Commercial Fleet Awards: November 30th.

Commercial Fleet Awards 2017 return on the 30th November at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole Hotel.

Following the success of moving the Commercial Fleet Awards to its prestigious new home, the Birmingham Hilton Metropole in 2016, the awards will return again on Thursday 30th November 2017.

Over 610 of the industry’s great and good came together in 2016 to recognise and celebrate the critical role the industry plays in keeping British business moving, and this year’s event looks set to be even bigger and better.

The event, which is seen as an integral part of the commercial fleet industry calendar, will offer a vital opportunity for the industry to come together, network and celebrate its successes.

Fleet operators will have the opportunity to demonstrate commitment to the highest standards in terms of operation, innovation and safety. Whilst the manufacturer categories compare vehicles across a number of core fleet criteria, including payload, safety, technology, running costs, fuel efficiency, reliability and aftersales service. The supplier categories are also open to companies supplying products and services to commercial vehicle fleets, and reward great service and innovation.

Guests will be entertained by one of the best hosts in the business, and once the formalities are completed, there will be further entertainment with a top celebrity comedian, music and dancing.

Christopher Macgowan


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A New SIMPLY rally for Beaulieu in 2018

Building on the success of Beaulieu’s record-breaking Simply season, a new rally and extra features have been added to the 2018 Simply calendar.

By popular demand, the first Simply Audi event will take place at Beaulieu on Sunday April 29th, when owners of the popular marque can gather in the grounds of the National Motor Museum and meet like-minded enthusiasts.

In the 70th anniversary year of the Land Rover next year, Beaulieu will also add the new feature of Simply Rummage to its popular Simply Land Rover event on Sunday June 24th.

Beaulieu Events Manager Judith Maddox said: “At the request of owners and enthusiasts’ groups, we are pleased to announce the addition of Simply Audi to our range of popular Simply events. We are looking forward to attracting big numbers in its first year.

“Simply Rummage is also an exciting new feature, with a special autojumble devoted to offering much sought-after spare parts for the nation’s favourite 4×4.

“Our Simply season has grown from strength to strength in 2017, with many of this year’s events breaking previous records, and we hope to build on that again next year.”

Beaulieu will launch its 2018 Simply Season with Simply Aston Martin on April 8th, followed by Simply Audi on April 29th, the biggest Simply event Simply Ford on May 6th and Simply Porsche on June 3rd. Simply VW, sponsored by Breeze Volkswagen Group, will be part of Father’s Day weekend celebrations on June 16th, followed by Simply Land Rover with its new feature on June 24th, Simply Jaguar on July 8th, the popular Simply Japanese on July 29th and finishing with Simply Smart on November 11th. Simply rally participant tickets, for those taking part in each of the rallies with their car, will be available in advance or on the day of the event. Advance tickets will be available until 5pm of the Thursday before the rally at £10 per adult and £5 per child, while tickets purchased later or upon arrival at Beaulieu will cost £12 per adult and £6 per child. All other visitors should enter the attraction through the Visitor Reception building and buy tickets at the usual admission price. For more information see or call 01590 612888.

Simply participant tickets also offer admission to the whole of the Beaulieu attraction including the National Motor Museum with is collection of more than 250 vehicles, the new-look World of Top Gear, On Screen Cars, the ancestral Montagu home of Palace House, 13th century Beaulieu Abbey and the stunning grounds and gardens.

Christopher Macgowan


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American and European Motor Vehicle Parts Suppliers call for Free Trade and Harmonized Standards

 WASHINGTON, D.C., and BRUSSELS — In a joint statement released today, the American-based Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) and the European Association of Automotive Suppliers (CLEPA) voiced support for free and fair trade, access to raw and finished materials, and harmonized safety and environmental standards that will allow motor vehicle parts manufacturers to remain competitive in a global marketplace. The statement is seen to underline the positive impact of international trade, in times of rising concerns about globalization and protectionism.

“Suppliers need open, free and fair trade for access to raw materials, finished components, and customers,” the statement says. “Illegal regional or national subsidies on goods or production, restrictive non-tariff barriers to trade (including testing and marking requirements), and lack of participation in the world market limits both the domestic and global competitiveness of all suppliers.”

MEMA and CLEPA also call for trade policies that address trade distortions and preserve open markets while maintaining and improving existing agreements. The two trade organizations also advocate for mutual recognition of vehicle safety and emissions regulations in the U.S. and the EU, as well as to work within the framework of the United Nations’ World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations (WP.29) to establish safety and environmental global technical regulations. Harmonized standards reduce costs while promoting advancements in new and innovative technologies, the statement says.

“These actions serve to protect the international rule of law and strengthen the opportunities for all participants to thrive in a fair and free global marketplace,” the statement says. “The international motor vehicle parts supplier industry is leading the way in technological advances that will enable safer, smarter, and more efficient vehicles,” said MEMA President and CEO Steve Handschuh. “We are at the cusp of the biggest technological changes in 100 years. It is critical that free and open trade facilitate our ability to innovate and compete in the global marketplace.”

“Our sector operates in a highly integrated supply chain, with components often crossing borders, multiple times, to become a finished part or end up in a vehicle,” said CLEPA Secretary General Sigrid de Vries. “Automotive suppliers need easy and fair access to foreign markets to evolve competitively, underpinning growth and employment around the world.”

About MEMA and CLEPA

MEMA represents 1,000 vehicle suppliers that manufacture and remanufacture new original equipment and aftermarket components and systems for use in passenger cars and heavy trucks. MEMA represents its members through four divisions: Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA); Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association (HDMA); Motor & Equipment Remanufacturers Association (MERA); and, Original Equipment Suppliers Association (OESA). Suppliers are the largest employer of manufacturing jobs in the United States, directly employing over 871,000 Americans with a total employment impact of 4.26 million jobs and an economic contribution of $435 billion (2.4% of U.S. GDP). Visit

CLEPA is the European Association of Automotive Suppliers. Over 120 of the world’s most prominent suppliers for car parts, systems and modules and 23 National trade associations and European sector associations are members of CLEPA, representing more than 3,000 companies and covering all products and services within the automotive supply chain. Based in Brussels, Belgium, CLEPA is recognised as the natural discussion partner by the European Institutions, United Nations and fellow associations (ACEA, JAMA, MEMA, etc.). Visit

Christopher Macgowan


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BCA offers a unique opportunity for buyers later this month when Sir Bradley Wiggins’ Sporthome is offered for sale at BCA Blackbushe on 21 September.

The coachbuilt Sporthome by McLaren is based on a long-wheelbase Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 316 2.1 with manual transmission. It was commissioned by Sir Bradley in 2014 and while finished in white, has been vinyl wrapped in Team Wiggins colours of blue with chromed wing mirrors and bull bar and 8-spoke alloy wheels. It has covered 5,500 miles.
The Sporthome features bespoke red, white and blue leather seating with ‘Wiggo’ detail on the headrests. The custom GB-inspired interior includes a double bed, combined shower/toilet, integrated kitchen area with fridge, cooker and wash basin, overhead lockers and a storage area/repair bay for cycles. 
There is a seating area with two swivel seats and fold down table and five television screens (two with Sky). The driver’s area has two leather seats and a custom GB dashboard with integrated Kenwood satellite navigation and CD unit. The vehicle is fitted with privacy blinds throughout for overnight stays and there is air conditioning throughout.
The Sporthome has five doors, including a sliding side door and barn doors to access the storage and workshop area. It is fitted with two roof windows and a pull-out awning for camping and overnight stays. 
The Sporthome will be offered for sale at BCA Blackbushe on Thursday 21 September from 11.00 am. See the full catalogue listing and images online at

Christopher Macgowan



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Record numbers for Beaulieu Supercar weekend.

750 stunning supercars roared into the grounds of the National Motor Museum to join the Beaulieu Supercar Weekend on August 5th and 6th, with 14,700 visitors experiencing the tyre-squealing, high octane action of the two-day show.

Motoring fans of all ages lined Beaulieu’s Chestnut Avenue for demonstration runs, as some of the most impressive supercars were put through their paces in these fierce tests of acceleration and braking. Burning rubber and thrilling on-lookers as they powered off the line were such highlights as the McLaren 570S, Ferrari F40, Porsche 911 GT3 RS, and the brutal, lightweight KTM X-Bow. Amongst the loudest cars was the Ferrari 360 Challenge Stradale, which pleased the crowds with the scream of its 3.6-litre V8 engine.

The Supercar Sound-off was sure to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up as top cars were pitted against each other to see which one had the best-sounding engine. Parked nose-to-nose on the Beaulieu Arena with engines revving, cars put to the test included the Jaguar F-Type SVR, Aston Martin Vanquish, McLaren 720S and Range Rover SVR. The loudest cheers from the crowd declared the Aston Martin to be the winner.

The Battle of the Brands brought together a jaw-dropping selection of machines from the world’s leading supercar-building nations, with cars from Italy, Germany, Japan, Great Britain and America centred around Beaulieu’s giant globe. Surrounded by admirers throughout the weekend was the eye-catching lime green Lamborghini Huracan Spyder, as was the new McLaren 720S which boasted 710bhp and a top speed of 212mph. At the cutting-edge of technology were the impressive Honda NSX and BMW i8 hybrids, while visitors could also see up-close such dream machines as the Ariel Atom 35R, Alfa Romeo 4C, Nissan GT-R, Dodge Viper ACR and Ford Mustang GT.

Show-goers explored the Super SUV Secret Garden in Beaulieu’s Wilderness garden to discover 16 of the most impressive high-performance off-roaders. The stripped-down Ariel Nomad, capable of accelerating from 0-62mph in just 3.4 seconds, contrasted with the electric-powered Tesla Model X with its amazing ‘falcon wing’ rising doors. Other luxury 4X4s on show included the Maserati Levante S Q4, Jaguar F-Pace, Bentley Bentayga, Audi SQ7, Range Rover SVR and Porsche Macan S.

The Beaulieu Supercar Weekend was a rare opportunity to see race track and road-going versions of the latest Ford GT parked side-by-side, as well as examples of the legendary Jaguar XJ220, Ferrari F40 and BMW M1. The variety of the supercars parked up in the event fields was staggering, including no less than two DeLoreans, several Nobles, a Nissan 350Z NISMO and an Ultima GTR. Also on show was a wide variety of Aston Martins, ranging from a 1962 DB4 Vantage to the latest DB11, plus five Dodge Vipers, a rare MG SV-R and a classic 1960s Marcos 1800.

Car club stands were another impressive feature, with the Lotus Driver’s Club and Porsche Club GB leading convoys of their members’ cars into the show. The TVR Car Club stand was packed with first-class examples of this legendary British muscle car, including examples of the Tuscan, Tamora, Chimaera, Griffith, Cerbera and T350.

On the lawns of Palace House, the historic home of the Montagu family, Classic Insurance Services displayed a selection of prestigious classic supercars, ranging from a classic Jaguar XK140 and Maserati Sebring up to an Aston Martin Volante and a lightweight VUHL.

The Beaulieu Supercar Weekend will return for 2018, for the latest information on this event and the complete Beaulieu events calendar, visit or find us on Twitter @Beaulieu_Hants, on Facebook at /nationalmotormuseum or on Instagram @national_motor_museum.

Christopher Macgowan


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A third of drivers ignoring mobile phone rules.

Despite high profile government and police campaigns highlighting the dangers of using a mobile when driving, many motorists are still flouting the law and putting their lives, and those of other road users, at risk. A new study for Kwik Fit, the UK’s leading automotive servicing and repair company, reveals that a third (34%) of drivers are still using their mobile phone without a handsfree set.

The figures are especially alarming as the most recent government statistics show that in five years there was a 24% increase in the number of accidents in which a contributory factor was the driver being distracted by using a mobile phone.

Kwik Fit’s study revealed that more than a quarter (26%) of drivers use their satnav or GPS on their phone, while almost one in five say they take calls (19%) or read text messages (17%). One in six (16%) make calls without a handsfree set, with around one in eight (12%) sending texts. Although some drivers claim they only use their phone in an emergency, more than half a million motorists admit to making calls on almost every journey they make.

Four months on from the introduction of increased penalties for mobile phone use, many drivers remain unaware of the laws and the penalties for breaking them. More than two in five people (43%) do not know that the penalty for using a hand-held phone when driving is six points. The additional focus on inexperienced drivers has also passed many people by, with only 47% of Brits knowing that those caught using a phone without a handsfree set in their first two years will lose their licence.

It is worrying that it is the youngest drivers who are the most ignorant about mobile phone rules, despite the use of a handheld mobile phone having been illegal since before they started driving. Drivers aged 18-24 are nearly three times more likely than the average motorist to believe it’s legal to use your phone when stopped at traffic lights, and twice as likely to say you can answer calls but not make outgoing ones, and that drivers are allowed to use their phone in slow moving traffic. All these statements are incorrect.

It is also the youngest drivers who are most likely to have experienced trouble on the road due to mobile phone use. 40% of 18-24 year olds have either had a collision or near miss, or got involved in an argument because somebody was using their mobile phone, more than double the figure for all drivers. Almost one in ten (8%) drivers aged 18-24 say they have had a collision because they were distracted by their mobile phone, with a further 8% saying they have almost done so. This compares with figures of 2% and 3% respectively for all drivers.

While many of these collisions may be minor bumps with no injury, government data reveals that there has been a large increase in serious accidents where a contributory factor has been the driver using a mobile phone. The number of accidents in which people were killed or seriously injured increased by 25% between 2011 and 2015, the most recent years for which full data is available. Although the number of fatal accidents in which a driver has been distracted by a mobile phone has remained consistent at an average of 22 per year – there has been a big rise in the number of accidents resulting in serious or slight injuries.

Flouting the laws on mobile phone use is most common in London, where nearly half of drivers (47%) say they use their phone without a handsfree set. The most law abiding region is the East of England, yet even here, almost a quarter (24%) admit to breaking the law when it comes to mobile phone use.

Roger Griggs, communications director at Kwik Fit, said: “The findings of this study are very worrying indeed. While car manufacturers have made great strides in improving safety, it is vital that drivers remember that they are the most important safety feature in the vehicle. Any form of distraction can have serious consequences, as sadly, the statistics clearly show.

“It is especially important for inexperienced drivers to be fully focused on what they are doing. The fact that this report has found that younger drivers have less knowledge of the rules and are more likely to take risks means more needs to be done to educate them in the very first weeks and months of driving. Kwik Fit is working with schools and colleges around the country to hold events aimed at improving the safety of those drivers who are new to the road and education on the use of mobiles is an important part of that.”

Any school, college or other youth group who would like to hold a free road safety event can contact their local Kwik Fit centre who can help arrange it.

For the latest news and updates from Kwik Fit, customers can also follow the company on Twitter at @kwik_fit.

Christopher Macgowan


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JLR boss says diesel debate is dominated by misinformation.

The UK boss of Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is warning improvements in air quality could be delayed if the diesel debate continues to be dominated by misinformation. Speaking at the International Automotive Summit organised by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), Jeremy Hicks (pictured) argued that diesel cars are being unfairly targeted.

Calling the current debate a “misnomer”, JLR’s managing director said: “What we’ve had so far hasn’t been so much of a debate, as a diatribe or at best a monologue.” In fact, campaign body FairFuel UK accused “environmentalists and opportunist politicians” of manipulating the argument, damaging residual values, while ignoring significant other sources of NOx and particulate pollution.

Howard Cox, the founder of FairFuel UK, said: “Drivers want solutions to lowering emissions that don’t involve ineffectual and malevolent knee-jerk tax hikes.”  His comments came as Westminster City Council launched a new £2.45 parking surcharge for pre-2015 diesel cars in central London. Dubbed the ‘D-Charge’, it is being trialled in Hyde Park, Marylebone and parts of Fitzrovia (area around the BT Tower), with diesel drivers now having to pay 50% more to park. It costs £4.90 an hour to park in Westminster, but pre-2015 diesel cars will now be charged £7.35.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan also revealed plans to introduce a zero emission zone in central London from 2025.

Hicks said: “The impression being given is the way to improve air quality in our cities is simply to ban diesel cars, but it’s not quite that simple.” A recent report from the London Assembly’s environment committee highlighted how diesel cars were responsible for 11% of NOx in London, compared to gas central heating (16%) and diesel plant and machinery (14%). Hicks said: “There has been a seismic shift in diesel [engine] technology almost eliminating NOx.”

Since 2000, NOx emissions from cars have fallen by 62.8% and harmful particulates by 52.7%, according to the SMMT. Under the latest Euro 6 standards, the NOx emissions of petrol and diesel are approaching parity – 60mg/km for petrol and 80mg/km for diesel (limits for previous Euro 5 diesel were 180mg/km), although real-world testing by Emissions Analytics shows wide variances with the official figures.  Hicks said: “If air quality is going to improve, our vision has to be broader than the private motorist.” Otherwise, he warned, a dip in diesel sales could starve the industry of funds to plough back into developing new powertrains. He concluded: “It would be tragic for our environment and our mobility if these developments were delayed because of the negative impact of a mishandled and misinformed diesel debate.” 

Author: Elizabeth Howlett

Christopher Macgowan


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