Genesis luxury brand launches in Australia

Hyundai’s luxury Genesis brand launches in Australia

Genesis luxury brand launches in AustraliaA flagship store in the heart of Sydney’s central marked the start of Hyundai’s luxury Genesis brand in Australia with strong intentions. 

The launch is part of plans to push the upmarket name to more locations. Genesis models are currently only sold in selected areas, and Australia becomes the first market to receive cars in right-hand drive. 

A pair of saloons are the first models on sale, but Hyundai has ambitious plans for the Genesis label, with more cars to follow.

Premium lifestyle experience

Genesis luxury brand launches in AustraliaThe roll-out of Genesis in Australia more resembles the launch of a technology brand, rather than a traditional car company. 

Somewhat ironically, the Genesis store is located on the pedestrianised Pitt Street Mall in the centre of Sydney. A giant spiral staircase is surrounded by a showpiece curved LED screen, hoping to maintain the premium experience. 

Although potential customers can meet with Genesis Experience Executives in store, the company aims to make the car buying process even easier through online sales. 

Buyers can have a car to test drive brought directly to their home, configure and order a car online, and have their new Genesis handed over at a convenient location. Servicing and maintenance is also handled by a concierge service. 

Sporty or luxurious?

Genesis luxury brand launches in AustraliaKicking off the right-hand drive Genesis range in Australia is the G70 sports saloon. Designed to compete with the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, the G70 collected the prize for 2019 North American Car of the Year

Related to the popular Kia Stinger, the G70 is offered in both rear- and all-wheel drive formats. A 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine is standard, with the option of  a more powerful 3.3-litre twin-turbocharged V6 available.

Also hitting showrooms is the larger Genesis G80 saloon. Offered with a 3.8-litre V6 engine, Australian buyers are currently denied the more powerful 5.0-litre V8 version of the G80 sold in other markets. 

Intended to be a refined executive four-door, the G80 includes features like LED headlights, a 17-speaker audio system, and an Australian-market tuned adaptive suspension system.

Just the beginning

Genesis luxury brand launches in AustraliaBoth the G70 and G80 come with a five-year/unlimited mileage warranty, combined with five years of servicing and roadside assistance as standard. Drivers also get updates to sat nav maps for five years, too. 

Opening the flagship Sydney Studio, Executive Vice President, Global Head of the Genesis Brand, Manfred Fitzgerald noted that the store “ushers in a new exclusive way to buy and own a luxury car, providing customers with all-encompassing premium ownership experience”.

The company has also confirmed that an SUV model will join the Genesis range in Australia by 2020. 

Scorching hot collector cars and trucks for summer 2019

Hagerty Hottest Cars For Summer 2019The weather is heating up, and so is demand for cars, trucks and SUVs in the collector market.

That is the message from insurance specialist Hagerty, which has released an updated list of the vehicles currently topping its Hagerty Vehicle Rating (HVR) system.

Using a combination of data from insurance quote values, auction activity and other sale results, Hagerty uses this to indicate what is currently on trend in the marketplace.

We’ve taken a look at some of the vehicles set to attract all the admiring glances in the coming few months, along with their respective HVR scores out of 100.

The higher the HVR, the higher the desirability…

1966 – 1977 Ford Bronco: HVR 96

1966 - 1977 Ford Bronco

Topping the Hagerty list for June 2019 is the first generation of the Ford Bronco. The compact SUV actually dropped in terms of HVR score, but still manages to be out in front of the rest of the pack.

Interest in the original version is being driven by the planned return of the Bronco name in 2020. Anticipation for the new car is leading collectors to snap up originals. Regardless of the lust for nostalgia, Hagerty notes that the Bronco is “simple, reliable and fun” and is supported by aftermarket parts availability.

1973 – 1991 Chevrolet CK Blazer: HVR 93

1973 - 1991 Chevrolet CK Blazer

SUVs and pickup trucks account for half of the vehicles on the full HVR list, with the second-generation Chevy Blazer tied for second place.

Chevrolet has recently reintroduced the Blazer as a new full-size SUV which, like the Bronco, may account for some of the interest in the retro version. Due to the fact it remained in production for almost two decades, supplies of the second-gen Blazer are plentiful.

The half-ton platform adds usability to the Blazer, whilst an uprated heavy-duty version was used by the U.S. military as the M-2009 Command Vehicle.

1978 – 1979 Ford Bronco: HVR 93

1978 - 1979 Ford Bronco

Tied with the K5 Blazer for second place is the SUV produced to compete directly with it. The second-generation Bronco was substantially bigger in size, pushing the Ford into the full-size SUV category. 

Andrew Newton, valuation editor at Hagerty, believes the explanation for the level of interest in the later Blazer is easy to understand. With prices of the original Blazer on the up, Newton says “people are turning to the later, cheaper, models, which drives up demand for those too.”

The fourth-generation Bronco, built from 1987 to 1991, also makes it to the HVR list, proving that the name is certainly in demand.

1963 – 1983 Jeep Wagoneer: HVR 92

1963 - 1983 Jeep Wagoneer

Beating the original Range Rover to the market by several years, and regarded as the first true luxury SUV, fondness for the Wagoneer is seemingly evergreen.

The SJ series of Wagoneers progressed further upmarket during their production, adding features like air conditioning, power-adjustable seats, and leather upholstery. It makes the Wagoneer a comfortable and effective all-terrain machine.

Jeep has teased the idea of introducing a new Wagoneer, which again may be driving the nostalgic demand.

1967 – 1972 Chevrolet CK Series Pickup: HVR 92

1967 - 1972 Chevrolet CK Series Pickup

Both the Chevrolet C/K pickup, and its GMC-branded brother, score highly on the latest HVR list.

Related to the K5 Blazer, the second-generation C/K pickup added a new ‘Action Line’ exterior design to the half-ton format. According to Hagerty, this combination of modern styling and dependable build quality has helped find them plenty of fans with collectors.

1977 – 1981 Toyota Celica Supra: HVR 92

1977 - 1981 Toyota Celica Supra

A definite trend is emerging on the Hagerty list, with demand spiking for cars which have a modern equivalent creating waves.

According to Hagerty’s Andrew Newton, the first-generation Toyota Supras are “not that expensive” currently, but neither are they “that remarkable”. However, the launch of the latest GR Supra is driving interest in the older cars, with later versions of the Supra proving to be much more costly in comparison.

1990 – 1996 Nissan 300ZX: HVR 92

1990 - 1996 Nissan 300ZX

Showing that the current trend for everything from the 1990s even extends to Japanese sports cars, the 300ZX is a quintessential modern classic.

The 300ZX proved a popular choice in the United States, with the performance of the Twin Turbo version particularly impressive. Some 300 horsepower was on offer from the boosted model, allowing an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph.

With technology like four-wheel steering on turbocharged versions, the 300ZX can be a complex car to run and maintain. However, this does not seem to be putting off interested buyers.

1992 – 2002 Mazda RX-7: HVR 92

1992 - 2002 Mazda RX-7

Sharing equal fourth place with the 300ZX is another Japanese performance machine from the 1990s.

The FD generation of the RX-7 was the first mass-produced car to have sequential twin-turbocharging, using it force air into a rotary engine. It made for a unique driving experience, and allowed the RX-7 to win many accolades when new.

What the Hagerty Vehicle Rating system does not record is how many RX-7s have undergone the popular Chevrolet LS V-8 engine conversion. We imagine some cars are still out there with an original rotary engine though…

1999 – 2002 BMW M Coupe: HVR 92

1999 - 2002 BMW M Coupe

Derided when new for the unusual styling, the Z3-based M Coupe was the product of a private project by BMW engineers to create a hardtop version.

Whilst they may have convinced BMW to put the M Coupe into production, unfortunately it proved harder to get buyers to part with their money for one. It meant the numbers of M Coupes which left BMW’s Spartanburg plant were relatively low.

Limited numbers have turned the M Coupe into a true cult classic, and its position as one of the last M cars with a naturally aspirated six-cylinder engine will undoubtedly be helping create interest. 

1973 – 1987 Chevrolet CK Series Pickup: HVR 91

Predictably, the later third-generation of the Chevrolet C/K Series of pickup trucks are also undergoing a surge in popularity.

Often referred to as the ‘Square-body’ version of Chevy’s full-size pickup truck, the third-generation found controversy due to the ‘side saddle’ positioning of its fuel tanks. This led to a number of lawsuits, along with action from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Despite this, demand for high-quality examples is clearly on the rise, with values increasing by 50 percent over the past three years.

1981 – 1986 Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler: HVR 91

You perhaps don’t need to be a genius to understand why the CJ-8 Scrambler is featuring highly on Hagerty’s list. The frenzy surrounding Jeep’s latest pickup truck, the Gladiator, is a likely factor in this placing.

Less than 28,000 examples of the Scrambler were built between 1981 and 1986, meaning it enjoys relative rarity compared to other off-road pickups. Former U.S. President, and confirmed Jeep aficionado, Ronald Reagan was a Scrambler owner, though.

The 10-inch extended wheelbase and longer load bed make the Scrambler practical. That, combined with the premium prices being paid for the new Gladiator, may well be fueling interest.

1990 – 1998 Mazda Miata MX-5: HVR 91

1990 - 1998 Mazda Miata MX-5

On internet car forums across the world, no matter what the question, the answer is seemingly always ‘Miata’. Or MX-5, perhaps, depending on where you live.

In particular, the first-generation of Mazda’s compact roadster continues to prove popular. Whether it is for use in motorsport, to modify, or just to enjoy a Sunday drive, there is always a Miata option to fit, it seems.

Only chassis corrosion is a real threat to their longevity, with most other parts relatively easy to maintain and replace. They might not be the quickest sports cars on the road, but they certainly bring joy to plenty of owners.

1989 – 1994 Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R: HVR 90

Although later versions of the Skyline GT-R may seem to get all the attention, the R34 in particular, the R32 has seen a major jump on Hagerty’s rating system.

With a 276 horsepower twin-turbocharged six-cylinder engine mated to an advanced four-wheel drive system, the R32 GT-R dominated the international motorsport arena when new. Translated to the road, this meant impressive performance in all weathers, plus the ability to be easily tuned.

American buyers have only recently had the chance to buy the R32 due to the 25-year import rule. In particular, this means the sought after V-Spec cars are now eligible to be brought into the USA.

1990 – 2002 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class: HVR 90

Think of a Mercedes-Benz SL-Class and there is a rather good chance this is the shape you will be imagining. Having been on sale for twelve years certainly helps cement the R129 in the mind, as do the more than 213,000 examples sold.

It also manages to tick off many of the Mercedes-Benz cliches, such as sturdy build quality, impressive levels of technology, and powerful engines. Top of the pile was the SL600, featuring a substantial 6.0 V-12 power plant with 389 horsepower.

Several special editions were made during the later years of the R129 SL-Class, further boosting its appeal. AMG versions of this roadster are also rare treats to discover.

1992 – 2002 Cadillac Eldorado: HVR 90

1992 - 2002 Cadillac Eldorado

Proving that collector cars do not necessarily have to break the bank to purchase, the tenth-generation Eldorado is a prime example of an up-and-coming modern classic.

Bigger and heavier than the car it replaced, the slab-sided styling of the final car to wear the Eldorado badge certainly made a dramatic statement. Cadillac’s Northstar V-8 engine became available shortly after launch, although Hagerty cautions buyers against the earliest of these due to well-documented reliability issues.

Later examples featured active adaptive suspension, rain-sensing windscreen wipers, and even more luxurious interiors. The final cars, including the Touring Coupe models, are the ones which Hagerty points collectors towards.

1959 – 1960 Cadillac Series 62: HVR 89

Another dramatic Cadillac, but several decades older, the Series 62 represents a substantial amount of sheet metal for any classic car collector.

Designed by famed GM stylist Bill Mitchell, the ‘59 Series 62 is remembered for the now iconic rear fins, wearing rocket-shaped tail lights. Measuring 225-inches long, this is a vast car even by modern standards, and for many represents the ultimate example of car design from the 1950s.

A 350-cubic inch V-8 engine, four-speed automatic transmission, and optional air suspension mean the Series 62 was mechanically advanced. With 71,000 sold, their relatively plentiful numbers offers choice for collectors. 

1967 – 1970 Mercury Cougar: HVR 89

According to Hagerty’s Andrew Newton, the surge in Cougar interest is important as they have “been undervalued and underappreciated compared to the Mustang.”

Compared to the Ford Mustang, the first-generation Mercury Cougar was intended to be more upmarket than the Blue Oval’s pony car. The headlights hidden behind the front grille are a particular highlight, whilst the interior featured simulated woodgrain trim for XR-7 cars.

Cars fitted with the GT packaged will attract attention, using a 390-cubic inch V-8 engine to produce 335 horsepower. These versions also featured uprated brakes and suspension, demonstrating some of the motorsport prowess achieved by the Cougar.

1977 – 1984 Cadillac DeVille: HVR 89

1977 - 1984 Cadillac DeVille

An icon of the ‘malaise era’ of American car production, the fifth-generation Cadillac DeVille is a rather curious vehicle to be attracting such attention.

We can only imagine that hipsters, seeking out the ultimate expression of a big car with an underpowered engine, are flocking to this DeVille in droves. Unfortunately, Hagerty’s data does not show if they are picking cars with the 350-cubic inch Oldsmobile diesel engine, with its (cough) massive 105 horsepower.

Relatively low prices do at least mean collectors will be getting plenty of value for money with these cars.

2000 – 2006 BMW E46 M3: HVR 89

BMW E46 M3s have seemingly weathered the storm of being cheap enough to attract street racers and modifiers. Values for the best examples have increased dramatically in the last 18 months, making them eminently collectable.

A naturally aspirated 3.2-liter straight-six engine produced 338 horsepower, although North American cars made do with just 333 horsepower. Buyers had the choice of a six-speed manual gearbox, or BMW’s SMG paddle shift transmission instead. A special bodykit, plus performance brakes and suspension, added to the package.

Most collectable are special edition versions, such as cars with the Competition Package in the USA. The ultimate holy grail of E46 M3 ownership is still the CSL, featuring more horsepower, less weight and other bespoke improvements.

1993 – 1996 Cadillac Fleetwood: HVR 88

Hagerty points out that the Fleetwood four-door has the cheapest point of entry compared to the other cars on this list. At just $5,200 for a car in ‘Good’ condition, it is certainly an accessible vehicle for most collectors.

Noted for the rare decision of Cadillac switching back from front-wheel drive to rear-wheel drive, these were the last of the General Motors ‘D platform’ vehicles. The most interesting of the final Fleetwoods are those fitted with the Chevrolet Corvette-sourced LT1 engine.

Producing 260 horsepower and 330 lb-ft of torque, LT1-equipped Fleetwoods could make for a rather amusing 0-60 mph sprint in 8 seconds. Quick enough to surprise people at traffic lights.

2002 – 2007 Subaru Impreza WRX STi: HVR 88

2002 - 2007 Subaru Impreza WRX STi

If you know the terms ‘Blob Eye’, ‘Bug Eye’ and ‘Hawk Eye’ then you perhaps do not need an explanation on why these Imprezas have become collector cars.

For everyone else, the combination of World Rally Championship-proven performance and ease of tuning has made them hugely popular. All-wheel drive makes them virtually unstickable, whilst the unique burble of the Subaru flat-four engine is hard to ignore.

Many will have been tuned and crashed, meaning buyers should seek out the best example they can find. It certainly won’t be the subtlest performance car, but the performance and ability will always be rewarding.

Auction winner collects first 2020 Toyota Supra

Charity auction winner collects first 2020 Toyota GR Supra

Auction winner collects first 2020 Toyota SupraThe winning bidder for the very first 2020 Toyota GR Supra to leave the production line has now taken delivery of his special car. 

John Staluppi, President and CEO of the Auto Atlantic Group of dealerships, plus an avid car collector, has had to wait six long months

Staluppi’s winning bid of $2.1 million (£1.55 million) was enough to secure the car at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction back in January. 

Auction winner collects first 2020 Toyota SupraAlthough the $2.1 million figure may be enough to buy 42 regular production GR Supras, the car Staluppi now has is rather special. 

It wears a VIN which ends in ‘20201’ to denote that it was the first fifth-generation Supra to be built for the 2020 model year. 

‘Global Supra #1’ also wears special matte exterior paint, combined with red door mirror caps and a set of gloss black alloy wheels. A red interior is also part of the package.

Auction winner collects first 2020 Toyota SupraStaluppi also collected a variety of other special items along with the first GR Supra. Bob Carter, Toyota executive vice president of sales, presented Staluppi with his new car and his accompanying goodies. 

These included a custom-created Toyota race suit, a VIP track day experience, and a photo signed by Toyota Motor Corporation President Akio Toyoda. The engine cover of the GR Supra was also signed by Toyoda-san. 

Most important of all in the process was the money raised for charity. Proceeds from the $2.1 million hammer price will be split between the American Heart Foundation, along with the Bob Woodruff Foundation. 

Volvo and Lotus at Bicester Heritage

Opinion: Why Volvo is so exciting for Lotus

Volvo and Lotus at Bicester HeritageJust a few years ago, Volvo was a minor player in the premium car sector. Its biggest hit, the XC90 large SUV, was ageing badly, and other models such as the S60 and V70 were off the pace.

Even its best-selling car, the XC60 mid-size SUV, was ready for replacement, while its newest model, the V40, was basically a Ford Focus in drag.

Today, Volvo is a different company.

It started with the all-new XC90, a radical reinvention that took everyone by surprise and set the template for everything since.

The XC90 was stylish, sophisticated and a quantum leap on in terms of quality and ability – suddenly a fierce rival to alternatives from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

Hit after hit has followed: the S90 and V90, XC60, XC40, S60 and V60. Volvo has replaced almost its entire model range, with only the V40 waiting for reinvention.

We’re promised a surprise there, too.

The Geely magic

Volvo and Lotus at Bicester Heritage

What’s behind all this? Ford’s decision to sell Volvo for $1.6 billion in 2010, to a company then relatively unknown in the west, but a giant in China: Geely.

Geely gave Volvo serious financial backing, scrutinised its development plans, but then seemed happy to oversee things from afar. Geely didn’t interfere and Volvo has thrived.

The Geely magic has since benefited another company on its knees: the London Taxi International.

Geely rescued it, renamed it the London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC), and funded development of a plug-in hybrid taxi that London cabbies, a notoriously tough audience to please, are raving about.

LEVC is now planning to do the same in the commercial vehicle sector with a plug-in hybrid van

It seems, if Geely commits to a company, it’s sure to prosper. 

Lotus sunbeam

Volvo and Lotus at Bicester Heritage

And the latest company set to demonstrate the Geely magic? Lotus. Next month, it will reveal a brand new £1 million-plus electric hypercar.

Next year, it will start replacing its current dated (albeit still brilliant) sports cars. It is even likely to make an SUV (although the company has yet to confirm this).

I visited Lotus this week, to drive some of its current cars. The mood amongst the team? Buoyant. It is already seeing what Geely is bringing to the firm, and can’t wait to start talking about new products.

As I drove home in a Volvo test car – the excellent new S60, a convincing BMW 3 Series rival at last – I got it, too.

Watch Lotus with interest: it’s getting ready to do a Volvo.

Decline of diesel continues as second-hand sales fall

Diesel doldrums coming to second-hand market

For all its bad press over the past couple of years, and the rise in popularity of petrol-powered cars, diesel has stayed strong in the second-hand market. Until now, that is.

Data from Glass’s suggests that second-hand buyers are ducking out of diesel cars. Diesel and petrol were more or less equal when it came to auction sales performance, and remained so all the way up to the third quarter of 2018. Then the diesel slump began, albeit only by a few percent at first.

As petrol began to climb at the beginning of 2019, diesel’s started to trail further. By the beginning of April 2019, the gap was more than five percent.

Diesel sales down at car auctions

Diesel doldrums coming to second-hand market

Between September 2018 and May 2019, diesel went from the best performing fuel type at auctions (beating hybrid and petrol) to the worst. In September, the number of buyers converting a car viewing to a sale was between 85 and 90 percent, with petrol and hybrid closer to 80 percent.

Fast-forward to May and the entire market is down, with conversion rates languishing at less than 75 percent. The difference, though, is that diesel is down to 65 percent: a near-25 percent drop in eight months.

By comparison, hybrids remained more or less steady, before dropping to just over 70 percent. Petrol isn’t far behind.

Is diesel on the way out?

Diesel doldrums coming to second-hand market

The decline of diesel is well documented. We reported that diesel’s market share in the new car market was well below 30 percent in May. And it has been dropping for 26 consecutive months. That’s how long it would seem the second-hand market has taken to catch up, but the writing appears to be on the wall.

It must be considered, however, that new car sales from three years ago don’t necessarily reflect the demands of today’s second-hand buyers. Supply could now be outstripping demand.

Nevertheless, with diesel in the doldrums everywhere else, it’s easy to infer the same is happening now in the used car market.

Scandi thug: armoured Volvo XC90 released

Armoured Volvo XC90

Volvo has unveiled a new armoured version of its XC90 SUV, designed to meet a growing global market for armoured vehicles. It’s VPAM VR8 rated, which makes it one of the toughest armoured car-based vehicles on the road. Armoured Volvo deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2020.

VPAM VR8 – what makes the XC90 Armoured (heavy)

Armoured Volvo XC90

This rating mandates 360-degree ballistic and explosive resistance. To create the armoured XC90, a T6 AWD variant is sent to TRASCO Bremen GmbH in Germany, where high-strength 10mm steel armour is applied. 50mm glass joins it, along with upgraded suspension and brakes.

The suspension and brakes are uprated to deal with an extra 1,400kg. In total, it weighs a hefty 4,490kg.

“The XC90 Armoured (heavy) with VR8 protection rating enables us to offer a car that provides a high level of protection while retaining the car’s fundamental properties,” says Stephan Green, marketing director at Volvo Cars Special Vehicles.

Armoured Volvo XC90

“Production is carried out with extreme diligence, which is imperative in order to fulfil the exceptionally high requirements placed on this class of security product. We strive to ensure that the car retains its properties despite the extensive armouring.

“The armour is fitted discreetly to make the car barely distinguishable from a standard XC90. Every customer also has their own unique requirements, which we satisfy by means of customised production.

“Potential customers include security services who would use the car to transport high-profile individuals.”

Lighter bite: Less hardcore armoured Volvos

Armoured Volvo XC90

If your demands aren’t quite as rigorous, there is the XC90 (or XC60) Armoured (light). These cars are geared more towards protection against handguns.

They’re intended for Latin American and European markets. Overall they weigh just 250kg more than the standard cars, but feature upgraded brakes and suspension.

“We are proud to be able to offer these armoured cars. With our armoured cars, we can provide vehicles with a high level of personal security for individuals who require heightened protection.”

How to safely drive when you take hay fever medicine

Advice for drivers with hay fever

For hay fever sufferers, the forecast for hot and sunny weather is a double-edged sword, because the pollen count is likely to be very high.

At best, hayfever is a summer irritant that sufferers could do without, but it can also mean the difference between staying indoors or going outside. For drivers, the issues extend to more than just sniffing and sneezing behind the wheel.

Which is why road safety and breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist is urging motorists who take hay fever remedies to check their medicines carefully before getting driving.

GEM road safety officer Neil Worth said: “Some medicines, including those used to treat hay fever, can have an effect on your ability to drive safely. They could make you tired, dizzy or groggy, and they can compromise your vision and reaction time.

“That’s why it’s so important to check with your GP or pharmacist, and to read any warnings contained on the labels of the medicines you plan to take.

“The same road traffic laws apply to therapeutic drugs as to illicit substances, so if your driving is impaired and you cause a collision, you risk prosecution and the loss of your licence.”

Advice for hay fever sufferers

Hay fever behind the wheel

GEM has issued a safety checklist for drivers who take hay fever medicine, and the advice can be summarised as follows:

  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist if a medicine could affect your ability to drive. Be particularly careful if you are using a medicine for the first time.
  • If you experience potentially dangerous side effects from a medicine, don’t drive. Organise a taxi or a lift from a friend if you need to travel.
  • If you find a particular medicine is making you sleepy, consider asking if there is a non-sedating alternative available.
  • It’s not just prescription medicines that can cause drowsiness and other potentially dangerous side-effects. So, check with your pharmacist if you plan to use an over-the-counter drug.
  • If you’re unsure about the warning given on the medicine you’re using, ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any risks before you drive anywhere.

Last summer, a study by Confused.com found that 58 percent of drivers who suffer from hay fever said they had driven a car shortly after taking medication, even though many remedies can impair performance behind the wheel.

A worrying 10 percent said that had noticed adverse effects of taking prescription drugs.

It is illegal to drive if you’re unfit to do so because you’re on legal or illegal drugs, or you have certain levels of illegal drugs in your blood. 

Over-the-counter medication is covered by the same drug-driving laws as illegal substances such as cocaine and cannabis, so drivers are advised to consult the government website for a list of prescription medicines affected by the legislation.

‘Check the medication thoroughly’

Pollen season ahead for drivers

Richard Gladman, head of driving and riding standards at IAM RoadSmart, warned: “If you are stopped by the police after taking a hay fever remedy and driving whilst impaired you could find yourself falling foul of drug driving regulations.

“Be sure to check the medication thoroughly and see if it is suitable. But most importantly, concentrate on your route to recovery so you can get back onto the road sooner rather than later.”

IAM RoadSmart has the following advice for hay fever sufferers:

  • Ensure your car is clean and dust free and that you operate the air conditioning or ventilation to your advantage. lt’s important that you change your pollen filter regularly.
  • For anyone who hasn’t been diagnosed with hay fever and is feeling under the weather, avoid driving and arrange to see your GP.
  • While over-the-counter medicines will help with a runny nose and sneezing symptoms, they can also blur vision and make you feel drowsy – ask your GP for the best course of action.
  • Your GP may advise you to take anti-histamines, but make sure you take the non-drowsy ones. If you’re unsure, read the leaflet or speak to your pharmacy.
  • If you need to get somewhere but don’t feel well enough to drive, ask somebody else. Whatever you do, don’t take yourself: you may just end up sneezing and travelling up to 50ft with your eyes closed and losing control of your vehicle.

If in doubt, talk to your pharmacist and always read the label.

BPMe loyalty scheme replaces Nectar points

BPme replaces Nectar loyalty scheme

BP has ended its partnership with Nectar, meaning you’ll no longer be able to collect loyalty points when you fill up at one of its 1,200 forecourts.

Instead, BP has launched its own customer scheme called BPme Rewards. But Nectar fans need not worry, because the loyalty programme is now available at participating Esso sites. Customers will earn one Nectar point for every litre of Esso fuel, or two for every pound spent in the shop.

BP customers can no longer receive or redeem Nectar points. Having downloaded a BPMe app, customers now earn one point for every litre of fuel, two points for Ultimate fuel, and one point for every pound spent in the shop or the car wash.

The process will be familiar to Nectar customers, with 200 points equating to a £1 off fuel, although points can be exchanged for products or gift vouchers. You’ll receive 250 points just for registering a BPme card.

Points mean prizes

BP ends partnership with Nectar

Amazon and M&S gift cards are available, along with a bewildering array of products from the gift catalogue. Collect 2,300 points for a Disney Princess Cinderella, or 1,690 for a motorised construction vehicle.

Alternatively, you can add cash to the mix to reduce the number of points required for a gift. For example, a thermal mug will set you back £4.80 plus 545 points, if you’re not prepared to wait until you’ve collected 1,360 points.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, a Black & Decker drill is worth 8,170 points or 3,265 points plus £26.50.

The BPme app can also be used to pay for fuel, to manage your receipts and to find the nearest BP forecourt.

A BP spokesperson said: “We had participated with Nectar for a number of years. 

“With BPMe Rewards we took the opportunity to develop our own loyalty scheme that allows our customers to both earn and spend rewards in our stores and with selected partners.”

You can find your nearest BP forecourt here, with the app available from the App Store or Google Play. Click here for more information on the Nectar and Esso partnership.

Chevrolet could kill its Camaro muscle car in 2023

Chevrolet Camaro could die in 2023

Chevrolet could end production of its iconic Camaro muscle car in 2023.

Although the Camaro is much-loved by fans, poor sales may force the American marque to cross a seventh-generation car off the development docket.

Anonymous sources inside GM told Muscle Cars & Trucks that development of a seventh-generation car has been ‘suspended’.

Chevrolet Camaro could die in 2023

The rumours come despite the fact that an updated Alpha platform is ready (under the skin of the newly-revealed Cadillac CT4 and CT5) and could form the basis of a new Camaro.

If the Camaro name is indeed ‘likely to be shelved’ in 2023, it won’t be the first time. There was an eight-year production gap between the fourth- and fifth-generation cars.

The former, known by enthusiasts as the last ‘F body’, died in 2002. A new-generation car was teased by a retro concept that appeared in the Transformers film in 2007, with the production version following in 2009.

Chevrolet Camaro could die in 2023

GM had fallen on very hard times at that point, but the Camaro brought some welcome good news. The hype around Transformers and excitement for the return of a classic nameplate with retro looks and monster performance fuelled a sales boom.

Chevy regularly shifted more than 80,000 units a year during fifth-gen Camaro production. The sixth-generation car, which debuted in 2015, hasn’t done so well. Last year just 51,000 Camaros were sold, down on the previous year’s near-68,000 figure.

Why isn’t the Camaro selling?

Chevrolet Camaro could die in 2023

The gen-six, while a good performance machine, doesn’t have the viability of a proper pony car. It’s got the V8 and the handling, but it’s not very practical, difficult to see out of and, in SS V8 form, quite expensive.

Then there is the styling. It was a polarising thing on release, if not offensive-looking. The recent facelift, though, has to be one of the worst received in the entire history of the car.

Apart from that, perhaps people have had their fill. Retro styling is very familiar now, and the new car made a slightly odd go of further modernisation.

Chevrolet muscle car could die in 2023

Then again, the success of Dodge’s Challenger – a car as old as the hills – says otherwise. It has retained a very old-school and simple bravado, while the Camaro (and to a lesser extent, the Ford Mustang), have become a bit fussy. Plus, it’s the powerhouse poster car where 707hp is third-best.

Whatever happens, if it happens, we’ll be sad if the Camaro goes. Not that we got it officially in the UK anyway…

New ‘hide and crash’ fraud tactics on the rise

Crash for cash motor fraud

Fraudsters are employing a new tactic in their pursuit of a quick – and dangerous – buck, warns claims expert AX. 

‘Hide and crash’ involves the criminal’s car hiding in your blind-spot, then accelerating abruptly, swerving in and slamming on the brakes.

Their aim is to get you to crash into the back of them. Generally speaking, it’s always the person behind who’s considered at fault, hence the fraudsters’ focus.

Crash for cash motor fraud

“This new tactic is a dangerous progression of the existing ‘slam on’ approach,” explains Neil Thomas, director of investigative services at AX.

“Criminals can take cover in a driver’s blind-spot, wait for the ideal moment, then accelerate and move into their pathway before slamming on the brakes.”

The top five tactics to induce accidents

Motor fraud costs drivers and insurers £340 million every year. Hide and crash is, in fact, an evolution of existing tactics used by criminals to put themselves at the blameless end of a smash.

These are the top five tricks to be aware of:

1. ‘Slam on’

This is exactly how it sounds. There’s no swerving and no hiding: just a needless application of the brakes to catch you out. Some drivers do so without the intention of causing a crash, to make you give them space.

2. Flash for crash

This involves someone flashing to let you out, only for them to accelerate and hit you. Because you’re being let out, it’s the other driver’s right of way, and therefore technically not his or her fault.

3. Crash for ready cash

This involves employing any of these tactics and more and then asking for cash to fix their car

4. Hide and crash

Hiding in the driver’s blind-spot, then accelerating, swerving in front and braking hard.

5. Hire and crash

The fraudster hires a car and stages an accident with a friend.

Where is most at risk for motor fraud?

Crash for cash motor fraud

Anywhere where you might find yourself encroaching on another driver’s right of way is a risk. This includes most roundabouts, especially those without CCTV, traffic lights and side road turnings.

Motorways, particularly when they’re busy, are popular for traditional ‘slam on’ tactics. This takes advantage of the automatic presumption of fault and the high speeds on motorways. It’s also hidden in the hustle and bustle.

Protecting yourself against fraudulent crashes

crashes 30mph

Dash cams can be a huge ally in the fight against motor fraud.

Double-check every move you make, especially when being ‘let out’. If you take your time, someone who is genuinely letting you out might move on. A fraudster could well linger, frustratedly gesturing for you to go.

Watch for passengers in the car in front of you looking back, too. This can be a sign that they’re getting ready for a ‘slam on’.