Welcome to The Steer: Our monthly round up of motoring news, where we bring you the biggest stories from the world of motoring and look ahead at what’s to come.
WLTP – What is it?
WLTP is the acronym on everyone’s lips as the deadline for the new emissions test looms large in people’s minds. From 1st September 2018, The Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure must be applied to all new cars. The new extensive test procedure measures fuel consumption, CO2 emissions and pollutant emissions from passenger cars and will give a more accurate reflection of driving profiles and emissions.
According to What Car?, the new test procedure is proving to be so expensive that many cars may not be certified in time, with some brands taking selected models off sale. Because of this, many discounted cars are coming on sale, mainly cars which are in stock that don’t meet the new regulations but remain road legal.
Autocar reports that the differences between the previous emissions test and WLTP may be bigger than we thought, which could result in certain vehicles being placed in higher road tax brackets because of their emissions. This could also be significant in the future as car manufacturers will be subject to more stringent emissions tests in the coming years.
Here at Lookers, we welcome the new emissions test. Not only will it give motorists a more realistic measure of their CO2 emissions, it will also encourage people to consider their carbon footprint in other areas of their lives.
Fines for idling cars
Local authorities across the UK are introducing fines to idling cars in an attempt to cut emissions. On the spot £20 fines are being introduced to drivers who leave their engines running while stationary, which will rise to £40 if it is not paid within 28 days.
Over 30 councils have now introduced these measures, in an attempt to reduce the pollution and emissions in our communities. Areas with some of the highest concentration of idling cars are schools, where parents often wait to collect their children. With increasing concern around the long-term effects of pollution, with children being the most vulnerable, it is hoped that these fines will reduce the numbers of cars waiting by the school gates, which will in turn reduce the harmful emissions from running engines.
A recent study from Kings College London suggests that a 25% drop in nitrogen dioxide levels in the Waltham Forest area would give babies born in 2013 an extra seven weeks of life on average. With a potential impact this big, are these measures a good move?
Chris Knox, PR Manager at Lookers, and parent to a young son said: “I think this is a great initiative which protects our children from health issues later in life. Although initially it may be slightly problematic for parents wanting to wait to collect their children, it’s an important step in tackling pollution.”
Highways England announce in-vehicle signage trial
Our cars are becoming increasingly autonomous, with some of the key technological advancements helping to keep us at a constant speed, in the correct lane and even parked correctly.
Now, thanks to a new trial from Highways England, we’ll be seeing the effect of in-car digital signage which will see “information that would traditionally be shown on roadside signs, such as speed limits” transmitted to digital screens inside cars as well as informing drivers of upcoming roadworks and traffic jams.
Highways England say it could improve safety and traffic flow. If the trial proves to be successful it could lead to a reduction of motorway gantries and road signs.
Content Executive at Lookers, Danny Gee, is feeling positive about the trial:
“I think it’s a good idea in theory as it would let you plan ahead if you were told about a road accident for example. I don’t know whether I would trust it completely though and would definitely still be looking at permanent road signs outside of the car.”
The RAC have expressed concern with the reliability of in-car notifications though, with a representative saying “we’re a long way from having technology in every vehicle that completely replaces the reassurance we get from having a permanent sign.”
Highways England will start the trial in November which will continue until December 2020.
A strong July for Lewis Hamilton in Formula 1 & goodbye to Fernando Alonso
After retiring from the Austrian Grand Prix on 1st July and finishing the weekend one point behind championship rival Sebastian Vettel, the remainder of Lewis Hamilton’s month was a different story – after the first lap of the British GP, anyhow.
On 8th July, Hamilton started in pole position at Silverstone but quickly dropped to last place after a first-lap collision with Kimi Raikkonen.
That, however, was to be no indication of how his July would pan out – by the 10th lap, he’d already climbed back to sixth place.
Hamilton was also helped by Mercedes’ decision to delay his first pit stop, giving him fresher tyres than his rivals going into the later stages, and again by two incidents that warranted the safety car’s appearance and saved more wear on his tyres.
The rest can only be down to Hamilton’s ability, rising to 2nd with only four laps to go and taking 18 points that could prove pivotal at the end of the season – especially considering the zero points he’d have left with if he hadn’t managed that comeback.
It also kickstarted an impressive few weeks, with Hamilton finishing first in the German and Hungarian GPs and going into Formula 1’s summer break with a 24-point lead on Vettel in second.
He can often divide opinion, but there can be no questioning Hamilton’s ability as an F1 driver.
2018 may be Hamilton’s year, but we will be saying goodbye to an F1 legend.
Fernando Alsono announced he will not be racing in the 2019 season, stating: “After 17 wonderful years in this amazing sport, it’s time for me to make a change and move on”. The two-time world champion made his F1 debut in 2001 and went on to become the youngest world champion in 2005.
Alonso will also achieve an impressive 311 GP starts by the end of the 2018 season, surpassing Michael Schumacher and Jenson Button and only bested by Rubens Barrichello’s 322 starts.
And from the world of Lookers…
The past few months have been busy at Lookers, with our Electric Charge making its way through our Manchester, Merseyside and West Midlands dealerships, becoming an accredited family friendly retailer and employer and sharing our favourite summer drives.
More recently, we were proud to be part of the R&A Reach Women’s Leadership Summit, organised by Sky Sports Golf presenter and Lookers ambassador, Sarah Stirk. The event saw top women in business come together for collaborative discussions on how to reach their career goals and excel in their sectors.
Lookers sponsored and presented a Leader of Tomorrow Award to Caroline Hazlehurst, Operations Director at Deliveroo. The Lookers Leader of Tomorrow award recognises someone who is making a significant contribution to the success of their workplace. After joining the business in April 2015, she has seen the company grow from 50 employees to over 2,000 and has seen the presence of Deliveroo reach over 200 cities worldwide.
Our sponsorship of these awards further recognises our work to increase gender diversity. We’re committed to the UK Automotive 30% Club, an initiative which aims to achieve a minimum of 30% of women in management positions by 2030 and encourage the retention of female employees by offering an industry leading one year’s maternity leave at full pay.
Heike O’Leary, Marketing Director at Lookers, said: “It is a real pleasure to award The Leader of Tomorrow accolade to such an ambitious, accomplished woman. Caroline has made a big difference to Deliveroo and we’re sure she will continue to make a positive impact in the business world.”
Read more about our sponsorship of the R&A Reach Women’s Leadership Summit here.