In Brief: Car plants' restart plans; Markets boosted by Covid-19 drug trial; Furlough scheme extended; new VW Tiguan images revealed

  • Here’s your business, motoring and news round-up for Saturday, April 18

Vauxhall wants to restart Ellesmere Port production Vauxhall has announced that enhanced safety preparations at its Ellesmere Port site are underway to help it restart vehicle production. Despite closing its doors on March 17, the Ellesmere Port site has remained ‘active’ and has implemented a variety of new safety measures.

Ellesmere Port’s management team has now invited union Unite to make a final review of the new safety protocols before any manufacturing activity can begin again. No restart date has yet been set. Car plants need to be reopened ‘as soon as possible’

Car manufacturing sites need to be reopened as soon as possible, European car makers have said. The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA), which represents 16 of Europe’s major car, truck, van and bus makers, has announced a strategic plan which it believes offers the best chance of kick-starting the automotive industry back into production. With many factories currently closed, the ACEA says that manufacturers and suppliers need to ‘rapidly and simultaneously’ reopen all of their factories once the ‘immediate crisis’ of the coronavirus pandemic has gone.

Markets boosted by positive Covid-19 drug trial Reports of a study where 113 patients showed rapid recovery from Covid-19 after taking a drug designed for fighting Ebola was enough to push stock markets up. A University of Chicago hospital taking part in a study found that patients on the antiviral medicine remdesivir, developed by Gilead Sciences, were nearly all discharged within a week.

The details published in healthcare publication Stat News helped push the FTSE 100 higher, closing out the day up 158.53 points, or 2.8 per cent, at 5786.96. European markets were equally excited by the news – with the French CAC 40 up 3.4 per cent and German Dax 30 up 3.2 per cent – helped by recent announcements of restrictions eased in Italy, Spain and Austria. Chancellor extends furlough scheme until end of June

The government has extended the furlough scheme until the end of June. Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the scheme would remain under review as he extended it until at least the end of June as employees are forced to stay at home to slow the spread of coronavirus. ‘It is vital for people’s livelihoods that the UK economy gets up and running again when it is safe to do so, and I will continue to review the scheme so it is supporting our recovery,’ Mr Sunak said. 

Meanwhile, Car Dealer Magazine has reported on the latest on commissions and the furlough scheme. The thoughts of our experts are that it CAN be included and you can read why here. We also spoke to experts from accountancy UHY Hacker Young on Car Dealer Live yesterday and they explained their thoughts on furlough in detail in the first part of the broadcast which you can see here.
[embedded content]

New Volkswagen Tiguan teased in official image Volkswagen has given a glimpse of what its facelifted Tiguan will look like in a new official image (main image on this page).

The new SUV is expected to arrive this summer and is likely to hit the road with more efficient engines and upgraded interior technology. Design-wise the sketch indicates a fresh new look for the Tiguan, with slimmer and more angular lights extending into the front wings. It’s a similar look to that seen on the recent eighth-generation Golf model.

Lister’s ‘fastest SUV in the world’ will be called Stealth Lister has teased what it believes will be the ‘fastest SUV in the world’ and it will be called Stealth. Based on the Jaguar F-Pace SVR, under the bonnet will sit a heavily modified version of that car’s 5.0-litre supercharged V8 engine, with performance upgraded from 542bhp to 666bhp.

Lister is promising a 0-60mph time of 3.5 seconds and a top speed in excess of 200mph. 
[embedded content]
Debenhams to shut seven stores with loss of 422 jobs

Debenhams has confirmed the closure of seven stores with the loss of 422 jobs after sliding into administration last week. The department store firm said it has agreed terms with landlords to continue trading at 120 of its 142 UK stores. Debenhams said that it failed to reach agreement with landlords regarding seven stores located in Truro, Stratford-upon-Avon, Salisbury, Westfield, West London, Warrington, Leamington Spa and South Shields

The historic retail entered administration on April 9. Officials approve GBP400m Amazon-Deliveroo deal A multimillion-pound investment in Deliveroo by Amazon has been provisionally cleared by the competition watchdog, after the food delivery firm said it would go bust without the cash it needs.

The Competition and Markets Authority said that, due to the coronavirus lockdown, Deliveroo had suffered heavily after several major restaurant chains, including Nandos, KFC and Pret, closed their doors. Officials said they had previously been concerned that the GBP400m investment round could damage competition in the UK as it emerged that Amazon was the majority investor. Foxtons to tap shareholders for GBP22m as 750 workers furloughed

London estate agent Foxtons has said it hopes to raise GBP22m after the company was forced to furlough 750 employees. The business, which also has 350 staff working from home, said that ‘the vast majority’ of furloughed workers are on 80 per cent of their usual pay. Foxtons said it would raise GBP22m from shareholders by flogging an early 20 per cent stake in the business.

It has already maxed out its revolving loan, bosses said. One in six adults ‘have already missed loan payments, or expect to’ One in six adults have already missed or expect to skip a loan repayment due to the impact of coronavirus, a survey has found.

However, nearly two-thirds of those affected said they had not yet asked their lender if they could take a payment holiday. Some 16 per cent of people surveyed had already skipped or expected to miss payments to lenders, such as those providing mortgages, personal loans, credit cards, or debt management plans, according to research for free credit report provider Credit Karma UK. Carwow’s Mat Watson gives advice to dealers on how to use video

Video is going to become an even more important tool for car dealerships when they return to work as customers become more conscious of unnecessary contact. Editorial director of Carwow Mat Watson, who stars in the company’s YouTube videos where they have 3.8 million subscribers and more than one billion views, has given some advice on Car Dealer Live for firms looking to connect with their customers from far away.
[embedded content]

Morgan celebrates Dutch partnership with limited-edition cars Morgan is celebrating six decades of its partnership with a Netherlands retailer with the production of several limited-edition models. The LE60 range of cars not only showcases the British firm’s attention to personalisation, but also its close relationship with Louwman Exclusive – Morgan’s sole Dutch retailer.

Just five cars have been created – four Plus Six modes and a single 3 Wheeler – having been designed at the company’s factory in Malvern, Worcestershire.

Yesterday’s round-up: Clarkson to host pub quiz; Ferrari pitches in; EasyJet’s empty seats plan; Trump’s reopening schedule

You may also like...