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Car sales in Clare are well up on last year.

New car sales in Clare up 35% on last year

FIGURES  just released by the SIMI (Society of the Irish Motor Industry) show that so far this year, new car sales in Clare are up by 35%. Nationally, sales are up 28%. The confidence evident in January has continued into February with a 21% increase in car sales. The light commercial vehicle market, which is a good sign of activity in the SME sector, saw an increase in sales of 41% in February with sales of Heavy Goods Vehicles, often a barometer of activity in the wider Economy, seeing a 68% increase. Alan Nolan, SIMI Director General commented “The Motor Industry is often the first to be affected when there’s a downturn and one of the first to come back when the economy improves. Dealers are undoubtedly seeing a lot more confidence among consumers, many of whom have been putting off making large purchases over the last few years. Feedback from dealers confirms that footfall and sales enquiries are holding …

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Many motorists have experienced flooding in recent weeks.

Don’t buy a flooded car

With floods affecting many areas of Ireland over recent weeks, motorists looking to buy a used car should be mindful of checking potential purchases carefully for any potential water damage before parting with their cash. Tim Naylor, editor of British Car Auction’s annual Used Car Market Report commented “Potentially hundreds if not thousands of cars will have been damaged in the floods and many will have been written off because of the cost of repairing electrical components, interior fittings and catalytic convertors. Rather than claim against insurance, some unscrupulous sellers may try to pass off their cars in a private sale, so buyers should be aware of the tell-tale signs.” “Even the most scrupulous valet may not totally eradicate water damage, so be a ‘flood detective’ when appraising a potential purchase. Screws, bolts and fixings may well rust, so check out-of-the-way areas under the dash, seats, door sills and engine bay. Look for fine silt deposits in spots like the …

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European Commission to examine HGV proposal

THE  new changes proposed by the UK government, which would significantly affect the competitiveness of Irish hauliers, are to be examined by the European Commission. Independent MEP Marian Harkin, who raised the issue of proposed cross border charges for HGVs exceeding 12 tonnes weight, to be levied from April 2014, has been told by the Commission that they will assess the charges to ensure that they do not breach EU rules. She said,“The planned Road User Charge for Heavy Goods Vehicles is directed at non UK mainland Europe hauliers who , due to their cost structures, can  undercut UK hauliers for business in and out of the UK.    However, the measure poses serious problems for Irish hauliers and especially those in the border areas who have to cross the border with Northern Ireland.  These charges raise significant problems, especially for border hauliers and, if implemented, will seriously affect business and employment.   I am hopeful that the European Commission, having assessed …

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Mazda's new 3 is stylish and modern looking.

Mazda3 is all new

Mazda released their latest 3 saloon and hatchback a few months ago and at first glance, it’s obvious that the car has been completely redesigned from the ground up. The styling is influenced by Mazda’s new Kodo design language, already seen on the larger 6. With its flowing lines, it must be the best looking mid size car out there, especially in saloon form. From any angle it looks right, but the side profile is particularly arresting. It’s not only the looks that have been overhauled, the 3 is built around an entirely new platform, which uses high strength steel to be both stiffer and lighter than before. This is all part of Mazda’s SKYACTIV range of technologies, designed to increase fuel economy and reduce emissions. Essentially, Mazda use conventional engineering solutions in the pursuit of efficiency. This includes chasing weight savings, better aerodynamics and more efficient engines. There are two engine choices, the range starting with a 1.5 litre …

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Dooley protests over haulage levies

Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Transport, Timmy Dooley  has called on the Minister for Transport to immediately raise the concerns of Irish hauliers with his British counterpart regarding the imposition of a new levy on all foreign vehicles entering British soil, including Northern Ireland. Deputy Dooley said that Minister Leo Varadkar must make it a priority to have the roads in Northern Ireland excluded from this levy, which could impact over 9,500 vehicles in Ireland. “Over 9,500 heavy goods vehicles in Ireland will be subject to the new levy which will be introduced on all roads in Britain and Northern Ireland from the first of April. “This will particularly affect hauliers from Donegal, for instance; that have to travel through Northern Ireland to access the South in many cases. It will also impact all businesses that transport goods between both sides of the border, it will actually discourage companies here from expanding into and trading with the North. “This could cripple …

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A marker against fuel fraud

THE Freight Transport Association of Ireland (FTA Ireland), has welcomed the announcement by the UK and Ireland governments that they are to introduce a marker that will help tackle fuel fraud. This has to be good news to help reduce fuel laundering,” the organisation general manager, Neil McDonnell said. The product will be used to mark rebated fuels, including the off-road diesel commonly known in the UK as ‘red diesel’, in a move that will boost both countries’ fight against illegal fuel laundering. The marker will help HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the Irish Revenue Commissioners tackle the criminal market in off-road diesel, marked with a red dye in the UK and green in Ireland, and also kerosene primarily used for heating oil. Neil McDonnell commented, “FTA welcomes any effort such as this to tackle fuel laundering. The costs of fuel laundering to the exchequer, to fair competition, to the environment are simply too high, and are not being …

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Donegal cousins, Declan & Brian Boyle, took their first ever International rally win on the Colm Quinn BMW Galway International Rally in their Subaru Impreza WRC.

Galway International Rally

After a demanding two days when the drivers had to deal with some appalling conditions, Donegal cousins Declan & Brian Boyle took their first ever International rally win on the Colm Quinn BMW Galway International Rally in their Subaru Impreza WRC. After completing the 13 stages of the opening round of the Clonakilty Black Pudding Irish Tarmac Championship, they had 25.5 seconds to spare over the reigning Tarmac Champion, Garry Jennings, with Rory Kennedy in the co-driver seat in their Impreza WRC. On a shortened pair of stages, completed three times on the first day, there was very little to choose between the top five overnight with Boyle holding a slender advantage over Jennings and Eugene Donnelly holding third place in the Mini WRC. Donagh Kelly and Sam Moffett were battling it out for fourth place but only 25 seconds separated all of the drivers overnight. With the first stage on Sunday being the infamous and tricky Black Road, drama …

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The new Peugeot 308

Peugeot 308 Irish launch

Kilkenny was the venue chosen for the Irish launch of Peugeot’s new family hatch, the 308. The plan was to drive down from Dublin to the Marble City, but I chose to drive directly to Kilkenny and meet the cars there. I grabbed the first car to arrive and headed out into heavy traffic. What I didn’t know was that the cars were competing in an economy run on their journey down but nobody took the details before I destroyed the fuel economy with my city driving. A belated apology for that one lads, but if you were the first to arrive, you had no hope of winning anyway. Visually, the new 308 is distinctive and a much more attractive design than the car it replaces. Details include a large grille at the front surrounded by chrome, full LED headlamps on some models and lion-claw rear lamps with LEDs on all versions. Straight away, I felt at home, the cabin …

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