Looking to save money on fuel costs in your business?

How To Get The Best Fuel Card

Looking to save money on fuel costs in your business?
Looking to save money on fuel costs in your business?

For business owners, fuel cards can really help you run your fleet more efficiently and save money. They act like simple payment cards that you and your drivers can use to pay for petrol and diesel, and other products like tolls and car wash, where approved by the card owner.

Fuel cards make it easier for you to manage your fuel spend. Every fuel transaction is recorded so reports can be run to pinpoint any inefficiencies in your fleet’s fuel usage. Using a fuel card scheme reduces your time spent on administrative tasks like recording usage of fuel, gathering fuel receipts or expense forms from staff and comparing them with time sheets.

You can monitor your fuel card transactions, reducing the risk of fuel fraud. Cards are pin protected for more transaction security. They can also be matched to a driver or vehicle registration number. For further security, you can set a cap on daily spend permitted.

There are a number of fuel cards available on the Irish market. Depending on the card and provider, your fuel card can be used at a network of fuel stations in Ireland, the UK and around Europe. When selecting the best fuel card provider for your business, there are a number of factors you should consider. To get the most out of a fuel card, you need to find the card that is best suited to your business. Follow these steps to find the right card for your business!

1. KNOW YOUR FLEET

Consider your fleet size, the region you travel and your average fuel spend.

2. USE A FUEL CARD COMPARISON TOOL

You can use an online fuel card comparison tool like iCompario to research what’s available in Ireland. The site has a handy search facility where you can add details of your business to find the best available card for your usage and fleet.

3. FIND THE BEST COVERAGE FOR YOUR NEEDS

Check the coverage of your fuel card is enough to satisfy your business needs. Find a fuel card with the best coverage and network of sites. For example, do you need a fuel card for the Republic of Ireland only, or do you need coverage in the UK and perhaps pan-European?

4. PAYMENT OPTIONS

There are two main payment options for fuel cards - weekly fixed rate and pump related price - with each bringing their own benefits so choose wisely depending on your business!

The pump price related fuel card means you are simply charged the price displayed on the pump. Depending on your fuel card provider or volume drawn you may be able to get discounts on the pump price. Other providers may include a surcharge on the forecourt price. This price may change from day to day and can also vary depending on where your drivers refuel. The main benefit of a pump price related fuel card for smaller fleets is the extensive network coverage, with more service stations accepting pump price related fuel cards, drivers have greater flexibility for refuelling quickly without any unnecessary detours.

With a fixed price card your fuel rate is determined by the diesel wholesale price and fixed for the week. No matter how much the retail rates shift throughout the next seven days, your rate won’t change. Prices are emailed to you in advance, usually on a Friday for the week ahead. The fixed price fuel cards are particularly suited to hauliers, large fleets and high-volume users. Despite having a slightly smaller network than the pump price cards, the fixed price sites are strategically located along all major transport routes.

5. GET USEFUL ADD-ONS

Many fuel cards now offer online management software so you can log in from anywhere. Choose a fuel card provider which offers the most comprehensive and robust online management tools and service station locators. The best options are those that can be downloaded as an application to smartphones or any internet enabled device. You can manage your fleet and workforce from wherever you are and your drivers can use it to easily find the closest, suitable service station along their route for convenient refuelling. You can monitor transactions by card, vehicle or driver, order additional cards or cancel lost cards quickly and easily, and run reports to monitor the efficiency of your fleet. All done conveniently from desktop, tablet or a smartphone!

Check out our article for everything you need to know about fuel cards in Ireland!
Choose your fuel card wisely using an online comparison tool!

Caroline Kidd


Andrea on location with the new BMW M4

Interview With Andrea Michelle Indy, Australian Car Blogger!

Andrea on location with the new BMW M4
Andrea on location in Australia with the new BMW M4

I'm very excited to share my interview with Andrea Michelle Indy, the top Australian car blogger and photographer! I've been following Andrea's work for some years now on Instagram and I adore her style. She produces amazing content with beautiful cars in beautiful places. Her work is very inspiring and a unique perspective on the new car market in Australia.

1. Can you introduce yourself in a couple of sentences to our readers?

Hi, I’m Andrea Michelle Indy and I’m an Australian car blogger, photographer and writer from Melbourne, Australia. Every week I get the opportunity to drive a variety of cars and go on adventures with them. I blog in my spare time, as I have a full-time job in Digital Marketing, working in motorsport events for the Australian Grand Prix and I love it! I love fashion and I am a massive car and technology nerd. I have a huge appreciation for cars, no matter the size, shape, or performance.

2. What is the inspiration behind your blog and Instagram page?

I started blogging back in 2015, originally focusing on technology and fashion. The reason I started my blog and IG page was because I really wanted a career in Digital Marketing, but I was studying a Bachelor of Science at Monash University, and had zero marketing experience. I figured if I started my own projects, I could show potential employers what I am capable of. I managed to get a few internships off the back of this and I have never looked back. At the same time, I was posting about cars but only because of my obsession with them. I never thought in a thousand years that I would get the opportunity to work with them too! Naturally my fashion events started to cross over with cars, and I saw a real opportunity to do something different and create unique content. I put myself out there, and I have never looked back. The first car I ever reviewed and borrowed was the Tesla Model S P90D back in 2016!

Andrea is a top Australian car blogger and photographer
Andrea is a top Australian car blogger and photographer

3. How did you build your online community?

It has taken a while and involved a lot of unpaid work for brands and heaps of collaborations. I’ve been so fortunate to be supported by the Australian-based manufacturer teams with my photography and work shared on their channels, and even more fortunate to have the support from the global brands. For example, this year ALPINA and BMW global shared my photography on their social media accounts, and just last week I was featured on Porsche’s AG official TikTok account. I think the most important thing is to create content that is unique to you and run with it.

4. Can you give us your perspective on the Australian new car market?

To be honest it is a real weird time to be buying cars in the Australian new car market. The prices are so inflated due to the flow on effect of the pandemic. Demand is high for not only new cars, but also used. Aussie consumers are being forced to wait long lengths of time for new car purchases. It’s a combination of manufacturers being affected by the pandemic, the parts shortages globally, and also just the travel time it takes to get the cars over here.

Here in Australia people love their SUVs and pick-up trucks. Manual car drivers are a dying breed here. In fact, most people I know, including every member of my direct family do not even know how to drive manual. I had to pay for my own manual driving lessons when I was 16 because I really wanted to learn.

Our electric car purchase rates are nowhere near where they should be and we do not have a government that supports it, in fact, the government penalises it with crazy taxes.

Overall, I would say our market is unique, especially in comparison to Europe.

The Toyota GR Yaris in chill by the sea mode
The Toyota GR Yaris in chill by the sea mode

5. Favourite place in Australia for a road trip and what car would you recommend for it?

Haha that is such a difficult question. I love road trips so much I don’t really mind what car I am in! It’s all about the good tunes, the company, scenery and overall journey for me. I think one of my most favourite road trips was one where I took a Land Rover Evoque to Tasmania for a week away. The roads were incredible! I’d love to do that again but perhaps in a Porsche 911 Turbo S.

6. What's your favourite tech feature to have in the car?

As someone who does a lot of road trips and long commutes, one of my favourite features is adaptive cruise control with stop and go function! Absolute game changer and makes those long trips an absolute breeze. In bumper-to-bumper traffic the stop and go function is incredible and I can’t live without it.

7. How do you see the motor industry evolving in the next five years?

Not to be pessimistic, but I think especially here in Australia, we are going to see less hatchbacks and wagons, which is a real shame. Australians are compromising on driving pleasure, instead opting for SUVs and it will be a great loss. Even now as a result we are seeing car prices massively inflated on things such as compact SUVs, which offer no more practicality than most small hatches but differ because they are slightly higher from the ground and people prefer that.

Andrea's shot of the Porsche Taycan!
Andrea's shot of the Porsche Taycan!

8. What would be in your dream three car garage?

Another tough question. I think in my dream world I’d have a lot more than three cars, but right now, if I had to choose only three, these would be my choices:

Porsche 911 GT3 in Shark Blue

Aston Martin DBX in Q Paint pastel Elwood Blue

BMW M2 CS (manual) in Hockenheim Silver metallic

If it was five though, I’d also chuck in a Bentley Continental GT and Audi R8 for good measure hehe.

9. What's your best tip for capturing a great shot for Instagram?

Location! Location! Location! This is so important when you are capturing a shot and doesn’t matter what kind of photo you are taking. For me I absolutely love road trips and nature, so my photography is often focused about this. I think also it is about balance as well. I’m not just capturing the cars – I’m capturing memories.

10. What advice do you have for anyone who would like a career like yours?

Do not let anyone tell you that you cannot do it! Start writing, take photos, and keep learning. I love what I do because I am constantly learning new things on this wild and wacky journey. Do not be afraid to ask for help and don’t be afraid to ask for things. The worst thing that could happen is you might get rejected but the best thing that could happen is that someone says yes.

Finally, it’s not going to be easy but if it’s something you’re passionate about it’ll be worth it.

You’ve got this!!

Andrea and the Jaguar F-TYPE
Andrea and the Jaguar F-TYPE

Follow Andrea on Instagram and check out her blog here.

Thanks to Andrea for taking part in this interview.

Caroline Kidd


Thinking of buying a new car this summer? Check out the 212 offers

212 Offers And Car Deals For Ireland

Thinking of buying a new car this summer? Check out the 212 offers
Thinking of buying a new car this summer? Check out the 212 offers

Thinking of buying a new car this summer 2021? The car manufacturers and dealers are releasing their 212 offers, car deals and finance offers ahead of the new 212 registration period, which starts on July 1st 2021!

At Changing Lanes, we’ve put together a list of 212 offers and any scrappage deals available in Ireland at this time to help you find the best deal for you. This list will be updated as more car brands release their offers. For more information visit the manufacturer’s website or your local dealer.

BMW

Finance offers include from 1.9% APR on new BMW 1 Series, 2.9% APR on 2 Series, 3.9% on 3 Series and 5 Series, and 4.9% APR on 3 Series PHEV and 5 Series PHEV. For the SUV range the X1 and X3 are available from 2.9% APR, while the X5 is available from 3.9%.

CUPRA

2.9% PCP Finance available across the full 212 CUPRA range. Online discount voucher worth €1,000 can be downloaded from CUPRA Ireland website and used against any model in the 212 range. Those purchasing a 212 CUPRA model will also receive a complimentary CUPRA Care Pack that gives customers their first three manufacturer's services free, a CUPRA Courtesy Car when required, free of charge collection and delivery services and a complimentary vehicle clean.

DACIA

The new Sandero is now available from €39 per week on the road and Sandero Stepway from €49 per week, based on 4.9% APR. For 212, customers can have a new Duster for €169 per month based on 4.9% APR and 3 Months Deferred Payments. Offers available until 31st July 2021.

FORD

Savings of up to €3,150 or zero percent APR finance on selected car models. The 212 Sales Event offers also include zero percent APR finance deals on sporty ST-Line X and Vignale series of Puma and Kuga models purchased and registered during the promotional period. For other vehicle models, customers can opt for a 4.9 percent APR finance offer. Savings on highly specced versions including: Ford Fiesta with a saving of up to €750; Puma with a saving of up to €1,500; EcoSport with a saving of up to €2,350; Focus with a saving of up to €2,950; Kuga with a saving of up to €3,150; Mondeo with a saving of up to €2,000; S-MAX with a saving of up to €1,200; Galaxy with a saving of up to €2,250.

HONDA

On all HR-Vs ordered and registered before the 31st July 2021 there is a choice of 3.9% APR finance, Staycation Package worth €1250 or Honda’s Peace of Mind Package: upgrade the Honda 3 Year Warranty and Roadside Assistance with 1 Years Free Road Tax and Platinum Service Plan. The Staycation Package includes Thule 400l roof box, base carrier, trunk tray dividers, front and rear rubber mats, headrest tablet holder, utility bag and first aid kit.

HYUNDAI

3.9% APR finance available on i10, i20, i30 Hatchback, Tucson, Tucson Hybrid, Tucson Plug-in Hybrid, KONA, KONA Hybrid, KONA Electric, Santa Fe, Santa Fe Plug-in Hybrid, IONIQ Electric and IONIQ Plug-in Hybrid, OR 5 years free servicing OR Eco Upgrade bonus up to €5000. 3 months deferred payments available.

JAGUAR

PCP offers available with 3.9% APR on Jaguar XE, XF, E-PACE and F-PACE.

KIA

PCP at 3.9% APR or HP at 0% APR available on Sportage, e-Niro, e-Soul, XCeed/XCeed PHEV, Stonic, and PCP at 3.9% APR and HP at 3.9% APR on other models like the Sorento and Sorento PHEV, Niro and Ceed plug-in hybrid. €500 Loyalty Bonus also available and free home charger on electrified models.

LAND ROVER

PCP offers available with 3.9% APR on Discovery Sport and Range Rover Evoque.

MAZDA

Mazda are offering customers savings of up to €2000. Contributions are available on all petrol hybrid or diesel models and for those looking for low monthly repayments, finance rates start from 3.9%. There's also a free Wallbox home charger installed with a new 212 electric Mazda MX-30. Mazda CX-30 and Mazda3 will be on offer with both a €2000 contribution and 3.9% APR for a limited amount of time with the CX-30 SUV starting at €256 per month. The Mazda CX-5 family SUV is available from €352 per month or with a contribution of €1500. Mazda6 customers can avail of a €2000 contribution or a monthly rate on finance from €361. Mazda2 customers get a €1000 contribution with a low 3.9% APR for €189 monthly price on finance. The all new, all electric Mazda MX-30 is available from €305 per month or with a free Wallbox installation up to the value of €1200. Mazda MX-5 comes with a €1500 contribution and a monthly repayment of €365 for finance customers. Mazda is also offering 20% discount on over 100 products including roof boxes, detachable tow bars, bicycle racks, cool boxes, first aid kits and more.

MERCEDES-BENZ

Star Finance PCP packages available from 3.9% APR.

MG MOTOR

1.9% APR available on new MG ZS and 3.9% APR on MG HS and MG 5. Free home charger available also.

MINI

MINI Hatch and MINI Electric available from 3.9% APR. MINI Countryman available with 2.9% APR and Countryman PHEV from 3.9% APR. MINI Clubman available with 2.9% APR.

MITSUBISHI

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV available with 0% APR HP finance offer and a free home charge point worth €800. 3.9% APR on Space Star.

NISSAN

0% finance, free home charger and one year’s free servicing available on all-electric LEAF. 0% finance is also available on the new Nissan Micra. 3.9% APR finance across the rest of the range. Nissan’s Subscribe and Drive monthly subscription service enables motorists to own a new car from €386 per month without having to pay a deposit.

OPEL

2.9% APR finance offers across the Opel passenger car range.

PEUGEOT

212 offers include 5 year warranty (3 year manufacturer warranty + 2 year extension), 3.9% and 4.9% APR on PCP and HP finance, scrappage up to €4000 and Service Plan Offers.

RENAULT

Two offers on Renault Zoe E-Tech from now until the 31st of July. 'Go for Green' includes Green Bonus of €1,000, 0% APR HP and Free Home Charger OR 0% APR PCP, Free Home Charger and 3 Years’ Servicing. 24 hour test drives also available. Renault’s €1000 Green Bonus and 3.9% APR continues across new Clio E-Tech Hybrid, Captur E-Tech Plugin Hybrid and Mégane Sport Tourer E-Tech Plug-in Hybrid. Customers can choose to defer the first three months’ payments. On the Captur customers can also receive €1,000 Cashback, 3.9% APR HP/PCP and 3 Months Deferred Payments. On the Renault Clio, Renault’s 212 Drive Less, Pay Less Offer includes €1,000 Cashback, 3.9% APR (from €130 per month) and 3 Months Deferred Payments. For 212 on the new Mégane range, customers will receive €1,250 cashback, 3.9% APR HP or PCP and 3 months’ deferred payments, while Kadjar customers can take €1,500 cashback on top of the APR offer and deferred payments.

SEAT

0% finance available on a range of SEAT models including the popular SEAT Arona and SEAT Ateca. Customers can also avail of online discount vouchers, which can be used towards the purchase of their new SEAT vehicle. Available to download from www.seat.ie, the vouchers allow for a discount of €1,000 on the SEAT Leon, Leon e-HYBRID, Ibiza and Arona. SEAT is offering customers who wish to purchase the SEAT Ateca, Tarraco or Alhambra a €2,000 discount off the purchase of their new 212 upgrade. Also available to customers is a discounted 3-year service plan for €9.99 per month.

SKODA

0% APR available on Fabia, Scala, Kamiq and Karoq. 2.9% APR on the Octavia and Superb, 3.9% APR on Kodiaq and 4.9% APR on new Enyaq.

SUZUKI

0% APR on Vitara, Swift, Ignis and S-Cross.

TOYOTA

Toyota’s 212 offers include low APRs with Toyota Easy PCP Finance starting from 2.9% on the Yaris Hybrid Style, along with finance contributions of up to €3,000, which lower monthly repayments. Non-finance customers can benefit from a trade-in booster of up to €2,500, while all customers will enjoy three years free servicing across the entire Toyota range. Corolla Saloon Hybrid and Corolla Hatchback Hybrid at 3.9% APR. Includes a finance contribution of €1,000 or a trade-in booster of €1,000. C-HR Hybrid at 3.9% APR.  €1,750 finance contribution or trade-in booster of €1,500. RAV4 Hybrid at 4.9% APR. Finance contribution of €1,500. Camry Hybrid at 4.9% APR. €3,000 finance contribution or trade-in booster of €1,500. Highlander Hybrid at 4.9% APR. Finance contribution of €2,500 or €2,500 trade-in booster.

VOLKSWAGEN

0% APR PCP finance offer available on Polo, T-Cross, T-Roc, Golf, ID.3, Tiguan, Tiguan Allspace, Passat, Passat Estate, Arteon and Arteon Shooting Brake. The all-electric ID.4 SUV is available with APR PCP Finance from 3.9% and Touareg available with 4.9% APR PCP
finance. Volkswagen is also offering reduced rate 3-year service plans at €12.99 per month.

VOLVO

0% PCP finance on Volvo XC40. 2.9% APR on the the XC60 with Lounge Pack for €1,299. 2.9% APR on Volvo XC90 with Lounge Pack for €1,299.

We’ll be updating this article as new offers are added.


Cycling is a fun, free and healthy family activity

How To Buy The Best Bike Rack For Your Car

 

 

Cycling is a fun, free and healthy family activity
Get the bikes on the car this summer and discover Ireland cycling with family and friends!

SPONSORED BY MICKSGARAGE.COM

Micksgarage

Are you looking for a new activity this summer that is fun, healthy, and free? Cycling is a great way of getting family and friends together and adding more fun, freedom, and adventure back into life once again.

With a simple bike rack, you can safely bring your bikes around Ireland on your staycation this summer. Or stay local and explore your favourite places and greenways on two wheels!

But what’s the best bike rack for my car? Cheap or premium? Towbar or roof-mounted? There are lots of different types of bike carriers available for your car, so we have teamed up with the experts at MicksGarage.com to guide you through your options, provide some top recommendations, along with essential information you need to know when choosing the best bike rack.

Micksgarage.com is an Irish company with an excellent website stocking an extensive range of bike racks and other adventure, travel, and road trip accessories for summer 2021.

Read our article to discover the best bike racks in Ireland and start planning your next adventure now!

Cycling is a fun, free and healthy family activity
Find the best bike rack for your car with top tips from the experts at MicksGarage.com

What do I need to think about when choosing a bike rack for my car?

  1. The number of bikes you want to carry at the same time. Just one bike or two, three or four?
  2. Position you want to carry the bikes:  a) On the rear door (boot door), b) On the roof of the car, c) On the towbar of the car.
  3. What type of bikes you want to carry? The only suitable carriers for electric bikes will be platform towbar carriers due to the weight of the bike. If it’s a bike with a very wide tyre width, you’ll need to check that the bike carrier (platform towbar bike racks) will provide enough space to get the tyre in.

Types of bike rack

There are three types of bike carriers for cars you can choose: rear door mounted rack, roof mounted rack or tow bar mounted rack.

1. Rear Door Mounted Rack

Benefits

  • Convenient and affordable
  • They fit most cars on the road
  • Small, quick to set up and remove - only a little lifting of bikes is required.
  • Easy to store

Things to consider

  • Check your vehicle is compatible with a rear door bike rack. If your car has a plastic spoiler, generally it’s not advisable to carry a bike rack on the rear of the car as the weight of the rack and bikes can cause pressure on the spoiler and because it’s only plastic, could damage it.
  • Ladies’ bikes will need a cross bar adapter so that they can easily and safely fit on a rack where the frame of the bike needs to sit on the rack (also available on MicksGarage.com).

Best Buy: UNIVERSAL 3 BIKE CARRIER

Universal 3 Bike Carrier

The Universal 3 rear door mounted bike carrier comes highly recommended from the MicksGarage team. It can securely hold three bikes and supports a maximum weight of 45kg. The carrier has a universal design and can be adjusted to fit most types of cars including hatchbacks, saloons, and estates. It can also fit 4x4s as well. It’s easy to assemble and folds away for easy storage!

Buy the Universal 3 here.

Browse more rear door mounted bike racks.

2. Roof Mounted Bike Rack

Benefits

  • Safe and convenient to use.
  • Very secure with locking function available.
  • Keeps the boot completely free for access.
  • No bikes in your field of vision while driving.

Things to consider

  • You need roof bars (also available on MicksGarage.com) and a roof mounted bike rack to carry a bike on your car in this way.
  • Lifting of bikes is required to get them on the roof.
  • Consider if you’re going to be carrying a roof box or a canoe on the roof at the same time as well.

Best Buy: AGURI ACUDA (Black or silver)

Aguri Acuda bike carrier

The Aguri Acuda II Bike Rack Carrier is a beautifully designed product. The Micksgarage team say that this carrier is as high quality as a Thule Bike Rack but for a lot less and comes highly recommended. It’s available in black or silver. The carrier mounts to roof bars by a T-Track system (which is included). The carrier can hold wheels sizes ranging from 16" to 29" in diameter and tyre walls with a maximum of 80mm. Wheelbases ranging from 75cm to 130cms fit perfectly. If you love your bike, you'll love the Aguri Acuda!

Buy the Aguri Acuda here.

Browse more roof mounted bike racks.

3. Tow Bar Rack

Benefits

  • Extremely safe, arguably the safest way of carrying bikes.
  • Very fast to install and remove.
  • They look great.
  • Very secure with locking function available.
  • Can carry the heaviest weights so ideal when carrying a number of bikes or an electric bike.

Things to consider

  • You will need to have a towbar installed on your car for this (also available from MicksGarage).
  • If you have an electric bike, you really should be only carrying it on a towbar mounted carrier due to the weight of them.

Best Buy: PERUZZO PURE INSTINCT RANGE

Peruzzo Pure Instinct Range of bike carriers

 

For more than 25 years, Peruzzo has been producing bike carriers for cars made with high quality materials. The Peruzzo Pure Instinct range of carriers is a best buy if you are looking for a secure towbar mounted bike rack. Models available from the MicksGarage website can carry up to four bikes. Quick and easy to fit and remove, with a very compact and functional quick release system. Tilts for easy boot loading using a simple foot pedal. Supplied with grab arms for all bikes. Doubly safe with extra safety strap fixed to frame and complete with homologated rear light bar.

Buy the Peruzzo Pure Instinct Range here.

Browse more tow bar mounted bike racks.

Top Tip!

On the MicksGarage.com website, there is a handy tool to help find the best fit for your car for roof bars, tow bars or any other technical part of your vehicle. Simply enter your car registration number and you will be given the best matches for the exact model of your car! For browsing bike racks, you can browse by type of rack to help choose the right one for your car.

If you have any questions or need technical assistance you can call the team at 01-5311337 to speak to a Bike Rack Expert.

Using roof rails and a roof mounted rack is handy because it keeps the boot completely free for access!
Using roof rails and a roof mounted rack is handy because it keeps the boot completely free for access!

How much do I need to pay for a good bike rack?

Bike racks vary in price from €50 to €600. It all depends on the type of rack you want (rear door, roof, or towbar), how many bikes you want to carry at the same time, and your personal preference for what style will suit your car the best.

What essential features should any bike rack have?

This will vary depending on the type of rack:

1. Carrying Weight

Check the maximum load before you buy. Platform towbar mounted bike carriers can carry the heaviest weights, important for electric bikes as they are much heavier than standard bikes.

2. Security

Roof mounted and tow bar mounted bike racks are more secure because they come with locks and keys to secure your bikes to the rack.

3. Bike Tyre Width

This is only important if you have a very wide tyre on your bike. If so check that the platform towbar bike rack provides enough width for your tyre to slot into.

Are bike racks easy to fit?

Yes. There’s a little bit of assembly involved with some models, but it is not complicated, and full instructions are provided. In terms of fitting them to your car, it is very straightforward, and full guided instructions are included with each rack.

Do I need any other safety accessories?

Buying additional foam padding can protect your car and your bike from scratches when you mount/dismount your bike and rack. You can also buy bungee chords or ratchet tie down straps. These are useful if you want to hold things in a little tighter for extra security. There are even wall mounted bike racks available so you can store your bike neatly in your shed or garage when it’s not being used! Browse bike racks accessories here.

By Caroline Kidd

MicksGarage.com have the widest range of bike racks on their website. Check out the full range of bike racks from MicksGarage here.

They are known for fast delivery and excellent customer care, with almost a million happy customers to date and are rated ‘Excellent’ on Trustpilot! Check out the MicksGarage.com website for a huge range of staycation and road trip accessories to make your next adventure awesome – paddle boards, roof boxes, roof bars, gadgets, tents, BBQ’s… and loads more

Micksgarage

Start planning your next adventure now!
Start planning your next adventure now with a range of holiday, travel and lifestyle equipment from MicksGarage.com!

Laura Sutherland behind the wheel of her Audi A3 Sportback

Laura Sutherland's Audi A3 Sportback

 

Laura Sutherland behind the wheel of her Audi A3 Sportback
Laura Sutherland behind the wheel of her Audi A3 Sportback

Changing Lanes reader Laura Sutherland introduces her new Audi A3 Sportback!

1. Can you introduce yourself in a few sentences?

I’m Laura Sutherland. A wife, daughter, sister, niece, aunt and dog mum to Eddie and Dudley. I’m a Chartered PR consultant and I run my own PR consultancy, Aura PR, a global PR community, PRFest and I recently launched a food brand, Wonky Pickles!

I’ve loved cars since I was a child. My Dad had some amazing cars and his passion obviously rubbed off!

2. What car do you drive?

I ended up buying the new Audi A3 35 TFSI S line S tronic. It was a difficult decision to make, what car to buy in a pandemic when lockdown has been so up and down.

3. Why did you buy this car?

It was a brand new model which looked pretty great and the spec I chose gave me everything I would want or need in a car. At that point I only had one dog though…!

Obviously when you look at the price of a car you need to make comparisons and it came up top against some other cars I was looking at. I took it out on lease, so if I don’t like it, I’m not stuck with it.

The initial reviews looked good, so why not?!

Laura drives the latest generation of the popular A3 Sportback
Laura drives the latest generation of the popular A3 Sportback

4. What do you like about it?

I love the new front and rear. Super sharp and the S line model has a great finish. The leather and sports seats and the attention to detail in the cockpit is to a really high standard and the added bonus of the sunroof is perfect! The automatic is super responsive and it’s nippy in sport mode. I like the boot. It’s a Sportback so it’s deceptively roomy.

5. Is there anything you would change about it?

I went for the light grey seats for a change, but maybe the darker grey would have been nice and I’ve only just found out about the ambient lighting kit that looks super cool, which I didn’t spec. I’d also rather have had dark grey alloys – I think the bright silver fits with the chrome, but I’d just rather the darker colour. I think it’s more sporty looking. I’d maybe have chosen white, rather than black, too, if I had seen it in the flesh before…

6. What's in the glovebox?

Ha! Face masks and hand sanitizer!

7. Favourite moment with the car so far?

Taking it to the beach for a short holiday just before second lockdown happened.

8. Three words to describe your car?

Practical. Efficient. Nippy.

Laura loves the efficiency and practicality of her A3!
Laura loves the efficiency and practicality of her A3!

Thank you to Laura for taking part in our Me and My Car feature! If you would like your car featured, please email caroline@changinglanes.ie

 


Find out how a few simple products can give your engine the wellness it deserves!

Wellness For Engines. LIQUI MOLY Experts Explain

Find out how a few simple products can give your engine the wellness it deserves!
Find out how a few simple products can give your engine the wellness it deserves!

In this special feature, Caroline speaks to the experts at LIQUI MOLY to find out more about ‘wellness for engines’: how using high-tech motor oils and additives can improve the health and performance of your car, saving you money in the long run!

Did you know that every kilometre of road you cover in your car costs a tiny piece of your engine? Over time, your car experiences continuous friction and wear that can also be accelerated by poor fuel quality and deposits of old lubricants.

With the help of regular maintenance of the oil and fuel cycle, engine performance can be brought back to the level of a new car.

I put some questions to David Kaiser, Head of Research and Development at LIQUI MOLY, to find out more about how using high quality motor oils and additives can take years off your car and restore engine performance to the time when your car was new.

LIQUI MOLY offers a global, uniquely broad range of about 4,000 automotive chemicals for the health and maintenance of your car: essential motor oils, performance-enhancing additives, greases and pastes, sprays and car care, glues, and sealants. The company sells its products in more than 150 countries, including Ireland.

Founded in 1957, LIQUI MOLY develops and produces its oils and additives exclusively in Germany, where the brand is consistently voted the best oil brand by some of the country’s most influential motoring magazines. The brand is respected by professional motor mechanics and technicians, while many motorsport teams also use their products. For example, LIQUI MOLY is the exclusive oil supplier to the Moto2 and Moto3 race series.

LIQUI MOLY ensures quality of product through Made in Germany promise
The LIQUI MOLY quality promise

What is the role of engine oil in the modern combustion engine and how does motor oil work?

Motor oils ensure the engine of your car is always working smoothly. If you think of the engine as the heart of your vehicle, then the motor oil is the life blood! Though ‘invisible’ to most of us, without this essential lubricant it’s game over for your engine. David Kaiser of LIQUI MOLY – the German oil brand who make the matching motor oil for every vehicle in the world - compares motor oil to a ‘fluid spare part’ that needs to fit precisely to a specific engine. But it hasn’t always been that way. There are now more demands on the modern motor oil than ever before:

“In the past motor oil was just a mere lubricant for the engine to reduce friction, and wear and tear,” says David. “Today motor oil has a lot more jobs to do: it has to work in a cold winter as well as in a hot summer; cool down the engine; keep the engine clean; neutralize the formation of acids in the oil; be compatible to exhaust treatment systems, and many more. At the same time, the engines have got more power and the oil change intervals have been extended.”

So why are there so many different motor oils?

According to David Kaiser, this is the price we pay for more efficient engines. When a car manufacturer designs a new engine, the required properties of the oil are part of this design. As different car manufacturers follow different strategies in engine technology, the result is different oil requirements. Sometimes these different technical requirements can be combined in a single oil, sometimes they cannot.

“At the moment we see in Europe more than 50 different oil specifications just for passenger cars,” says David. “And the trend is definitely towards even more than fewer oil specifications. It is hard even for professionals in garages to keep an overview. Not to mention the car owner.”

How do I find the correct motor oil for my car?

You will find the correct specification in the owner’s manual. The LIQUI MOLY website also offers a free oil guide where you can enter a few simple search criteria like the make, model, and engine to find the right oil specification for your car.

Motor oil is the life blood of your vehicle but must be the right specification for your car
Motor oil is the life blood of your vehicle but must be the right specification for your car

Can developments in motor oils improve engine efficiency?

The role of engine oils has changed over time with developments in the automotive industry and complexity of engines. According to David Kaiser of LIQUI MOLY, there is a trend for motor oils getting thinner and thinner. Years ago, the 10W-40 was a widespread viscosity. Today it is 5W-30 with 0W-20 gaining market share. 0W-16 is already available, and the industry is working on 0W-12.

“The reason for this development is the car manufacturers who want to further reduce fuel consumption and emissions,” says David. “A very thin oil offers less inner friction, so the engine needs less power and consumes less fuel to pump the oil. The effect is not huge, 2% less fuel consumption approximately, but is one of the many parameters the car manufacturers are working on. It is important to understand that the engine needs to be designed for such a thin oil. If you use a very thin oil in a conventional engine, you do not gain anything, but the engine will suffer from massive wear and tear.”

Can a high-quality motor oil help save you money?

“Yes – in several ways,” says David. “First of all, car manufacturers often allow extended oil change intervals when using an oil meeting the respective specification. Usually these extended oil change intervals double the standard intervals. Even when the quality motor oil is more expensive, it is cheaper compared to buying twice the amount of a standard oil. Plus, you save the service fee for one oil change.”

He adds: “Then, quality motor oil keeps the engine in good shape. This results in fewer engine problems, in less repair cost and in longer lifetime of the engine. Compared to the value of a car, the cost for quality motor oil is negligible.”

What should owners of hybrid cars know about maintaining their engine?

Owners of a hybrid car should keep in mind that their combustion engine requires the same maintenance as every combustion engine. The combustion engine does not run permanently while driving, kicking in only every now and then when needed. This can lead to two problems. The first being the fuel in the tank ages and decomposes over time. Secondly the engine often does not reach its operational temperature, which promotes the formation of deposits at the injection system, which hamper the proper combustion.

“Our Hybrid Additive mitigates both problems,” says David. “Furthermore, the irregular use of the combustion engine puts a lot of stress on the oil. Therefore, it is important to use a high-quality oil and to adhere to the oil change intervals.”

A hybrid additive can help to prevent some problems that can occur in hybrid cars
A hybrid additive can help to prevent some problems that can occur in hybrid cars

What is the role of additives in the modern combustion engine and how do additives work?

Additives in the oil and in the fuel protect the motor and fuel system of your car. Without additives, no modern engine would work. They keep the engine clean, reduce the formation of deposits and deliver additional performance.

So why add additional additives? According to David Kaiser, it’s about getting more performance or functionality. Today’s engines are highly optimized and efficient, but also very sensitive towards contamination. Small deviations in fuel or oil quality - and even driving style and driving conditions - may result in problems like increased formation of deposits, increasing fuel consumption, less performance and deteriorating exhaust gas values.

“Additives help to keep the engine in good shape, to restore the original engine performance and fuel economy, to avoid future engine problems and to prolong the engine’s lifetime,” says David.

LIQUI MOLY has devised a colour coded system to help you quickly recognise what part of the car the additive should be added: blue caps for petrol, red caps for diesel, black caps for oil and white caps for the radiator. There is also a series of additives in fully black cans, called “Pro-Line”, used by professional mechanics and technicians.

Will I see the same benefits whether my car is 5, 10 or 20 years old?

“When it comes to cleaning additives, the effect is greater the more contaminants,” says David. “Owners of older cars are often astonished how different their cars feel after the treatment. It is a kind of rejuvenation.”

Over time all cars will slowly lose performance and fuel economy. This is often not noticed by the car owner.

“The sudden restoration of the original performance is eye opening,” says David.

He adds: “Newer cars benefit, too. In this case it is not about restoring but about keeping the original performance and about keeping the engine in good shape to avoid breakdowns and repair works.”

“Additives are useful chemical tools. But they are not miracle potions which can magically heal severe technical issues or improve fuel consumption by one third. If you see these claims, you should be cautious.”

With over 60 years in producing additives, you can trust the experts at LIQUI MOLY!

LIQUI MOLY passion for performance on road and on track
LIQUI MOLY passion for performance on road and on track

If you would like to find out more about the story of LIQUI MOLY and the company plans for the Irish market, check out our exclusive article Discovering LIQUI MOLY, Made in Germany.

Safe driving and always do the best for your engine!

Caroline Kidd

 


Gillian Fanning talks to Changing Lanes about her role as SIMI President

Interview With Gillian Fanning, SIMI President

Gillian Fanning talks to Changing Lanes about her role as SIMI President
Gillian Fanning talks to Changing Lanes about her role as SIMI President

In this interview, I talk to Gillian Fanning, SIMI President, about her role in the Society of the Irish Motor Industry, objectives for the motor industry in a time of great change and uncertainty, and her outlook for the sector in 2021. Gillian is also the Marketing Director of automotive distributor Serfac Limited.

1. For our readers who may not be familiar with SIMI, can you briefly introduce the Society and the role of President?

The Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) is the representative body for and the official voice of the motor industry in Ireland. We have over 1,200 member companies across all sectors of the industry, including dealers, repairers, vehicle distributors, wholesalers, retailers and vehicle testers. The role of SIMI is to represent the motor industry and its 45,000 employees by communicating and campaigning to Government, state bodies, the media and the motoring public.

The President heads up the Society’s Management Board, the role of which is to manage the financial, internal and admin affairs of SIMI, advise the National Executive Council (which is made up of representatives from all sectors across Ireland) on policy and strategy, and to promote and defend the interests of its members and the motor industry generally.

2. How did you begin working in the motor industry and what do you enjoy most about it?

I started my career in PR consultancy, before joining Guinness Ireland as PR Manager. I then held a global change management and communication role with Diageo plc in London, before moving into another change management role with Bank of Ireland. I took a short career break when my second child was born, then joined Serfac in 2009 to manage a short-term project and I’m still here!

I really enjoy the variety of my job, which includes everything from managing over 30 brands and our relationship with our International Trading Network TEMOT, to more general strategic and operational management. Most of us in the business have worked together for quite some time so we’re a very close-knit team. In recent years, my involvement with SIMI and with FIGIEFA, the European aftermarket lobbying group, has added a whole new dimension to my career, which I’m enjoying very much.

Gillian Fanning (right) at the annual Women@SIMI event to help support and connect women working in the motor industry in Ireland
Gillian Fanning (far right) at the annual Women@SIMI event to help support and connect women working in the motor industry in Ireland

3. 2020 was an exceptionally challenging year to kick off your term as SIMI President, but what goals have you managed to set out for your term?

The Society’s role is to support and help its members and obviously that support has been extra critical since I took up office last May. We have spent a significant amount of time since then negotiating with Government to allow the industry to continue operating during periods of restriction, as well as being the key source of information for our members in terms of COVID-19 employment and business supports. Unfortunately, a number of events that I had planned, such as our annual Women@SIMI event and our aftermarket conference have had to be cancelled or postponed due to the pandemic.

In terms of longer-term goals, the objective must be to reach a figure of 150,000 new car sales per year, which represents a benchmark for the level of sales that can sustain the scale of the industry and the number of people employed in it.  With this in mind, we will continue to push for reductions in VRT and for Electric Vehicle (EV) grants, both of which will encourage motorists to trade up to a newer car. At current levels, VRT leaves motorists with no option but to hold on to their cars for longer, which means we’re missing out on the environmental benefits that derive from newer cars, whether they are petrol, diesel, hybrid or electric.

Any new car on the road will help us to make emission savings and recently, we’ve been focusing on educating consumers about the different types of engines available and the benefits of each.  I’m confident that better informed consumers will help the new car market on the road to recovery.

Increasing the number of women involved in the industry is also a priority in terms of gender balance and we have been using every opportunity to change perceptions of and highlight our sector as an attractive and interesting industry, offering great career opportunities. This will be vital to industry growth over coming years.

4. At the beginning of 2020 few would have predicted that dealer showrooms would ever have to close during the critical selling months of the year. Can the motor industry bounce back in 2021 from the Coronavirus disruption to retailing?

Yes, I absolutely believe that the industry can bounce back from the challenges faced over the last year. We’re a resilient and innovative sector and have come through tough periods several times in the past. We adapted very well to the restrictions implemented by Government last year and were one of the first sectors to be allowed to reopen when restrictions were initially lifted.

We’ve been open for servicing throughout most of the lockdowns and hopefully will be allowed to reopen for sales on April 5th, even on a Click & Collect basis, which we have shown that we can operate very safely. A speedy reopening will be critical for the industry and I’ve no doubt that there will be pent-up demand for vehicles when lockdown is lifted. The fact that people are now more reliant on private vehicles from a personal safety perspective also gives us great hope for the rest of 2021.

The Government has announced a €20 million investment in the ESB ecars public charge point network
Gillian says SIMI will continue to push for grants to support sales of electric vehicles in Ireland

5. New car sales are down again this year for obvious reasons, but new car registrations have in fact been in decline now for several years. What other factors are affecting the new car market?

The import of second hand vehicles from the UK has undoubtedly affected the new car market in Ireland over the past 3-4 years, although we have seen a marked decline in these imports over the last year, due to both the pandemic and Brexit.

Climate change and the Government’s Climate Action Plan is another factor that is affecting the new car market. Research has shown that consumers are confused about what powertrain to choose and are putting off making car-buying decisions as a result. SIMI recently launched a consumer information campaign, Drive Greener, to educate potential new car buyers about the different types of powertrain available and help them to choose the type of engine that best meets their needs.

Obviously, the fact that the industry has been unable to operate either a Click & Collect service or to offer unaccompanied test drives since January has also affected the new car market hugely this year. Getting these reinstated as soon as possible and thus helping to protect industry jobs, is our priority over the coming weeks.

6. Do you think the pandemic has accelerated changes in the industry that were already on the way?

Absolutely. While changes were always coming, digitalisation has been growing rapidly, not just in our industry but across all industries, and the pandemic has certainly accelerated these changes. Adapting very quickly to restrictions last year by moving most of their key business processes online, our members have demonstrated an incredible level of innovation in their businesses. Dealers have had to start meeting customers online or over the phone. Online selling tools such as vehicle videos and online virtual showrooms are the new normal and the entire selling process from start to finish can now be completed online, from viewing right through to finance approval and signing contracts.

I believe that this is a sign of the times and that further and ongoing investment in enhanced IT infrastructure will be critical to meet the challenges we will face over coming years.

It's been a challenging year for motor retailers but Gillian sees the sector bouncing back in 2021
It's been a challenging year for motor retailers but Gillian sees the sector bouncing back in 2021

7. The Irish government has set targets for numbers of electric vehicles on Irish roads by 2030. How can we bridge the gap and what role will SIMI have in this transition?

While SIMI is very supportive of Government initiatives to reduce emissions, I do feel that the 2030 targets are quite ambitious. For example, purchases of electric vehicles in 2020 accounted for just 4.5% of new car sales, and while that was up from 2% in 2019, we still have quite a way to go to meet the Government’s targets. We also need to see an improved infrastructure put in place to support the growth of EVs over coming years and that will take time.

In terms of helping to bridge that gap, SIMI will continue to push for grants to support EV sales, in parallel with continuing to educate consumers regarding the benefits of electric and hybrid vehicles in terms of climate change.

8. Your background is in the automotive aftermarket supply of parts. How has your sector handled the pandemic and what is the outlook for the rest of 2021?

Those of us working in the aftermarket have been very lucky in that we are classified as essential services so have been able to stay open throughout, unlike our colleagues on the retail side of the industry. We’ve been busy throughout as people still need their cars and commercial vehicles repaired and maintained, and we’ve played a key role in keeping the country moving over the last year. My business is warehouse-driven so we’ve obviously had challenges in terms of social distancing etc. but we implemented good safety practices at the onset of the pandemic, which are now second nature to my team.

As with many other industries, Brexit has challenged us with supply issues and delivery delays but we’ve managed to tweak our supply chain so that much of our stock is now coming direct from continental Europe. Otherwise, 2021 has been business as usual for us and I would hope that it stays that way for the remainder of the year.

Gillian was elected to the role of SIMI President in May 2020
Gillian was elected to the role of SIMI President in May 2020

9. In recent years SIMI has held the Women@SIMI event to support and connect women working in the motor industry in Ireland. How can female representation in the industry be improved and are there opportunities?

There’s still some way to go, but the motor industry has improved significantly in terms of female representation over recent years.  There has been an increased focus on diversity and attracting women into the industry, not just in Ireland but globally. In particular, my colleagues on the retail side of the business have recognised that it makes sense to employ more women to enhance engagement with a large female customer base – it’s estimated that approximately 85% of vehicle buying decisions are made by women!

There are many opportunities for women across all sectors of the motor industry and we’re working together to change perceptions of it being a male-dominated industry. Sure, there are more men than women working in the industry, but there are plenty of great opportunities for women and in my experience, the men in the industry are generally very supportive of their female colleagues.

10. If you weren’t working in the motor industry, what other career do you think you might have liked to pursue?

That’s a difficult one, but a career in venture capital appeals to me – forecasting future trends and finding good businesses to invest in.  I may have left it too late for a career change now though!

Thanks to Gillian for taking part in this interview for Changing Lanes.

 


Discovering LIQUI MOLY, Made In Germany!

LIQUI MOLY produces a full range of motor oils and automotive chemicals
Discover LIQUI MOLY with Changing Lanes, premium quality oils and additives made in Germany for engines everywhere!

Caroline Kidd talks to the experts at LIQUI MOLY to find out more about the difference premium quality motor oils and additives can make to your engine. We discover the brilliant rise of LIQUI MOLY, what it means to be 'Made in Germany', and the brand's plans for the Irish market! 

When was the last time you thought about motor oil?

The first car I ever owned had a little bit of a drinking problem. To the point that I always carried a small bottle of oil in the boot for any emergency top ups should they be required.

I learnt early on that if the oil light comes on, you stop the car immediately, so critical is this lubricant to your engine. Because if you don’t, it could quickly become game over for your engine.

Next stop was the motor factors, where I discovered a bewildering array of motor oils and other automotive products. I was fascinated by the numbers on the bottles, the variety.

As a motoring journalist, I’ve spent so many hours behind the wheel driving the latest new models from the world’s leading car manufacturers, pondering the performance and efficiency of everything from hatchbacks and SUVs, to luxury and high-performance vehicles.

Speaking to the experts at LIQUI MOLY, I was delighted to find an equally diligent group of professionals at the forefront of the development and manufacture of motor oils and automotive chemicals: the ‘invisible’ products that keep your car running better for longer. Well, when was the last time you thought about motor oil?

The German oil brand produces the matching oil for every car on the planet!
The German oil brand produces the matching oil for every car on the planet!

The matching motor oil for every car in the world

Founded back in 1957, in Ulm, Germany, on the River Danube, LIQUI MOLY is one of the few full-range brands with around 4,000 automotive products to explore: the matching motor oil for every car in the world, additives, greases and pastes, sprays and car care, glues and sealants.

“Some of our products are crucial, simple as it is. Without oil, no combustion engine would run longer than a few kilometres,” says David Kaiser, Head of Research and Development at LIQUI MOLY.

Today it’s not about any lubricant for the engine like in the past, when a standard 10W-40 oil was good for most cars. David compares the oil in your car to a ‘fluid spare part’, which needs to fit precisely to a specific engine.

“If you use a modern low viscosity oil in a conventional engine not designed for this type of oil, you will see the results quickly because the engine suffers from massive wear and tear,” says David. In other cases, the oil may not be suited for the exhaust treatment system which leads to premature clogging of the particle filter and expensive repair bills.

You can find the right oil specification for your car in the owner’s manual or use LIQUI MOLY’s free online oil guide, where you can quickly find the right oil for your car using some simple search criteria like the make, model and engine.

LIQUI MOLY also produces a range of additives
LIQUI MOLY also produces a range of additives, which can protect your engine from wear and tear over time

Other after-market automotive products are less mandatory than motor oil but beneficial, as David explains: “If you use our oil additives, you protect your engine from wear and tear. If you use our fuel additives, you keep the combustion clean which improves exhaust gas values and reduces fuel consumption. If you use our car care products, you protect your car from corrosion. All this helps to improve the vehicle’s longevity, to preserve its present value and to reduce maintenance cost.”

New products are developed at LIQUI MOLY by working closely with garages and the car manufacturers. According to David this is how the R&D team learn quickly about upcoming issues, such as LSPI, low-speed pre-ignition.

“This is a phenomenon that we find especially in downsized engines, which may severely damage the pistons. We analysed the problem and developed an additive to suppress LSPI. This is just one example of how we develop new products.”

The experts at LIQUI MOLY continuously review existing products and look for ways to further improve them. For example, oils get additional or higher specifications, and additives become even more effective.

The R&D department at LIQUI MOLY is also responsible for monitoring the quality of production. This starts with incoming raw materials tested in the brand’s labs before they can be unloaded. “When we blend a new batch of oil, we test this batch before it gets to the filling line,” says David. “During the filling we take samples to check the quality. And we store these samples to be able to prove the quality even years after the actual production.”

LIQUI MOLY ensures quality of product through Made in Germany promise

So what does it mean to be 'Made in Germany'?

As I began to learn more about this German oil brand - so full of passion and diligence for the application of their products in the automobile - I was amazed to discover that all oils and additives from LIQUI MOLY are still made in Germany before being distributed for sale in 150 countries around the world.

The brand focuses on premium quality and produces in Germany. They don’t want to be the cheapest; they want to be the best! This approach makes LIQUI MOLY different and is key to their quality promise. No matter whether you buy a LIQUI MOLY product off the shelf in Ireland, Germany, America, or some other region, you are ensured the same quality and consistency of the product.

“We do not produce lower quality versions of a product for export,” says Tim Keller, Export Area Manager at LIQUI MOLY and responsible for the Irish market. “With our own production facilities, we can ensure a constantly high-quality level. This made in Germany quality promise is strong, but it only works if you meet the expectations of car owners every day.”

Germany is of course famous around the world for the quality and precision of its manufacturing industry, including electronics, appliances, and of course cars, with the country home to some of the world’s most prestigious and desirable car brands like Porsche, Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

“Many people also like the idea that they use exactly the same products as the people in the car nation Germany do,” says Tim.

LIQUI MOLY also produces a range of car care products
LIQUI MOLY also produces a range of car care products

Improving LIQUI MOLY presence around the world...and Ireland

LIQUI MOLY is indeed a popular oil brand in its native Germany, elected best oil brand consistently in reader polls of major German car magazines like Auto Bild and Auto-Zeitung. But having a strong market position in Germany means that further growth is harder to achieve there than in other countries. Therefore, the brand pushes their international business.

Ireland is part of this strategy, where LIQUI MOLY products are already used by professional garages and are on sale for consumers to buy from many independent motor factors and online retailers specialising in aftermarket automotive products.

“Of course, Ireland is not the biggest market,” says Tim. “But often we see the situation that many competitors tend to focus on the biggest markets and tend to somewhat neglect smaller countries where we are quite successful.”

“We have big plans for Ireland. We will launch motor oils with the very latest specifications, and we will continuously expand our product portfolio that we offer in Ireland.”

LIQUI MOLY has a compelling history, a successful SME against much larger corporations like BP, Total and Shell. Tim likens LIQUI MOLY to a “speedboat manoeuvring around these huge sluggish tankers”. In fact, in 2020, despite the devastating effects of the pandemic on the global economy, the business managed to grow, increasing sales by 7.1%. A great achievement in these difficult times.

It’s testament to the diligence, optimism and enthusiasm of this company and its people. According to Tim Keller, the brand doubled their global marketing investments in 2020 compared to the previous year. While other businesses reduced head count, LIQUI MOLY responded by hiring more staff, increasing the global headcount from 933 to 989.

LIQUI MOLY reaches audiences through high profile sponsorships like Formula 1
LIQUI MOLY reaches audiences around the world through high profile sponsorships like Formula 1

Powering motorsport and racing across the globe

High profile sponsorships also keep LIQUI MOLY visible on the world stage into 2021. LIQUI MOLY continues to believe in outstanding quality, the highest level of dynamics and pure emotion, making elite sports a natural companion to bring the brand’s message to the world. The brand sponsors a number of winter sports series around the globe for example, along with the two motorsport series with the greatest reach: Formula 1 and Moto GP. In fact, LIQUI MOLY is already the exclusive oil supplier to all teams of the Moto2 and Moto3 racing series.

Motorsports is a natural arena for the German brand because it is so closely related to the products the company manufactures, as Peter Baumann, Marketing Director at LIQUI MOLY, explains: “This allows us to get in touch with people all around the globe who are enthusiastic about engines and racing. The fact that all team in Moto2 and Moto3 use our oil is only possible when you can provide top quality. This allows us to demonstrate the quality of our products. What is proven on the racetrack does also a great job in everyday use.”

“Furthermore, the racing teams in Moto2 and Moto3 do not use a unique development just for them but one of our ordinary motorcycle oils,” continues David. “It is good enough to cope with the harsh requirements of a world championship.”

exclusive oil supplier to all teams of the Moto2 and Moto3 racing series.
LIQUI MOLY is the exclusive oil supplier to all teams of the Moto2 and Moto3 racing series

The future of LIQUI MOLY

So what might the future hold for this ambitious company? The environmental question must be tackled. And LIQUI MOLY is clearly a brand with a conscience, taking part in CSR programmes in its native Germany and other regions. Part of the brand’s mission is to treat energy and the ever-scarcer resources of Mother Earth very carefully, with manufacturing processes as environmentally friendly as possible and continually optimised from an ecological aspect.

While Ireland and Europe are now on the road to putting more electric vehicles on the road with some real intent at last, the latest European Automobile Manufacturer’s Association (ACEA) report still clearly shows over 2.1 million passenger cars in use in Ireland for example, and over 99% still powered by a combustion engine.

These cars require maintenance, motor oils and other automotive chemicals to keep them running at their best until end of life. Even as the fleet is gradually replaced with more battery electric vehicles, it’s going to take a while before we are talking about over 1 million electric cars on Irish roads.

But the world is changing, no doubt about it, with tighter environmental controls from national governments on cars with traditional combustion engines, and more incentives for consumers to buy electric vehicles. What might the future hold for a company specialising in selling oil, additives and other automotive chemicals for combustion engines?

Tim Keller, Export Area Manager at LIQUI MOLY and responsible for the Irish market says that the brand sees a strong push towards electric passenger cars. But most of these cars are not fully electric ones but hybrids, which still come with a combustion engine. He also notes that the average age of passenger cars in the EU is almost at 11 years.

“For these reasons it will take a long time until we see a significant share of fully electric passenger cars,” says Tim. “Then there are commercial vehicles, construction machines and so on which cannot be electrified right now.”

“Finally, the discussion about synthetic green fuels is accelerating right now. We will see combustion engines still for a long time. So electric vehicles will have an impact on our business model but only slowly and we will adapt our business model accordingly. Our wide range of automotive chemicals offers plenty of opportunities to us.”

With the performance of LIQUI MOLY to date, I do not doubt that this company will continue to innovate and continually respond to the needs of car owners around the world!

LIQUI MOLY motor oils and automotive chemicals available in Ireland now
LIQUI MOLY motor oils and automotive chemicals available in Ireland now

Caroline Kidd

 


Irish Electric Vehicles Owners Association

Interview With Simon Acton, Irish EV Owners

Irish Electric Vehicles Owners Association
This week we find out more about the Irish EV Owners Association, who represent electric vehicle owners and driver in Ireland.

In this interview we meet Simon Acton, Chair of the Irish Electric Vehicle Owners Association (IEVOA), who represent electric vehicle owners and drivers in Ireland.

1) Can you introduce yourself and the club to our readers? 
I'm Simon Acton, the current Chair of the Irish Electric Vehicle Owners Association (IEVOA). I am also Managing Director of my own business, Next Eco Car, which specialises in selling and sourcing used EVs and Hybrids in Ireland. The IEVOA was established in 2015 to: represent the interests of Electric Vehicle (EV) owners and drivers across the island of Ireland; help encourage the widespread uptake of EVs throughout the island; work with vehicle manufacturers, dealers, Public and Private Charger infrastructure owners or managers, Government bodies, County Councils and all other stakeholders to further the aims of the Association; promote and hold events for EV Owners/Drivers; and maintain an online presence to facilitate information exchange and membership. We have a committee, currently of ten, who meet monthly to drive this agenda forward, all of who give their time freely. We welcome all EV owners and drivers in Ireland to become members. We currently have around 1500 members and almost 5000 engaging in our associated Facebook group.

Simon Acton, Chair of the IEVOA, and the Renault ZOE
Simon Acton, Chair of the IEVOA, and the Renault ZOE

2) What are the benefits for members?
We currently have two membership tiers, Associate, which is free, and Full, which is currently €10 per year. Full members have voting rights at our general meetings, such as our AGM, so they can actively influence the direction we take and the focus of the work we do.  All members benefit from the activities we engage in and have the option of getting involved in our work.  They also have access to all the events we run. Normally we have a number of meets each year, but 2020 was a challenging year on this front, so we are currently running a bi-monthly series of webinars until normal service can resume. For 2021 we are developing additional benefits for paid members, such as discounts from a range of like-minded companies and access to our Slack community, which was previously reserved for committee members only.  We also plan to develop a corporate membership offering.

3) What is the role of the Irish EV Owners Association as Ireland transitions to electric mobility?

We have a big role to play. Our growing membership gives us a vast resource to tap into when considering the needs of current and future EV owners, based crucially on real world experiences. At our most recent AGM in June we set out our objectives for the coming year including expanding our lobbying efforts across government, councils and key stakeholders, continuing our engagement with charging infrastructure stakeholders including ESB ecars, ESB Networks, Smart Dublin and councils, establishing events to aid public education, awareness and engagement with EVs, and increasing the content on all our platforms and engaging with the media to drive public interest. In the past 6 months alone, some of our efforts have included continuing our engagement with ESB ecars and ESB Networks around public charging infrastructure and other technologies pertinent to the EV ecosystem; engaged with the DCCAE and Minister Eamon Ryan about our objectives and requested regular meetings; lobbied councils to utilise the on street charging grant and encouraged our members to do the same and commenced work on a refresh of our website and branding to enable better public engagement. We are very active and motivated to drive EV adoption in Ireland as we aim to reduce pollution and emissions in order to meet our climate action obligations as a nation.

4) What do you think is the biggest challenge to wide scale EV adoption in Ireland? 

Most people would say we need cheaper vehicles with greater range or that the public charging infrastructure needs to be better. But my experience, both with IEVOA and in dealing with customers considering buying used EVs tells me that education is actually the biggest challenge. I talk to a lot of people about EVs and the lack of knowledge and myths that surround them is still a huge barrier to wider adoption. IEVOA is pushing hard in this space but we are a voluntary organisation with little financial means. Much more needs to be done. if we look at the UK there is the experience centre in Milton Keynes and there is the Fully Charged Live show each year. These are places where potential EV owners can learn more without being in a sales environment. These sorts of things need to be replicated in Ireland and should be something supported by the likes of government, local councils, and the manufacturers. Further, more needs to be done to combat the huge amount of disinformation being deliberately spread by some manufacturers and dealers who are set to lose out in the shift to the electrification of transport. The press and advertising standards organisations have a huge role and responsibility to play in this, in fact checking what is published.

5) What prompted your interest in electric vehicles?
From a young age I had three main interests: cars, technology and the natural world. Electric vehicles are a great combination of the first two and also help me see a way towards protecting the latter for future generations. As a teenager I raced karts competitively in the UK and later forged a career as a software developer on leaving University, which led to a successful 20+ year career in IT. So whilst I took a keen interest in the trajectory of electric vehicle technology and how it could potentially help make our planet a better place from the early 2010s, it wasn't until around 2017 when I bought my first EV and decided to make a career change and start my own business that it became an all consuming part of my daily life.

The Irish EV Owners Association has a number of benefits for EV owners in Ireland
The Irish EV Owners Association has a number of benefits for EV owners in Ireland

6) How did you become involved in the Irish EV Owners Association?
Prior to starting my business in 2017 I had joined the association as a member and had mainly just followed what was going on with the Facebook group so I decided to attend the next AGM in early 2018 to learn more about what they were doing.  I was impressed with the enthusiasm of the committee and the members in general. They were looking for volunteers to help out so I decided to get involved. The following year the previous Chair, Frank Barr, decided to step down and the rest of the committee convinced me to run as Chair at the AGM and it's gone on from there really. I'm now in my second term as Chair and hope to continue a good while longer. We are in a very important moment for EV adoption in Ireland and there is still so much work to do.

7) Which electric vehicle past or present do you think has been the most influential on a) the motor industry and b) consumers? 
In terms of the motor industry I'd have to say Tesla who have been a hugely influential disruptor in terms of how the motor industry will be shaped moving forwards. The original 2010 Tesla Roadster broke the mould of what people imagined an electric car could be and they have gone from strength to strength from there. The mass market Model 3 which became available here in Ireland in 2019 is now a common sight on our roads and the upcoming SUV style Model Y is sure to be an even bigger success here. They also have their proprietary Supercharger network, which makes travelling long distances in any of their cars a breeze with plenty of chargers at every hub. Tesla have also proven that if you have the right product you don't need a national network of dealerships to sell and maintain cars and that it can mostly be done online.  This, combined with the fact that their cars are hugely reliable, require little servicing and can be software upgraded to improve functionality over the air, means that they are changing the game.

The new Tesla Model 3 is available to order now!
Tesla has had a huge influence on the motor industry

From a consumer perspective I would have to say the Nissan Leaf, which was the first true mass market EV. In September 2020 Nissan announced that they had just manufactured the 500,000th Leaf since 2010. This has propelled Leaf drivers to over 14.8 billion clean-air kilometres, which equates to 2.4 billion kilograms of saved CO2 emissions. If you drive a first generation Leaf today it is still a very capable car, and the latest incarnation with its 40 or 62 kWh battery capacity and a host of autonomous driving features is a very accomplished car suitable to almost any need.

8) How can public charging be shared fairly among EV drivers who require this service regularly? 
As with any publicly available service there is certain etiquette to be followed in using charging infrastructure. There is plenty of information about this etiquette on the IEVOA website but it largely boils down to common sense, courtesy, and knowing the charging capabilities of your car and the charge units you plan to use. In summary, rapid chargers are for a quick top up in order that you can complete your journey or the next leg of your journey. Ideally you shouldn't leave your car unattended at these chargers and you certainly shouldn't leave your car connected and charging for more than 45 minutes, in fact there are penalties on most rapid chargers if you do. Also, don't block the charger if you've finished charging or don't need to charge, move away and park somewhere else.

Check out the IEVOA website for more information on owning an electric vehicle in Ireland
Check out the IEVOA website for more information on owning an electric vehicle in Ireland

For slow chargers the etiquette is a little different. It's fine to leave your car charging away for as long as you need to, most cars will take over 4 hours to fully charge on this type of charger anyway. But again, if you have finished charging then try to move away, the exception being at places like train or bus stations where you can reasonably leave your car hooked up for the day if you need a full charge. Plus, never use any charging bay as a parking space, only park in a charging bay if you are actually charging. You wouldn't park at a petrol pump after all, would you?

In the longer term, charger availability will be much less of an issue because there will be plenty of infrastructure for everyone. For example, ESB ecars are two years into a five year program that will see a huge expansion of their network including the addition of 50 high power charging hubs on key transport routes from early 2021. Plus anyone who drives an electric car will tell you that the best place to charge is either at home or work, whenever they can anyway. It's always better (and generally cheaper) to be putting power into your car when you are doing something else, like sleeping. That way the public infrastructure is left available for those who really need to use it.

Simon Acton speaking at the 2020 Electric Vehicle Summit
Simon speaking at the 2020 Electric Vehicle Summit

9) Where would you like to see Ireland in 5 years time in relation to electric vehicles versus volumes of combustion engined cars?
By 2025 I'd like to see that at least 30% of annual new car sales in Ireland are fully electric cars. This might seem very ambitious from where we are today but if you look at the trajectory of sales increases in EVs, and at what the vast majority of car manufacturers are focusing their research and development on, it's only going one way. We've seen a great number of new EV models released in 2020 and we will see more and more as each year passes with model types and range to suit every need; indeed some manufacturers have already signalled timelines for switching to selling EVs only. Ultimately consumers can only buy what manufacturers are offering. Legislation, incentives (and disincentives) and public opinion will drive adoption strongly too. Opinions are changing and awareness is growing: by 2025 choosing to buy a new combustion car will likely be viewed in a similar light to smoking in front of your kids or drink driving; it will become socially unacceptable. This is a huge moment for the motor industry and any manufacturer not fully on board with electrification by now is already unlikely to survive in the longer term.

The Irish EV Owners Association holds events throughout the year for members
The Irish EV Owners Association holds events throughout the year for members

10) How can our readers keep up to date with the club?

Our website www.irishevowners.ie is a great source of reference for information about everything EV, especially for anyone thinking of making the switch to an EV for the first time. We also have a lively community page on Facebook with almost 5000 members and also a presence on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Thank you to Simon for taking part in this interview for Changing Lanes.

 


Looking for a new van? Check out these 211 van deals

Van Deals 2021 For Ireland

Looking for a new van? Check out these 211 van deals
Looking for a new van? Check out these 211 van deals

Looking for the best deals on a new van in 2021? In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at offers and scrappage deals available on commercial vehicles in Ireland in 2021. From cargo vans, to compact and panel vans, crew vans and car-based commercial vehicles, there’s plenty on offer! Check out the latest offers from the manufacturers below and find the best van for you. We'll add more as we get them. Check the manufacturer's website for more information on models and offers.

CITROEN

€3000 scrappage + 4.9% APR HP finance on new Berlingo and Dispatch vans or 3.9% APR HP finance. €2000 scrappage + 4.9% APR HP finance on Relay van or 3.9% APR HP finance.

FORD

Reductions of up to €6,500 across the range including the Ford Transit, available for the first time in a plug-in hybrid version. Finance packages with 2.9 percent APR are available and a once off 0 percent APR offer for customers who opt for the Ranger Wildtrak pick-up truck. Commercial vehicle reductions include up to €1,750 off the Transit Connect Limited or Sport models; €5,500 off the Transit Custom; €6,500 off the Transit two tonne van; and €3,200 off the Ranger.

MITSUBISHI

2.9% APR HP finance rate on the L200 or a €1,000 trade-in booster when you purchase a new L200 manual before 31st January 2021.

NISSAN

Choose between 0% APR or guaranteed minimum €3,000 scrappage on the Nissan commercial range including NV, Navarra, Leaf, Qashqai and X-Trail commercials.

OPEL

0% APR finance on Combo Cargo, Vivaro and Movano vans registered before 31st January 2021.

PEUGEOT

€3000 scrappage available on Peugeot Partner, €3500 on Expert, and €4000 on Boxer.

RENAULT

Renault’s offer includes 3 months deferred payments and 3.9% finance on Kangoo, Kangoo Z.E., Master and Trafic vans.

TOYOTA

3.9% APR HP finance or trade-in booster of €2500 or scrappage bonus of €3500 on Proace. 3.9% APR HP finance or trade-in booster of €2500 or scrappage bonus of €3000 on Proace City. 3.9% APR HP finance on Hilux.

VOLKSWAGEN

Purchase contribution of €1,500 on the new Caddy and 0% APR finance. €2,750 purchase contribution on the Transporter and APR finance of 2.9%. €3,500 purchase contribution on the Crafter and APR finance of 2.9%. Offers available until 31st January 2021.