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.
An enlightening new exhibition on the green future of the motor car has been opened at Mercedes Benz World, Weybridge, Surrey.
The special BlueEFFICIENCY display, at Britain’s largest automotive brand experience centre brings together the latest cutting-edge technology aimed at reducing and ultimately eliminating CO2 emissions.
For the first time Mercedes Benz World has brought to life this most recent stage in hydrogen powered fuel cell development with the B-Class F-Cell - the latest evolution of this technology that will for the first time be used around the world with customer trials in 2010. A special cutaway version of the car forms a key part of the new exhibition allowing a unique insight into this zero emission vehicle, which has already entered limited-series production. The F-Cell’s electric motor uses energy generated by a state-of-the-art fuel cell converted from hydrogen. The only emissions are pure water vapour.
Article continues over at Carpages online
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.
Suffice it so say that the UK’s most well-known motoring journalist, Jeremy Clarkson (who else?), is something of a controversial figure. His sometimes slightly racist humour tends to attract a fair bit of press attention and, perhaps even more disappointingly, quite a few fans. But we are not here to discuss these matters in this blog; instead I’m interested in the question of Clarkson’s view of climate change - which is particularly significant when his position as a leading public voice on motoring affairs is taken into account.
To summarise Clarkson’s position briefly; he believes climate change is happening, but has nothing to do with humankind’s activities and can therefore not be affected by things such as our C02 emissions. Thus he often delivers ‘humurous’ insights on the consequences of climate change such as ‘Switzerland loses its ski resorts, the beach in Miami is washed away, North Carolina gets knocked over by a hurricane… anything bothering you yet?’.
Is this irresponsible talk from such a publicly prominent motoring authority? Such statements seem to revolve around an underlying lack of compassion or consideration for others, disguised as free-thinking individualistic rebellion. Don’t lots of people usually die in hurricanes and floods? Is this something we’re really happy to joke about?
I know Clarkson would call me a politically correct fool, but nonetheless he chooses to focus his joke on natural features for a reason (’a beach’, ’ski resorts’) rather than mention that actually it is the loss of human life that is most central and tragic when such events occur. If he was truly comfortable and happy with this as the basis for a joke, why hide the truth of death and suffering in such events? Why not just say: ‘thousands of people lose their homes in Bangladesh, floods kill yet more people in Florida, and a hurricane destroys half of a city in Mexico. Anything bothering you yet?’ Hahaha indeed…
I don’t doubt for a second that Clarkson truly believes what he says, though we should not forget that such views also serve quite a useful function of positioning his public persona as a ’speaks his mind, no messing about with pc concerns, anti-government rebel’ - which ensures quite the degree of popularity, as we can see from his quite extensive career success.
I don’t really want to enter into an actual debate on climate change and motoring here really, or the specifics of Clarkson’s actual views. What concerns me instead is the manner in which he expresses them - which relies upon an exploitation of underlying racism or unfeeling disregard for others, dressed up as plain-speaking humour.
Have a look for example at a recent article for the Sun which covers some key climate change and motoring topics, and in which Clarkson’s main point is that since we have no viable alternatives to fuel at the moment (in a widely market-available option) then it’s just tough since we have no choice but to drive. Nothing wrong with that - I might not fully agree personally, but really it’s a valid opinion and there’s nothing too controversial there. However here’s a little extract from the piece itself:
‘This week, eight rich old men in Japan announced it was “The End For The Petrol Powered Car”. The leaders of the G8 nations decided, over a delicious eight-course lunch, that the grubby little people who they represent must now eat mud and go to work every day in a Moulinex Magimix. My, I bet the eco-mentals were celebrating. They probably all had friends round to their yurts for a glass of nuclear-free South African peace wine.’
Basically the gist is this: extravagantly indulgent foreigners (those pesky ‘rich old Japanese’), who hold us in total contempt (apparently they reckon we should now ‘eat mud’ though they have an ‘eight-course lunch’), have decided once again what’s best for us, much to the delight of fundamentalist and deluded environmentalists who drink foreign wine (ewww) and live like semi-civilised primitives (yurts!), all because they are too fussy about damaging the environment (’nuclear-free’).
So, what is essentially a scientific issue (climate change) is actually situated along the lines of an opposition to foreigners telling us what to do; rich fat cats exploiting us for their own gain; and finally the wackjob environmentalists winning authority and status even though they are really just dirty, self-righteous hippies…
And that’s the problem really - there’s not too much real scientific engagement here from Clarkson, and instead the climate change debate really just becomes an opportunity for a populist political position, meanwhile the cause of encouraging intelligent debate and knowledge on the topic takes a very very back seat.
Some might disagree with my analysis of Clarkson’s writing and comments, and ultimately this is a wider issue facing all those journalists and bloggers whose topics touch upon the climate change issue, but when it comes to the particular case of our country’s most influential motoring journalist, maybe in the interests of professionalism, in future it might be better to not discuss the climate change topic in future if an intelligent and rational analysis is not on the cards.
Fed up of paying upwards of £40-£50 to fill up your car? No problem, how does £1.50 sound instead? (Yes that’s correct - £1.50 for a full ‘tank’) If this sounds like something you might be interested in then the AirPod city car could be right up your street…
Based in Luxembourg and Nice, Motor Development International is the company behind this curious technology, which involves the use of compressed air as its fuel and will be available for sale in Europe in a few months time for around 6,000 euros.
Additionally the AirPod is not only environmentally sound from an emissions perspective (i.e. it has none) but also in that its construction is less energy and materials intensive, using a carbon fibre tank to store air rather than the batteries used in electric cars for example.
All this comes at a price, and quite a cheap one at that, though the top speed of the AirPod (29mph) makes it quite impractical for anything other than inner city driving. If the technology improves however in coming years (raising the top speed to around 40-50 mph for example) then the AirPod could become quite the hit indeed.
Unfortunately the AirPod looks fairly vulnerable in terms of the strength and size of its aluminium chassis - but then again it is designed for use at relatively low-speed environments and therefore this becomes much less of an issue if one takes this into account.
Sadly the AirPod won’t be on sale in the UK for now (and perhaps it will be less suited to the commuter habits which result from city layouts that give preference to house rather than apartment living), but I for one will be following the topic very closely, as that £1.50 full tank (which does 137 miles) sounds like an awfully clever idea, especially as each week brings a new jump in conventional fuel prices…
The automobile industry has always been one reliant on technological innovation and ever-improving design, whether it was the invention of the car itself or exciting upgrades such as the disappearance of the crank shaft, four-wheel drive, electric windows, roof racks (for some people these can be pretty special) or whatever else floats your boat. Indeed the list could go on forever - seatbelts and airbags for example, though hardly thrilling in a conventional sense, are also rather a big deal…
Anyway, despite this i’ve always been someone who was previously never overly fascinated by the design and tech nuances differentiating between alternative models. Hence i am fairly surprised to find myself now getting quite interested in the current range of developments evident across the industry sector.
Maybe it’s a consequence of the intense need for some radically different technology these days, due to the whole CO2 and fuel consumption pickle that we’re in that explains why so many bold and different technologies are being unveiled at such a rapid pace - arousing our curiosity more than before. Whatever it is, it seems the case that many of these new developments have more in common with the stuff of sci-fi rather than what we were previously used to - which is making things quite fascinating.
Perhaps this is why the average driver (like me) is now a good deal more interested in the technology of driving than before - it’s that there’s so much more than just aesthetics at stake. When i first started driving i cared little whether a spoiler was spikey or curved or if rear lights had fat or thin rims. Now it’s impossible to escape the feeling that today’s tech choices have more significance - due to the now far better understood processes of pollution and the role of motoring in it.
Take the new Honda Prius for example; it features (amongst other updates) a solar panel on the roof which powers cooling fans inside thus removing the need for air conditioning. Even when the car is not in use the fans continue working so that you can always step into a fresh-feeling vehicle. Now i think that sounds more like what i’ve seen in sci-fi films rather than on the roads near to my house (granted i do drive a 1995 Ford Escort so i’m a little out of touch with what the cutting edge feels like).
Then there’s all the exciting things previewed at the recent Geneva Motor show - ranging from the electric Magna Steyr EV concept to Peugeot’s diesel hybrid, which are both pushing the boundaries in terms alternatively powered vehicles. In all cases, technologies that were not even conceived of as recently as a few years ago, are now on show in all their glory.
Of course, making cars look and feel more modern - and thus implicitly ‘better’ than older ones, is a huge part of selling them and we have been involved in such a marketplace process for some time. It’s no surprise for example that car manufacturers often compete for the privilege of designing models for sci-fi films thus achieving important and useful cutting edge brand status for their names. However, despite all this I still cannot escape the feeling that the current rate of tech innovation within the sector is genuinely far higher than it has been as long as i can remember (the cash incentives offered by gov’ts around the world is also a rather signicant carrot on the innovation stick).
For the first time ever i also feel that the innovation is about cleverly meeting the needs of drivers and consumers, while also negotiating the various environmental and economic challenges out there, rather than about boasting about a bigger engine, faster 0-60 stats or a bigger bumper. Whatever the reasons for this (and there are many - mainly economic from the industry perspective, as is to be expected) - i am regardless very glad that the general tone of innovation has this slightly more clever and sensible ethos about it these days. I might even start buying the odd car magazine next time i’m in a newsagent…
Mercedes has confirmed it will put a zero-emissions version of the ‘gullwing’ SLS supercar into production. The conventional SLS is set to become the most powerful production Mercedes ever when it hits the sales floor in Spring 2010, packing a 6.3-litre V8 engine generating 563bhp - and the German maker promises the all-electric version will be a match for it in every way.
The sensational newcomer will be powered by four electric motors - one for each wheel - with a combined output of 526bhp and 649lb.ft of pulling power. To put that last figure into perspective, it’s almost twice as much torque as a Ferrari F430 musters. Mercedes claims that the electric SLS will hit the 62mph mark in ‘around four seconds’.
Read the full article with photos at Yahoo motoring news
News came last week that the government’s scrappage scheme had thus far succeeded in shifting over 50,000 new vehicles in the UK. No doubt in times of downturn this is proving to be great news for car companies which would otherwise be posting far worse figures for recent months were it not for such a scheme.
Car dealerships also are enjoying a fresh boost in business where they might easily instead have been facing closure in many cases. It seems clear therefore that the auto sector is benefitting massively from the £300m scheme. But what of the much touted environmental benefits?
The first (and rather obvious) thing to mention is that we have not actually reduced the number of cars on UK roads through all this. The scheme offers only a 1 for 1 (old for new) option. So the only environmental benefits that we could hope to see will be coming from the increased level of fuel efficiency offered by the new replacements, as opposed to the very fuel-hungry old bangers that we drove before.
However all of these new cars cost a great deal (environmentally speaking) to produce. Moreover not all people taking up the gov’t’s offer are going for small and efficient replacements - the scheme extends also to bigger cars, so we are seeing many people who would otherwise not upgrade (in terms of engine size) now finding themselves financially empowered to do so - and taking up the option. Of course, many more are downsizing (petrol is again above the £1/l mark) - but we should not kid ourselves that it does not go both ways.
Ultimately the scheme is all well and good from an industry sector perspective. However the environmental benefits should not be used as an overstated excuse, when in reality £300m could have been far better spent if we really wanted to reduce CO2 emissions first and foremost.
Why, oh why, for example was there no option to simply trade in our old bangers in return for some kind of 15-year free public transport pass or something similar? I don’t doubt such a thing could have been arranged - and i for one would for sure have taken up that offer without any hesitation. Then we might really have been able to talk about environmental benefits - as it is we are instead touting the most miniscule (and not to mention cost-ineffective) reduction in CO2 emissions as some fantastic global-warming averting life-saver. This is most certainly isn’t…
So, US President Barack Obama yesterday announced that American car-making giant GM had filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. No massive surprise there - the company has been on the rocks for the best part of three years, so this latest episode is hardly coming out of the blue.
What is slightly worrying though is the degree to which President Obama has pledged to financially support the company with further government aid. Set to recieve an additional $30 billion (on top of the $20 bn it has already had), the automaker will emerge within three months with 60% government ownership. But for many (including myself) the move seems to pose all sorts of awkward questions…
For example, while there can be no doubt that Obama’s decision will save many thousands of jobs - surely averting nothing short of local-scale catastrophes in the communities where GM runs plants - the question remains for how long will the temporary fix hold up?
After all, on the same day as Obama made his announcement, Swedish auto firm Volvo pledged to deliver a 50g/km CO2 car by 2012: a plug-in hybrid model based on the current popular V70. Meanwhile GM’s supposed saving grace as regards suitability for future markets is the Chevy Volt - originally projected for 2010 US launch date and late 2011 for Europe. However with CEO Rick Wagoner having described the actual date as being ’still fluid’ on numerous occasions - and GM Vice-chair Bob Lutz saying last year that global warming was ‘a crock of shit’ - it’s no wonder many expect the car to meet with further delays.
Not to mention the numerous massively successful new technologies now coming from Asia and providing further stiff competition - including the Indian built G-Wiz and the battery powered BYD model from China. In short the market is changing rapidly with many total newcomers having already established themselves as serious players in terms of meeting the new demands and conditions of the industry.
This is all not to say the GM is bound to fail in its attempts to re-structure into a competitive and successful player in this market, but just that the state of play demands such a degree of astute decision making and policy directing that Obama’s move represents an understandable - but nonetheless considerable - gamble. GM is already far, far behind practically every single one of its competitors - any further slip ups will prove massively costly for the US taxpayer, not to mention the temporarily reprieved GM employee…