The Serious Dangers Of The Connected Car & Big Data

Tuesday, 22. November 2016

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.

I recently heard at a Motor Industry conference, to the point of annoyance, about the continued move towards the totally connected car. Manufacturers seem obsessed with the collection of data for a number of reasons. Some data helps them with the design of future vehicles, collecting information such as true MPG, emissions, faults and systems failures.

This information along with other data/information relating to where the vehicle is during working hours, scheduling servicing, monitoring deliveries and customer calls, calculating running costs and evaluating efficiency can help larger company fleet managers. Personally, a driver could use data to challenge speeding fines, tickets collected by cloned cars and identify ‘cash for crash’ scams.

But this increase in data collection could have sinister implications. Especially as there seems to be no differentiation between the cars that are bought or leased by large fleets and those bought or leased by SME’s and consumers. Within the large organisations employee rights to privacy are laid out in their conditions of employment but what about consumers and SME’s running cars within their businesses?

I don’t recall any customer ever being asked to sign a release allowing manufacturers to collect data from the new cars they drive. And when does the transmission of data stop. If you buy a used car that is 2 or 3 years old does data collection continue. Also if you are connected to the Internet it would seem that not only Google, or whichever search engine you use, can collect search history, so can the manufacturers it would seem.

And if large companies can collect information about where their drivers have been or currently are located why can’t a crook with a bit of IT nous do the same to find out where you are before breaking into your house? Or if the vehicles are out on business a competitor could see where all your sales and delivery staff are and target the same clients. We are entering a dangerous world and one over which we are having less control.

Little did I know that when I explained that you should clear down your telephone contact list held in your car when you sell it or return it at the end of your lease, that so much more data was likely to be collected and passed on. And how do you clear that down and prevent future transmission? We need legislation to protect us and our businesses urgently, it is a big flaw to this whole Big Data tsunami! Oh and I don’t doubt that the private eyes out there preparing divorce cases are all over this like a rash!!! By Graham Hill

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.

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 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.

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.

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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Graham Hill Solves Recharging Problem With Electric Cars

Wednesday, 9. April 2014

I actually invented the domestic smoke detector. It’s absolutely true, I was working in a large fire alarm company called Sound Diffusion at the time. They sold their equipment for cash although most was leased and hence this is where my background in leasing started.

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.

After chatting to an engineer about our smoke detectors that all had to be hard wired into a central control panel I found out that the amount of electricity required to maintain a detector on standby was incredibly small. In the first instance whilst doodling one day I came up with a light bulb that above the light was a smoke detector.

I then ‘developed’ the idea further to a battery driven unit. I showed our chairman at the time and it was dismissed as not saleable. He explained that consumers never expect catastrophes to happen, ‘it always happens to the next door neighbour, not to us.’ was his conclusion. A year later a company brought out a stand alone smoke detector for £29.99 and a matter of months later Black and Decker brought out theirs for £9.99.

In the words of Del Boy I could have been a millionaire! So why have I explained my flair for coming up with amazing ideas? Well I have just been reading about the latest announcement regarding electric cars. A series of quick charge units have opened up across the centre of the country, referred to as the Milton Keynes Crosslink.

There are 14 of these charging points capable of charging a car in 20 minutes, located in Cambridge, Bedford, Milton Keynes, Buckingham and Oxford. Now I don’t know about you but I still wouldn’t feel comfortable relying upon these points to get me home in the same way that I might hope to find a service station open at 11.00 at night.

And frankly I don’t consider 20 minutes as a fast charge when I can fill my car up with diesel in 2 minutes. So have we really found the answer to the problem? I don’t think so! Hence my invention! Don’t laugh! First of all it requires all batteries that are used in electric cars to be standardised in terms of size. We also need standard fittings into which a battery could be slotted into close to the ground (the batteries are bloody heavy).

You then enter a drive through bay and with the speed and precision of a group of F1 mechanics someone comes out with a trolley type jack and removes the fitted battery whilst making a note of the electricity reading on a visible dial on the outside of the battery. A freshly charged battery is is then slid into place, locked in place and the car is good to go.

The car drives up to a payment booth, pays for the electricity that he has used, as shown on the old battery, and he is good to go. If the F1 mechanics are anything to go by a driver could be through in about 5 seconds. There you go problem solved! Oh and the old battery goes straight back on charge on a rack of fast chargers. Brilliant or what? 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.

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.

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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Financial Associations Causing Finance Applications To Be Declined

Friday, 14. February 2014

Most people are aware that in order to be approved for finance you need to have a reasonably good credit score. You maintain a good credit score, as you know, by making credit payments on time (pay by direct debit wherever possible), not gaining CCJ’s, defaulting or going into arrears and not applying for credit to too many companies at the same time.

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.

Closing down old credit cards can also help. But I have had a few ‘declines’ just recently because of financial associations that, in a few cases, were no longer in existance. When you apply for credit you can only have your personal details searched so if you have a partner who has very poor credit or could even be bankrupt, they cannot be checked out unless you give permission or you have a financial association.

If you are shown to have a financial association with anyone the chances are that their credit status will also be taken into account. So if you are applying for finance and you and your partner have a joint mortgage or a joint credit card there is a financial association. One client had a girlfriend and they jointly applied for a credit card and were approved at the time.

They didn’t take out the card and split up shortly afterwards but one of them ran into some severe financial difficulties. As the financial association was still showing on the credit reference agency file the unknowing boyfriend was declined for car finance because of the difficulties experienced by the ex girlfriend.

So check your credit reference files and if you are showing any financial associations with any ex’s make sure you write to the credit reference agencies (all 3) and tell them that you no longer have any financial association with your ex, and to remove the link. 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.’

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.

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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Are Insurance Comparison Sites Good Or Bad For Motorists?

Tuesday, 7. January 2014

I think we all agree that the Internet is a great British invention but like all great inventions there is often a price to pay, the spread of child porn, online bullying, identity theft to name but a few.

But generally the Internet has enriched our lives, we can communicate much quicker and when family live abroad you can now talk to them on Skype as though they are in the same room with the help of a large TV and X Box gadgetry. Whilst there are some great tools that appear to make life easier and cheaper (I’m thinking price comparison sites here) are we actually getting true value for money or is it leading to some sort of price fixing.

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.

My background is in accountancy, more specifically Cost & Management Accountancy. When my old company wanted to land a contract they would take the spec. provided by the customer and cost it in terms of materials, labour and overhead. Add a contingency for unexpected costs, a bit of profit and submitted the quote. You then rather unscientifically crossed your fingers and hoped for the best.

Whilst you didn’t always get to see what the competitors were quoting you would occasionally find out that you were 30% less than the closest bid. From the client’s point of view this was great but supposing we knew what all the other companies were bidding, wouldn’t we tend to bid a lot closer to the closest bid, maybe undercut by say 5%?

Well my fear is that this is happening in the car insurance industry which is in desperate need of a shake up. Online comparison sites allow every insurance company to see what each other is quoting and it is surprising how close the top 5 companies can be when you run a quote.

The insurance companies can differ greatly in size with completely different levels of overhead and staff costs to recover and yet they all quote within £20 per annum. You may think that this may be a way to make insurance companies reduce their rates but all we ever hear is that high cash for crash claims have increased premiums or bad weather leading to increased crashes have increased premiums – then they all follow suit, increasing premiums, acting like a massive cartel.

This lack of competition has led to laziness with lack of control. Poor cost controls lead to increased premiums which means that we all end up paying for super inefficiency. The insurance companies impose few controls on the body repair shops accepting wildly inflated repair bills, incredibly inefficient claims handling add to the cost and inconvenience to all drivers.

I’ve seen insurers pay accident management companies over £100 per day for a Ford KA replacement, they simply don’t care, they just increase the premiums. Even then they don’t do it directly. The rates on the comparison site may seem quite close but then come all the addons, legal cover, breakdown insurance etc. etc.

I understand that the Competition Commission is looking into car insurance, not before time, but will they make any difference? Time will tell and I will report it! Moan over – happy New Year! By Graham Hill

Meerkats

Meerkats (Photo credit: quisnovus)

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Graham Hill’s Car Finance Book Launches In Paperback

Monday, 4. June 2012

Today I have my book launched as a paperback on Amazon. This simple guide,  covering how to prepare for finance through the different methods, including personal loans and leasing. Finally it explains what you should do if anything goes wrong. It is written in the same way as I explain it, simple and straight forward. It won’t win literary awards but it will help you to drive a better car than you ever thought possible. In order to buy a copy please click below:

Any questions you may have please let me know and I’ll do my best to help. Graham Hill

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E Class Mercedes £319 + VAT 3+35, Last Few

Thursday, 8. March 2012

Good Morning,

Not quite got the newsletter and deal of the week completed but I didn’t want you to miss out on this amazing deal on cars that must be registered this month. Watch out for the newsletter this week which discusses Personal Contract Purchase, how to judge what is good value and how it compares with Personal Contract Hire. Read more