Archive | February, 2012

Getting The Best Car Insurance Quote

Car insurance is a necessary evil that all drivers have to endure.  It is one of the most expensive aspects of running a car and insurance companies seem to try and hike their prices up on an ongoing basis.

When it comes to car insurance there is a whole host of factors taken into account when working out your premium.  Two people driving exactly the same cars can receive insurance quotes that are literally hundreds, or even thousands of pounds different.  The reason is because insurance companies don’t just take into account the car that you are driving but they also take into account many aspects of you and your history as well as where you live.

Because there are so many factors to take into account, by far the best way to get the best insurance quote nowadays is to use an online comparison site.  Gone are the days when a whole day would have to be put aside to phone up dozens of companies and go through a twenty minute question-and-answer session with each broker.  An insurance comparison site will instantly show you the best price for you, your car and your circumstances.

However, don’t stop there.  Many people opt to then simply go ahead, click on the cheapest quote and proceed to enter their credit card details.  If the insurance company with the cheapest quote isn’t an “Online only” company then do not proceed to the checkout, instead, get their phone number and then call them up as if you are asking for a quote for the first time.  Then when they ask if you have had any prices already try quoting a couple of prices cheaper than the cheapest price you saw on the comparison site.  You will be amazed how many insurance companies will drop their price to meet a competitor’s quote.  Sometimes they simply won’t be able to do it but if they can then there is every chance that they will!

The thing is that insurance companies want your business and the person on the end of the phone gets a small bonus for getting your business.  Their website however is non-negotiable and there is no real person there incentivised to get you onboard.  By speaking to a real person who is financially motivated to get your business you will find that if there is a way to drop the price then they will.

Sometimes this can mean a saving of just a few pounds, but at the end of the day a five minute phone call is worth a few pounds.  In other cases though you will be surprised at just how much you can save.  If you are one of the unlucky people who have a very expensive insurance premium due to the kind of car you drive or your driving history then it is possible to save literally hundreds of pounds on what was already the cheapest quote in the first place!

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Most Wanted Cars For WAGS

For those of you who haven’t been on this planet for the last few years, a WAG is the female partner of a footballer and stands for “Wives And Girlfriends”.  These WAG’s are famous for their choice of luxury cars and often their choices influence many of the public.

The most infamous WAG’s choice of car is the Range Rover Sport.  It’s chunky looks, brutish power and beautiful interior make it the perfect choice for these young and rich ladies to cruise around in style.  There is also plenty of room for the school run while still looking ultra cool and being protected in a big cocoon of safety and class.

The thing that WAG’s love about the Range Rover Sport is the “Bling” factor.  Lots of shiny chrome, beefed up body parts and flashy lights is everything that a WAG looks for in a car and the Range Rover Sport does it all with ease.  They are also very easily “kitted up” with lots of little extras and can easily accommodate some huge alloy wheels.

Other cars that WAG’s love include Bentley’s for similar reasons but the Toyota Prius is also a favourite for the WAG that likes to show off the fact that she is “economically minded”.  As more and more people have begun to complain about how wasteful a 4×4 is with the planets resources, it has become more and more fashionable to drive around in a hybrid and show that you really care!

However, there is now the perfect compromise with the new member of the Range Rover family.  The Range Rover Evoque was released in 2011 and unbelievably looked as good as it did in its original concept stages.  The Range rover Evoque has all the class and bling factor of its bigger brother, the Range Rover Sport, but it is smaller and more economical.

The beauty of the Range Rover Evoque is that it is a 4×4 but its emissions and petrol consumption is very similar to a standard family saloon, meaning that the argument of being wasteful with the planets resources doesn’t really stand up.  However, the benefit of still having a stunning car with big wheels and lots of shiny chrome remains.  The interior of the car as well is truly amazing.  The levels of comfort and quality inside make this a car that you will just love to be in and that is why WAG’s are now quickly adopting this as their new car of choice.  Wait for this to be “the next big thing”!

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How Sportscar And Endurance Racing Could Take F1’s Crown

Sportscar and endurance racing has always been a brilliant breeding ground for road car technology. The cauldron of battle that is round the clock racing breeds performance with the necessity of reliability.

Disc brakes, double-clutch gearboxes, variable turbine turbo geometry, carbon-fibre brake discs and direct injection petrol engines are but a few inventions pioneered through endurance racing.

As manufacturers look to tighten their belts and the outlay for a full calendar of racing in the F1 circus carries on rising unabated, sportscar racing for many looks appealing.

With a direct link from racecar to road car there’s real benefit for the manufacturer, too. And then there’s the fans, the all important fans.

Without fans there’d be no motorsport, so with ticket prices for a Grand Prix almost prohibitively expensive and a full week’s ticket for five days worth of action, including a full 24 hours at the twice-round-the-clock French classic in Le Mans, sportscars really could steal F1’s crown.

It could rival it for on track action too. With BMW, Lamborghini, Corvette, Aston Martin, Porsche, Ferrari, Honda, Nissan, Toyota, Audi, Peugeot, Ford and other bespoke racecar manufacturers like Oreca and Zytek confirmed for the new 2012 World Endurance Championship – set up after the settling of a feud between the ACO (the organisers of the Le Mans 24 hours) and the FIA – sonorous sounding automotive exotica lapping within tenths of a second of each other would surely draw crowds. And at a fraction of the cost.

It’s close racing that makes good viewing, not one team with the most money – thanks to backing by a certain Austrian energy drink – waltzing of into the distance unchallenged. With sportscar racing you get that.

After 24 hours of racing at the 2011 24 hours of Le Mans, less than 13 seconds separated the eventual winner and the second place car – now that’s close racing.

Formula 1 is definitely the pinnacle of on-track motorsport – no question. But big-cube V8 Corvettes rumbling by, shaking your chest cavity making it difficult to breathe, and wailing Aston Martin V12s screaming past blurring your vision they’re engine notes are that piercing, proves there is more than one way to skin the proverbial.

The new World Endurance Championship will hopefully bring with it more fans, meaning more money, meaning more manufacturers, creating a self-perpetuating cycle.


With all that high-powered metal on show, we can’t wait to see how the inaugural season pans out.

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How to Save Money on Petrol

Petrol is a major ongoing drain on any driver’s pockets.  It is needed by most drivers on a weekly or even daily basis and is consistently going up in price.  Every month sees another price hike and indeed it is possible to see petrol go up day after day sometimes.  The huge price of petrol means that any saving made can be substantial and highly welcomed.  Here are a few simple ways to save when you next fill up the tank:


Supermarket petrol is often cheaper than some of the big brand petrol stations.  This isn’t because the quality of the petrol is any worse, it is simply because they can afford to subsidise their prices due to the high volume of traffic they already have coming in and out of their premises.  It is also a way that they attract people in; the way they see it is if they offer you cheap petrol you will come in, fill up and then pop into their supermarket and spend more money.   Therefore it is always worth trying to fill up at a supermarket rather than a “big brand” petrol station whenever you can.

Petrol Comparison Sites

The power of the internet has now provided us with websites that will analyse petrol prices on a daily basis and then let you know the cheapest garage in your area.  So, if today is the day you are going to go fill up with a full tank of petrol then have a look on one of these sites, find the cheapest petrol station and head straight over there!  Just make sure it isn’t going to cost you more in petrol to get there than you will save!

Special Offers

Supermarkets will sometimes run special offers in order to attract more shoppers.  For example, “Spend £50 on your shop and get 5p off per litre” is a common offer that some supermarkets run.  Some supermarkets have offered as much as 10p off per litre at their pumps when combined with a shop.  If such an offer is being run then this is the time to fill up the tank.  If you know an offer is being run for the next week or so then put off the “refill” for as long as possible so that you can fill up with as much cheap petrol as possible.  Combine it with your normal weekly shop and you have made a substantial saving.

Drive More Economically

Of course the most consistent way to save money is in the type of car you drive and how you drive it.  If you have a gas guzzler then consider changing it over for something more economical.  However, even the smallest and most economical of cars can still be made to use less petrol simply by driving carefully.  Avoid accelerating hard, make sure you are not carrying unneeded weight (for example, heavy golf clubs in the boot that are not even being used)  and avoid heavy braking.  Other advice is to never fill up with a full tank of petrol.  Instead, always drive on half a tank.  The extra power required to propel your car with the weight of a full tank of petrol actually makes your car less economical.

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Are Lotus’ Ambitious Expansion Plans Doomed?

When Lotus unveiled its five-car strong ambitious expansion plans back at the 2010 Paris Motor Show the automotive world certainly took notice.

When the firm then employed Dany Bahar, Ferrari’s ex-branding guru, as CEO, shortly followed by 458 Italia and 430 Scuderia designer Donato Coco to help pen the Norfolk firm’s latest efforts, the plans suddenly acquired a deal more gravitas.

But now it looks as though the hard work put in by Bahar and all at Lotus could be in serious jeopardy as the lightweight sportscar manufacturer’s parent company, Malaysian state-owned firm Proton, is put up for sale.

The Malaysian government has owned a majority share in the automaker since its inception in 1983, but now the government is looking to flog its chunk of the company.

The value of Proton stock rose by five per cent in December last year with speculation the centrally-owned company could be moved on to private hands.

But what does that mean for Lotus? Well, investment experts believe that the successful bidder will more than likely divest the Malaysian manufacturer’s 65 per cent stake in the British sportscar firm in order to release some capital to secure the future of Proton in Malaysia.

The automaker is under threat in its home country recording a 76 per cent drop in profits in the last quarter. The firm’s market share has also dropped considerably over the last decade – in 2002 Proton held a market share of 60 per cent in Malaysia seeing that halved to 30 per cent over a three year period to 2005.

If the company were to sell its holding in Lotus Group International it would spell the end of the credit line Lotus CEO Bahar has been relying on to develop the firm’s all-new five-car model line-up, complete with a clean-sheet in-house design for a new 4.8-litre V8 set to power the luxury Eterne and Esprit supercar.

It’s reported the Norfolk-based firm needs another half a billion pounds to bring its ambitious expansion plans to market but the company itself is only valued at an estimated £200 million – and that’s on the proviso that Bahar’s master plan succeeds.

So, what is the future for Lotus? Well rumour has it that Chinese auto giant Shanghai Automotive – which already has a partnership with premium European brand, VW – and venture capital firm Genii Capital have approached the Malaysian government about taking the helm at Lotus.

However, the Lotus-Proton situation pans out, we just hope that the automotive industry doesn’t have another Saab saga on its hands and that the company’s grand expansion goals don’t cripple it.

We want to see those five new Lotus’ sometime soon.

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Government Takes Three Times Road Spending in Motoring Taxes

Yes, you read that headline right. Latest figures from the Department for Transport have revealed that the Government now takes three times more than the budget earmarked for spending on the UK’s roads through levies on the motorist.

It begs the question what do we pay our road tax, fuel duty – the most significant portion of the price of a litre of fuel at 70 per cent – further VAT on fuel and insurance premium duty for if it’s just going straight into the coffers of old Queen Lizzies’ HM Revenue and Customs?

road Government Takes Three Times Road Spending in Motoring Taxes

The shocking state of the UK’s roads can only be blamed on the previous couple of harsh winters to a certain extent – the fact that only one third of what is taken in taxes on drivers is ever reinvested in the country’s road network is the real reason for the fields of potholes and emerging trenches that litter the motorways, trunk roads and high streets of Great Britain.

Last year the Treasury raised roughly £27 billion in fuel duty – the tax levied on a litre of fuel by the Chancellor, George Osborne – with around £5 billion coming from road tax.

Of this £33 billion purse, just under £5.7 billion was spent on the UK’s local roads with £3.75 billion put towards the up keep of national roads – a rough total of £9.45 billion expenditure and only 27 per cent of the total collected by the Treasury’s coffers.

Not only is the miserly spending on keeping the national road network up to date shocking, the fact that Department for Transport figures highlight the take from road tax doubled from 1987 to 2010, and revenue from fuel duty more than tripled, compounds motorists’ anger further.

“This is highway robbery. Using so little of the taxes motorists pay on road upkeep is plainly unfair.

“Motorists are also paying the price as Britain’s potholed and increasingly dangerous roads take their toll, damaging tyres, wheels, steering and suspension.” said Neil Greig, Director of policy and research for the IAM.

AA president Edmund King added: “fuel duty alone contributes more than 5% of the public finances tax take, including council tax. The Treasury is beginning to find out how high fuel prices and tax have started to kill off the goose that lays the golden egg.”

As fuel prices rocket to an all-time high and sales at the pumps drop, the government has to realise it needs to cut its taxes on the motorist and seriously improve the service drivers of the UK receive for the financial cost of taxes on driving, or the self-perpetuating situation is set to continue on its current downward spiral.


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Colour Matters

Have you ever really given any thought to the colour of your car?  If you bought your car brand new then you probably opted for the specific colour in the manufacturers range that you wanted.  However, if you bought your car second hand then there is more of a chance that you simply went with whatever colour happened to be on the best value car that met the spec that you were looking for.

So just how much does colour matter when it comes to cars?  Well, like anything else in life, certain products have more demand than others and sometimes this can be determined by something as simple as colour.  Some colours are more desirable than others while other colours are more fashionable in the short term.

Research shows that it all depends on the type of car you are driving.  In certain cases, a specific colour of a certain car can dramatically increase the price, while another car can see a significantly lower resale price.

Let’s take, for example, a Ferrari.  The resale values of Ferrari’s that are not red, yellow or black are often significantly less.  For example, a smoky blue Ferrari will often command literally thousands of pounds less than its red counterpart when it comes to resale, despite them both being of exactly the same spec, mileage and quality in every aspect.  The reason here would be that Ferrari’s are famous for being red and it is a colour that really stands out.  The chances are that anyone buying a Ferrari is doing so to stand out from the crowd and therefore wants a bold colour and therefore a regular blue colour simply isn’t good enough.  Therefore there is less demand and therefore it achieves a lower resale price.  The same also goes for Lamborghini’s and various other sports cars.

On the flip side, when it comes to executive cars, it is the darker and more reserved colours that maintain their price best.  The last thing you want here is a bright red Ford Mondeo.  The typical driver of a Ford Mondeo is looking to blend in and be part of the crowd, not stand out.  That means that the generic colours of silver and grey often hold their prices best.

When it comes to most other cars, anything in black or white always holds on to its price better than any other colour.  So, next time you come to purchasing a car, give some serious thought to that shade of pink that you like so much!

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