Auto News – June

With Liam Bird

WMW Awards for Citroën UK boss and race and rally car specialist

Citroën UK managing director Eurig Druce and specialist race and rally car Darrian Cars have been presented with Welsh Motoring Writers’ top accolades, the Terry Davies Automotive Award and the Tom Pryce Memorial Trophy.

The presentation took place in a Covid-secure small gathering at Drivers Citroën of Prestatyn in a delayed presentation of the 2020 awards.

Eurig, who hails from Llanberis, Gwynedd, announced the Citroën Advance UK programme in October 2020, having been managing director since February 2020.

The customer-focused strategy brought about a realignment of prices, a simplified grade structure and action to reevaluate its sales channel mix and improve residual values. It also launched specific C-Series models for online purchase, with the reassurance of an extended five-year warranty as standard.

Darrian Cars, based in Llangybi, near Lampeter, Ceredigion, has been producing race and rally cars in Wales since 1976. The majority of its customers are in the UK and Ireland, although there are some in France and Italy, as well as further afield in Turkey, while one also competed in a race series in Angola.

The business is staffed by Tim Duffee, his wife, Val, their son, Rhodri and three workshop employees. During the last 30 years, the company has also had a regular throughput of motorsport engineering students, some of whom have gone on to work within the BTCC, for Aston Martin’s GT programme, Lotus Cars, Ferrari and Mercedes-Benz Formula One teams.

Tim, who received an honorary fellowship of the University of Wales: Trinity St Davids in 2013 in recognition of his contribution to the motorsport sector and the university, said: “For our achievements at Darrian Cars to be recognised by Welsh Motoring Writers and to be presented with the Tom Pryce Memorial Trophy was indeed an honour.

“As contemporary of Tom Pryce (he was born just three days before me) I remember those days well and attended the British GP and Race of the Champions on a regular basis up until the 1979 Silverstone GP which saw a first win for the Willams Team.”

Eurig said: “As a proud Welshman, it gives me great pleasure to accept the 2020 Terry Davies Automotive Award from the association of Welsh Motoring Writers. However, this is not only my award. Everyone associated with the Citroën brand in the UK makes up ‘Team Citroën’ and we celebrate all our successes together.

“So on behalf of the entire Citroën family, across all four nations of the UK, a heartfelt thank you to Simon, Huw and all the members of the Welsh group for this recognition. You can expect to see even more from us in 2021 as we emerge energised from the pandemic, with the Advance UK plan delivering real benefits for our customers. Diolch yn fawr!”


Endangered classics given new lease of life

Classic cars such as the Austin Metro, Austin Maestro and Hillman Imp, that once graced UK roads in their millions but are now a very rare sight, have been given a new lease of life.

Keeping the candle burning for some much-loved iconic classics that are rapidly dwindling in number is one of the UK’s leading driving experience providers, TrackDays.co.uk.

Indeed, its new Drive Dad’s Car Experience, released in time for Father’s Day on Sunday 20th June, allows participants to drive cars that were commonly seen on driveways up and down the UK, but are now extremely rare commodities, including the Austin Maestro, Ford Sierra, Vauxhall Cavalier and Robin Reliant.

In fact, according to data from Howmanyleft.co.uk, a website which shows how many cars of any make or model are left on Britain’s roads, there are as few as 144 taxed Austin Maestros in the UK, 296 Austin Metros, 749 Hillman Imps and 1,091 Reliant Robins, a handful of which can be driven on the new experiences available to book with TrackDays.co.uk.

Dan Jones, operations manager at TrackDays.co.uk, said: “This is a great opportunity to relive childhood memories behind the wheel of everyday classics that are quickly becoming endangered species.”

With slightly more on UK roads, but still many thousands down on their heyday, are the Vauxhall Cavalier with 1,606 left and the Ford Sierra with 2,323 left, both models which can now also be enjoyed on a driving experience.

Dan added: “It doesn’t bear thinking about but there is the possibility that some iconic classic cars, that were incredibly popular in their time, could disappear for good over time.

“With so few left, a classic car driving experience might be one of the only opportunities for a nostalgic drive down memory lane in some much-loved motors.”

For more information about TrackDays.co.uk, or to book a Drive Dad’s Car Experience, visit www.trackdays.co.uk.


Pandemic exposes underlying hardships faced by working drivers

A new study by IAM RoadSmart, the UK’s largest independent road safety charity, has exposed the underlying hardships faced by working drivers that were already prevalent before the pandemic and are now likely to worsen.

The newly-released whitepaper paints a worrying picture for workers who drive for a living. Delivery drivers, taxi and private hire drivers, the gig-economy and even company car drivers face constant pressure to keep up with demand and this, along with resultant fatigue, has a negative impact on their mental and physical health.

The paper also highlights the effect of weak employer strategies, lack of policies and prosecution for health and safety lapses, together with the ever-present strain from doubts over the economy, job security, redundancy and reduction in pay due to furlough.

IAM RoadSmart is therefore calling for urgent changes to be made to support working drivers through a raft of solutions such as driver training, policies, advice and procedures.

These include education and guidance on avoiding driver fatigue and an evaluation of policies and procedures such as the length of the driving day and shifts.

Tony Greenidge, chief executive officer at IAM RoadSmart, said: “What COVID did was expose what in many cases was already there.

“Individuals involved in driving for work were already rushed and under pressure. Post-COVID they probably will be more so because there’s more fear about job security and more pressure on employers to recover lost ground. But at least now we are discussing it.”

IAM RoadSmart also believes further change needs to happen through increased prosecution of liable companies, especially SMEs, as one-third of road safety deaths are people driving for business, while there should also be a review on the resources available to drivers, such as motorway services and roadside facilities, as many drivers are deterred from stopping for essential rest due to prices.

Tony added: “People long for everything to go back to normal. The problem is, for many drivers normal wasn’t such a good place.

“The facts cannot be ignored and now is the time for CEOs and leaders to act. COVID-19 has significantly impacted an area already under immense strain. Drivers’ and riders’ safety cannot continue to slip through the net unnoticed.”

Business leaders or fleet managers can download a full copy of this report by visiting https://www.iamroadsmart.com/business/whitepapers


Kia dealers earn industry-first ServiceMark accreditation

Kia dealerships Ken Jervis (Stoke-on-Trent), Gravells (Kidwelly) and Drayton Motors (Boston) are the first ever dealerships to be accredited with the ‘ServiceMark with Distinction’ by the Institute of Customer Service (ICS).

‘ServiceMark with Distinction’ is the highest level of accreditation awarded by The Institute that is currently only held by 14 organisations in the UK – and has never before been awarded to an automotive dealership – highlighting the excellent customer service at Kia dealerships.

Each of the dealerships scored significantly higher than the 85 per cent required to qualify for the ‘ServiceMark with Distinction’, for both ServCheck (a customer survey) and Business Benchmarking (an internal review).

The Institute of Customer Service was founded in 1996 and is the independent, professional membership body for customer service in the UK. ‘ServiceMark’ is a national standard that recognises achievements in customer service and a company’s commitment to delivering service excellence.

Organisations are put through a rigorous three-stage accreditation process that includes assessing staff engagement with the customer service strategy, customer satisfaction feedback and an independent onsite assessment of the business.

Jo Causon, CEO of The Institute of Customer Service, commented: “By undertaking ServiceMark accreditation for its dealerships, Kia has shown its commitment to identifying areas of strength on which to build and service aspects that it can improve. ‘ServiceMark with Distinction’ is the highest level of accreditation we award. It requires organisations to demonstrate they excel in the service they provide their customers and have an embedded service-focused culture.

For three of those dealerships to have achieved ServiceMark at distinction level – including Ken Jervis Kia (Stoke-on-Trent), Gravells Kia (Kidwelly) and Drayton Motors Kia (Boston) – demonstrates the consistency of approach and dedication to serving their customers and empowering their representatives, while continuously improving their service offering.”

Paul Philpott, President and CEO of Kia UK Limited said: “This is a truly remarkable achievement; congratulations to all the staff at the three dealerships. This is further proof that the Kia dealer network works hard to consistently put customers first. We believe this is integral to Kia’s success, while giving customers confidence that Kia dealerships put service at the heart of their business.”

The ICS accreditations follow Kia earning the Feefo ‘Gold Trusted Service’ award for its dealer network in January 2021.

To find Kia’s award-winning dealers and your local Kia showroom online, head to: https://www.kia.com/uk/utility/find-a-dealer/


New Enyaq iV charges to first UK industry title with top Electrifying.com honour

The new ŠKODA Enyaq iV – the brand’s first ever purpose-built pure electric car – has started its trophy collection by scoring a major category victory at the 2021 electrifying.com awards.

The electric car review and advice site named the new Enyaq iV as the Best Family Car 2021, with the judges praising the newcomer’s practicality and design. Commenting on the award, electrifying.com founder Ginny Buckley said: “We’ve had more questions from readers about this car than any other over the past year. Real people are thinking it could be the right car for them. Having driven the car on UK roads, we don’t think they’ll be disappointed.”

Fellow judge Tom Ford added: “With a range of battery and options to suit, the Enyaq iV is one of the biggest surprises of the year, distilling ŠKODA’s best attributes into a vehicle that’s as comprehensive for a family car as you’re likely to find. If this is what the future of family motoring looks like, we’re all for it.”

The Enyaq iV marks the start of a new era for ŠKODA, and will spearhead a new range of all-electric models over coming years. Available from launch with two battery pack options (62kWh and 82kWh*) and a completely new range structure that allows customers to choose between five striking interior Design Selections, the Enyaq iV offers a WLTP driving range of up to 333 miles on a charge. In addition to the standard Enyaq iV 60 Nav and Enyaq iV 80 models, customers can also specify a SportLine version from launch. Four-wheel drive models are set to join the line-up later this year.

The Enyaq iV is available to order now, with first UK deliveries starting in July.

 

 

 

 

 

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