THIS WEEK

I guess we all hate regulation, and the motor industry has had to suffer more than its fair share of it. But normally, often grudgingly, we get to grips with it and make sure that whatever body is looking after us, we comply with their requirements. Which makes a survey from Mannheim this week a little surprising and indeed shocking. Because the new Real Driving Emissions (RDE) test that come into force this weekend are designed to continue the work started with WLTP last year. Over 20% said that their understanding of the new regulations was poor, and about half that number did not know anything about it.

What is clear, however, is that these tests are going to come as a bit of a shock to many. Previously low emitting cars are now going to be potentially vilified, customers are going to have to face up to the fact that their gas guzzlers are also serious pollution emitters. Most questioned in the survey reckon that car supply will be impacted, much like the regulations did in the last quarter last year. Whether RDE or the current economic situation, and dare I say it, political situation, has the biggest effect we will probably never know. But it certainly doesn’t look an easy September to be heading into.

And certainly not with car production down another 10% in July. Another few months of this and we won’t have any cars to produce at all. Though there was a ray of light on the horizon, with news that South Korea and the UK had signed an agreement that would ensure they would continue to trade freely  even if the UK leaves the European Union at the end of October. Current trade between the two countries is worth nearly £15 billion, so it is significant, particularly for the motor industry. Manufacturers like Bentley were said to be delighted.

Have a great weekend, the cricket’s back next week if you can stand the excitement.

THIS WEEK’S JOBS
Here are some jobs from the past ten days. Check these out and see if there is anything tempting. Click on the link to apply immediately through our site. The situation is changing the whole time and if any link refuses to work, it is probably because it has already been filled and removed. Check out all our jobs at on our Jobs Page

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK

My whole career can be summed up with ‘Ignorance is bliss.’ When you do not know better, you do not really worry about failing.
Jeff Foxworthy
Habit is necessary; it is the habit of having habits, of turning a trail into a rut, that must be incessantly fought against if one is to remain alive.
Edith Wharton (1862 – 1937)
Art may make a suit of clothes: but nature must produce a man.
David Hume (1711 – 1776)
The moment of victory is much too short to live for that and nothing else.
Martina Navratilova (1956 – )
THIS WEEK

On a completely different note to my normal newsletter, you have to ask sometimes what car manufacturers are up to. They have produced supremely complicated, sleek, efficient (especially if you believe all their tests) computers on wheels. And the ability for all of us just to walk up to the car press a button and gain entry is almost magical.

Except for months, if not years, there have been reports that these keyless fobs can be bypassed. And indeed a report in The Times today, based on research by Thatcham, suggests that well over half of current models are still vulnerable. Really? Isn’t it about time they started coming up with a solution?

Personally, I leave my keys in a metal box at night, as I know the system cannot be tricked that way. Thieves use a combination of devices to “extend” the range of your fob from inside the house so that the car thinks it is next to it. It is actually a pretty simple piece of technology in today’s terms. And it does strike me as complacent that almost no manufacturers have come up with a way round this problem.

I know cars can easily be driven away. My wife dropped me off the other week and it was only when she came to park the car that she realised she didn’t have the key fob. She could not turn it off without the key, so what could she if I was nowhere to be found? Luckily she spotted me, and all was well. The cars would appear to be very happy to drive off even if the key is out of range. Strange, 21st-century problem, but surely the motor manufacturers can do better?

Have a good weekend, better not take your umbrella out tomorrow, it may not last very long.

THIS WEEK’S JOBS
Here are some jobs from the past ten days. Check these out and see if there is anything tempting. Click on the link to apply immediately through our site. The situation is changing the whole time and if any link refuses to work, it is probably because it has already been filled and removed. Check out all our jobs at on our Jobs Page

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK

Life improves slowly and goes wrong fast, and only catastrophe is clearly visible.
Edward Teller (1908 – 2003)
The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.
Lucille Ball (1911 – 1989)
My own business always bores me to death; I prefer other people’s.
Oscar Wilde (1854 – 1900), Lady Windermere’s Fan, 1892
To me, boxing is like a ballet, except there’s no music, no choreography, and the dancers hit each other.
Jack Handey (1949 – )
THIS WEEK

It has not been a good week for the motor industry. Unless of course you are VW or PSA. Both of them recorded good profits this week, and show that presumably they are on the right side of the curve of innovation, cost-cutting and producing the right product at the right time.

Which contrasts with some other manufacturers. Read these headlines in the last couple of days “Ford profits drop sharply on global restructuring costs”, “Aston Martin shares tumble after slashing forecasts”, “Nissan to cut 12,500 thousand jobs as it seeks to revive business”, “Jaguar Land Rover swings back into red as sales fall”, “Renault hit by sluggishness in France and emerging markets”, “Daimler posts €1.6bn quarterly loss as auto industry slows”. Need I say more, need I explain more?

So why the difference? Well VW’s profit rise is put down to really strong performance in its Porsche division and sales of their larger SUVs – these have gone through the roof. So their product development is in line with customer expectations. And PSA has clearly benefited from their takeover of Opel, something that many in the industry were sceptical about. With new models and tighter cost controls they are clearly doing something right as the profits they announced this week are their highest ever reported. So in an increasingly crowded automotive marketplace there are some winners. But sadly, plenty more losers.

Have a great weekend, the Test Match may be over but there is still some amazing action to see in the Tour de France.

THIS WEEK’S JOBS
Here are some jobs from the past ten days. Check these out and see if there is anything tempting. Click on the link to apply immediately through our site. The situation is changing the whole time and if any link refuses to work, it is probably because it has already been filled and removed. Check out all our jobs at on our Jobs Page

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK

The computer is a moron.
Peter Drucker (1909 – 2005)
Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy.
Ernest Benn
In all affairs it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.
Bertrand Russell (1872 – 1970)
If all the world’s a stage, I want to operate the trap door.
Paul Beatty
THIS WEEK

In case you haven’t seen the reports this week, the new JD Power survey is out in the States and it makes interesting reading. To a certain extent turning on its head conceptions of reliability, engineering prowess and quality.

Way, way ahead of any of the other manufacturers come the Koreans, with Hyundai particularly being singled out for build quality, reliability and lack of problems. Ford and General Motors have also improved marvellously, and amongst the European manufacturers really only Mercedes and Fiat Chrysler come out with any great credit. Drivers of VW and BMW cars all reported more problems in 2019 than they did last year. Of the Japanese, Nissan and Toyota did well but Subaru and Mitsubishi were ranked pretty close to the bottom.

The insurance industry is putting pressure on manufacturers to sort out keyless technology, which is being targeted by criminals. The insurance body has rather demanded that manufacturers address these glaring holes in their security. And Thatcham research has recently rated most of the cars they have tested as poor. Otherwise reliable models from Volvo, Toyota and Mazda came in for particular criticism. As vehicle thefts are up 49% over the past four years this is something that manufacturers have to address.

Have a great weekend, not much rain for a change.

THIS WEEK’S JOBS
Here are some jobs from the past ten days. Check these out and see if there is anything tempting. Click on the link to apply immediately through our site. The situation is changing the whole time and if any link refuses to work, it is probably because it has already been filled and removed. Check out all our jobs at on our Jobs Page

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK

What is the use of a house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?
Henry David Thoreau (1817 – 1862)
Who begins too much accomplishes little.
German Proverb
An ounce of loyalty is worth a pound of cleverness.
Elbert Hubbard (1856 – 1915)
Let us make one point, that we meet each other with a smile, when it is difficult to smile. Smile at each other, make time for each other in your family.
Mother Teresa (1910 – 1997), in her Nobel lecture
THIS WEEK

The car market is a tough place at the moment. Falling sales, falling production and uncertainty over Brexit. Everything is piling up to put pressure on retailers. The City, however, was still shocked by Pendragon’s news this week. News that losses of £25 million had built up in Car Store and that the group expected an overall trading loss this year was certainly worse than the city had expected.
And their share price, which not so long ago was trading at 48p, plummeted by a fifth to just over 17p this week. Still, compared to historically low levels of just over 1.5p, these must seem like heady times. Those times, however, were exceptional, at the height of the 2008 crisis where news about a motor retailer wasn’t really news at all. With turnover of nearly £4.5 billion, Pendragon is a big operator. The departure earlier this year of Trevor Finn signalled something was amiss, the arrival of Mark Herbert will undoubtedly focus the group on financial return, reporting and fiscal prudence.

In the wake of the failed Fiat Chrysler and Renault merger, there are strong reports this week that the PSA group is poised to buy JLR from Tata. Such a move almost certainly makes sense, as there is a fantastic fit between the brands, and would relieve the Indian group of a significant loss maker. JLR’s fortunes have plummeted along with sales in China. And while Chinese volumes are down, their performance is significantly worse. It has also been reported that since acquiring Opel, including our own Vauxhall, PSA has performed exceptionally well. The addition of a genuine premium group would significantly enhance their standing, and give them access to markets they currently do not perform well in.

Talking about China, sales there have continued to fall, and early June figures suggest that this has accelerated ahead of changes to vehicle emissions regulations at the end of this month. Consumers and businesses, it seems, are waiting for new model variants to kick in. When you consider how big their market is, potential falls of 20% year on year are significant and all manufacturers are feeling the pinch.

Have a great weekend, we can tell from the weather that it is not long before Wimbledon starts.

THIS WEEK’S JOBS
Here are some jobs from the past ten days. Check these out and see if there is anything tempting. Click on the link to apply immediately through our site. The situation is changing the whole time and if any link refuses to work, it is probably because it has already been filled and removed. Check out all our jobs at on our Jobs Page

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK

If two men agree on everything, you may be sure that one of them is doing the thinking.
Lyndon B. Johnson (1908 – 1973)
Honest criticism is hard to take, particularly from a relative, a friend, an acquaintance, or a stranger.
Franklin P. Jones
Humility is no substitute for a good personality.
Fran Lebowitz (1950 – ), Metropolitan Life, 1978
One never knows what each day is going to bring. The important thing is to be open and ready for it.
Henry Moore (1898 – 1986)
THIS WEEK

Two big stories in the press this week, one shock. First of all, Ford announced the closure of it Bridgend plant, which was not a shock. The fact that it is to close in 2020 was a bit of a surprise, many thought it may run on a year more than that. Nevertheless, the company is having to dump jobs globally as it copes with automotive’s transition from an engineering to an electronics industry.

Just a week after having announced a potential merger, FCA and Renault did shock us all with a very public split. The blame game has started, with many blaming the French government for putting a spoke in the wheels. Analysts, however, reckon that FCA is still extremely well-placed to merge with somebody, their fit is particularly good, while Renault in particular will suffer badly. The Financial Times reported that the final straw was a French minister travelling to Japan to try and smooth over the rift in the Renault and Nissan relationship.

Finally this week, I would like to concentrate on what is potentially the automotive sector’s biggest problem. Analysts are predicting that the industry is facing massive fines next year. With the next round of WLTP regulations set to impact, and manufacturers having to reduce the CO2 emissions by substantial amounts, many predict they will fall woefully short of these targets. The EU in particular has the potential to levy massive fines if that is the case. With the Green lobby picking up pace and teeth, you can bet there will be an awful lot of lobbying over the coming 12 months. Let us hope as much energy is being put into development.

Have a great weekend, enjoy the rain!

THIS WEEK’S JOBS
Here are some jobs from the past ten days. Check these out and see if there is anything tempting. Click on the link to apply immediately through our site. The situation is changing the whole time and if any link refuses to work, it is probably because it has already been filled and removed. Check out all our jobs at on our Jobs Page

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK

This book fills a much-needed gap.
Moses Hadas (1900 – 1966)
An inventor is simply a fellow who doesn’t take his education too seriously.
Charles F. Kettering (1876 – 1958)
Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you’re scared to death.
Harold Wilson (1916 – 1995)
The saying “Getting there is half the fun” became obsolete with the advent of commercial airlines.
Henry J. Tillman
THIS WEEK

 I’m not sure whether it is me, or whether news reporting has got much better. But I certainly do not remember, in all of my time in the automotive industry, so many different investigations into car manufacturers. Yesterday it was announced that Porsche were under a new investigation into potential fraud. A number of people including their CEO, their FD and HR boss were all reported to be included in the probe. Der Spiegel, the German newspaper, reported that the issue was around “fraud against Porsche” relating to the “unjustified” and “disproportionately large” payments to a worker representative in terms of salary, bonuses and compensation.

But the big news of the week, however, is around Renault and Fiat Chrysler’s potential tie-up. The announcement has been greeted with enthusiasm in Italy it seems, but less so in France. And questions have been asked about Nissan, who are naturally holding Renault at arms length at this moment in time, in the wake of the Carlos Ghosn saga. Such a tie-up could mean that the French car maker could do without its Japanese partner, which prompts big question marks over the latter’s future survival and in an increasingly polarised manufacturing market.If it all of this was not bad enough for carmakers around the world, Pres Trump this week announced increased tariffs against Mexico. Most notably over car imports, causing a number of manufacturers share prices to fall around the world. Intriguingly, Tesla announced today that it is soon to start selling its Model3 in China, substantially undercutting imported vehicles because of local production. It is ironic when things like tariffs have potentially the opposite effect to the one you were setting out to create, this time moving production of Tesla from the US so they could remain competitive.

Finally, news that UK Automotive production fell disastrously in April to 50% of its previous levels. Admittedly some of this was down to some factories closing for two weeks. This was planned to allow them to adjust to our exit from the European Union, which never happened. Good planning, but had they been flat out, I am sure they would have found a way to reopen the factories. We’ve probably produced almost as many Conservative leader candidates as we have cars in the past few weeks.

Have a great weekend, I gather there’s a football match to watch tomorrow night if you’re at a loose end.

THIS WEEK’S JOBS
Here are some jobs from the past ten days. Check these out and see if there is anything tempting. Click on the link to apply immediately through our site. The situation is changing the whole time and if any link refuses to work, it is probably because it has already been filled and removed. Check out all our jobs at on our Jobs Page

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK

I never think of the future – it comes soon enough.
Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955)
I don’t know anything about music. In my line you don’t have to.
Elvis Presley (1935 – 1977)
Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.
Ernest Hemingway (1899 – 1961)
A newspaper consists of just the same number of words, whether there be any news in it or not.
Henry Fielding (1707 – 1754)
THIS WEEK

Well you can’t say it’s been the best 7 days for the motor industry. Jaguar Land Rover posting a £3.6 billion loss for the year and announcing over 6,000 redundancies. A dramatic collapse in their market in China, falling 38%, has certainly not helped. Combine that with a general slowing of the motor industry in pretty well every other market in the world, and you have a recipe for a tough year.
Ford hardly brightened the tone. With managing director, Jim Hackett, announcing that 10% of its global workforce was to be cut. Which means about 7000, jobs going. It is difficult to see where Ford has lost its way, but I remember at the end of the 80s the company having market shares in excess of 20%. They were the standout performer by almost every benchmark, certainly the European market is much more challenging for them these days.

And talking about a halo slipping a little, Tesla’s previously buoyant investors are predicting that it could slump from its current share price of $196 to about $10 a share. It was only a few months ago that it was as high as $375 or so. The rumours are that pundits and institutional investors like Morgan Stanley, are beginning to back against the company’s shares, feeling that despite their technological edge, the company has at best an uncertain future.

Cheery stuff as we approach the end of May. Interpret that how you will.

THIS WEEK’S JOBS
Here are some jobs from the past ten days. Check these out and see if there is anything tempting. Click on the link to apply immediately through our site. The situation is changing the whole time and if any link refuses to work, it is probably because it has already been filled and removed. Check out all our jobs at on our Jobs Page

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK

Seeing ourselves as others would probably confirm our worst suspicions about them.
Franklin P. Jones
Zoo: An excellent place to study the habits of human beings.
Evan Esar (1899 – 1995), Esar’s Comic Dictionary
Those who agree with us may not be right, but we admire their astuteness.
Cullen Hightower
Adventure is just bad planning.
Roald Amundsen (1872 – 1928)
THIS WEEK

Let me pick up on a few stories from last week. I know Tesla had a bad week last week, while this week it is had to go cap in hand to investors to raise a further sizeable chunk of capital. In fact the Wall Street Journal this afternoon reports that it could be seeking as much as $2.7 billion to fund the next round of its expansion. Much of which would not be necessary had it already been expanding at the rate it had predicted it would be.
Ford started off last week pretty positively, but finished with a headline that said it was being investigated with regards to an emissions problem. In fact this was as a result of a self appointed probe into its testing methods. It was responding to concerns from some employees about the methods it used. If proven, however, it could prove very costly both in fines and penalties, and in damages paid to customers if it has misrepresented its fuel economy and emissions figures. The emissions scandal is the “gift that just keeps giving” to automotive journalists.
Finally, we talked about Renault and Daimler acknowledging a major down turn in automotive. Volkswagen’s results this week have further reflected that. Not only have they been hit by diesel sales and indeed further probes into their own diesel emission problems, but slowing growth in China has severely hit turnover. Nevertheless, though results were bad they were not quite as bad as analysts had expected and shares rose as a result.
There was some pretty ominous news on UK production figures this week. With sales continuing to slide in March, car production correspondingly fell 14%. If that was not bad enough, Land Rover announced that it would be producing its revived Defender model not in the UK, but in Slovakia. A decision that the company claims is unrelated to Brexit, it nevertheless does not fill you with confidence about the future of manufacturing in this country. Hopefully the news can only get better from now on.
Have a great weekend and enjoy the Bank Holiday.
THIS WEEK’S JOBS
Here are some jobs from the past ten days. Check these out and see if there is anything tempting. Click on the link to apply immediately through our site. The situation is changing the whole time and if any link refuses to work, it is probably because it has already been filled and removed. Check out all our jobs at on our Jobs Page

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK

When you are in any contest you should work as if there were – to the very last minute – a chance to lose it.
Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890 – 1969)
I value my garden more for being full of blackbirds than of cherries, and very frankly give them fruit for their songs.
Joseph Addison (1672 – 1719), ‘The Spectator’
Achievement is largely the product of steadily raising one’s levels of aspiration and expectation.
Jack Nicklaus (1940 – ), ‘My Story’
Happiness depends upon ourselves.
Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC)
THIS WEEK

I always like to take a look through the week’s headlines to see if any of the manufacturers appear more than once. And how their news changes during the week. This week there are three manufacturers that are worth looking at, Ford, Tesla and Nissan. It is fair to say that each have had mixed weeks.
Let’s take Tesla for example, on Tuesday Elon Musk announced that the electric car maker would turn very, very cash positive as soon as a self driving network of “Robotaxis” launches. By Wednesday John Gapper in the Financial Times, was accusing the company of going too fast as they sought to dominate the world of self driving cars. By Thursday the company had announced enormous losses in the first quarter of this year, $702m, and was already indicating that it needed a further cash call. By today analysts were worrying about the company’s ability to continue to raise cash. Just a normal week in the life of Tesla’s Chairman I reckon.
There was good news for Ford on Wednesday, as they announced that they had managed to beat GM in securing a partnership with Rivian, the auto technology company. By Thursday the company was predicting confidently a much stronger 2019. Their concentration on pickups and trucks were yielding dividends, especially in the US. However, today the Wall Street Journal announced that US regulators are to probe the manufacturer over vehicles emissions tests.
Finally Nissan opened the week with their second profit warning in two months. Analysts were blaming both the fallout from the Carlos Ghosn saga and poor performance in the United States. By yesterday their former CEO had been released from jail, subject to a number of very strict conditions. Not unnaturally Nissan was mentioned at regular intervals. By today it was announced that relations between Nissan and their previous sister company Renault had sunk to pretty low levels. Nissan had report reportedly rejected calls for a merger, something that Mr Ghosn himself has suggested has been at the heart of their attacks on him.
And to add to everyone’s woes this Friday, it seems that many manufacturers have recognised that there is a global stall in output. Trade relations with China, withdrawing from Iran, squeezed margins and the need to tool up rapidly in the change to electric vehicles have put pressure on almost every manufacturer. Daimler and the aforementioned Renault were amongst those who hit a gloomy note in the news today. Still, I am sure your April registrations are far better?
Have a great weekend – time to get the kite out again.
THIS WEEK’S JOBS
Here are some jobs from the past ten days. Check these out and see if there is anything tempting. Click on the link to apply immediately through our site. The situation is changing the whole time and if any link refuses to work, it is probably because it has already been filled and removed. Check out all our jobs at on our Jobs Page

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK

An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field.
Niels Bohr (1885 – 1962)
Two paradoxes are better than one; they may even suggest a solution.
Edward Teller (1908 – 2003)
Editor: a person employed by a newspaper, whose business it is to separate the wheat from the chaff, and to see that the chaff is printed.
Elbert Hubbard (1856 – 1915)
When I am abroad, I always make it a rule never to criticize or attack the government of my own country. I make up for lost time when I come home.
Sir Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965)
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