The slump in the eurozone economy bottomed out after lockdown restrictions were eased across the Continent last month, according to a survey. IHS Markit’s flash composite purchasing managers’ index, which measures output in manufacturing and services, rose from 31.9 to 47.5 in June, edging closer to the 50 mark that signifies growth. The figures suggest that output is still falling, but is no longer collapsing at the pace registered in April, when the eurozone PMI sank to a record low of 13.6.
Both the manufacturing and services sectors showed signs of improvement, with their respective PMIs climbing to 46.9 and 47.3. France led the way, as its headline PMI index rose from 40.6 in May to 51.3. Germany lagged behind with a reading of 45.8, but this was an improvement on the 32.3 recorded last month. Although output, orders and employment levels continued to deteriorate, business confidence picked up. The number of optimists exceeded pessimists for the first time in four months. Claus Vistesen, chief eurozone economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said: “Conditions remain difficult, but they are improving at the margin, in both new orders and output.”
MOT centres carried out over two million tests during the COVID-19 coronavirus lockdown period as many motorists chose not to take advantage of the Government’s six-month exemption. During April and May 2,153,768 MOTs were carried out despite the option to miss the vehicle roadworthiness test under guidance issued by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) back in March. While more than five million fewer MOTs were carried out compared to the same period in 2019 (7,166,566), Alex Buttle, director of Motorway, said that the data indicated that many motorists were “putting safety before saving”. News of many car owners' decision to MOT their cars voluntarily followed an announcement last week that the test would be reintroduced for lorries buses and trailers from July 4, with the three-month exemption for those vehicles set to be lifted in stages.
The move sparked a debate as to whether the exemption may also be removed for cars. Motorway discovered the proportion of cars which were put through the test during lockdown through a Freedom of Information Act (FOI) request. According to DVSA figures, 1,407,611 drivers took their vehicles in for an MOT during May, almost double (89%) the number of tests during April (746,157). In May, Birmingham saw the highest number of MOTs, according to the data handed to Motorway, with almost 40,000 motorists taking their vehicles in for a test, and almost twice as many MOTs (34,469) were carried out by garages in the Sheffield postcode area last month compared to April (18,170). Buttle said: “For those motorists with older vehicles, which tend to be more susceptible to problems due to wear and tear, they might be wise to stick to their original MOT date to give it a full check and service.
Toyota and Lexus customers can now get up to £4,000 off the price of a new car through a new scrappage scheme. To be eligible for the discount, buyers must trade in any passenger or commercial vehicle manufactured on or before September 30, 2012. They must have been the registered keeper for at least six months before placing the order for the new car, and both vehicles must be registered in the same name. The discounts cannot be used in conjunction with any other special offers, but the same APR rates will be offered on personal contract purchase (PCP) agreements, including zero per cent APR on some Aygo, Yaris, Corolla, C-RV, Rav4 and Supra models.
The saving varies depending on the model. For Toyota, the maximum £4,000 is applied to the Supra and Hilux, while this discount applies to the Lexus ES saloon, NX, and the five- and seven-seat RX SUVs. The smallest saving is found on the Toyota Yaris, which gets a £1,500 discount. Toyota says its previous scrappage schemes have resulted in 18,000 sales so far, as customers are encouraged out of more polluting older models and into its range of largely electrified vehicles. The schemes are available through franchised Toyota and Lexus dealers until September 30 2020, and the vehicle must be registered before December 31,2020.
Ford has signed a deal with Vodafone to install a private 5G network at its electric vehicle battery workshop in Essex, in a sign of confidence in Britain’s manufacturing sector. The carmaker’s R&D facility in Dunton will be the first automotive centre in the UK to be upgraded to a 5G network that will replace older WiFi networks on the shop floor that struggle to support the amount of data generated by a car factory. The project has been partly funded by the UK government, which provided £2m to back a pilot trial at the facility earlier this year as part of a £65m plan for investment in 5G. The private network, which will be installed by September, will link the centre with a site run by Cambridge company TWI to allow the two to work together on welding electric batteries.
The motor and battery needed for an electric vehicle require 1,000 welds and could generate half a million pieces of data every minute, according to Ford, which cannot be supported by existing factory systems.
A fifth of young drivers have stopped using their car as the coronavirus pandemic has hit their finances, a new survey suggests. Some 19% of motorists aged 17-24 say they have been forced off the road because of the impact of the virus, the poll commissioned by price comparison website comparethemarket.com found.
The survey of 2,091 UK adults also found 37% of young people expect to be made redundant or take a pay cut due to the crisis, with a third (33%) needing to ask for financial assistance from family or friends to help with the cost of running a car. The Government is urging people to avoid public transport if possible and has listed driving as an alternative mode of travel. Figures published by comparethemarket.com show drivers aged 17-24 pay an average of £2,370 to run a car in the first year, of which more than half is the cost of insurance.
China’s industry ministry said on Monday it might temporarily ease quotas designed to boost production of electric cars, in an attempt to help automakers in the world’s biggest market revive sales badly bruised by the coronavirus pandemic. China has some of the world’s strictest rules regarding the production of fossil-fuel vehicles, as it battles unhealthy levels of air pollution in its crowded cities. Automakers in China are obliged to manufacture new energy vehicles (NEVs), including all-electric, plug-in hybrid and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, to win “points” to make up for a portion of the negative points they incur when they produce internal combustion engine vehicles.
Depending on the present situation, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said in a policy that it might temporarily adjust the quotas and allow automakers to use the green points they generate next year to offset their negative points this year. Industry officials consider it a supportive move as automakers can manage vehicle production better with less policy impact.