MG owners unveil new
saloon car

• The Chinese owners of MG’s
Longbridge plant have unveiled a new saloon car, as the rebirth of
the Birmingham car factory goes into overdrive.

Shanghai Automotive-owned MG
Motor UK revealed its new five-seater MG6 saloon, priced between
£17,000 and £20,000, this month. It will go on sale in the UK in
July.

The saloon version will be
the second volume car produced at Longbridge as full car
manufacturing finally gets under way again at the factory for the
first time in six years.

Pre-production work on the
MG6 sports hatchback, Longbridge’s first all-new MG for 15 years,
is already under way in advance of a full launch in the
spring.

Full production targets have
not been released, but the firm is looking to produce several
thousand vehicles when the assembly lines are up and
running.

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By GlobalData

A total of 39 UK dealers are
already in place, while MG Motor UK has also unveiled a new badge
and logo.

It will be interesting to
see what values the valuation guides will place on these
models.

Photo of MG Motor UK’s Shanghai Automotive owners' new MG6

 

• Unleaded petrol has hit a
new record average price of £1.30 a litre, according to industry
analysts Experian Catalist.

Oil prices have risen by
about 10% in the past month due to the uprising in Libya. The
average price of diesel has also risen, and is now at £135.44 a
litre.

The RAC Foundation predicted
that the price of unleaded petrol would continue to rise for some
time.

“It would be no surprise if
prices increase by another 8p a litre in the near future,” said the
RAC’s Adrian Tink.

“This kind of rise will
seriously impact on people’s car use, many of whom having no other
option but to travel by car.”

Continued reports of
petrol price rises are further proof of the pressures that
borrowers will be under to maintain payments to
lenders.

 

• According to GForces, the
web management company, the traditional path people have followed
when buying a car – going to a dealership, test driving the car,
signing on the dotted line – could be replaced with a web-based
purchasing process.

The company believes that up
to a fifth of automotive consumers will read online reviews from
trusted outlets, find the best price, and then conduct a secure
financial transaction over the internet, just as many currently do
with other financial products and holidays.

The view isn’t shared by the
majority of dealers in an online poll on AM-online.com, with 88.9%
saying they were not developing the ability for customers to
complete new car sales online this year.

One dealer said: “We as
franchise dealers need to give prospects and customers every
encouragement to visit our dealerships and build relationships, not
the reverse.”

Are dealers burying their
heads in the sand when it comes to on-line sales?

 

• Some 250 jobs have been
saved at Auto Windscreens after part of the collapsed firm was
taken over.

Trifords Limited has bought
certain trading assets, including the Auto Windscreens brand name,
and will create 250 jobs with the new business.

The Chesterfield-based
windscreen repair and replacement firm went into administration on
14 February.

Administrators then announced
more than 1,000 workers in Derbyshire and the West Midlands would
lose their jobs.

 

• Kwik-Fit is being sold to
the same Japanese group that owns UK fast-fit rival Stapleton’s
Tyre Services (STS).

The £637m deal puts the UK’s
largest fast-fit chain in the hands of Itochu Corporation, a
multinational, £25bn-turnover trading company with wide-ranging
interests.

Itochu has owned STS since
1994 and has grown that business into a network of more than 110
fast-fit workshops, plus a national tyre wholesaling
operation.

The addition of £900m
turnover Kwik-Fit, if approved by the competition authorities,
would give Itochu an additional 1,218 workshops in Europe, of which
673 are in the UK.

 

• Since 7 February, all new
types of passenger cars and delivery vans have had to be equipped
with daytime running lights (DRL).

DRL are designed to improve
road safety by making it easier to spot oncoming traffic. They
switch on automatically when the engine starts and turn off when
the engine stops or the headlamps are turned on.

 

Photo of a Nissan Leaf• The economic downturn, coupled with greater
awareness of greener motoring means used car buying trends are
moving with the times.

According to an analysis of
checks done with HPI during 2010, nearly 40% of all the cars it
checked were small family cars and superminis, reflecting the
demand for fuel efficiency and lower motoring costs.

HPI urges used car buyers to
take advantage of readily available information on fuel and
efficiency ratings for used cars to make a well-informed buying
decision.

One in three motorists would
consider buying an electric car in the next 12 months according to
a new survey by Motorpoint.

The online poll by the car
supermarket giant found 41% of people quizzed were impressed enough
by the new generation of electric cars, such as the Mitsubishi
iMiEV and Nissan LEAF to invest in one at some point in the near
future.

More than 1,900 people participated in the
study.