

In 2012, 235,000 MINI models needed rectifying because of a potential fire risk caused by defective electric water pumps. The recall affected the Cooper S and John Cooper Works models built between March 2006 and January 2011.

BMW 5 and 6 Series: fire risk

The worst car recalls ever

It seems incendiary risks are a common recall problem, with an incorrectly-fitted battery cable cover causing 109,000 BMW 5 and 6 Series models in the UK to receive attention. The recall affected 1.3 million cars across the world.

Volkswagen: gearbox and light fuses

The worst car recalls ever

In 2013, nearly 3 million VW owners were contacted over concerns surrounding gearboxes and light fuses. The recall – which extended to other brands within the Volkswagen Group – affected 60,000 cars in the UK.

Kia: faulty brake light switch

The worst car recalls ever

Kia may have the most comprehensive warranty package around, but that can’t guard against the dreaded recall. In 2013, Kia called in 25,000 cars in the UK for the replacement of a faulty brake light switch. The recall affected numerous models built between 2006 and 2011 and was part of a global recall involving 1.6 million Kia and Hyundai models.

Mercedes-Benz M-Class: floor mats

The worst car recalls ever

A small issue could have disastrous consequences, which is why Mercedes-Benz recalled 8,675 M-Class 4x4s in 2012 after someone discovered the floor mats could trap the accelerator pedal.

Smart Fortwo: risk of fire

The worst car recalls ever

In September 2014, certain Smart Fortwo models were recalled after it was discovered a short circuit in the electronic heater shut-off valve could result in a fire.

Honda Jazz: electrical faults

The worst car recalls ever

Honda’s unflinching reliability reputation took a knock in 2010 when 170,000 Honda Jazz cars in the UK were recalled over potential electrical faults.

Ferrari 458: fires and boot mechanism

The worst car recalls ever

In 2010, Ferrari issued a recall for the 458 Italia following a series of fires. The Italian manufacturer traced the problem to materials used in the construction of the wheel arch lining and heat shield and called owners back for remedial work. Later, in 2014, the 458 Italia and Spider were involved in a second recall amid fears someone could get stuck in the boot of the car. No, really.

Ford: cruise control switches

The worst car recalls ever

One of the biggest comes to us from the 90s and early 2000s. Near-on 15 million Fords, mostly US-sold, from the 90s and early 2000s, had to be recalled for a faulty cruise control switches that could catch fire. There can be warnings in the form of electrical gremlins, but it can occur even when vehicles are off. In spite of Ford’s advice to ‘not park near garages or homes’, several building fires have been directly linked.

Vauxhall: loose front seats

The worst car recalls ever

More GM, but this one is curious, not least because it involves the old Tigra. Back in 2001, Vauxhall recalled half a million Tigra and Corsa models after discovering weak seat rails could result in the front seats becoming loose in an accident.

Ford Pinto: risk of fire

The worst car recalls ever

We end with a recall that didn’t affect the UK, but is perhaps the most famous case in the world. It surrounds the Ford Pinto of the 1970s and the placement of the fuel tank. By positioning it behind the rear axle and with a fuel-filler pipe that would explode in a rear-end collision, the consequences were horrific.

Can a Millennial learn to drive a pre-war car?

Our great-grandparents found it easy but things have moved on since the 1930s. So we decided to find out just how hard it can be…

Hen parties overtake stag dos on supercar drive days

hen party

Forget weekends in Marbs, stretched limos and spa weekends, brides-to-be are turning to supercar experience days for their hen parties. That’s according to new research conducted by TrackDays.co.uk.

The company says that such days were previously favoured by men on stag dos, but it has seen a 65 percent increase in bookings for hen parties over the last year. And although the firm offers a variety of experiences, most brides-to-be favour the thrill of a supercar.

A 2017 study found that the average person spends a whopping £507 per hen or stag do, including £109 on travel, £90 on accommodation, £75 on alcohol, £50 on clothes, £63 on activities, £57 on food and £63 on pre-wedding gifts.

Drive a supercar and you will save the £75 cost of alcohol, although you might want to splash out on some champers for the post-track-day podium experience.

We had a look on the TrackDays.co.uk website and discovered prices ranging from £49 for a ‘Supercar Driving Blast’ to £895 for a ‘Supercar Supreme’ experience at a UK circuit. You get to drive three laps in a range of supercars and sports cars, which sounds more exciting than falling over in Ibiza and landing on a blow-up doll.

‘A huge surge’

supercar experience day

Imran Malek, operations manager at TrackDays.co.uk, said: “Supercar driving experiences are becoming increasingly popular with hens looking for adrenalin-fuelled action in cars that can reach 200mph or more.

“We’ve seen a huge surge over the last year especially in hen party bookings and we now receive as many as we do for stag parties, which we always received more of in the past.”

If supercars aren’t your thing, other four-wheeled ideas include tractor or quad bike driving, off-roading or an afternoon tea on a double-decker bus. Alternatively, you could stay at home with a good book. 

Car thefts up 9 percent in England and Wales

Car thefts England and Wales

England and Wales saw a nine percent increase in the number of vehicle thefts in 2018, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

In total, there were 113,037 incidences of ‘theft or unauthorised taking of a motor vehicle’, with the Association of British Insurers (ABI) also reporting an 11 percent rise in the number of motor insurance-settled claims.

It’s further evidence of a worrying reversal in the downward trend in the number of vehicle thefts, and so-called ‘relay attacks’ are at the centre of the problem. A study conducted by Tracker found that 96 percent of motorists are at risk of having their car stolen using this method.

Overall, vehicle offences were up ‘just’ two percent in 2018, a smaller increase than the 12 percent rise the previous year, but the ONS says it is too early to say whether this is the start of a more stable trend.

Theft from a vehicle accounted for more than half of the 463,497 vehicle offences reported in 2018, and there were a further 770 incidents of death or injury caused by unlawful driving.

‘Bounce and roll’

Criminal use of keyless entry relay box car theft

Edmund King, president of the AA, said: “One area of concern is the increase of cars with keyless entry being stolen. When it comes to stealing cars, thieves have changed their tactics from ‘smash and grab’ to ‘bounce and roll’; as they bounce the radio signals off the key to unlock the car and roll away with it.

“Having access to your keys is the easiest way for a thief to steal your car, so drivers need to ensure they protect them properly.”

Earlier this month, Ford introduced a sleep mode on new Fiesta and Focus key fobs to protect against keyless entry theft from hackers, while a Kickstarter campaign for the ‘world’s ultimate RFID case’ has attracted 182 backers, securing £8,451 of revenue.

In January, Halfords said that sales of RFID wallets had soared and added that traditional steering wheel locks are a visual deterrent in the war against keyless car thieves.

“We’ve seen sales of our wallets soar in the last few weeks. Classic steel steering locks are also an extremely effective – and visual – way of deterring thieves, and we’ve recently seen a huge increase in sales of these as car owners turn to old school solutions,” said Pavan Sondhi, a car security expert at Halfords.

‘Don’t panic’ when you see a lorry, says road safety charity

Lorry advice

Road safety charity IAM RoadSmart is urging motorists not to panic if they’re driving in front of, or even behind, a large lorry.

Richard Gladman, head of riding and driving standards at IAM RoadSmart, has come up with seven tips designed to make it easier for drivers who are daunted by the sight of an HGV on the road.

“As any HGV driver will tell you, they sometimes need a bit of extra space to move down the road. Visibility can be restricted, and no amount of mirrors will allow all of the blind spots to be monitored all of the time,” he said.

“By applying some simple rules and sharing the road space, we can make life easier for all of us. On a roundabout they will need more than one lane so let them have it; a few seconds delay will be worth it if you prevent a crash. Walk that mile in the other man’s shoes and understand what we may need.”

lorry on uk roads

His seven top tips are as follows:

  1. If you see a lorry wearing foreign number plates, remember that the driver is probably sitting on the left of the vehicle. With this in mind, take care when passing and allow more space if you can.
  2. An HGV driver could have up to five mirrors at their disposal, but they can only look at one at a time. Hold back until you are visible in their mirrors.
  3. Identify when there is a likelihood of the HGV changing lanes, for example at a slip road or when they are approaching another slow-moving HGV. Hang back and allow them to pull into their desired lane.
  4. To minimise the effects of heavy spray, maintain a safe distance between you and the lorry. The Highway Code suggests leaving a gap of at least four seconds in the rain.
  5. An articulated lorry will track sideways on a right-hand bend on the motorway and on a roundabout, so avoid being beside it.
  6. If you encounter queuing traffic and there’s a lorry behind you, tap your brake lights early to warn the driver that you’re about to slow down.
  7. If an HGV wishes to return to the inside lane, give them a hand by slowing down and letting them in. A courtesy flash of the headlights could be used to indicate that they’re clear of your vehicle.

The biggest car brand you’ve never heard of

Biggest car brand you’ve never heard of

In automotive industry terms, Geely is a relative newcomer. Founded in 1986, the company didn’t start producing cars until 1998, which means it has just two decades of automotive manufacturing to its name. But that doesn’t mean Geely is a mere minnow in a pond of big fish. On the contrary, the Chinese company is a huge force in its domestic market and is becoming increasingly influential across the world. It has over 80,000 employees and made a record profit of 12.55 billion yuan (£1.4 billion). Here’s a brief snapshot of the biggest car brand you might not have heard of.

Daimler

Biggest car brand you’ve never heard of

If you’re after evidence of Geely’s might, look no further than the fact that, in February 2018, Geely Group announced it had acquired a 9.7 percent stake in Daimler AG, making chairman Li Shufu the largest shareholder of the German company. A year later, the two companies published details of a new 50:50 joint venture to develop a new generation of Smart electric cars at a new purpose-built electric car factory in China. Mercedes-Benz will take care of the styling with Geely handling the engineering; global sales of the new EVs will begin in 2022.

Zhejiang Geely Holding Group

Biggest car brand you’ve never heard of

Zhejiang Geely Holding Group – to give the company its full name – was founded by Li Shufu in 1986. Back then, the Chinese company built refrigerators, but it wasn’t long before it started to explore new opportunities. In 1994, Geely began building motorcycles, including China’s first ever electric scooter. Three years later, the Group had entered the higher education industry, establishing three colleges and universities. But of interest here is Geely’s entrance into the automotive realm.

Geely Auto Group

Biggest car brand you’ve never heard of

That came in 1997, when Geely Auto was founded in Taizhou City, Zhejiang Province, China, becoming the country’s first privately-owned car manufacturer. Its vision: to produce cars that ordinary people could afford. The first Geely car – the Haoqing – rolled off the production line in August 1998, complete with a red ribbon and bow on the bonnet. Today, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group is the umbrella organisation for five companies: Geely Auto Group, Volvo Car Group, Geely Technology Group, Geely New Energy Commercial Vehicle Group and Mitime Group. We’ll deal with each one in turn.

Geely Auto

Biggest car brand you’ve never heard of

There are five automotive manufacturers within the Geely Auto Group, including the aptly-named Geely Auto. This is Geely’s original automotive brand, with its history essentially split into three generations of models. The first of the current third-generation cars was the Peter Horbury-designed Emgrand GT, designed to be a line in the sand for the fledgling automotive brand. “We aimed to place subtle Chinese features into the Emgrand GT, to give the vehicle a hint of where it came from,” said Horbury, vice president of Design Geely Auto. Today, there are three product lines: saloon, SUVs/crossovers and ‘new energy’.

Geometry

Biggest car brand you’ve never heard of

Geometry is a new premium all-electric sub-brand launched by Geely in 2019. With one eye on Tesla, Geometry will focus on the domestic market but will take orders from overseas. At a launch event in Singapore, the company announced that it had received more than 26,000 orders globally. A long-range version of Its first model, the Geometry A, has the ability to travel up to 500km (310.69 miles) on a single charge. “The launch of Geometry and its first product advances Geely’s strategic goal of becoming one of the world top 10 automotive groups,” said An Conghui, president of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group. By 2023, Geometry will launch 10 pure EVs in multiple segments, including saloons, SUVs, crossovers and MPVs.

Lynk & Co

Biggest car brand you’ve never heard of

Lynk & Co is a Chinese-Swedish automotive brand formed as a joint venture between Geely and Volvo. The first Lynk & Co Model 1 was launched in China in 2017, followed by the 02 crossover and 03 saloon. The brand is expected to launch in Europe and North America in the near future and will introduce a ‘Netflix for cars’ subscription service for cars in Europe. In 2018, Lynk & Co sold around 120,000 vehicles, making it the world’s fastest growing car brand.

Proton

Biggest car brand you’ve never heard of

Talking of rapidly growing car companies, within two years of entering the UK market, Proton had racked up 22,000 sales, making it the country’s fastest-growing new car company to enter the UK. Sadly, Proton is no longer present in the UK market, but it remains a formidable force in Malaysia. In May 2017, Geely bought a 49.9 percent stake in Malaysia’s national car brand, with the Chinese firm saying it is committed to “seeing a full revival of Proton Cars to being the number one Malaysian domestic brand and the leading brand in South East Asia”.

Lotus

Biggest car brand you’ve never heard of

Proton’s ownership of Lotus presented Geely with an opportunity to enter the sports car industry, and in September 2017, the company announced that it had completed the transaction to purchase a majority stake in the Norfolk company. Lotus chose the 2019 Auto Shanghai show in China to announce that it is preparing an all-new car. It will be Britain’s first all-electric hypercar and the company’s first model since 2008. Geely has also started work on a new Lotus factory in China – the company’s first production facility outside of the UK.

Volvo Car Group

Biggest car brand you’ve never heard of

In March 2010, Geely reached an agreement with Ford to purchase Volvo Cars, becoming the first Chinese multinational automotive group in the process. Three years later, Geely Auto and Volvo Cars announced the opening of the China Euro Vehicle Technology R&D Centre in Gothenburg. Today, there are two high profile brands within the Volvo Car Group.

Volvo

Biggest car brand you’ve never heard of

The most famous of which is Volvo itself. While some eyebrows would have been raised when Volvo fell into Chinese ownership, the way in which Geely has transformed the company while protecting its Swedish heritage and ethos has to be applauded. Today, it builds three of the best SUVs in the world and, with the exception of the V40, the product range has been entirely refreshed. Global sales hit 600,000 in 2018: a record for the fifth consecutive year.

Polestar

Biggest car brand you’ve never heard of

Until 2017, Volvo also operated a performance car sub-brand called Polestar. Today, Polestar is an independent brand under Volvo Car Group focused on high-performance electrified cars. The Polestar 1 hybrid was revealed in October 2017, followed by the all-electric Polestar 2 in 2019. The second Polestar is aimed squarely at the Tesla Model 3 and will offer a targeted range of 500km (310.69 miles). It’ll be built in China for global markets in both left- and right-hand drive.

Geely Technology Group

Biggest car brand you’ve never heard of

The third Group within the Geely empire is the Geely Technology Group. This is very much an ‘incubator’ for young brands, giving them access to the Group’s global resources and international influence. One such company is Qianjiang Motorcycles, one of the largest motorcycle companies in China and owner of several brands, including Italy’s Benelli. We will explore two companies within the Geely Technology Group.

CaoCao

Biggest car brand you’ve never heard of

The CaoCao ride-hailing service was developed by Hangzhou YouXing Technology Company and is the first Chinese domestic company focused on new energy. It has more than 17 million registered users, operates in a dozen cities across China and uses Geely Auto’s new energy vehicles, including the Emgrand EV. The company claims that more than 150,000 rides are ordered every day, reducing carbon emissions by over 300,000 tons and saving more than 150 million litres of fuel compared with the use of traditional taxi services.

Terrafugia

Biggest car brand you’ve never heard of

Terrafugia was founded by five award-winning Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) graduates and is famous for one thing: the flying car. Geely completed the acquisition of the US company in November 2017, pledging to keep it in North America and continue its focus on the development of flying cars. Terrafugia aims to deliver its first flying car to market in 2019, with the world’s first VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) flying car available by 2023.

Geely New Energy Commercial Vehicle Group

Biggest car brand you’ve never heard of

The Commercial Vehicle Group was established in 2016 and is the fourth Group within the behemoth that is Geely. It acts as a holding company for two core brands, both of which have a focus on new energy within the commercial vehicle sector. One of the brands will be familiar to UK readers…

LEVC

Biggest car brand you’ve never heard of

The London Taxi Company (LTC) became the London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC) in July 2017, the new name chosen to represent the focus on new energy solutions. LTC faced administration before Geely stepped in and a new £300m plant near Coventry opened in 2017, creating 1,000 jobs. In January, 70 employees were laid off “to prepare the business [for] a challenging year for UK automotive”.

Yuan Cheng Auto

Biggest car brand you’ve never heard of

Yuan Cheng Auto was launched in 2016 and is the second subsidiary of Geely Commercial Vehicle Company. Its first products were a pure electric light commercial vehicle and an urban city bus, while in April 2019, the company announced the launch and sale of the world’s first M100 methanol fuel heavy truck. Methanol is more environmentally friendly than diesel, while the sources of methanol are also more diverse, with it being derived cleanly from coal, natural gas or by recycling carbon dioxide. The truck will be offered in three variants: standard, mountain and regional logistics. This could be a turning point for the Chinese commercial vehicle industry, with 75 percent of road transport in China currently by diesel vehicles.

Mitime Group

Biggest car brand you’ve never heard of

The fifth and final Group might not appear relevant to a gallery focused on the automotive industry, but the Mitime Group has an indirect and longer-term role to play. This division supports the Group’s educational, cultural and tourism initiatives, with hundreds of millions of RMB invested in universities and colleges across China. Crucially, around 40,000 students are enrolled at the Group-funded schools annually, with the goal of developing Chinese automotive industry talents.

The future

Biggest car brand you’ve never heard of

Geely’s influence on the automotive industry is likely to grow stronger every year, albeit via one of its many sub-brands. This gallery merely scratches the surface: it hasn’t explored the fascinating world of smart and connected vehicles, handled by ECARX. Meanwhile, in November 2018, Geely signed a strategic framework agreement with China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC) to cooperate on the development of supersonic trains and industrial internet. It is hoped that the partnership with advance the fields of new energy vehicles, automotive safety and new material science.

RAC patrol van with EV Boost

RAC to help EV range anxiety with electric car charger patrol vans

RAC patrol van with EV BoostHundreds of RAC breakdown recovery patrol vans are to be fitted with a new lightweight electric car charger to help stranded EV drivers reach the next charge point.

The new tech, called EV Boost, has been developed in-house by the RAC. The custom-built system is the first lightweight mobile EV charger capable of giving out-of-charge electric cars a battery boost.

All orange RAC vans carrying the EV Boost system will be branded with a bright green logo – which the firm hopes will help overcome electric car range anxiety.

Recently, 8 in 10 motorists admitted one of the biggest barriers to electric car ownership was running out of charge.

RAC EV Boost unit

The system works will all Type 1 and Type 2 connections, so will be able to assist nearly every electric vehicle currently in use in Britain. The charger is a 3.5 kW device, but there are already plans to double this, to a 7 kW fast-charger.

It is a small and lightweight device that works from a second alternator fitted to the RAC patrol vans. The modular tech can be quickly fitted to any regular RAC patrol van – which is why the breakdown firm hopes to quickly expand it to the majority of its recovery fleet.

Crucially, it doesn’t rely on lugging heavy and bulky portable chargers around, taking up space and hurting fuel economy. Power is generated from running the van’s engine long enough for the motorist to reach the next available EV charger.

It will only be fitted to new Euro 6-compliant diesel vans, to minimise emissions.

RAC head of roadside rescue innovation Chris Millward said: “Our solution enables our patrols to help stranded EV drivers at the roadside with a power boost, equivalent to a top-up from a fuel can for a petrol or diesel car, to get them on their way again.”

Melanie Shufflebotham, co-founder of EV charging map Zap-Map, said: “It’s great to see the RAC leading the way and introducing this new mobile EV charging system to its fleet of vans.

“Whilst the UK public charging network already has over 14,000 public charge points and is growing at a rapid rate, this service will give electric car drivers additional confidence as they plan longer electric journeys.”

The new RAC EV Boost tech goes live in June, initially in London, Birmingham and Manchester. It will then be expanded to areas where there are high call-outs from EV drivers.

Ford van range

Backbone of Britain: 1 in 10 UK jobs relies on a van

Ford van rangeA total of 3.4 million British workers could not do their jobs without a van, reveals a new study led by the Society of Motor Manufactures and Traders (SMMT).

This includes 500,000 people who drive one as their main job – contributing a £56 billion boost to the UK economy from wages alone.

In other words, 11 percent of UK GDP comes from workers who rely on a van.

New Vauxhall Vivaro

The new research, carried out with management consultancy BearingPoint, shows there are currently 4.6 million vans in use in the UK. The fleet has grown 50 percent since 2009 – that’s twice the growth-rate of the car market.

The new light commercial vehicle sector is now worth £10 billion a year in the UK, with 900,000 used vans also sold annually.

Online delivery boost

New Ford Transit

“The UK’s van fleet is the backbone of our society, driving our economy and allowing millions of workers to carry out jobs that our country relies on,” said SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes.

The British van sector has been boosted by Brits’ love of online shopping. A hefty 83 percent of us have bought something online, way above the EU average of 60 percent.

This is a factor behind the number of self-employed British workers growing from 3.3 million in 2001 to 4.8 million in 2017.

James Rodger, partner and UK&I lead at report authors BearingPoint, said: “The data analysis and interviews that we have conducted highlight the key role that the LCV sector plays in the UK economy.” It is the first time the economic role played by Britain’s 3.4 million van users has been quantified.

“The report brings the data and the qualitative insights together to paint a picture of a diverse and vibrant sector which touches all our lives on a daily basis.”

Diesel dominance

The report also shows how diesel dominates the UK van sector. Fully 96 percent of British vans run on diesel – and this, says the SMMT, has helped CO2 emissions fall 10.4 percent since 2013, to an average of 166.9g/km.

New Euro 6 vans are “the cleanest in history” and have “virtually eliminated particulates and have vastly reduced NOx”.

Ultra-low and zero emissions vans have still to take off, though. New models are available, but they account for just 0.3 percent of the market.

“To continue to thrive,” said Hawes, “this vital sector needs policies and incentives that encourage businesses to invest in the latest technology that best suit their needs to help them deliver for Britain.”

Ford: leading UK vans for 54 years

Britain’s biggest van brand for the past 54 years is Ford. It has released its own research that shows online shopping and van-driving businesses contributed over £125 billion to the UK economy.

Amazingly, companies that rely heavily on vans earned more for Britain than the value of the GLOBAL film industry – and six times more than European football.

“Online shopping and an increase in those that are semployed are among the factors driving huge growth in the use of vans,” it said – confirming the findings by the SMMT.

The firm has now released a new TV ad celebrating its market leadership… and underline its own status as the CV ‘backbone of Britain’.

British car industry in ‘havoc’ as production falls again

Toyota Corolla production in BurnastonBritish car production fell in March 2019 for the 10th month running as continued Brexit havoc stalls investment and forces expensive factory shutdowns.

Total UK car production was down 14.4 percent in March, to 126,195 vehicles. Home demand fell 18.1 percent and exports were down 13.4 percent, according to new figures from the Society of Motor Manufactures and Traders (SMMT).

British car buyers purchased so few UK-built models in the first three months of the year, demand fell back to levels last seen in 2011.

Toyota Corolla production in Burnaston

Export demand is down, but such weak British sales mean the overseas share has actually risen, to 78.7 percent of UK production. This, says the SMMT, demonstrates how crucial free and frictionless change is to the British automotive industry.

Although new model switchovers and changing car preferences were a key factor in the production slump, SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes also blames Brexit. He is worried that “a devastating ‘no deal’ remains a threat.

“This new period of limbo does not end the havoc for industry, with investment stopped and expensive factory shutdowns moved to avoid a Brexit deadline that has itself now moved.”

Back to the 1980s?

Bentley Motors assembly line

Brexit has already hurt the UK automotive industry, said Hawes. “Just a few years ago, industry was on track to produce two million cars by 2020 – a target now impossible, with Britain’s reputation as a stable and attractive business environment undermined.”

His strong words come as the latest research from independent forecaster AutoAnalysis shows how Brexit could affect the UK car industry.

Even if a favourable deal can be achieved, 2019 production will fall from 1.52 million cars in 2018, to 1.36 million in 2019. It will, however, rise again to 1.42 million by 2021.

However, in the event of a no deal crash out of the EU, output is expected to plunge, to just 1.07 million units in 2021. This is a level “consistent with the dark days of the mid-1980s.

“All parties must find a compromise urgently so we can set about repairing the damage and diverting energy and investment to the technological challenges that will define the future of the global industry.”