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Motor Trade News Monthly Round Up January 2018

We look back at all the important motor trade news from January, highlighting a new scam to be aware of, plus other motoring news.

Perhaps the biggest motor trade story as we started the New Year, was the announcement of the MOT changes, or lack thereof as the starting test age remained at three years.

MOT Test still at 3 years UK government says

MOT Test Stays At Three Years

After a consultation on the MOT testing age increasing to four years resulted in an overwhelming ‘No’, the Government has decided not to go through with its proposal. The announcement was made by the Department for Transport in a joint press release with the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency.

Roads Minister Jesse Norman said: “We have some of the safest roads in the world, and are always looking at ways of making them safer.

“Although modern cars are better built and safer than when the MOT test was last changed 50 years ago, there has been a clear public concern that any further changes don’t put people’s lives at risk. We are looking at further research to ensure the MOT test evolves with the demands of modern motoring.”

Read more about the story in our MOT Test to Remain at Three Years article. 

death of diesel cars

Death of Diesel

It’s more bad news for diesels as a study, originally published in MotorEasy’s magazine, has shown that diesel cars are three times more likely to break down compared to petrol cars, and the repair costs are 20% higher too. The study used 30,000 cars, from 25 car manufacturers, aged between three and eight years old, looking at 30,000 faults across a period of 12 months.

Top 10 Least Reliable Diesel Cars

According to the findings, 71% of manufacturers’ cars were less reliable than their petrol versions, however Audi, Lexus, Mini, Peugeot, Porsche and BMW were found to have less reliable petrol cars, when compared to their diesel counterparts.

Average diesel failure rate:

  • Alfa Romeo - 47%
  • Land Rover - 41%
  • Mitsubishi - 36%
  • Saab - 33%
  • Mazda - 33%
  • Kia - 29%
  • Mercedes - 27%
  • Vauxhall - 26%
  • Mini - 26%
  • Audi - 26%

According to the findings, those looking for a reliable diesel car should look at Skodas, as they had a failure rate of just 9%.

The MotorEasy report doesn’t state whether the vehicles studied were of a similar mileage, which could skew the results as many motorway motorists prefer diesels for their fuel consumption on long journeys. However MotorEasy offered an explanation for the lack of reliability of diesels saying that ‘diesel engines are under more pressure than petrol counterparts’.

Duncan McClure Fisher, the Founder of MotorEasy said: “Diesels experience many more small problems than petrol cars. They are less reliable and, when a big item goes wrong, it costs a lot more to put right.

“If you’re still considering a diesel car, our advice is to avoid high-mileage examples, particularly if you are only driving low mileage or doing city driving.”

Car Production Falls

A mixture of Brexit uncertainty and diesel fear-mongering has been blamed for a fall in car production. In 2017 a total of 1.67m cars rolled off production lines in the UK, a 3% decrease on 2016’s figure, and 130,000 below the industry forecast.

The industry has abandoned its target to build more than two million cars a year by 2020, which would break 1972’s record of 1.92 million, due to uncertainty caused by Brexit. SMMT Chief Executive, Mike Hawes, said: “It’s hard to see that [happen] when we have this period of uncertainty. We still hope that we can maintain the inherent strengths that we have, but circumstances have undoubtedly changed.”

Jaguar Land Rover announced it will cut production on some of its models due to Brexit uncertainty and changes to tax on diesels. Only the Land Rover Discovery Sport and Range Rover Evoque models, which are made at the Halewood plant, will be affected. 

JLR said: "Ongoing uncertainty surrounding Brexit is being felt by customers at home, with demand for new cars down 5.7% in 2017, and in Europe where collectively, we sell approximately 45% of total UK production.

"Add to this, [the] concern around the future of petrol and diesel engines, and general global economic and political uncertainty and it's clear to see why industry is seeing an impact on car sales."

Crackdown on Speeding

West Mercia Police Chief Constable Anthony Bangham has called for motorists to be fined even if they only exceed the limit by 1mph. Speaking at the Police Federation Roads Policing Conference on Tuesday (30th), Chief Con Bangham told delegates: “Let’s change the message, I do not want the public to be surprised, I want them to be embarrassed when they get caught. They need to understand the law is set at the limit for a reason.”

However the Conservative MP for East Yorkshire, Sir Gregory Knight, disagreed with the proposals: 

“The police rely in many cases to solve crimes on the good will of the public. I can think of nothing more likely to destroy that good will than an overly aggressive policy towards motorists. It will make criminals of motorists who are basically good drivers trying to obey the speed limit, while keeping an eye on the road.”

Report Collisions Online

The Department for Transport has revealed plans for drivers to report road collisions online. Currently motorists must report a collision in person at a police station within 24 hours of the incident.

Transport Minister Jesse Norman said: “Our roads are among the safest in the world, in part due to the outstanding work of traffic officers. However, the current system is out of date; it takes up considerable amounts of time and increases queues for reporting crimes.

“The ability to report accidents online will make the whole process quicker and easier for both drivers and the police.”

Chief Con Anthony Bangham, who is also the Roads Policing Lead for the National Police Chiefs’ Council said: “We always welcome ideas which enable the public to be better served. Online collision reporting will greatly benefit members of the public and also enable officers to deal more quickly with their collision reports, meaning they can spend less time on paperwork and more time on police work.”

New Motor Trade Scam

A scam involving fraudsters claiming to be local newspaper advertising agents has been discovered in the West Midlands. The scammers operate by contacting independent garages, often ones that have placed local newspaper adverts in the past, asking the owners it they want to place a ‘low-cost advert’ in the paper.

If an independent garage owner agrees to place an ad in the local paper then the scammers attempt to take a large sum of money, whilst pretending to be taking a ‘small payment’ over the phone.

Terry Gibson, Head of Member Services at the Independent Garage Association said: “This new scam is a reminder that we must all keep alert for the clues that tell us that something isn’t right.

“Scams are ever present and ever evolving and it’s thanks to our members alerting us that we can spread the word to prevent others from being caught out.”

Motor Trade Insurance Quote

We hope you’ve enjoyed our round up of Motor Trade and motoring news from January, make sure to keep an eye out for next month’s edition. In the meantime, if you would to discuss any aspect of your Motor Trade insurance policy with our team of Traders insurance experts, then please call 0330 127 4100 or if you would like a quote, please click ‘Get a Quote’ below.