New Braking System Will Save Many Lives

Monday, 16. June 2014

Hi, Graham Hill here, thank you so much for visiting my blog, I hope you learn a lot and as a result end up driving a great car. In order to do so you can get all the information you need by buying my book, An Insider Guide To Car Finance or use me to finance your next car. Happy driving.

Many years ago, when my namesake was racing cars I watched a demonstration by one of the F1 drivers showing how to avoid a skid by rapidly tapping the brake pedal. The driver applied and released the brakes in quick succession which gave greater control as the tyres moved round increasing the grip and avoiding a skid.

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It is the principal that developed into what has now been used for many years called ABS. Thousands of lives have been saved as a result of the fitting of ABS to all cars but now Thatcham have called for the latest brake development to be added to ABS and ESP as standard requirements on all new cars.

The new system known as Autonomous Electronic Braking (AEB) is already available or fitted to 23% of all new cars but Thatcham feels that more should be done by the Government to encourage the fitting of this technology by offering a £500 incentive to drivers that have it fitted.

Thatcham claims that the device would save 1,220 lives over 10 years and reduce casualties by 136,000. So what is AEB? It detects vehicles in front and applies the brakes in an emergency in time to prevent a front to end accident. In the more sophisticated systems the ‘radar’ can detect pedestrians and cyclists as well as solid vehicles.

At the moment if the system is fitted to a company car this will increase the driver’s benefit in kind tax and class 1A National Insurance Contributions, this is wrong according to Thatcham as the device is as much for the benefit of those outside the vehicle as inside.

Thatcham have shown that with AEB third party injury claims drop by 18%, whilst studies in the USA have put the reduction at 26%. Amazingly in Switzerland and Sweden front to rear crashes would drop by 31% and 48% respectively.

Whilst I have seen various claims relating to the benefits of AEB it is clear that this technology, if fitted, could save lives so I’m behind Thatcham and hope that they can convince the Government to do something to encourage the fitting of this life saving technology.

It might also help to prevent some of the crash for cash insurance claims so maybe the insurance companies should contribute something. Just a thought!

Graham Hill’s Gadget Of The Week – Low Cost Custom Carpets

Tuesday, 27. May 2014

Whilst customers make lease decisions based on headline rates and will argue over 50pence per month there is increased pressure on dealers to save money in order to provide reduced on the road costs. One of life’s irritations for me and some customers is the removal of carpet mats from the standard spec of some executive cars in order to reduce costs.

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The problem then is – do you go to the main dealer and pay up to £180 for a set of mats or nip down to Halfords for a set of one size fits all mats at less than a quarter of the price but with the Halfords mats not fitting as well as the manufacturer’s tailored mats? The answer is neither. A company called Richbrook have brought out a range of tailored mats to fit more than 17,000 models of car.

Buyers can select from a range of colours, patterns, piping and textures to match their car. The range also includes 3mm thick rubber mats. All mats come in a set of 4 and are finished with a backing of abrasive rubber to prevent movement. Model specific fixing points can be added if required. The cost just £39.99. You can see them online at www.richbrook.co.uk Definitely my product of the week. By Graham Hill

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Graham Hill Warns Again About Potential Economic Disaster

Wednesday, 14. May 2014

Last week I was thumbing through the latest edition of Credit Today, one of the journals I always try to read more thoroughly than any of the others, not only because it has a fairly good handle on the industry but also because a very good friend of mine, Fred Crawley, is the managing editor.

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So I was disappointed to see that a round table event had been held without my presence. I was more disappointed about the comments of the good and the great in the industry.

Motor finance currently runs at a massive £28 billion per annum and not only accounts for a slice of profit earned by the dealers but more important, and often overlooked, is that finance contributes heavily towards the sales of new cars, making it possible for consumers and small businesses to afford new cars rather than used cars.

The thrust of the debate was the effect of the new Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulations and the effect on the industry. Virtually everything that was raised was to do with us, being dealers or brokers and them, being the lenders. There was a complete dog’s dinner of comments, speculations and suggestions but guess what?

I couldn’t find one sentence that mentioned the potential problems to consumers and small businesses. There was a lot of sympathy and even empathy for the lenders but what about the bloody borrowers. Why is it that the Government, and virtually all of the consumer and small business finance industry, walk around with their heads firmly planted in their jacksys?

They continue to make bold statements, explaining how they are setting out to protect consumers and SME’s but when you want to finance a replacement fridge, TV, car or essential equipment for your business how does it help when the lender explains that you have failed the new FCA imposed affordability test?

And where will all this leave the economy, it’s a sad fact of life that when people borrow money from a payday lender they often need it for essentials or some sort of an emergency like the freezer breaking. Either way the money doesn’t sit around in a bank account – it is spent which continues to help the recovery.

Creating barriers to lending will flatline the economy and could send us back into recession. We are in sensitive times, we need finance to keep the economy moving forwards but I seem to be a lone voice in the wilderness. Only time will tell, lets hope that common sense prevails and lenders continue to do what they do best – lend bloody money! Rant over! By Graham Hill

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Cheap Insurance If You ‘Drive Like A Girl’ Explains Graham Hill

Sunday, 9. March 2014

I don’t know if you have seen the advertising offering lower ‘drive like a girl’ car insurance but it hasn’t half caused a stir. You know that the EU told the insurance companies to equalise the cost of insurance between men and women, which they did, but argued that insurance was a risk assessed product.

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And statistically young men between 17 and 25 were a much greater insurance risk than girls of the same age. So why charge them both the same for insurance? The counter argument was that you could keep breaking down statistics saying that girls in the north of England were more likely to have an accident than those in the south or that girls born in January were least likely to have an accident so their insurance should be cheaper and so on.

In fact why not just charge everyone a flat figure of £350 per annum and be done with it. That might sound far fetched but fleets have operated that way for years. The insurer would be told that the company had 400 company cars and they charged a flat fee of a fixed sum for all the cars and drivers. If claims went up then the flat rate  insurance premium went up also. Not rocket science.

But now, in order to fly in the face of the EU, and insurance company called Drive Like A Girl is offering cheap insurance not just to girls but lads also between the ages of 17 and 25 – provided they ‘drive like a girl’. Cars are fitted with a black box which assesses your driving style and from this information the insurer can assess whether you should be paying more or less premium.

The company argues that black box stats show that young men are 60% more likely to drive at night than women, are 49% more likely to speed and trigger twice as many aggressive braking alerts. So if young men drive in the same way as women they will receive the same insurance costs.

The same rules apply to women, if they drive in the same way they will achieve maximum discount. They are treading a fine line in my opinion but their low rates are achieving a lot of business. By Graham Hill

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The Dangers Of Ex Demonstrator Cars Reveals Graham Hill

Sunday, 9. February 2014

What car can do 0 – 60 in 5 seconds, return 15 miles to the gallon and out perform a Ferrari F40 away from the traffic lights? Answer, a company car, or so the old joke goes. These days company cars are much better cared for as transport managers and employers know that poorly cared for cars could result in end of contract charges.

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So buying what used to be a dodgy ex company car is no longer such a risk. But as one buyer of a used car from a BMW main dealer found out, buying a used car isn’t always as safe as it seems when he bought an M3 that had previously been used as a track car. There was nothing wrong with the car and it drove perfectly but you can only imagine the stresses and strains applied to that car whilst being hammered around a race track by a racing driver or instructor.

Of course the buyer was upset when he found out about the previous use of the car but there is no obligation on the part of the dealer to tell him that the car was used as a track car and I have to say an M3 was built as a performance car so should not be in the slightest affected by its previous use.

But there is one use of car that buyers actually queue up to buy without knowing how badly the car may have been criminally abused. Treated like a performance car from new with certain components stressed to their limit many buyers actually boast that they have bought one of these cars in preference to a brand new car.

I’m talking about the ex-demonstrator. I always advise against these awful cars which are often worse than ex hire cars and wildly over priced. Yes you appear to have a large discount but often that is after a load of unnecessary extras have been added to the car in order for the dealer to demonstrate.

So you have a £20,000 car with £5,000 worth of extras added with a £7,000 discount, dropping the price to £18,000 or the price you would have paid for a new car without the bigger wheels, sports suspension, special paint, larger fuel tank, privacy rear glass, smokers pack etc etc. So often the saving is not as it seems.

But that is minor compared to the real problem. In industry I was group general manager for a PLC with around 700 vehicles. When you run a fleet of that size you are provided with demonstrators every day of the week. It was nothing for a a couple of transporters to turn up with 20 cars from Astras to E Class Mercedes brand new with no miles on the clock.

They would be handed out to staff to use who would drive the cars like lunatics (I’m embarrassed to say I was one of them).  A driver would drive the car out of the car park getting close to 60mph out of the car in first gear. We didn’t care as they weren’t our cars and we justified the abuse by saying that the cars were being ‘put through their paces’ which is why we had the cars in the first place.

And this is the rub. People that buy ex demonstrators believe that they are buying a car that has been carefully driven by nervous drivers with a member of dealership staff sitting beside them, hardly getting above 30mph. The truth is that they are handed out to drivers for maybe 2 or 3 days at a time and the cars are ‘hammered’.

They come back, often in a disgraceful state but are repaired, professionally valeted and sold proudly as an ex demonstrator. My advice is leave them, you are potentially buying a disaster unless you like having a car that spends more days in a repair shop than out of it. By Graham Hill

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Why People Don’t Understand The Benefit Of Leasing

Thursday, 6. February 2014

One of the main reasons why drivers refuse to consider leasing as an option is the misguided mental evaluation of their car when they eventually part exchange for a new one. By the time reality hits them it is far too late because by the time they learn the truth the car is three years old and they have lost £’000s.

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Let me explain. I carried out a not too scientific experiment. I used as an example a Renault Scenic which cost about £15,000 brand new. I asked about 30 people, friends, relations, people down the pub etc. what the car would be worth when 3 years old with 30,000 miles on the clock. The answers ranged from £7,000 to £10,000 with the majority £8,000 – £9,000.

The actual value of that car in the trade and what would be achieved as a part exchange was just under £4,000. Now here’s the problem, when working out the potential cost over 3 years most of those asked would have said that the car would be worth around £7,000, which, after adding interest charges, having taken the car on HP, would have compared roughly with the lease costs over the same period.

However, the truth is that the resale or part exchange estimates were around £4,000 adrift making the lease option much more favourable but as I say you only find that out when you sell the car. Auto Express carried out a similar exercise when they recently asked 12 drivers what they believed their cars were worth (I don’t just throw these things together, it’s called planning) and they came up with similar findings.

They used the trade valuers CAP to come up with the valuations. Other than one lady with an 09 Focus who thought her car was worth £4,500 but in fact it was worth £5,500 all drivers over estimated their car’s true value. One driver with a BMW M3 Evolution was over £3,000 adrift with most other drivers around £1,000 to £2,000 over the true value.

Having said that most cars were 5 to 10 years old so you would expect the estimates to be a little closer to the truth. Philip Northard of CAP said that the reason why many drivers over estimate the value of their car is that when they check on sites such as Autotrader or notice a similar car on a dealer’s forecourt, the figures they see are retail figures and include the dealer’s margin.

Of course you won’t achieve these figures when you take your car into the dealer as a part exchange. The argument over expected future values won’t go away, I’m sure, but I thought it might be worth mentioning if you are considering leasing as an option, you take away all risk in the depreciation and don’t get disappointed when you aren’t offered what you thought your car was worth when you come to replace it. By Graham Hill

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Technology Gone Mad When Your Eyes Control Your Radio

Friday, 10. January 2014

You know you are starting to morph into your dad when you are told about new technology and you start asking why rather than when. I recall the introduction of power steering and my dad saying, ‘Why?’ Followed by his reasoning, ‘You can’t feel your way round bends, it’s dangerous and will lead to accidents.’

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Next came electric windows, again my dad’s response was, ‘Why?’ ‘Just something else to drain the battery and go wrong, it’s the beginning of the end – mark my words!’ Not sure what it was going to be the end of but here I am reading about the latest technology that will be used to control your entertainment system.

No not touchscreen, that is so yesterday’s technology, we are talking eye technology that by 2017 will be used to control your stereo system. Australian manufacturer Seeing Machines is developing the new technology based around a smart camera on the dashboard focused on the driver.

It can monitor the driver’s head movements and how open their eyes are. It can also track what they are looking at so instead of having to reach over to the touchscreen to say switch on the radio you simply have to look at it! Why?? Ken Kroeger, CEO of Seeing Machines said that the camera was accurate to one degree over 1.5 metres.

The article then bangs on about reconfiguring instruments so icons would be closer to the straight ahead eye level position, even embedded into the windscreen but I’m going to stop here because I’m now bored because I cannot for the life of me think why this could be of any help whatsoever.

I drive down the motorway in my Mercedes and after 10 minutes of driving I often hear a ping and a small picture of a coffee cup appears on my dashboard because apparently I’m suffering from fatigue and am in urgent need of a stop and a cup of coffee. Sod off! I know when I’m feeling tired and it isn’t 10 minutes after getting behind the wheel after 8 hours sleep.

Is this a joint venture between Mercedes and Costa? For goodness sake – as my dad would say, and I agree with him, Why? By Graham Hill

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Isn’t It About Time That Blogs Were Regulated?

Wednesday, 8. January 2014

New moan started, a few years ago a journalist with about as much knowledge about all things financial as a garden fork started a blog. In fact it was started about the same time as I started mine.

The difference was that I didn’t allow every John Henry and his mate to post things on my blog, unlike my charismatic friend. If anyone wanted to post anything on my blog I would mediate and if what they wanted to post was incorrect or simply trying to sell their pet insurance policy I would trash it.

Thinking of a change but unsure as to the best way to finance your car? Then you need a copy of my car finance book, Car Finance – A Simple Guide by Graham Hill. Click on the link below to buy the best car finance book on the market, available as a Kindle Book and Paper Back.

On the other hand many other blogs would allow complete (but often well intentioned) doughnuts to express opinions online which others would then take as absolute gospel. For example I have seen someone desperate because they are facing a £1,500 charge to repair a PAS pump, 3 weeks after the manufacturer’s warranty has run out on his car, seeking advice because he’d been told the repair was outside the warranty and therefore fully chargeable.

As you know from postings on my blog this isn’t unusual. In this case the car had only covered 15,000 miles but some numbnuts said, oh dear, sadly as you are outside the warranty there is nothing you can do, chat to your bank manager and arrange a loan. Which is what the poor sod did!! So this ill informed do-gooder just cost the driver with the problem £1,500.

The truth is that under the Sale of Goods Act the driver had a legitimate claim against the supplying dealer as the goods have to be as described, fit for purpose and of satisfactory quality. The ABS pump should last as long as the car, at least 8 years, so the dealer should make at least some contribution towards the cost of repair as the item concerned would appear to not be of satisfactory quality.

Oh and notice I said dealer and not manufacturer, the claim is against the company that sold you the goods, not the manufacturer. It’s up to the dealer to seek compensation from the manufacturer. This is just one of many pieces of advice given by ignorant subscribers with no legal knowledge whatsoever.

Sometimes on this and other blogs the advice has been accurate at the time it was given in say 2009 but the law has since changed and the advice is now wrong. So if you are one of those people that searches through blogs for accurate information, tread very carefully, the advice you follow could cost you a fortune.

It’s about time that blogs were properly policed before too many people catch a serious cold. 2nd moan over! By Graham Hill

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RAC New Technology To Fix Cars On The Roadside

Tuesday, 20. August 2013

The RAC has brought itself up to date by fitting out their patrol vehicles with state of the art diagnostic technology in order to increase the number of roadside fixes it can carry out.

Thinking of a change but unsure as to the best way to finance your car? Then you need a copy of my car finance book, Car Finance – A Simple Guide by Graham Hill. Click on the link below to buy the best car finance book on the market, available as a Kindle Book and Paper Back.

The RAC has invested £6 million in Scan+ diagnostic software that will enable patrols to interact with a broken down vehicle’s own diagnostic system and on-board sensors to identify faults.

The technology will allow technicians to do a repair on parts that often need electronically adapting before they will operate – even battery replacements need computer ‘coding’ after replacing. No I didn’t know that either!

RAC Technical Director, David Bizley said, ’The RAC has always utilised the latest technological advances to ensure we offer the very best repair for motorists.

RAC Scan+ will give our patrols the very best information from the vehicle’s own diagnostic equipment to enable them to repair the car.’ Over to you the AA!

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How Youngsters Can Get Cheaper Insurance

Saturday, 7. April 2012

Citroën C1

Citroën C1 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I know I’m past having to worry about my kids having to insure their first car at 17 but I still feel the pain, and even more so today, when premiums of several thousands of pounds are asked for on cars costing a few hundreds. According to the AA the average policy for a 17-22 year old is £3,000. As a result I’ve had a trawl around to see what Read more