The days of the independent car companies are pretty much over. Motor makers are now superbrands so they can reap the enormous financial rewards of selling millions of models all over the globe. In a world where every car company seems to be owned by someone else, we look at some of the smaller firms and ask who owns them? Some of the questions are cunning. And there are a couple of teasers in there to make it a bit of a challenge. If you enjoy this, try some of our other mind-stretchers.
Mercedes has announced a recall of three million diesel cars worldwide. And Audi said it will carry out repairs to nearly a million of its diesel models. The moves come as the German car makers scramble to reduce levels of harmful toxic emissions and restore drivers’ faith in diesel engines.
In 2015, the Volkswagen Group confessed to cheating at US environmental tests. It has subsequently been forced to carry out fixes to around 11m cars worldwide.
Yesterday the European Commission confirmed that it is conducting an investigation into German car makers over allegations of a cartel that colluded over technology.
With one bad news story after another, here’s what drivers need to know about the latest Mercedes recall.
The Volkswagen diesel scandal has taken a new twist with British owners of affected diesel-powered Volkswagen, Audi, Seat and Skoda cars possibly in line for compensation. And consumer organisation Which? wants the British government to do more to ensure British buyers of affected cars are suitably reimbursed.
European Union regulators are now urging 20 European countries to investigate whether consumers are entitled to financial compensation from VW, like drivers in the US. Vera Jourova, the EU justice commissioner, told The Financial Times it was likely the German car maker had breached Europe’s “unfair commercial practices directive.” The legislation is in place to protect consumers from misleading advertising claims.
Why does the EU want action?
It’s not easy being a driver who wants to do their bit and buy a car with the lowest nitrogen oxide emissions. These NOx are harmful pollutants emitted by cars that are estimated to contribute to over 30,000 premature deaths a year in the UK. Information about a car’s NOx levels has been hard to come by as, for obvious reasons, vehicle manufacturers tend to advertise cars’ fuel economy or performance rather than the nasty particulates pumped out of exhausts.
But now a new website allows drivers to see just how polluting Britain’s most popular makes and model of car are when used in normal, everyday driving conditions.
Car crime isn’t the problem it used to be but cars are still being stolen
If you drive a Range Rover Sport and live in London you stand more chance of becoming a victim of car crime according to a new ranking of car theft hotspots.
The survey reveals that after London, Greater Manchester and the West Midlands were the UK’s car theft hotspots in 2015. The list has been compiled by Tracker, a company that specialises in stolen vehicle recovery by using a transmitter hidden in the vehicle that enables police to find it if it’s recorded as stolen.
Where are the car theft hotspots?
You may need to sit down before looking at the price of options on a Rolls-Royce Wraith (Picture © Rolls-Royce)
Anyone who has bought a new car recently can’t help but fail to have noticed the lengthy lists of optional extras that can be added to their new pride and joy – at a cost. These are so long that they make any fixtures and fittings list for a house purchase seem like a Post-it note. Yet extras are increasingly popular, as they allow drivers to give their car the personal touch, stand out of the crowd, or show-off the latest gadgets and gizmos to friends and family.
So, without further ado, here are five of the most expensive options available on new cars in the UK. And not one of them is an April Fools joke…
Ford’s new Glare-Free Highbeam system costs from £900 (Picture © Ford)
Glare-free headlamps which prevent drivers being dazzled by on-coming lights could be on a car near you in the very near future. In the 70s, the Manfred Mann hit Blinded by the Light could be heard coming from cars all over Britain. More recently, the song’s chorus has been adopted as a protest against super bright car lights.
Ever since the introduction of Xenon or High Intensity Discharge (HID) lights in the early ’90s on the BMW 7 Series, and Light Emitting Diode (LED) lights in cars such as the 2006 Audi R8, the brightness and intensity of headlamps has increased. Continue reading
The most talked-about car of the 2016 Geneva Motor Show was Bugatti’s Chiron (Picture © Bugatti)
March is an exciting time for drivers. The new registration change, to the ‘16’ prefix, comes into force, prompting the busiest month for the motor trade. And the razzmatazz of the Geneva Motor Show ramps up, where many of the most significant cars of 2016 will be revealed.
This year has been one of the busiest shows in memory. New cars of all shapes and sizes were revealed, and regardless of whether drivers are on the hunt for a stylish new SUV or mind-blowing supercar, the show offered something for everyone – and all the cars will be going on sale in Britain soon.
Here are the six most exciting cars of the Geneva Motor Show.
This Sunday, NFL’s Super Bowl 50 kicks off and touches down on televisions, laptops and smartphones in hundreds of million of homes around the world. American football’s game of the year gets underway at 23.30 (GMT) on Sunday, with Brits able to watch it on BBC2. And because it pulls in huge audiences, there’s an equally huge amount of advertising surrounding it – especially from car companies. So even if you don’t like American football, the ad breaks are well worth a watch.
Last year, more than 114 million people tuned in to watch Super Bowl on TV – in North America alone. And judging by some of the statistics flying around the 50th Super Bowl, that means more than a billion chicken wings will be devoured, a whole lot of Bud’ will be guzzled and one or two over-eager fans will regret trying to impersonate the cheerleaders of the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos.
All the stops are pulled out by advertising creatives for Super Bowl, even more so for this year’s Super Bowl 50. But we won’t get to see the ads on the BBC. So here they are…
If you get your kicks from microchips, lasers and the Internet of Things rather than pistons, spark plugs and exhausts, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has got your name on it. Since 1967, CES has been held in Las Vegas at the start of each year and has frequently offered gadget lovers and gizmo geeks the first glimpse of emerging technologies. But over the past five years, the car makers have muscled in.