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FCA report into UK home and motor insurance practices raises major concerns

A report by the FCA (UK Financial Conduct Authority) has raised some grave concerns around the business practices of motor vehicle and home insurance providers.

The report revealed that many insurance business practices were hurting consumers with 1 in 3 targetted with higher prices due to at least one “characteristic of vulnerability”. 

This worrying report highlighted some widely known “tricks” which insurancers use to maximise prices and therefore profits.

The report makes for some great reading, see below for some facts that certainly caught my eye.

Attracting new customers costs all customers.

The report estimates that £2.3bn is spent each year attracting new customers. These costs are reflected in higher prices for all customers, not just new ones. Yes, you’re paying for that glossy ad featuring a charismatic small carnivoran from the mongoose family.

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Posted in car insurance

Supermarkets shamed into fuel price cut as RAC slams retailers

filling with supermarket fuel prices petrol green pump

UK Supermarkets have begun to drop fuel prices in response to claims that they aren’t passing on reductions in wholesale fuel prices.

The RAC reported earlier this week that retailers should be reflecting the dip in wholesale fuel prices by up to 7p a litre. Asda, Sainsburys and Morrisons have responded by confirming fuel price reductions are imminent with Asda promising a reduction of 2p / litre for petrol and 3p / litre for diesel.

The reductions are still a long way from fully passing over the reduction in wholesale prices but are certainly a step in the right direction. 

Simon Williams from RAC fuel said, ” Drivers are losing out badly, paying around 7p a litre more for petrol than they should be. The average price of petrol is 128p (127.58p) so should be 121p. This means a driver filling up a 55-litre family car is paying £3.85 too much (£70.40 today, instead of £66.55).

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Posted in Fuel Prices

Volkswagen, Audi & Skoda issues DGS recall over “production fault”

Volkswagen Group Australia has issued a recall for up to 80,000 vehicles over dangerous DSG gearbox failures.

An issue with the pressure accumulator could cause loss of hydraulic pressure in the automatic gearbox system, leaving it essentially stuck in neutral. The recall lists this issue as a major safety concern, stating that it could “increase the likelihood of an accident affecting the occupants of the vehicle and other road users.”

Volkswagen Australia executive Jason Bradshaw said, ‘While we know 23,000 vehicles may have this incorrectly manufactured component, we cannot be certain of identifying these by Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) alone. We want to physically examine them and those [additional vehicles] with a potentially faulty component can have it replaced. Customers will be contacted in the coming weeks and invited to bring their cars in for inspection or undergo repair work free of charge. “

This isn’t the first time VW has recalled vehicles over issues with their DSG gearboxes. In 2013 VW recalled huge numbers of vehicles fitted with their 7-speed dual-clutch gearboxes (DQ200). It was found that the synthetic gearbox oil could cause malfunctions in the gearbox in hot climates. 

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Award winning Kia e Niro sets the bar high in the electric car wars

It’s both an exciting and confusing time for those of you looking for a new car. Like many of you, I’m also caught in a situation where choosing what powers my next car is becoming increasingly more important than the badge.

Kia’s new e Niro has just made my choice of a new car much harder.

Like the increasing number of  “pure ev” cars on the market, the e Niro is powered by batteries alone, there’s no engine or range extender here. Replacing the archaic fossil fuel engine is a 150kW electric motor powered by a 64kWh battery pack. Combined, they propel the e Niro to 60 in an impressive 7.5 seconds for “up to” 282miles on a single charge. For the record thats over 2 seconds quicker to 60 than the e Golf and nearly 4 seconds quicker than the Zoe.

That’s impressive considering a price tag of just over £32,000 (with the government “low emission vehicle grant“). Compared to the similarly-sized Jaguar iPace weighing in at over £63k, it’s an absolute bargain. Couple that with Kia’s 7 year /150,000-mile warranty and you have a very tempting package. Surprisingly, the warranty covers the battery for the full warranty term.

The e Niro has scooped a trophy cabinet full of awards including the prestigious What Car: Car of the Year to name but one. 

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Posted in EV Electric Cars

New UK car registrations continue their downward trend driven by low business demand

car production line

You’ve seen the headlines. Our car markets are in turmoil, drivers are rushing to buy hybrid / electric vehicles – leaving diesel cars worthless.

Yes, there is some truth in that statement but it’s easy to ignore the hard facts. Armed with the SMMT’s most recent data, we’ve put together our top five facts from their September report.

1. Collapsing business demand for new cars is crushing the new UK car market.

Contrary to what you might think, registrations of new cars by Joe Public is actually up (very slightly) compared to last year. September saw a 0.1% increase of new car registrations by private buyers while business demand dropped a massive 44.8%. Blame #Brexit – poor consumer confidence and all that. The fact is that it’s not “our fault” and actually to do more with businesses tightening their belts in these uncertain economic times.

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VW settles up for AU$127m suit over Australian ‘dieselgate’ scandal

Volkswagen Australia has agreed to pay up to AU$127 million dollars (€78 million) in settlement for multiple class-action lawsuits from Australian customers over the ‘dieselgate’ scandal.

The settlement must still be approved by the Australian courts and will see owners compensated to the tune of AU$1,400 (£765). 

Julian Schimmel Principal Lawyer for legal firm Maurice Blackburn said, “This is an important step in providing a measure of justice and redress to the thousands of Australian motorists who claim they were financially impacted by the diesel emissions issue,”

In Australia, approximately 100,000 vehicles were equipped with VW’s diesel cheating software.

Compared to the figures being thrown around in the UK, £765 seems like a pathetic amount considering the financial hardship many have faced with both repair costs and increased depreciation. 

As for the UK legal action, it’s still very early days despite a very frantic start my many legal firms.  A final pre-trial hearing has been set for December to agree on the details and set a date for the trial in 2020. We just hope that this settlement by VW down under will set the precedent for the UK court cases.

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VW Skoda Seat Audi DSG Gear selector switch failure “Error: Workshop!… lever is in position P.” Fault 617752 / P173400

I’ve been covering the Skoda Octavia MK3 VRS in some detail of late, with our Skoda MK3 VRS buyers guide proving to be very popular. Apart from water pump issues on early cars, the Mk3 VRS seems to have stood the test of time quite well. I’ve had high hopes for the VRS but I’ve been keeping my nose to the ground, searching for another common issue. We just might have found it.

The issue at hand is one that I personally have been experiencing with increasing frequency especially now that my 2015 VRS TDI DSG is starting to show its age (nearly 5 years old with 63k on the clock).

This being the error in the maxi dot that displays – Error: workshop! Leave vehicle only when selector lever is in position P.

This error only shows up momentarily but it’s quite unsettling and accompanied by a rather disconcerting error tone from the dash.

It’s not just the VRS either. Our googling has shown that the issue also affects the Mk7 Golf and countless other models fitted with the latest incarnation of the VW DSG gearbox.

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