Motor industry snippets


Dangers of remote fobs

It has become abundantly clear that car thefts are on the rise. Yet, it seems that remote control key-fobs, some of which are exceptionally complex, may be to blame. The ‘smart’ thief will target specific makes and models and just as you perform the casual over-the-shoulder central-locking, or disarming, of your vehicle, his ‘reader’ will grab the electronic code and then allow him to grab your car seconds afterwards. While there was a time when 10% of all Ford cars could be opened with another Ford’s keys, now it seems that the key-fobs make the job even easier for the miscreant and there are neither broken windows, nor scratched bodywork, to betray the action. Please take care. Only use the fob adjacent to your vehicle and on your person, and, at home, keep the keys away from prying eyes. Use other anti-theft devices as well.

VW Group has a new brand

VW's new division develops flexible charger

Volkswagen Group Components is a development of VW’s prior technology department, which is tasked with enhancing e-mobility. One of its first major roles is to create and market a flexible fast-charging station (by 2020) that is also mobile and can recharge up to four plug-in vehicles at a time. Of course, the vehicles will all have to be from the VW Group line-up, which means yet another charger being added to a growing list of devices that are brand-dedicated. At some point, even a giant, like VW, must surely take a broader view and define ‘flexible’ as being accessible to as many other makes and models as possible? It might pay off.

New or used high-end 4x4s?

Volvo XC90 tops luxury used charts

With a new top-spec Range Rover now costing upwards of £90,000 and Merc G-Class, Audi Q7 and BMW X7 not far behind, even lease rates can prove prohibitive at boardroom level. As a result, the value placed on a good, low-mileage, previously-owned example can have merit. As a measure of Volvo’s resurgent excellence, the XC90 model has been declared by Diesel Car/Eco Car magazine as the Best Used Luxury Car in its latest reckoning. The company’s dedicated ‘Volvo Selekt’ used car programme can provide search and supply services, with comprehensive manufacturer back-up and at prices that will be more than just acceptable.

Lotus enters partnership with Williams

It is worth highlighting that we are not talking in F1 terms here but, rather, combining the engineering talents of both firms. Lotus is on an upward trek, following several years of poor management, and Williams Automotive Engineering arm had already replaced much of Lotus’s former independent engineering services around the motor industry, many of which dealings remain top secret. Early developments will use Williams’ expertise in propulsion systems, alongside Lotus’s perpetual pursuit of lightness. Inevitably, battery systems and alternative energy are high on the list of combined efforts. The new Chinese investor in Lotus (SAIC, which also owns Volvo and LEVC, the London taxi-maker) are intent on rebuilding Lotus to the world-beating status it once enjoyed and several new cars are already in the pipeline, for its car-making division.

Suzuki – UK’s No.1 car brand!

If you read my regular monthly running reports on a singularly untroublesome Suzuki Baleno, you may have already gathered that I am a happy business car owner. According to the Institute of Customer Service’s UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI), Suzuki GB is the highest rated car brand in the UK. The research asked 45,000 consumers to rate their experiences of dealing with various companies. Suzuki percolated to the top, its dealers being described as the easiest and most open people to deal with. Suzuki is described as ‘highest trusted brand’ and that customer loyalty was at an equally high level.