The UK economy bounced back more strongly than first thought in the last six months of 2020, the Office for National Statistics said this morning. GDP rose by 16.9 per cent and 1.3 per cent in the third and fourth quarters respectively. An early estimate of one per cent growth for the period between October and December was exceeded. GDP fell by 9.8 per cent in 2020, which was slightly less than an initial estimate of a 9.9 per cent drop but represents the biggest collapse in more than three centuries.
Britain’s economy suffered the heaviest fall of all countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development except for Argentina and Spain last year, according to OECD data. The ONS also said Britain’s current account deficit widened to £26.3bn in the fourth quarter, almost double the shortfall in the third quarter. The loss came as firms rushed to import goods before the UK’s trade relationship with the European Union changed on 1 January. The deficit is a long-standing concern for investors as it leaves Britain reliant on foreign inflows of cash.
Wednesday marks the last day that about four million of the most clinically vulnerable people in England and Wales are advised to shield at home. Letters have been sent out to the group in the last few weeks. They are still being advised to keep social contacts at low levels, work from home where possible and stay at a distance from other people.
The change comes amid falling Covid cases and hospital admissions. According to NHS Digital, there are 3.8 million shielded patients in England and 130,000 in Wales. Scotland and Northern Ireland are expected to lift their restrictions later in April.
Pendragon has completed the sales of its Jaguar and Land Rover motor vehicle dealership located in Santa Monica, California. The deal was signed off on 29 March 2021 with the purchaser, Redwood Automotive paying £10.8m for the business. Pendragon has now sold off all its US dealerships, realising a total of £106m.
The decision to sell the businesses goes back to 2017 when it first announced that it was not going to further expand in the US and planned to assess its US operations. In December 2017 it said it planned to sell the businesses. The US sale was a strategic U-turn for the group. Two years earlier it had set its sights on expansion in the US, wanting to buy a Lexus dealership in Glendale, California from Texas Automobiles Leasing for $48.5m (£32.6m). The deal subsequently fell through.
Government has announced £30m of investment in EV and hydrogen technology to help launch studies into the creation of a UK lithium supply chain, improvements in battery safety and the re-use of car batteries. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) revealed the plans, which include a project to extract lithium from hard rock in Cornwall as well as studies into hydrogen storage and the development of solid-state batteries.
It said that the investment will support the “phase out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030”. But the announcement from Minister for Investment, Gerry Grimstone, comes almost a fortnight after Government cut its plug-in car grant (PiCG) electric vehicle (EV) purchase incentive scheme for motorists, leaving OEMs and car buyers questioning its strategy to shift mobility towards zero tailpipe emission solutions.
Honda Motor Co said on Tuesday it will recall about 761,000 vehicles worldwide to replace fuel pumps that could fail and lead to engine problems. The recall includes 628,000 U.S. vehicles and covers various 2018-2020 model year Acura and Honda vehicles. Honda has received no reports of crashes or injuries related to the issue. The recall covers some Accord, Civic, CR-V, Fit, Pilot, Ridgeline, MDX, RDX and TLX vehicles.
Consumers are happy to take their car to garages for its MoT as they feel confident in the measures taken to protect them in the pandemic. That’s the headline conclusion of research carried out by The Motor Ombudsman. It found that 81% of UK drivers would feel comfortable taking their car to a garage for its MOT in person.
The results equally showed that male drivers (85%) are seemingly more at ease than female car owners (76%) about the prospect of visiting a garage, whilst only 12% of drivers overall explained that they would feel nervous if they were to take their vehicle to the test station themselves. Similarly, just 4% of respondents would opt to use a garage’s collection and delivery service, with this being a slightly more popular alternative for those who are retired (7%) or aged over 55 years (6%).
BP Pulse has announced a new partnership with The EV Network (EVN), which will “significantly” expand its ultra-fast electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure. EVN is an EV charging infrastructure development company, helping bridge the gap between landlords and charge point operators in rolling out a network of rapid and ultra-fast EV chargers and charging infrastructure in the UK. Over the past three years EVN says it has carefully selected and secured the very best sites in the UK, seizing ‘first-mover advantage’ in what has become an increasingly competitive UK market.
BP Pulse is aiming to double the size of its network in the UK to 16,000 charge points by 2030, with a particular emphasis on ultra-fast chargers, with the total amount of charging on the BP Pulse network is set to grow 30-fold by 2030. The new hubs will be a key part of the company’s ambition to deliver fast and convenient charging for the growing number of EV drivers.
Matteo de Renzi, CEO of BP Pulse, said: “We’re taking another step forward in our commitment to make ultra-fast charging widely accessible across the UK, including in easy reach of the motorway network. “These new hubs will complement BP Pulse’s existing plans to expand the number of ultra-fast chargers on BP’s forecourts and it’s exciting to be launching this new additional option for drivers.” The agreement is expected to deliver new ultra-fast EV charging destinations in the areas with high volumes of traffic. The sites will be developed by EVN with each having a range of ultra-fast charging bays and some becoming EV convenience and mobility hubs with food, drink and other facilities on offer to drivers as they charge.
BP has agreed to join BMW Group and Daimler Mobility AG in their drive to extend and significantly improve electrification, making electric vehicle (EV) charging more convenient, simpler and seamless for drivers.
Under the agreement, BP will become a 33.3% partner alongside BMW Group and Daimler Mobility AG in Digital Charging Solutions GmbH (DCS), described as one of Europe’s leading developers of digital charging solutions for automotive manufacturers and vehicle fleet operators. BP’s acquisition of the stake in DCS will be subject to regulatory approval. The terms of the transaction are not being disclosed.
DCS works with OEMs to integrate its charging solutions into vehicle operating systems, offering Plug & Charge for vehicle and charger to communicate seamlessly without the need for additional customer authentication. The company already operates ’Mercedes me Charge’, ’BMW Charging’ and ’MINI Charging’ services. The company already offers access to 228,000 charging points in 32 countries giving OEMs, fleet customers and EV drivers extensive access to charging infrastructure across Europe.