Motor Industry News
A unique insight into our valuations team (VIP DATA) day to day observations from probably the most accurate vehicle valuation system in the UK.
As usual the first week of the year brings uncertainty. Buyers appear to be hanging back and assessing the market - how long will this last?
Traders seem to be getting wise to the well-known auctions that see retail customers pushing prices up above the trade buyers’ comfort zone. They are moving to the smaller auctions that are out of the way in an attempt to grab good stock at the right money.
Seat’s VAT saving is working wonders to keep their new car sales afloat. Supply seems to be struggling to keep up with demand on more popular models.
Jaguar has announced a limited run of 100 units of its range topping XFR. Available for delivery from early February the aptly named “XFR 100” feature’s a unique interior and a plaque in the centre console amongst other specification upgrades.
Just had a first drive in the Mercedes E250CDi Sport Saloon. The test car features a manual gearbox and also uses Mercedes Blue Efficiency technology, which is said to increase fuel economy.
First impressions are very good. The car looks great in Sport guise with an aggressive stance. The expected Mercedes build quality (which is now vastly improved after a brief run of poor build quality) is evident on entering the cabin, with good quality materials used throughout.
The car is very dynamic to drive with positive steering feel and a supple yet sporty feel to the chassis. Fuel economy shows an average of 38.3mpg which is great for a car of this size.
The E Class has enough room to easily accommodate 5 adults with luggage. The E Class backs up the perception of Mercedes being a quality brand that a lot of buyers aspire to. They won’t be disappointed.
The market seems to be picking up. A trip to BCA Derby confirmed that the trade are concentrating on buying fresh stock, but the same rules apply. Only clean low mileage cars are attracting strong money.
Mercedes have announced some changes to the current model line-up. C class will receive a facelift which includes a new more aggressive from bumper among other external changes. Internally a fresh design to the dashboard and better quality materials are to be used. CLS is to receive a facelift as well. A squarer front grill with a bigger Mercedes badge and slightly raised rear roofline to aid rear headroom will be on the new car.
Down to the Cowley plant in Oxford for a meeting with Mini. The main purpose of this visit was for a reveal of a brand new model to be shown at the upcoming Geneva Motor show, and to go through the intended specifications, badging and pricing levels. This was also an opportunity to go through a number of other changes to the existing Mini line up and to give details of a new derivative in the Cooper S stable.
There will be a new Clubman special edition, the Hampton, to be launched next month to replace the outgoing Soho model
Audi have announced that they are building just 500 units for the UK of their RS3.
Based on the current 5 door A3 Sportback body, the car features the 5 cylinder 340ps 2.5 Turbocharged engine already found in the TT RS. 0-60 in 4.6 seconds and a limited top speed of 155mph promise an exhilarating drive. Dealers are taking orders from now.
The main purpose of VIPDATA is to provide current used and future values of cars, light commercials and motorcycles.
We spend much time helping manufacturers to bring new cars to market advising what pricing levels, specifications and derivatives will work best in any particular sector. But what are all those new cars when they are registered? They are tomorrow’s used cars, and we are about to start driving some of these after they have been out on contract hire or leased for the past two or three years.
This will prove to us how well (or not) todays so called “high quality build and materials” really do fare in the real world.
Down to Aston Martin to drive a new compact model called the Cygnet, this car will shock you! The car is badge engineering taken to the extreme, it is actually a Toyota IQ that is re-worked in the Aston factory and given a new grill and front bumper, new led rear light clusters and Aston designed alloy wheels etc.
The customer is allowed the same level of personalisation as with the sports car range, if you want it painting avocado green to match your bathroom, you can have it!
Nothing mechanically has been changed, the engine is standard Toyota 1.3 97bhp petrol with either a manual or a CVT auto gearbox, the suspension and brakes are unchanged.
The biggest changes are to the interior where you can choose your bespoke leather colour, style of the seats, carpets, door cards and dash trims etc., if a trim or fitting looks like metal, it is metal, and not chromed plastic. All this is carefully hand crafted, fashioned and stitched by the same craftsmen and women that produce the exotic sports cars the company is famed for.
We were first told about this car over a year ago, why bother with a car that you either love or hate, in Toyota guise it does look a bit like a dishwasher on wheels, especially in white!
Aston Martin needed a car like this to meet strict EU carbon emission rules that all car manufacturers will have to adhere to. The car will drastically bring down the average Co2 outputs for all the cars they produce, it’s a portfolio thing.
They also needed a car that will appeal to the ever growing needs of the city car buyer, a luxury city car with high end image, exclusive metropolitan transport. There are rumours that the Cygnet can only be bought by existing Aston Martin owners, this is not true, anybody can buy one but at £31,000 you will need deep pockets.
The Cygnet is an alternative to the cheap high volume generic hatchbacks on sale, (the IQ is already a bit of a niche car anyway) but I am a little disappointed that Aston Martin have not done anything to the induction system and exhaust, to at least make it sound like something special.
Mercedes CLS Facelift. In terms of looks the CLS has improved dramatically, the flatter front grill as seen on the SLK combined with new headlamp clusters give the car a far more purposeful look.
The other main change to the CLS is the higher roofline which has increased headroom for rear seat passengers. This would quite easily go unnoticed to the untrained eye meaning that the car hasn’t lost its sleek lines. There will also be the introduction of a 250CDi which will come in at under 150g/km which should be a great seller.
The car drives well; it feels very agile for what is actually quite a big car. The interior has improved in both layout and quality over its predecessor too.
Last year we saw demand for some prestige models far exceeding supply as a consequence of manufacturer supply cut backs in the UK. This was supposed to be remedied for 2011 with increased production.
The only problem is that demand has increased once again this year, so the issue is still there. The positive effect is that residual values are going to remain strong as a result which is great news for buyers.