NatWest: ‘warning lights flashing’ as motoring costs set to soar

Warning lights flashing as motoring costs set to soar

NatWest: ‘warning lights flashing’ as motoring costs set to soar

Economists at NatWest bank have warned that the cost of running a car is set to rise as ‘the journey through the consumer sweet spot comes to an end’.

The money experts have been looking into the cost of motoring and found that, although headline inflation is currently low, automotive expenses are set to soar in the near future.

Looking at consumer price data from the Office for National Statistics, Natwest’s economists have devised their own measure of motoring-related good, services and expenditures – described as the ‘Petrol Heads Index’ (PHI).

They found that, following the UK recession, the PHI jumped by more than 17% between 2009 and its peak in 2012. This was largely caused by rising fuel prices, triggering a change in motoring behaviours as many of us reduced our mileages.

However, this trend has recently been reversed. Falling fuel prices have contributed to a decline in the PHI by 4% in 2015, and 2% so far this year. This means the PHI is at its lowest level since 2009.

NatWest senior economist Richard Ramsey said: “The fall in fuel prices had acted as a tax cut and a much needed fiscal boost. As motorists began refuelling their cars, the decline in prices was helping to refill their disposable incomes and fuelling a recovery in consumer spending.”

While the cost of fuel has decreased, other motoring costs have been steadily increasing. Repair and maintenance bills have increased by more than 2% in the last year and are 10% higher than in 2010.

Insurance prices are also on the increase – with premiums up by more than 11% in the 12 months to March 2016.

New car prices in the UK rose by 2% last year, although falling interest rates on car loans could explain the increase in new car registrations. Secondhand car prices, meanwhile, are falling at a rate of 6%.

Ramsey added: “Declines in the PHI are likely to be seen only in the rear view mirror, as the journey though the consumer sweet spot comes to an end. With some warning lights flashing on the dashboard, looking ahead prices are more likely to rise than fall.”

NatWest: ‘warning lights flashing’ as motoring costs set to soar

MINI TLC

1 in 4 MINI owners waste TLC one-off cost servicing pack

MINI TLC26% of MINI owners who pay for the TLC servicing pack are wasting money, the firm has revealed – because they pay for servicing outside the MINI network when there’s still credit left on their TLC pack. Read more

Lotus rolls out three-year free servicing incentive

Jean-Marc-Gales_CEO-of-Group-Lotus-and-Aslam-FarikullahLotus has introduced a three-year free servicing deal on the Elise, Evora and Exige S range in what is hoped will give a big boost in buyer confidence. Read more

This is why you should leave your car after a breakdown

This is why you should leave your car after a breakdown

This is why you should leave your car after a breakdown

If you’ve broken down it’s tempting to stay in your vehicle and wait for recovery to help. After all, it’s warm and comfortable in there – why would you want to stand on the roadside, particularly in bad weather?

Well, you may think again after seeing these pictures. This Citroen Xsara Picasso had broken down on the A45 dual carriageway in Solihull yesterday leaving its passengers stranded.

This is why you should leave your car after a breakdown

Fortunately, they had left the vehicle when a Ford Transit carrying logs slammed into the back of it, causing substantial damage.

The 20-year-old van driver was taken to hospital with minor injuries. We bet the passengers in the Picasso won’t consider staying in their car next time they breakdown.

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles

White van danger shock as 1 in 2 FAILS first MOT

Volkswagen Commercial VehiclesNearly half of all vans fail their first MOT, new research from Volkswagen has revealed – a staggering failure rate that has improved by just 1% over the past three years.

The damming statistic points to hard-driven light commercial vehicles being neglected by vehicle operators; and despite awareness of the problem, little seems to be done to rectify it.

VIDEO: How white van man is becoming a new man

As the MOT test is a vehicle safety and roadworthiness assessment, the one-in-two failure rate of three-year old vans also raises significant safety concerns for van drivers and other motorists alike.

There is, however, a sliver of good news in the analysis of official Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency MOT failure statistics by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles: 45% of MOT faults could be avoid through simple regular maintenance.

32% of vans failed for faulty bulbs; 5% failed because of worn tyres, 8% failed because of faulty mirrors, windscreen wipers, washer fluid or illegal number plates.

Another 40% of failures were because of excessive brake and suspension wear that regular maintenance would quickly detect.


Opinion

The fact such straightforward maintenance is not being carried out by vehicle operators, leading to relatively new vans running around with bald tyres, dodgy brakes or worn suspension, is a scandalous statistic the CV industry should be ashamed of.

That it can’t even rectify faults when nudged to by a looming MOT test shows there’s something seriously wrong with how Britain’s van network is operated.

We are all aware of the dangers of dodgy old vans on British roads, and wisely steer clear of them. But vans on a 62-plate registration standing a one-in-two chance of having worn tyres, faulty wipers or duff brakes? That’s shameful.

What’s more, the industry is aware of it yet, over the past three years, appears to have done nothing about it.

The fleet car industry surely wouldn’t put up with this, through fear of public liability or corporate responsibility issues. Why should the CV industry be so very different?

Until something is done, my advice is to give white van man a wide berth – no matter how new the van he’s driving…

Richard Aucock


Trevor Hodgson-Phillips, head of service and parts at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, said: “News that nearly half of all LCVs on the road are still failing their MOT tests first time round is worrying, especially as these figures have shown no change in the past three years.

“The latest result show us that UK van owners are still risking increased running bills, extended vehicle downtime periods and, potentially, a decrease in the overall resale value of their vehicle by not looking after their van properly.”

He continued: “The road-worthiness of the vehicle is also something that business owners should be thinking about. Should an accident occur and the vehicle deemed to be below standard, company owners could be left facing hefty fines or even prison terms.”

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is trying to do something about it, with a range of fixed-price MOTs and services, plus a service and MOT package costing from £150 +VAT, and also a commitment to visually check for roadworthiness every single LCV brought into a Van Centre.

It’s a start. But there seems to be plenty of more work to be done.

'i-sapping' car breakdown risk for unwary motorists

‘i-sapping’ car breakdown risk for unwary motorists

'i-sapping' car breakdown risk for unwary motorists

Motorists charging sat navs, smartphones and iPods from their car’s 12v socket are at increased risk of battery-related breakdowns this winter, warns Kwik-Fit.

The automotive repair firm has dubbed the problem ‘i-sapping’.

More than three in five drivers are charging devices in their car using the 12v socket, with nearly four in 10 charging sat navs and over a third topping up their smartphones.

However, because batteries have to work so much harder in the winter, this extra drain is putting motorists at risk of breakdowns and non-starting issues.

The fact more than half of drivers do not get their batteries checked during winter is not helping, says the firm.

Communications director Roger Griggs said: “Many motorists don’t realise the effect devices plugged into their cars can have on a battery.

“Sat navs, tablets and other gadgets that are designed to make our lives more comfortable can actually have the opposite effect, by cutting short the life of even a new battery and leaving us stuck with a car that won’t start.

“At Kwik Fit, we often see an increase in vehicles coming in with battery issues when the temperatures drop, normally to the surprise of the customer.”

The firm advises anyone with a battery more than five years old to get it checked – that’s “a usual turning point in a battery’s life”.

'i-sapping' car breakdown risk for unwary motorists

'i-sapping' car breakdown risk for unwary motorists

'i-sapping' car breakdown risk for unwary motorists

Motorists charging sat navs, smartphones and iPods from their car’s 12v socket are at increased risk of battery-related breakdowns this winter, warns Kwik-Fit.

The automotive repair firm has dubbed the problem ‘i-sapping’.

More than three in five drivers are charging devices in their car using the 12v socket, with nearly four in 10 charging sat navs and over a third topping up their smartphones.

However, because batteries have to work so much harder in the winter, this extra drain is putting motorists at risk of breakdowns and non-starting issues.

The fact more than half of drivers do not get their batteries checked during winter is not helping, says the firm.

Communications director Roger Griggs said: “Many motorists don’t realise the effect devices plugged into their cars can have on a battery.

“Sat navs, tablets and other gadgets that are designed to make our lives more comfortable can actually have the opposite effect, by cutting short the life of even a new battery and leaving us stuck with a car that won’t start.

“At Kwik Fit, we often see an increase in vehicles coming in with battery issues when the temperatures drop, normally to the surprise of the customer.”

The firm advises anyone with a battery more than five years old to get it checked – that’s “a usual turning point in a battery’s life”.

Honda servicing is top says Which?

Honda Civic

Hondacare Assistance is the best car maker breakdown service on the market reveals a new survey of Which? readers.

The firm’s recovery service scored 87 per cent and was awarded five out of five stars in both roadside repair and ‘within the hour’ arrival times.

It also came top of the overall rankings for arrival time, roadside repair rate and customer score.

Offered free to all new car buyers for the duration of the three-year warranty period, Hondacare Assistance is provided by the AA and includes home, roadside and recovery assistance. Features such as a replacement hire car for up to 72 hours are also included.

Nick Holmes, Head of Customer and Aftersales, said: “Our cars are made to last and provide the best performance possible and if something does goes wrong, we want to fix it as fast as we can, to get our customers on their way again.”

Not that buyers are likely to need it: earlier this year, Which? also ranked Honda the most reliable used car manufacturer…