Oct 012017
 

The motoring industry is a constant source of innovation, with regular developments across technology, design and safety. 3D printing is one of the latest trends set to make a significant impact and the effects could be ground-breaking.

3D printing is a technique where a physical object is created from a digital model by printing thin layers of material on top of one another.

Here are some of the ways it could make the motoring industry more efficient, safe and cost-effective:

 

Improved efficiency

While 3D printing is not yet efficient enough for high-volume manufacturing, the ability to develop prototype parts more quickly, create custom parts for drivers, or make crucial parts for smaller run performance vehicles, means it could start allowing some models to get to market quicker than standard vehicle manufacturing procedures.

Designing a complicated new part and then waiting months for prototype tooling to be produced could also become a thing of the past, as 3D printing is starting to create quicker, more cost-effective solutions for engineers too.

Safety conscious

One of the most important factors to address in the automotive industry is safety, and there are elements to 3D printing that have the potential to improve this. As the 3D components are designed using computer programmes, the consistency of production is greater than working with sheet metals, which could help to reduce future vehicle complications.

Bodywork can be more easily replicated, so an owner could potentially purchase a new shell more quickly with no discernible difference to the original.

Simplifying vehicle manufacturing

Many manufacturers are using 3D printing to create single, large body parts. The LM3D Swim is a prime example of this, as the car is created using less than 50 individual parts, compared to a traditional vehicle which could have over 30,000 parts.

The relative simplicity in design and fewer parts could mean issues will be more easily rectifiable, both in terms of parts manufacture and fitting. The simplicity of generating replacements and additions is already being tested by Ford, as it continues to investigate the effectiveness of creating large parts and components using 3D printing.

Cost savings

Millions of components are sitting in stock warehouses around the world, waiting to be supplied as a spare part. By printing new parts, automakers can reduce logistics and warehouse storage costs and produce complex components at low volumes. Imagine the savings by storing parts such as covers, spring caps, wiring ducts and mountings, digitally instead of physically and building them on-demand.

This potential is already recognised in America as Daimler Trucks, the world’s largest truck manufacturer, has been using 3D printing in its spare part production supply.

3D printing for racing advantage

Formula 1 teams originally bought into 3D prototyping to reduce development times. More iterations, more quickly don’t always reduce costs for race teams, but if it translates to saving even a millisecond on the track, the investment is justifiable to them.

The Lotus F1 team uses plastic 3D printing processes for concept development, functional prototypes and wind-tunnel models. The time saved is fundamental to the development timeline and 3D printers have allowed its teams to downsize Ford’s machine shops too.

Feb 172017
 

The latest data from Warranty Direct has revealed the brands whose part problems afflicted UK drivers most frequently last year, and how much the repairs have been setting drivers back.

Analysing statistics from over 40,000 policies and more than £3 million-worth of their most recently authorised claims has shown that when examining the total paid claims against all policies*, well over a third of Alfa Romeo (40%) and Porsche (36%) drivers needed to make a claim, whilst 34% of Land Rovers also suffered from faults.

Below are the 10 manufacturer brands which had the highest percentage of claims made against them and the average cost of repairs. Note – the number of claims was measured as a percentage of the number of policies held per manufacturer:

  Make % of Total Claims Against Total Number of Policies Held Per Make Average Authorised Claim
1 Alfa Romeo 40% £355.47
2 Porsche 36% £1,019.07
3 Land Rover 34% £513.31
4 Chrysler 26% £474.28
5 Mercedes-Benz 25% £559.99
6 Jaguar 23% £442.68
7 Lexus 22% £469.68
8 BMW 16% £609.13
9 Volvo 16% £466.92
10 Citroën 15% £363.20

 

Alfa Romeos are often considered a true driving enthusiast’s car for their quality of performance and style, but they are known for needing frequent trips to the garage, with suspension, electrical and cooling system problems the most frequent cause for claims in 2016.

Maintenance of Porsches was a considerable expense last year, with a claims rate of 36% across policies though, at an average cost of £1,019.07 per repair. Common claims for Porsche owners included suspension and electrical issues, along with steering faults.

Amongst these results, Mercedes-Benz sitting in fifth place, is particularly significant given the brand’s popularity. In 2015 alone the company sold 145,254 units in the UK, which equated to more than 5% of the market share**. However, an average repair cost of £559.99 is the highest after Porsche and BMW.

When assessing the top five manufacturers on the list’s most frequent reasons for a claim, axle and suspension problems were common, along with electrical problems. Although not one of the most regular faults, gearbox repairs came at significant cost and averaged over £1,250 per repair across these top five brands.

The figures also revealed a trend of Japanese manufacturers overtaking European options as the most reliable vehicles on the market. Honda, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota all had between just 3% and 6% of their policies claimed on throughout the year.

Super-minis and hatchbacks did not receive many claims, largely due to the simplicity of their parts and reduced costs of labour. These included makes such as Smart, Kia, Seat, Ford and Hyundai, all with less than 10% claims being made against their policies. While these vehicle types had fewer claims, a warranty does go some way to covering the unexpected costs for sudden repairs and provides peace of mind to motorists.

Commenting on the latest data, COO of Warranty Direct, Philip Ward, said: “With many cars becoming increasingly more complex in terms of component parts, repair costs will continue to rise throughout 2017. Vehicles which might initially seem reliable and reasonably priced can end up becoming a financial liability for the owner.”

*Includes multiple claims per policy

**Report from Statista – Mercedes-Benz car sales in UK from Jan 14-17.

Feb 062017
 

Warranty Direct’s extended motor warranties are designed to help take the stress and hassle out of car ownership. Our customers shouldn’t have to claim over the course of their policy, however things can happen and our customers may find themselves having to use their warranty when an unexpected fault or breakdown occurs.

When it comes to getting a repair sorted, Warranty Direct allows its policy holders to take their vehicle to the garage of their choice for repairs. We allow customers to use either an independent or main dealer as long as they are VAT registered. To bolster choice for our customers, we also offer a Preferred Repairer Network to our customers as well.

Our Preferred Repairers Network consists of specially selected garages to undertake repair work for our policy holders. These garages can either be a main dealer or independent. For inclusion, all nominated garages must meet and agree to a 43 point service level agreement before they can join our Preferred Repairer Network.

It’s not a mandatory requirement for our customers but we believe that the Preferred Repairer Network has some great benefits such as:

Warranty Direct settle insured claims with the repairer directly

Having to pay for the unexpected cost of repairing your car can be stressful. Even with a warranty, there may be some cases where, even though a claim is valid, you may have to pay for the repair up front and then reclaim it from your warranty provider. It could get even more infuriating when trying to get the money back from your provider promptly too.

With Warranty Direct’s Preferred Repairer Network, we can settle the repair bill directly with the garage and cover the approved parts and labour costs for a valid claim. Customers will only have to pay any policy excess they have and any agreed parts contributions directly to the garage. This goes some way to save the hassle of customers having to pay out during a claim.

Preferred Repairers know how Warranty Direct works

The garages on our Preferred Repairers Network know how Warranty Direct’s claims process operates. This makes it quicker and smoother for Warranty Direct and the preferred garage to communicate with one another. With fully trained and qualified engineers as part of our claims team, this ease of communication allows repairs to be authorised and get your car fixed promptly.

Garage Validation

As previously mentioned, any garage whether they are a main dealer or independent must meet our criteria to be part of the Network. There are 3362 preferred garages on our network. 1070 of these are independent garages, the remaining 2292 are main dealer. 60% of our preferred main dealers also charge under the £60 per hour labour rate.

If a customer’s choice of garage isn’t part of our Preferred Repairer Network, they can recommend them to Warranty Direct. We’re always looking to add more preferred repairers and if they fit the criteria then they might be a welcome addition to our growing network.

Ultimately what’s most important is that our consumers are able to trust the garage they chose to repair their car carries out work to a good standard. The Preferred Repairer Network, with its rigorous criteria, helps to ensure this.

If you’d like to know more about Warranty Direct’s Preferred Repairers, then get in touch today on 0800 731 7001.

Warranty Direct provides extended motor warranty cover and can supply GAP Cover Insurance for brand new or used cars as well. For more information, visit us at www.warrantydirect.co.uk.

Oct 072015
 

Aiming to inform all the Reliability Index , made possible by Warranty Direct, helps car owners find out how reliable their vehicle will be in the years to come after the manufacturer’s warranty expires.

Taking factors into account include breakdowns, age, mileage and car efficiency, the results help inform motorists what to possibly expect with their cars.

This week’s car: Toyota Avensis (2003-2007)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reliabilty Index Score: Average

After the first-generation Avensis, the second take on the model was a revelation. Okay, so Toyota still didn’t understand the concept of driving for fun or creative design, but when it comes to a painless ownership experience, there isn’t much that can compete with this family car. Offered in saloon, hatch or estate variants, the Avensis doesn’t excite you, but it is an easy car to own.

Written by Richard Dredge

What’s great about this car?

Reliability / Safety / Comfort / Equipment levels / Diesel engines

What’s not so great?

Unadventurous design / Dull dynamics

Things to keep an eye on

  • Engines can cut out for no apparent reason, usually because of a faulty fuel safety cut-out switch.
  • Diesel engines can also cut out because of a build up of residue on the hot wire in the air flow mass sensor.
  • Look for damaged rear suspension; speed bumps can wreak havoc with the car’s underside.
  • The petrol engines can use a litre of oil every 600 miles. So check the engine isn’t running on empty.
  • Make sure the headlight bulb surrounds are intact; they can melt, ensuring bulbs can’t be replaced. Damaged units should have been replaced under warranty.
  • Clutches aren’t always very durable, so check there’s no slipping.

For more in-depth details of this car, visit the page at the Reliability Index.