Motorists urged to protect vehicles as lockdown fuels catalytic converter thefts

Cat theft now accounts for three-in-ten of all theft insurance claims reported

Criminals have been targeting cars parked during lockdown to fuel the illegal trade of precious metals, according to the RAC and Ageas, one of the UK’s biggest car insurers.

Ageas Insurance says it has seen a marked rise in theft of catalytic converters since the start of the first lockdown just over a year ago, with this type of crime now accounting for three-in-10 of all theft claims reported.

Before the lockdown catalytic converter theft only accounted for around one-in-five, the company’s data shows.

Most thefts have happened while cars have been parked at home, either on the driveway or the road, although in a very small number of cases thieves were brazen enough to steal them in supermarket car parks while the driver was shopping.

Prices of rhodium hit a record highs earlier this year, up more than 200 per cent since March 2020.

Robin Challand, claims director at Ageas, said: “While catalytic converters are just one component of a car, their theft can often result in a driver’s car being written off which is the last thing we want for our customers.

“We hope that by shining a spotlight on this type of crime, we can arm motorists with the information they need to protect their vehicles.”

RAC insurance spokesman Simon Williams says: “Drivers are often oblivious of their vehicle’s catalytic converter being stolen.

“Our patrols are often called to attend cars that have suddenly become excessively noisy.

“On investigation it’s very often the case that the car’s catalytic converter has been stolen.

“We’d strongly recommend motorists get in the habit of taking extra precautions to guard against this type of crime.”

Visit the Auto Torque blog to catch-up on the latest industry news.

BMW iX3 to get Monroe ‘intelligent suspension’ tech

CVSAe suspension continually adapts to environment with four electronically controlled dampers

The BMW iX3, the German automaker’s first all-electric SUV, will feature an optional continuously variable semi-active suspension with external valve (CVSAe) technology from Tenneco.

The new crossover SUV, the first of 13 BMW next-generation EVs scheduled for launch by 2023, will be available in Europe and China later this year.

The iX3 enables owners to enjoy its ride and handling prowess in a full range of driving conditions.

The CVSAe suspension, one of several leading-edge technologies available through Tenneco’s Monroe intelligent suspension portfolio, senses and continually adapts to a dynamic operating environment via four electronically controlled dampers.

An electronic control unit (ECU) processes various sensor inputs and adjusts the electronic valve to individually control the performance of each damper.

The system is now featured in more than 40 popular vehicle models.

CVSAe technology also increases damping force tuning range on vehicles equipped with lithium-ion battery packs.

This added battery weight can increase inertial force and other dynamic loads in a variety of driving situations.

CVSAe semi-active dampers automatically apply increased damping force in these situations to reduce body pitch, or “brake dive,” while maintaining outstanding ride comfort.

“CVSAe technology has become very appealing among leading car manufacturers and their customers because it delivers an exceptional driving experience in virtually all situations,” said Henrik Johansson, vice president and general manager, advanced suspension technologies, Tenneco.

For further information, please click here.

Visit the Auto Torque blog to catch-up on the latest industry news.

Reman turbo for Volkswagen 1.4 direct injection petrol engines added to Ivor Searle range

Audi A1, A3 and Q3 TFSI, Seat’s Ibiza and Leon TSI and Skoda Octavia TSI models covered

Remanufacturer Ivor Searle has added the turbocharger for Volkswagen Group‘s popular four-cylinder 1.4 litre direct injection petrol engine to its all-makes programme which covers petrol and diesel cars, as well as light commercial vehicles.

The new Volkswagen Group turbo application covers the Audi A1, A3 and Q3 TFSI, Seat’s Ibiza and Leon TSI and the Skoda Octavia TSI.

For the VW brand, the application covers Beetle, Golf, Jetta, Passat, Polo and Tiguan TSI models.

Costing up to 40 per cent less than OE, Ivor Searle remanufactured turbochargers provide independent workshops with competitive advantage without compromising on quality, warranty protection or customer service.

All Ivor Searle turbochargers undergo stringent quality checks and test procedures throughout the remanufacturing process to ensure maximum durability and service life.

Prior to final assembly, the turbocharger’s rotating assembly is balanced on state-of-the-art VSR equipment to OE specification, while oil flow rates are checked at the same time.

Every turbocharger receives a detailed final inspection and is flow tested to ensure optimum performance. Ivor Searle turbochargers are provided with a transferable two-year unlimited mileage parts and labour warranty.

All units are also supplied pre-installation guidelines, as well as model-specific instructions if required.

Ivor Searle holds a comprehensive stock of turbochargers and provides free next day UK mainland delivery for stock items ordered before 3.30pm.

For further information, call 01353 720531 or click here.

Visit the Auto Torque blog to catch-up on the latest industry news.

Schaeffler one of United Nations’ 50 sustainability and climate leaders

Nomination for clearly defined sustainability strategy and consistent sustainability management

The Schaeffler Group has been selected as one of the 50 worldwide sustainability and climate leaders of the United Nations (UN) on the occasion of its 75th anniversary.

The common objective of this initiative is to achieve the 17 goals for sustainable development set by the organisation.

“For us, the appointment of the Schaeffler Group as one of the sustainability and climate leaders of the UN is not just recognition of the work we have done to date, but both an incentive and an obligation to continue implementing our sustainability strategy with the utmost consistency,” said Klaus Rosenfeld, chief executive officer of Schaeffler AG.

“As part of this impressive initiative, we will do everything in our power to realise our sustainability and climate targets and thus make our contribution to achieving the 17 sustainability goals set by the UN.”

A prerequisite for the admission into the 50 sustainability and climate leaders is a clearly defined sustainability strategy and corresponding corporate objectives.

As a corporate value, sustainability has been firmly anchored in the Schaeffler Group’s activities for many years and is an integral component of its corporate strategy.

“Sustainable corporate success to us means assuming ecological and social responsibility – in production, through the use of our products, and with the involvement of our suppliers,” said Corinna Schittenhelm, member of the board of managing directors of Schaeffler AG, with responsibility for HR and sustainability.

Schaeffler was convincing in the selection process and now represents the automotive and industrial supplier sector in the DACH (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) region.

For the Schaeffler Group, it is not only the ecological footprint of its own production facilities that plays a major role.

The development and production of technologies for the optimal use of renewable energies is also an important contribution to climate protection.

Schaeffler’s components, systems, and service solutions make specific contributions to sustainable changes in a wide range of industries.

For example, in the electrification of the powertrain for vehicles and in the manufacture of large-sized bearings for wind turbines.

A good initial overview of Schaeffler’s sustainability activities is provided by a documentary that was officially broadcast on 15th April 2021 by media partner Bloomberg and published on.

Since 2020, selected targets have been integrated into the variable remuneration of managers.

Furthermore, Schaeffler is continuously developing its employees with comprehensive training programmes and measures for retraining and further qualifications.

Further details and background information on sustainability at Schaeffler can be found in the recently published sustainability report.

This report provides information on key figures and objectives, illustrating the development of the Schaeffler Group towards greater sustainability.

The report is available in digital format and the content can be accessed via an interactive microsite.

For further information, please click here.

Visit the Auto Torque blog to catch-up on the latest industry news.

NGK sponsors Max Coates’ bid to win Mini Challenge title

Season starts at Snetterton on June 12-13

NGK-sponsored Max Coates is in confident mood on the eve of the 2021 MINI CHALLENGE Championship.

The 27-year-old North Yorkshireman is driving for Essex-based Graves Motorsport, a new team to the MINI JCW class supporting the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC), and is aiming to take the title in his second season in the competition.

He said: “My aspiration is to go and win the title.

“The team might be new to the championship, but I’m not and there is no real difference in the car I will be driving, so why not?”

Coates, who will partner Bradley Gravett, son of 1990 BTCC Champion Robb, at the team, is delighted to be receiving the support of ignition and sensor specialist NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd for a third year running.

He said: “This will be the second season NGK has sponsored me in the MINI CHALLENGE after supporting me in the Clio Cup.

“NGK is a massive global brand within motorsport and the general automotive world and it is great to have our relationship continue and I am really grateful for their support.

“I plan to take the car on the track for the first time on May 12 when we will also be revealing the new livery.”

Mark Hallam, marketing manager at NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd, said: “We are delighted to once again be supporting Max in the MINI CHALLENGE and together with the many thousands of our customers who are fans of the sport cannot wait to see him try to win the title.”

Coates said: “Unlike 2020, I’m looking forward to spectators, friends, family and sponsors being back trackside with me in 2021, something I missed massively from the racing experience last season.”

The championship will take in iconic circuits, Brands Hatch, Oulton Park, Knockhill, Donington Park and Coates’ home circuit, Croft, during the 2021 season in which it remains as a support series to the BTCC events.

Featuring live ITV4 coverage reaching 20 million in the UK alone and average crowds of 38,000 people, it makes for an exciting day of action in which the MINI CHALLENGE plays a significant role.

Last year was Coates’ debut season in the MINI CHALLENGE and he got off to the best start possible with a race win at the opening round at Donington Park.

He signed off the season with a pole position at a wet Brands Hatch Indy circuit in October last year and will hope to continue that form in the new season.

For further information, please click here.

Visit the Auto Torque blog to catch-up on the latest industry news.

Yuasa reveals first photos of Matt Edwards’ BRC title challenger in new livery

Announcement follows launch of hugely successful digital Yuasa Rally livery and Matt Edwards E-sports Championship in DiRT 2.0

Yuasa has revealed the first pictures of the real-life livery of Matt Edwards’ British Rally Championship Volkswagen Polo R5.

Striking images have been released giving the first glimpses of the actual car Double British Rally Champion Edwards will use to compete in the 2021 BRC season.

The reigning champion and co-driver Darren Garrod are set to pilot the all-new Polo at rounds across the England, Scotland and Wales, as they challenge for an historic third title following dominant championship wins in both 2018 and 2019.

In addition to the fresh new images, Yuasa have also revealed a dramatic promotional video for Edwards’ new Polo ahead of the season.

To view it, follow Yuasa Battery on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Computed generated images of the R5 were released on 31 March inside Codesmasters’ award winning game, DiRT Rally 2.0.

Players were able to download the distinctive red, white and black livery and race with it themselves over a three round online championship with prizes being awarded, including a passenger ride with Matt Edwards.

The battery brand is joined by both Swift and Volkswagen Group parts giant, TPS with all three brands excited to support Edwards in his 2021 British Rally Championship campaign.

Jon Pritchard general sales and marketing manager at GS Yuasa Battery Sales UK said: “We’re thrilled to reveal the final images for Matt Edwards’ 2021 BRC car.

“We have loved seeing everyone getting involved and race with it inside DiRT 2.0, so it’s great to be able to show the real-life machine to fans.

“We are proud to be support Matt for a third season, his results over the last few years have been hugely impressive so continuing our support as he challenges for his third championship was an obvious one for us.

“We wish Matt & Darren all the best for the 2021 season.”

Matt Edwards added: “I’m very excited to finally uncover my new Volkswagen Polo R5 livery in real-life.

“The reaction we have seen from our E-sports Championship has been great.

“I’ve really enjoyed competing against the fans and seeing some very competitive stage times.

“Now I just can’t wait to get out in the Polo for real.

“It’s been a while since driving a rally car in anger but I’m very focused and ready to take on the new season.”

Matt and Darren will be testing at Sweet Lamb in Wales next month before the first round of the rally championship gets underway at Oulton Park on 31 May.

For further information, click here.

Visit the Auto Torque blog to catch-up on the latest industry news.

Ford unveils ‘predictive smart headlight’ technology

Lighting system uses GPS location data, advanced technologies and street geometry information to read the road

Engineers at Ford research and advanced engineering Europe are testing technology that uses real-time location data to effectively show the car the way to go.

The predictive smart headlight system directs beams into upcoming corners even before drivers may have seen them, illuminating hazards and other road users more quickly and effectively.

The prototype advanced lighting system uses GPS location data, advanced technologies and highly accurate street geometry information to accurately identify turns in the road ahead.

An algorithm calculates the trajectory and speed of the vehicle to proactively adjust the direction of its headlights, providing optimal light coverage of bends, junctions – and even hazards lurking around the corner.

If the vehicle encounters a stretch of road where location data is not available, the system will work alongside camera- and steering‑based dynamic headlight bending technologies to continue to intelligently light the road until the location data improves.

Researchers have made extensive use of “digital twin” simulation that recreates the physical world in a virtual environment.

The simulator accurately calculates how light falls and reflects in the real world, enabling researchers to better visualise and optimise the technology for drivers.

Michael Koherr, Ford European lighting research engineer, said: “The predictive lighting technology we are developing now means that one day driving in the dark could be as simple as just following your headlights.

“This new map- and location‑based system is the next step on our quest to make driving at night no more difficult or stressful as during the day.”

Visit the Auto Torque blog to catch-up on the latest industry news.

Emissions analysers added to connected MOT equipment rule changes

New exhaust gas analysers must be ‘connected’ from May

DVSA’s plan to modernise the MOT testing service through connectable equipment resumes next month with the introduction of emissions analysers.

From 1 May, anyone buying an exhaust gas analyser or diesel smoke meter will need to make sure it is a model that can connect to the MOT testing service.

This applies to garages buying replacement equipment, authorised examiners taking over another site and any new garage being approved to carry out MOTs.

Connectable equipment is not mandatory for most garages but some have started to invest in replacing their existing equipment.

In a survey last year, around one in seven garages said they were using some form of connected equipment.

The DVSA says installing connectable equipment can save garages time, reduce the risk of error in entering MOT results and help combat fraud.

Chris Price, DVSA’s head of MOT policy, said: “We paused the introduction of connectable equipment last year to help garages manage their businesses through the pandemic, as well as the impact of MOT exemptions.

“As part of our recovery of the MOT service, we’ve been working with equipment manufacturers over the last few months to introduce connectable exhaust gas analysers and diesel smoke meters to further modernise the test.

“After reinstating the grace period for connected equipment installation in December 2020, we wanted to give garages enough time to review their requirements around connected equipment before bringing in emissions analysers.”

Connected MOT equipment in context

The difference between a connectable and non-connectable model is often its software.

This means that non-connectable equipment models may be made connectable by a software update to allow it to connect to the MOT testing service.

MOT garage managers are encouraged to look into the benefits of connected equipment and understand how it will help the testing process in their workplace.

Investing in connected equipment will improve the efficiency of their garages and help futureproof their businesses.

Visit the Auto Torque blog to catch-up on the latest industry news.

BG Automotive publishes new ‘product spotlight’ brochure

Fortnightly document outline common vehicle problems and the parts solutions for them

BG Automotive has released the first issue of a new fortnightly product spotlight brochure.

The first issue features highlights Hyundai/Kia GK4D engine problems and steering and suspension components for the Nissan Qashqai.

Please click here to read the first issue.

Visit the Auto Torque blog to catch-up on the latest industry news.

Top 50 cars aged three to eight years with best first-time MOT pass rates

Hyundai Ioniq has highest average MOT pass rate of 96.18 per cent

New car buying platform and consumer champion, What Car? has revealed the cars most likely to pass an MOT test on first attempt.

The extensive study analysed more than 745,000 anonymised MOT records published by the Department for Transport.

Models aged from three to eight years old and with a sample size of at least 100 cars were included in the study.

The Hyundai Ioniq, which is sold as a hybrid, plug-in hybrid and pure electric vehicle, has the highest average MOT pass rate of 96.18 per cent while the plug-in hybrid BMW i8 (2014-2020) takes second place with a 95.97 per cent pass rate.

While Korean, Japanese and German models dominate the top 10, the Jaguar F-Type (2013-present) is the highest-placed British model in the study, in 14th place with an average MOT pass rate of 90.83 per cent.

The Tesla Model S (2014-present) is the highest ranking pure electric vehicle, in 26th place, with an average pass rate of 89.94 per cent.

Although there are many premium models in the top 50, there are also several affordable small cars, including the Peugeot 108 (2014-present) and Toyota Aygo (2014-present).

RankMake and modelAverage MOT test pass rateAverage mileage at MOT test
1Hyundai Ioniq (2017-present)96.18%22,710
2BMW i8 (2014 – 2020)95.97%21,738
3Porsche Boxster (2012 – 2016)94.10%22,243
4Lexus NX (2014 – present)93.82%32,413
5Porsche 911 (2012 – 2019)93.72%20,484
6Porsche Cayman (2013 – 2016)92.94%23,224
7Porsche Macan (2014 – present)92.91%32,289
8Mazda MX-5 (2016 – present)92.62%16,399
9Lexus RX (2016 – present)91.95%27,721
10Mazda CX-3 (2015 – present)91.91%25,652
11Mercedes-Benz SL (2012 – 2020)91.67%25,832
12BMW X1 (2015 – present)90.95%29,753
13Mercedes-Benz GLA (2014 – 2020)90.93%33,093
14Jaguar F-Type (2013 – present)90.83%23,014
15Mercedes-Benz GLC (2016 – present)90.78%32,446
16Audi A8 (2010 – 2017)90.77%53,647
17Audi TT (2014 – present)90.63%27,977
18Honda HR-V (2013 – present)90.60%25,605
19Mercedes-Benz S-Class (2015 – 2020)90.52%48,430
20BMW i3 (2013 – present)90.46%27,717
21Jaguar F-Pace (2016 – present)90.43%30,850
22Subaru XV (2012 – 2018)90.36%39,691
23BMW 7-Series (2015 – present)90.13%36,323
24Honda Jazz (2015 – 2020)90.07%26,755
25Hyundai i20 (2015 – 2020)89.94%26,145
26Tesla Model S (2014 – present)89.94%44,613
27Vauxhall Viva (2015 – 2019)89.93%18,718
28Jaguar XK (2006 – 2015)89.87%28,704
29BMW 2-Series (2014 – present)89.74%32,755
30Mercedes-Benz E-Class (2016 – present)89.68%53,771
31Toyota Prius (2016 – present)89.67%48,996
32Toyota Aygo (2014 – present)89.56%23,132
33Audi TT (2006 – 2014)89.40%42,894
34Audi Q5 (2008 – 2017)89.16%46,026
35MINI Countryman (2010 – 2017)89.14%33,423
36Lexus RX (2009 – 2016)89.11%49,372
37Mercedes-Benz GLE (2015 – 2019)89.01%32,800
38Suzuki Celerio (2016 – 2019)88.97%21,024
39Lexus IS (2013 – present)88.96%48,905
40Skoda Superb (2015 – present)88.91%44,689
41Toyota GT86 (2012 – present)88.89%35,879
42Peugeot 108 (2014 – present)88.69%22,199
43BMW X4 (2014 – 2018)88.67%38,274
44Suzuki Grand Vitara (2005 – 2015)88.67%42,821
45Mazda MX-5 (2005 – 2015)88.61%29,429
46Audi Q3 (2011 – 2018)88.59%41,676
47Honda CR-V (2012 – 2018)88.48%41,855
48Mercedes-Benz B-Class (2012 – 2019)88.42%39,138
49Jaguar XF (2015 – present)88.41%36,990
50Nissan Pulsar (2014 – 2018)88.40%28,739

What Car? analysed more than 745,000 anonymised MOT records published by the Department for Transport to find out the models that had the best rate for passing the MOT test at the first attempt.

What Car? also ranked the top and bottom brands for MOT pass rates.

As well as achieving the highest average pass rate, Porsche is the only brand to gain a pass rate of more than 90 per cent.

Although Ssangyong has the lowest MOT pass record, its result of 76.98 per cent means that more than three quarters of its models passed their MOT the first time.

Steve Huntingford, editor of What Car?, said: “One of the first things used buyers do is check a vehicle’s MOT record to see how well it’s been maintained and if it’s suffered lots of faults.

“Our extensive study reveals the models with the best MOT pass rates, ranging from large SUVs to city cars. Buyers can use it to help them choose the most dependable models.

“Although the top 50 list contains several prestige cars, that tend to have lower mileage and immaculate service records, it’s reassuring to find some budget and family cars in the mix.”

The results come the same week dealers in England and Wales can reopen to the public, following more than three months of closure due to Covid-19.

The worst 10 manufacturer MOT pass rates

Rank Brand Average MOT test pass rate Average mileage at MOT test
1Ssangyong76.98%37,911
2Dacia78.17%39,401
3Citroen79.72%38,207
4Renault80.20%37,194
5Alfa Romeo80.73%42,443
6Vauxhall81.20%42,565
7Fiat81.22%33,404
8Seat82.08%44,542
9Ford82.58%40,664
10Peugeot82.78%37,691
Visit the Auto Torque blog to catch-up on the latest industry news.