THIS WEEK

Trumponomics, Trumplomacy or Trumpocracy, these are all words that have crept into the English language since the US President took office. And the latest manifestation of this phenomenon, apparently over national security concerns, may light the blue touch paper under an all-out trade war. Apparently National Security is one of those things that you can invoke when you want to impose tariffs, though its interpretation is necessarily pretty narrow. Most commentators I have read fail to see the national security implications of car imports, though no doubt some clever lawyers will be spinning the story. However, the US is threatening to impose tariffs on all imported vehicles. While this may please Detroit car workers, it appears that car buyers are not best pleased nor is the majority of the European car industry. Even Toyota, which has 12 manufacturing plants on US soil and you would think would welcome the lack of competition from outside, has complained that this will have a massive detrimental effect on the US car industry, as their big growth markets are outside of the States in South America and China. Still, Mr Trump is his own man and this may not play out exactly the way we reckon.

You may recall that Fiat Chrysler was fined $175 million a couple of years ago over the way it treated safety recalls. Well today it has recalled about 4.8 million vehicles over a cruise control problem that could cause the system to remain permanently on, even when braking. It is claimed that it would be an unlikely sequence of events, however with that number of vehicles on the road “unlikely” becomes “possible”. And possible is enough to get the lawyers twitchy.

It will be nice to get into the weekend so that next week we can see our in-boxes filled with something different to the latest GDPR message. Do not get me wrong, everyone has to treat their data seriously, but in fact they already had to do so under the old data protection act that are over 20 years old. Nevertheless this is been an extremely useful exercise in clearing out all of our inboxes from the marketing messages we get routinely sent – mine will be a lot clearer in the future, I bet you never realised you subscribed to so many different email services.

Have a great weekend. Might I suggest you don’t watch the cricket too closely, unless you’re a Pakistan fan.

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

Latest Jobs
QUOTE OF THE WEEK

Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.
Will Rogers (1879 – 1935)

The easiest way for your children to learn about money is for you not to have any.
Katharine Whitehorn

Most conversations are simply monologues delivered in the presence of witnesses.
Margaret Millar

Charm is a way of getting the answer yes without asking a clear question.
Albert Camus (1913 – 1960)
THIS WEEK

Is diesel dead yet? Well if you look at the new car market, then it certainly looks on the way out. Sales down nearly 32% so far this year, dealers barely able to shift product off the forecourt. But the used-car market paints a very different picture. This despite a first quarter decline of nearly 5%, which, by the way, is still the third highest Q1 on record. But during that period diesel sales were actually up, albeit a modest 2%, against petrol sales down by nearly 10%.
So what is going on? Well no one can argue that whatever the used results, sales of diesels are down. But on the other hand, used-car customers are perhaps less worried about the environment, more worried about getting a deal. Or perhaps they are more conservative, less swayed by all the hype around diesel and doomsday predictions. Or maybe they don’t buy new because they have limited budgets, and whatever the arguments against diesel, nobody will argue that they are a lot more economical on fuel.
So there you have it. A used-car market that is down, a new car market that is down considerably, but with customers looking for value in the market – used-car sales in the first quarter were over 2m units compared to around 850,000 on new, so about two and half times the size.  Let’s face it, whatever the fashions in the marketplace, unless you’re going to scrap them, then all late low mileage diesel cars are going to be sold, even if their price has to dramatically adjust to make them saleable. The consumer is king, but he or she also has their price. However green your your credentials, if you are going to save a shed load of money then you will always be able to justify why you went down the less obviously green route.
Finally an announcement this week. We have deliberately avoided sending out a separate email regarding GDPR, as I am certain you are fed up with them turning up in your inbox. As you would expect, we have taken some detailed advice on this. As far as I newsletter goes, it has always been an opt in sign up for the newsletter, and we are satisfied that every single one of our readers has opted into this over the years.
But nevertheless, here is an official notification to you, please read it carefully.
New laws will shortly be coming into force concerning companies’ use of customer information.
On the 25th of May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will be enforced across Europe, including the United Kingdom. GDPR is designed to give people more control over their data and to create a uniform set of rules to enforce across the European Union.
We’re have reviewed all of our data policies to make sure that we comply with the regulations.  As part of that review we believe that we have your full permission to keep you up to date by email.
If you disagree, or if you’d prefer that we don’t send this newsletter anymore by email, please click here to unsubscribe now.
We don’t want to lose you, but we take your privacy very seriously.  And above all we don’t want to be a nuisance.
If you would like to know more about how we use and store information, please read our privacy policy.
Have a great weekend, better get that BBQ out.
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

Latest Jobs
QUOTE OF THE WEEK

If you can react the same way to winning and losing, that is a big accomplishment. That quality is important because it stays with you the rest of your life.
Chris Evert (1954 – )
The music at a wedding procession always reminds me of the music of soldiers going into battle.
Heinrich Heine (1797 – 1856)
A friend never defends a husband who gets his wife an electric skillet for her birthday.
Erma Bombeck (1927 – 1996)
I’m not a real movie star. I’ve still got the same wife I started out with twenty-eight years ago.
Will Rogers (1879 – 1935)
THIS WEEK

Do you remember that Sweden used to have a car manufacturing company or two? You will most certainly remember Volvo, partly because it is still very much alive and well and performing, particularly in China. And that is largely because of its owners, the Geely Corporation. A large Chinese conglomerate, there are rumours that it may soon be returning some of Volvo’s ownership into private hands, possibly even in Sweden.  There’s news today of a potential IPO (initial public offering) that may take place in Hong Kong or be split between Sweden and Hong Kong.
Follow me so far? Essentially Geely will retain control over the company, but sell sahres in it back to the market. And this looks like quite good business as they bought it a few years ago for $1.8 bn and experts are predicting that they could raise between $15-30 bn in the exercise. Alongside this the company are investing heavily in new technology. That is not unlike any other major car manufacturer, but you will remember that Volvo were the first to say that they would go all electric, or rather more correctly they would offer electric across their range, by the end of this decade.
Geely is quite big, and in fact is now also the largest shareholder in Daimler. They are rumoured to hold over 10% in the company. And Daimler were in the news for different reasons this week, as they ploughed some funds into Softbank’s new high-tech vehicle, the Vision Fund. No small venture it is also backed by Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi and itself is worth $100 bn. There are plenty of others ploughing money in alongside them, not least Larry Ellison of Oracle and America’s Cup fame. This goes alongside Daimler’s wide investments outside of its core business, it previously acquired MyTaxi, a car hailing service that is enormously successful in Europe, Chauffeur Privé in France, which is a French Uber and car2go which is a car sharing company. Like many car manufacturers, they can see that the first future of automotive is probably outside of manufacturing.
I mentioned  a few weeks ago that Daimler and BMW were teaming up to share things like ride hailing apps between themselves to gain some economies of scale. But I guess you wouldn’t want BMW’s situation in the UK at the moment, like so many their sales this year have slumped and they announced earlier this week the recall of over 300,000 vehicles. Not that the recall has silenced their detractors, who point out that many other countries acted on a stalling problem a long time ago, and they say that it has taken a high profile public campaign following the death of an ex-Gurkha in a BMW to initiate that this recall. Still, as ever, aftersales managers will be happy with the extra business.
Have a great weekend. Will it be ‘Nul Points’ or not for the UK at Eurovision??….
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

Latest Jobs
QUOTE OF THE WEEK

Silence is more musical than any song.
Christina Rossetti (1830 – 1894)
We improve ourselves by victories over ourself. There must be contests, and you must win.
Edward Gibbon (1737 – 1794)
I don’t know anything about music. In my line you don’t have to.
Elvis Presley (1935 – 1977)
Always imitate the behavior of the winners when you lose.
Anonymous
THIS WEEK

First of all, an important announcement. In preparation for GDPR, changes in regulations, Brexit and a whole load of other things, we have decided to update our web technology. So a brand-new mtselect.co.uk is born. We hope you like the new look, the simple functionality and ease-of-use. It will carry no less information than before, its systems are much more integrated with our candidate database and we will spend much less time processing data, giving us more time to actually read it. And to give you a better service.
There is a fascinating article about Tesla in the Times this week. Sorry if many of you do not subscribe to it, but their US business editor, James Dean, has written an in-depth analysis of Tesla’s problems, and also how it will almost certainly survive as an iconic brand, even if its cash flow problems catch up with it in the coming years. Some analysts are predicting a pretty tough time for Elon Musk’s ill-fated, target missing but visionary brand. A name synonymous with electric vehicles, it is an iconic name that will surely not disappear. They hark back to the time in 1928 when Bentley created what they call one of the greatest cars of all time – the Speed Six. The best car of its era, it won Le Mans twice in a row, but within three years Bentley was bust. Yet the brand has never died, and today is flourishing under German ownership. It cannot see the Tesla name disappearing whatever happens to its market.
Talking of markets, after 12 successive months of falling, or should I say plummeting, sales finally a month when sales have risen. It is worth pointing out, however, that it has risen above what was a very low base last year, brought about by a change in taxes that meant everybody scrambled to purchase by March 31. If you compare this month’s figures to the same April two years ago we are down by about 11%. Still, after a pretty dire year, any news of rising registrations is good news. Even though it might feel a bit like a UKIP candidate who has just retained their council seat, forgetting the background of nearly a hundred others who have lost theirs. Let us hope that the May market continues the upward trend.
Have a great weekend, and don’t forget that it extends to Monday.
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

Latest Jobs
QUOTE OF THE WEEK

Computer dating is fine, if you’re a computer.
Rita Mae Brown
Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.
Aldous Huxley (1894 – 1963), “Proper Studies”, 1927
Whatever you may be sure of, be sure of this-that you are dreadfully like other people.
James Russell Lowell (1819 – 1891)
In the end, everything is a gag.
Charlie Chaplin (1889 – 1977)

As predicted, March was a pretty poor showing for the motor industry. Headline figures of a 16% fall in sales masked a massive 40% drop in diesel sales. Looking at the headlines in Motor Trader this week, there are certainly mixed messages about what is happening in the marketplace. For instance used-car finance in February was up 15%, though in the first quarter used-car sales are down 5%. In their comment section, concern has been raised once again about the high level of PCP dependence in the industry, a dependence which is spreading across to used cars as well as new.

The concern is not just that we are building up a “hidden” problem, kicking down the road the problem of residuals until the market becomes unsupportable by manufacturers and prices start to drop. The issue is also that 48 month PCPs are tying customers in to longer contracts, from which they cannot extricate themselves and which lengthen the buying cycle. After all, the original idea was that PCPs would improve buying cycles, with customers signing up every 18 months to 2 years to a new vehicle.

The trouble is, if you rely on one particular type of sale, such as PCP, when you hit a perfect storm of falling consumer confidence, falling used-car prices and lengthening buying cycles the market can collapse. And when it collapses each of those problems merely are accentuated and feed on themselves.

None of which is bothering Mercedes-Benz at the moment, as they have just set a quarterly record for sales. Much of this can be attributed to a 17.2% increase in their sales in China, which let’s face it is a massive market. They averaged nearly 200,000 vehicles for each of the first three months of this year and are now well ahead of their rivals BMW as the world’s bestselling premium brand. And despite a small slowdown in North America, they would also have been pleased with their 2% rise across Europe, and particularly in Germany where they were up 5.2%. 10 years ago they would never have credited it, but their most popular models are now SUVs, ironic for a manufacturer that made its name selling some of the best limousines around.

Have a great weekend, enjoy the Masters (or MasterChef if you’re not partial to golf).

To read a full version of this Newsletter, please click here

Vauxhall is looking a pretty nervous franchise at the moment as rumours, and they are just that, circulate that they are about to shut a third of their network.  Or about 100 dealers.  Which is quite a dent in a franchise that is struggling to keep it’s head above water in registration terms. YTD their market share is just 7.16% (and February was barely over 6%). Quite a fall when you consider that back at the start of the Millennium they were tracking at around 13.4%, quite some adjustment is needed.  Which is why the anonymous reports in AM this week have not exactly provoked a shock.

The recent case in America regarding an Uber self driving car highlights the  legal issues raised in last week’s BBC broadcast, a link to which we forwarded in the newsletter. Footage has appeared showing the accident that caused the very sad death of a homeless woman in the US. Obviously this is a tragedy for the victim and her family, and has served as a wake-up call to the developers at Uber, who have suspended all self driving operations at present.  Other developers like Toyota have followed suit.

That there has been an accident at all will come as no surprise to many of us. With humans and machines inter-reacting, it is impossible to imagine a world where something completely unpredictable cannot happen. Some will argue, and have already done so, that a human would not have avoided the incident. Others argue that it was entirely preventable, and the systems should have picked up on this lady’s emergence into the path of the vehicle.

Whatever the rights and wrongs, and the eventual culpability, it does prove that “human oversight” of automated systems are problematic. A backup driver sits in the car for, say, five weeks without a single incident, and then something happens in a split second. How can you ever be expected to react? Even more so if, as it has been claimed here, the human in question was not paying attention at the time of the accident.

Finally a couple of bits that you may have missed from the past week. BMW offices were raided in Munich on Wednesday by German prosecutors, as part of an investigation into the suspected use of emissions cheating software. Elon Musk’s bank manager must have relaxed a bit over the past couple of days, as he has won approval for a new pay deal. And in reality it might be quite attractive, with a potential $55.8bn bonus. Admittedly there are quite a few strings attached, but it will probably be worth putting the extra hours in. And finally, talking about earnings, China’s leading car maker, Geely, has enjoyed soaring profits over the past year. These have almost doubled, largely thanks to the success of their SUV range. The Chinese are coming, and they are doing rather well.

Have a great weekend, I am not sure the cricket is worth watching, however.

To view a full version of this Newsletter please click here.

In case we all think the world of driverless cars is a nice way to reduce our insurance premiums, or even a way to throw responsibility onto Car Manufacturers or Software Developers, the BBC has a great Podcast out this week.  It is by Joshua Rosenberg, their legal expert, and is part of their Radio 4 Law in Action series. As an added bonus the last part of the broadcast covers GDPR – a good introduction for anyone who has not thought about it yet. Listen to it here

Talking about new technology, the Met Police have just signed up for what is trailed as the “Biggest Hydrogen Powered Police Fleet in the World”. Admittedly a fairly niche accolade, but they are purchasing 11 Toyota Mirais that use hydrogen technology. Clearly a very low emission fuel (water is the only exhaust product) it has always surprised me that it has not made more headway as a fuel.  Originally there was some safety concern over the fuel, as it has tremendous explosive power, as was witnessed in the infamous Hindenburg Disaster, the airship that burst into flames in 1937. But since then systems have become way safer, the cars range is a very acceptable 300 miles and refilling instant (if you find a station). And there is a lot of hydrogen available.

The car industry has a history with the unions, with the 60s and 70s characterised by unions who refused to allow progress and held back productivity gains. Or that was how they were portrayed anyway.  Which makes it refreshing today to see that that they are the ones pushing the government to lay the groundwork for the move to electric vehicles. The Unite union blames the UK for being slow to take up the challenge compared to other EU countries.  Their report “Electric Vehicles, Autonomous Technology and Future Mobility” says that ‘the biggest barrier to investment and innovations remains government inactivity’. When major changes need making then hopefully they will play their part.

Have a great weekend, even if we have to welcome back a “Mini-beast from the East”

To read a full version of this Newsletter click here

If you have been following the news, you will know that it has been the Geneva Motor Show this week. Some would argue the most important show of them all, certainly outside of NADA in the United States, it really sets the direction for the year for most of the automotive industry. And this year the talk has been about two things, electric cars (we’ve been talking about them for some time now) and a trade war with the United States. And what that will do to car production and car sales.

The trade war thing does not seem to be welcome in many quarters, but it was part of Trump’s election ticket so he will have to give it a go. But say what you will about Pres Trump, I don’t think BMW will be criticising him too much at the moment. They have just reported substantially better results for last year, 26% up on profitability with improved volumes, turnover and, they say, much reduced tax liabilities in the aforesaid United States. It is reputedly their best year ever. Whether a trade war is exactly what they need going forward is open to debate.

As we move through the first quarter of the year and everybody gets used to their new salaries, or not if you did not manage to get a pay rise, spare a thought for one worker in the United States. Elon Musk, owner, chief executive and everything else of Tesla, is struggling to convince shareholders of his $2.6 billion pay package. It can be tough when your salary is geared so much towards targets, but then I always say once you’ve earned your first billion, nothing much after that matters. So I am sure they will come to an arrangement that will keep both sides from the breadline.

Have a great weekend, enjoy the rugby tomorrow. It’s nice not to be snowed in for a change.

To see the full version of this newsletter click here.

March 1. A wonderful day to see cars flying off the forecourts. At least if they were 4×4’s this year, or you had plenty of stocks of salt to melt the ice. The start of the new registration month was met by some of the most severe weather that the UK has seen for many years. Good weather for bodyshops.

And if that was not enough, the Met Police reported that the first 08 car to be booked was actually nabbed some six hours before midnight.  It was meant to be on trade plates, but they were in the boot rather than on display – the car was officially uninsured. Oops!

You may have missed it, but MPs have called for a major investigation into Motability, the organisation that allows disabled drivers to purchase and run a car. As over 5,000 dealerships are signed up to their scheme, it is an important source of income for manufacturers and dealer groups alike. But MPs have complained about a £2.4 billion reserve that was allegedly revealed by the Daily Mail, and about chief executive Mike Betts £1.7 million salary package.

Such headlines never play well, and MPs are questioning why a charity should be producing such figures. The company itself has hit back, saying that the reserves are in Motability Operations, a Ltd company and not the charitable part. They are part of the way it operates, allowing it to lend money and a hedge against potential catastrophic drops in used-car residuals. In case you were wondering how large the operation is, the last time I looked they had over 350,000 cars on their books. They were said to be the largest fleet in the world, with the exception of the Chinese Red Army. So if their used cars take a beating, it will take some buffering.

Diesel has taken a hammering this week, not least in the German courts. A decision over there has allowed cities to start banning diesels from their centres. Some are predicting that this could mean the end of the fuel across Europe, as other countries follow suit. Whether it is quite as dramatic as that, time will tell. But there is no doubt that a movement that started just a few years ago with VW’s emissions scandal, has turned very quickly into a headlong plunge for diesel technology.

Have a great weekend, stay safe in this weather.

If you would like to view the full version of this newsletter click here.

Three stories this week about things you would not necessarily associate with the automotive industry, a BBC reporter, a Dyson and a bottle of shampoo. First the BBC reporter – an important case was decided this week regarding the tax affairs of Christa Ackroyd. Not exactly high-profile, except in the North East where she the regional news programme Look North for 12 years. The headline, which has already put the BBC into quite a panic it is said, centres around a £400,000 tax bill she is said to owe. Why, because she has been employed through a personal services company as an independent contractor for those 12 years. HMRC has argued successfully that in fact she was an employee in disguise and this setup deprived them of that amount of tax.

Why is this relevant to automotive?  Because I know for a fact that there are a number of companies who operate similar schemes. They have consultants who to the outside world look like regular employees. I am sure people will tell me that they differ in the fine print but, as I have reported here before, such schemes at best lay you open to scrutiny by the tax authorities, at worse land you with a big bill. And £400,000 is a big bill.

Dyson is a manufacturing phenomenon in the UK, producing high-end, highly popular and, let’s face it, highly effective electronic gadgets. They have reinvented technology, whether it was the vacuum cleaner, the hand dryer or the fan, somehow they have found a better way of producing it. So their announcement recently that they will be producing an electric car has awakened interest, and the story has further developed this week as they are clearly getting closer, and are being held back by battery technology. Much like all of their competitors it would seem. According to a report in the FT they are planning initially three vehicles and investing £2 billion in the project. Not an insignificant investment, though compared to the largest car manufacturers probably quite a low budget. But they have surprised us before, and whatever they produce it will be certainly innovative and different and will challenge what has gone before. Exciting times.

Finally, an industry that is been riven by emission scandals for the past three years or so can finally take a breather. Or at least it can shift some of the blame onto another sector. And who would have thought it? Because perhaps a whole range of household products produce air pollution at least as damaging as that produced by cars. Shampoos, oven cleaners, soaps and a whole variety of other household products apparently are guilty of creating particulates in the air that according to the Times, are responsible for 29,000 deaths a year.

I always worry about stories that link such things with such a precise figure, but it is clear that they cause a fair amount of pollution. So the next time somebody criticises you for climbing in your five-year-old diesel, pouring out clouds of black smoke, you can ask them how long is it since they cleaned their oven and how often do they wash their hair. Because they might be doing just as much damage.

Have a great weekend, enjoy the Olympics now that GB has got itself on the medals table.

To view the full version of this Newsletter click here