The Truth About Cars » england The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Tue, 15 Jul 2014 15:25:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » england Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ London Headquarters To Focus On Corporate Finance Wed, 21 May 2014 11:00:08 +0000 Fiat 500 in London

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ new headquarters in London, England will be as small as many Silicon Valley startups, with a staff of 50 mostly focused on finance.

Automotive News Europe reports FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne and Fiat Group chairman John Elkann will have a home in London, with FCA COO Richard Palmer possibly having a place there as well. Though no new hiring is planned, the automaker hopes to pull more finance employees from its Asia Pacific and Latin American regions to its headquarters, where most of the work will involve treasury operations.

The move to London also means tax savings for FCA; whereas Fiat paid 31.4 percent in corporate taxes to Italy while Chrysler paid 35 percent to the United States, the Italo-American company will pay only 20 percent for its part of filling the Queen’s coffers. This strategy has come under fire from both sides of the Atlantic, with feelings of betrayal on the part of Italians due to history, and on Americans due to tax dollars used to rescue Chrysler in 2009.

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Honda Drawing Back UK Production In Face Of Weak Growth Wed, 26 Mar 2014 13:00:25 +0000 2014 Honda Civic Hatchback

With a forecast of low sales growth in Europe expected to remain in place for the next few years, Honda has decided to scale back production at its plant in Swindon, England.

Reuters reports the plant will go from three shifts to two, resulting in a 10 percent layoff in the workforce. Honda will build about 120,000 vehicles annually, down from 140,000 in 2013. Swindon has the capacity to build 250,000 cars per year, but at projected levels, the plant will be severely underutilized.

Though Honda Motors Europe senior vice president Ian Howells said his company had not seen the growth it expected in 2013 in the European market, figures for January showed overall sales climbing 5.2 percent on the strength of demand from Italy, Portugal and Greece. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom’s sales climbed 10.8 percent in 2013 to 2.26 million vehicles.

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How Did That Get There? An Anglia In East Alabama Thu, 15 Aug 2013 06:15:16 +0000 DSC_0319

As much of America redevelops in the direction of increased urbanization and strip-mall suburbia, small downtowns have either dried up or re-purposed themselves as purveyors of quaint fashion and entertainment. Such is the case with Opelika, the sister town to Auburn. Boutiques, restaurants, and antiques places have mostly replaced the hardware stores and other obsolete staples of small-town commerce. I come from a family of enthusiastic collectors of rare junk, but even I can see the occasionally sad irony of a town selling pieces of itself just to get by. A few weeks ago, however, I spotted a prominently displayed chunk of the past that defied my expectations. Instead of distressed Americana on sale, one shop had a very English relic I didn’t expect to see in this part of the country. I returned later to take a closer look.


    This Ford Anglia was pulled from a field somewhere in East Alabama. The proprietress of the shop knew of the car’s British origins, but didn’t know how it came to rest in a Southeastern cow patch. She received it “from a friend” and converted it into a display piece for her downtown antiques emporium. Lodged in the front window of the shop with a couple of artfully-positioned suitcases, it’s not for sale. Its value as a conversation piece and an attention-getter clearly outweighs whatever sum someone might be tempted to pay for it. Rest assured, Anglia diehards: this isn’t one that you’d want to save. It’s pretty rotten in the floors and the sills, there’s plenty of bullet holes, and a number of hard-to-find bits are missing. Still, I’m glad that it wound up here rather than in a China-bound scrap steel container. It took me a while, but I managed to get some decent shots of the car despite it being surrounded with stuff.


    Who in Alabama would have bought this car new? I’m guessing it was sold here as a new or nearly-new car because of the chrome trunk tag. Brewbaker Motors is a large multi-franchise family dealership in Montgomery that still operates today. They aren’t a Ford store, though, so they must have acquired it secondhand. I like to think that some expat British professor brought the car with him when he came to teach at Auburn in the 1950’s. He might have traded it in after discovering that English Fords didn’t have much repair or parts support in the Deep South. Or maybe some hardworking Dixie resident snapped the Anglia up as an alternative to the big Fords of the era. In any case, it went the way of all discarded cars in Alabama and became somebody else’s target. Now it serves as a reminder that not everyone wanted a Detroit land yacht in the 50’s.

Thanks to the owner of Resurrect Antiques for her permission to photograph the vehicle.

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Nissan Europe Ramping Up Local Leaf Production Wed, 27 Feb 2013 15:46:22 +0000

With Nissan bringing Leaf production to Japan and the United States, the next stop on their localization train is Europe. The Sunderland, UK plant will begin in the spring, and along with European production will be a series of tweaks for that market.

Most significant for the Leaf is a bump in range, allowing the car to travel 124 miles instead of the previous 109 miles. A revised heat pump is partly responsible for the boost in range, while a new fast charger option can cut charging times in half (fast charging stations across the continent are said to have tripled, according to Just-Auto).

Luggage space and overall packaging is also improved, thanks to a redesigned powertrain that incorporates the motor, inverter and charger assembly under the hood as a single unit. Luggage space is said to be improved by as much as 40 liters. The battery itself will be produced locally as well.

While a mid-cycle refresh is standard practice for most car companies, Nissan has been tailoring some of its changes to the local markets in North America, Japan and Europe, based on owner feedback and telematics data. Notably, the chassis, steering system and brakes were all revised for European tastes, with the dampers and steering firmed up and the brakes made to feel more progressive – changes that would be welcome on the North American spec car.


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Subaru UK Kills Off Impreza, WRX, STI Fri, 14 Dec 2012 18:35:05 +0000

If you read British buff books like EVO, it would be easy to think that the hot versions of the Subaru Impreza are fixtures of the UK’s motoring landscape. Not only are they beloved by enthusiasts, but the WRX is even employed as a police car in certain municipalities. But starting in 2013, British car buyers won’t be able to purchase one of the small Scoobies.

A lack of demand has led Subaru UK to kill off the Impreza, and its more sporting variants. AutoExpress reports that

“The new Impreza has been under evaluation in the UK for 12 months, but the decision has been taken not to bring that car to the UK because of insufficient demand…Subaru is concentrating on what it’s really good at – so we’re concentrating on SUVs and the BRZ – we’re hoping to get more [BRZs] next year to satisfy strong demand for that car.”

That means that going foward, the XV, Outback and Forester will be the staples of the lineup, as well as the BRZ. The Legacy may not even survive. Luckily, UK buyers can still import vehicles from Japan as grey market cars.

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Morgan Threatened By Tree Fungus Wed, 31 Oct 2012 20:20:45 +0000

Morgan’s wood-framed sports cars are facing an existential threat; a species of fungus that infects ash trees, which are the source of wood used on Morgan’s legendary sports cars.

Ash has been used for over a century, but the situation could necessitate a switch to other kinds of wood. Ash dieback, as the disease is known, has been ravaging ash trees in the UK, and usually kills 90 percent of trees that become infected.

Steve Morris, Morgan’s Operations Director, told the Daily Mail

‘Ash has very good properties for stability and the way it can be formed. We have been using ash for traditional building for 100 years. It is possible that we would have to look at other types of wood. This news is a worry for us and we are taking it very seriously. It would be a shame if the problem escalated.’ 

A statement on the Morgan website claims that the company has a two year supply of ash wood, and that it could also be sourced from France, Germany, the United States and Belgium.

Hat tip to Reddit Autos

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Wild-Ass Rumor Of The Day: Honda To Send Mexican Fits To UK Tue, 02 Oct 2012 19:16:15 +0000

Just-Auto is reporting that Honda will cease UK production of the Jazz (aka our Fit)

“to benefit from production economies of scale and fully [use] Honda’s global production resources”.

So, where are they going to come from?

Of the seven countries that currently produce the Fit, Just-Auto suggests that Fits built in China and Japan are the most likely candidates. But with such a strong yen, it would make little sense to end domestic production of the Jazz and import it from such a locale.

What if Honda is going to send Fits to the UK from Mexico? Honda’s UK plant provided the Jazz for Europe, alongside China and Japan. While the UK and Mexico don’t have a free-trade agreement, there is one with the EU, and that’s prompted Audi and other manufacturers to choose Mexico for plant expansion.

Honda’s UK plants will begin producing the Civic exclusively, while their Mexican factory is scheduled to start cranking out the next-generation Fit in 2014 – right when the new European Civic models are set to be introduced, alongside an all-new Jazz. Good timing, isn’t it?

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Ford Plant Could Be Next On Europe’s Chopping Block Fri, 20 Jul 2012 21:45:09 +0000

Ford last closed a plant in Europe a decade ago, when its Dagenham assembly plant was shuttered, but the Blue Oval may be forced to do it again.

Faced with excess capacity and mounting losses on the continent, Ford needs to trim some fat. According to a report by Bloomberg

The Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker’s assembly plants in Southampton, England, and Genk, Belgium, may be vulnerable.

The Southampton factory is apparently running at less than one-third capacity, and built fewer than 30,000 Transit vans last year. The Genk plant builds the Mondeo – an important car for Ford, but one that is cursed with a small market and a declining customer base. Europe’s already volatile economy is hardly the place for a pseudo-upscale sedan like the Mondeo, as well as the S-Max crossover and the Galaxy minivan (which did have a slight uptick in sales this year).

Ford isn’t the first automaker trying to shed capacity, with Opel and PSA undertaking plans to shut down underperforming factories. And they probably won’t be the last either.

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Jaguar Land Rover Gets 35,000 Applicants For 1,000 Jobs At Halewood Plant Tue, 24 Apr 2012 13:57:27 +0000

When Jaguar Land Rover announced plans to start hiring workers at their Halewood plant, the company received 6,000 applications in less than 24 hours. One month on, and Jaguar has received a further 29,000 applications.

The north of England has traditionally lagged behind the south in terms of economic prosperity, but the loss of good jobs in industries like manufacturing, shipping and mining has further enhanced hardships in the region (and also inspired some of the world’s best musicians, from The Beatles to New Order to Oasis). The JLR factory near Liverpool will expand its workforce to 4,500 employees while producing vehicles like the Range Rover Evoque and Land Rover LR2 around the clock. In 2009, Halewood lost 300 jobs after Jaguar cancelled production of the X-Type, but since then, thousands of jobs have been added at the facility.

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Dacia Lodgy Emerges, UK Sales Questionable Thu, 05 Jan 2012 20:24:21 +0000

Dacia showed off their Lodgy MPV today, giving more fodder for Dacia fans who became aware of the brand via their slavish devotion to Top Gear. The Lodgy is a small minivan available in 5 or 7 seat configuration and sold under a Romanian auto brand certain to go on sale in the rest of Europe, but maybe not in the UK.

Buried within the Dacia press release is a vague statement about UK sales. According to Dacia a”…decision on commercialisation of Lodgy in right-hand drive for the UK market is still to be finalised.” Dacia, as you’ll remember, is owned by Renault, which just heavily consolidated (or purged, in the parlance of Ceaucescu-era Romania) their UK lineup amid drastically falling sales.

While the famed Renaultsport hot hatches were untouched, practically everything else was given the ax in the UK, along with a 33 percent of their dealers. Renault is hoping to move upmarket, leaving Dacia to sell the cheap stuff (while their big Laguna range will be replaced with crossovers) the Scenic MPV, which also offers 5 and 7 passenger seating. Renault is likely evaluating whether there’s a business case to be made for the Lodgy, or if the car will cannibalize sales of the Scenic. One thing is certain; we won’t be the first to make “Dodgy Lodgy” jokes or puns.

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