Our pick of recent motoring stories highlighting important issues for used car buyers and sellers…

Landrover Logo

Auto Trader sees used car prices dip slightly in May

According to Auto Trader, used car prices declined by 0.7% in May 2018. The average price was £12,676, a £93 decrease on April.

However, average prices remain 7% up on a year-on-year basis.
Notably, the percentage of online searches for diesel-fuelled cars dipped below 50% in May for the first time.

Karolina Edwards-Smajda, Auto Trader’s retailer and consumer product director, said: “Month-on-month used car prices have come off the boil slightly, but this follows the plate change in March, which tends to result in an influx of good quality and higher value stock.

“In general, used car prices remain near record highs and have stayed robust over the last year despite a choppier new car market.”

Demand for diesel vehicles appears to be declining, with the average price of a diesel on Auto Trader standing at £14,448 in May, a £107 decrease on April.
The average price of a petrol vehicle dropped by £57, to £10,733.

Seeming to buck the notion that electric vehicle (EV) demand is on the rise, the proportion of searches specifying EV dropped from 5% in March to 3% in May.
“We urgently need more clarity from government on the strategy and timeline for shifting to lower-emission vehicles,” said Edwards-Smajda.

Honest John says 98% of hybrid cars fail to match advertised MPG

Research by motoring news site, Honest John, found that 98% of hybrid cars on sale in the UK fail to match their advertised miles per gallon (MPG) fuel consumption.

148,000 fuel reports were analysed as part of its Real MPG initiative, launched in 2011 to investigate the disparity between claimed fuel economy figures and real-world experience.

Honest John named the Mercedes-Benz C-Class C350e the UK’s worst hybrid for Real MPG, achieving just 36.9% of its official fuel economy.

The Lexus GS 450h was named best UK hybrid for Real MPG, achieving 84.2% of the claimed figure.

The five worst were:

1) Mercedes-Benz C-Class C350e
2) BMW 3 Series 330e
3) Volkswagen Golf GTE
4) Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
5) BMW 2 Series Active Tourer 225xe

The five best were:

1) Lexus GS 450h
2) Toyota RAV4 Hybrid 2WD
3) Toyota Yaris 1.5 VVT-I Hybrid
4) Kia Niro 1.6 GDI Hybrid
5) Toyota C-HR 1.8 Hybrid

Honest John’s managing editor, Daniel Powell, said: “This is the most comprehensive study into hybrid fuel economy ever carried out.

“While these models are advertised with lofty MPG figures that appeal to cost-conscious drivers, our research shows that on-the-road economy is somewhat different.

“Given that car buyers are being urged to replace their petrol and diesel cars with new low emission hybrids, we think more needs to be done to ensure drivers get a fair deal.”

Land Rover and Mini top JD Power customer satisfaction study

Automotive research specialist, JD Power, has announced the results of its latest Customer Service Index (CSI) Study.

Land Rover ranked highest among premium brands for the second consecutive year, followed by Volvo and Mercedes-Benz.

Mini ranked highest among volume brands, followed by Honda and Kia.

Josh Halliburton, vice-president and head of European operations at JD Power, said: “These results illustrate the importance of developing passionate advocates, not only for the product but also for the dealership, when trying to attract younger people as new customers.

“Recommendations among customers in this group are far more important than dealership advertising, promotional materials or coupons.”

The 2018 UK Customer Service Index Study is based on data collected from 7,899 respondents who registered their new vehicle between February 2015 and April 2017.

Overall scores, based on a 1,000-point scale, were up 12 points on the previous study.

Land Rover Defenders targeted by organised criminal gangs

NFU Mutual says Land Rover Defenders are being targeted by organised criminal gangs as part of a countryside crime wave.

The firm, which underwrites more than £1bn in annual insurance premiums for UK rural communities, has paid out claims for almost 500 stolen Defenders since 2016.

The off-road vehicles, reportedly a favourite of the Queen, have become increasingly sought after since production ceased two years ago.

Farmers are frequently finding them with the bonnets, doors and wheels removed, or gone altogether.

Luxury 4x4s, like Range Rovers, are also being targeted, with criminals often attempting to hack their keyless entry systems.

NFU Mutual, working with the National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service, has traced stolen Range Rovers as far afield as Africa and the Middle East.

According to the Office for National Statistics, 89,000 vehicles were stolen in England and Wales in 2017, a 56% increase on the previous 12 months.

Clive Harris, agricultural vehicle specialist at NFU Mutual, said: “Thieves are deploying a range of tactics to feed demand for classic and modern 4x4s from criminal gangs operating around the world.

“People in rural areas are feeling increasingly vulnerable and farms, which rely on 4x4s for mobility as part of their business, are left particularly hard hit.”

Our pick of recent motoring stories highlighting important issues for used car buyers and sellers…

L plate

Learner drivers can now take motorway lessons

Learner drivers in England, Scotland and Wales can now take motorway lessons, in a dual-control car with an approved driving instructor, before passing their test.

According to the Department for Transport (DfT), a fifth of all fatal incidents on Britain’s roads in 2016 involved drivers aged 17-24, despite that age category making up just 7% of licence holders.

Research by the AA shows that 8% of new licence holders avoid motorways for at least six months after passing, and 27% said they felt scared when taking to them for the first time.

Neil Greig, director of policy and research at IAM RoadSmart (formerly the Institute of Advanced Motorists), said: “It has never made sense to us that new drivers on our most important roads learned how to use them by trial and potentially fatal error.”

While welcoming the new rule, road safety charity, Brake, noted that motorway driving is still not being added to the driving test, and motorway lessons, either before or after passing, remain voluntary.

A further step would be a Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) scheme, perhaps including a limit on the number of young passengers newly qualified young drivers can carry, and a late-night curfew.

Skoda Octavia named Auto Trader New Car of the Year 2018

The winners of the Auto Trader New Car Awards 2018 have been announced, with the Skoda Octavia scooping the prestigious New Car of the Year prize.

Decided by votes from 43,000 consumers, rather than a judging panel, the key factors were reliability, running costs, appearance and practicality.

Participants were also asked about their overall satisfaction with their car, and how likely they would be to recommend it.

Other category winners included:

  • Best Family Car: Skoda Superb
  • Best Car for City Driving: Ford Kuga
  • Best Value New Car: Kia Rio
  • Best Car for Long Distances: Hyundai Tucson
  • Most Fun Car to Drive: Mazda MX-5
  • Brand with the Best Car Features: Nissan
  • Best Car Launched in the last year: Volvo XC60
  • Best Value Brand: Dacia
  • Best Green Car: Volkswagen Passat GTE Estate

Erin Baker, Auto Trader’s editorial director, said: “The Auto Trader New Car Awards champion the aspects of driving and car ownership that really matter to drivers and that aren’t always obvious in the buying process. Our winners have the seal of approval from real owners.”

Autonomous emergency braking to be mandatory on new cars?

The European Commission has announced a major package of road safety measures, and a new target to halve road deaths and serious injuries by 2030.

It proposes that new cars should be equipped with advanced safety features, such as autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and lane assist systems.

Antonio Avenoso, executive director of the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC), said: “Taken together, today’s announcements could represent the biggest step forward in road safety in Europe since the introduction of the seat belt.

“Road traffic injury is still the number one killer of young people across the continent, so these essential measures cannot come soon enough.”

The package will need to be approved by 28 member states and the European Parliament.

New record: Ferrari 250 GTO sold for £52 million

A 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO has sold for a massive £52m, making it the most expensive used car ever.

The record was previously held by another 250 GTO, which went for £30,750,300.

According to AutoClassics, the car won the prestigious Tour de France the year after it was built and has survived for 55 years without a crash.

It was restored by UK Ferrari specialist, DK Engineering, in the 1990s, and obtained the important Ferrari Classiche certification five years ago.

UK new car sales up again in May

After a year of falling sales, UK new car registrations have risen for the second month in a row, according to the latest data published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

New passenger car registrations increased by 3.4% year-on-year in May, to 192,649 units. Notably, alternatively fueled vehicle (AFV) sales were up 36.1%.

“The improving new car market demonstrates solid demand and increased consumer spending in the motor retail sector,” said Sue Robinson, Director of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA).

“But it is important to remember that we are comparing these figures with a weak May last year, which was affected by external factors including the General Election and April’s VED changes.”

Ian Fletcher, principal automotive analyst at IHS Markit, added: “The latest data also shows that the backlash against diesel in the passenger car market is not abating. Diesel’s market share stood at 32.3% this month, versus 43.8% during May 2017.”

Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) registrations also increased in May, up 2.4% on the same month last year.

Used car buyers want longer warranties

Most consumers want a 12-month warranty when buying a used car, according to new research by RAC Dealer Network.

45% of 1,000 used car buyers surveyed said they’d want cover for the first year, 17% said they’d be happy with six months and 12% said they’d want two years. A not insignificant 7% wanted at least five years’ cover.

Sean Kent, sales director at RAC Dealer Network, said: “Across large parts of the car industry, it remains the norm that three months is the standard warranty offered to most consumers when they purchase a used car. This research indicates that many buyers expect more.”

 

Our pick of recent motoring stories highlighting important issues for used car buyers and sellers…

BMW Logo

Can graduated licensing cut young driver crash risks?

Research for the RAC Foundation has shown that 11.9% of all UK road casualties involve a driver aged 17-19. This despite 17-19 year-olds making up just 1.5% of licensed drivers.

The work, conducted by the Transport Research Laboratory, also plotted the human cost of crashes involving young drivers across 49 areas of Britain.

The highest proportion was in Dyfed Powys, Wales, at 18.2%. London had the smallest proportion, at 5.6%.

Such figures have led to renewed interest in the idea of Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL).

These schemes place short-term restrictions on newly-qualified young drivers, including a limit on the number of young passengers they can carry and a late-night curfew.

In February 2018, the Prime Minister promised to ask the Department for Transport to revisit the subject.

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “Young drivers pose a significant and disproportionate risk to themselves and to others, and it is in rural areas where the casualty rate is highest.

“While ministers here prevaricate, action is being taken just across the Irish Sea. Earlier this month a bill was put before the Northern Ireland Assembly which would see the introduction of many of the measures this government has ruled out.”

 

BMW recalls 300,000 UK cars over stalling fears

BMW has issued a recall for 312,000 UK vehicles, including 1 Series, 3 Series, Z4 and X1 cars made between March 2007 and August 2011.

The move follows a Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) investigation which concluded that certain models could stall without warning.

The BBC’s Watchdog programme reported that BMW had initially recalled 36,410 petrol cars, but the manufacturer has since recognised that others could be affected.

These vehicles should be returned to BMW’s franchised network.

The manufacturer was criticised after a fatal collision on Christmas Day in 2016.

An inquest at Woking Coroner’s Court heard that a stalled BMW on a dark A-road forced Narayan Gurung to swerve his Ford Fiesta. He died in the crash and his wife was seriously injured.

The DVSA commented: “BMW did not make DVSA aware of electrical failure in its cars between 2011 and 2014, as it is required to do.”

BMW said it was “deeply saddened by this tragic incident”.

 

European Parliament calls for new measures to tackle clocking

A motion passed in the European Parliament in late May calling on the European Commission to propose new legislation to tackle odometer fraud, also known as clocking.

Following a report stating that 5-12% of used cars sold inside EU countries, and 30-50% of those sold across borders within the EU, have been clocked, MEPs said that used car buyers should be able to verify the accuracy of an odometer reading regardless of the EU country in which it was previously registered.

It was also pointed out that in Belgium and the Netherlands, where readings are collected more frequently than elsewhere, odometer fraud has been almost eradicated.

German MEP, Ismail Ertug, said: “We had broad agreement on this report. In particular, on the need for national odometer databases with cross-border data exchange and for manufacturers to step up their efforts on odometer security.

“If the EU Commission turns our recommendations into draft laws, it could provide an annual benefit of six to nine billion euros and restore consumers’ trust in the used car market, while also contributing to road safety.”

Currently, only six EU countries recognise “odometer manipulation” as a criminal offence.

April new car sales boosted by strong finance deals

The used car market continues to face stiff competition from franchised dealers offering highly attractive finance packages on brand new cars.

Indeed, a report in motor trade publication, AM-online, suggests that April’s 10.4% increase in new car registrations can be partly explained by the strength of deals on the table.

The number of 0% finance offers increased from 63 in Q1 2018 to 69 in Q2 across 15 different franchises.

Cars such as the Dacia Sandero and Suzuki Celerio were available for monthly payments of less than £100.

However, the number of no-deposit deals decreased in Q2, down to just four, although there were seven offers with a deposit below £500.

For example, Renault’s Clio Dynamique Nav 1.2 16V 75 for a £189 deposit and £189 a month.

As usual, the most expensive end of the offers table features prestige cars and SUVs.

Notably, Kia is becoming a more prominent player in this premium market, with the Optima PHEV, at £474 a month, sitting between the BMW X3 M Sport and Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe AMG Line.

 

 

 

Our pick of recent motoring stories highlighting important issues for used car buyers and sellers…

Hybrid Car

Diesel emissions issue hits 60,000 Porsche Cayenne and Macan models

The diesel emissions scandal rumbles on with the news that VW’s sister company, Porsche, looks set to recall 60,000 diesel-engined Cayenne and Macan models across Europe.

The expected action follows an intervention by Germany’s automotive regulator, the KBA, which found the SUVs use software to affect the emission controls for nitrogen oxides.

Up to 53,000 3.0-litre diesel Macans and 6,800 4.2-litre diesel Cayennes could reportedly be involved.

Earlier this year, Porsche issued a voluntary recall for six-cylinder Macan models to update the emissions software.

This latest issue comes as the manufacturer prepares to launch its Cayenne E-Hybrid. Boasting a 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine and a 100kW electric motor, it is efficient enough to be exempt from London’s congestion charge.

UK achieves 5% reduction in road deaths in 2017

The European Commission says reaching the EU goal of halving road fatalities between 2010 and 2020 will now be “very challenging”.

The toll fell every year between 2002 and 2013, from 54,000 to 26,000, but has stayed stubbornly at this level for the past four years.

The latest figures show that 25,300 people lost their lives on EU roads in 2017, 300 fewer than in 2016. However, this is only 20% fewer than 2010, with the end of the decade in sight.

In the UK, there were 27 road deaths per million inhabitants in 2017, a 5% year-on-year fall. Only Sweden had a better record, with 25 per million inhabitants.

Violeta Bulc, the EC’s commissioner for transport, said: “The Commission is currently working on a series of concrete measures that we plan to announce in the coming weeks. The ambition is clear: saving more lives on our roads.”

The results disappointed Antonio Avenoso, executive director of The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC).

“We are calling for safer vehicle standards such as mandatory fitment of automated emergency braking (AEB) and intelligent speed assistance (ISA); better infrastructure safety rules and a solid framework for the safe rollout of automated driving within weeks not months,” he said.

Big increase in used hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fully electric car sales

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has reported a 4.8% decline in used car sales during the first three months of 2018, although levels were still historically high.

A total of 2,031,661 used cars were sold, making it the third highest Q1 performance on record.
Used petrol car sales fell 9.7%, diesel rose 2% and alternative fuel grew by a significant 15.9%, with some 24,697 hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fully electric cars finding a new owner.

SMMT chief executive, Mike Hawes, said: “Despite the overall decline in demand, the UK’s used car sector remains at a very high level and it’s great to see millions of consumers benefitting from some of the latest, safest and cleanest models now filtering into the market.”

Auto Trader’s Ian Plummer added: “Sales of used cars under eight years old, the segment in which Auto Trader is traditionally strongest, were down just 1.1%, and those in the three to eight year bracket were actually up 0.5%.”

Colour trends closely followed the new car market, with black gaining ground to overtake silver as the favourite. Blue, grey and white made up the rest of the top five.

Prison for mechanic found guilty of issuing fraudulent MOTs

A mechanic has been handed a 16-week prison sentence after he was found to be accessing his former employer’s computer to log fraudulent MOT passes.

Patrick Richardson, who had previously worked at Paynes Road MOT in Southampton, was caught when the garage noticed that MOT data had been added for cars that hadn’t been into the workshop.

Richardson had been with the garage for nine years and remained on the company’s books as holiday cover.

At Southampton Magistrates’ Court, he admitted 20 counts of fraud by false representation.

Felicity Hind, prosecuting for the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), said his actions were “unsafe” and “could have had an impact on the public”.

Andy Rice, head of counter-fraud and investigations at the DVSA, said: “Issuing fraudulent MOTs means increasing the number of unroadworthy, even dangerous vehicles on our roads.

“We’ll withdraw the right to provide MOTs, and will not hesitate in prosecuting garages and testers who put the travelling public at risk.”

 

 

 

 

 

Our pick of recent motoring stories highlighting important issues for used car buyers and sellers…

refuel-2157211_1280

Up to five million UK cars have had mileage digitally altered

Mobile electronics firm, Carly – Connected Car, says nearly five million cars in the UK may have had their mileage digitally altered.

According to data collected from over 150,000 vehicles, the big cities – London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds – were the worst areas for mileage fraud.

One of the likely drivers is car finance plans, including Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) and Personal Contract Hire (PCH) deals, which come with strict mileage limits.

There can be hefty charges for additional miles, prompting some unscrupulous motorists to use mileage correction firms to dial back the odometer.

Carly says the knock-on effect on the used car market is unsuspecting motorists overpaying for vehicles which have had their mileage digitally altered.

Further still, there are serious safety implications as modern cars rely on accurate mileage data to give an indication of which type of service is recommended and when parts will need replacing.

The study also found large discrepancies, in some cases almost 75 per cent, between actual fuel consumption and the figures claimed by vehicle manufacturers.

Point-of-sale used car finance grew 4% by value in March

New figures from the Finance & Leasing Association (FLA) show that point-of-sale business in the consumer car finance market fell 5% by value and 10% by volume in March, compared to the same month in 2017.

Most of the hit was in the new car finance sector, which fell 9% by value and 15% by volume. The used car finance sector was up 4% by value in March, although volume was slightly down.

“Trends in the new car finance market in the first quarter of 2018 are likely to have been affected by the impact on demand in Q1 2017 of changes to vehicle excise duty introduced in April that year,” said Geraldine Kilkelly, Head of Research and Chief Economist at the FLA.

“However, in the first quarter of 2018, point-of-sale consumer car finance new business volumes overall were only 1% lower than in the same period in 2017.”

In 2017, FLA members provided £128bn of new finance to UK businesses and households. £96bn of this was in the form of consumer credit, while £44bn supported the purchase of new and used cars, including over 88% of private new car registrations. 

Petrol and diesel price rises predicted

Brian Madderson, Charmain of the Petrol Retailers Association (PRA), has highlighted a report in The Telegraph indicating that petrol and diesel pump prices could be about to soar.

In it, oil traders speculate that Brent Crude could hit $80-100 per barrel, or even an eye-watering $150 per barrel.

In terms of supply, tensions in the Middle East were compounded with the news that President Trump is taking the US out of the joint US/Russian/European agreement with Iran.

Add in the turmoil in Venezuela, and reduced volumes from African producers, and crude oil prices look set to significantly increase.

At the same time, the British pound has fallen back against the US dollar, the global petro-currency.

“UK fiscal and global oil trading issues have placed great pressure on wholesale costs for retail road fuel, as reported by Platts,” said Madderson. “Average costs have risen by nearly 6 pence per litre (ppl) since Easter and there is no immediate softening in sight.

“This is going to hit motorists hard and add to inflationary pressures across the faltering economy. The worst outlook of above $100 oil could send pump prices towards the record levels of 142ppl for petrol and 148ppl for diesel reached in April 2012”.

 

Motor finance: deficit between dealer’s obligations and customers’ awareness of their rights

A study by Alphera, BMW Group’s motor finance division, has shown that 64% of consumers are unaware of dealership salespeople’s obligations in terms of properly assessing their needs.

“The deficit, between a dealer’s obligations and customers’ awareness of their rights, means sales staff must clearly explain every aspect of a finance product, and properly assess customers’ needs,” said Alphera’s marketing manager, Gerry Kouris.

“If dealers can address this gap and offer total transparency, they can empower customers to make an informed decision, giving them confidence that a finance product is truly appropriate for them. In the long term this approach will foster greater customer loyalty and more sustainable income for dealers.”

The same survey also found that 58% of motorists were unaware of the dealer’s responsibility to outline a finance product’s terms and conditions and details of any additional charges.

77% of respondents didn’t know that dealers must outline how purchasing a vehicle on finance may affect their credit rating.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) recently announced plans to carry out a mystery shopping programme throughout 2018 to gauge the level of compliance in car finance sales.

Used car prices dipped in April

Auction group BCA reports that its average used car sale price fell by 0.8% in April 2018 to £9,584, although values are still up 5.4%, equivalent to £494, on the same time last year.

“Buyer demand was high and conversion rates stayed strong in April, despite the diversions of the Easter holidays and some unseasonably poor weather,” said Stuart Pearson, BCA’s chief operations officer for UK Remarketing.

“Professional buyers remain very active, reflecting the strong retail demand that has been widely reported.

“Whilst demand traditionally softens into the summer months, we are continuing to see inventory, attendance and bidding activity at increased levels. Therefore, we anticipate that average values will remain stable.”

Interestingly, values for nearly-new vehicles increased by 1.5% on the previous month to £19,170, up 6.3%, or £1,142, year-on-year.

 

Skilled thieves strip valuable Corsa parts

The Sun has reported the return of so-called “Corsa Cannibals” – thieves who strip parts from Vauxhall Corsa hatchbacks while they’re parked in the streets.

This criminal activity was previously seen in Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire and Teeside in 2015, and in North Yorkshire last year.

According to The Sun, Charlotte Moors and her partner had parked their Corsa in a car park while they went for dinner and drinks.

The pair decided to get a taxi home, but on returning to pick up their Corsa they found that the front bumper, headlights, grille, bonnet and front panel were all missing.

Vauxhall has previously stated there is no security issue with the cars, but skilled thieves appear able to remove valuable parts without causing damage.

It is believed Corsas are targeted because of their popularity with young drivers who are more likely to be involved in crashes and therefore need spare parts.

 

Our pick of recent motoring stories highlighting important issues for used car buyers and sellers…

chart-2741952_960_720

April car sales trends

The new car registration figures for April show that sales were up 10.4% on the same month last year, although the 2017 figure was skewed by consumers getting in early to beat a looming rise in Vehicle Excise Duty.

After four months of sales, 2018 is 8.8% behind 2017, at 886,400 registrations. Demand for hybrid and petrol cars grew, but diesel registrations declined sharply.

“Consumers need certainty about future policies towards different fuel types, including diesel, and a compelling package of incentives to deliver long-term confidence in the newest technologies,” said SMMT chief executive, Mike Hawes.

Test drive demand

New research by What Car found that 45% of new car buyers plan to test at least two different models, with almost a fifth expecting to drive more than five.

Only one in 10 would buy a new car without test driving any.

“Driving an EV or hybrid will be a new experience for millions of drivers and they will want to understand what they are buying,” said Steve Huntingford, editor of What Car.

“As a result, we predict a surge in demand for test drives, but with it dealers and manufacturers need to ensure the experience of the test drive itself fits the customer.”

To provide a less pressured retail experience, some manufacturers now offer 24 and 48-hour test drives.

Audi Q5 selling fast

Auto Trader has named its fastest selling used cars in March, with Audi’s Q5 leading the way, taking an average 19 days to sell.

The top five were:

1. 2016 Audi Q5 SUV Diesel Manual
2. 2012 Vauxhall Insignia Hatchback Petrol Manual
3. 2017 Toyota Avensis Estate Diesel Manual
4. 2012 Volkswagen Tiguan SUV Diesel Automatic
5. 2016 Ford Ka Hatchback Petrol Manual

“The negative rhetoric that has surrounded the fuel debate has clearly made a huge impact on the performance of new diesel sales, but our data shows just how resilient they remain within the used car market,” said Auto Trader retailer director, Karolina Edwards-Smajda.

EV champions

Highlighting that one-in-three UK dealerships don’t currently have an electric vehicle (EV) trained technician, Gain Solutions is urging dealers to invest to boost sales.

“With the demand for electric vehicles increasing, it is crucial that dealers are trained, educated and geared up for the switch in vehicle sales that lies ahead,” said Gain Solutions’ managing director, Marcus Blakemore.

“Initially, one EV champion in a dealership is likely to be much more effective and successful in the selling of EVs than an entire sales team who just know the basics.”

Investigation into Zafira fires

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is working with Luton Borough Council’s trading standards to investigate Vauxhall over the Zafira fires.

The first fire was reported in 2009, with a further 161 incidents reportedly taking place since.

In November 2015, Vauxhall issued a recall for 200,000 Zafira B cars, followed by a second recall for 234,000 in May 2016.
Apparently the DVSA is also looking at the possibility of automatic MOT fails for the severest uncorrected defects.

Our pick of recent motoring stories highlighting important issues for used car buyers and sellers…

Electric Car

Price and condition

Cox Automotive, which runs the Manheim auction group and Motors (co.uk) search platform, has provided useful data on emerging market trends.

Firstly, it reports that car dealers are turning to the used vehicle market amid falling new car sales, sparking a 9.4% year-on-year increase in prices at auction.

Secondly, it says Motors has seen smaller lower-value vehicles, such as the Ford Focus and Fiesta, selling at a faster rate than larger prestige vehicles.

“Consumers are now more focused on price and condition, and although relevant, fuel type is no longer the key factor,” said Cox’s head of external relations, Philip Nothard.

Hybrid or electric?

Go Ultra Low, a joint Government and motor industry campaign to promote electric cars, has highlighted that, while plug-in hybrid sales are up, pure battery electric car sales have dipped.

In the first three months of 2018 there were 13,327 new electric and hybrid cars registered, an increase of 16% on the same quarter last year. The majority were plug-in hybrids, with more than 10,000 hitting the roads.

“With the range of pure electric cars constantly increasing and plug-in hybrids continuing to offer the best of both worlds, it’s getting easier for motorists to see the benefits of electric motoring,” said head of Go Ultra Low, Poppy Welch.

New Leaf cyclist-detection

Car safety body, Euro NCAP, has announced that the new Nissan Leaf is the first all-electric car to receive its 5-star rating since tougher standards were introduced earlier this year.

Notably, cyclist-detection with auto brake technology is included under a new designation called AEB Vulnerable Road Users (AEB VRU).

Robbert Verweij, Euro NCAP Board member, explained: “It was the drive to save cyclists’ lives which inspired the Dutch government to fund a major project, which led to the development of a protocol for detecting cyclists.”

New MOT defect categories

With new MOT rules coming into force from 20 May 2018, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has sought to tackle “misinterpretation in the media about how the new defect categories will work”.

Defects pre-defined as “dangerous” will be set out for testers, with a new “major” defect term introduced for all other failures.

Another new category, “minor” defect, will be used for issues not serious enough to be a fail. Advisories will continue to indicate components likely to soon become defective.

Pre-17 driver training

The Young Driver Focus 2018 event, organised by Road Safety GB in partnership with FirstCar, highlighted some worrying statistics:

1) One in five young drivers will crash within six months of passing their driving test; 2) Nearly 450 people are killed every year in accidents involving young drivers.

To address this, motoring journalist Quentin Willson argued in favour of pre-17 driver training. 65% of the audience agreed that earlier tuition would be beneficial.

New bike sales increase

Figures from the Motor Cycle Industry Association (MCIA) show that two-wheeled sales increased in March, boosted by the plate change.

Scooter registrations were up 14.2% and motorcycles 5.4%, but a big slump in moped sales, down 36.4%, harmed the overall total.

In terms of brand popularity, Honda stayed top, with BMW second and Kawasaki third.

Our pick of recent motoring stories highlighting important issues for used car buyers and sellers…

Peugeot 3008

Peugeot 3008 award

Now in its 16th year, the 2018 Driver Power survey of UK new car owners found that overall satisfaction has increased to an all-time high of 90.94%.

The Peugeot 3008 was crowned Driver Power Car of the Year, with a 93.88% satisfaction score. The top 10 models were:

  1. Peugeot 3008 (93.88%)
  2. Kia Niro (93.07%)
  3. Alfa Romeo Giulia (93.06%)
  4. Toyota Prius (93.04%)
  5. Lexus RX (92.99%)
  6. Lexus NX (92.90%)
  7. Kia Sorento (92.85%)
  8. Toyota Verso (92.83%)
  9. Honda Civic (92.50%)
  10. Skoda Octavia (92.45%)

However, owners also reported more problems with their new cars, with 14.36% of those polled saying they had experienced an issue, compared to 12.15% in 2017.

New car faults

Further to the story above, the Auto Express Driver Power survey named the 10 new cars most likely to develop faults… and it wasn’t great news for BMW:

  1. BMW 5 Series/M5
  2. Alfa Romeo Giulia
  3. BMW 4 Series/M4
  4. BMW 2 Series/M2
  5. Land Rover Discovery Sport
  6. BMW 3 Series/M3
  7. Toyota C-HR
  8. Citroen C4 Cactus
  9. Audi A4/RS4/S4
  10. Dacia Sandero/Stepway

The BMW 5 Series/M5 claimed an unwanted first place, with 51% of owners polled claiming to have suffered a problem. Many cited issues with the exterior paint and trim.

The Alfa Romeo Giulia was second-worst (40%), often due to electrical issues, followed by the BMW 4 Series/M4 (36%), with electrics, suspension and brakes the main culprits.

Insurance by postcode

Financial products comparison site, GoCompare, says UK car insurance now costs an average £826.77. It also identified the cheapest and most expensive postcodes.

Unsurprisingly, West London is the priciest, with premiums costing at least £1,734.80. The cheapest area is 350 miles north in Galashiels, Scotland, where residents can pay just £544.84.

“Insurers will deem areas with higher crime and claim rates a higher risk,” explained GoCompare’s Matt Oliver.

Electric shock

Car-buying magazine What Car? has identified hidden costs associated with electric vehicles (EVs) which it says could come as a nasty shock for owners.

In particular, using public charging points was found to cost twice as much as charging at home. It also expressed concern at low residual values.

“Plug-in electrics are still relatively new to consumers and so they might not be as clued up as they would be with a petrol or diesel,” said What Car? editor Steve Huntingford.

Still silver

New data from the DVLA shows that silver remains Britain’s most popular car colour.

In Q3 2017, 21% of all cars on Britain’s roads were silver, just ahead of black on 20% and blue on 18%. The pattern is changing though as, compared to Q1 2016, silver is down 3%, while black is up 7%.

Grey and white both made double digit increases to move up to fourth and fifth respectively.

 Fuel trends

Auto Trader has reported that, despite the proportion of searches for diesel dropping, prices and demand are holding up.

The percentage of online searches for diesel fell to 51% in March, still ahead of petrol, which increased its share to 45%. Searches for alternatively fueled vehicles also rose slightly.

The average diesel car price was up 3% year-on-year to £14,453 in March, while the average petrol sale price increased by 10% over the same period, to £10,712.

Our pick of recent motoring stories highlighting important issues for used car buyers and sellers…

Diesel

Used car values up again

 Strong competition saw used car prices rise by an average 1.7% in March, according to figures from auction company BCA. The average sale value of £9,668 was the second highest on record, £170 up on February and over £800 more than the same month a year ago.

The average age and mileage of vehicles offered are both continuing to drop, from 56.33 months and 49,441 miles in March 2017 to 54.33 months and 47,474 miles in March 2018.

“Retail used car activity is reportedly very strong, as buyers look for good value used cars and that is being helped by the increased availability of finance in the used sector,” said Stuart Pearson, BCA’s managing director of UK Remarketing.

Less desirable diesel?

 More than two thirds of drivers (67%) are less likely to purchase a diesel car following the VW emissions scandal, according to a new report from Close Brothers Motor Finance.

Five years ago, diesel-powered motors accounted for 52% of new sales, but that plummeted to 38% last year.

Along with the VW scandal, the Government’s plan to ban the sale of new non-hybrid or electric vehicles by 2040 is considered a major factor.

“Until this deadline draws closer there will still be demand for diesel cars, particularly from high mileage customers who value the fuel economy,” said Close Brothers’ director of sales, Sean Kemple.

Driving test statistics

Private number plate specialist Absolute Reg has analysed Government statistics for 2016-17 to reveal some interesting facts about the UK driving test.

376,785 people took the practical car test for the first time over this period, while 33,584 were taking it for at least the sixth time.

50.6% of men passed first time, compared to 43.9% of women. 47.8% of 16-25 year olds passed first time, compared to 41.4% of 61+ year olds and just 36.5% of 26-56 year olds.

The Isle of Mull in Scotland boasted the highest pass rate (91.7%), while those taking the test in Belvedere in SE London struggled most, with just 28% passing.

Check out the infographic <here> https://absolutereg.co.uk/news/uk-driving-test-centre-statistics-uncovered

Volvo safety credentials

Thatcham Research has published one of the most eye-catching statistics of the year so far: that no one has died in a Volvo XC90 in the UK since it launched in 2002.

The key factors in this astonishing performance include the car’s comparatively large mass, which is means it’s physically tougher in a collision, and stacks of safety features.

The second-generation model, manufactured since 2014, comes with both autonomous emergency braking and lane assist as standard.

“Most of the delivery of the safety of that vehicle, the fact that no one’s been killed in it, is because of good structure,” said Matthew Avery, research director at Thatcham.

10-year car trends 

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has published new data on 10-year trends in the UK car market:

  • The number of cars registered to women has surged since 2007 to 11.8m, around a third of the car parc.
  • 40% of all new cars registered in 2017 had an automatic gearbox, double the proportion in 2007.
  • There are now 1,500 model ranges and 65,000 different model specifications in the parc, compared with 1,200 and 56,000 in 2017.

Our pick of recent motoring stories highlighting important issues for used car buyers and sellers…

car crash

Money for first Ka

New figures from automotive research company CarGurus show that UK first-time car buyers have an average budget of £4,627.

62% opted for a second-hand vehicle, with the Ford Ka the most popular choice.

While a quarter of young people have their first car bought for them, 56% said they funded the purchase without parental help.

Car sales figures

UK new car registrations fell 15.7% in March, compared to the same month last year, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

However, it should be noted that March 2017 was the biggest month ever for new car registrations, as buyers seized the chance to buy before new Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) rates came into force.

Sue Robinson, Director of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), commented: “Despite the decline in new car sales, our members are seeing extremely strong sales of used 3 to 5 year-old vehicles.”

 Crash data

A study of 25,000 traffic incidents by law firm Your Legal Friend has revealed some intriguing data about UK road accidents.

It found that: drivers in their early 30s were most likely to cause a crash; Halifax was the most accident-prone location; the Ford Fiesta was the car most likely to be in a crash; and people named David or Sarah were most likely to be involved.

Online or forecourt?

 A survey of over 1,000 consumers by garage network Servicing Stop has revealed that 64% are likely to search for their next new or used car online.

Only one in three respondents considered dealer showrooms to be a more trusted source.

40% said they’d look on automotive-specific sites, such as Autotrader, 16% head to Gumtree and Ebay, and 8% to Facebook and Twitter.

Oly Richmond, chief executive of Servicing Stop, said: “It’s great to see drivers presented with more diversity in terms of their buying options.”

Park on the pavement

Parking on the pavement could land drivers across the UK with a £70 fine, depending on the results of a new Department for Transport (DfT) review.

In London, the practice has been prohibited since 1974, with Rule 244 of the Highway Code stating that drivers “must not” park on pavements there. Penalty charge notices of £130 are commonly issued to enforce the ban.

Currently, the Code advises that “elsewhere” drivers “should not” do it, effectively allowing it.

Motoring organisations, including the AA and RAC, expressed concern about some roads becoming blocked if the restriction was rolled out nationwide.