Used car prices showed their largest monthly price rise for two years on Auto Trader during July, with values rising 4.6% amid signs that consumer demand is continuing to grow. The online classified advertising specialist said that it saw online demand rise 25% year-on-year and indicated that car retailers are sticking to their guns more than ever on price as a result – with price adjustments down 29% year-on-year last month. Auto Trader’s Retail Price Index, which is based on pricing analysis of circa 900,000 vehicles every month, saw the average price of a used car rise to £13,888 last month to deliver a fourth consecutive month of price growth. Sue Robinson, director of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), said: “It is encouraging to see sustained growth in used car prices as it demonstrates that, despite the challenging economic circumstances, the public are placing their trust in cars as a means of safe and secure transport.”
German carmaker puts pressure on UK government over proposed ban on hybrids. More than 10,000 BMW plug-in hybrid cars on British roads will be able to automatically swap to battery power when entering low emissions zones in London or Birmingham city centres from Friday. Newer BMW cars will be able to switch automatically from burning fossil fuels in internal combustion engines to using battery power with zero exhaust emissions as soon as the car’s GPS navigation system detects that it has reached an emissions zone. London and Birmingham are the first UK cities to have the “geofencing” feature activated, following in the footsteps of multiple German cities, as BMW tries to highlight fuel cost savings and the potential for lower emissions from plug-in hybrids.
However, the UK government has already announced that it is considering a total ban on internal combustion engine cars, including all hybrids, from 2035 or even earlier. The government withdrew direct subsidies for plug-in hybrid sales in 2019, provoking a furious response from the car industry. Pieter Nota, the BMW board member responsible for sales, told the Guardian: “Plainly it would be wrong to not support plug-in hybrids. It’s an important step in the electrification of the fleet.” Nota also warned that a ban on hybrids could hit UK manufacturing jobs, pointing out that about a quarter of the engines produced at BMW’s plant at Hams Hall, Warwickshire, are destined for hybrids. Plug-in hybrid cars can emit less pollution than traditional vehicles, and have the ability to travel on electric power alone for journeys of as much as 50 miles – covering the vast majority of weekday commutes travelled by car.
The DVLA is to recruit 400 additional staff to help clear a backlog of applications caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The jobs at its head office in Swansea will be fixed-term temporary posts. Drivers have criticised the agency for leaving them without crucial documents because of delays The DVLA has blamed the problems on having fewer staff on site during lockdown due to social-distancing guidelines. In an advertisement for the positions, the DVLA said it is "working hard to ensure we meet the needs of our customers during these unprecedented times".
It added: "The need for additional resource across our services to support our response to Coronavirus is a key focus." The DVLA said previously there had been "significant delays" in processing paper applications that have continued to flood into its office throughout the pandemic, with a current average of around 250,000 envelopes received weekly. "Our online services are working as normal and we've processed more than 18 million online transactions since March," it said. To help, the DVLA has automatically extended photocard driving licences and entitlements to drive that expired between 1 February 2020 and 31 August 2020 for seven months.
Dealers struggled with matching high levels of used car inquiries with depleted stock levels in July, new data shows. Average dealer stock levels for the month were down 30 per cent year on year from 66 to 47 units and were also down on June’s average of 51 units, according to eBay Motors Group’s latest Market View. The report showed the fall was largely driven by car supermarkets where stocking levels dropped 52 per cent year on year from 516 to 247 units. Franchised dealer sites saw stocks drop by 13 vehicles to 54, while independents saw a more modest drop of just five units to 44.
However, buyer inquiries in July, made by phone calls and emails, were up 24 per cent on pre-lockdown levels recorded at the beginning of March and 153 per cent higher than the lowest point of the lockdown. With high numbers of buyers chasing fewer available cars, average days in stock improved month on month from 73 to 66 days, although still significantly above the 41 days averaged in July 2019.
Petrol remained the fuel of choice for used car buyers, accounting for 54 per cent of all searches and 52 per cent of dealer stock, the same level as last year. Interest in diesel remained high with 44 per cent of views, marginally down from 45 per cent last year, accounting for 45 per cent of stocks, compared with 46 per cent last year. Diesel cars matched petrol cars in the time they spent on the forecourt, both averaging 65 days.
By 2025 more than 350,000 homes across the UK will be fitted with an electric home charging system, according to Andersen, a British manufacturer and installer of high-end home-charging points. Analysis of sales trends by Andersen has found that 362,270 wall boxes could be installed in UK driveways and garages over the next five years, based on current installation rates, adding to the current crop of 120,000. Andersen is predicting 2020 to be a tipping point for electric vehicle uptake, following January sales that were four times as high as the same period last year.
Jerome Faissat, CEO of Andersen, said: “At Andersen, we’re in no doubt that electric vehicles are the future. As we move towards a ‘new normal’ in the wake of the coronavirus, we’ve seen clear evidence that people want to change their habits so that they can move forward in a way that is more mindful. Over the past three months, pollution has fallen in our cities and we’ve enjoyed the cleanest air we’ve had in decades, and it’s inspired many to rethink the way they get around. We’re seeing people vote with their feet – as they make the switch to an electric car, bike or scooter. “Going electric is more than an ethical choice. It’s a choice to embrace the future. Our message is clear: If we work together, we can help encourage take up of electric vehicles and make our communities cleaner and safer.”
Cambria Automobiles chief executive Mark Lavery has urged his car retail colleagues to lobby Government over an all-out push to Electric Vehicles (EV) which risks catching UK automotive “sleeping at the wheel”. Lavery said that there was still time to prevent Government making a decision which would see an all-out ban on internal combustion engine (ICE) and hybrid vehicles as early as 2032 which would risk both the environment and "thousands" of industry jobs. The Office for Low Emission Vehicles’ (OLEV) consultation over the proposals ends at midnight tonight (July 31), having been extended from an initial May deadline, and Lavery insisted that it was “not too late” to change what appeared to be a set course.
His comments came as the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) today called for hybrids to be excluded from any initial ban on new vehicles sales, and a phased approach be taken towards a zero emission sales target of 2040, “At the moment, as an industry, we are sleeping at the wheel as the environmental lobbying groups dictate an all-out push for EVs at the exclusion of any other solution”.
The NFDA today detailed its response to the OLEV consultation, urging a slower pace to change, fiscal stimulation to boost alternative fuel vehicles’ (AFV) affordability and improved charging infrastructure. NFDA director, Sue Robinson, said: “Businesses and consumers must receive adequate support from the Government during this crucial transition to a zero-emission market.”
The coronavirus pandemic has forced JLR to rethink its financial goals. The coronavirus pandemic is forcing Jaguar Land Rover to rethink its cost cutting plan following a pre-tax loss of £413 million for the quarter ending in June. As a result the Tata-owned firm is now aiming to save £2.5 billion for the year,saying in a statement that its outlook for the year is currently "very uncertain". It does, however, expect sales – and as a result cashflow and profitability – to improve as lockdowns begin to ease all over the world. China, a key market for the brand, is already showing signs of recovery.
"We are quite optimistic about the way China is ramping up in terms of overall sales volume," Tata Motors group chief financial officer P.B. Balaji said on Friday. Jaguar Land Rover is also continue to discuss its funding with the UK government, despite it having strong liquidity and a spread out debt repayment schedule. Thierry Bollore was recently announced as Jaguar Land Rover's next CEO, replacing Ralf Speth who had served in the role for the last decade. Bollore, the former Renault boss, took the top role at the French Firm following the downfall of Carlos Ghosn two years ago but departed last October following tensions with Alliance partner Nissan.