Anyone would think that we’ve just passed another new reg date.
They’re right, we have, with 67 plate cars now on the roads.
This week there’s also news of changes to emission and fuel economy tests for the first time in 20 years; a huge new fleet hub and a big milestone for one manufacturer.
If you’re looking for a new car visit www.exchangeandmart.co.uk/new-cars and www.s1cars.com/new-cars
Talking of emissions…
New emissions and fuel economy test have come in, replacing a single test that hasn’t been updated for 20 years.
The new tests, which measure everything from fuel consumption and carbon dioxide (CO2), to nitrogen oxides (NOX), particulates by mass and number (PM/PN) and carbon monoxide (CO), are part of European regulations designed to improve air quality and tackle climate change.
As well as a tough new laboratory test, all newly launched car models will have to undergo robust official on-road testing before they go on sale – an element that no other vehicle testing regime in the world requires.
EU regulators and national governments have been working, with the support of industry, to make testing more relevant to modern vehicles and consumer needs.
Every new car model destined for UK showrooms now needs to undergo a new test called the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP), which measures all regulated emissions, as well as CO2 and fuel economy.
Like the previous test, it is conducted in controlled laboratory conditions for consistency across every test and every new vehicle in every country.
However, it is faster and longer, with a greater range of vehicle and engine speeds, engine load, gear changes and temperatures. It will also take into account modern vehicle technology. And, because it is based on some half a million miles of real driving data, it will be far closer to the conditions most people experience on the road today.
Secondly, in a world first, new models being developed for sale in the UK will also need to prove their air quality credentials by passing a brand new Real Driving Emissions test using special state-of-the-art portable emissions measurement equipment.
Mike Hawes, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ chief executive, said: “We welcome this challenging new regime, which will provide hard evidence that the industry's ongoing investment in ever more advanced technology is delivering on air quality goals.
“Combined, these new and demanding tests will soon give consumers emissions performance information that is far closer to what they experience behind the wheel – and inspire greater confidence that the new cars they buy are not only the cleanest, but the most fuel efficient ever produced.”
A big milestone for a family favourite
Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port factory has been making the Astra for nearly 40 years and it’s just celebrated the four millionth car rolling off the line.
To mark the occasion it brought 236 Astra Sport Tourers together to spell out the feat.
Making the iconic British car since 1979, the plant has provided employment to generations of local families, plowing millions into the economy.
The celebratory image, which took 12 hours, 57 red and 179 white cars to assemble, spelled out the achievement in Astra’s trademark red, honouring the thousands of employees who have contributed to the momentous milestone.
Ellesmere Port has produced all seven generations of the Astra, exporting more than two million vehicles to 25 European markets and even Australia in the early years.
Today it employs nearly 2,000 people and many more depend on it in the supply chain as it builds approximately 680 Astras a day.
Here are 10 things you didn’t know about the Vauxhall Astra:
The Vauxhall Astra replaced the Viva and was the first Vauxhall model with front wheel drive.
One in four Brits has owned or driven an Astra.
The height of 4 million Astras is the equivalent to 62,500 Big Bens.
Collectively we’ve driven 216 billion miles in Astras – that’s enough to drive to the sun and back 1,161 times.
The length of 4 million Astras would take you to China and back.
The name of the Vauxhall Astra derives from the Latin Astralis meaning the stars.
The Astra has always been a popular police patrol car – the mk6 model was used by 54 different constabularies.
Multi-award winning, the Astra most recently won European Car of the Year in 2016.
Not just Brit-built, the current Astra was designed by a team led by Brits Mark Adams and Malcolm Ward.
The Astra became the fourth ‘Reasonably Priced Car’ on BBC Top Gear and driven by Margot Robbie, Will Smith, Olly Murs, Aaron Paul and Warwick Davis.
Denis Chick, director of communications at Vauxhall Motors, said: “The Vauxhall Astra has been one of Britain’s best-selling and loved cars for almost four decades and we’re proud to manufacture it here in the UK at Ellesmere Port in Cheshire.
“We felt the production of our 4 millionth Astra was worth celebrating and, as always, the team at Ellesmere Port has stepped up to the challenge by creating this stunning image.”
Vauxhall Motors has invested more than £200 million in the Ellesmere Port factory in recent years and it remains a stalwart of British manufacturing.
With nearly 80% of Ellesmere Port vehicles currently exported out of the UK, it’s set to continue as a major supplier to customers both home and abroad.
Huge new facility for fleet market
What is claimed to be the largest UK investment in the vehicle fleet market, totalling some £16 million by SMH Fleet Solutions, is close to completion and will open for business in early October.
The purpose-built 40,000sqft facility, built on a green field site at Thurleigh in Bedfordshire, will have storage space for 4,500 vehicles and will provide vehicle inspection, logistics and refurbishment for the UK fleet vehicle market.
It is anticipated that 200 new jobs will be created at the new development.
The new SMH fleet vehicle centre is situated close to main road links just north of Bedford and the company says it incorporates the very latest, leading edge technologies and service provision for the benefit of the expanding vehicle manufacturer, fleet and rental markets.
It will be one of the largest and most modern refurbishment centres in Europe, says SMH.
“We are delighted that our new facility is on schedule and close to completion” said Martin McAuley, managing director at SMH Fleet Solutions.
“It is the culmination of our dream of providing the vehicle fleet industry with the most advanced facility, one of its type, anywhere in the UK or Europe.”
SMH Fleet Solutions has been providing services to the fleet industry for more than 25 years and has five centres across the UK.