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Motorists could find VED tax damages vehicle values

Buyers of lower-emission cars are expected to bear the brunt of changes to Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) car tax from 1 April 2017, with those in the 91-100g/km of CO2 band hardest hit, seeing costs over six years rise from nothing to £820. That’s the stark reality of a Parkers investigation into the fairness of the new VED system.

Parkers’ findings suggest that of the estimated £5.15 billion of additional revenue the new VED rules will generate by 2023, £4.69 billion will be from buyers of cars emitting 1-130g/km of CO2, all of which are currently tax-free for the first year.

How the new VED system works

Initially, the 2017 VED system appears to be an update of the existing scheme, albeit with new bands created and others combined. Notably, only buyers of cars with zero CO2 emissions will have the ability to remain car tax-free under the First Year Rate, as any model producing even 1g/km of CO2 will be subject to a charge from next year.

Replacing the Standard Rate sliding scale for year two onwards is a streamlined system which penalises buyers of cleaner cars and effectively provides a financial incentive to purchase models which pollute most. Zero-emission cars again remain free, but all others face a yearly bill of £140.

There’s a further surcharge for cars with a list price of £40,000 or higher – regardless of emissions, an annual charge of £310 from year two through to six will be imposed.

Greener cars hit hardest

Buy a new car emitting just 99g/km of CO2 from April 2017 and instead of enjoying VED tax-free motoring, you’ll instead be lumbered with an £820 levy over the first six years of ownership.

Premium plug-in hybrids also take a whack despite their greener credentials. Select one with emissions quoted at 50g/km that also costs over £40,000 and by the time it’s six years old its owner will have contributed £2,260 to the Treasury instead of nothing under the present rules.

Meanwhile, those who opt for a high-polluting car priced below that £40,000 cap will actually be up to £925 better off under the new scheme after six years.

Inherent unfairness about the 2017 VED system

While Parkers broadly supports the notion of raising taxation to pay for road network improvements, penalising buyers of cleaner cars, while simultaneously reducing the tax bill for the heaviest polluters, sends out the wrong message.

Our research also shines a spotlight on the Government’s environmental credentials, particularly as forthcoming EU emissions regulations require manufacturers’ average CO2 output to dip to 95g/km by 2020.

Zero-emissions cars costing under £40,000 still give consumers a VED-free option but they don’t represent a realistic proposition for most buyers.

Parkers’ Digital Editor-in-Chief Tim Pollard commented: “We recognise that the Government has to act to keep VED car tax up to date with cleaner engine technology, but some of the quirks of the new system uncovered by Parkers’ investigation are distinctly unfair to Britain’s motorists. We predict widespread confusion among car buyers; this time next year, the goalposts are moving dramatically and many people’s tax bills will rise significantly.”ved

VW one small step completed

Volkswagen confirms today that no software constituting an improper defeat device as defined in law is installed in vehicles with EA288 EU5 as well as EU6-engines in the European Union. Consequently, new vehicles of the Volkswagen Group offered within the European Union with those engines comply with legal requirements and environmental standards.

Volkswagen AG is systematically reviewing this issue worldwide. The group strives for a holistic solution for complying with the respective valid standards.

After thorough examination it is now confirmed that no software constituting an improper defeat device as defined in law is installed in vehicles with EA 288 EU5-engines. Before, Volkswagen Group has confirmed that new EU6-compliant vehicles offered within the European Union fulfil all legal requirements and environmental standards.

Volkswagen customers can visit the corporate websites such as www.volkswagen.de/info, which was set up on October 2, 2015 and enter the chassis number of their vehicle to find out straight away whether their vehicles are affected. Similar customer websites are active in the other EU countries and for the Audi, SEAT and Škoda brands.

Work on the technical solutions detailed in the plan of measures is currently proceeding at full speed. Remedial action on the vehicles will begin in January 2016 – at no cost to customers. The measures are currently being developed for each affected series and each affected model year and will first be presented to the responsible authorities.

Volkswagen will subsequently inform the owners of these vehicles over the next weeks and months.VW_6185-a passat

Aston Martin takes the lead

One of Britain’s most revered manufacturers, Aston Martin, will be celebrated in grand style at this autumn’s inaugural Classic & Sports Car – The London Show, with an incredible collection of the luxury brand’s most iconic models.

Headlining the stunning feature will be Aston Martin’s oldest-surviving model – ‘A3’. Dating from 1921 this historic motor car was the fourth of five prototypes built by Robert Bamford and Lionel Martin, the original founders of the Aston Martin brand.

It will be just one car in a must-see Aston Martin centerpiece feature at Alexandra Palace, which will also include one of the brand’s newest and most spectacular models, alongside a host of exquisite examples of the brand’s most revered and famous cars.

All will carry incredible stories and offer fascinating snapshots of the development of the Aston Martin brand: ‘A3’ brings a direct link to the dawn of the firm. Donated for the event by the Aston Martin Heritage Trust (AMHT), ‘A3’ has been painstakingly restored over a three-year period, in a project masterminded by the world specialist in pre-war Aston Martin models,
Andy Bell of Ecurie Bertelli.

Built on a Rubery-Owen frame and powered by a 1,486cc monobloc engine, it was fitted with several body styles during its early years. As such, there was much discussion over which bodywork it should be restored with. AMHT decided on a touring version, which was recreated from only old photographs as no original drawings were available. The finished classic was unveiled on 18th April 2009 and has continued to be a halo car for AMHT.aston image

McLaren still an exclusive but well formed club

  • McLaren Automotive records second consecutive year of profitability just four years after opening its first retailer
  • 2014 sales increased 18 percent over 2013, another year of growth
  • Already a sustainable business investing in its future and people
  • An expanding range of luxury sports cars designed, engineered and made in the UK…and intending to stay that way
  • More than 1,200 people employed, most in the UK, with 50 percent of parts UK sourced, and 92 percent of output exported

The incredible story of McLaren Automotive continues with the announcement of a second consecutive year of profitability four years since the company opened its first retailer.  The achievement is considered unprecidented in today’s motor industry.  The company has also recorded its fourth year of sales growth and is predicting more following the launch this year of a quartet of new models – two of which are already sold out – and the establishment of a three tier product structure reinforcing its future as a British based manufacturer of luxury sports cars, and only luxury sports cars.

Led by Chief Executive Officer Mike Flewitt, in 2014, the company generated an operating profit of £20.8m (2013: £12.4m, + 68 percent) and a profit before tax of £15.0m (2013: £4.5m +233 percent). These profits were generated from turnover that grew from £285.4m in 2013 to £475.5m in 2014.

The company ended 2014 with record sales as it has done every year since it first began producing its current range of cars in 2010.  A total of 1,649 vehicles were delivered to customers around the world, an increase of 18 percent over 2013.  Following the introduction of the 650S in Coupé and Spider form at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show where the two models were launched simultaneously, strong demand for the core McLaren model range saw sales reach 1,401 units.  In addition, 248 examples of the McLaren P1™ (2013: 36) were delivered – around two thirds of car’s total 375 unit production run.

McLaren Automotive has continued to focus on developing new product. During 2014 the Company invested £91.8m in R&D, up from £67m in 2013, which represents almost 20 percent of turnover.  Looking forward, this percentage is expected to be maintained in 2015 as the company continues development of its model range.  Crucial to this is the new Sports Series. The 570S Coupé is the first model and was revealed at the beginning of April 2015 at the New York Auto Show.  This has already been followed by a second, the 540C Coupé, which was launched a few weeks later in Shanghai.  Together they take McLaren into a new segment and put the brand within reach of a whole new audience.

A second body-style will be introduced in 2016 followed by another in 2017, by which time the Sports Series is forecast to more than double the production output of McLaren Automotive to around 4,000 units per annum.  This number, while deliberately small in industry terms, will allow McLaren to thrive and is in line with the wish of its clients that its products should forever remain a rare sight to protect not just the brand’s exclusivity but also the investment of owners.

The core McLaren range, the Super Series, continues to find new audiences.  The track focused 675LT was launched in March at the International Geneva Motor Show.  Limited to just 500 units globally, these all found buyers in just a couple of months.  Production commences in July alongside the 650S Coupé and 650S Spider which is currently the only open roofed, mid-engined sports car available globally that is capable of more than 200mph.

The final and 375th example of the McLaren P1™ is due to be produced later this year.  It sits alongside the track only McLaren P1™ GTR, production of which has just begun, in the third and most exclusive McLaren product tier, the Ultimate Series.  To be produced in even more limited numbers, the McLaren P1™ GTR is a 1,000PS technological showcase for the brand and was displayed in production ready form earlier this year at the International Geneva Motor Show.  Owners will be offered the opportunity to join the McLaren P1™ GTR Driver Programme which has its first meeting at the Circuit de Catalunya, Spain, later this year.  From October, the McLaren Production Centre will concentrate on production of the Super Series and new Sports Series, orders for which already take production well into 2016.

RETAIL NETWORK AND REGIONAL SALES SUCCESS

The network of McLaren retailers grew to cover 30 markets with the additions of Chile, Scotland and Thailand. New sales outlets were also opened in existing markets bringing the total number of outlets to 71. More development is planned in 2015.

Growth was recorded across all four of the McLaren regional business units. The Asia-Pacific region saw the biggest rise with sales increasing by 80 percent over 2013 with 11 new retail locations across the region helping to fuel this growth. The North American market remained the largest market for McLaren accounting for more than 30 percent of overall sales, while sales in both Europe and the Middle East grew year-on-year by 10 percent and nine percent respectively.

EMPLOYMENT GROWTH

As well as investing in new products, McLaren Automotive continues to care for another important asset: its people.  The number of employees based across its global facilities increased by 25 percent against 2013 to a total of 1,283 employees.  Of these, 33 percent are employed in engineering.  This is an increase from 2013 reflecting a focus on creating a sustainable future for the brand through the constant development of new and exciting product.  As production rises further, the number of people employed globally by the brand will grow even more.

Commenting on the 2014 year end performance, Mike Flewitt, Chief Executive Officer of McLaren Automotive explained:‘These latest results highlight that McLaren Automotive continues to push boundaries and are testament to the energy and professionalism of the teams in Woking and around the world, including our retail partners and suppliers. We have seen the third consecutive year of growth for the brand, and a second year of profitability, which is a fantastic achievement and perhaps unprecedented in the modern automotive industry.

‘Since the opening of the first retailer in June 2011, McLaren has established a world-class network of retailers, with 14 key locations added in 2014. Add to this a range of groundbreaking models, to which four have already been added this year, and 2015 looks set to bring another strong result for McLaren.’

Ends

    2014 2013 % change
Deliveries to customers Cars 1,649 1,395 18%
Employed People 1,283 1,027 25%
Sales revenue Thousand GBP 475,516 285,426 67%
Operating profit Thousand GBP 20,756 12,375 68%
Operating profit as % of sales % 4.4% 4.3%
Profit before tax Thousand GBP 14,966 4,500 233%
Profit (loss) after tax Thousand GBP 8,487 –      (3,670) 331%
Capitalised development costs Thousand GBP 91,839 66,958 37%
Capitalised investments as a %age of T/O 19.3% 23.5%  76778mclar1

Silverstone Classic

This year’s 25th anniversary Silverstone Classic (24-26 July) will celebrate its milestone Silver Jubilee with its widest-ever spectrum of glittering motor sport history.

At one end of the phenomenal panorama the introduction of F1 cars from the turbocharged Senna and Schumacher era brings the story almost up to date. The return of the evocative Pre-War Sports Cars meanwhile will take festival-goers much further back in time to an epoch when the famed Bentley Boys were victorious at Le Mans in the 1920s.

Adventurer and aviator Glen Kidston was one of them and he will be honoured at this year’s Classic. Silverstone will reverberate to the magnificent sound of a huge grid of wonderful cars from that golden age in what promises to be a vastly entertaining Kidston Trophy race on Saturday morning.

Kidston had been torpedoed twice in the same morning when serving as a Lieutenant Commander in the Royal Navy. By the mid 1920s he was a submarine Commander and when not at sea he set records as an aviator, hill climbed, conducted motorcycle speed trials on sand and raced cars, winning the 1930 Le Mans 24 Hour race in the Bentley Speed Six he shared with Woolf Barnato.

Having survived several serious scrapes, Kidston sadly lost his life less than a year later when the de Havilland Puss Moth he was flying broke up in mid-air during a dust storm over the Drakensberg Mountains in southern Africa.

It takes quite a grid to represent such a buccaneering character, but Motor Racing Legends has succeeded, with more than 45 eye-catching entries already received. A full complement of 50 now looks probable for a dazzling 40-minute showdown complete with a mandatory pit-stop and optional driver change.

In a race dedicated to a Bentley Boy you need a Bentley or two. The Classic will have at least nine, including the 4½-litre Le Mans of vintage Bentley guru Stanley Mann plus a pair of 3-litre machines dating back to 1924 – currently the oldest on the near-capacity entry.

At the front of the pack are likely to be the big Invicta S Type of Chris and Nick Ball, the Alta Sports of Gareth Burnett and Richard Evans, and Rudi Friedrichs in the Alvis Speed 20 SA in which he has clocked up more than 150,000 miles, including no fewer than three Peking-Paris rallies. The aluminium Frazer Nash Supersports of Fred Wakeman and Patrick Blakeney-Edwards is another potential front-runner – it’s one of at least seven Frazer Nashes rolling back the years at the Classic.

What makes the Kidston Trophy special, though, is the wildly diverse sizes and power of the competing machines, the mighty Bentleys dwarfing cars such as the Austin Seven, as the seatbelt-less drivers saw away at the wooden steering wheels and negotiate the modern Grand Prix track on narrow tyres.

The sparkling entry also features a mouth-watering array of nine early Aston Martins plus the three Talbot 105 ‘works’ Fox & Nicholl team cars complete with their famous GO 52, GO 53 and GO 54 registrations. Paul Grist’s wonderful Alfa Romeo 8C 2.9, Richard Pilkington’s Talbot T26, Richard Wilson’s 1935 Squire Short Chassis and Martin Halusa’s gorgeous Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Zagato Spyder are other certain crowd-pullers. Halusa is also fielding his iconic Bugatti 35C.

“We’ve been completely blown away by the entry,” admitted Duncan Wiltshire, Motor Racing Legends Chairman. “Clearly this is going to be a very special Silverstone Classic but, even so, the response has been really, really fabulous. The amazing grid has a lovely eclectic feel to it.”

The inaugural Kidston Trophy is just one of the many, many highlights on Saturday’s packed programme. Others include BTCC champions Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden gunning for victory in the fiercely-fought U2TC race for Sixties saloons, the opening FIA Masters Formula One contest for a record field of F1 cars from the DFV era, Group C prototypes racing into the sunset and, of course, rock legends Status Quo performing live. It all adds up to a truly unmissable day of evocative entertainment.

All tickets for the 25th anniversary Silverstone Classic must be purchased in advance. Adult admission starts from £40 and ticket prices include booking fees, parking, infield, grandstands, paddock access, live music – including Status Quo – and the vast majority of the numerous attractions. Full details – together with hospitality packages and weekend festival camping – can be found on the official website: www.SilverstoneClassic.com.silverstone 1