Rolls-Royces come to Beaulieu.

Two of the most exclusive Rolls-Royces of modern times have joined new display The Luxury of Motoring at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu with a Wraith built in tribute to Beatles record producer Sir George Martin and a brand new Dawn Black Badge.

The 2017 Rolls-Royce Wraith is a one-off tribute to the legendary Sir George Martin, known as ‘the fifth Beatle’. Commissioned by Sir George’s son, songwriter and producer Giles Martin, the beautifully hand-crafted Wraith is packed with details that pay homage to this giant of the music world.

The titles of Sir George’s 30 number-one hit singles are embroidered into the upholstery between the rear seats, with his signature stitched on each head-rest. Other details include Sir George’s name engraved into the base of the Spirit of Ectsasy mascot. Joining the display courtesy of Rodger Dudding classic vehicle collection at Studio 434, this unique Rolls-Royce is one of nine Wraiths ‘Inspired by British Music’, built to celebrate some of Britain’s most remarkable musical artists, including The Who frontman Roger Daltrey CBE, Sir Ray Davies of The Kinks, Dame Shirley Bassey and Status Quo.

Fresh from the Rolls-Royce factory is the 2018 Rolls-Royce Dawn Black Badge. The bespoke and contemporary Black Badge range has attracted a new generation to the Rolls-Royce marque. Already a huge hit with Beaulieu visitors, the glamorous open-top on display has a deeply intense and hand-polished black paintwork, with threads of aircraft grade aluminium woven and bonded in carbon fibre, a high-gloss vamp Spirit of Ecstasy with black chrome finish and bold mandarin orange interior highlights.

Though what really makes the car special is beneath its skin. Tighter and more responsive thanks to revisions to its steering, suspension and eight-speed gearbox, the Dawn Black Badge’s 6.6-litre twin-turbocharged V12 engine is even more powerful than that of the original Dawn, producing 593bhp. An entirely new exhaust system announces the car’s arrival with a menacing bass baritone.

Beaulieu has an unparalleled collection of Rolls-Royces by virtue of the Montagu family connection with its founders. Motoring pioneer John, 2nd Baron Montagu opened the first Rolls-Royce factory and his personal secretary and secret mistress Eleanor Thornton was a muse for Charles Sykes, who designed the Rolls-Royce Spirit of Ecstasy mascot.

A third car has also joined The Luxury of Motoring display. Just back from Retromobile in Paris is the 1913 Argyll 15/30hp. Although over a century older than the Rolls-Royces, it was just as cutting-edge in its heyday. An exceptionally well-engineered machine, the Scottish-built Argyll was notable for sophisticated features such as brakes on all four wheels and its 4084cc sleeve-valve engine. Inside, its sumptuous interior ensured that rear seat passengers rode in comfort as they were chauffeured to their destination.

This privately-owned car was originally a wedding gift from a husband to his wife and has remained in the same family ever since. Many decades later, it became one of the first historic vehicles to be restored in the National Motor Museum’s restoration workshop.

The Luxury of Motoring not only showcases a selection of the most luxurious cars ever built but tells the story of their design, the people who owned them and the chauffeurs who drove them. Spanning the golden age of luxury motoring to today’s aspirational cars, perceptions of taste and class are themes that are explored through a range of fascinating objects, films and rarely seen images from the National Motor Museum Trust’s archives.

At the glittering heart of the display is a centrepiece of 28 Lalique glass car mascots on show together for the first time. The owner of the private collection chose the National Motor Museum as the home of motoring and therefore the perfect setting to showcase his treasures. From the light radiating, delicate veined wings of a dragonfly to the heartiest falcon mascot with its thick, tapered neck which fits tightly into the mount, the collection includes majestic animals and human forms that bring art into everyday life. The collection is on loan courtesy of Dawson’s Auctioneers & Valuers at Maidenhead.

To celebrate the new gallery, why not enter a competition to say What makes your car luxury? Whether it’s fluffy dice and cushions or a must-have Mercedes, share pictures of what makes your car special. To enter, share your pictures and suggestions on Twitter @Beaulieu_Hants, Facebook at /nationalmotormuseum, Instagram @national_motor_museum or on email to See for more details. The winner will be invited for a VIP behind-the-scenes tour of Beaulieu with exclusive access to areas of the National Motor Museum not usually open to visitors.

The Luxury of Motoring display can be seen as part of a visit to Beaulieu. A ticket to Beaulieu includes entry to the National Motor Museum with its collection of more than 250 vehicles from throughout motoring history, the new-look World of Top Gear, On Screen Cars, the ancestral Montagu family home of Palace House, 13th century Beaulieu Abbey and the stunning grounds and gardens. Tickets can be bought in advance online. For tickets or more information see or call 01590 612345.

Christopher Macgowan


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UK car finance continues to defy gravity.

Household expenditure on vehicle ownership defied the negative narrative surrounding PCP car finance products with an increase of 47.7% in spending on “hire loan purchase agreements” during 2017.

As the Office of National Statistics reported that total average weekly household spending rose to £554.20 in 2017 – its highest level since 2006 – during the year, it also revealed that the largest increases in spending had been seen in the purchase of new and used vehicles.

In its Family Spending report, the ONS revealed that expenditure on the purchase of new vehicles increased by £1.80 when compared with the previous year, whilst spending on the purchase of second-hand vehicles increased by £3.10, in figures not adjusted for inflation.

The percentage of households that own a car or van has increased by 3ppts over the last three years to reach 79% in 2017, it said, adding that this had been driven by an increase in spending on cars bought outright and cars bought on a hire loan purchase scheme, commonly referred to as PCPs.

It noted that PCPs had resulted in higher spending in the used car sector, in particular, with expenditure on hire loan purchase agreements for second-hand cars increasing from an average of £4.40 per week to £6.50 when compared with the previous year (figures not adjusted for inflation).

Motor finance expert Graham Hill noted that the increased spending on car finance products in 2017 had come “despite the mixed messaging around PCPs”. “It’s certainly encouraging that the negative narrative didn’t drive away punters altogether but next year’s report will be more revealing about how closely the fate of PCPs are tied to the recent downturn in the car market,” he said. “Having said that, consumers still need to be mindful about what they are getting into when buying new or used cars. “While PCPs themselves can be appropriate solutions for many car owners – as they reduce the monthly payments quite significantly – it’s the way they are being sold that saw PPI lawyers start to circle in 2016.”

Earlier this month Simon Hill, managing director of Leicester-based fleet management business Total Motion, warned that 2018 could see car retailers fall foul of FCA investigations into the mis-selling of finance products and PCPs in particular.

Despite Bank of England tests of the sector’s resilience which saw all major banks prove their ability to overcome an extreme slump in vehicles’ residual values, and assertions from the FCA that the sector was more resilient than first thought, the FCA is scrutinising the industry’s sales practices and procedures and will publish an update on its findings in the first quarter of 2018.

AM’s sister publication, Fleet News, reported how Hill believes that the investigation will result in leasing companies, dealers and brokers facing huge fines and even going out of business.

However, Andrew Smith, consumer credit director at FCA compliance consultancy Compliancy Services, told delegates at Automotive Management Live that the likelihood of a mis-selling scandal in motor finance was unlikely as a result of the investigation.

He said: “The FCA recently said that they don’t see the risk as being as high in motor finance as they originally perceived. That goes on to support what I presently believe, that the press really are clutching at straws to get a story. Largely the reports are inaccurate, the terminology is wrong and the figures just don’t stack up.”

SOURCE is am-online

Author:  Tom Sharpe

Christopher Macgowan


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French President Macron says UK needs to do more.

French President Emmanuel Macron visited Calais today (16.01.18) and called on the UK to take in more migrants and spend more on border security.

Responding, RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said: “I am baffled by President Macron’s comments. What does ‘more’ mean exactly?

“We already have it on very good authority that the heartbeat monitors at the French border are not working. So why should the UK be asked to provide more funding when the equipment currently in place is not even being used? The bottom line is that the French authorities do not want migrants in Northern France.”

Following the closure of the migrant ‘Jungle’ in October 2016, the UK funded a four-metre high, 1 km-long ‘anti-migrant’ wall – the Great Wall of Calais – which cost British taxpayers around £2 million.

“The wall hasn’t stopped migrants attacking UK-bound hauliers, in fact it hasn’t even scratched the surface of the problem,” Richard Burnett continued. “What is needed is a proper migrant processing system. At the moment, the refusal of asylum just increases their determination to reach the UK by whatever means possible and regardless of the safety of themselves or others.

“We’re concerned that this crisis is being used as a political football and we urge the two governments to work together to achieve some lasting solutions to this long running problem.

“The French authorities are not doing enough to get a grip of the problem and UK-bound hauliers continue to run the gauntlet of violence and intimidation from people-traffickers and migrants. Of course, we are happy to play our part in resolving the situation, but the authorities on both sides of the Channel must do everything within their power to prevent UK-bound hauliers having to face another year of cross-Channel migrant misery.”

Christopher Macgowan


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Iain Cameron suggests how successful growth sectors could show other sectors.

Uk Growth: 2008 – 2016

Published on
November 17, 2017

Iain Cameron

In the eight years 2008-2016 the UK economy only grew by about 10 pc and currently is slowing further. This 10pc is about £173bn in constant price terms. The growth driver has been the service sector and within that sector over the same period four subsectors have in aggregate grown by around £180bn as gross value added (GVA).

They are:

Administration and Support Services – GVA growth £50bn

Professional Scientific and Support Services – GVA growth £51bn

Information and Communication Serivces – GVA growth £36bn

Retail and Wholesale – GVA growth £44bn

Other sectors have grown – for example the Manufacturing Sector grew by. £20bn. Indeed the non financial private sector which accounts for about 60pc of the economy grew by around £290bn or CAGR of 3.5pc. This suggests that the problem of slow growth is concentrated in the other 40pc. Has the economic policy of austerity restricted the growth of the public sector to the overall detriment of the economy as a whole for example ?

The problems of the financial sector have been widely discussed and the sector faces further challenges with Brexit. Austerity is likely to continue under the present Government and so future UK economic growth is likely to rely on the service sector especially the hot spots.

The four subsectors listed above probably form a cluster with a network of commercial and other linkages between the relevant firms mutually contributing to the overall strength of the cluster. Within the cluster the CAGR has been an impressive 9pc.

The Government is committed to producing an industrial strategy and these figures suggest that a key plank of the strategy should be accelerating the spread of the tools and techniques that have helped drive the high growth service sectors  to other parts of the economy.

Author: Iain Cameron.

Christopher Macgowan.


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Dubai International Motor Show.

The region’s premier motoring event to shine spotlight on electric cars as UAE prepares to lead the way in clean, zero-emission personal transportation.

Buyers of zero-emission vehicles in Dubai can take advantage of a number of benefits

November, 2017: Dubai’s push for a cleaner greener future under the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, in which the emirate aims to have the world’s lowest carbon footprint by 2050, has resulted in a range of initiatives and incentives across all sectors of industry – including the automotive sector, so it’s perhaps no surprise that hybrid and fully electric vehicles have been quietly making an impact in the market.

Earlier this year, the Dubai government announced a range of initiatives to encourage motorists to go green, including free use of charging stations across the emirate until the end of 2019, complimentary ‘green’ parking, free vehicle registration and renewal fees and free Salik tags.

Recognising Dubai’s keenness to go green and the huge potential for the sector, the 2017 Dubai International Motor Show will shine the spotlight on electric mobility, with influential manufacturers identifying the Middle East’s premier automotive event to showcase their latest products and launches to meet the increasing demand for eco-friendly personal transportation.

As the Middle East and Africa’s premier automotive event, the Dubai International Motor Show has established itself as the ultimate sales-driven showcase for global automotive brands and the trusted voice for a passionate audience of serious buyers. The 14th biennial edition will be attended by the world’s leading automotive industry players, including new and returning exhibitors from all over the world.

“It is testament to the diversity of the Middle East’s motoring culture and the visionary Dubai leadership that the leading manufacturers of electric and hybrid cars see great potential in a region that has been dominated for so long by the petrol engine. The Dubai International Motor Show is the perfect platform for these exhibitors to showcase the incredible new technology that is shaping the industry’s future to the region’s car fans,” said Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice President, Exhibitions and Events Management, Dubai World Trade Centre.

“The infrastructure for recharging these all-electric cars in Dubai is in place and growing all the time, and we look forward to reaping the benefits of having more zero emission cars being on our roads in the near future.”

Toyota is another major manufacturer making noise in the electric vehicle space with the Mirai, its hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) that made a first appearance in the Middle East at the 2015 Dubai International Motor Show and one that is surely going to receive greater attention when it forms part of the brand’s display alongside other hybrid electric vehicles including the Prius and another that will be unveiled at this year’s show.

“The zero-emission Mirai is a startling look into the future of mobility and represents a brave step into electric propulsion aiming at improving air quality. The Mirai runs on hydrogen rather than petrol, emitting only water from the tail pipe. In the onboard Fuel Cell Stack, hydrogen combines with oxygen from the air to generate electricity that powers the vehicle’s electric motor and other controls,” said Saud Abbasi, Managing Director of Toyota at Al-Futtaim Motors

Lexus, the luxury automotive brand and the largest supplier of hybrid electric luxury vehicles in the UAE, will be showcasing its range of hybrid luxury cars while keeping the promise of “Experience Amazing”, as will be plenty of other household name marques that see electrification as a vital part of their futures.

The BMW Group is another major automotive player to be showing its market-leading green mobility credentials at the 2017 Dubai International Motor Show. The German manufacturer, which was one of the first to establish a base in the region, back in 1994, and has participated in all 13 editions of the show to date, and has already shown its electric capabilities in the region having introduced the BMW i8, its plug-in hybrid sports car, and the 330e, 530e, 740Le, X5 40e hybrid plug-ins.

“BMW Group engineers around the world are already working today on the mobility of tomorrow and visitors to our stand at the Dubai International Motor Show will bear witness to that – we currently have the biggest line-up of plug-in hybrid vehicles,” said Osman Abdelmoneim, General Manager, AGMC.

“At AGMC, we are committed to constantly evolving our offering to meet the desires of our customers, and we are increasingly seeing demand for hybrid and electric cars as customers pay notice to sustainability and the future.”

No matter your interest in cars, motorcycles, technology or aftermarket tuning and modifications, the Dubai International Motor Show is foremost a family-focused event that will keep young and old entertained with a host of live action spectacles, drifting, off-roading, and interactive motoring simulators.

New and exciting for features for 2017 include Tuning and Styling workshops, which will allow visitors to witness a comprehensive transformation of a standard vehicle; the Legoland Dubai Driving School, a real-life driving experience for children; and the Watch Lounge which will highlight the synergies between watching making, motor vehicles and motor sports.

The 2017 Dubai International Motor Show is open from 6pm to 10pm on Tuesday, 14 November; 11am to 10pm on 15 November; 11am to 11pm on 16 November and 17 November; and from 11am to 10pm on 18 November.

With online day tickets available from only AED50, on-site tickets start from AED 65 for single-day entry or AED 100 for a two-day ticket, with children under 12 entering free. Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult. For more information visit the show’s website at:

Christopher Macgowan


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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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