Uk car manufacturers are not ready for Brexit according to the SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders) as UK car sales continue to fall.
According to the motoring society, vehicle output for UK market plunged by a massive 47% in June, compared to 6% rise in exports, which indicates that UK carmakers are not ready for Brexit.
The head SMMT trade body voiced his concerns about cross-border trade were underlined by fresh figures showing nearly nine in 10 cars built in the UK last month were destined for export.
Some commentators have said that the 47% in June, compared with a 6% rise in exports, could be described as a “perfect storm” of factors. Mike Hawes, the chief executive of SMMT played down the significance of the monthly slump but said the figures were a “reminder of the exports-led nature” of the UK car industry.
The SMMT believe it is important to strike a deal with the EU as it is the destination for 53% of UK car exports. Hawes said that a lack of clarity on Brexit had left the industry struggling to prepare for the departure date in March 2019. He went on to say:
“No one would profess to being Brexit-ready because there are too many variables in there,” he said. “We need a deal. If we have no deal, there is no transition, there is no implementation period, that would kick in less than eight months away. You can operate on WTO [World Trade Organization] trade rules but it would be at a significant extra cost and burden than we currently enjoy.”
Asked if there were any potential Brexit benefits for the British automotive industry, which employs 186,000 people and has a combined annual turnover of £82bn, he said: “Not that we can see.”
The SMMT has repeatedly called for continued membership of the single market and the customs union, warning that prolonged uncertainty puts thousands of jobs at risk and according to many leading companies, anxiety about a trade deal has already choked off investment, while Jaguar Land Rover said a no-deal Brexit could force them to pull out of the UK.
Hawes warned that leaving the EU in March without a deal would send car firms scrambling to find ways to avoid production lines grinding to a halt and could tip the industry into long-term decline.
“Given the cost of stopping production, manufacturers will do everything they can to stop that happening,” Hawes said, adding that this would cost millions of pounds per day.
“You survive on the basis that you’re competitive. Once you cease to be competitive – you generally don’t shut overnight – but your ability to attract that next round of investment is that much tougher. Gradually, it’s a death by a thousand cuts.”
Production for the UK market has almost halved to 15,647 in June, an acceleration in the 12.9% fall recorded in the year to the end of June. The blamed it on a number of factors including persistent consumer confusion about the government’s future taxation and regulation of diesel cars, which are now constantly under scrutiny due to the “Dieselgate” emissions-rigging scandal.
Overall car production in the UK has declined by 5.5% in June and has fallen by 3.3% in the first half of the year to 834,402. The UK exports most of the cars it makes, while British buyers get the majority of their vehicles from overseas, with about 86% of new cars imported and 69% from the EU.
Hawes said this demonstrated “our mutual dependency on free and frictionless trade” and praised the UK’s government’s recent efforts to reassure UK business in the Brexit white paper.
“The UK government’s latest Brexit proposals are a step in the right direction to safeguard future growth and consumer choice,”
“We now look to negotiators on both sides to recognise the needs of the whole European automotive industry, which, combined, employs more than 12 million people. Any disruption risks undermining one of our most valuable economic assets.”
BMW Purchasing Director to be the new head of Audi
The purchasing director at BMW, Markus Duesmann is being lined up by the Volkswagen group to head its Audi premium brand.
According to certain inside sources, the group plan to place Duesmann at the helm as Audi CEO on January 1, 2019
Markus Duesmann is an engine development expert and if he does get the top job at Audi, it will be the second high-profile defection from BMW to VW Group following the departure of Herbert Diess in 2015 to become head of the VW brand. Subsequently, Diess took over as CEO of VW Group in April.
Duesmann, 49, will become a member of the board “as soon as he is able to do so,” according to a VW Group statement this week.
Even though it is rumoured that Duesmann will be CEO of Audi, the VW group did not actually define Duesmann’s role with Audi but German newspaper Handelsblatt said VW wanted Duesmann to fill the post of Audi CEO following the arrest of former boss Rupert Stadler.
It’s not determined yet when he will leave BMW as his contract with the rival luxury car brand expires in autumn next year. The contract seemingly includes a clause that prevents him from immediately joining a rival.
The former head of Audi, Stadler was arrested in mid-June over allegations that he tried to tamper with evidence in the diesel-cheating scandal. After the arrest, Audi named its sales chief, Bram Schot, as an interim replacement. Schot was considered a long shot to permanently lead Audi because he lacks an engineering background. As would be the normal presumption, Volkswagen and Audi have said that Stadler is presumed innocent unless proven otherwise.
At this Audi is the world’s third-largest luxury brand but has lost ground to their other German rivals, BMW and Mercedes-Benz in recent years.
Duesmann, who is a mechanical engineer, joined BMW in 2007 after moving away from Mercedes-Benz, where he was head of Formula One powertrain. He became purchasing chief, a role previously filled by Diess, in 2016.
With Duesmann’s hiring, Diess is pushing ahead with a revamp of the management ranks. To speed up decision-making and make the German giant more nimble, the initiative includes hiring more external executives at a company that has been dominated for years by home-grown managers.
Insurance Companies Cashing in by Dual-Pricing on Premiums
The Central Bank has been called on to ban dual-pricing of insurance policies. The regulator is being urged to act on these insurers as firms have been quoting inflated prices for year-two renewals.
Dual pricing is the practice of setting prices at different levels for the same product or service. This situation has come to the attention of regulators here after regulators in the UK began a clampdown on the practice, whereby insurers sign up new customers on artificially low premiums for the first year and then quote hugely inflated premiums to renew policies.
The FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) in the UK is concerned about how existing customers are being treated. The same carry on is going on in this country as well. Existing customers are being overcharged for their cover in order to fund the introductory discounts being offered to new customers? The answer is clearly yes – everyone knows that dual pricing in insurance has been around for years. The key question is whether it has gone beyond acceptable limits.
Predominantly this dual-pricing tactic is happening within the motor insurance. The practice has been described as a sinister attempt to exploit customers and play on their inertia or the fact that they will get complacent or lazy and just let their insurance policy renew and roll over automatically without shopping around.
Many customers do not realise that the renewal quote is often a try-on and they can often get a better deal after the first year if they scour the market. Dual-pricing is thought to be one of the practices that have seen insurance costs surge in the last few years. Dermott Jewell of the Consumers’ Association said dual-pricing was anti-consumer as it punished loyalty.
“It is an appalling practice. People should never automatically renew, especially when it comes to motor insurance, as they are likely to get a bad deal,”
“Insurers make a fortune out of you if you do nothing. You must check out other providers.”
Over in the UK, the consumer protection regulator told insurance companies to stop discriminating against existing customers in favour of new business. Their Financial Conduct Authority said:
“Firms should not give long-standing customers less attention than new customers or treat them in a way which results in poorer outcomes.”
And broker bodies have put pressure on insurers and their members to ensure that new and existing insurance customers are priced the same way. Insurers are well aware that many people will not question the renewal quote and if they do question it, they will probably stay with the insurer and accept the quote out of laziness or apathy.
Experts are now encouraging consumers is to get a good broker or do the footwork yourself in order to get a better deal. Motorists should not tell insurers from whom they are seeking new quotes what they have been quoted from their existing insurers, as the quote would only be matched, not beaten, experts said.
So will the Central Bank regulator actually do anything about the Dual-Pricing in the insurance industry? Well, when asked if it had any plans to clamp down on the practice here, the Central Bank said it had no role in relation to either pricing considerations or competitiveness. Its role was to ensure that firms assess risks appropriately and offer motor insurance at a price that adequately takes into account the conditions prevailing in the market, such as increasing claims costs.
Insurance Ireland, the representative body for insurers, said it had no role in respect of the commercial decisions of any insurance company. Nobody seems to want to do anything about this, so the moral of the story is that it is vital for consumers to shop around.
$7 Trillion Annual Market Projected for Autonomous Cars
According to a new study by Intel, autonomous vehicles will generate $7 trillion per year by 2050.
This autonomous vehicle revolution vehicles will see an unprecedented transformation of the global industry as autonomous vehicles displace human drivers all over the world. Large vehicle fleets, such as trucks, buses, taxis and delivery vehicles will be the likely first movers in the autonomous vehicle uptake.
To help autonomy move forward, car makers are manufacturing advanced vehicle vision and detection systems essential for the industries advancement, with multiple system tests already underway all across the world.
The study commissioned by Intel predicts that autonomous vehicles will create a massive economic opportunity that will scale from $800 billion in 2035 to upwards of $7 trillion by 2050. The trillions are calculated when taking into consideration the value of all products and services derived from fully autonomous vehicles and this would include massive savings in time.
Not only will there be financial benefits from vehicle automation but the study also postulates that because of greatly enhanced safety, autonomous vehicles will save more than 580,000 lives between 2035 and 2045.
The evidence is mounting and is also outlined in the study that companies that do not engage now and prepare for autonomous transportation, risk failure or even possible extinction.
The potential and opportunity for this exciting and burgeoning industry is massive but in saying that, technological hurdles must still be overcome. Just as every major advance in history, the complexities of autonomous transportation will be solved like all other challenges in in the past, with outsized rewards delivered to those who provide solutions.
Foresight Autonomous Holdings Ltd. uses stereoscopic technology to create advanced detection solutions that mimic human depth perception – one of the robotic “senses” necessary to move autonomous vehicles into the mainstream.
Technology companies like FLIR Systems, Inc. are at this time designing and delivering technologies to enhance perception and awareness, producing an automotive-qualified passive infrared sensor currently offered on several vehicles.
A subsidiary of Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc. started testing self-driving cars in 2009 and is recognized as a leader in the field. Ford Motor Company is aggressively testing autonomous vehicles to identify then target the most lucrative business model, while Tesla Inc. is leveraging its current semi-autonomous system, Autopilot, to collect real-world data about how those vehicles might perform fully autonomously.
Fake crash scammers now face greater scrutiny and detection
Insurance fraudsters are being put on notice that their days are numbered. A new Garda unit which specialises in investigating insurance fraudsters has been set up to counteract this growing problem.
This country has quite high levels of insurance awards and added to this, there are very little consequences for people who make false claims. It is claimed by the insurance industry that these false claims are contributing to higher premiums and because of a lack of convictions, it is encouraging more people to scam the system.
Cases are being thrown out of court, and there is seldom any downside for these dodgy claimants other than an award of costs against them, which they are unlikely to pay. It was reported just last week that a Dublin taxi driver had his claims thrown out of court as it was discovered that he made eight personal injury claims in as many years but failed to disclose most of them to insurers. The Circuit Civil Court made an order against him for the legal costs, but it is debatable if the taxi driver will face prosecution for being less than honest.
In another court proceeding, a former model, and wife of a man described in court as a notorious criminal was told by a judge she was part of a contrived accident which led to claims by herself and three of her sisters-in-law for damages totalling €240,000. The judge said the accident had been set up, contrived and deliberately brought about by the claimant and the driver of the car behind. The former model and her three in-laws were ordered to pay legal costs which will total close to €100,000.
Like the taxi driver case, there is major doubt that any prosecution will be secured for the false claim but it might all be about to change as insurers are to fund a dedicated Garda insurance fraud unit. Fraudsters and their solicitors and barristers will have to think hard in future before they pursue a spurious claim.
It is estimated that about 70pc of personal injury claims never make it to court because most insurers settle before they get there. The news that insurance firms are now prepared to contribute €1m a year to fund a new unit within the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau will be welcomed by the honest drivers.