Daniel, Peter and all at PMW, Where do I start? I guess I’ll tell the whole story! At 31 years old and on my fifth BMW I can’t believe it has taken me so long to find you! Having been messed around previously by a major BMW dealership I knew it was time to consider other options. I was introduced to your firm by a friend that owns an E90 M3 and was impressed by your service. In the same week, another friend recommended you. Two recommendations in one week, it had to be a sign. Both could not speak highly enough of your attitude, professionalism and end product. Time to call!…………… I originally spoke to Jayne who was warm, friendly and personable. I was passed to Peter and immediately knew that my car was going to PMW and nowhere else. Car rental was arranged and so when I dropped the car off, I had a car to drive away with and with minimum fuss. Having been dealing with main dealerships for so long, I predicted a call either at the end of the first day it was in the garage or the next morning. So, it came as a surprise to hear from Peter whilst I was driving home, some 30 minutes to an hour after I had dropped the car off. Peter knew there were things I personally wanted to do to the car, but suggested we prioritise works in order to mitigate the total costs. Hang on a second… A car garage worrying about MY money? This was getting too good to be true, surely. By the end of the first day, Peter had pointed out issues which he felt needed attention and we agreed to start works, costs were made clear before a spanner had been picked up. Whilst in the garage, I never had to call to find out what stage the repairs were at, I was always called and kept updated. Again, in stark contrast to my usual dealings with BMW dealerships. I picked my car up a few days later and Peter asked if I wanted to drive the car with him. I was just amazed that he was willing to take 5 minutes out of his day to make sure I was satisfied. Every garage should do it, but it really made it clear to me that PMW care about their clients. They care about their reputation and it shows in everything they do. The car was a dream, it just drove beautifully. A few days after the service, I booked the car into a BMW dealership to get the alloys re-furbed and a dent taken out. Having just been serviced by PWM, I only wanted aesthetic work done. So it came as a surprise when they called me (a day later!) to say the diff seals and gearbox seals needed replacing. Alarm bells ringing. Firstly, why are they checking mechanics when I didn’t ask for this, and secondly did PMW not do this work? I called Peter and he confirmed the seals were changed so back on the phone to BMW. I asked the BMW dealership what gave them the impression this work needed doing and they pointed to oil residue. I asked them if they had actually checked the seals and they hadn’t. After inspecting again, they (BMW) admitted the work had already been done and that they would have charged me for work that already been carried out. What a f******g liberty. I asked BMW not to look at my car anymore and to carry out the works I originally asked them to do. I have lost all faith in them, they really should be taking a leaf out of PMW’s book. The car was in the garage for three days for this work and I was called twice. Owning a business myself, my feelings are that any business shows it true colours when things go wrong, not when they are going smoothly. This leads to chapter two!………. Two weeks later, the car came up with a transmission fault whilst my wife was driving home. Straight on the phone to Daniel. Daniel agreed a tow would be best so as not to cause anymore issues and said he would arrange this immediately. He called me back within 15 minutes and the car was collected within the hour. Unbelievably efficient.The fault was found that day; a faulty pin in the transmission electrical plug. No bullshit, no messing around. An apology and the problem fixed within 24 hours. The entire situation was dealt with perfectly.I really cannot sing your praises enough PMW. I can only try to put into words how impressed I am and have been with your service, communication and the overall experience. Even my wife smiles like a Cheshire cat now and has asked me not to change cars as I usually do every 12 months. My Wife! Someone who just does not care about cars. So, not only have you made my car drive like a dream and made me the happiest car owner in London but you’ve also managed to make the wife happy as well, that deserves a bonus point.All my staff are bringing their cars to you (as you know). If I meet anyone in the street that owns a BMW, will be sending them you way, PMW are just on a different level. You are in a league of your own.Genuinely, keep up the amazing work Guys & thank you very , very much for everything. My car will not be going anywhere else in future, even if I moved abroad!Though I guess that’ll be a good excuse for a long drive?
Hi just wanted to leave some feedback to say thanks for dealing with my request
for swirl flap blanks so quickly. I ordered these at 12pm and they were with me
in the Western Isles before 11am the next morning! I needed to ask for some
advice when putting everything back together which I was given immediately over
the phone. All in all, a fantastic company which offered a customer service
level that was second to none!
After a bodged repair by a local London garage to my swirl flaps and deep concerns about my 2001 BMW 530D Touring I consulted Peter from pmwltd about the condition of my car. My regular mechanic whom I have known for 20 years simply took out my swirl flaps and replaced the shafts with bolts. This at some time later, only (900 miles) caused an ingestion into the chamber and ruined my piston and valves and looked like a very time consuming and costly repair. After completion I took my car to peter at pmw and discussed the works. He had his guys strip out the existing bolts that were very unprofessional and replaced with his swirl flap blanking plates. Now I have heard a lot about these plates and swirl flap damage and I can tell you as an ex AA Patrol man that if not done correctly as Peter has done you will cause serious damage to your beloved engine. This is a guy with a great team and a wealth of knowledge behind them who know their stuff, not your usual bit mechanic who ”
knows a bit about engines”. I drove down from Lewisham London to his workshops in Chelmsford and it only took an hour and was easy to get to. If I was you I would call them for your piece of mind because you know like I do that you don’t want just anyone tinkering with your pride and joy. Its worth the drive knowing your car is in safe and knowledgeable hands at pmw. He,s not a rip off either, he is a very reasonable honest mechanic and cheaper than the main dealers out there. Thanks peter.
I’ve been coming across some quite unusual write-ups and reviews of SUV’s in recent weeks, mainly along the lines of their environmental credentials, which seem to sometimes be better than I expected and, in some cases, much, much better.
Now, I’m not talking about standard petrol or diesel engine SUV’s - which, as we all know, are notoriously inefficient regarding fuel consumption, and hence produce rather hefty CO2 emissions (and cost a lot to tax in the UK as a result). Hybrids, however, seem to be quite a different story altogether…
For example, Land Rover recently announced their plans to launch a Range Rover hybrid in 2013 which will boast CO2 emissions of less than 100g/km CO2 - i.e. the same as most Ford Fiestas produce these days. Similarly, a Porsche Cayenne hybrid is already on sale which offers CO2 emissions of 193g/km - which is not much more than my old Ford Escort used to produce.
In other words, it seems the major manufacturers of SUV’s have realised that green must be the future, especially with fuel costs escalating by the month and new systems of road tax being introduced based on CO2 emissions (as is the case in the UK). Of course, it must have been much easier for the manufacturers to accept this greener future with the aid of massive grants from our governments in order to help develop the technologies, but nonetheless, it does seem that some pretty effective engineering and design work is being carried out.
The reality is that, in the UK at least, a new Range Rover will cost £950/year to tax, while the hybrid version which we can expect to see around 2013, would fall into the free category - which makes a pretty massive financial difference to almost anyone considering such a purchase.
We shouldn’t get too confused just yet - standard SUV’s are still extremely fuel inefficient and represent pretty bad news for your wallet and the environment: however, it does seem that with the next generation of hybrid SUV’s this might no longer necessarily be the case. Perhaps there will be a future for the formerly notorious gas-guzzlers after all, unlike other previously popular models such as hummers, which seem to be firmly consigned to the dustbin of auto history.
There’s an interesting piece over at the Telegraph online from James May this week, in which he discusses the various complaints of motoring groups and individual motorists who had been of the view that the previous Labour government was somehow ‘anti-car’, as a result of the various escalations in the cost of driving during the last 13 years.
The fundamental point is that there is an inherent absurdity in this labeling - evident if we take another example, the sizable stamp duty tax on buying a house, and then decide that the previous gov’t was also ‘anti-houses’ (The whole ‘anti-car’ thing then starts to seem rather daft…).
The core issue according to James May is simply one of taxation - which any and every government will apply heavily to certain things, especially cigarettes, booze, fuel etc. None however will ban any of these things (which would be the true ‘anti-car’ position), but simply put a premium on consuming them which will go into the treasury budget.
Unfortunately the current economic reality for the incoming government would have been the same regardless of which party it was drawn from - that massive deficeit didn’t care if it was Gordon Brown, Nick Clegg or David Cameron in No.10, and hence it seems unlikely that any administration would have turned down the opportunity to generate the considerable income available from fuel and motoring taxes, just as no party would have suddenly turned around and slashed a coupe of quid off cigarette duties.
We have to recognise that fuel is more and more one of the core safe (but unpopular) sources of government income - in that as long as the rate of tax isn’t too steep, most of us will grumble slightly but continue to drive, though maybe with a smaller car, more efficient driving etc. Like beer and cigs (and unlike food for example), fuel/driving is something that will not directly be infringing anyone’s survival should they be forced to alter consumption habits significantly.
From the perspective of the motorist who thinks things are expensive now I have some bad news - in my opinion driving will never be this cheap again; in five years we’ll remember the £1.20 litre fondly while paying £2.10 or whatever. Looking at the the taxation trend on similar commodities (alcohol, cigarettes being the main ones) this conclusion is pretty obvious and the truth of the three main political parties’ stance on such is that there simply isn’t much difference - it’s not a point of party difference any more than the food they serve in the Whitehall canteens. If you like cheap driving I recommend instead a once annual holiday in Saudi Arabia where a litre of petrol will cost you around 20p right now, which is probably the amount fuel would simply increase by here while you’d be away…
With the Beijing Motor show (or Auto China 2010 as it was otherwise known) having taken place last weekend in China, it seems the web is a-buzz with a plethora of interesting coverage and comment. As always there was the usual array of futuristic eco-technologies and sexy conceptual models, as well as a strong showing from Chinese and Asian manufacturers, that tend to feature a little less in the other major shows - In other words, we had a little glimpse of what the future holds from some lesser known (but probably not for long) Chinese auto firms.
Without further ado, for those who couldn’t make it (i.e. pretty much anyone reading this I imagine) here’s a round-up of the next best thing: some highlights from what’s on offer on the web…
AutoBlog have posted an excellent podcast, downloadable for free, containing analysis and debate of all the major industry developments to come out of the show. Their experts cover everything from Beijing design innovation, public perception of automotive design, industry bailouts and more - well worth a listen for anyone interested in the current issues facing the industry.
The Telegraph online is a good place to pop over for a more visual experience - with the site offering a great picture gallery from the show with over 30 images. There some pretty bizarre conceptual models both from the realm of sleek sporting models to mini urban eco electrics.
Finally, the official homepage of the show itself is worth a look, showcasing more detailed info on the exhibitors and participants so that you can find out more on the aspects which might have taken your interest.
Oh dear - recently I bought a used car after my trusty old 1.3 Ford Escort finally succumbed to its old age and failed an MOT in spectacular style (£550 to get it on the road for another year - though I’m now starting to think that maybe wasn’t so bad). Basically I was a little naive about just how much running a car in 2010 was going to be costing, and now I’ve learned my lesson (albeit somewhat expensively).
You see the car I got was a bit of a bargain by the traditional markers - a 1.6 Daewoo Tacuma in great condition, only 29k on the clock, for just £1800. The problem is that the running costs for just one year of the car look set to exceed this by some way - and it is this that it seems we’re going to need to get used to when buying any sort of car in the near future.
In short, the price of the car itself is actually far less significant (assuming you intend to keep and run the car for more than a couple of years) than the costs of running it, and it is the latter that you really need to do your research on before you head to the dealership.
First of all, road tax has gotten super, super expensive for all mid- to larger cars (with higher rates of CO2 emissions). Check the latest information from DirectGov and be sure to know what you are buying in terms of tax category - my 1.6 Daewoo is in band K for example, as it emits quite a high 205g/km. Consequently it will now cost be a whopper £245 to renew the tax disc for another year (up £30, or roughly 15% on last year), while a new Tacuma would cost a staggering £550 a year under the new tax structure for new cars registered on or after April 1st 2010.
Then comes the question of insurance, which many are finding has also become a little more complicated as the cost of premiums has increased dramatically over the past year, often outweighing the reductions of another year of no-claims bonus. Again, this is something which young drivers especially will be encountering for the first time, so it’s important to be aware of which category your desired car model falls into, as anything exceeding 6 or 7 could start to be horrendously expensive - even with a few years no claims bonus.
I won’t go into the question of fuel too much - we all know the score on that (it’s super expensive, and will only get more so through the next couple of years), and you can find quite a decent breakdown of costs in a recent article in Telegraph motoring.
The important thing to remember is that this situation is not entirely unique in the UK when compared to close neighbours in Europe such as France, Germany, or Italy (also, with regard to fines and penalties many will find the UK again to be roughly on a par with the rest of the EU). Generally, driving (and transport in general) is becoming more and more expensive, which is a result of some pretty unavoidable factors, and a few we could maybe have side-stepped but haven’t.
I’ll take one example from each category here before I finish. Firstly, those pesky factors we can’t do anything about - namely, the fact that cars require petrol (oil) to run, and we don’t have any of this of our own. Moreover those that do have it know that its supply is limited and that the market generally will follow normal supply-demand principles - i.e. as it becomes rarer, it also gets more expensive.
Those that say the government could offset this by reducing taxes on petrol are advocating a remarkably blinkered policy unfortunately - as what would happen in 20 or 30 years when we are left with a completely oil-dependent infrastructure, economy etc and the stuff runs out? The chaos doesn’t really bear thinking about, instead the fact that we need to wean ourselves off the stuff over the next couple of decades is pretty evident, but the question remains about the best way to do this.
Now let’s turn to an arguably more avoidable problem with the cost of transport in the UK - that of the cost of public transport, which often doesn’t represent great value for money (though in coming years, when compared to using a private car, it no doubt will start to). I am worried that the rapidly escalating cost of owning and running a car, will translate also to rising rail and bus transport costs, mainly for the reason that these services could increase by some way in cost and still represent a cheaper option that a private car.
In any case, whichever government wins the upcoming general election, public transport must be a priority if we are to avoid a situation that would be very bad for business, for leisure, for general quality of life in the UK, whereby any kind of transport becomes a real luxury that many cannot afford.
The government is currently reviewing recommendations from the secretary of state for transport, Lord Adonis, to lower the blood alcohol limit for drink driving convictions and bans from 80mg per 100ml of blood to 50mg (i.e. to just over half a pint of premium strength beer), which would bring us in line with most other EU countries.
Furthermore, research by road safety charity, Brake, suggests that the public (including drivers) would be in favour of an even more drastic reduction - to just 20mg per 100ml of blood. So, while it seems likely that we could wait a few more months before anything is announced for certain with regard to changes in legislation, it seems very probable that some degree of alteration to current limits will be introduced in either 2010 or maybe even 2011.
Now, as can be expected, this has provoked the usual array of complaints and protests, mainly it seems coming from drivers who quite enjoy the fact that the current laws permit them to have two, or even three, pints of beer before getting behind the wheel of their vehicle. The 70 or so deaths a year (and 230 serious injuries) that would be prevented by the change are a fair price to pay for this liberty according to their logic (or otherwise they dispute the validity of the figures, despite having very little to base this complaint on).
Moreover, apparently this will kill the rural village pub according to many of the same voices. Well, to me it seems quite likely that rural village pubs will be offering a range of other (non-alcoholic) beverages - plenty of them quite nice (fresh fruit juices, assorted teas and coffees, smoothies, fizzy pop, some nice elderflower cordials, ginger beers, tonics, etc etc) which will surely offer some degree of interest and refreshment to the drivers who wish to spend an afternoon or evening in the company of their local landlord and fellow villagers.
If not - (i.e. if the no booze factor is simply too significant to overcome and they end up staying at home with drinks from the off-license), then it seems quite clear that the pub, as a hub of the local community, was not that valued in the first place if something as little as no alcohol in one’s drink is enough to provoke abandonment of these supposedly beloved traditional social spaces.
So, I’m all ears if someone can provide a rational and sensible reason for opposing this proposed change but, in the meantime, i’m afraid the logic that this is some oppressive totalitarian measure of a power-drunk government, or that it signs the death warrant of the rural pub, seem like very thin arguments indeed. They basically represent an attempt forward a wider debate on issues such as individual freedom and local communities, when the underlying true fact is that the owner of such opinions simply quite likes being able to legally drive after a few drinks. This is hardly the most responsible position from which to evaluate this newly proposed piece of legislation…
With the government’s scrappage scheme due to end in the next week or so it seems likely that the used car market will soon be enjoying a boost in sales thereafter. However, since the Office of Fair Trading has this week declared that many used dealers are still failing to provide a satisfactory service, it seems worth re-iterating some of the most commonly occurring areas where buyers get ripped off.
(N.B. This is not intended as a comprehensive list of buyers’ rights - simply a reminder of some often forgotten, but very crucial, points).
1. Do not buy a car from a dealer posing as a private seller. This is a common example of malpractice wherein dealers attempt to avoid the industry obligations that are a legal requirement for them by looking to hide the fact that they are an independent small dealership. It’s estimated that buyers spend an average of £425 per car fixing problems which should be the dealer’s responsibility - make sure you don’t expose yourself to this risk by buying from a dealer avoiding their obligations of after-care to the customer.
2. ‘Sold as seen’ and ‘No refund’ are words you sometimes see or hear during a dealer’s sale masquerading as a private one. Be on the lookout for this as it represents an illegal practice and one which should be reported to the OFT. It goes without saying of course that it’s not usually a good idea to buy the car in question as well…
3. Finally, make sure that key documents relating to MoT and the vehicle registration are supplied. Buying a car without this exposes you to all sorts of legal problems later on, not to mention increasing the chances that you are being sold a stolen, unregistered or faulty car.
Those are the three most essential key points to bear in mind, though there are many more further explanations of statutory rights and buying tips available both from the OFT and online. Ensure to inform yourself if entering the used car market in coming months, to avoid contributing to the millions of pounds a year that buyers unnecessarily pay out as a result of unfair business practice. It goes without saying that most dealerships do respect both the law and their customers - but it’s nonetheless essential to report, and avoid, the ones that don’t.
With the goverment’s scrappage scheme due to finish by the end of March (or as is even more likely - sometime slightly before, if the maximum number of orders is reached), it it inevitable that pretty soon the car industry will have to revert back to the much higher pre-scrappage prices that were being charged prior to the scheme.
Though one or two companies (such as Toyota and Vauxhall) will continue to offer some sort of scrappage offer of their own afterwards, the majority of the 37 participating manufacturers will be reverting to their standard pricing - which begs the question, just what kind of sales figures can be expected for the spring quarter, and then into the summer, as consumers are suddenly faced with far higher (and more prohibitive) prices?
Certain companies in particular have enjoyed massive success with the scheme - Ford and Hyandai being the two frontrunners, and indeed on the whole it has been massively successful as a way of keeping people buying new cars, safeguarding at least some manufacturing jobs and marginally reducing CO2 emissions by encouraging the use of smaller (and more efficient) cars.
However, there was always the risk that the scheme would create a slightly problematic period of market transition once it ended (which nonetheless was preferable for everyone when compared with immediate and much more drastic consequences to the market faced with crumbling demand a year ago) - and it will be interesting to see how manufacturers, and consumers, react to these changes.
I expect the used car market will once more see a surge in demand (after the slight drop off seen as a result of the scrappage offer), but beyond that it remains a tough call to judge what the manufacturers are likely to do, especially if demand for new cars curtails significantly over coming months. As always, we’ll keep you posted.
The Daily Telegraph has teamed up with Honest John’s car market info website to conduct a poll for the upcoming Golden Garages awards, which will see a series of awards given out to the UK’s leading garages, as well as the compilation of a database of all the most reliable and professional garages across the country - offering customers assurance and confidence in finding the right garage for them.
The awards are approved by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) and the Department for Transport, with voting now open and closing on March 8th. If you wish to vote you can do so quickly and simply at:
After voting closes, shortlists for each region of the UK will be announced, before a final winner is picked in a second round of voting during March. Why not join in the voting (there are even prizes to be won by both voters and garages)? We’ll keep you posted on the outcome
A report published today has called on ministers to introduce average speed cameras on all of the UK’s motorways in a bid to save around 1.4 million tonnes of CO2 annually. Despite the clear environmental incentive to support the measure however, many drivers are highly opposed to the move - no surprise since it is estimated that around 52% regularly break the 70mph speed limit.
The problem in a way is that the technology is currently too good, strange as the concept seems - for today’s cars and roads are far different from those of the time when the speed limit was introduced. Put simply, it is far too easy (and often safe) to exceed the national speed limit.
And this is the reason so many people are incensed by the suggestion (see for example the range of angry comments left on the Telegraph website in response to an article on the subject), but what is also puzzling is that often the same people who regard this as an infringement of civil liberties, consider breaking the speed limit as a fundamental human right…
What should be remembered here is that the issue is one of reducing CO2 emissions - and there can be no doubt that the measure would represent a great way to do do this. If it means that we must concentrate more while driving, then so be it - after all if you struggle to maintain a consistent speed while driving due to the difficulty in checking the speedometer then maybe you shouldn’t be driving on a motorway at 90mph…
What is certain is that this question will continue to be a massively controversial one over coming months, as whichever government comes out of the general election struggles to meet the challenges of reducing carbon emissions. The reality is that driving excessively fast on motorways, be it for pleasure or business, is simply no longer a responsible option if we take seriously the need to reduce our environmental pollution. I’m sure if we stop and think about it for a bit, it’s surely not too much of a quality of life issue if we go just that little bit slower - plus it’ll do wonders for our wallets…
UK drivers are continuing to respond to the need to reduce the CO2 emissions and petrol costs of their vehicles by taking up the government scrappage scheme offer to purchase smaller and more efficient models, judging by new stats from the Society of Motor Manufacturers. Though the scheme will expire in the next few weeks, it seems the combined need to reduce emissions and fuel running costs is sending drivers in the right direction with regard to their choice of car model.
With car manufacturers also now bound by EU legislation to reduce the average emissions of their product ranges in the next couple of years it seems that it’s only getting easier to choose and run a cheaper and greener vehicle. Toyota and Fiat for example have already met the 2012 emissions reduction targets well ahead of schedule, so it seems that with each passing month there are more efficient models on offer for drivers.
For those wishing to learn more about all the options out there, one good place to start is Clean Green Cars - a great blog providing all the info, advice and resources you might need to make sensible motoring decisions regarding emissions and fuel costs (those interested in BMW will note that the company takes top spot in terms of the most efficient model available for certain categories of vehicle). I expect we will only see more and more such info as the automobile market changes to offer more choice with regard to such vehicles.
Observing all this is interesting in terms of seeing how rapidly the automobile industry has u-turned over the past decade (albeit with the influx of some massive subsidies and incentives, plus some appalling financial figures in the cases of some companies). It seems a long time ago that Hummers were all the rage… Nonetheless it is refreshing to see companies across the board putting at least some emphasis on efficiency and sensible fuel consumption - even if some of this is just marketing hype. As always the consumer will have to separate the hot air from the real thing, but at least it seems that this is now easier and more affordable than ever before.