Mar 302010
 

vauxhallThe Ford Focus might have the biggest sales figures in the UK, but Vauxhall’s Astra has been revealed as the most reliable fleet car on the road, according to Warranty Direct.

The automotive warranty specialist analysed the reliability of the 10 most popular fleet vehicles* in Britain from 2009, using data amassed during as much as three years of a vehicle’s life.

Although company cars are traditionally seen as hard working vehicles, they benefit from regular and timely maintenance schedules.

Vauxhall’s Astra emerged as the most dependable of the bunch, with only 11% suffering a failure once a year on average, while the Fiesta was the cheapest fleet car to repair.

FLEET VEHICLES BY RATE OF FAILURE

 

Vehicle

Incidence rate

Average repair cost

1

Vauxhall   Astra

11%

£247.49

2

BMW   3-Series

13%

£316.19

3

Ford   Fiesta

19%

£187.36

4

VW   Golf

20%

£287.43

4

Ford   Focus

20%

£306.50

6

Peugeot   206**

23%**

£250.84**

7

Peugeot   307**

25%**

£239.08**

7

Vauxhall   Corsa

25%

£346.18

9

Ford   Mondeo

28%

£264.44

10

Vauxhall   Vectra**

43%**

£271.26**

 

BMW’s fleet sector staple, the 3-Series, is second in the table, but pricey with an average repair cost of £316.19.  The Astra’s hatchback stablemate, the Corsa, is the most expensive to fix, thanks to recurring engine and electrical problems.

Even though Warranty Direct’s data doesn’t include cars younger than three years’ old – therefore omitting Peugeot’s 207 and 308, and the Vauxhall Insignia – Peugeot’s strong showing is judged by the comprehensive reliability data for the 206 and 307, predecessors to the 207 and 308 respectively.

The Vauxhall Vectra’s 10th place suggests the two year-old Insignia might not have the lineage to be a reliability star, although the newer Astra did come top. Taking Vauxhall as a whole reveals it is nudged to last place by Peugeot among the top fleet car makers.

RATE OF FAILURE BY MANUFACTURER

 

Manufacturer

Average incidence rate

1

BMW

24.5%

2

Ford

25.1%

3

VW

26.2%

4

Peugeot

27.0%

5

Vauxhall

27.2%

 

“As firms look to shave money from their fleet operations, knowing which vehicles are likely to deliver reliability and are quick and cheap to repair is vital,” says Duncan McClure Fisher, managing director of Warranty Direct. “Time is money, and the last thing you want is your cars sidelined with mechanical problems especially while fleet cars are being kept on the books for longer.”

One in 12 VW Golfs will suffer either cooling and heating, or electrical system failures, and while the Astra rarely breaks down, when it does its electrics are often to blame, causing 42% of its failures.

Meanwhile, ‘Mondeo man’ reported an alarming number of engine and electrical problems, with 11% recording faults with those aspects of the vehicle alone in an average year.

FLEET CARS BY REGISTRATION NUMBERS IN 2009

 

Vehicle

Registrations

1

Ford   Focus

68,916

2

Ford   Fiesta

49,121

3

Vauxhall   Astra

45,876

4

Vauxhall   Corsa

42,901

5

VW   Golf

32,381

6

Ford   Mondeo

27,389

7

Vauxhall   Insignia

24,211

8

Peugeot   207

21,496

9

BMW   3-Series

21,007

10

Peugeot   308

19,702

 

Data compiled using Warranty Direct statistics on 3-6 year old cars from its database of 50,000 UK policies.

For more information or to find out how your car fares, visit www.reliabilityindex.co.uk.

Mar 022010
 

hi-vis potholesPotholes on Britain’s roads could be much easier to spot in future, thanks to a design idea created by students in Italy.

The initiative was uncovered by road maintenance campaign website, Potholes.co.uk, as it continues its efforts to improve the state of the UK’s roads.

Domenico Diego and Cristina Corradini have designed the “Street Safe Initiative,” which comprises a brightly-coloured layer of asphalt a few inches beneath the surface of the road, which becomes visible when the road surface breaks up, making potholes easier to see and avoid.

The unique design will be trialled later this year in Rho, a small town close to Milan, to determine if the project is viable and cost effective, after which Diego plans to market the product across Europe.

Milan Polytechnic student Diego said: “We have compared the road surface to the human skin – when we are wounded, we start to bleed. So our idea is to put a layer of yellow asphalt beneath the tarmac, which appears and creates a high chromatic contrast that is visible from a distance.

“This way, the potholes are signalled as they appear and road users have enough time to react safely.”

Duncan McClure Fisher, Managing Director of Potholes.co.uk, said: “This is an innovative way to make potholes more visible to road users and to help reduce the damage caused to vehicles. We’re all for pothole solutions that protect the motorist from potential car damage or personal injury, but the solution is not entirely practical and it doesn’t tackle the real issue of preventing potholes in the first place.”

The trial in Italy will help Diego evaluate the cost implications of his design and its production across Europe.

Mike Conway, Managing Director of highway maintenance and construction firm, FM Conway, said: “It’s a novel idea but it’s not the right solution for the UK right now. To make layers of tarmac stick together we use a bituminous coating that acts as a glue and you’d have to go right back to the manufacturing stage and work out how to make it bright yellow.

“We should be looking at how to reduce costs by doing the job right in the first place, rather than creating expensive solutions that only have an effect once the pothole is already there.”