Category Archives: Motoring News

Driving Licence Changes

Say goodbye to the old Paper Counterpart Driving Licence as changes take effect in 2015.

If you’re like me, then chances are you know where your photocard driving licence is. Maybe it’s in your purse, or your wallet? Maybe it’s in the kitchen drawer next to the random pens and supermarket carrier bags that someone insists on collecting?! We seem to know where that important little card is!

Now. Where is your paper counterpart driving licence?

You know, that official looking “greeny” document you received in the post with your shiny new photocard licence? Perhaps you put it in that big unorganised folder with the car receipts and paperwork? Well fear not my fellow drivers! Soon you will no longer need to dig out that paper counterpart driving licence!

“As of 2015 the DVLA will no longer be issuing paper counterpart driving licences. Meaning all those who currently have one, including myself, can dispose of them going forward.”

From 1st January 2015 you can safely destroy your paper counterpart driving licence (if you can find it of course), and just continue with your photocard licence.

 

What this means for you

  • You do not need to take any action, just keep your current photocard driving licence.
  • If you have an old style paper driving licence issued before the photocard was introduced in 1998, this change won’t affect you, and you should keep your licence.
  • The next time you need to update your name, address or renew your licence, you will be issued with a photocard only.
  • Entitlements, penalty points and the status of your driving licence will not change.
  • When DVLA stops issuing the counterpart of the driving licence, those drivers who already have a counterpart may destroy it.
  • You can change your address details online.

For further information, please visit the gov.uk website.

 

 

 

Most Stolen Cars Revealed

BMW X5 tops the pile as Tracker publishes a list of the UK’s most stolen cars.

Vehicle recovery experts Tracker have identified the leading six “most stolen cars” fitted with its devices during 2013 in the UK. Sitting in pole position as the most stolen car fitted with a tracker is the BMW X5. This is followed closely by Mercedes C-Class, and the Audi S4.

Sitting in 4th place is the Land Rover Defender, followed by the Porsche 911, and the Range Rover Sport to complete the top 6.

Adrian Davenport, police liaison officer for Tracker, said: “It’s clear from our latest figures that thieves continue to target prestige models with the most expensive car recovered being worth £90,000.”

“The average value of the cars we recovered in 2013 was just £23,600, down on the year before. This proves that you don’t have to be a luxury car owner to be at risk from thieves looking to make a quick profit.”

 

Stolen Prestige Cars Bound For Overseas

In similar news, The Telegraph recently reported a large number of luxury cars destined to be smuggled overseas, has been recovered by National Crime Agency (NCA), the Association of Chief Police Officers’ (ACPO) Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service, and the UK Border Force.

The authorities targeted shipping containers and trucks at ports in Hull, Immingham, Grangemouth, London Gateway, Felixstowe, Tilbury and Southampton.

A total of 44 vehicles including models from BMW, Range Rover, Audi, and Porsche were seized and recovered. Also included in the hoard were some high-value commercial vehicles such as Scania trucks, and a Komatsu excavator machine.

The total value of the vehicles seized has been placed at more than £1.2 million.

 

What are the top 10 most stolen cars?

The figures and news above refer to the prestige and luxury vehicles currently on UK roads, but what about more mainstream vehicles? What are “the most stolen cars” in the UK overall?

Even though vehicle theft is in decline in the UK, there are still around 100,000 cars stolen every year according to the website Honest John. With most vehicles boasting advanced security systems, it is nearly impossible for thieves to take a car by brute force. Therefore, “theft of keys” is now the most common way to steal a car. Only around half of all the cars stolen in the UK are ever recovered.

According to Honest John, here are the top ten most stolen cars in the UK during 2013:

  1. Vauxhall Astra
  2. Ford Fiesta
  3. Volkswagen Golf
  4. Vauxhall Corsa
  5. BMW 3 Series
  6. Ford Focus
  7. Ford Mondeo
  8. Honda Civic
  9. BMW X5
  10. Land Rover Defender

 


Most Stolen Cars Article Sources
Honest John
Car Buyer
The Telegraph

Paperless Road Tax

After much planning and preparation the traditional UK paper vehicle tax disc, is being phased out. This change will also impact on the governing of transferring of tax when cars are sold.

From today, Wednesday 1st of October, you will no longer need to display a traditional paper tax disc in your car, or on your motorcycle.

“Announced as part of Chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn Statement in December 2013, the Vehicle Excise Duty car tax system is moving to a fully digital service.”

If you have a tax disc with any months left to run after this date, then it can be removed from your vehicle and destroyed.

Under the new scheme, there are three ways to pay for your tax – online at the DVLA’s website, over the telephone on 0300 123 4321, or at the Post Office. As usual, the DVLA will still send you a V11 renewal reminder when your vehicle tax is due to expire.

Under the new rules, tax can no longer be transferred between vehicle owners. This means that when you, as the registered owner, sell a car, you will get a refund of any remaining full months of tax when you inform the DVLA that you no longer own it. There is no need to fill in a form to claim the refund.

“If you are buying a car, you must get new vehicle tax in your name before you can drive it.”

You can tax the vehicle using the New Keeper Supplement (V5C/2) part of the vehicle registration certificate (V5C) online or by using an automated phone service.

“The number is 0300 123 4321 and the DVLA says it will be in operation 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

If you wish to make a Statutory Off-Road Notification (SORN) for your vehicle, you can apply online to do this using the 16-digit reference number from your vehicle tax renewal reminder (V11) or 11-digit reference number from your log book (V5C).

The police and other enforcement agencies will use the DVLA’s online register to ensure that a vehicle has valid tax. Therefore, it is vital to ensure your correct details are aligned with your car. Automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras will enforce the new system by catching motorists who have avoided payment.

From November, motorists will also be able to pay for their vehicle tax via direct debit, in addition to the standard six-month and 12-month options.

Early tweets from trade and retail users online have expressed frustration with the new system, and have been unable to purchase the tax they require. Later reports on the day of launch reveal the website may have crashed causing frustration for users.

“The RAC estimates that switching to a paperless tax system could cost the UK Government up to £167 million. That far outstrips the £10 million worth of savings the DVLA says it will make with the new system.”

The research also found that one in three people were unaware of the changes, and the DVLA has been criticised for not informing the public of its changes sooner.

Ford Begin Testing Right-Hand Drive Mustang

Ford begin testing the first “right-hand drive” Ford Mustang ahead of global production.

Perhaps one of the most iconic cars in history, and a personal favourite of mine which I will come to shortly, the production of the first right-hand-drive Ford Mustang is to begin soon. Presently “in testing”, the new format Mustang will allow the car to be exported to more than 25 right-hand-drive markets around the world including the UK.

Ford engineers recently finished construction of the very first right-hand-drive Mustang. The sixth-generation of this vehicle.

Even though the United States is the largest market for Mustangs with more than 9.2 million sales since the car’s debut in 1964, over 161,000 Ford Mustangs have been sold outside of North America in that time.

As a fan, I would love to see more of these iconic cars cruising around the UK roads. Ever since seeing films like K9, and Gone In 60 Seconds, I’ve always had a soft-spot for the classic 1960’s Mustangs!

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Image credits: Amarsaihan Biliguudei via Flickr55Laney69 via Flickr

16 Of The Best UK Car Dealer Websites 2014

What are some of the best UK car dealer websites of 2014? As a consumer, who presents their dealership online in a way that would appeal to me? Who’s virtual forecourt is kept the cleanest and easiest to navigate around? Read on as I scour the web to find 16 of the best UK car dealer websites 2014!

With the huge number of car dealers in the UK including approximately 4,900 franchised dealerships, in addition to new start-ups and independent garages, just who has the best virtual forecourts on the web that might appeal to me as a consumer? As more and more customers take to the internet to discover their next car,  how a dealer “presents” their stock online is almost as important as the vehicles themselves.

I have selected a range of excellent website designs that boast their own unique strengths, and which also “caught my eye” as a consumer.

It was a tough choice! Especially as the standard of websites across the web is so high. Perhaps in the future I might feature another shortlist of dealers? I have selected 16 websites in no specific order, taking into account:

  • How easy is the stock to browse?
  • How easy the website is to navigate?
  • Is the website “eye pleasing” and enticing?
  • Is the website up to date?

Please read and maybe think how your own website compares? Does it feature any of the strengths mentioned? Would you like me to take a look at your website to offer you some feedback!? Please get in touch or comment below!

1. Marshall Motor Group – UK Wide

The Marshall Motor Group is a great place to start our 16 of the best uk car dealer websites 2014. The website is a pleasure to navigate with a clean design, and easy to use menu options. Finding your way around is very straightforward! The visitor is presented with simple search facilities and cleanly displayed search results. Cars are represented with images, a wealth of technical and historical information, and “possible alternatives” that might be of interest to the customer.

Car dealer linkmarshallweb.co.uk

Best UK Car Dealer Websites Of 2014 - Marshall Motor Group
Marshall Motor Group Website

 

2. Busseys – Norwich

Busseys, founded back in 1911 are an established independent  dealer group based in Norwich and the greater Norfolk area. Their website is bright, colourful, and very eye pleasing. The homepage acts like a gateway, with bright links and calls-to-action to the various Busseys services. New and used car facilities have their own dedicated web pages, to enable to the customer to search without distraction. I particularly like this website design as the green fields and blue skies remind me of the Windows XP startup screen!

Car dealer linkbusseys.co.uk

Best UK Car Dealer Websites Of 2014 - Busseys
Busseys Website

 

3. Benfield Motor Group – NorthEast, NorthWest & Yorkshire

Situated up in the North of the UK, Benfield Motor Group brings decades of success in the motor trade to it’s web presence with an excellent car dealer website. Visitors are presented with very easy to use search facilities, and current stock can be viewed within 1 click! This is an excellent feature as it means customers can begin viewing stock without having to navigate to different sections of the website. Helpful phone numbers, and even “live chat” are readily available  to help the visitor pursue their purchase.

Car dealer linkdrivebenfield.com

Best UK Car Dealer Websites Of 2014 - Benfield Motor Group
Benfield Motor Group Website

 

4. Riverside Motors – Yorkshire

The Riverside Motor Group based up in Yorkshire boasts a very attractive looking website. With clear menu options and navigation, glossy tempting offers, and easy to find stock lists with detailed vehicle information.

Car dealer linkriversidemotors.co.uk

Best UK Car Dealer Websites Of 2014 - Riverside Motor Group
Riverside Motor Group Website

 

5. Bob Gerard Ltd – Leicester

This website caught my eye above many others.  Bob Gerard Ltd is a new and used car dealer in Leicester selling a range of vehicles, with an impressive history spanning over 70 years in the motor trade. The Bob Gerard Ltd website boasts clean graphics, a friendly colour scheme, and easy-to-find functionality. There is also a very nice use of vintage racing cars subtly splashed across the background, to add a further sense of prestige.

Car dealer linkbobgerard.co.uk

Best UK Car Dealer Websites Of 2014 - Bob Gerard Ltd
Bob Gerard Ltd Website

 

6. Mike Brewer Motors – Sheffield

Upon searching through used car dealers in Sheffield, Mike Brewer Motors stood out above the rest. A clean looking website with lots of uncluttered space, Mike Brewer Motors is a pleasure to search and offers the potential customers a very easy browsing experience. With nice glossy images of the showroom and stock, sat alongside customer testimonials and nicely separated content, this website was one of my favourites. Big buttons and calls to action, and simple vehicle lists with just the right amount of information. Great job!

Car dealer linkmikebrewermotors.com

Best UK Car Dealer Websites Of 2014 - Mike Brewer Motors
Mike Brewer Motors Website

 

7. Motor City – Plymouth

Motor City based in Plymouth is highly successful and established name in the motor trade in the South. Their website is geared towards functionality, presenting visitors with easy to use navigation, and comprehensive information and support throughout. When searching through stock, you really get a sense that Motor City knows how to deliver the right vehicles to their customers, offering a range of information, after sales options, and detailed images of each vehicle. This is an example of how to present vehicles “on the web” as well as “on the forecourt”.

Car dealer linkmotorcityplymouth.co.uk

Best UK Car Dealer Websites Of 2014 - Motor City
Motor City Website

 

8. Jennings Motor Group – North East

Jennings Motor Group is a multi-award winning franchise group based up in the North East, with over a century over success behind them. Their website reflects this success, with a very polished and seamless design that offers visitors an impressive environment to browse stock, and immediately recognise the prestige of this established brand. Vehicle stock is so easy to search and refine, with information about each item displayed cleanly. Overall, one of the best websites I have found!

Car dealer linkjenningsmotorgroup.co.uk

Best UK Car Dealer Websites Of 2014 - Jennings Motor Group
Jennings Motor Group Website

 

9. Sutton Park Group – West Midlands

Sutton Park Group, established in 1991, are franchised dealers situated across the West Midlands. Their website was a pleasure to find with a clean and fresh looking design, and the integration of the pink and blue logo colours are used as subtle navigation aids and calls to action. With stock listings only one “click” away, visitors can instantly view what is on offer.

Car dealer linksuttonparkgroup.co.uk

Best UK Car Dealer Websites Of 2014 - Sutton Park Group
Sutton Park Group

 

10. Smiths Motor Group – Peterborough

Smiths Motor Group is a multi-franchise family business, built upon over 70 years of success in the motor trade. Their website brings a more “minimal” look, with lots of eye-pleasing “white space”, and very easy to find navigation and functionality. Visitors are presented with a constant search facility, meaning a refined browse of stock is only a few clicks away.

Car dealer linksmithsmotorgroup.co.uk

Best UK Car Dealer Websites Of 2014 - Smiths Motor Group
Smiths Motor Group Website

 

11. John Bank Group – East Anglia

Reviewing so many used car dealer websites around the web, you quickly learn how to distinguish the best examples. John Banks Group website is one of those examples. Pleasing gentle colours with plenty of “white space” on the pages, and a consistent simple navigation bar across the top. This is great example of an “easy to view” website.

Car dealer linkjohnbanks.co.uk

Best UK Car Dealer Websites Of 2014 - John Banks Group
John Banks Group Website

 

12. Murketts Vauxhall – Cambridge

With sites all over East Anglia, Murketts Vauxhall is a family owned group with more than 100 years of experience in delivering quality new and used vehicles. The Murketts website is polished and easy to navigate, allowing visitors to refine their searches. I particularly liked when viewing available vehicle models, you see a little picture of each model. This is great little touch to help customers who may not be familiar with the different vehicle models, pick the right one.

Car dealer linkmurketts.co.uk

Best UK Car Dealer Websites Of 2014 - Murketts Vauxhall
Murketts Vauxhall Website

 

13. Phoenix Car Company – Glasgow

From humble beginnings beside Glasgow airport, Phoenix Car Company has grown into one of central Scotlands largest dealer groups with multiple sites and franchises in Paisley, Glasgow, Grangemouth and Stirling. Their website is rich in media  and beautiful layouts, and very easy to explore with stock listings only one click away. Also featured is a very easy-to-use finance calculator, which also acts as a search function where visitors can select the payment options they desire, and are presented with vehicle options that suit their budget! Now agreed, other websites may offer such a facility, but it was the ease of finding and using this facility which appealed to me. A nice touch!

Car dealer linkphoenixcar.co.uk

Best UK Car Dealer Websites Of 2014 - Phoenix Motor Company
Phoenix Motor Company Website

 

14. Bridgend Motor Group – Ayrshire

I liked this website! Bridgend Motor Group present themselves on the web with a unique “quirky” stylised website. What do I mean by that exactly? Well. The layout and calls-to-action are simple and bold, with eye-pleasing soft colours, and some very cool historic photos of the business in the early days. Old “grainy” black and white photos are fantastic to look at and admire, and really give visitors a sense of how experienced Bridgend Motor Group are. Scroll down a little, and the visitor is presented with lots of visual queues to explore stock, and find the vehicle they want. Manufacturers logos, different types of vehicle shapes and sizes are all presented for the user to “click on” and find out more. It’s a great feature especially in this age of big screen tablets and smartphones where users scan the website looking for the next button to “press”.

Car dealer linkbridgendgroup.co.uk

Best UK Car Dealer Websites Of 2014 - Bridgend Motor Company
Bridgend Motor Company Website

 

15. Nathaniel Cars – South Wales

Nathaniel Cars based in South Wales boasts an excellent virtual forecourt. With slick modern dynamic layouts, this site is a joy to scroll through and explore. The key word here is “dynamic”. Did you know that soon, almost 50% of all web traffic will be mobile based? Meaning smartphones, tablets, and netbooks?  How a website looks on a smartphone, can be very different to how it looks on a desktop computer screen, and Nathaniel Cars have addressed that situation with a beautiful “scrolling” website that adjusts for mobile visitors, and looks great on mobile devices.

Car dealer linknathanielcars.co.uk

Best UK Car Dealer Websites Of 2014 - Nathaniel Cars
Nathaniel Cars Website

 

16. Lings Cars – Gateshead

And finally. Now granted that Lings is not a used car dealer and instead specialises in car leasing, in the motor trade there can not be a more extravagant and amazing website as Lings Cars. Following success in the TV show Dragons Den, Ling Valentine now runs a hugely popular vehicle leasing business with a reputation for colourful, and very funny loud marketing. With so much to “look at” on the website including animated chickens and dancing karaoke singers, you can’t help but stare and discover everything that is on offer!

Lings Cars websitelingscars.com

Best UK Car Dealer Websites Of 2014 - Lings Cars
Lings Cars Website

 

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Header Image Credit: Harry_NL via Flickr

A New Generation Of Tax Disc

The Government publishes new guidelines regarding changes to the vehicle Tax Disc.

From 1 October 2014, the paper tax disc will no longer need to be displayed on a vehicle windscreen. If you have a tax disc with any months left to run after this date, then it can be removed from the vehicle windscreen and destroyed. Customers with a Northern Ireland address will still need to display their MoT disc.

There is a video available (Goodbye to the tax disc) which explains that the tax disc will no longer be issued from 1 October 2014. You can watch the video on our YouTube channel.

You can apply online to tax or SORN your vehicle using your 16 digit reference number from your vehicle tax renewal reminder (V11) or 11 digit reference number from your log book (V5C)

What this means to you

To drive or keep a vehicle on the road you will still need to get vehicle tax and DVLA will still send you a renewal reminder when your vehicle tax is due to expire. This applies to all types of vehicles including those that are exempt from payment of vehicle tax.

Buying a vehicle

From 1 October, when you buy a vehicle, the vehicle tax will no longer be transferred with the vehicle. You will need to get new vehicle tax before you can use the vehicle.

You can tax the vehicle using the New Keeper Supplement (V5C/2) part of the vehicle registration certificate (V5C) online or by using our automated phone service – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Alternatively, you may wish to visit a Post Office® branch.

Selling a vehicle

If you sell a vehicle after 1 October and you have notified DVLA, you will automatically get a refund for any full calendar months left on the vehicle tax.

Vehicle tax refunds

You will no longer need to make a separate application for a refund of vehicle tax. DVLA will automatically issue a refund when a notification is received from the person named on DVLA vehicle register that the:

  • vehicle has been sold or transferred
  • vehicle has been scrapped at an Automated Treatment Facility
  • vehicle has been exported
  • vehicle has been removed from the road and the person on the vehicle register has made a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN)
  • person on the vehicle register has changed the tax class on the vehicle to an exempt duty tax class

Paying vehicle tax by Direct Debit

From 1 October 2014 (5 October if setting up at a Post Office®), Direct Debit will be offered as an additional way to pay for vehicle tax. This will be available for customers who need to tax their vehicle from 1 November 2014:

  • annually
  • 6 monthly
  • monthly (12 months tax paid for on a monthly basis)

Provided an MOT remains valid, the payments will continue automatically until you tell DVLA to stop taking them or you cancel the Direct Debit with your bank. Valid insurance should also be in place for vehicles registered in Northern Ireland.

The Direct Debit will be cancelled and payments automatically stopped when you tell DVLA that you no longer have the vehicle, or the vehicle has been taken off the road and a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) has been made.

When the Direct Debit scheme can’t be used

Paying by Direct Debit will not be available to:

  • first registration vehicles
  • fleet schemes
  • HGVs (paying the Road User Levy)

Checking the tax status of a vehicle

You can check the tax status of any vehicle online. This can also be used for rental vehicles.

Article source: click here
Header Image Credit: Bart Maguire via Flickr

Car Manufacturer Chevrolet Pulling Out Of Europe

Car manufacturer Chevrolet has announced it is ceasing all new car business in Europe by the end of 2015.

Their website officially reported the following statement, along with with some useful FAQ’s for customers.

As you might have heard, Chevrolet has decided to end its new car business in Europe. This means that the sale of new Chevrolet vehicles in Western and Eastern Europe will end by the end of 2015.

As a Chevrolet customer you can rest assured that Chevrolet is committed to serve you and your vehicle also in the future. We will continue to provide service and supply Chevrolet original parts for Chevrolet vehicles in the same manner as today. Any expressed written warranty or service plans on Chevrolet vehicles remain unchanged and will be fully honoured in accordance with the terms of the agreement. We will determine the most effective way to meet all your service needs through our extensive service network.

We invite all Chevrolet customers and those interested in buying a new Chevrolet before the end of 2015 to continue to visit their local Chevrolet service partner.

 

Will I get service and repair for my Chevrolet in the future?

At Chevrolet we value the trust and the loyalty of our customers in Western and Eastern Europe and will honour our service and warranty commitments. Any expressed written warranty or service plans on Chevrolet vehicles remain unchanged and will be fully honoured in accordance with the terms of the agreement.

We are working with our dealers and authorized repairers to continue to offer an adequate availability of service points for our customers moving forward. We will be sure to provide frequent updates on our Chevrolet Websites.

 

How will my vehicle be serviced once the Chevrolet Western and Eastern Europe business has been ceased?

We are working with our dealers and authorized repairers to continue to offer an adequate availability of service points for our customers moving forward, also beyond the wind-down of our organization. Please visit your local dealer for any maintenance service or repair. If there should be a change in your region in the future, we will inform you in due time. Please come back and visit this website for further updates.

 

What happens when my dealer closes down?

We are working with our dealers and authorized repairers to continue to offer an adequate availability of service points for our customers moving forward, also beyond the ceasing of our organization. Please visit your local dealer for any maintenance service or repair. If there should be a change in your region in the future, we will inform you in due time. We will be sure to provide frequent updates on our Chevrolet Websites.

 

I received a product recall letter. What do I do?

We ask you to please follow the instructions contained in the letter and schedule an appointment with one of our service points. To locate a dealership near you, please check the Dealer Locator here on the website.

 

For how long / how many years will Chevrolet continue to supply service parts for my car?

We are working with our dealers and authorized repairers to continue to offer an adequate availability of service and repair for our customers moving forward. We expect parts to be available for a minimum of 10 years.

 

I leased a Chevrolet. Will I complete my leasing period and return the car as planned? I leased a Chevrolet. I want to end my leasing contract now.

Existing leasing contracts are not affected by this announcement. Your leasing contract will remain unchanged. Only your leasing company can discuss or agree on any contractual changes. In case of any doubt, please contact your leasing company.

 

I bought a Chevrolet, which has not yet been delivered. Will I still receive the car?

Your order is still valid. Please contact your dealer relative to delivery of the car.

 

I bought a Chevrolet, which has not yet been delivered. I don’t want this car anymore. How can I cancel my contract?

We will be in contact with our dealers over the coming days to discuss all options. Please contact your dealer for any questions regarding your contract or delivery of your car.

 

With this announcement, you will immediately de-value the car I recently bought? How will you compensate me for that?

There are no plans for customer compensation. Recent examples of brands exiting the market have not shown a significant drop in residual value over time.

 

I just contacted my Chevrolet dealer / Chevrolet service point but they did not seem to have all the information about the latest Chevrolet announcement.

We have only recently started the process of contacting all of our dealers to discuss all options. This process will be ongoing over the coming days. We also invite you to continue to visit our website for latest updates and news as well as new vehicle and service offers in your country.

 

I bought a Chevrolet, which has not yet been delivered. I hear that you are offering big discounts now. Since my car has not even arrived, I want to benefit from these discounts, too.

We will be in contact with our dealers over the coming days to discuss all options. Please contact your dealer for further information.

 

I heard Chevrolet might be offering some great deals now, can I actually still buy new Chevrolet cars now and benefit from these offers?

Chevrolet new vehicle sales will end by the end of 2015. We will continue to ensure the provision of warranty, parts and services for Chevrolet vehicles, both for existing customers and for customers of vehicles which will be bought between now and end of 2015. Please contact your dealer or visit the ‘Offers’ section on this website relative to any current offers.

 

Why has Chevrolet / GM decided to exit the new vehicles sales in Europe?

GM is committed to Europe as a key region. With this move, GM is clarifying and strengthening its European brand strategy to accelerate progress in the region. The decision by GM to focus its resources on the Opel/Vauxhall brands in Europe will help improve the strength of the brands and our overall business. Chevrolet will continue to offer its iconic American cars across Europe but concentrate Chevrolet passenger car sales on Russia and the CIS where the brand is strong and growing. Cadillac, which is finalizing plans for expanding in the European market, will enhance and expand its distribution network over the next three years as it prepares for numerous product introductions.

 

Will Opel and Chevrolet merge?

No, the two brands will not merge. With this move, GM is clarifying and strengthening its European brand strategy to accelerate progress in the region. The decision by GM to focus its resources on the Opel/Vauxhall brands in Europe will help improve the strength of the brands and our overall business. Chevrolet will continue to offer its iconic American cars across Europe but concentrate Chevrolet passenger car sales on Russia and the CIS where the brand is strong and growing.

 

Will the new Aveo (or other new vehicles / vehicle models) still be launched in Europe?

Select current models will still be sold throughout Western and Eastern Europe until end of 2015.

At this point, we do not plan to launch new or next generation product. It is our plan, however, to continue to offer iconic American Chevrolets such as the Corvette Stingray in Europe even beyond 2015. We will work closely with our dealer network on identifying where we will be offering these vehicles moving forward.

 

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Header Image Credit: Lars Plougmann via Flickr

 

Government Announces DVSA Formation

Roads Minister Stephen Hammond launched a new Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency in April.

The agency has been formed by the merger of the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) and the Driving Standards Agency (DSA). It aims to provide more convenient and cost effective services for motorists. The merger follows a consultation last year looking at how the government can reform its motoring services agencies to put customers first, reduce costs and improve consistency. DVSA will be responsible for setting, testing and enforcing driver and vehicle standards in Great Britain and employs more than 4,000 staff. This year it will:

  • Conduct 1.5 million theory tests and 1.6 million practical driving tests
  • Be responsible for regulating 28 million MOT tests
  • Carry out 137,000 roadside inspections
  • Issue 87,000 operator licences, as well as test and inspect 790,000 commercial vehicles

 

Paris Congestion Scheme Grinds To A Halt

Being an avid city explorer, and seeing the ingenious ways that some city authorities tackle pollution and promote greener living, I was intrigued to discover the recent policy adopted in Paris.

Paris Traffic

The French capital attempted to restrict the volume of motorists “into Paris”, by only allowing vehicles with a certain Vehicle Registration Number into the city. On the next day, vehicle drivers with the opposite Vehicle Registration Numbers would be allowed, and this simple and quirky process would cycle around each day.

Drivers with “odd numbered” vehicle registration numbers would be allowed access on one day, and on the next those with “even numbers” would enjoy the privilege. The aim being not only to reduce the number of motorists in the city, but also encourage “Parisians who couldn’t drive on that day” to use public transport, or perhaps rent a bicycle from one of the cycle stations dotted around the city. In addition, drivers behind the wheel of hybrid or electric cars were exempt from the ban, as were those “car pooling” 3 or more passengers.

Paris Police

With all the good intentions however, the trial appears to have only last a day or so. Parisian motorists did not welcome the trial with open arms, and city police handed out just under 4,000 tickets on the first day to those who ignored the ban. These fines totalled in the region of €80,000!

The bigger picture here is quite promising though, as Paris officials report on the the first day, vehicle congestion was down some 60%, with pollution levels lower than normal.

Having visited Paris numerous times in the last few years, I often marvel at how spacious and “wide open” the streets and walkways are, say compared to London. The Paris Metro is always “busy” with commuters, and the city bike rental scheme is very prevalent. It’s just a shame this new quirky policy has failed at such an early stage. Perhaps with some rethinking, the authorities can adopt a more “Parisian friendly” congestion scheme. For now, it’s business as usual for the French capital.

Have you ever seen any interesting anti-congestion or pollution schemes on your travels? Comment below! =)

Holiday Tip!
If you’re visiting Paris this year, and want to enjoy a museum experience, rather than do what everyone does, and visit Le Louvre, take a walk across the road and visit the lesser known Musee d’Orsay, which houses works or Monet, interesting sculptures, and a nice gift shop.

It’s also more “open” inside, built within the old Gare d’Orsay train station, so the architecture inside is very cool! Also, after enjoying the Musee, nip back over the road to the huge and enjoyable Jardin des Tuileries for a picnic, and watch the world float by.

Musee d'Orsay, Paris
Musee d’Orsay, Paris

Thank you for reading! =)