2008 is going to be a busy year for manufacturers launching new models. With many new cars hitting our showrooms next year consumers will need to carefully narrow down their choices when deciding on which vehicle to buy.
Firstly we can look forward to a barrage of fast and luxurious cars that were designed before the European Union (EU) got to grips with CO2 emission targets. Rolls Royce and Bentley will both be launching coupes, likely to be the most expensive closed cars either has put into mainstream production.
Volkswagen (VW) will not only launch a new Scirocco coupe, but it’s subsidiary Audi will bring the fantastic RS6 to market with a 580bhp engine! Meanwhile BMW readies the new X6 for sale – the most sporting SUV ever to wear the BMW badge. A little quieter over at Mercedes-Benz, although the AMG versions of the new C-Class and SL sports car will be launched.
From Japan, the new Nissan GT-R with 473 bhp will the wowing performance car enthusiasts. With performance to out gun the Porsche 911 Turbo at half the price the anticipation is palpable. And 2008 should be the year that Lexus finally puts it LF-A supercar into production. Mazda is also set to launch a new version of its successful RX-8 rotary-engined coupe.
Jaguar will also be going all-out to establish its new XF saloon in the marketplace. Ford will look to follow on from the successful launch of the new Mondeo in 2007 with the all-new Fiesta and a replacement for the much-loved Ka. They will be joined by the Kuga SUV.
2008 will also see the arrival of the much heralded Citroen C5, seemingly one of the most imaginative and interesting family cars of recent times. Vauxhall will launch the Insignia as a replacement for the timeless Vectra and there will be all-new successors to the Honda Jazz and Accord.
Our seventh insurance word of the week is: Arbitration
Procedure in which an insurance company and the insured or a vendor agree to settle a claim dispute by accepting a decision made by a third party.
A process in which a disagreement between two or more parties is resolved by impartial individuals, called arbitrators, in order to avoid costly and lengthy litigation.
One of the all-time greatest Christmas presents for boys has to be Scalextric. A gift which appeals to all ages, Scalextric first went on sale 50 years ago.
Created by Fred Francis, the ground-breaking concept was a tinplate toy with an electric engine, steered by a gimball wheel and driven by a simple on/off switch. There was no throttle modulation, so power delivery tended to be a little abrupt, but that crude beginning spawned an industry that expanded phenomenally over the next two decades.
Scalextric’s heyday was in the 1960′s and 1970′s. Back then it was the top of Christmas present lists every year. However, in the early 1980′s Atari introduced the first video games and knocked Scalextric from its perch. The 1980′s and 1990′s were also difficult times.
With manufacturing now switched to China the business is blossoming again thanks to the desirability of the finished product and largely to the advent of digital technology that enables up to six cars to race simultaneously while swapping between two lanes.
Scalextric Racing – Pit Stop Cafe
The Pit Stop Cafe near Spalding boasts five circuits: Silverstone, Brands Hatch, Catalunya, Edinburgh and Donnington Park. Each circuit has four lanes and races are endurance style, mangaed by computer.
Serious racers can also turn up on Thursday’s “club” night, where the crash and burn rule comes into effect, under which a spin means elimination. Straight lap racing is also popular and there is also “rally” style that involves taking the fastest laps from five in each lane.
Further information is available at Scalextric Racing.
Our sixth insurance word of the week is: Approved repairer
Using a vehicle repairer approved by your car insurance company will take away from you the entire problem of repairing your vehicle.
You do not need to worry about haggling over bills, as your insurer will deal with the repair costs and payments on your behalf. The objective of utilising the services of an approved repairer is to get you back on the road in the shortest possible time. In addition approved repairers will normally provide a courtesy car while yours is being repaired.
In a recent survey carried out by Direct Line over half of the respondents said they had been the victims of garages overcharging or work being done on their car that wasn’t necessary, costing an average of £471 each.
One way to ensure the quality of your repairs is to take out your car insurance policy with an insurer offering an approved repairer scheme.
This last year 2007 we have witnessed many insurers launching a speight of new dressed-down motor insurance policies.
Often referred to as simple or no frills car insurance, the objective of such policies is to enable the policyholder to tailor their own policy online, so you only buy the cover you want/need.
Norwich Union have led the way with agressive marketing for their Simple cover car insurance product. The policy is marketed as Comprehensive cover (not Third Party Fire & Theft).
Motorists considering this type of policy should always be aware of exactly what they are being covered for. Stripped out policies could leave you short should you need to make a claim and suddenly realise that although the premium was attractively low the levels of cover provided are not sufficient.
The THINK! Christmas Drink Drive campaign was launched on Friday 30 November.
The campaign aims to convince all drivers, with a particular focus on young male drivers aged 17-29 years, that a drink drive conviction has the potential to ruin their life by highlighting a mixture of the legal and personal consequences:
- being caught & breathalysed by the police;
- 12 month driving ban;
- criminal record;
- hefty fine;
- lifestyle changes (i.e. potential loss of job, relationships or car).
The key message is ‘That pint could come between you and Christmas‘, which will also be used as a strapline in the advertising materials.
Drinking & Driving
Any person who is driving, attempting to drive, or in charge of a motor vehicle on the road, or in a public place (eg a pub car park or a garage forecourt), may be required by the police to provide a breath test, to ascertain whether they are over the prescribed limit of alcohol – 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath (or 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood).
The Police are entitled to randomly stop your car, but they can only insist on a breath test if they have reasonable cause to suspect you have committed a traffic offence, or have consumed alcohol (eg they can smell it on your breath), or they reasonably believe you have been involved in an accident (eg the description of your car matches that given by a witness).
You do not have a right to insist on supplying a sample of blood or urine instead. If you fail to supply a breath specimen at the station you will committed an offence, unless you have a reasonable excuse. Being too drunk or unfit to supply the necessary breath specimen is NOT a reasonable excuse.
A medical condition which prevents you from supplying enough breath for the machine to sample may be a sufficient excuse. If you have such a condition you must advise the police at the time.
Our fifth insurance word of the week is: Analyst
Insurance Analyst refers to those positions conducting professional research, analysis and evaluation of factors affecting the sale and marketing of insurance.
A professional working for a fund manager or broker whose job is to analyse key industry sectors (e.g. retail, oil, pharmaceuticals) and determine the prospects for the companies operating in them.
Research done by a broker analyst will be made available to the firm’s clients (fund managers) in an attempt to persuade the fund managers to place orders with the brokers and generate commission revenue.
Our fourth insurance word of the week is: Adjuster
An individual employed by a property/casualty insurer to evaluate losses and settle policyholder claims. These adjusters differ from public adjusters, who negotiate with insurers on behalf of policyholders, and receive a portion of a claims settlement. Independent adjusters are independent contractors who adjust claims for different insurance companies.
A person appointed or employed to settle or arrange matters that are in dispute; one who determines the amount to be paid on a claim. An insurance adjuster determines the extent of the insurance company’s liability when a claim is submitted.
A public adjuster is a self-employed person who is hired by litigants to determine or settle the amount of a claim or debt.