Electric car hire to be launched in the US by Enterprise from 2011

Car hire giant Enterprise is set to launch electric car hire at a selected number of outlets in the US from the beginning of next year.

The electric powered eco-friendly Nissan Leaf will be offered to car rental customers from eight different locations across the US from 2011.

The Nissan Leaf has a charge range of 100 miles and Enterprise is in the process of installing charge stations at a number of its hire centres in preparation for the launch of their electric hire cars in the New Year.

Eight different locations across the US have been singled out to offer the electric hire car service. To begin with Enterprise will offer the Nissan Leaf from the following locations, Phoenix, Nashville, Tucson, Knoxville, and San Diego and Los Angeles.

Locations in Portland and Seattle will be able to offer customers the use of the 5-door hatchback version of the electric car.

Enterprise has chosen to roll out the service in a small number of its centres to start with as it wants to ensure its staff are fully trained in the use of the electric cars so they can advise customers competently.

As more electric cars are launched by different car makers, Enterprise plans to add different models to its fleet, at more locations across the country.

Northern Irish parliament to review spending on chauffeur driven cars

It has been announced that the Northern Irish Government will commence a review of its spending on chauffeur driven cars for its ministers in an attempt to make savings on public spending.

Finance minister Sammy Wilson will head the review of the chauffeured transport of government ministers. The announcement has been made ahead of the lease expiring in October on 15 chauffeur driven cars currently in use by Stormont officials.

Mr Wilson said the government must not be seen to be ducking out of spending cuts, as the country attempts to make radical public spending cutbacks. He added that “nothing is sacred” and that includes reining in spending on chauffeur driven cars for Stormont ministers.

Although some ministers believe that the situation in Northern Ireland and London is different, and that the security of Stormont ministers is something which needs to be considered in the review of spending on official cars.

One suggestion which is being made to help reduce the cost of transport for Northern Irish ministers is for a pool of government cars to be introduced, or for an account to be set up with a taxi firm, this way the ministers will have easy access to a vehicle for use on official business.

Production at Rolls Royce plant in Chichester, the highest it’s ever been

The Rolls Royce production plant at Goodwood in Chichester has gone into overdrive in recent months and is now producing more vehicles per day than ever before.

Compared to the same period last year when the Chichester plant was producing just 4 or 5 cars a day, production has now tripled with the factory churning out 15 luxury vehicles a day on average, which is the highest rate it’s ever been since the plant opened in 2003.

However demand for the top of the range Rolls Royce vehicles such as the popular Ghost and Phantom models means that even if you were to place an order for one of these cars today, work wouldn’t begin on your vehicle until September due to a backlog of orders.

With so much care and attention being paid to each car during the production process, Rolls Royce takes 3 months to build one of its vehicles from start to finish.

At present the Goodwood plant has no immediate plans to hire more permanent staff members, although if production continues to be high over the coming months, Rolls Royce will look to employ more workers to join its 800 workforce at the facility.

The Rolls Royce Phantom and the Rolls Royce Ghost models continue to be two of the most desired luxury cars in the world.

Complaints from car hire customers on the up says consumer group

A leading consumer group has revealed that complaints from UK motorists, hiring vehicles in Europe has risen dramatically this year.

The UK European Consumer Centre (UKECC) who conducted the research believe that British holidaymakers need to be vigilant when hiring a car outside of the UK so as to not leave themselves open to potential extra charges which could be added on without their knowledge.

In the first 5 months of this year, the UKECC found a 30% increase in the number of complaints lodged from UK car hire customers in Europe compared to the same period in 2009. The countries where the most complaints were made included Italy, Spain, France and Ireland.

One of the biggest pitfalls is often in the wording of car hire contracts in the EU which can differ greatly from those in the UK. The consumer group is advising car hire customers to thoroughly read, and understand their contracts prior to signing up.

Other areas where car rental customers get stung with extra charges, which in turn causes complaints, arise as a result of not signing off their hire agreement properly, or not running through the hire return checklist thoroughly. By failing to do this, the customer is leaving themselves open to extra fees which the car hire company can add on after the customer has left.

In order to prevent more car hire customers getting caught out, the UKECC has created a leaflet where they can find plenty of advice and tips to ensure a problem free car hire experience in the EU this summer.

Tom Cruise to race on the BBC’s motoring show Top Gear

Hollywood actor and star of Top Gun and Vanilla Sky, Tom Cruise, will appear on this Sunday’s episode of Top Gear, it has been announced.

However the good news doesn’t end there, as keeping him company when he takes to the race track to appear in the show’s segment, “the star in the reasonably priced car” will be the co-star of his new movie, Cameron Diaz.

The blonde actress and star of Charlie’s Angels will also get behind the wheel of a Kia cee’d to burn some rubber on the race track. The two Hollywood A-listers will compete against each other to see who can bag the fastest lap on the race circuit.

A fellow actor, Harry Potter’s Rupert Grint, is currently in pole position on the show’s leader board having completed the fastest lap of the series. But will he be nudged into second position by either Cameron or Tom? We’ll just have to wait and see…

In a statement released by the Top Gear show, the team reveal their excitement at the news that both Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise will appear on the programme saying: “For the past week, the air in the office had been alive with a sort of sweaty-palmed excitement.”

The Hollywood actors are in the UK to promote the release of their brand new film, Knight and Day, in which they star opposite each other. The movie is due to gets its official UK premiere in London’s Leicester Square this week.

Ferrari theme park to open in Abu Dhabi this October

The world’s largest indoor theme park is due to open its doors in Abu Dhabi on October 28th. Over 20 rides and attractions are housed under the massive, custom made red roof which has been inspired by the shape of the bodywork of the Ferrari GT.

As the first Ferrari Theme Park in the world, expect to see some truly amazing attractions when the venue finally opens its doors this autumn. The park has been three years in the making and is a celebration of the luxury Italian car maker, Ferrari.

Take a ride on the fastest rollercoaster in the world which will propel you at speeds of 240kmph in just five seconds. Other spectacles include a tour of the Maranello Factory, and Viaggio in Italia which will take you on a virtual ride in a Ferrari through some of the most famous Italian landmarks. Kids will enjoy being taken on a 4D adventure trip lead by a racing driver on the “Nello” ride, Speed of Magic.

With just over three months to go until the grand opening of this exciting theme park on Yas Island, the final touches are being made to this astonishing attraction which promises to entertain, enthral, and showcase the legendary Ferrari brand at its very best.

National road safety award for Arriva

Arriva’s EcoManager project has been recognised at the annual Fleet Safety Forum Awards, presented by road safety charity Brake.

The company was named a winner in the ‘Company Driver Safety’ category for its work in developing EcoManager, the dashboard-mounted LED display which encourages safer and more efficient driving techniques, in partnership with technology provider 21st Century.

Successfully trialled at the group’s Runcorn depot in the North West, the system gives drivers real-time feedback on their driving performance, and is being deployed across all of Arriva’s UK bus operations during 2010. As well as reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions the adoption of ‘eco-driving’ techniques has delivered a simultaneous improvement in accident rates.

Eco-driver training included roadshows, leaflets, posters and one to one discussions which explained to drivers how driving using “the accelerator to go and to slow” and using greater emphasis on forward planning and anticipation would help reduce stress, fatigue and ill health.

Lynne Beale, group risk manager at Arriva, said: “Improving safety and fuel efficiency are always high on Arriva’s priorities. This award recognises everyone’s hard work in the successful delivery of EcoManager, which was made possible by our drivers who fully embraced the technology and have adopted eco-driving styles. This helps Arriva
reduce its CO2 emissions, and also provides a smoother and more comfortable journey for customers. The change in driving style has helped Arriva significantly improve its safety performance.”

The awards, sponsored by ARVAL, recognise the achievements of organisations setting excellent standards for fleet safety and risk management. In addition, EcoManager was also highly commended alongside Gateshead and Liverpool City Councils in the Eco Fleet category.

Audi plan to improve fuel efficiency with smaller engines

Audi is planning to achieve its goal of creating cars with outstanding performance and also great fuel efficiency by downsizing their engines, it has been revealed.

An Audi spokesperson confirmed the news after revealing that the German car maker is back in the engineering room attempting to create an engine which will meet its brief as the spokesperson explains: “Audi is pursuing an engine downsizing strategy when appropriate for the market segment.”

While some car manufacturers look to aluminium to create a lightweight bodywork for car designs which will in turn aid fuel consumption, Audi is now attempting to follow a different route with the design of a smaller engine for its vehicles.

Audi has possibility been spurred on by the success of a previous project of their own. In 2004 the luxury car maker introduced the V8 with a 4.2 L engine, at the time Audi announced it was their best achievement in a decade. However Audi followed up with the V6 which boasted 27% better fuel consumption and it also produced a better performance.

As well as looking into strategies to improve fuel consumption in their best performing cars, Audi are also developing hybrid and electric models which they plan to release into the international market.

Audi launch microsite ahead of A7 release

Ahead of the much anticipated release of the A7 later this month, Audi have launched a mircosite in Dutch whereby they will unveil details of the forthcoming vehicle and also gauge the reaction to the soon-to-be-released A7.

The Audi A7 is based on a Sportsback Concept which will enable it to compete with the likes of the Mercedes CLS, and also the BMW 5-series.

Described by Audi as being “pure beauty” the A7 will also feature the crème de la crème of Audi’s advanced technological devices. The MMI system is likely to be incorporated in the design, as is Audi’s Google function for navigation, plus the pre-sense collision mitigation safety sensor.

The 5-door 4 seat Audi A7 will receive its debut at the Moscow Autoshow in August, although the finished article is expected to be unveiled online for the first time at the end of the month.

Details of the Audi A7 will be released via the new microsite in the run up to the official release date. It’s anticipated that the site will be translated into other languages other than Dutch within the coming weeks.

Following the Audi A7’s official release, it’s expected that Audi will start taking orders for the new vehicle at the end of the year.

Enterprise car rental launch app to attract graduates

Leading car hire company Enterprise has launched an application which will help the firm connect with graduates and university students via a youth media network group to relay information on upcoming job opportunities.

The app has the potential to reach some 650,000 students and graduates across 34 different universities in the country. The app will keep university leavers informed on developments within the car hire company, training and internship opportunities and also news on job vacancies.

With recent statistics revealing that there are on average 70 graduates chasing every vacancy in the UK at present, the new app will help those new job seekers get a head start as they’ll be the first to hear of vacancies at Enterprise car rental when they become available.

Car hire in many parts of Europe is reported to be on the increase with some companies reporting more business than they can cope with. For an ambitious graduate the car rental industry is a great business to get into as new services are constantly being introduced as the industry expands, plus there are is a range of positions within a vehicle rental company and plenty of opportunities for career progression.

The YouthWire Desktop Platform can be found on PCs at universities and libraries and a large selection of apps can be found on the programme covering a wide range of job sectors.