Thursday, 27 February 2014

Used Car Buyers Now Totally Digital – Why Is The Car World So Surprised?

Top US consultancy, McKinsey & Company, find that 100% of used car buyers now start their search online.

One of the World’s top consultancy firms, McKinsey & Company, has effectively told the car world to, ‘wake up and smell the coffee.’ They say that 100% of used car buyers now start their search for information on their next car online.
This has happened in just a few years and the car world, even industry commentators and experts, have been slow in taking note.

Wake Up Car People - Smell The Coffee
The Age Of Print Is Dead

The move to online could mean the further demise of printed classified adverts and traditional marketing methods employed by the car industry anxious to get their product in front of potential buyers., has spent the last year building a free-to-use car review site entirely built by the most important people in the car world – the car owners.

The Voice of The Car Owner

Over 108,000 motorists have given their view to which is now able to supply owner ratings on almost every make and model on the UK roads. Unlike other much smaller but better known review sites, this was only after checking the motorists owned their cars and identifying each car model down to derivative and type.

All Reviews Checked and Double Checked has now completed its second phase to ask asked other motorists – owners of the same model of car – to vote on whether they agreed or disagreed with a review. In total 438,461 votes were cast – more than many elections. The votes mean that users of the site get an even better idea of how good, bad or ugly that model of car is.

'Hello' Says Google - We Found Some Good Stuff Here

Visits to the site have grown massively as attracts the attention of Google and other search engines ranking the site higher and higher by finding unique and informative content – all provided freely by car owners. Over 5,000,000 words have been submitted by the car reviewers keen to tell others their experiences.

'Who Are They?' - Even Car Experts Are Behind The Curve On The Speed OF Digital

In a response to a Tweet by one well known industry commentator who said, “who are they? they’ve only been around 5 minutes,” spokesman said, “We’re the voice of over 500,000 car owners who we know, can contact and have listened to. In a digital world, who can afford not to listen to the views and opinions of people who know the product better than anyone else – the owner who paid for it?”

We Check Our Reviews does not allow unregistered owners to submit a review on the site. Reviews are by invitation only. 60% of reviews are registered by people who owned the car, 40% who have sold their car recently – 95% being part exchanged with dealers or sold through a private sale to another motorist.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Ford Set To Overtake BMW In UK's Biggest Driver Survey

Ford Cars Are As Reliable As BMW According to 74,414 Motorists

Over 536,778 car owners have been involved in rating and checking virtually every make and model on British roads on the car review site in the last 14 months.
Ford ratings have steadily climbed and now the American owned world car brand can lay claim to being as reliable as BMW. Owners have also rated Ford better on fuel economy.

Is Ford Set To Be Seen As A Better Car Maker Than BMW?

Soon Ford could overtake BMW overall. The BMW ‘Overall’ rating is just 0.1 ahead of Ford and the trend for Ford is up. The car buying public may soon have statistical proof that Ford could be seen as a better car maker than BMW.” is the most accurate car review site and the biggest in the UK. Only known owners of cars are invited to submit a review and reflects the overall sales of each car brand. No one is allowed to submit a review without proof they own or have owned the car being reviewed.

Ford - More Economical

New Fiesta Style exterior
Fiesta Review - World Beater
Car owners are asked to rate their car out of 5. The results are clear:
Fuel Economy rating    - Ford 3.80/5, BMW 3.52/5
Reliability rating - Ford 4.42/5, BMW 4.42/5
BMW still manages to score higher on other factors and is ahead for comfort and driving experience. The overall score on the car review site combines all factors and the margin between the two car brands is almost too close to call.

Friday, 21 February 2014

10 Ways To Spot A Car Phobic Man, Woman or Dog!

Amaxophobiacs – people and animals - with a fear of travelling by car 

Photo By David Kimber - Not Everyone Loves Cars
Amaxaphobiacs will do anything to avoid a car and more to keep their secret. Travel by car in the western world is virtually unavoidable.  Yet there are a small number of people who suffer in silence – because they dread the thought of getting into any type of automobile.

The phobia is not exclusive to people.  Dogs and other animals display many of the same symptoms people have who dread the thought of a car journey.

10 Ways To Spot Car Phobiacs – Are you an Amaxophobiac?

If you can tick a number of the following when thinking of travelling by car then you, or someone you know, may have a car phobia.
      1. Severe heart palpitations
      2. Feeling faint
      3. Nausea and vomiting
      4. Sweating excessively
      5. Dry throat
      6. Unable to breathe properly
      7. Trembling limbs
      8. Hearing or sight impairment
      9. Loss of sense of reality
      10. Thoughts of losing control while driving

Car phobic dogs, in particular, will have additional reactions including; high pitched barking, cowering, signs of agitation, urinating and making attempts to exit the car at any opportunity which may cause safety issues to the human occupants of the car.

Amaxophobia can make a rational, sensible and well-adjusted person crumble with the thought of sitting in a car.  The prospect of a car journey – even days away – can cause signs of stress and adverse physical reaction. 

Car Phobic People Change Their Lifestyle to Avoid Cars - At Any Cost

People with car phobia will seek to adjust their life to avoid the prospect of even having to get into a car.  Many will move to cities where public transport is readily available. Some Amaxophobiacs will invent complex reasons, excuses and scenarios to avoid car journeys all together.  This will often hamper their social life and can lead to isolation.
Cats Can Be Avoided - But Can Cars?
A commentator on car phobia said, “Many phobias are manageable.  People with a fear of cats, for example, aren’t too embarrassed to tell others, cats can be avoided and often this becomes a lovable ‘quirk’ among friends.  However, Amaxophobiacs will hide their fear as travelling by car is the norm in any western society.  People with car phobia could be singled out as strange, weak willed, odd and unusual yet it’s not their fault.”

Car Phobia - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder 

Often people with car phobia will have other phobias but not always.  Amaxophobia may also be caused by an event such as a car crash and is therefore a sign of post-traumatic stress disorder.  A number of counsellors and specialists are available to help but this may be at a high cost.  Many sufferers will feel too embarrassed to ‘come out’ about their unusual fear of an everyday way to get from A to B.

Animals showing signs of car phobia must be identified quickly and training given to put the animal at ease.

Amaxophobic Dog - Montreal Dog Blog

18% Of Motorists Expressed 'Love' For Their Car

A spokesman said, “We named our site because many people love their car for many reasons, not just the practical benefits but the freedom, independence, identity and status a car can give.  In over 108,000 car reviews - from Ford reviews to Ferrari reviews – over 18% of car reviewers actually included the word ‘love’ in their comments.  However, there could be someone you know with this debilitating phobia and motorists the world over must consider how they can help.” would like to credit a number of internet sites including Wikipedia, Psydoctor and Pe2000 for information. There is also an interesting piece on dogs who are scared in cars in the Montreal Dog Blog .  

Amaxaphobiacs are encouraged to speak to professionals specialising in the treatment of phobias to help them conquer their car related fears.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Battery Day Today - Will There be a Day when Drivers will be 'Plugging In' rather than 'Pumping Up?'

Car makers have launched more electric and hybrid models to meet a growing demand for eco-cars.  Government boosts sales by awarding grants to motorists who buy battery. 

Alessandro Volta - Battery Inventer

214 years ago Alessandro Volta invented the first battery.  Battery Day celebrates his birthday as he was born in Italy on 18th February 1745. 

Apart from starting an engine, the battery was ignored by car makers because of the availability of cheap oil and more efficient combustion technology. Electric powered cars were ignored for decades and lacked any investment.  

The increasing cost of oil, its ultimate scarcity and concerns about the environment have forced governments around the world to incentivise motorists and place demands on car makers to produce vehicles which look to cleaner propulsion methods. 

The battery is central to most car makers’ plans to meet the requirements of both the motorist and governments keen to fulfill their environmental undertakings to the international community. Indeed, Volta's technology is now at the heart of the most dynamic sector of car manufacturing – hybrid and electric cars - and the list of available cars is growing by the month. 

Battery and Hybrid Cars Subsidised by Government Grants

Final Price £
After Grant Hybrid/Electric Model 
 14,334 Mia Electric review 
 14,710 Renault ZOE review 
 16,272 Smart fortwo electric drive review 
 16,748 Nissan Leaf review 
 17,432 Toyota Prius Plug-in review 
 19,356 Volkswagen e-up! Review 
 21,161 Citroen CZero review 
 21,161 Peugeot iON review 
 23,499 Mitsubishi iMiEV review 
 25,625 BMW i3 review 
 28,525 Ford Focus Electric review 
 28,695 Vauxhall Ampera review 
 30,200 Chevrolet Volt review 
 44,220 Volvo V60 review 
 49,900 Tesla Model S review 
 83,967 Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid review

BMW Joins In Electric Race
BMW 3i - Battery BMW On Battery Day

From the minute Mia Electric at £14,334 to the £83,967 Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid, motorists have more choice than ever before. Even BMW have joined in the battery boom in the launch of their all electric BMW i3 with a claimed mileage of up to 100 miles on one charge.

Most models are a hybrid of battery and combustion power and diesels have come on to the market to make models even more economical. Hybrids claim to offer the best of both worlds and, apart from grants, motorists are encouraged by free parking and the ability to avoid congestion charges levied by many major cities such as London.

Graphene - Batteries Set To Become Lighter, Cheaper, More Powerful

The recent discovery of a new wonder material called ‘Graphene’ has led futurologists to predict vastly more efficient batteries in the future – lighter, more powerful and quicker to charge.  The current list of hybrids and electric cars is likely to expand as manufacturers and scientists perfect the technology and bring battery power to the masses.

Most so called ‘electric cars’ are too new to judge and car review sites are catching up – keen to check reliability, costs and performance.  A spokesman said, “We have over 270 Toyota Prius reviews, more than any other car review site, but we’re collecting more hybrid reviews to make sure motorists have the information they need at a touch of a button.”

Manchester based has 108,900 car reviews on its free-to-use website, more than any other car review site, and they ensure each review is from bona fide car owners who have driven their car for some time.

Links and credits
BMW 3i
Porsche Panamera S-E Hybrid
Alessandro Volta

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Did Darwin Predict The Demise Of SAAB?

‘Natural Selection’ is busy weeding out weaker car brands and poorly designed models.  On National Darwin Day, predicts the ‘Car Dodos’ of the future. 

Dodo - Now Extinct - Wikipedia 
Darwin’s rules of natural selection are simple; the strong survive. The most famous example, the Dodo, failed to adapt and thrive and became extinct.  

Darwin Day

12th February is Darwin Day and the car review site considers today’s car dinosaurs and highlights potential endangered car species.

The recent recession nearly crippled the biggest car beast on the block – General Motors – who sought US Government cover and shed jobs and brands in order to survive.

SAAB is the highest profile car manufacturer to have failed in Europe with the last car being manufactured in April 2011.  Part of GM, SAAB’s future before the recession, must have seemed assured. 

The plight of SAAB is more a story of a weak car brand than a weak parent.  Known for small and nimble cars in the 50s, 60s and 70s, its models grew ever bigger and less agile.  It failed to take advantage of innovations like the transverse engine developed before the Mini and its lead in turbo technology quickly ebbed away.

In retrospect, there can be no other automotive example more worthy of a Darwinian analysis than SAAB.  Under investment and the failure to adapt to the market – much stronger for smaller cars like the VW Golf – meant that SAAB crept into the crevices of the luxury market and failed to spot niches where other manufacturers leapt at opportunities such as the growth in MPVs., the Manchester based car review site, has close to 430,000 car reviews and the sheer number of ratings drivers submit give clues to the potential ‘Motor Dodos’ of the future.

Lowest Rated Car Manufacturers - Overall Rating Scores
What Car Would Darwin Buy?

1. Chevrolet reviews scored 3.69 out of 5
2. Daewoo reviews reviews scored 3.76 out of 5
3. Proton reviews  scored 3.81 out of 5
4. Renault reviews scored 3.82 out of 5
5. Aston Martin reviews scored 3.90 out of 5
6. Fiat reviews scored 3.91 out of 5
7. Rover reviews scored 3.93 out of 5
8. Vauxhall reviews scored 3.93 out of 5
9. Peugeot reviews scored 3.93 out of 5
10. MG reviews scored 3.95 out of 5

GM, SAAB’s erstwhile parent, announced that it would stop selling its Chevrolet brand in Europe, based on cars manufactured in South Korea.  There are still a number of Daewoos on the roads – the same models before the re-brand to Chevrolet.  The cars are the lowest rated according and, according to Darwin, there should be no surprise in the demise of the unloved car marque in Europe and the loss of thousands of jobs.

Fiat 500 Reviews - A Car Brand With Two Identities

There are a few surprises on the lowest rated lists.  However, it is worth noting that Darwin himself said it was individual performance which matters most.  Fiat is a company of 2 halves; before the Fiat 500 and after the world beating mini model was launched.  Models built before the 500 pull down the performance of the Fiat brand which is now resurgent not just in Europe but worldwide.

The Good Cars, The Bad Cars and The Ugly Cars

The spokesman said of the bottom rated car manufacturers; “The worst and the best can be found in most manufacturers.  Our massive car review database means prospective buyers can find the better Renault, Vauxhall and Peugeot models and avoid the worst. Most manufacturers are producing superb new models as they realise that people power, sharing experiences, a car’s performance over time, can no longer be a secret.  With our car review site, their models; the good, the bad and the ugly will be rated for all to see no matter what.” 

Photocredits and find out more about Darwin on  Wikipedia

Monday, 10 February 2014

Increase In Divorces As Housing Market Recovers – But Who Gets the Car?

Divorce can end a man’s love affair with his car. The search for a new car begins at the same time as the quest for a new life.

Love May Not Last
Who Gets The Car?  

2014 has seen a 4.9% increase in divorce rates.  Lawyers and research companies have put this down to recovering house prices making it easier to divide the equity in a family home., the UK’s biggest car review website, finds the decision on the family car - most couple’s second biggest asset – is often more emotionally charged than the house, the photographs and even who gets to keep the dog.
“We are seeing increasing number of comments from divorcees who mourn the loss of their car more than the loss of their love,” says a spokesman.
Often couples, who were happy to have joint ownership of a car, find that they are faced with selling when marriage breaks down, often at a loss.

Who Actually Owns The Car?

As many cars are financed, the arrangements covering title and responsibility can often be difficult to reconcile with legal documents signed in happier times. Also, the car would have depreciated and often there will not be any equity in the car to share.
'On Your Bike' - I'm Having the Car
Increasing evidence found on the car review site often sees drivers trading down to smaller, cheaper cars. Where children are involved, the wife can have a stronger case to keep the family car so more men may have to find another car after divorce.
Couples have a number of decisions to make regarding who has responsibility both legally and morally. Often one party may have legal ownership even though the other may have assumed it was ‘their’ car and they may have paid for it. A number of car buying companies are used to give a quick financial solution but they will insist on the finance being settled before any payment is made.
Now that many couples live together, separation without an official divorce and financial settlement may make arguments harder to settle as far as the car is concerned.  In many cases, longer term couples will have acquired the car with a view to sharing and little or nothing is written down as to ownership.  
Many couples will have a car each but this can confuse matters more. In a fair and equitable divorce, all assets are divided. This ignores who actually owns the car legally according to government records and who drove which car.

Separating Couples Declare War On Each Other - And The Car

During a separation, it is well documented that both parties, charged by unrestrained emotions, can seek to damage or hide their assets just to prevent the other party from having them.  Cars can be readily damaged and a number of high profile divorces document the willing destruction of 'his' or 'her' cars.  With civil ceremony's on the rise, it could also be 'her' and 'her' or 'him' and 'him'.

Loss of a Status Symbol - Start of a New Identity spokesman commented, “Divorce can be devastating or even a relief. Often the car someone drives is seen as ‘theirs’ and represents freedom, identity and often status. According to the law none of this matters and losing a car can be one of the most visible signs of a person’s perceived failure in their marriage and a substantial knock to their pride.”
Once a divorce has been finalised, commentators have also noticed that more cars are likely to be sold in an effort by both parties to 'move on' and start a new life. Often a new car helps people leave their past behind and is a vital building block in the new life ahead of them.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Will You Be Driving a MINT Car in the Next 5 years?

Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey - the 'MINT' countries set for future growth - build and export millions of cars. predicts a time when the world's drivers will be driving a car in 'mint' condition from a MINT country.

Millions of cars are being built in the four 'MINT' countries singled out to watch for global growth,
Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey all have car manufacturing capacity and are set to rank globally in terms of production.

Mexico produces the most cars. American companies such as Ford and GM, seeking a nearby country with lower costs, have led the field. They have been joined by a number of Japanese car makers seeking a bridgehead into growing markets like Brazil where favourable trade agreements exist.

Toyota, Daihatsu, Honda, Nissan, Suzuki, Isuzu and Mitsubishi have announced plans to invest more than $2bn between them in new manufacturing capacity to meet surging domestic demand in Indonesia and for export according to the Financial Times. Another reason for this move may be the strategic distance this gives from China where relations with Japan have been strained recently.
International car reviews
MINT country flags

 By far the smallest MINT nation in car terms is Nigeria which has seen slow investment by foreign companies. The INNOSON Vehicle Manufacturing Company is home grown with big ambitions. In Nigeria's favour is growing affluence and a large, younger, economically active indigenous population.
Turkey reportedly manufactured over one million cars in 2012 with 75% being exported bringing Turkey over $20 billion in export earnings. As with Mexico, the car industry in Turkey is dominated by international car companies, some of which are jointly owned by Turkish concerns.
In their work for the Oxford Journal, Hallak and Schott analysed countries by production quality and found Mexico, Turkey and Indonesia ranked in the bottom 40%. Nigeria was not included. It is likely that global car companies will insist on quality production but this is not guaranteed.
A spokesman for, the UK's biggest car review site said, "Our survey of over 430,000 motorists lists reliability as a key concern. As new models flood in from emerging economies, including the MINT countries, it is essential that quality remains a focus of ambitious production plant managers and car manufacturers alike. Car buyers expect 'mint condition' cars whether they are from MINT countries or not."