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Transport Minister says no plans to cut drink-drive limit in England and Wales

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The Transport Minister is being urged to learn from Scottish drink-drive laws after announcing his plans not to cut the limit in England and Wales.

That’s the message from road safety charity Brake after Andrew Jones confirmed there would be no review of the limit.

As reported by Sky News, Mr Jones said: “The Government believes rigorous enforcement and serious penalties for drink drivers are a more effective deterrent than changing the drink-driving limit.”

Brake said the comments seem to be at odds with Mr Jones’ stated intentions to discuss the experience of the lower limit in Scotland and get access to robust evidence of the road safety impact.

It added that figures show the number of drink drive offences fell by more than 12% in Scotland in the first nine months after the drink drive limit was lowered from 80 to 50mg/100ml of blood in December 2014. It dropped by almost 8% during the first year in total, the figure being reduced by a drink-driving spike over Christmas and New Year.

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Campaigns director for Brake, Gary Rae said: “We would urge the minister to listen to and learn from his Scottish counterpart and respect the wishes of both the British public and the police by following Scotland’s lead and dropping the drink drive limit. Early indications show a clear reduction in offences in Scotland which can only make our roads safer and mean fewer devastating preventable deaths and injuries. This would be a useful step in moving towards a complete zero tolerance of drink driving, which is the only way to make our roads safe.”

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/Transport-Minister-says-no-plans-to-cut-drink-drive-limit-in-England-and-Wales/0434023618


M6 Toll put up for sale

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The M6 Toll has been put up for sale for £1.9bn according to reports.

The UK’s only pay-to-use motorway is being sold by a consortium of banks that took control from Midlands Expressway Ltd after a debt restructuring.

The 27-mile stretch of toll motorway opened in 2003 and currently costs £5.50 for a car to use during weekdays and £11 for commercial vehicles or coaches.

According to reports, the consortium is selling now following recent improved performance from the toll road. Figures published by Midland Expressway in January show that for Q4 2015, overall traffic across all vehicle categories and all days were up by 14.4% on the same period last year with average daily traffic in the period of over 47,900 vehicles. However, it is yet to reach the 75,000 vehicles a day that was predicted when it was first opened.

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/M6-Toll-put-up-for-sale/0434023679


British road traffic reaches highest ever level

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Road traffic in Britain reached its highest ever level in 2015, boosted by the growth in the economy.

New Department for Transport information shows that road traffic rose 2.2% in 2015.

The provisional figure of 317.8 billion vehicle miles travelled on GB roads in 2015 is the highest rolling annual total ever and 1.1% higher than the pre-recession peak in the year ending September 2007.

The figures show that:

  • Car traffic increased by 1.7% to 248.6 billion vehicle miles, very slightly above the pre-recession.
  • Van traffic continued to rise faster than any other vehicle type, increasing by 6.1% to a new peak of 47.7 billion vehicle miles.
  • HGV traffic rose on motorways and rural ‘A’ roads, but fell on urban ‘A roads.
  • All road classes experienced a rise, apart from Urban ‘A’ road traffic which remained at the same level.
  • Motorway traffic increased by 2.4% to 65.8 billion vehicle miles, the highest ever level.
  • Minor rural road traffic increased the most of any road type, rising 5.2% to 45.8 billion vehicle miles

As a result of the increased congestion, average speeds continued to decline.

The average speed on local ‘A’ roads in England during the weekday morning peak in the year ending December 2015 was 23.4mph. This is a 0.7% decrease on the year ending September 2015.

Average speeds on local ‘A’ roads in England were slower in each month from October to December 2015, with decreases of 2.3%, 3.0% and 2.9% respectively, compared to the same months in 2014.

RAC chief engineer David Bizley said: “Government figures show there has been an increase in traffic in line with a rise in the country’s business output (GDP) so slower average speeds appear to be the downside for motorists. The Government is investing in major roads and has ring-fenced car tax income to continue the investment beyond 2020, but the evidence suggests the condition of local roads is still in need of extra investment.”

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/British-road-traffic-reaches-highest-ever-level/0434023677


Kia debuts Optima Plug-in Hybrid at Chicago Auto Show

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Kia has unveiled the all-new Optima Plug-in Hybrid and hybrid at the Chicago Auto Show as part of a trio of hybrids that also include the 89g/km Niro crossover

The Optima plug-in hybrid will launch this summer, powered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine and electric motor, the latter supplied by a 9.8kWh mains-rechargeable battery pack located under the boot floor and rear seats. This means the rear bench folds flat, and boot space isn’t as heavily compromised as it was in the old Optima Hybrid.

Kia has yet to reveal fuel economy figures for Europe, but has said it’s targeting a 27-mile electric range and 48mpg with the battery depleted, suggesting over 120mpg and 50g/km CO2 emissions on the NEDC for plug-in hybrids. Charging takes three hours on a dedicated point, and the neater packaging of the battery could also mean it’s available in the forthcoming Optima Sportwagon, which will be available in Europe later this year.

The new Optima Hybrid will only be available in left-hand drive markets, as its predecessor was. It benefits from the same improvements in packaging and also uses a 2.0-litre petrol engine, but with a much smaller capacity battery and less powerful electric motor.

The Niro also arrives this summer using a dedicated eco-car platform shared with Hyundai’s forthcoming Ioniq, which will be available with plug-in hybrid and fully electric drivetrains, the former also confirmed for Kia’s model.

Its wheelbase is slightly longer than the Soul’s, and the battery is located underneath the rear seats to avoid compromising interior space. Driving the front wheels is a new Atkinson Cycle 1.6-litre petrol engine, augmented by an electric motor and paired with a six-speed dual-clutch transmission. This produces a combined 144bhp, with CO2 emissions of 89g/km – equating to around 74mpg on the combined cycle.

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/Kia-debuts-Optima-Plug-in-Hybrid-at-Chicago-Auto-Show/0434023678


72% of motorway service stations have EV charge points, finds RAC Foundation

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Electric car drivers can ‘fill up’ at most motorway service stations, according to the RAC Foundation.

The organisation’s analysis shows that 70 service stations on England’s motorway network now have electric vehicle charge points – equating to 72% of the total of 97 service stations.

As a result, an electric vehicle driver will now be no more than 20 miles from a service station charge point on 98% of the motorway system in England.

And across the whole of the Strategic Road Network managed by Highways England – which also includes major A-roads – 82% (3,845 miles out of 4,668 miles) of the system is within 20 miles of a charge point.

The roll out of the charging infrastructure means that Highways England is getting close to the £15m promise made in the 2014 Autumn Statement that electric car drivers would never be “more than 20 miles from a charge point on the Strategic Road Network”.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “Electric car drivers might still struggle to drive from Land’s End to John o’ Groats but they can now travel from Southampton to Perth in a relatively straight line and be confident of being able to ‘fill up’ along the way. 

“The growing charge point network is good news but there are important caveats. 

“Though many of the charge points are rapid, it will still take about 30 minutes to fully replenish a battery. This is fine if you’re first in the queue but could be a challenge if the hoped-for take up of electric cars materialises and you’re stuck at the back of a very long line.”

He added: “Drivers need to know the charge point they intend to use is actually working. Previous research by the RAC Foundation suggested that at any one time a third of charge points in London were out of action.”

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/72-percent-of-motorway-service-stations-have-EV-charge-points-finds-RAC-Foundation/0434023676


VisionTrack and Brake partner for road safety initiative

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In-vehicle CCTV specialist VisionTrack has teamed up with road safety charity Brake to help promote safer driving across the UK.

The partnership will see VisionTrack support Brake’s campaign activities to stop road deaths and injuries in a bid to make streets and communities safer.

Simon Marsh, VisionTrack’s managing director, said: “Brake’s resources for fleet professionals are highly valuable and we hope to work closely with them to raise awareness of the role technology has to play in changing driver performance and encouraging better driving.” 

He added: “In 2015 the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) reported that 86% of company car fleets were involved in an incident over a 12-month period, while 100% of fleets found that one of their drivers was at fault. Telematics cameras combined with driver development initiatives are key to helping fleets reduce these rates.”  

Sarah-Jane Martin, senior corporate fundraiser at Brake, added: “VisionTrack is well aligned with Brake through its passion to use visual and statistical data to proactively encourage people to alter their driving style. Its efforts are a fantastic example of how companies can demonstrate their commitment to supporting road crash victims and to raising awareness about road safety. We’re looking forward to a long-lasting partnership.”

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/VisionTrack-and-Brake-partner-for-road-safety-initiative/0434023672


Alphabet publishes free guide to EVs for fleets

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A free guide on the benefits of switching to electric vehicles has been published by Alphabet.

Called the ‘Book of Watts & Maybes’, the 16-page guide is aimed at SMEs as well as corporates and public sector decision-makers and answers the most commonly asked questions received by AlphaElectric experts.

It also provides practical advice to help businesses ensure EVs are successfully integrated into their fleet.

To download a copy, please click here.

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/Alphabet-publishes-free-guide-to-EVs-for-fleets/0434023671


British motorists driving 3.8bn more miles as pump prices fuel

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Falling oil prices have led to British motorists travelling an additional 3.8bn miles per year, compared with two years ago, Kwik Fit has revealed.

According to the study, more than four million drivers say that the 20% fall in the price of fuel since January 20142 has resulted in them driving an average of 79 more miles each month, or 950 miles per year. A total of 280,000 motorists say the increase in their monthly mileage is more than 200 miles.

Kwik Fit also found that when compared with their fuel costs two years ago, drivers are saving a total of £6.1bn a year. The average monthly saving is £16.05, though almost half a million drivers (497,000) are each saving more than £60 per month.

Lower fuel prices have also given people greater freedom and flexibility. A total of 10% of drivers say that they have been able to make journeys they might otherwise have avoided, while 8% (2.8 million) motorists, have been able to go on days out or driving holidays they would not have done at higher prices. And 5% say they can make longer journeys than was previously the case.

However, 5% of drivers (2.3 million) say they are less concerned about driving in an economical manner, with 2% openly admitting that they drive faster.

Roger Griggs, communications director at Kwik Fit, said: “The lower fuel prices have obviously led to huge savings for many motorists, and also enabled them to use their car more often.

“Just because fuel prices are lower than two years ago, we would encourage all drivers to try to drive as efficiently as possible – driving faster will clearly negate any savings made by increasing fuel consumption.”

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/British-motorists-driving-3-8bn-more-miles-as-pump-prices-fuel/0434023669


TW Services reduces tyres costs with Michelin MyAccount

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TW Services is using a new online portal from Michelin to access tyre promotions and reduce costs.

The free service – Michelin MyAccount – is available to all commercial vehicle customers across the UK and gives operators the ability to select which tyre promotions they take part in, with resulting cashback promotions paid directly into their bank account.

Other features include access to direct contact with Michelin, full use of Michelin’s OnCall roadside assistance service, plus a wealth of product and technical data available 24/7.

The portal also makes it easier for fleets to register and manage applicable tyres within Michelin’s accidental damage and peace of mind guarantee schemes.

TW Services operates a 100% Michelin tyre policy across its mixed fleet comprising 19 tippers, 12 skip loaders, 10 artics, 11 trailers, five roll-on-roll-off vehicles, two refuse collection vehicles, two grab lorries and one road sweeper.

It takes tyre husbandry seriously with two employees responsible for fitting, servicing and re-grooving its tyres.

Russ Copeland, workshop co-ordinator at TW Services, said: “Since we registered for MyAccount we’ve found it to be invaluable. It’s helping us to reduce our tyre bill as we’re kept up-to-date with all the latest Michelin offers, meaning we never miss one that would benefit us.”

Commenting on the company’s tyre policy, Copeland added: “Last year we achieved a 98% re-groove rate across our Michelin tyres, which had a significant impact on overall tyre performance.

“Now the MyAccount portal is helping us extract even more value from our Michelin policy.”

The original article can be found at http://www.commercialfleet.org/news/truck-news/2016/02/12/tw-services-reduces-tyres-costs-with-michelin-myaccount


SmartWitness and Corcra team up to offer integrated telematics and camera technology solution for fleets

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Vehicle CCTV specialists SmartWitness and fleet management specialists Corcra have partnered to develop an integrated telematics and camera technology product.

The partnership sees the new SmartWitness forward-facing KP1 camera system integrated into the Corcra platform to offer a ‘unique solution’ for fleet managers of cars and commercial vehicles.

The new product has been developed with Corcra’s sister company, telematics specialists NIBC.

The joint offering offer integrated telematics and driver behaviour, and live tachograph data with in-cab camera technology.

This not only provides a reduction in insurance premiums and protection against ‘crash for cash’ schemes and not at fault claims, but it allows fleets to manage the footage remotely.

The video filmed through the SmartWitness KP1 is court admissible evidence, and can help protect drivers from the burden of pre-meditated staged accidents, false or exaggerated whiplash claims, conflicting reports of actual events, and driving offence allegations.

The SmartWitness KP1 fully integrates with the Corcra telematics portal and offers 30-frame per second video clips of accidents, near misses and instant notifications shown on the portal in seconds.

The camera captures footage of what happens before, during and after an accident and can record not only the driver’s view of the road but any other angle customers require by linking with a second camera. It also importantly reports on the impact force of the accident and the driving style.

SmartWitness managing director Craig Lamont said: “Corcra and SmartWitness have worked together to create an industry leading product. The flexibility and scalability of the Corcra solution, when combined with SmartWitness’ products delivers a real benefit to Corcra’s customer base. We look forward to helping their customers make even greater savings and improvements to their fleet.”

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/SmartWitness-and-Corcra-team-up-to-offer-integrated-telematics-and-camera-technology-solution-for-fleets/0434023661


Culina Group receives FTA compliance award for third consecutive year

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Food and drink specialist Culina Group has been presented with the Freight Transport Association Tachofta compliance award in recognition of its high standards of driver compliance and management of infringements.

The FTA award highlights members’ efforts to stay compliant with driver hours’ legislation, and ensuring that they keep their drivers safe and legal.

Culina has received the award for three consecutive years.

The high standards at the organisation’s Milton Keynes depot in particular, were highlighted for a second year running.

The site stood out with an average of just 3% of its core drivers having infringements on a daily basis.

Additionally, it had the lowest percentage of drivers with repeat contraventions indicating the robust systems in place monitoring driver performance.

The Tachofta award was presented to Culina at Milton Keynes by June Powell, director of operations for FTA.

She said: “FTA analyses more than 20 million driver days and recognises the efforts operators make in order to achieve such high standards.

“To be presented with this award once is a great achievement, but for Culina to receive its third is testimony that the systems it has in place are key to retaining such a high level of compliance.”

Pip Bains, fleet compliance manager at Culina, said: “One of the most rewarding things for any transport manager is the knowledge that they run a very compliant operation and have staff in place to ensure a continuous commitment to legislation.

“Our Milton Keynes depot has now won this award for two out of the past three years, proving yet again that driver compliance, safety and well being are at the foremost of all its procedures.”

The original article can be found at http://www.commercialfleet.org/news/latest-news/2016/02/12/culina-group-receives-fta-compliance-award


White remains Brits’ favourite car colour for third year running

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White has retained its position as the UK’s most popular new car colour for the third year running, with demand growing 2.2% to 564,393 units.

The data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) shows more than a fifth (21.4%) of new cars registered are white, compared with less than 1% a decade ago.

Blue cars have also seen a resurgence in demand, with more than one in six people choosing the colour. Blue used to be the nation’s first choice of car colour in the late 1990s and, after a period of falling popularity at the start of the century, it has now seen three years of continued growth in demand. 

Meanwhile, after eight years at the top between 2000 and 2008, silver continued its decline. It now makes up just over one in 10 new car registrations compared with its peak in 2004 when almost every third new car registered was silver.

Overall, neutral tones continued to dominate, with black cars in second place after white and followed by grey, taking 19.4% and 15.6% of the market respectively.

Yet demand for some brighter colours has shown an increase. The number of people choosing mauve cars rose by approximately a third in 2015 (30%) to 12,414, taking the colour into the top 10 for the first time.

Demand for green cars grew by 31.2% to 28,250 units to take its highest market share (1.1%) for five years.

Orange and yellow cars, meanwhile, also surged in popularity – up 25.7% and 12.7% respectively – with a total 30,187 people opting for the eye-catching colours.

The data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) shows more than a fifth (21.4%) of new cars registered are white, compared with less than 1% a decade ago.

Blue cars have also seen a resurgence in demand, with more than one in six people choosing the colour. Blue used to be the nation’s first choice of car colour in the late 1990s and, after a period of falling popularity at the start of the century, it has now seen three years of continued growth in demand. 

Meanwhile, after eight years at the top between 2000 and 2008, silver continued its decline. It now makes up just over one in 10 new car registrations compared with its peak in 2004 when almost every third new car registered was silver.

Overall, neutral tones continued to dominate, with black cars in second place after white and followed by grey, taking 19.4% and 15.6% of the market respectively.

Yet demand for some brighter colours has shown an increase. The number of people choosing mauve cars rose by approximately a third in 2015 (30%) to 12,414, taking the colour into the top 10 for the first time.

Demand for green cars grew by 31.2% to 28,250 units to take its highest market share (1.1%) for five years.

Orange and yellow cars, meanwhile, also surged in popularity – up 25.7% and 12.7% respectively – with a total 30,187 people opting for the eye-catching colours.

Top 10 Car Colours 2015:

Colour

 No. registrations

% market share

% change on 2014

 1. White

564,393

 21.4%

+2.2%

 2. Black

509,677

 19.4%

+5.3%

 3. Grey

411,717

 15.6%

+21.1%

 4. Blue

386,432

 14.7%

+15.5%

 5. Red

318,897

 12.1%

+1.8%

 6. Silver

295,429

11.2%

-5.2%

 7. Green

28,250

1.07%

+31.2%

 8. Brown

25,445

1.0%

-23.3%

 9. Orange

17,773

0.7%

+25.7%

 10. Mauve

12,719

 0.5%

+30.0%

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/White-remains-Brits8217-favourite-car-colour-for-third-year-running/0434023665


Isuzu command unit replaces three vehicles at West Midlands Ambulance Service

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West Midlands Ambulance Service has replaced three of its current vehicles with a new 7.5-tonne Isuzu, which will act as a bespoke incident command vehicle.

The vehicles provides a communications hub and base for WMAS commanders at the scene of an incident, for the duration of an incident, acting as a ‘mobile mini headquarters’.

It is planned to send the command vehicle to support air, rail and multi-vehicle incidents, or more prolonged incidents, such as flooding, within the West Midlands region.

Tony Page, general manager fleet services at WMAS, said: “The unit will enable a tactical command post to be deployed at the incident ground, housing operators and commanders, whilst also accommodating multi-agency responses, where required.

“The Isuzu will also provide us with a regional command training suite.”

The WMAS command vehicle is based on an Isuzu Forward 7.5-tonne N75.190 rigid chassis, which has been supplied by local West Midlands Isuzu Truck dealer, Aquila Truck Centre.

Providing the role previously carried out by three separate WMAS vehicles, the Isuzu 7.5-tonne rigid truck features a custom manufactured body with slide-out side pods, which house a conference/briefing room facility, together with seating for up to nine people.

This area is also equipped with a conference table, briefing screens, video and phone conferencing units and eight operational laptop positions.

A separate operational area houses two workstations with fixed PCs and peripherals, as well as a 46” interactive touchscreen that is to be used for team briefings.

Externally, the command vehicle is equipped with a ‘Sherpa’ automatic pole climbing camera delivery system, manufactured by Excelerate.

The optical infra-red camera enables real-time video sharing over high signal loss areas, such as mountainous or built-up locations.

Mounted on a telescopic five-metre mast, this extends coverage within the incident ground and allows surveillance and transmission of high-quality images in real time over distances in excess of one kilometre.

This vehicle is equipped with an integrated on-board video server that supports the streaming of video content back to WMAS HQ, and other authorised locations, as well as allowing simultaneous displaying, recording, reviewing and exporting of images by operational staff during incident, without any loss of recording capability.

The original article can be found at http://www.commercialfleet.org/news/latest-news/2016/02/12/isuzu-command-unit-replaces-three-vehicles-at-west-midlands-ambulance-service


TyreSafe opens entries for 10th anniversary awards

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TyreSafe is inviting all road safety stakeholders to enter submissions for the TyreSafe Awards 2016.

Open to non-members of TyreSafe as well as its supporters, the awards seek to recognise the work and achievements of those campaigning to raise awareness of tyre safety in the UK during 2015.

Winners will be presented with their awards at an evening ceremony on 14 July at The Belfry, Wishaw, which will be attended by senior members of the road safety community, representatives from the tyre and vehicle manufacturing and retail industries, and guests.

Organisations are welcome to submit single or multiple entries for each of the following categories:

  1. Independent garage award
  2. Franchise dealership award
  3. Tyre manufacturer award
  4. Tyre retailer award
  5. Vehicle manufacturer award
  6. Best use of technology to support a tyre safety campaign
  7. Safety in the community award
  8. Emergency services award
  9. On-line and social media award
  10. Outstanding achievement award – this will recognise the entry which demonstrates the most exceptional contribution to tyre safety

“The UK’s roads are some of the safest in the world, and road safety stakeholders have played a significant part in making that a reality,” said Stuart Jackson, TyreSafe chairman. “The TyreSafe Awards recognise the outstanding work being done across the country by committed teams to reduce the number of tyre-related incidents on our roads. TyreSafe welcomes submissions from all organisations and individuals working to make the UK’s roads tyre safe.”

Entrants are encourage to download the TyreSafe Awards Pack from tyresafe.org before making their submissions. They can then either complete and return a print submission or use the web form to enter – contact theteam@tyresafe.org for further details. Entries will be accepted until midnight 31 March 2016.

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/TyreSafe-opens-entries-for-10th-anniversary-awards/0434023664


TyreSafe opens entries for 10th anniversary Awards

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TyreSafe is inviting all road safety stakeholders to enter submissions for the TyreSafe Awards 2016.

Open to non-members of TyreSafe as well as its supporters, the awards seek to recognise the work and achievements of those campaigning to raise awareness of tyre safety in the UK during 2015.

Winners will be presented with their awards at an evening ceremony on 14 July at The Belfry, Wishaw, which will be attended by senior members of the road safety community, representatives from the tyre and vehicle manufacturing and retail industries, and guests.

Organisations are welcome to submit single or multiple entries for each of the following categories:

  1. Independent garage award
  2. Franchise dealership award
  3. Tyre manufacturer award
  4. Tyre retailer award
  5. Vehicle manufacturer award
  6. Best use of technology to support a tyre safety campaign
  7. Safety in the community award
  8. Emergency services award
  9. On-line and social media award
  10. Outstanding achievement award – this will recognise the entry which demonstrates the most exceptional contribution to tyre safety

“The UK’s roads are some of the safest in the world, and road safety stakeholders have played a significant part in making that a reality,” said Stuart Jackson, TyreSafe chairman. “The TyreSafe Awards recognise the outstanding work being done across the country by committed teams to reduce the number of tyre-related incidents on our roads. TyreSafe welcomes submissions from all organisations and individuals working to make the UK’s roads tyre safe.”

Entrants are encourage to download the TyreSafe Awards Pack from tyresafe.org before making their submissions. They can then either complete and return a print submission or use the web form to enter – contact theteam@tyresafe.org for further details. Entries will be accepted until midnight 31 March 2016.

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/TyreSafe-opens-entries-for-10th-anniversary-Awards/0434023664


Government ignoring the facts over drink-drive limit, say alcohol safety experts

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The Government’s decision announcement that it has no immediate plans to lower the drink-drive limit in England and Wales to the same as Scotland’s is “astonishing” according to alcohol safety experts who say that the Department for Transport is ignoring the facts.

Earlier this week Sky News reported that the Transport Minister said he has no plans to cut the drink-drive limit as the Government “believes rigorous enforcement and serious penalties for drink drivers are a more effective deterrent”.

In response, Suzannah Robin, an alcohol safety expert at breathalyser and alcohol testing specialist AlcoDigital, said: “Given the unity across Europe, where every country has now reduced the drink-drive limit to the same as Scotland’s, it has been proven over and over again that a lower drink-drive limit significantly improves road safety and reduces drink-drive related deaths yet the Department for Transport continues to ignore this.”

In 2014 alone alcohol accounted for 5,650 accidents and 8,320 casualties on UK roads and figures for fatalities have remained static since 2010 with an increase in deaths even being recorded between 2012 and 2013.1

Scotland decreased its drink-drive limit in line with other European countries in December 2014 and has seen drink-drive offences fall by 12.5% as a result, dropping from 4,208 to 3,682 compared with the same period the previous year.2

Suzannah Robin continued: “It is a scary thought that the drink-drive limit in England and Wales is the highest in Europe for not only private drivers but also commercial drivers who are permitted to operate vehicles such as HGVs and buses at a level four times higher than the rest of Europe.”

In France, where the drink-drive limit has been the same as Scotland’s for many years, and is zero tolerance for commercial drivers, fatalities have seen a dramatic decrease and fell by a further 8% in 2013 following the introduction of a breathalyser law.

And yesterday saw road safety charity Brake publish research showing that 5% of motorists drive the morning after heavy drinking on a weekly basis.

Robin added: “Although we support the Government’s focus on rigorous enforcement for drink-drivers we cannot ignore the facts – there are still too many deaths from drink-driving in England and Wales and too many families are suffering the consequences of losing loved ones. By not reducing the drink-drive limit The Department for Transport is effectively playing with people’s lives.”

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/Government-ignoring-the-facts-over-drink-drive-limit-say-alcohol-safety-experts/0434023662


Motiva supply Pure CF with truck and telematics package

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Motiva Group has delivered two new DAF trucks with telematics to Pure CF for contract furniture delivery.

The five-year deal strengthens a long-standing relationship with Pure CF, which sources its entire fleet requirement from the vehicle solutions firm.

Sales director Peter Wright (pictured) said: “We’ve built a whole suite of quality services that together create an all-encompassing solution for fleet operators of all sizes.

“And because we’re delivering them all from under one roof, it’s an option that can deliver significant savings in terms of efficiency and cost.

“Our relationship with Pure CF is an example of how we can build bespoke packages that can be adjusted in line with the demands of a customer’s business.”

Pure CF, which designs, manufactures and installs high quality furniture to hotels, restaurants and bars, including household brand names such as Café Rouge, Wagamama and Bella Italia, will use the 18-tonne DAF box tail lift trucks to boost its delivery operation.

The company runs four similar trucks under its contract deal with Motiva Group which also includes 14 medium and large vans.

Motiva provides additional support by supplying short and medium-term rentals to meet peaks in demand.

Each vehicle in the company’s growing fleet is fitted with Motrak telematics units supplied and fitted by Motiva Group, which also carries out all servicing and maintenance.

Paul Gill, managing director of Pure CF (also pictured), said: “Our business has been booming during the last few years and our fleet has naturally increased in line with the growth of the company.

“Motiva are competitive on pricing and provide an excellent all-round service. They’re always very responsive and their partnership approach is very important to us.

“Sourcing our contract vehicles together with shorter-term rentals, tracking and maintenance from them ensures our fleet is as efficient and cost-effective as it can be.”

The supply of the new trucks, which were each decked out in Pure CF’s striking green and black livery prior to delivery, is the latest in a growing number of contract hire deals for HGVs completed by Motiva.

The company saw a massive increase in that area of the business last year and figures in 2016 have been similarly encouraging.

Wright added: “The number of contract hire deals completed through our M-Way truck solutions arm is massively up on the previous 12 months.

“We can supply any HGV, from 7.5 tonne up to 44 tonne and from rigid units to triaxles along with all types of trailers and we have funding partners in place to grow our truck solutions business further.”

The original article can be found at http://www.commercialfleet.org/news/truck-news/2016/02/12/motiva-supply-pure-cf-with-truck-and-telematics-package


Thurlow Nunn Group signs remarketing deal with Aston Barclay plc

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Vauxhall dealer Thurlow Nunn Group has signed an exclusive remarketing deal with Aston Barclay.

The group – which operates 14 sites across East Anglia, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire – has advanced its association with Aston Barclay over the last three years, growing from a small number of dealer sites to a group-wide policy and onto this latest all-auction policy for 2016.

Building on the existing Monday evening sale programme, the solus agreement will introduce a premium section to the 2016 auction programme at Chelmsford.

The agreement means Thurlow Nunn will benefit further from the renovated auction halls at Aston Barclay’s main auction centre, served by Aston Barclay’s cloud-based Inventory Management System (IMS).

Trade buyers unable to attend an auction will have access to Thurlow Nunn stock via Aston Barclay’s LIVE online service, with bids on physical sales in real-time.

The deal is the second solus agreement that Aston Barclay has secured in as many months, following quickly after the announcement that another of its existing clients is opting for a complete remarketing solution at the Chelmsford site.

Simon Bottomley, Thurlow Nunn Group MD and motor division chairman, said: “Relations with Aston Barclay have been excellent this past three years. We’ve gradually extended our account and we’re only too pleased to put more stock through the Chelmsford auction.”

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/Thurlow-Nunn-Group-signs-remarketing-deal-with-Aston-Barclay-plc/0434023641


GM to launch 300-mile Ampera-e EV in Europe next year

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General Motors has confirmed that the Chevrolet Bolt long-range electric car will launch in Europe next year, badged as the Ampera-e.

Unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas last month, the Bolt features a 60kWh battery – twice the capacity of the latest Nissan LEAF – and offers a range of 200 miles on the U.S. EPA test cycle. Pricing starts at less than $30,000 (£20,000) in the United States and, unlike the Ampera, it’s fully electric; there is no petrol engine.

Opel Group has yet to confirm pricing, or whether it will be available as a Vauxhall. However, to compare it fairly, it’s worth noting that the New European Drive Cycle (NEDC) typically produces higher range indications than its U.S. equivalent. The Nissan LEAF returns a 107-mile range under U.S. testing, and 155 miles on the NEDC, which means the Ampera-e could launch with a range of almost 300 miles in European markets.

The drivetrain is unlikely to change much – producing 197bhp and 266lb.ft and reaching 62mph in around seven seconds, which is faster than the BMW i3. Chevrolet has also equipped the Bolt with the Combined Charging system, offering a 7.2kWh AC charge and DC rapid charging capability, and the Ampera-e is likely to offer the same, but with the European Type 2 connector.

Due to the large battery, rapid charging to 80% takes an hour, but the range regained per minute plugged in is the same as most other electric vehicles on the same connection.

Opel group CEO Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann, said: “Electric vehicles have the potential to make a significant contribution to climate protection and emissions reduction. The new Ampera-e will open the road to electric mobility by breaking down the barriers of high price and short driving range.”

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/GM-to-launch-300-mile-Ampera-e-EV-in-Europe-next-year/0434023652


SEAT reveals new Ateca SUV

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SEAT has taken the wraps off its new Ateca mid-sized SUV prior to its showroom launch in September.

Available to order now, the new model – named after a village in Spain – is the first SUV to be launched by the brand and focuses on distinctive design with practical features plus high-tech assistance systems and attractive value for money. It will also offer two-wheel and four-wheel drive versions.

Based on the same platform as the VW Tiguan, the Ateca is 4.36m in length and brings boot space of 485-litres for all-wheel drive versions and 510-litres in standard configuration.

Exterior design blends styling from sister models such as the Leon including its triangular headlights and the trapezoidal grille with SUV styling. The interior is based on a cockpit design cockpit with a clear driver focus.

Three trim levels will be offered, with the top-of-the-range being the Ateca XCELLENCE.

Engine line-up will offer a range of turbocharged TSI petrol and TDI diesel engines spans from 113bhp to 187bhp, with either front-wheel or all-wheel-drive, mated to manual or dual-clutch DSG transmissions.

From launch, the entry-level petrol engine is the 113bhp 1.0 TSI and there’s a 147bhp 1.4 TSI.

Diesel engines include a 113bhp 1.6 TDI and 148bhp and 187bhp versions of the 2.0 TDI. Fuel consumption figures for the diesels range from 56 to 66mpg, with CO2 figures from 112 to 131g/km.

Technology options run from full-LED headlights through a broad portfolio of assistance systems, such as Traffic Jam Assist and Emergency Assist, right through to a package of high-end infotainment systems with eight-inch touchscreens and Full Link connectivity.

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/SEAT-reveals-new-Ateca-SUV/0434023650


Tesla to unveil Model 3 on 31 March

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Tesla is to unveil its Model 3 compact-executive electric car at the end of March, ahead of production and deliveries late next year.

Confirmed as part of the company’s Fourth Quarter 2015 Financial Results, the Model 3 will be roughly the same size as the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, targeting a much higher-volume segment than Tesla has competed in before, particularly in European markets.

It will feature similar drivetrain technology to the larger Model S saloon and seven-seat Model X SUV, which is launching in Europe shortly, with large capacity batteries, ranges of up to 300 miles and fast recharging times. Prices could start at around £30,000-£35,000 in the UK.

Preparation is underway for production, with Tesla indicating that it will start building battery cells at its ‘Gigafactory’ in Nevada – a joint venture with Panasonic – this year. The company sold had sold 107,000 cars globally at the end of last year, with the Model S outselling the Audi A7 and A8 combined, and the BMW 6 Series and 7 Series combined, in Europe, the company said.

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/Tesla-to-unveil-Model-3-on-31-March/0434023648


BVRLA tells HM Treasury to ‘stop punishing company car drivers’

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The BVRLA has called on HM Treasury to treat company car drivers more fairly in advance of the 2016 Budget.

The call comes as the BVRLA reveals that the effect of the 2% increase in Company Car Tax from 2017-18 and the delay in removing the 3% diesel supplement will cost the average company car driver an additional £626.94 in 2017-18, and an extra £882.26 in 2018-19 compared to what they paid in 2013-14.

In its submission the association has urged the Government to carry out a wholesale review of the current system of company car taxation, recognising the benefits these vehicles bring in terms of reduced emissions and tax revenues.

“Since George Osborne became Chancellor in 2013, company car drivers have been hit by a series of tax increases that are both unfair and unsignposted,” said BVRLA chief executive, Gerry Keaney.

“It is no coincidence that we have seen 30,000 fewer employees taking a car as part of their work package during this period.”

The BVRLA believes that more and more company drivers are instead choosing to use their own privately owned vehicles, which on average tend to be older, less safe and more polluting.

“By encouraging employees to give up their company cars, the government risks hundreds of thousands of motorists opting for older, privately-owned vehicles that are not built to the same safety and emissions standards,” Keaney added.

“In 2015, BVRLA members purchased nearly 50% of all new vehicles sold in the UK, and the average BVRLA member’s leased car emitted just 117.8g/km CO2.” 

Keaney added: “The Chancellor must use the Budget to reverse some of the damaging decisions he has made recently, including the delayed abolition of the 3% diesel supplement. These measures are at odds with the government’s stated aims to increase the take-up of ultra-low emission vehicles and improve air quality in the UK.”

The key recommendations in the BVRLA’s Budget submission are:

  • Abolish the 3% diesel supplement on benefit in kind (BIK) tax bands for Euro 6 cars from 2016
  • Reform BIK bandings, offering a greater incentive for users of ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs)
  • Make leased vehicles eligible for First Year Capital Allowances
  • Introduce a new tax category for electric vehicles that takes their range into account
  • Provide more in-life incentives for ULEV drivers
  • Safeguard the benefits of company salary sacrifice schemes
  • Provide incentives for the fitment of Autonomous Emergency Braking technology

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/BVRLA-tells-HM-Treasury-to-8216stop-punishing-company-car-drivers8217/0434023647


Making all vehicles autonomous could prevent up to 95% of all traffic accidents, report finds

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The widespread adoption of autonomous vehicles could bring billions of pounds to the UK economy and save hundreds of lives.

That’s the finding of a new report by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, which also calls on the Government and industry to urgently address the barriers to adoption, regulatory and insurance issues.

Philippa Oldham, head of transport at the Institution of the Mechanical Engineers and Lead Author of the report, said:

“We need to urgently resolve legislative, technological and insurance issues to help encourage the rollout of autonomous or driverless vehicles.

“The benefits to this sort of technology are huge, with estimates that the overall UK economic benefit could be as much as £51bn a year due to fewer accidents, improved productivity and increased trade.

“Currently 95% of all crashes happen due to driver error, so it makes sense for Government, industry and academia to redouble efforts to look at how we phase out human involvement in driving vehicles.”

The Autonomous and Driverless cars report makes three key recommendations:

  • The Transport Systems Catapult conduct a public consultation, bringing together a working group that includes industry, legislators, regulators and members of the general public. This group should look at how we can integrate and implement new regulatory regimes.
  • All car dealerships and garages must work with vehicle manufacturers to ensure that they can provide adequate information, and give the required training, to any new purchaser of a vehicle.
  • The Department for Transport needs to address the safety issues of mixed road use, looking at how autonomous vehicles can be integrated onto our road network with appropriate road signage and markings in place or updated.

Philippa Oldham continued: “There needs to be much more action from Government to help integrate driverless vehicles into the current UK transport network. This will include updates and standardisation to road signage and road markings to enable these driverless vehicles to operate in the safest way possible.

“There is also a role for the car dealerships and vehicle manufacturers as they will need to clarify how they will provide the greater level of after-sales care, technical updates and upgrades that will be required to ensure the safe introduction of these vehicles on our roads.

“Much more work needs to be done to clarify regulation and insurance issues, such as where liability lies in case of an accident.”

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/Making-all-vehicles-autonomous-could-prevent-up-to-95-percent-of-all-traffic-accidents-report-finds/0434023646


TMC and JCT600 join forces to promote advanced fleet fuel solutions

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Clients of JCT600 Vehicle Leasing Solutions (VLS) are now being offered access to advanced fuel management solutions under a new agreement between VLS and The Miles Consultancy (TMC).

The agreement includes TMC’s mileage capture, audit and control solution, which offers fleets guaranteed savings on fuel bills. It also covers Fuel+, the fuel card and mileage solution launched last year by Barclaycard in association with TMC.

“Our link with TMC enables us to offer a more complete outsourcing package to our clients than is found elsewhere in our sector,” said Paul Walters, sales director of JCT600 VLC. The company now manages its own fuel costs through the Fuel+ solution too.

Yorkshire-based JCT600 VLS operates a fleet of 7,000 vehicles, predominantly serving SMEs, typically with fleets of 5-200 vehicles. It supplies all brands of cars, LCVs and mini buses throughout the UK.

Walters added: “Our sales proposition is that whilst we’re small we can do everything that our clients need and they get a personal service. As well as offering all the benefits of Fuel+, we can now also tie mileage information to our contract hire agreement so that we can give them a more proactive service around mileage-related issues such as maintenance intervals or the need to adjust contracts.”

Paul Hollick, commercial director of TMC, said: “Every fleet should enjoy the visibility – and therefore control – over its operating costs that only comes with robust mileage and fuel data. We’re very pleased that JCT600 has chosen to work with TMC to further enhance their high quality, personal service to the SME sector.”

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/TMC-and-JCT600-join-forces-to-promote-advanced-fleet-fuel-solutions/0434023644


Hyundai introduces i30 to Zipcar car club fleet in London

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Hyundai has partnered with Zipcar to add the i30 to its London car club fleet.

The deal marks the first between Zipcar and Hyundai in the UK and brings a total of 100 Hyundai i30 models to Zipcar members from key locations throughout central London.

Zipcar members can now reserve a Hyundai i30, to use by the hour or by the day, via the Zipcar website or smartphone app, and be driving in a matter of minutes. Members can unlock the car with either a Zipcard or the mobile app.

Martin Wilson, Hyundai UK fleet director, said: “We are extremely proud to be working with Zipcar and we look forward to the i30 impressing Zipcar’s members over the coming months. With the cars located in so many key areas across London, this will give us an exceptional opportunity to engage with drivers who may not have considered a Hyundai before – and get their feedback too.”

Mark Walker, Zipcar UK general manager, added: “Hyundai’s offering was a natural choice for us. The i30 is well suited to Zipcar, because of its quality, easy handling and intuitive controls. Its quality is essential to both our members who are driving the cars and to us who manage them. Factor in Bluetooth and smartphone connectivity, and I have no doubt the i30 will be a big hit with our members.”

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/Hyundai-introduces-i30-to-Zipcar-car-club-fleet-in-London/0434023645


London Mayor tackles air pollution with £5m projects and Tower Bridge ‘no idling’ scheme

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Mayor of London Boris Johnson has announced a package of measures to improve local air quality, including a no-idling scheme on Tower Bridge and other projects across the Capital.

From today drivers using Tower Bridge will be encouraged to stop idling and switch their engines off when the bridge is opening, prompted by new road signs.

The scheme, delivered by Southwark and Tower Hamlets and jointly funded by the Mayor of London, is part of the Mayor’s £20 million Air Quality Fund, which will also see a £5m share of the funds allocated to projects across 28 boroughs including:

  • Installation of electric vehicle charging points on lamp posts in Hounslow;
  • A green courier service in Waltham Forest that will provide a same-day delivery service using cargo bikes and electric vehicles for local shoppers;
  • An expanded ‘London Boroughs Consolidation Centre’, which has halved deliveries to council offices since it began. Extra funding will now allow local businesses to start using the consolidation centre and cut their own deliveries and emissions.

In addition, the Mayor has announced his intention to award £1m to at least two flagship ‘Low Emission Neighbourhoods’ in the capital. Nine boroughs have been chosen to work up proposals for transforming a local neighbourhood with a host of measures to improve walking, cycling and air quality.

Cllr Barrie Hargrove, Southwark Council cabinet member for parks, public health and leisure, said: “The anti idling scheme is a good example of joint working and it would be great to see more support coming through for local projects. I hope this scheme raises awareness about the damaging affects of idling with your engine on and encourages drivers across the capital to think carefully about ways they could help reduce air pollution.”

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/London-Mayor-tackles-air-pollution-with-5-pounds-m-projects-and-Tower-Bridge-8216no-idling8217-scheme/0434023642


Masternaut opens nominations process for Safe From Harm Awards

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Fleets can now send in nominations for the awards ceremony at Masternaut’s free Safe From Harm conference.

Taking place on Tuesday 15 March at The ICC Birmingham during the Safe From Harm conference, the awards ceremony is being held by the fleet telematics specialist to recognise excellence in fleet management, safety, driver engagement and community impact.

Fleet businesses are being invited to fill in the online form to nominate themselves for categories. Entries need to only be between 100 and 300 words in length and will be followed by a short telephone interview. 

Applicants can choose from the following categories to enter:

  • Innovation: the Innovation Award is for an organisation who has led the way in safer, greener driving through trying new technologies, policies or practice
  • Improvements in Safety: looking for fleets who can demonstrate real reduced risk through planned and measured programmes of change, which may encompass driver training, vehicle management, technology or policy change
  • Driver Engagement: seeking businesses who through communications, incentive schemes, training or other means have achieved the commitment of drivers to safer, greener driving.
  • Community Impact: for an organisation who has provided better service, safer streets, better air quality or other community benefits, through its fleet management.

Steve Towe, chief commercial officer and UK managing director, commented: “We’re inspired by the vision and moral purpose of businesses of all sizes using telematics, change management, and other technologies to make a real change to the lives of customers, drivers and the public. We’re hoping to see even more of this in entries for the Masternaut Safe From Harm Awards and look forward to hearing how applicants are revolutionising the fleet industry on several fronts.”

The Safe From Harm conference will see directors and managers of fleets, transport, SMEs, operations, risk and finance come together to hear from a variety of speakers, including rugby-hero Sir Clive Woodward, change management consultant Darran Robinson, Dr Natasha Merat from the Institute of Transport Studies and experienced fleet directors from some of the largest companies in the UK.

During the day attendees will be able to compare how their business tackles issues with what others do during focused workshops and through live case studies. Other topics will include: How to measure and reduce risk and How to change the behaviour of drivers.

To sign up for the Safe From Harm conference and for further details, please visit http://www.masternaut.com/events/events-list/safe-from-harm/.

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/Masternaut-opens-nominations-process-for-Safe-From-Harm-Awards/0434023640


Surrey County Council signs up City Car Club as car club provider

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Surrey County Council has appointed City Car Club to offer car club services using a range of low-emission vehicles to residents, council employees and businesses in the county.

City Car Club has been appointed as the council’s preferred car club provider following a competitive tender process and will initially operate 14 low emission vehicles, including two plug-in hybrids. There are already plans to expand further, with another five vehicles (including two fully electric cars) due to launch in Guildford in April 2016.

Vehicles will be available in on and off-street parking bays near homes and offices in Guildford, Redhill, Dorking, Leatherhead and Woking.

City Car Club managing director Dan Gursel said: “Our intention is to build a long-term relationship with Surrey County Council and the people and businesses in the area, to demonstrate how useful access to a car club can be. Over the coming months, we’ll be working with the Council to promote the programme and build awareness of the benefits of car clubs.”

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/Surrey-County-Council-signs-up-City-Car-Club-as-car-club-provider/0434023636


5% of motorists drive morning after heavy drinking on weekly basis

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Brake is warning drivers about the risks of ‘morning after’ drinking after its research found that one in 20 drivers (5%) drive the morning after a big night out on a weekly basis.

The research by the road safety charity and Direct Line found that one in five motorists have confessed to previously getting behind the wheel the morning after a big night out while almost one in ten (9%) drive the next morning after heavy drinking at least once a month. 

Brake added that if someone drives at 8am after they have been drinking until midnight, there is a serious risk they could still have alcohol in their system and not be fit to drive. A total of 12% of people in the study said they would drive at 8am or even earlier.

One in eight drivers who fail a breath test are caught the morning after and more drivers have been caught over the limit after a crash between 6am and lunchtime on a Monday than on any other weekday for the last three years.

Brake has developed a morning after calculator to help people work out when they will be safe to drive again.

The research has been released in advance of Valentine’s Day, which this year falls on a Sunday and may see couples celebrating when they have to work the following day. 

Rob Miles, director of car insurance at Direct Line, said: “If you can’t be sure that you won’t be over the drink-drive limit the morning after a few drinks, then don’t risk getting behind the wheel. That said, even if you can legally drive, it’s still better to make alternative travel arrangements, as even just being hungover or tired could have an adverse effect on your attention span and driving ability.”

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/5-percent-of-motorists-drive-morning-after-heavy-drinking-on-weekly-basis/0434023635


Skoda reports 24% rise in true fleet sales

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Skoda UK says it’s seen a phenomenal year for fleet sales, helped by the launch of the new Superb and Fabia.

For 2015, the brand has reported true fleet sales growth of 24% year-on-year – nearly double the rate of growth seen in the entire true fleet sector, which increased at 13% year-on-year.

As a result, Skoda now commands 3.1% of the total fleet market.

The brand also signed more corporate customer agreements than ever before, and achieved a record 4,264 retail contract hire sales – up 215% year-on-year.

Henry Williams, head of fleet for Skoda UK, commented: “There is no doubt that 2015 was a great year for Skoda fleet. Award-winning models coupled with a compelling financial offering make Skoda an obvious choice for fleet managers, small businesses and user choosers – and our record sales are testament to that.”

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/Skoda-reports-24-percent-rise-in-true-fleet-sales/0434023633


Fleet & lease car values fall slightly in January, reports BCA

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Values for fleet & lease cars and the headline average used car value saw a slight decline last month, BCA has reported.

The latest Pulse report shows fleet & lease car values averaged £9,440 in January, a fall of £148 (1.5%) compared to December’s figure of £9,588. Performance against CAP improved sharply from 95.64% to 98.03%, while retained value against original MRP (Manufacturers Retail Price) improved slightly at 40.48%, with age and mileage broadly static. Compared to January 2015, average fleet & lease values were down slightly by £38 (0.4%), with performance against CAP Clean improving although retained value was nearly a percentage point down on 2015.

The headline average value of a used car in January fell to £7,877, down by £169 (2.1%) compared to December, although performance against CAP Clean improved quite sharply from 96.4% to 98.5%. Year-on-year, average values were down by £78 (1.0 %), with age static and mileage declining by some 1,400 miles. Performance against CAP was up by a quarter of a percentage point compared to 2015.

Simon Henstock, BCA UK chief operating officer remarketing, commented: “January saw a well-balanced marketplace in terms of supply and demand, with plenty of appetite for used cars across the board. However, average prices dropped slightly compared to the back end of 2015 and while there is a lot of demand for good retail quality stock, there are challenges at the extremities of the market.

“Valuing older and poorer quality cars accurately is crucial to tempt the buyers. The price of scrap has fallen and this has effectively removed the safety net for these low value vehicles. At the other end of the market, there is pressure on the values of late plate vehicles due to the attractive deals available on new/PCP and the availability of pre-registered vehicles in the marketplace. “

“The relatively mild weather has also meant that the seasonally strong performance for the 4×4 sector hasn’t really reached expectations. With Easter arriving early, we may see values reduce more quickly than usual once we move into the second quarter and the holiday season hits.”

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/Fleet-38-lease-car-values-fall-slightly-in-January-reports-BCA/0434023631


Castelan Group replaces Furniture Care van fleet with new Renault Trafics

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Castelan Group, provider of warranties, insurance and claims handling solutions to the retail sector, has replaced its Renault sole supply commercial vehicle fleet with 80 new Renault Trafic panel vans.

The Trafics replace the company’s previous generation models, with Castelan opting for the new Trafic after putting the order out to tender and considering light commercials from six manufacturers. 

As part of its management of 3,000 furniture and electrical claims each week, Castelan’s new vans will be used by its Furniture Network Care Technicians to visit customers in their homes to rectify issues with varying types of furniture and flooring. 

Castelan ordered its short wheelbase, low-roof Trafics with the Energy dCi 120 1.6-litre Twin Turbo diesel engine which offers up to 47.9 mpg. Another significant influence was the availability of the Business+ trim line, Castelan specifying this equipment level as it incorporates features that it considers essential in its vehicles, such as air conditioning and rear parking sensors, as standard.

Building on the Business specification, which already offers DAB radio with Bluetooth, ESC (Electronic Stability Control) with HSA (Hill Start Assist) and Grip Xtend, electric front windows and remote central locking; the Business+ trim level also adds a smartphone dock, passenger bench seat with underseat storage, fold down middle passenger seat with detachable A4 clipboard and laptop storage, body-coloured front bumper, door rail and rear tail light column, full steel bulkhead with load-through facility, and wide view mirror.

Castelan’s Trafics have been further enhanced with the R-Link integrated 7″ touchscreen multimedia system, which includes sat nav, Bluetooth, DAB radio, and reverse parking camera system. Castelan also ordered the additional factory options of a 68mph speed limiter and metallic silver paint.

Leased via Days Fleet and supplied by City Motors, Bristol – one of 40 nationwide Renault Pro+ dealerships – the Trafics come with the reassurance of a four-year/100,000-mile warranty and four years’ roadside assistance. Castelan will also benefit from the Renault Business Quality Commitment – the manufacturer’s 13-point plan provided to corporate customers that guarantees the very best service.

Martin Napper, CEO, Castelan Group, said: “We were very happy with our previous Renault Trafics and after looking in detail at alternative replacements, the model yet again proved to be the best for our requirements. Not only was it a new design and competitive on price, but it also offered excellent fuel economy and a level of equipment that provides our technicians with what we consider to be ‘must have’ levels of connectivity, convenience and comfort.

“With our technicians in the vans for an average of four hours a day, it’s vital that they have Bluetooth to keep in touch with customers and head office, while the option of a good quality, built-in sat nav is another essential – something that we found wasn’t available with a number of competitor vehicles.”

He continued: “Our operatives who trialled the Trafic for a week were also very positive about the drive, and when we attended a commercial vehicle test day where we were able to experience it against rival vehicles in quick succession, the Renault again came out very favourably.”

Darren Payne, sales director, Groupe Renault UK, said: “We are delighted to strengthen our relationship with Castelan and the way this order was decided clearly underlines why the new Renault Trafic was recently voted the Best Medium Van by What Van? magazine for the second consecutive year.

“The adaptability and innovation of the Trafic have had a major impact on securing this order and it is these and the many other strengths of the extensive Renault LCV range that more and more business customers continue to find so appealing, 2015 being confirmed as the best ever year for Renault van sales in the UK.”

The original article can be found at http://www.commercialfleet.org/news/van-news/2016/02/11/castelan-group-replaces-furniture-care-van-fleet-with-new-renault-trafics


New RoSPA website for older drivers

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Aimed at helping older people adapt to changes in their driving to stay safe on the road, a new website has been launched by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).

The new website – olderdrivers.org.uk – has been set up with funding from the Department for Transport and gives tips on how people can update their driving skills and knowledge.

The site is intended to help drivers to:

  • Recognise whether and how their driving is changing
  • Find out what they can do to cope with these changes, such as change when and where they drive, adapt their car or take driver assessment or training
  • Find local driving assessment or refresher training
  • Understand the law about health conditions and driving and how to renew their driving licence
  • Plan for the need to change when and where they drive, and if it becomes necessary, to retire from driving.

Kevin Clinton, RoSPA’s head of road safety, said: “The aim of the website is to help older people to continue to drive for as long as they are safe to do so, and to provide advice on making the decision to retire from driving if they are no longer able to drive safely.”

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/New-RoSPA-website-for-older-drivers/0434023626


The power of choice: Ford of Britain’s Andy Barratt on the brand’s growth plans

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When you’re number one in the UK, how do you continue to grow? Ford’s Andy Barratt reckons the solution is appealing to drivers’ aspirational side. Alex Grant finds out more.

Only halfway through his first year as Ford of Britain chairman and managing director, Andy Barratt, may have taken on the role in one of the most interesting periods in the brand’s recent history.

By his first anniversary, the Blue Oval will be well on its way through a major launch cycle. A process which will bolster the number‐one selling range around SUV, performance and luxury pillars, seeking renewed user‐chooser desirability in an increasingly diverse fleet sector.

“We are a very good brand for taking people at the start of their motoring journey,” he says. “We bring them on through Fiesta, through Focus, they may get to Mondeo. Then they reach a tipping point in their earnings and they decide that they may wish to defect because there is not a Ford that will take them on.”

Behind the glitz of new product launches, dealer investment is also underway. There are now around 60 Ford Stores in place, sales podiums for the Mustang, the Focus RS and its new Vignale luxury sub-brand.

The aim is to reach 80 by the end of the year, putting 90% of the UK population within an hour’s drive of their nearest one.

But it’s Vignale that Barratt says is becoming a common topic for conversation. Launching with the Mondeo, closely followed by the S‐Max and – though he wouldn’t confirm either way – the Edge SUV, it’s an attempt to retain drivers who would otherwise move to premium brands.

“If I go back far enough in my history, to when I was Mondeo brand manager, in around 1999 we were selling 100,000 Mondeos alone. We’ve had real compression, and it’s market forces not lack of desire for the car. The premium part [of the D‐segment] is pretty constant but segment pressure is driving non‐premium down.”

Vignale models are built to order, on a specific line at Ford’s Valencia plant, getting acoustic glass, soft leather trim on the doors and dashboard, and unique bodystyling, colours and wheel options. It’s a step up for the Mondeo, but with 70% of UK customers opting for Titanium models, it’s perhaps not as much of a stretch as it sounds.

“Vignale is the highest expression of luxury for Ford in Europe,” explains Barratt. “But it’s space that we’ve already occupied with Mondeo in the past. If you look at the price points where we are with Titanium X Sport, which we sell in huge numbers, and Titanium X, Vignale is in the same space.”

Perhaps a little like Ghia once was? “Consumers’ tastes have changed. At the premium end you can have luxury or sport, where if you go back to Ghia it was just luxury. So it won’t do the volumes a Ghia would’ve done, nor should it because there is that fragmentation of choice and series that’s happened over time.”

Vignale is also about customer service, he says. Services such as collection and delivery, complimentary washes and a bespoke app, a dedicated Vignale ‘relationship manager’ for one‐to‐one contact and possibly access to other cars on short‐term loan if required. “These people are successful, they’re time poor. The more we can take away a lot of their motoring challenges around servicing, ownership, purchase, the easier we can make the experience and the more relevant we make ourselves.

“What you’ve got is proactive relationship, not a reactive relationship.

The traditional dealer model is promiscuous. This should be enduring, it should be a love affair. We’re not doing the high discount fast‐turn fleet business, we’re doing a high quality product with a quality sales process. It’s a really different proposition for Ford, we’re really excited about it.”

However, it’s SUVs which are expected to drive volume. Kuga sales have trebled to over 30,000 units since the new model was introduced in 2013, and its US counterpart, the Escape, was recently updated – so expect a refreshed version later this year. It will join an updated Ecosport and a Europeanised version of the Edge large SUV, and sales are expected to reach around 45,000 units by the end of the year.

“In the SUV space we’re very active – it’s the fastest‐growing space in the market. The Kuga SUV space is as big as what was the Focus market historically, so it’s growing exponentially.

That SUV midsize market is as big in fleet and retail, so it really is a linear growth that you see.”

Ford’s performance products are also showing strong potential.

The Focus ST gained a diesel engine earlier this year, and the 6,700 sold to the end of October are a near three‐fold increase on 2014 full‐year figures, with 45% opting into the 2.0 TDCi version and 70% of those going to fleets. That’s higher than the Focus range as a whole.

“Historically, Ford has always owned affordable performance in the UK. The Focus ST diesel has really brought that corporate sector alive, contract hire customers absolutely adore this,” says Barrett, adding that there are opportunities among SMEs, including for the Mustang.

“If you talk to the RV providers, they see [Mustang] higher than list. I’ve proved to the guys at CAP recently that the old [Focus RS] is going for list today. If you bake that kind of depreciation in, an affordable lease should be very achievable when I look at competitive products. If I’m an SME and I’m successful, then why shouldn’t I have a performance car?”

But it doesn’t have to be user‐choosers. “We’re currently building a Mustang police car, because they need high‐performance, fast‐reaction road vehicles. So why wouldn’t a Mustang serve that purpose? We’re going to put it out as a demo and we’ll get the feedback.”

Ultimately, though, it’s broader appeal rather than a shift of positioning that Ford is seeking: “We don’t want to be premium, but we do want to compete with the premiums. I think that’s really key, it gives people an alternative choice. Not everyone wants to go and have a premium brand on the drive, and some people are incredibly happy and familiar with Ford.”

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/The-power-of-choice-Ford-of-Britains-Andy-Barratt-on-the-brands-growth-plans/0434023502


The power of choice: Ford of Britain’s Andy Barratt

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When you’re number one in the UK, how do you continue to grow? Ford’s Andy Barratt reckons the solution is appealing to drivers’ aspirational side. Alex Grant finds out more.

Only halfway through his first year as Ford of Britain chairman and managing director, Andy Barratt, may have taken on the role in one of the most interesting periods in the brand’s recent history.

By his first anniversary, the Blue Oval will be well on its way through a major launch cycle. A process which will bolster the number‐one selling range around SUV, performance and luxury pillars, seeking renewed user‐chooser desirability in an increasingly diverse fleet sector.

“We are a very good brand for taking people at the start of their motoring journey,” he says. “We bring them on through Fiesta, through Focus, they may get to Mondeo. Then they reach a tipping point in their earnings and they decide that they may wish to defect because there is not a Ford that will take them on.”

Behind the glitz of new product launches, dealer investment is also underway. There are now around 60 Ford Stores in place, sales podiums for the Mustang, the Focus RS and its new Vignale luxury sub-brand.

The aim is to reach 80 by the end of the year, putting 90% of the UK population within an hour’s drive of their nearest one.

But it’s Vignale that Barratt says is becoming a common topic for conversation. Launching with the Mondeo, closely followed by the S‐Max and – though he wouldn’t confirm either way – the Edge SUV, it’s an attempt to retain drivers who would otherwise move to premium brands.

“If I go back far enough in my history, to when I was Mondeo brand manager, in around 1999 we were selling 100,000 Mondeos alone. We’ve had real compression, and it’s market forces not lack of desire for the car. The premium part [of the D‐segment] is pretty constant but segment pressure is driving non‐premium down.”

Vignale models are built to order, on a specific line at Ford’s Valencia plant, getting acoustic glass, soft leather trim on the doors and dashboard, and unique bodystyling, colours and wheel options. It’s a step up for the Mondeo, but with 70% of UK customers opting for Titanium models, it’s perhaps not as much of a stretch as it sounds.

“Vignale is the highest expression of luxury for Ford in Europe,” explains Barratt. “But it’s space that we’ve already occupied with Mondeo in the past. If you look at the price points where we are with Titanium X Sport, which we sell in huge numbers, and Titanium X, Vignale is in the same space.”

Perhaps a little like Ghia once was? “Consumers’ tastes have changed. At the premium end you can have luxury or sport, where if you go back to Ghia it was just luxury. So it won’t do the volumes a Ghia would’ve done, nor should it because there is that fragmentation of choice and series that’s happened over time.”

Vignale is also about customer service, he says. Services such as collection and delivery, complimentary washes and a bespoke app, a dedicated Vignale ‘relationship manager’ for one‐to‐one contact and possibly access to other cars on short‐term loan if required. “These people are successful, they’re time poor. The more we can take away a lot of their motoring challenges around servicing, ownership, purchase, the easier we can make the experience and the more relevant we make ourselves.

“What you’ve got is proactive relationship, not a reactive relationship.

The traditional dealer model is promiscuous. This should be enduring, it should be a love affair. We’re not doing the high discount fast‐turn fleet business, we’re doing a high quality product with a quality sales process. It’s a really different proposition for Ford, we’re really excited about it.”

However, it’s SUVs which are expected to drive volume. Kuga sales have trebled to over 30,000 units since the new model was introduced in 2013, and its US counterpart, the Escape, was recently updated – so expect a refreshed version later this year. It will join an updated Ecosport and a Europeanised version of the Edge large SUV, and sales are expected to reach around 45,000 units by the end of the year.

“In the SUV space we’re very active – it’s the fastest‐growing space in the market. The Kuga SUV space is as big as what was the Focus market historically, so it’s growing exponentially.

That SUV midsize market is as big in fleet and retail, so it really is a linear growth that you see.”

Ford’s performance products are also showing strong potential.

The Focus ST gained a diesel engine earlier this year, and the 6,700 sold to the end of October are a near three‐fold increase on 2014 full‐year figures, with 45% opting into the 2.0 TDCi version and 70% of those going to fleets. That’s higher than the Focus range as a whole.

“Historically, Ford has always owned affordable performance in the UK. The Focus ST diesel has really brought that corporate sector alive, contract hire customers absolutely adore this,” says Barrett, adding that there are opportunities among SMEs, including for the Mustang.

“If you talk to the RV providers, they see [Mustang] higher than list. I’ve proved to the guys at CAP recently that the old [Focus RS] is going for list today. If you bake that kind of depreciation in, an affordable lease should be very achievable when I look at competitive products. If I’m an SME and I’m successful, then why shouldn’t I have a performance car?”

But it doesn’t have to be user‐choosers. “We’re currently building a Mustang police car, because they need high‐performance, fast‐reaction road vehicles. So why wouldn’t a Mustang serve that purpose? We’re going to put it out as a demo and we’ll get the feedback.”

Ultimately, though, it’s broader appeal rather than a shift of positioning that Ford is seeking: “We don’t want to be premium, but we do want to compete with the premiums. I think that’s really key, it gives people an alternative choice. Not everyone wants to go and have a premium brand on the drive, and some people are incredibly happy and familiar with Ford.”

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/The-power-of-choice-Ford-of-Britains-Andy-Barratt/0434023502


Support BEN with Fleet World registration

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Fleet operators are being asked for their help in raising funds for automotive industry charity, BEN, by completing their Fleet World/VAN Fleet World reader registrations/renewals online.

This year will once again see Dan Gilkes, industry expert and editor of VAN Fleet World, compete in the London Marathon to raise funds for BEN, which is the UK’s dedicated charity for those who work, or have worked, in the automotive and related industries and their dependants.

Dan ran on behalf of BEN in last year’s 2015 Virgin Money London Marathon, completing the race in 4 hours 46 minutes and raising over £4,000.

And this year he’s looking to beat both the amount raised and his time, hoping to be well under four hours 30 minutes.

Already Dan has received strong support from within the motor industry but to add further funds, Stag Publications, the publisher of Fleet World/VAN Fleet World, has pledged to donate £1 for every reader registration or renewal made online.

All fleet operators need to do to help BEN is fill out the online form at http://www.fleetworldsubscriptions.co.uk/

Fleets can also sponsor Dan through the dedicated website at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/DanGilkes

Dan commented: “BEN continues to offer incredible support to those working in the automotive and related industries. In 2015 it reached its 110th anniversary, helping more people than ever before. But to do that BEN needs more help itself, as it intends to take annual fundraising from £4.6m to £7.7m by 2020.

“Support for Virgin Money London Marathon runners is always strong and I would like to thank Fleet World, Citroën, Renault, Iveco, JCB, Isuzu Truck, Volkswagen and many others for their backing for the second year running. It literally is backing too, as once again I’ll be wearing a running shirt with all of my major supporters on the back. There is still space for more logos on this year’s shirt for any companies that would like to donate.”

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/Support-BEN-with-Fleet-World-registration/0434023615


Honda Civic prototype to be revealed at Geneva

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Honda has given a sneak preview of its Civic concept prior to its worldwide debut at the Geneva Motor Show next month.

The all-new hatchback is due out in 2017 and will be produced in the UK and sold globally, including in the US.

The rear shot of the prototype that will premiere at Geneva shows likenesses to the 2016 Civic Coupe Concept revealed at the 2015 New York auto show.

Other models on the Honda stand at Geneva include the Clarity Fuel Cell, which will make its European debut following its global unveil at the Tokyo motor show in October last year.

The new NSX will also be at Geneva and will start its first European customer deliveries in 2016.

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/Honda-Civic-prototype-to-be-revealed-at-Geneva/0434023617


Nick Butler named head of corporate mobility at Alphabet

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Alphabet has announced the appointment of Nick Butler as its new head of corporate mobility.

Butler joined Alphabet’s commercial team in 2003 and has spent the last five years heading up the Intermediary and Wholesale Funding division.

He commented: “I’m thrilled to be joining the Corporate Mobility team. Advanced mobility products like AlphaCity, AlphaElectric and Electric Car Sharing are cutting edge in terms of infrastructure and technology. I look forward to managing the team as we continue to provide our customers with innovative business travel solutions. Our unique AlphaRent+ offering also continues to gain momentum as our Customers reap the benefits of a rental fleet that is fully owned by Alphabet.”

Butler replaces Kit Wisdom who, as previously announced, becomes head of technical services after Martyn Gallop retired following 30 years in industry.

Alphabet said the new appointments are part of the business’s continued efforts to build on and enhance its operational service.

Matt Sutherland, chief operating officer at Alphabet, commented: “Kit and Nick are valuable and well respected members of our Alphabet management team. Their impressive knowledge and wealth of experience in the industry means that they understand the challenges faced by our customers. Their new roles are fundamental in driving Alphabet forward as the UK’s leading provider of Business Mobility solutions as they further strengthen our Operations team.”

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/Nick-Butler-named-head-of-corporate-mobility-at-Alphabet/0434023616


One in five qualified drivers doubt they’d pass their test now

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6.9 million British drivers think that if they had to take their driving test again, they would be likely to fail.

The research, conducted by Young Driver, which provides driving lessons for 10-17 year-olds, questioned more than 1,000 UK drivers and found that 18% of qualified drivers doubt their current driving skills would get them past an examiner – rising to 24% of over 65s.

The research also found that one in four drivers struggle with parking manoeuvres.

A total of 28% of drivers said they struggled to parallel park, with a further one in four (25%), admitting that reversing into a parking bay was a challenge they preferred to avoid. For female drivers these figures increased to 36% and 30% respectively.

A quarter of all drivers (26%) said they regularly parked some distance from where they needed to be in order to get an ‘easier’ car parking space that didn’t require as much skill. One in six drivers (16%) admitted they often felt nervous when it came to parking – increasing to one in four (26%) of 18-25 year olds.

And one in six (16%) admitted they struggle to complete a turn in the road without needing to undertake significantly more manoeuvres than the traditional three-point turn.

Kim Stanton, head of Young Driver, said: “When you learn to drive you are taught specific techniques to help you get your parking and reversing spot on, every time. But once you pass your test, unless you continue to use these techniques, the skills can quickly fade. Our new research shows that before long, many drivers are actively avoiding having to try, even if it means parking a long way from their destination and walking the rest of the way to avoid certain parking spaces!”

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/One-in-five-qualified-drivers-doubt-they8217d-pass-their-test-now/0434023614


Subaru to unveil XV Concept at Geneva

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Subaru has issued a teaser pic of its next-generation XV as it announces a number of updates to the current compact crossover.

The new model will debut at the Geneva Motor Show early next month and is expected to share its platform with the new Impreza family.

The current-generation XV also gets a number of midlife updates, including updates to the exterior design, such as updated headlights and a redesigned front grille and bumper, plus improvements to interior quality. It also gains Subaru’s new factory-fit 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment and navigation system and Siri Eyes-Free voice control.

The engine line-up – which comprises 2.0-litre petrol and 2.0-litre diesel horizontally-opposed, four-cylinder Boxer engines – has been updated to bring improved economy.

Economy for the 2.0-litre turbodiesel, equipped with a six-speed manual transmission, rises to 52.3mpg on the combined cycle, while CO2 emissions fall from 146 to 141g/km.

Fuel efficiency for the petrol engine increases by 2% to a combined average of 43.5mpg when equipped with Subaru’s Lineartronic transmission (CVT) and emissions fall to 151g/km.

The 2016 XV goes on sale across the UK next month, with OTR prices remaining from £21,995.

The original article can be found at http://fleetworld.co.uk/news/2016/Feb/Subaru-to-unveil-XV-Concept-at-Geneva/0434023613


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