Category: UK

By on November 15, 2018

2016 BMW 330e iPerformance - Image: BMW

In Europe, diesel now holds a reputation as favorable as that of the dark lord of the underworld, while electric propulsion may as well have descended from Heaven. It wasn’t this way just a few years ago.

That said, in the UK, government incentives towards green vehicle purchases have, like the U.S., been ongoing since 2011. A recent study of corporate plug-in hybrid fleet vehicles purchased with the assistance of government grants reveals many buyers were just looking to dodge diesel taxes while bilking the taxpayer for a cheaper ride. Plugging in these plug-ins was not a priority. Read More >

By on October 24, 2018

Image: 2018 Ford Mustang

While I certainly don’t question their dedication to preserving freedom, one wonders what the Allied soldiers crossing the Channel in 1944 would have thought about the United Kingdom of 2018.

Let’s just say that British law is somewhat strict — especially in minor, unlikely areas of life. Going by the select media reports that make their way stateside as online outrage food, it would seem that, according to British lawmakers, danger lurks everywhere in a land where people once treated nightly bombing raids as a mundane form of weather.

Thanks to this new culture of safety and tolerance, a culture where the police encourages people to report when they’ve been offended on Twitter, car commercials can be pulled from airwaves after generating the wrong kind of feelings in certain viewers. Read More >

By on August 2, 2018

british-leyland-mini

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), Britain’s main industry group, claims automakers were becoming increasingly concerned with the nation’s departure from the European Union. Prime Minister Theresa May wants a solution that would allow Britain to maintain strong trade ties with the EU while allowing her country to maintain autonomy, but hasn’t found much success.

U.S. President Donald Trump claims a deal with the United Kingdom is absolutely possible, saying the relationship between the two countries is “the highest level of special” late last month. But he also noted that the EU would complicated matters if Britain adhered to its trade laws after Brexit, which is just eight months away.

The European Union doesn’t seem to want to let Britain go, and is nudging the country to stick to its rules by not venturing out to make its own trade arrangements. Critics say this effectively makes the island nation a “vassal state” to the EU, completely defeating the point of Brexit. However, many are fearful that leaving the union and ignoring its mandates could have negative repercussions in the long term — especially in regard to finance and trade.  Read More >

By on April 5, 2018

After four years of consecutive growth, the United Kingdom’s automotive market has tanked for 12 months straight. The culprit is, of course, dwindling diesel sales.

Thanks to European governments latching onto the fuel as the cleaner alternative to “petrol” throughout the 1990s (subsequently incentivizing the fuel as a way to meet aggressive CO2-reduction targets), diesel-powered autos accounted for roughly half of all new auto sales between 2009 and 2017 . But diesel is now “evil” and everyone in Europe has started avoiding it.

In March, diesel sales declined by 37.2 percent — leaving the once dominant fuel with just 32 percent of the new car market. Unsurprising, as the new trend in Europe is the widespread (future) banning of the fuel in city centers. April’s sales are expected to be even lower, as the British government’s new taxes on diesel vehicles come into effect. Those fees and a weakened pound, which practically everyone has attributed to Brexit, forced new car sales in the UK down by 16 percent.  Read More >

By on December 19, 2017

Morgan EV3, Image: Morgan Cars USA

To some, the only thing that beats electric vehicles for soullessness is those pesky autonomous vehicle people who can’t drive adore so much. Morgan, the quirky British automaker best known for giving wood construction and wire-spoke wheels an automotive toehold in the 21st century, doesn’t do soulless.

Surely the company’s EV3, now confirmed for production next year, warrants a look. This isn’t your average Leaf, Bolt, or Model S. Read More >

By on October 7, 2017

2017 Aston Martin DB11 - Image: Aston MartinAston Martin, builder of premium British GT cars, does not sell nearly as many cars as it used to. In fact, Aston Martin’s 2017’s output will fall some 30 percent below the brand’s record volume from a decade ago.

But that’s only part of the story. Aston Martin’s global 2017 volume will be 36-percent higher than it was just last year. Moreover, Aston Martin sales will more than double in the next two years.  Read More >

By on September 19, 2017

Jaguar E-Type, Image: Steph Willems

Just imagine for a second that Britain’s best-known automotive nameplates aren’t owned by the Germans and Indians. Once upon a time, the Union Jack fluttered proudly over a vast empire of brands. The sun never set on the nation’s impressive array of automobiles, and enthusiasts the world over lusted over the scorching, sexy offerings emerging from a country best known for fog, breakfast fishes and military might.

When Britain decided to let its hair down, oh boy. Any red-blooded driver would gladly put up with weird electrical issues or leaks for a chance to sit behind the wheel of a curvacious, inline-six-powered dream machine that oozed sex (and perhaps oil) every mile of its life. Though the dream eventually collapsed, foreign ownership brought it partway back. (I’m poking fun just a bit, but the stinking nationalized mess that was British-Leyland is a comedy mine that never runs out.)

But we’re not here to rehash the dismal 1970s. This is a celebration — a brimming glass of scotch, gin, sherry, or port raised in honour of a quirky industry with a diverse heritage. Detroit may have cranked out the wheels that moved America, but Britain — at least for a while — cranked out cheap exports for people who couldn’t afford a Dodge. North of the border especially, postwar British cars with alarmingly low horsepower figures stoically braved weather they weren’t designed for.

Sure, my parents’ childhoods contained Fords, Chevrolets, Studebakers and Plymouths, but they also contained an Austin A30, Morris Minor 1000, Morris Oxford, two Vauxhall Victors, and a grandparent’s Triumph Mayflower (0-50 mph in 26.6 seconds). Dad still raves about the Vauxhall Firenza (“half of a V8!”) he bought in the ’70s. Maybe it’s a Commonwealth thing.

It was with these tales in mind that I travelled to tony Stowe, Vermont last weekend for the British Invasion, the Northeast’s annual celebration of UK rolling stock. Let’s take a look at some oddities and bonafide classics, shall we? Read More >

By on August 4, 2017

Mini Cooper 5-door production line Oxford - Image: BMW UKAuto sales in the United Kingdom tumbled 9 percent in July 2017, a fourth consecutive year-over-year monthly decline for a market that had surged to record-high levels in the first-quarter of 2017.

A transitioning period for the Ford Fiesta — entering a new generation that is almost certainly not bound for North America — dropped the UK’s normal best-selling vehicle out of the top spot for a second consecutive month. Another Ford, the Focus, took over as the UK’s top-selling automobile as total sales at Ford, the UK’s top-selling brand, plunged 24 percent compared with July 2016.

Ford’s drop was by no means the only sharp decrease. Losses of more than 20 percent were also reported by Alfa Romeo, Citroën, Citroën’s DS brand, Fiat, Jeep, Peugeot, and Vauxhall.

Apparently, Brexit is to blame. Read More >

By on July 11, 2017

2016 Hyundai Genesis Right Hand Drive - Image: Hyundai UK“The Genesis was never built for the European market,” Hyundai UK director Tony Whitehorn says. “It was conceived for the Korean and American markets.”

And now, with the second-generation Hyundai Genesis sedan languishing in the United Kingdom while Hyundai launches the Genesis brand in North America, the Hyundai Genesis Americans now know as the Genesis G80 has been discontinued as in the UK.

Still follow? Read More >

By on July 5, 2017

2018 Volkswagen Golf - Image: Volkswagen UKThe Volkswagen Golf was the best-selling new vehicle in the United Kingdom in June 2017, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

So what, you say, the Golf is historically a European powerhouse, a fine car by all accounts, just one that’s not entirely suited to American sales success.

But for the Golf, typically a top five car, to earn outright best seller status in the UK, something had to give.

At just the right time, when the Ford Fiesta was at a weak point, the Volkswagen Golf stepped up with a 29-percent year-over-year increase despite shrinking demand across much of the UK market. The result: the Golf ended a Ford Fiesta streak that had been in good standing for 29 months.
Read More >

By on March 17, 2017

vauxhall corsa

Today’s the day we celebrate an Irish guy who probably isn’t responsible for banishing snakes from the Emerald Isle, usually by guzzling beer tinted with bowel-loosening amounts of green food coloring.

Across a tiny sea from that land, a much more vibrant color caused the inhabitants of one historic British town to rebel against the tyranny wrought by a compact hatchback. We’re happy to inform you that order has now been restored. Read More >

By on December 15, 2016

2016 Ford Fiesta green 3-door - Image: Ford UKThe Ford Fiesta is the most popular car at TTAC.

We don’t mean to say that TTAC’s audience researches the Ford Fiesta more often than any other vehicle. Nor are we suggesting that the Ford Fiesta is the consensus favourite among TTAC’s vast contributor network. Rather, there are a total of three Fiestas spread across TTAC driveways: the managing editor’s 1.0-liter EcoBoost, an ST at the home of our advice columnist, and another ST in the family of TTAC’s editor-at-large.

That’s an impressive level of marketplace penetration for a car that generates just 0.3 percent of the U.S. auto industry’s new vehicle sales volume. Yet across the pond, the very same car owns an industry-wide 4.5 percent of the overall new vehicle market.

2016 will be the eighth consecutive year in which the Ford Fiesta claims the title of the United Kingdom’s best-selling vehicle. Not only is the consistency remarkable, so too is the authority with which the Fiesta scores its victories. Read More >

By on September 15, 2016

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

The United Kingdom isn’t scared of electric vehicles, what with their high fuel prices and limited driving distances (when compared to the U.S.).

However, General Motors has developed a serious case of cold feet on the issue of launching a Vauxhall-branded Chevrolet Bolt, which could prove a decent sales performer. An all-electric range of 238 miles is impressive, so why is the General so shy? Read More >

By on June 29, 2016

2017 Jaguar lineup

Jaguar Land Rover’s brands are as British as crumpets and the Union Jack (ignore the fact that it’s owned by India’s Tata Motors), so concerns over Britain’s vote to leave the European Union should fall squarely on its tweed-covered shoulders.

The automaker is keeping a stiff upper lip, at least in public, with a spokesperson saying the company doesn’t plan to make changes to its strategy, Reuters reports.

A $1.34 billion assembly plant in Slovakia is going ahead as planned, said Jaguar Land Rover strategy director Adrian Hallmark, who called the Brexit a “short-term issue” during a news conference. Read More >

By on June 24, 2016

Red_Devils-Union_Jack (Wikimedia Commons)

The United Kingdom, through referendum, has decided to break off from Europe and go it alone. But what of all the auto manufacturers that produce vehicles in the island nation? And of their employees? And trade?

We won’t know the answers to those questions until the UK and European governments sort out how the two entities will work together in the future. For now, it’s business as usual. Though, thanks to Autocar, we at least have reactions from the big players in the UK’s automotive industry.

Read More >

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