Mar 222008

Green Car GuideLast week’s Budget, together with the ever-rising price of oil and fears over CO2 emissions, has created further pressure to purchase energy-efficient vehicles. However there are few opportunities for people to see a range of class-leading low emission vehicles in the metal, all in one place.

provides an answer to this – it’s a Green Motor Show displaying the latest energy-efficient vehicles. The event is organised by, in association with Merseytravel’s ECOtravel Bureau, and sponsored by Masternaut GreenerFleet, Cenex and the Northwest Development Agency.

Green-Car-Guide Live! 2008 will take place on Thursday 12th June 2008 at the new award-winning Arena & Convention Centre in Liverpool. The event is aimed at businesses and other organisations with vehicle fleets, and entrance is free, although admission will only be possible by pre-registration at the website.

The low carbon vehicles exhibited will range from city cars through to executive cars and light commercial vehicles. Vehicle technology will include petrol, diesel, biofuel, hybrid and electric. Visitors can see ‘in the metal’ many of the vehicles that appear in the Green-Car-Guide e-Book available at There will also be a number of ‘show stoppers’ on display, ranging from the pioneering Oaktec Honda hybrid rally car to a diesel-electric Land Rover Defender.

The event will also include a seminar programme covering subjects such as an overview of the latest green vehicles, biofuels, and real time monitoring of CO2 emissions.

Speaking about the event, founder Paul Clarke said “Our experience of working in this sector shows that businesses and other fleet users are not aware of the latest range of low carbon vehicles. There is a perception that ‘green cars’ are predominantly small electric type-cars that are not suitable for business use. However in reality there are many efficient cars that could help businesses lower their carbon emissions, save money, and therefore become more competitive.”

“The entire motor industry is undergoing a seismic shift to bring low emission vehicles to market, yet there is still little opportunity for car buyers to be able to see a collection of such vehicles in one place; Green-Car-Guide Live! 2008 aims to address this.”

Martin Port, Managing Director of the event’s main sponsor, Masternaut GreenerFleet, comments: “We are delighted to support this event as it is a practical demonstration of how businesses can become more efficient and save costs by adopting lower emission vehicles. People are likely to be surprised by the ever-increasing range of energy-efficient vehicles that are now available.”

For more information about the event, and to register, visit

Mar 222008

What CarWhat Car? has revealed the massive savings available to car owners who shop around for servicing – and the savings are literally just around the corner.

What Car?’s team of mystery shoppers called franchised and independent garages for quotes on four top selling cars within a 20-mile radius of locations in London, Birmingham, Leeds and Glasgow.

Overall, the biggest saving was a huge £140.00 on the Skoda Fabia – one franchised dealer quoted £280.00 for it’s eighth annual service versus a quote of £140.00 from an independent garage less than 10 miles away. Average savings were £32.00 on a Mazda 6, £40.00 on a Citroen Picasso, £56.00 on a Ford Focus and £64.00 on the Skoda Fabia.

Nearly all franchised dealers contacted struggled to be competitive against even the most expensive independents. Only one franchised dealership, a Mazda dealer, beat the price quoted by a local independent garage.  Quotes also varied within the franchised and independent networks themselves. The most notable variation was £90 between the cheapest and most expensive franchised dealer in the Skoda network.

What Car? Consumer Editor Peter Lawton said ‘With everyone feeling the squeeze on their finances more than ever this year, who can afford not to spend five minutes on the phone doing some research to save on car servicing?

‘We worked out that we saved around £7.00 for every minute we spent on the phone obtaining prices.’

A poll also found that 43% of motorists still think their new car warranty is invalidated if they use an independent for servicing. It is nearly four years since the Office of Fair Trading forced manufacturers to remove restrictive clauses from warranties, allowing consumers to take their cars to independent garages rather than franchised dealerships.

‘We would encourage motorists to consider independent garages, but to also follow a few simple guidelines. The garage must stick to the letter of the manufacturer’s service schedule and use genuine parts or those of an equivalent standard. Also, look out for garages that have won a BSI Automotive Kitemark for reaching a set level of service,’  said Peter Lawton.

Mar 222008

3rd world countryAlmost a fifth of all cars could be on the road with their drivers unaware of “potentially dangerous”, and costly, damage caused by potholes, according to leading independent mechanical breakdown insurer, Warranty Direct.

With the average motorist suffering a mechanical failure once every three years*, six million vehicles – nearly 19 percent of the cars on the road** – could have pothole-related damage that may not be immediately apparent to the driver.

“An increasing number of motorists are only discovering the kind of faults directly attributable to poor roads during an annual service or MoT,” says Duncan McClure Fisher, managing director of Warranty Direct. “That’s an alarming state of affairs given the potential danger of failures like wheel bearings, tyres and steering racks.”

Every year, around 60 percent of all claims processed by the firm relate to suspension and axle damage consistent with that caused by Britain’s rutted, and poorly-maintained, roads.

The Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance report states that there is a shortfall of £1 billion to bring the country’s roads up to standard. Last year, Warranty Direct set up the website to campaign for better road maintenance, and give drivers advice on how to claim compensation from local authorities.

One car owner from the Epping Forest area told that, having taken his car to a garage for unrelated work, he was told that one of his rear wheels had pothole-consistent damage that made his car unroadworthy.

Without proof of where and when the damage was caused, he had to fork out £535 for a new wheel, bearing kit and holding arm without being able to claim compensation from his local council.

Warranty Direct warns that components typically damaged by potholes include:

* Shock absorbers

* Suspension mountings

* Upper and lower wishbones

* Bushes

* Coil springs

* Wheel bearings

* Hub assembly

* Anti roll bar

* Anti roll bar links

* Steering rack

* Track rod ends

* Tyres

* Road wheels

* Suspension arms

Warranty Direct pays for repairs to faults discovered during regular servicing and MoTs as part of its market leading mechanical breakdown insurance policy.