Sunday, 26 February 2012

Take your Chevy to the levy...

...or whatever make of car you drive, if you work in Nottingham or Bristol and you drive to work, you'll have to pay for the privilege of parking there, even if you are on your employer's property.

Thanks to Auto Express for this story highlighting the crime of Bristol Council - and specifically their Lib Dems (who have always been more anti-car than the other parties) - in charging businesses a car-parking tax if they provide 11 or more spaces for their employees. At least that's how it's going to work in Nottingham - who are doing this first. That story is covered here.

The councils expect employers to pass on the tax to their staff - this, they believe will encourage the workers to use public transport. It won't. It'll just annoy everyone.

Where I work, we have 14 parking spaces, including 2 disabled bays. These are used by staff and customers alike. How would that work then? Would we staff subsidise our customers' parking? Would we just park in the streets nearby? Will the side-streets of Nottingham and Bristol fill up with parked cars?

Fortunately, I don't work in Nottingham or Bristol.

I know that if I was going to start up a new business in the UK, then Nottingham and Bristol would be off my list of possible sites - I'd just end up with extra taxes and irritated staff.

One thing for certain, this guy had better watch out...

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Compass Needle

Sorry Chrysler, it's nothing personal.

I found this story this morning on my favourite Aussie car-site. It's basically saying that the new Jeep Compass has scored only 2 stars in its latest Euro NCAP ratings tests.

That's the sort of score Protons would get in the 1990s!

...and certain Chinese cars were getting less than 5 years ago.

To be fair to Chrysler/Jeep, the reason it has scored so badly is not really to do with driver and passenger safety - it's all to do with pedestrian safety. If you score badly on this, you can't have more than two stars.

Jeep reckon they will be able to get four stars in Australia where the scoring is a bit different - presumably because, due to population spread, you are less likely to hit a person and more likely to hit a sheep or a kangaroo.

ANCAP (Australasian NCAP) say they will look at the Euro results before making up their minds but it sounds like they don't do as many crash-tests, they often just use other organisations' results to make their own assessments.

But, overall, this outcome sort of backs up the stereotype of the Chelsea Tractor where parents choose to take their offspring to school in the largest vehicle possible "because they want little Tarquin to be safe". That's fine - I'm with Jeremy on this one - you can drive what you want to drive - but just be honest about it! Admit you like big cars and you feel safer in them and are not too bothered about anyone who ends up hit by them. And if it's a posh, big car, you feel you look good in them (if it's a Range Rover Sport - you probably do - unless you've blacked out the windows which means you have an ugly family).

I drive a 2.5 litre all-wheel-drive V6 Jag where a diesel Skoda Octavia estate would be a much more sensible choice - but I like the power, the drive and the badge. So I'm not going to criticise.

But, getting back to the Compass, I think it's going to have more problems than a low NCAP score. Car&Driver reviewed it and decided "Jeep's black sheep gets updated but remains unpleasant" while Autoblog also gave it a review and decided "Least Capable Jeep Still Lost In The Woods".

Two different sheep references there, maybe the Australians will like it after all.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

For Chrysler's Sake!

I keep seeing this ad on TV and I always end up shouting at the screen..."There's been good times and there's been bad times, but we came through it. How?"


Most of those cars are only re-badged Lancias anyway.

If they had stayed with their old European partners, Mercedes Benz, at least their ads would be a bit more innovative. This one, disguised as a sunroof and for their Actros truck is only visible from above - for example, from where a truck-driver would be sitting.Clever eh?

Another one of theirs was highlighted by Autoguide today, for the Mercedes Viano:
The Viano mustn't be confused with the awful Mercedes Vaneo - my local Merc dealer gave me one of those once as a discourtesy car.Very embarassing. But who knows, if they still made them today and Mercedes were still tied in to their old partners, it could be appearing in adverts as a Chrysler People-Mover.

Sunday, 12 February 2012


This is not to watched by minors (Morris or otherwise) - seriously, you have been warned!
I don't know if this is genuine or some guy just desperate to be on telly. It's an extract from a show on TLC (The Learning Channel - learning? - Really!?)

For some reason they've blurred out the badge on the front of the car as well - surely not to protect the innocent? It does make the identification a little trickier - most of the people adding comments to the Youtube entry (before it completely degenerated into some weird racist argument) seem to think it's a Chevrolet Monte Carlo - I reckon it's a Hyundai S-Coupe myself.

And the car is called "Chase" - a male name. This kid clearly has problems - his only hope may be to get out and go find a nice Korean boy - would that shock his father any more or less? - he seemed amazingly calm about the car-thing.

Anyway, here's a nice, apt bumper-sticker for the rear end of it:

Friday, 10 February 2012

Yellow Peril

Last weekend, the lovely Susanna Reid on BBC Breakfast Time mentioned a survey that stated that yellow cars had most problems when bought second-hand. I found that slightly interesting but have had to wait all week to find any further mention anywhere else of that survey. It was the Telegraph who eventually came up with this article. It claims that "14 per cent have some kind of defect such as covered-up repairs, 'clocked' mileage or inadequate paperwork"

My first car was sort of yellow. British Leyland called the colour "Sandglow" but I called it "Vomit Yellow" - it was a Dolomite very much like this one...I didn't have any such problems with it - but then again it was my father's before it was mine.

I still don't see car colour affecting used-cars that much except - this survey was a global survey, so maybe it's been skewed by a load of used examples of these things getting onto the market...