Strong demand for used diesel cars and milder weather boosts bike market.

Used car of the month: Mazda MX-5 (2009-15)

Used bike of the month: Honda CB1000R (2008-18)’s valuation experts reveal significant trends in the UK used vehicle market and choose a car and bike of the month.


Valuation services team manager at, Jon Wheeler, said: “With summer on the horizon you may find yourself tempted by a two-seater rear-wheel drive roadster. If so, the Mazda MX-5 must be on your shortlist. Since its launch at the 1989 Chicago Auto Show, over a million have been produced across four generations, most recently the ND. Our pick would be the 2-litre NC2 Sport Tech with 17-inch wheels, Bilstein suspension, limited slip differential and front strut brace. Good condition early examples are available for around £8k. A top tip for any MX-5 is to get the wheel alignment checked as this can really transform the handling.”


As to market trends, Wheeler said: “The eagerly awaited 19 registration plate has arrived, bringing a welcome influx of trade-in and end-of-contract vehicles. Expect to see auction volumes rise as overage and less desirable stock is moved on. Despite plummeting new diesel sales (just 29.6% market share in February), there’s still strong demand for good quality used diesels as frugal buyers pursue cheaper running costs. Overall in February, total registrations were up 1.4% year-on-year – great news in a traditionally slow sales month. Petrol is now dominating the new market, accounting for 64.3% of all sales so far this year.”


On the motorbike, scooter and moped sector,’s Mark Field said: “The CB1000R, Honda’s answer to the increasing demand for naked bikes, has been on our roads for over a decade now. The original was a great bike in many respects but never really had the wow factor and definitely wasn’t the stripped down Fireblade many were hoping for. It did have trickle down components, such as the forks and brakes, but they were slightly watered down, as was the power output and handling. This bike was never going to be a track weapon, but in real world terms it surpassed the competition thanks to its softer suspension, ease of riding and reputation for build quality and reliability. From £4,000 for a clean 2009 example, the CB1000R is an excellent choice for the commuter, particularly now summer finally feels within reach.”


As to market trends, Field said: “Despite the political chaos of Brexit, the UK bike market seems surprisingly upbeat. New bike registrations are up 8.7% compared to this time last year, with some impressive figures for adventure, scooter and trail / enduro bikes. Admittedly, this may have something to do with pre-registration activity and discounts but in the current climate any positive is welcome. There are also hopeful signs in the used market with increased sales and interest fueled by the milder weather. For traders, sourcing good quality used stock remains an issue.”


With information from the police, DVLA, insurers and finance houses, My Car Check holds comprehensive data on every vehicle on UK roads – things that buyers should be aware of before making an offer.


CDL Vehicle Information Services, which owns My Car Check, performs over a million look-ups a day for companies including AutoExpress, CompareTheMarket, Go-Compare, Moneysupermarket, Swiftcover and Tesco.

Christopher Macgowan


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Beaulieu launches Chitty Chitty Bang Bang 50 years exhibition.

To celebrate the golden half century of one of the world’s favourite films Beaulieu is to launch its Chitty Chitty Bang Bang 50 years exhibition which can be seen in the National Motor Museum from October 20th.

The exhibition will tell the story of Chitty as the star of the fantasmagorical family adventure and feature an original screen Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the Humber 8hp driven by Truly Scrumptious in the much-loved musical film.

Coggins’ Garage will be recreated in the museum to house the amazingly inventive machines of Rowland Emett seen in the film, including the Humbug Major Sweet Machine, Clockwork Lullabye, Little Dragon Carpet Sweeper and Hot Air Rocking Chair.

Standing outside will be a full-size replica of Grandpa Potts’ hut, recreated using the original 50-year-old technical drawings from the archive of EON Productions. The actual Spy Phone prop used in the film will be on show alongside.

Costumes as seen in the film will include those of the infamous Child Catcher and Sally Anne Howes’ life-size music box dolldress which she wore while dancing with Dick Van Dyke for Baron Bomburst’s birthday surprise.

A timeline wall will chart the Chitty story from its beginnings – as James Bond creator Ian Fleming’s inspirational book about the magical flying car – to Cubby Broccoli’s unique interpretation on film. Fleming was inspired by the real-life exploits of racing driver Count Louis Zborowski who designed and built four aero-engined racing cars that were named Chitty Bang Bang because of the sound they made while standing idle. The exhaust and leather bonnet strapfrom the Count’s original Mercedes Chitty will be on display as part of his legacy.

The cloud-shaped wall will also feature first edition copies of Fleming’s book which he wrote for his son Caspar and was published posthumously in 1964, alongside producer Cubby Broccoli’sprogramme from the Royal World Premiere of the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang film in 1968. Weird and wonderful Chitty memorabilia includes signatures of the star-studded cast, pedal and Corgi cars, comics, computer games, pop-up books and even lunch boxes made to celebrate the children’s favourite film.

Never exhibited before original film concept art by Sir Ken Adam, storyboard watercolour artwork by Robert Laing and technical drawings by Peter Lamont will be on display, along with the solid silver Chitty model bought for producer Cubby Broccoli by his wife Dana.

Outside in the grounds, visitors to Beaulieu can see a stunning Chitty Chitty Bang Bang reconstruction being driven around the attraction – you may even be lucky enough to go for a ride!

Thanks to Fleming’s brilliant story about the beautiful, magical car and Roald Dahl’s screenplay adaptation, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang remains as popular today as it ever has been.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang 50 years can be seen as part of the general admission to Beaulieu, which includes entrance to the National Motor Museum, World of Top Gear, On Screen Cars, the ancestral Montagu family home of Palace House, 13th century Beaulieu Abbey and the grounds and gardens. To buy tickets in advance online or for more information see or call 01590 612345.

Find us on Twitter @Beaulieu_Hants, Facebook at /nationalmotormuseum or Instagram @national_motor_museum and join the conversation with #Chitty50years.

Christopher Macgowan


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Electric car sales to overtake diesel by 2020, says Leasing Options

Registrations of electric cars will surpass those of diesel models in July 2020 if current sales trends continue, Leasing Options has predicted.

The leasing company has analysed Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) registration data and reported that diesel registrations have fallen 37.2% over the past year, while sales of electric cars increased 5.7% last year.

Diesel registrations have consistently fallen since the Volkswagen emissions scandal last year, and as the focus on air quality has increased.

Leasing Options also surveyed 2,000 drivers to find out more about people’s attitudes to electric and diesel cars.

More than half (56%) of respondents said that they are less likely to buy a diesel car today compared to five years ago, with nearly half (47%) saying they believe diesel cars are a danger to the environment.

Almost half (48%) would be interested in electric cars as they felt it would help the environment. Half (50%) stated that if cost and convenience were the same, they would prefer to drive an electric car over a petrol or diesel and 54% would purchase an electric car if it became the norm.

However, Leasing Options said there is still a lot of hesitancy when it comes buying electric cars as more than half (53%) said they don’t know enough about them to buy one. A further 63% admit that they feel that the cars are out of their price bracket and 74% say they are concerned they won’t be able to find charging points.

Click here for Fleet News source.

Christopher Macgowan


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Weak bridges in Scotland.

Scandal of Scotland’s crumbling bridges after years of warnings

SCOTLAND’S motorway and trunk road network has 36 weak bridges, including some of the country’s busiest and most historic crossings. The list includes raised approaches to the Erskine Bridge and the Queensferry Crossing as well as the A-listed Bridge of Dee, in Aberdeen, which still features its original 16th century piers.


There are several weak bridges on the motorway network on the Fife side of the new Queensferry Cross (Image: NC)

Other substandard bridges include a junction of the M73 and M74 motorways in Lanarkshire, despite the £500million M8/M73/M74 improvement project.

Remarkably, at least 13 of the bridges have been in this condition since 1998 – maybe earlier – and have been waiting for strengthening or replacement since the early years of devolution.

The Morandi Bridge disaster in Genoa has led to urgent reviews of crumbling concrete transport infrastructure in many countries across Europe.

Earlier this year, a report from the RAC Foundation revealed there were 412 substandard bridges on council-maintained roads across Scotland.

Now, following a request from this newspaper, Transport Scotland has provided details of the weak crossings on the trunk road network.


Daily Express

RAC Foundation

Christopher Macgowan


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DART up by 20%

SOURCE: Fleet News.

Car drivers using the Dartford Crossing who have signed up to the Dart Charge pre-pay account are to face a 20% increase in their fares.

The increase – up from £1.67 to £2 – will take effect on October 1 and follows a review by Highways England into how fairly the benefits to account holders are spread across different vehicle types. The changes have aligned the rate for Class B – which includes cars, motorhomes and any minibuses that have nine or less seats (including the driver’s seat) – more closely to Classes C and D.

All other vehicle classes are unaffected by the change, and all standard rate charges are unaffected.

A Highways England spokesman said: “More than a million people are eligible to save money on every crossing at Dartford after having signed up to the Dart Charge pre-pay account.

“With more than 55 million vehicles travelling over Dartford Crossing every year, there is an ongoing need to manage increasing demand at the crossing.

“After nine years of operating a 33% discount for cars, the Department for Transport has reviewed how fairly the benefits to account holders are spread across different vehicle types and have aligned the Class B rate more closely to Classes C and D.

“From October 1, 2018, the new discounted rate for Class B vehicles at the Dartford Crossing will be £2.”

Author:  Andrew Ryan

Christopher Macgowan


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The European Dealer of Tomorrow. ICDP.

“This report offers a very welcome and calm review against the somewhat hysterical rhetoric shouted by some observers.”

Christopher Macgowan.

The Dealer of Tomorrow will not just evolve naturally.

Whilst we see a future for today’s dealers, their businesses must change, and that change process should already be underway. Not all will survive, not all will want to change. But for those who do not want to play a role in a decade’s time, they need to act now, working with OEMs to build their joint future together.

We see a future for today’s dealers, their businesses must change, and that change process should already be underway

In Steve Young’s special report “The European Dealer of Tomorrow”, we consolidate our research from recent years, updated where needed, and put forward our views as to what form the dealer of tomorrow will take in Europe in the second half of the next decade, so around 2025-2030. For convenience, we continue to use the word “dealer”, but the business we describe is far from the short-term focus on the “deal” that has arguably shaped the distribution model today. We also talk about “sales” and “purchase” even though the product that is being “sold” or “bought” may not be a car where the customer takes ownership, but a service to which they sign up for some period of time in return for a regular payment. We have also focused on sales rather than aftersales, as it is clear that at least some part of servicing and repairing cars must remain a physical process requiring some type of facility and trained personnel, whereas there are legitimate questions about whether the same is true of sales. However, there are significant implications for aftersales networks as a result of changes in sales networks, and we do address these.

Not all will survive, not all will want to change. But for those who do want to play a role in a decade’s time, they need to act now, working with OEMs to build their joint future together

Overall, we do see a future for the businesses and individuals who operate today’s dealerships, if they adapt to the additional challenges and complexities that face us now, and that will only increase over the next decade. We do not dismiss the possibility that some OEMs may follow a different distribution model, at least for certain sub-brands or products, nor the probability that e-commerce players will play a greater role than they do today. However, we do not anticipate a “Blockbuster” moment for car retailing where the sector is revolutionised in a few years, with today’s dealers being the primary casualties.

Please follow the link to download the report “The European Dealer of Tomorrow” for free and get value insight in transforming your business.

Christopher Macgowan


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Fewer paying company car tax, but Treasury takes extra £360m.

The amount of cash collected by the Treasury in company car tax has increased by more than 24% year-on-year – some £360 million – yet the number of employees receiving the benefit fell by 20,000 over the same period, newly-released data shows. The provisional figures, from HMRC, highlight how the Government is raising record revenues from the company car market by imposing higher taxes on drivers.

The data shows that there were 940,000 employees paying benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax on a company car in 2016/17 – a 2% fall on the 960,000 recorded the previous financial year.

The amount of national insurance contributions (NICs) paid by employers on company cars also increased. Employers paid £630m in 2016/17, compared to £600m the previous year – up 5%.

BIK tax and NICs were collectively worth £2.48 billion to the Treasury, compared to £2.09bn in 2015/16 – an increase of 19% or £390m.

Compare that to 2012/13, when BIK and NICs were worth £1.75bn to the Treasury – some £730m less – yet the number of employees with a company car was exactly the same at 940,000.

The record figure of £2.48bn means that the average annual tax yield on a company car was £2,638 in 2016/17, compared to £2,166 in 2015/16, a 22% or £472 year-on-year increase.

At the start of the decade (2009/10), a company car was worth, on average, £1,680 in BIK and NICs revenues to the Treasury, some £1.63bn (£850m less).

The higher tax take between 2015/16 and 2016/17 can, in part, be explained by the increase reported in the taxable value over the same period. The taxable value of the company car benefit was worth £4.57bn, up from £4.32bn the previous year, according to HMRC figures.

However, the vast majority on the revenue increase has been down to the annual two percentage point increase in BIK rates, first introduced in 2015-16 (in previous years there had typically been a one percentage point increase).

Furthermore, these higher incremental increases in BIK would have been decided in combination with the removal of the three percentage point diesel supplement, which was announced in the 2012 Budget and expected to take effect from April 2016.

However, shortly before it was due to be axed, the then Chancellor, George Osborne, announced he was delaying its removal until 2021 “in light of the slower-than-expected introduction of more rigorous EU emissions testing” (, November 25, 2015).

Two years later, current Chancellor, Philip Hammond, announced he was raising it to 4% from April this year (, November 22, 2017).

Analysis of HMRC data for 2016/17, when the diesel supplement should have been removed, shows that the annual average company car tax paid by drivers was £1,968 (£164 per month). That was 27% higher than the £1,552 (£129 per month) paid in 2015/16.

Even the fact that company car drivers are choosing cars with lower CO2 values has failed to thwart the increase in revenues.

In 2015/16, the last year for which figures are available from HMRC, 83% of company cars emitted 134g/km of CO2 or less, an increase from 77% of cars in 2014-15.

There is an established strong reducing trend in the level of emissions. In 2002-03, 58% of company cars had emission values in excess of 165g/km; in 2015-16 this had reduced to just 3%.

The emission-dependent scale of appropriate percentages for company cars is one of many factors incentivising the manufacture and purchase of low emission vehicles, says HMRC.


Author:  Gareth Roberts

Christopher Macgowan


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