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BusinessCar Office's Blog: April

Date: 30 April 2007

Having a crash in your company car is not normally a good thing. But when the crash in question is into a forward facing speed camera you have to see the cloud's silver lining, not that we'd condone that sort of behaviour...

30 April 2007: Truvelo at first sight

Having a crash in your company car is not normally a good thing. But when the crash in question is into a forward facing speed camera you have to see the cloud's silver lining, not that we'd condone that sort of behaviour...

The unlucky driver, one Paul Dinsdale, claims to have suffered a mechanical failure which meant he 'lightly tapped' this Truvelo in Buxton with his Ford F-series pick-up.

The police have taken the imported pick-up away to investigate the cause of the accident.

Speaking exclusively to BusinessCar, Dinsdale said: "I'd had my eye on that camera for years, although seriously I was lucky I wasn't in a normal car, hitting the camera was like hitting a wall."

Tristan Young

25 April 2007: Back from the CV Show

It's been a good few years since I last went to the Commercial Vehicle Show, but yesterday picked up so much gossip and information in such a short space of time, I'm sure I'll go back next year.

Two themes emerged from the show, the first was that in certain sectors of the LCV market there is currently a lack of stock to fill urgent orders with most manufacturers pointing the finger at their rivals, with only Ford being brave enough to admit it could do with greater production on Transit to satisfy demand.

The second theme was that BusinessCar's story about the introduction of official CO2 and mpg figures leading to a new tax system for vans was spot-on.

While people were worried that van mpg figures would be difficult to set given the variations in body styles and loads carried, the underlying trend toward taxation being based on environmental aspects could not be ignored.

Watch this space.

Tristan Young

16 April 2007: It's the little things

Jumping in and out of different cars, as we're fortunate enough to do from time to time in this industry makes you think about the stupidly straightforward bits and pieces that some manufacturers omit from their cars.

The thought occurred to me during a recent drive of two new models from Dodge, the Avenger and Nitro. Being flung round some country roads by an enthusiastic driver left me reaching for the passenger's grab handle for support. Except that there wasn't one. I can't remember the last time such a fundamental piece of kit was missing, and it got me thinking about other handy features that some carmakers still don't seem inclined to include despite their blatant benefits.

The most obvious is that handy little arrow next to the fuel gauge that tells you which side the filler is. I can't see why on earth everyone doesn't do it.

There have been countless times that I've driven onto a forecourt and then had to stop and lean out of the door to check which side the filler is. Hopefully it's not true, but I can feel people looking at me like I'm the idiot that has to check before each fill.

The other major irritation that's becoming less prevalent these days is the annoying cars that need a key to open the boot. Just please fit a little button that means I don't have to get out of the car, walk round to the boot, realise that I'm an idiot and need to hit either the button in the cabin or the one on the key, go back to cabin for one or the other, then eventually retrieve whatever I was after from the boot.

I could go on but I won't, mainly to keep my blood pressure down! There are loads of other minor irritations and foibles with all makes and models of cars, and sometimes they're so pathetically cheap to rectify that it frustrates that no-one's bothered.

Paul Barker

11 April 2007: Google docs and other online tools

Forgive me if I'm a bit late to the game on this one, but I just thought I'd take the chance to recommend a new free online service.

I've recently discovered Google Docs, which strikes me a seriously useful online tool if you have to share Word documents or spreadsheets with colleagues.

Basically, you can upload documents which can then be edited online (including spell checking) by you and other people you work with - for me this means you only have one version of a document running at a time and stops duplicates carrying different alterations.

Google Docs also allows you to publish documents to the world or select groups. Here's an exclusive story just for readers of this blog.

While we're on the subject of free online business tools it seems like the perfect opportunity to plug Business Tools.

If you've not visited it before we offer the best car tax calculator going, a weekly fuel price map for the UK, route planning, traffic info and even the opportunity to buy your next business car.

Tristan Young

2 April 2007: Registration fee shenanigans

Government body communication is often patchy. Take last week's increase in the First Registration Fee.

On the afternoon of Wednesday 28 March BusinessCar was shown an internal DVLA document revealing the change and we published the story of the £12 fee hike.

On Thursday we started contacting the major manufacturers in the business car market to see what they would be doing - passing on the price hike or absorbing it.

Few responses were forthcoming and those that did call back said they'd not heard of the rise.

On Friday we called the SMMT to see if they'd heard about the rise. The press office hadn't, so the SMMT called the DVLA. We did the same - but a different part of the DVLA.

The DVLA confirmed the First Registration Fee changes to us and denied all knowledge of the changes to the SMMT. Great.

Two minutes later we got a press release from the DVLA, also confirming the changes.

What a great bit of joined up thinking.

Tristan Young